In the Beginning

On a Saturday in January 2008 my cousin John and his wife Carol wanted to show us this incredible piece of property they had found for us. We had looked at two other properties that day, but they just weren’t what we were looking for. Well John had saved the best for last. He explained to us that the owner had a contract to select cut the trees. This is a common practice in the area and does not harm the forest at all but just thins them out. You can see some of the cut logs in the foreground. The property is a bowl shape with mountains on three sides all of which we own. At the bottom is a nice pasture area that goes far beyond where you see the tractor. My cousin and I are standing on a railroad tie mat that the logger used to cross his heavy log trucks over the stream. When he finished logging he removed the mat and put in a 3’ culvert. The Forestry Service requires the logging company to seed the land and put it back to its original state. We now have a nice yard cover in a carpet of clover, but believe me prior to that it was a muddy mess.

We walked the entire perimeter of the 70acres that day following the trail of pink ribbons tied to trees marking our boundaries. It took a couple of hours and some mountain goat stamina to hike up and around the mountains. It was tiring but well worth it. The whole place felt as though it was meant just for us. To me places have a feeling about them. You either feel welcome or you don’t and this felt just right. It felt like coming home and has ever since.


11 Responses to In the Beginning

  1. inkspeare says:

    Oh, I am so glad that I found this blog. Along with my husband, we are trying to become self-sufficient and start a small farmette in the future and this blog will certainly help us become more informed and get ideas as well.

  2. William says:


    My wife, adult children and I want to move to West Virginia to live a Permaculture or Homesteading life style. Can you give us an idea of where to look. We are a total of six adults all family. We want to buy some land to grow our own food and raise some livestock.


    • Sonny says:

      You may want to check out Pennsboro, WV. Off-Grid.Net has it listed as the 4th best place to live in the U.S.
      Have you all started preparing for the lifestyle change yet?

      • William says:

        Not exactly. We live in the exactly which we hate. We have lived in the Suburbs before. Our goal was to always move further out into the country. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Now we are committed to moving out into the country. We are however living a minimalist lifestyle right now.

    • Jeff says:

      William…read your post in an old blog from back in 2013…did you ever find a spot in WV, and if so, how did you find the building codes to deal with? Good or bad…if you want to email me it’s…thanks

  3. ross potts says:

    Sonny, did you ever work in Crystal City with Zach Brown? After reading the little bit of your CV in an off grid living article, you seem very familiar…

    • Sonny says:

      Yes I did. I was with GrayHawk back then. When I left Crystal City I went to NGA until 2011 and finally to the FBI here in WV. I decided to give it all up in 2012. I have since retired and just work here at our farm. How have you been. My email is Sonny

  4. Sonny says:

    Contact Sunnyside Reality out of West Union. It’s a small place but they know the area well.

  5. Sam Boothe says:

    Nicholas County West Virginia has some affordable land but you must connect with a local and research for great places. We do keep things a tad secret here.

  6. Jessica says:

    Hi Sonny and Lind. My husband and I are from a small town in Missouri born and raised. We picked up and gave everything up to move here to West Virginia 2 going on 3 years ago for work. We have always discussed living off grid and are hopeing to make that a reality very soon. Currently we are in Morgantown and have moved further out of city limits just to get away from the city. Is there anywhere around here that allows us to live off grid and be able to raise our own animals for food and garden?

    • Sonny says:

      You have the right idea about being outside of any city limits. Most counties west of Morgantown will allow you to enjoy being off grid and raising your animals.

      Seems the counties that are pretty poor have the least county building permit enforcement. To me it seems that if you build something they will eventually see it the next time they do a property tax review. It seems more like they are happy to get a few more from you in taxes.

      If you do ask for a permit you could tell them your building a hunting type cabin and have no plans to connect it to the utilities. Your taxes will be lower because they don’t list it as a regular dwelling.

      By the way, I was born in Cape Girardeau, MO.

      Sonny and Linda

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: