Until we’re able to get back into the habit of pondering and writing online, we’ll have to just keep using the blog for updates on our life! So here goes, again.
- Castanea is now the name of our community. We were happy being unnamed, but the folks at the Peace by Piece conference asked us to come up with one for the conference. I guess they didn’t want to put on the speaker bios page “A bunch of weird people in downtown Nashville who garden and have chickens.” Here’s what I wrote about the name:
- Our community’s name, Castanea, is derived from the genus of the Chestnut tree. We are located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of south Nashville, and it was specifically to this neighborhood that our community relocated, joining God’s work and imagining God’s kingdom together there. Chestnut Hill has a long history of drug and prostitution traffic, and is still infiltrated with both. Like the history of the Chestnut tree, which was all but wiped out by a blight in the early 1900s, the “blight” of addiction, along with the casualties of our country’s economic system, have all but taken the neighborhood past the point of no return. But we trust in God and believe there is hope for Chestnut Hill and for the residents thereof who have endured throughout all the years. Just as there has been a successful attempt at restoring the Chestnut tree, we see glimpses of restoration and life in Chestnut Hill, and are blessed to be a part of it by God’s grace.
- The most major news is that we finally bought our future home! This is the news we’ve been itching to tell, but were afraid to since the deal hadn’t gone through and we didn’t want to count our chickens before they hatched. It’s a 24 unit apartment building on 0.8 acres, right in the heart of our neighborhood. Just about a block from the Adkins’ house, and about 3 blocks from ours. It sits on a hill, and has a great view of Trevecca Nazarene University where Jason teaches and Brent attends. The building itself is concrete block, and though structurally sound, has a ton of work to be done before it’s the amazing sanctuary we dream it to be. A complete gut and rebuild, basically. Here’s a bad (old) picture from the tax assessors page, I hope to get some better ones soon. It’s actually tan now.
- Space! The basic plan is for us as a community to inhabit one of the buildings, creating apartments for our families and single individuals plus some common space for meals and prayer, and then to use the other 12 units for affordable housing to local residents or people from refugee programs, homeless shelters, or other similar programs as either transitional housing or long term apartment investment.
- Chickens are still doing well, laying bunches of eggs and not getting eaten by possums. Of course, that’s only because we keep having possum killings. I think we’re up to about 5 or 6 now. Seriously. We lost one chicken from a possum attack, and we’ve found them in the coop since then, but no more injuries to chickens since poor ol’ Puff Mama.
- Garden’s doing well, garlic looks great and hope to be seeing sprouts of the first seeds planted soon! Aquaponics plants at work is ok, not as good as when I had the lights down closer to the plants though…they’re a little spindly.
- Trip to Haiti was great. We stayed with our translator Archange and his family of 6, got to experience real Haitian life and really were amazed at the hospitality we received and the faith we witnessed.
I guess that’s enough updates for now! We’re just pretty covered up with the apartment building, finding financing and finalizing plans, etc. It’s a really exciting time for us, but pray for us to not get too stressed out as we crunch through the next few months!
Daniel and Amanda