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Getting a Little Political

December 9th, 2011

In general, I keep my political views to myself with the exception of a few friends. Recently the oil/gas industry has been moving into our county and some of the leaders in our small lake community are trying to get all of us members to sign over our mineral rights. For a while we felt like the only people who were against it until we saw a sign in our neighbors yard. We stopped and talk to them and now we’re on the committee against the oil/gas leases for our community to try to protect our lake and our community from the risk of polluted water, excess truck traffic and the host of other problems that follow in the wake of this industry.

We’re already seeing scenes like this a few miles from our home. Instead of getting stuck behind a tractor on the road it’s now gas/oil trucks flying by. There are around 250 frack water storage tanks in town right by the river and the water treatment plant. There are a few wells being drilled not that far from our home. They’re also putting in a pipeline in our county, right through the farm where we went yesterday to get our Christmas tree.

Let me explain a little about where we live. Chiot’s Run is located in a gated lake community called Lake Mohawk outside of Malvern, OH. We have a beautiful lake, beaches, ski clubs, fishing clubs, a small golf course and lots of other groups. It’s a large community with about 900 households. About two thirds of those are residents who, like us, live here year round, the rest live elsewhere with their homes here being their lake/summer homes. Many of the year-round residents have lived here their whole lives as children and now as adults. As a result it’s a varied and interesting community and our property values are quite stable and higher than the surrounding fairly depressed areas. The problem with the gas/oil industry, is the pollution that inevitably comes along with it. If our lake gets polluted, our small community is ruined. Our property values will tank and we’ll be left with quite a mess on our hands.

We have now have a sign in our yard (during the allowed sign posting times, we do have an HOA after all). We’re hoping that other residents will see our sign and know that they’re not alone in their opposition. ¬†Chances are that we’re going to be on the losing side of this battle, but at least we won’t go down without making our voices heard. We won’t sign away our mineral rights here at Chiot’s Run and risk polluting our community, even if everyone else does. Sadly that means we will mostly move along to another community. We simply don’t want to live with the risks of drinking polluted water and air.

It’s been a depressing couple weeks as we talk about it. You see, we don’t really want to move. We love Ohio, we like our community, we have worked at setting deep roots over the past 13 years. We have a thriving local food web and we hesitate to leave all that behind. While we never thought we’d live out the rest of our days here at Chiot’s Run, we figured we’d always live here in eastern Ohio. It will certainly be a lot of hard work to regrow those roots in another area. When you transplant something it usually takes a season or two to bounce back to it’s original form. Last night while we were on our evening walk we talked about how we need to start looking at it as a blessing; often the toughest times in our lives turn out to make the most positive difference later down the road. Who knows where we will be five years from now, but I’m confident we’ll be enjoying ourselves and the challenges before us and I’m sure you’ll still be along for the ride!

We’re not sure what will happen or where we’ll end up, the good thing is that we’re both self-employed and work from home which means we can go anywhere with an internet connection. We’ve long talked about buying a place in Maine and may do that, but we’re open to other options (we’d love to stay in the northeast). I’m voting for somewhere close to good seafood! The good thing is that we’re proactive people, so we won’t sit around and complaining. Now the process begins of starting to get a few projects done around the house just in case we want to sell and we start planning for future possibilities.

What challenges have you been facing in your community? Any great suggestions folks? Where to go, where not to go?

50 Comments to “Getting a Little Political”
  1. Stone Soup on December 9, 2011 at 7:39 am

    How sad for you guys. But on the bright side, this could bring some unforgettable adventures and opportunities with it . . . Maine is a great place to live. I might be biased! lol But for a gardener you must know, Maine has a short growing season :( Think greenhouse!

    Reply to Stone Soup's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 9:31 am

      One of the positives is that land/homes are so much cheaper in Maine I could get 100 acres and a greenhouse for what we could sell for here!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Ken Toney on December 9, 2011 at 8:09 am

    It’s so sad to hear this. You’ve worked hard for this home and gardens. Our community was recently successful in stopping a proposed strip mine near the New River Gorge Bridge. It is a tough fight to save your community. I wish you the best. Good luck.

    Reply to Ken Toney's comment

  3. Suzanne on December 9, 2011 at 8:27 am

    It’s time to dig in and fight. Join with others. Resist. Take down fracking. I live in upstate NY where the fight against fracking is fierce. But I believe we will win. Gains have been made. Collaborate. Mobilize. Lay claim to the place you love.

    Reply to Suzanne's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 8:54 am

      We are, but we are preparing for the worst. Sadly there are two wells already being drilled close enough to our home that they could pollute the water and are most likely polluting the air too. We also have a huge garbage dump nearby that is continually being fined for not fixing their liner.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. goatpod2 on December 9, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I don’t really have any suggestions since I love the part of Ohio my parent’s & I live in.


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  5. daisy on December 9, 2011 at 9:01 am

    So sorry that you’re having to deal with this. You have a lot of options though, as you are self-employed, so that makes it easier. You’ve done so much with what you have, and no doubt you will make your new homestead even more of what you are dreaming of.

    We live in an HOA community and really don’t belong here. We look forward to moving on ourselves, and have a lot more freedom. Stick to yer guns, girl! ;0)

    Reply to daisy's comment

  6. Melissa on December 9, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Come down to the Carolinas- you’ll get a longer garden season! We still haven’t had a hard freeze yet! Working from home does give you incredible freedom. I hope you don’t have to move yet b/c it’s no fun to get run out when you aren’t quite ready. You want to do it on your own terms! Best of luck to you in the coming weeks- keep fighting!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  7. Allison on December 9, 2011 at 9:42 am

    We are dealing with the fraction issue here too. I am in the SW corner of Medina county and I really do not want to move anytime soon, but I don’t want to have the consequences of living in pollution either. What a mess.

    Reply to Allison's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 9:43 am

      My parents live in Rittman and we were just talking about that with them when we were over there.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Bekki on December 9, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I live in PA where there is lots of fracking going on. I hear terrible stories all the time about bad water and loss of farmland and such. I pray you can win and keep it out of your area!

    Reply to Bekki's comment

  9. Daedre Craig on December 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

    My parents live right next to a Native American Reservation. They have been buying up land all over town including the farm field behind my parents house. The plan was to build an amusement park there, but luckily it has been put on hold due to economic issues. We already have to deal with increased crime due to the casino down the street, but now my parents may have a literal roller coaster in their backyard!

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

      It’s very sad when people place value on money rather than on people and their community. Ironically I came across a quote last week: “There are some people so poor all they have is money.

      Sadly there seem to be more and more of those people around.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Dave on December 9, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Susy, I feel terrible for you. In Upstate New York we are fighting to keep fracking out of our area. It took 33 years for Joanne and I to find the place where we will retire and be taken to our final resting place. And now corporate and government greed wants to take that from us.

    Follow the link for an important developement from the EPA in Wyoming.

    It’s a shame that our government is letting these companies destroy tens of thousands of acres of land for fees and taxes. Fees and taxes that will pay for the malfeasance on the part of our elected officials. Keep fighting it from wherever you are.

    I hope your situation improves and you come to a successful conclusion. My heart is with you.

    Reply to Dave's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 10:23 am

      And here in Ohio they don’t pay taxes at the well, the citizens pay taxes on the royalties though about 40% from what some folks are telling me.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Denimflyz on December 9, 2011 at 10:06 am

    We are currently in the battle with TransCanada, aka, XL Pipeline here in Nebraska. I am sure you have heard it on national news lately. Currently it is on hold, BUT I am quite sure it will ram it way through because of the jobs issue, which we need also. We have a huge body of underground water that supplies water to about 5-6 states and supplies water to our agricultural venues, plue water to the cities all over and farms and ranches.
    Though I live in a small city, the water supply is below us too, and it is a very hot button topic around here and other places in the state.
    I have considered moving many times, but where. I am a native of this state and have elderly parents still living here, and I am disabled so for me to move is a huge undertaking in itself, and like you I have roots and don’t want to move.
    I wish I could suggest somewhere for you, I have always loved Maine, was there a few times when I drove over the road truck many years ago, a beautiful state indeed.
    I am sure the door will open when it is ready to be opened.

    Reply to Denimflyz's comment

  12. Barbara on December 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Don’t give up the good fight – you never know how you’re affecting the people around you for the better.

    Our community struggles with fairly extreme poverty, but it’s the apathy that’s killing the area. Those who care, move away; those who remain have given up. It’s very sad.

    Reply to Barbara's comment

  13. warren on December 9, 2011 at 11:39 am

    It’s all over here too. Of course, the coal mines are a constant threat here and the absolutely destroy everything around them and ruin water. Anyhow, fracking is here too and it makes me sick to think they could do it near our place. It screws up everyone’s water, not just whoever sold their mineral rights. It sucks!

    Reply to warren's comment

  14. Margaret on December 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I so hope you are successful in your battle. We saw a piece on fracking and what it has done to the water supply in the surrounding community. I understand wanting to move.
    I hope there is success in preserving your lake and community.
    Your sign is great.
    I am curious about how your HOA sign days work?

    Reply to Margaret's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

      We’re only allowed to have signs out (including real estate signs) friday evening through monday morning.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  15. sarah on December 9, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I am so sorry to hear about this. How scary and unsettling. I came across this online today (and educated myself better on fracking) Thought I’d share.

    Reply to sarah's comment

  16. Texan on December 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

    This is a issue we are watching closely in AR too. We had hoped to retire there. But as with many states it has a lot of fracking going on as well. Which is soooo sad. Have you looked at the maps online that show where all the fracking in the US is. Amazing. There are a couple different maps. Some just show active wells, some show active wells and wells in the progress of being done and then some show those two plus approved drill sites for more fracking. I so hope they get this under control.

    I am very sad that AR has allowed this to invade the beautiful Ozark area. I am originally from there. Its a bad call on their part in my way of thinking. Their main resource is their environment! AR has a high rate of retirees move there and they have a lot of tourism based on their gorgeous lakes and rivers and a nice four season climate. If they allow that to be polluted they have so shot themselves in the foot. We are watching closely to see what happens. There is a large movement there by people trying to stop it. We will see if the big oil industries can be fought or not.

    Reply to Texan's comment

  17. Jennifer Fisk on December 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I can’t believe this whole fracking thing is being allowed considering the impact on people. Is it any wonder other countries aren’t impressed with democracy.
    I grew up in upstate NY right on the VT border. Lots of lovely old farms in Washington County that need TLC and real estate prices are much lower than VT. I have lived in Maine for 41 years and I am very fortunate to be able to call Mount Desert Island home. Real estate near the coast is expensive even Downeast. There are still reasonably priced places to the west of I95 or in Aroostock County. You can always drive to the coast for a day.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

    • Allison on December 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      It’s quite funny to see your comment Jennifer! I live in the same area (I teach in Washington County), and I was going to recommend the same thing. We have lovely farmland, at relatively reasonable prices. Our area is also a really good spot to move for wedding videography also. There is only really one major videographer (and he is a bit of a douche), and I would love to see you guys come and give him a run for his money:)

      Reply to Allison's comment

      • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 4:23 pm

        You’re cracking me up. Sadly “douche” and “vidoegrapher” are often interchangeable terms in most areas. We’ll definitely be adding your area to our list of places to visit next spring.

        to Susy's comment

  18. kristin @ going country on December 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Last time you talked about this, I was discussing with my husband your thoughts of where to move. We’re totally tied to this area, obviously, but he’s put a lot of thought into where the best farmland can be got for the least money, and his best idea is way north upstate New York, like near the Canadian border, near Malone, NY (where “Farmer Boy” was, as I’m sure you recall). Land in Vermont is really expensive, land is Maine that’s suitable for farming is, too, because a lot of it isn’t suitable for farming.

    Of course, New York is a pretty invasive state, in the sense that there are a LOT of laws and legislation about everything, and taxes tend to be kind of high. In our area, they’re really high, but we live on a lake. Don’t know what’s it’s like in the north country.

    The southern tier of New York (near Pennsylvania) has good farmland and grazing land, but man, that’s some rough stuff over there. It’s quite isolated, not a lot of communities or cities, and the communities there are feature pretty rough individuals. It’s actually technically part of the Appalachians, and it sure looks it. But it looks like a pretty good place to get land if you don’t mind some isolation.

    We’ve thought about this a lot, obviously. We’ll just live vicariously through you, though, since we’re certainly not going anywhere.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Teresa on December 9, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      Some of the southern tier of New York is embroiled in its own fracking fight, and since it’s such a poor area, a lot of people seem to be eager for the money. We drive through that area regularly on the way to my mom’s and wistfully ponder how much good land we could get for the price of our suburban Boston house–but we’re not keen on having our well become inflammable!

      Reply to Teresa's comment

    • Jennifer Fisk on December 10, 2011 at 7:58 am

      NY laws? From what I here from relatives, Mainers do have more freedom to go about life as they please. You are right about land prices south of Augusta but north and west it is way more reasonable. In Aroostock, as long as it isn’t on a body of water, real estate is really reasonable. Of course, in the Crown of Maine you are 3-4 hours from any sizable shopping and 8 hours from Boston. IMHO, a small price to pay.

      Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

      • Susy on December 10, 2011 at 8:17 am

        Since I make it to our “local” shopping area about 4 times a year I think we’d survive just fine very far away from such madness, we’d prefer it actually.

        to Susy's comment

  19. Jay Miller on December 9, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    We’re dealing with the impending doom of Fracking Waste wells coming to our town. I’ve been actively opposing them. The company bringing the wells said we have no say in ODR already approved them. I just can’t believe people are willing to roll the dice with their drinking water so these companies can make a profit.

    Reply to Jay Miller's comment

  20. igardendialy on December 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    It is mind-boggling isn’t it! Why do companies and lawmakers insist on letting the precious fresh water resources we have become polluted to an unprecedented level. The harmful effects of fracking in areas where people and animals live are well-documented. It is a ticket to early death. I don’t understand why fracking advocates want to allow all water and food sources to be contaminated at a level that is sure to kill eventually. Money was mentioned in an earlier response, but don’t these people understand they still have to eat and drink? They can’t escape contaminated food and water once it is prevalent (which won’t be long based on the expansion of fracking across the states).

    I agree, we the people with a long term interest in living a good life, must stand up and fight against these companies. It is so hard to not feel helpless and I understand Susy you must feel it is a battle that can’t be won in your area. However, wherever you move may just have the same issue or something similar in a few years.

    That said, your attitude towards moving is great! I’ve done it several times (living in both the northeast and western U.S.) and believe it opens many new doors for learning, happiness and contentment. It’s just that there will always be those that disregard a long term balance for a short term pocket of money no matter where you live.

    Reply to igardendialy's comment

  21. Ashley on December 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Sorry to hear this. We are also facing fracking where I live, as the aboriginal reserve down the way has signed on to have it done. It was done with little consultation with the people. My city, and many other towns are downstream of the fracking- we are very afraid of the consequences. There have been groups of people that have mobilized, peacefully around it, but unfortunately it has not stopped it.
    I think the most important thing is to stand up together…

    Reply to Ashley's comment

  22. Margaret on December 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    My stomach is knotting up at the thought your of losing the amazing life you have built there. Your family, garden, community, and your new land.

    Reply to Margaret's comment

  23. Lee on December 9, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    You put so much work into that garden, it’s just sad. Keep on fighting Susy. Don’t give it up without a good fight.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  24. KimP on December 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    No ideas about the fracking issue. Just an encouragement about change. 10 years ago, we took a 100% leap of faith and moved to an area we never dreamed we would. It has been absolutely the best move we ever made. Good luck!

    Reply to KimP's comment

  25. Lynn on December 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    We bought 33 acres in 1979 as a retirement investment…in the meantime we enjoyed gardening and raising livestock there (goats and beef cattle, chickens and geese). The Day before we put our place on the market our county instituted a moratorium on property division according to area and size of the acreage. Because we lived “near” farming area (we were on a 500′ hill and across the river from said farms), we could not divide our property. It took us over a year to sell and at a huge loss…….But, we did get out Just before the housing market crash, Praise be.
    We moved to another county but residents in that previous county are still battling these issues, plus new conditions the county just recommended. At our ages, these issues were no longer worth battling if we wanted to enjoy our retirement but their arrogance still aggravates me no end.
    You have to make your choices and choose your battles. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your community.

    Reply to Lynn's comment

  26. Jodiana on December 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    I live in NY in the Syracuse area and we are fighting fracking here as well. To stop it and to deal with problems that have occurred.
    Here is a news story about some of what’s going on here. They are not fracking everywhere but….
    On a side note in 1979 Battlestar Galactica came out. ” Fracking” is a common swear word in that show…. just saying ^_^

    Reply to Jodiana's comment

    • Susy on December 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      Yes, we’re big Battlestar Fans, love that they use that term.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  27. Kath on December 9, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    I know you would prefer to live in the NE, but have you considered the NW? The rural areas of both Washington and Oregon are affordable and the seafood is awesome! Unless you move to the eastern part of either state the winters are much milder than back east and the summers never get super hot… added plus is no humidity. Sustainable farming, farmer’s markets and all things green are part of the environment here and we fight like hell to keep the oil companies and any other industry from destory our environment.

    On the fracking…is there no recourse through the state? Here there would be all kinds of lawsuits to prevent any possibility of such a pristine lake being spoiked.

    Reply to Kath's comment

    • Susy on December 10, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Sadly with the way politics are now, the oil/gas industry donated tons of money to various Ohio politicians a few years and and they put forth legislation and started a special branch of the DNR that says fracking is “perfectly safe”. We don’t have much recourse when the politicians are all being paid by the industry. Our governor received the most $.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  28. Fred on December 10, 2011 at 12:15 am

    This is really unfortunate. I sit and read about all the hard work you put in, everything you do, to have this happen is tragic. Know that you have many readers/supporters who are rooting for you!

    On the bright side, if you happen to move to Maine or other parts of the NE, I’ll come visit ;-)

    Reply to Fred's comment

  29. Miranda on December 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Man, it totally sucks that you guys have to deal with this issue. I’ve been hearing about it in the news and being that my dad is a major politics junky (and vocal complainer) i’ve had it on my mind. My husband’s grandfather worked for the oil industry and had great things to say about fracking.. he was an engineer and thought hte technique fascinating and useful. That being said, he was old fashioned. All the signs of late cause me to worry very much about the technique, and i wish you didn’t have to deal with it.

    Around here, we have logging to deal with. Oregon is a major logging state, always has been, and we have to pay close attention to what land surrounds the properties we look at. Which logging company owns the land, or is it privately owned? How often do they clear cut? How good are they about re-planting RIGHT away and do they actually take care of the saplings once planted. We could end up with a beautiful place with a beautiful hillside view, only to have that hillside stripped bare in a few years.

    If it’s not thing, it’s another, ay?

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  30. KimH on December 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I have to believe we are going to see many changes in the near future on how we harness our energy and how we treat our Mother Earth. Many of these issues will disappear.. however, in the meantime, we are poisoning ourselves & our planet to death.. It saddens me as well..

    I’ve often thought I may head to the beautiful West Coast someday.. only negative thought is the one that its going to fall off into the ocean..
    I just dont want to fall off into the ocean.. but I think Ohio is supposed to disappear off the map too. ;)

    Who knows whats going to happen tomorrow.. I say just do the best you can do today.. ;)

    Reply to KimH's comment

  31. MAYBELLINE on December 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    My garden is on the fringe of the gigantic Kern River Oilfield. This life is all I’ve known. Those tankers you see indicate jobs in my area. You’re correct to be concerned about your community. Stay on top of it. Stay involved. The recent revelation that the fracking in central Wyoming led to groundwater pollution should keep you very, very concerned.

    Hang on to those mineral rights, sister. If someone wants them bad enough, they must be worth something.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  32. Angie on December 11, 2011 at 3:46 am

    I live in NW Oregon. I LOVE it here! You are able to experience all four seasons, with a descent growing season. It’s doesn’t get to hot or to cold here in the Willamette Valley. The wild blackberries here are almost worth dying for (I wouldn’t fight a bear).

    I’ve never been to the NE so I can’t compare. Sorry to here about your troubles. I love reading your blog. Good luck!

    Reply to Angie's comment

  33. Kelly on December 11, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    We recently moved from the Pocono’s in PA to just near Providence RI – only a few hours, and only a few degrees difference to the weather, but I’ve been shocked at how those differences have affected me. This, for me, is too warm. Even PA was a bit warm for me (Canadian) but at least there was snow in winter and it got relatively cold. Here, there’s no snow, and hardly any frost. The Christmas tree went up today and the grass out the window is green and barely dormant (if that). The sun is shining and my heart is sad. I’ve always been very connected to the weather, and the weather here just doesn’t feel like “home”. We’re hoping to move further north, closer to family, as soon as we can.

    If I may offer a word of advice, pick the growing zone carefully. We went from a 5b to 6 and the change has been bigger than I’d imagine.

    Reply to Kelly's comment

  34. Michelle Wells on December 12, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    My husband and I live in Upstate NY on the PA border where the Fracking issue is hot right now and there is heated discussion even within families. We live on a farm that has been in my family since the early 1800s when it was homesteaded by my great (x5) grandparents. I am not keen to take a risk with fracking wells but I’m also scared they would take our land through eminent domain if we refuse to deal with them. I’m waiting to see how the environmental regulations work out. I am working on a novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month that involves the fracking issue as a main story line. Hoping I can get some interest in it.

    Reply to Michelle Wells's comment

  35. Debbie on December 12, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I’m so sorry to read it’s gone this far, Susy. It’s the worst feeling to find yourself so helpless to something that you have such deep feelings around.

    I have no doubt you will find the perfect place for you and Mr. Chiots though. Your life is an inspiration to me. xo

    Reply to Debbie's comment

    • Susy on December 12, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks Debbie, we’ve gone from being upset about it to feeling hopeful about what the future holds. It’s kind of like being apprehensive about starting an adventure, but excited at the same time.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  36. igardendaily on December 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Just one more note…since it sounds like you are seriously thinking of discovering some new lands, I agree with several of the comments that you would love the Pacific NW. I lived there for many years and now live in the outskirts of it – the more intermountain part. The only thing you may not care for in the heart of the NW is that it is pretty dense and a lot of overcast and rainy days. Maybe go for a visit???

    Reply to igardendaily's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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