Wagner Subaru
Village Life

At Patterdale Hall, the work never ends for village residents Chris Wyatt and his wife Karen Russell. (Submitted photo)

The Patterdale Hall Diaries | Far from the madding crowd

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Chris Wyatt

Nov. 8, 2022

To keep this a little like an actual diary, today I bought a chain to string across the entrance to the lane. We are getting random hunters driving up and parking at the house. That stops now.

Contribute to the Yellow Springs News

The chain won’t really stop anyone if they want to get up the lane, but it will mean that they cannot claim that they were “lost.”

Already barriers are coming up, voting happens in Ohio today, I may need to build tank traps. Our refuge may well become a genuine refuge. Which, if I’m honest, is another reason we own it. It feels very safe out at Patterdale Hall; we are far from the madding crowd and there is little to attract them, except deer, it would seem.

Without letting paranoia and fear overwhelm me regarding the political situation in the U.S., there is something important that I’d like to touch on. We have had coyotes on the property for some time. They were living under the house and on one occasion we surprised the mother and she unleashed a pant and a wettingly aggressive snarl. Yet I never wanted to kill them. Had we had called in Animal Control, they would have trapped and killed them and I really didn’t want that. Really, they had more right to be there than we did.

I did, however, consider buying a shotgun. A 20-gauge Winchester would be all I needed to deal with every form of country vermin, but I ended up not buying one.

Instead, we got rid of the coyotes by playing loud Christian rock on the radio, constantly, 24/7. Although ultimately, I had to moderate that approach as a friend threatened to call PETA for animal abuses and so I switched to NPR and drove the pesky creatures out of there with fact-based journalism.

Bit by bit I would like to lay out the make-up of Patterdale Hall, dwell on aspects of the property and maybe even meditate, or more likely ruminate, on what manner of fresh hell has befallen us each day. One of the most important things that we had to do before the Hall was safe was repair the chimney. This ended up being a heroic task, but our chimney guy was a legend and we now have a functional chimney that will last until the next ice age. There is a new liner, the chimney is taller, filled with vermiculite and essentially bomb-proof. The stove — I promise I will get to it — draws strongly and all danger of chimney fire is now minimized. Chimney, roof and plumbing are sorted.

Well, the plumbing is sorted, but the water isn’t. Our well water is bad. We currently only drink water that we bring to The Hall. The tap water is grim. We have installed a whole house filter to minimize particulates, but there is a definite eggy pong to the water and I am not drinking it.

I should get a water report done and see what lies beneath. If it’s bad, I get to find out what can be done. There are plenty of things that I should do, so can I be bothered to get a water report when I am fancy enough just to bring gallon bottles of water out to the property? Probably not.

We will also need to get a water line run to the outside of the house as there is currently no spigot for a hose. There is a hole in the wall, one of many, that looks like it used to be where a tap was placed, but now it’s just a hole and it seems like we will have to get the plumbers back again to run a line out so that we can more easily water the vegetable beds. Maybe we won’t though; we survived this year with no fancy pants spigot and our vegetables were majestic. I shall dwell on this as I freeze this winter.

In other news, my friend John will lend me the drill to finish sorting out the chain across the cattle grid. This is a good thing and I will feel more secure once the chain is there. Again, it provides no security other than being a mild deterrent. If someone wants to go through it, then they will, but at that point it’s trespass. It will also make me feel better if Karen is ever out there alone, although given the number of machetes, axes and tools to hand, God help anybody who surprises Karen out there: It would be carnage. I also think we need a sign to hang on the chain and this is filling me with great excitement; there is absolutely no way that I am simply having a sign that says “Private,” oh no, no way.

I’m editing the conclusions to student writing today which should be enjoyable. Then I’ll likely get out to Patterdale Hall this evening and the chain will go up at the weekend. It’s getting colder.

*Originally from Manchester, England, Chris Wyatt is an associate professor of neuroscience, cell biology and physiology at Wright State University. He has lived in Yellow Springs for 16 years, is married and has two teenage children and two insane Patterdale terriers.


No comments yet for this article.

The Yellow Springs News encourages respectful discussion of this article.
You must to post a comment.

Don't have a login? Register for a free YSNews.com account.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com