Archive for March 2015

Working the land! Welshman in TN blog   Leave a comment


After years of talking and dreaming about it, moving on to the land is fast becoming a reality – and it’s scary to say the least.

It was actually ten years ago when I bought the land and waiting for the time to be right has taken this long.

house site

Now though, the process has well and truly started. It’s now all about obtaining permits and surveying and already we have come across a few things we were unaware of but hopefully with the right advice everything will be okay. Planning exactly where to place the house has been fun but at the same time there is always the thought that once it is placed that’s it, so you really only get one shot, so it had better be right. The problem is that with six acres you are spoilt for choice, but the main factor has been the sun; where it rises and where it sets.

view kitchen

The house site has now more or less been decided now and flagged. The views from the front look out on fields, whilst the back looks down towards where the lake is going to be, and the woods. Deer come out most nights, and from the many bones we’ve found, there’s obviously a coyote or two who enjoy the deer, turkey buzzards finishing their left overs.

On the ‘things to do’ list are checking out the electric, which is already at the land, and hopefully we can use an existing pole so we should only need one smaller pole by the house.

view living room

Water is also already at the land but it will be getting it to the house that might be hard, but they deal with this everyday so I’m sure it will be okay, and there’s a house further away from the road already so they might be able to take the source from there.

The big cost is the septic tank, no city sewage out here. The land has to be perked, which it was ten years ago but just has to be checked again, but that should be straightforward, fingers crossed. Researching different septic systems is fun – not!

There used to be no signal for the cell phones on the land but now with a new service provider there is a great signal. I’ve already checked and our current internet, landline and TV provider does cover out here so that’s good.

We’ve been checking out sheds and outbuildings. On the covered porch we’re planning on having a jukebox and an old coke chest cooler. We’ve been looking at containers and coincidentally on a show last night on one of the DIY channels they made a very cool bar from a 20 foot shipping container, so that’s what we’re going to do, down by the lake.


I also in my head placed the studio yesterday too, on the small hill that is on the land, and close enough to the house, but at the same time, far enough away. There’s a deck in front of the studio so that will be another place to sit and watch the sun go down, will a little moonshine or bourbon or wine or …….. I call it the moonshine deck anyhow.

I just hate it when things are out of my control, guess I’m a control freak. It’s just that that way you can make sure everything is right – if you want a job done properly, right? But some obvious things are out of my control such as the soil testing, which due to the bad weather, with the snow and ice, and now rain, the surveyor is three weeks behind, but he lives right by the land so he has said he will hopefully do the test before then on his way home if he finishes early one night.

So, I’m taking a deep breath, not panicking, enjoying it, hopefully led by the very small light that seems to be at the end of a very long tunnel.



Clearing the driveway.


Posted March 10, 2015 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Sounds, hobo, tin roofs – Welshman in TN blog   Leave a comment


What is it about sounds and noises that can conjure up feelings, emotions and memories. Songs are an obvious example – they remind us of a time in our lives, or people, but what about freight train horns, or a ship’s fog horn? They represent the gypsy in many of us, journeys, adventures even.

I bought my first house when I was eighteen, and it had a wonderful skylight and if you stood on a chair you could see docks down at Cardiff Bay, but netter still, on a foggy night, you could here the ship’s horns, as they left or arrived at, the docks. My grandfather was dock master there during the Second World War and my other grandfather was a Captain in the Swedish Merchant Navy, so perhaps my wanderlust was, and is, unavoidable.

The sound of a freight train’s horn was apparently Johnny Cash’s favorite sound, and is one of mine. I love the stories of the men, hobos, who ride the train across the country. It seems romantic but in reality it is a hard and brutal life, as they fight to survive, moving from area to area in the hope of jobs. This was one of the reason I called the first album, Country Tales and Hobo Trails. I see the trains leave Nashville, some seem to go on for ever, they have so many carriages.


It’s the same with truck drivers; I pass them on the interstate and wonder where they are heading for? Sleeping in their cabs most nights, driving along the highways of this wonderful country.

Planes just don’t seem to have the same romance do they? They are more functional and as much as I don’t mind flying at all, I never look forward to a twelve hour flight, but with trains or trucks, ships or even cars. I’ve done a number of ‘road trips’, here in the States, east to West, (Fort Lauderdale to LA); south to north (Florida to Canada), and in Europe (Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and French, all in one go, and numerous trips from Wales to the south of France).

Another favorite sound for me, and many others, is the sound of rain on an old tin roof, very Southern. At the back of my bedroom there’s an old tin shed and the sound of the rain on there is wonderful. It’s actually very relaxing, and it’s free! Thank you, Mother Nature.

tin roof

Here are some links:

link to train horns –
link to sound of rain – ten hours long!

link to country tales –

Posted March 5, 2015 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

Hartsville Early Morning – Welshman in TN blog   Leave a comment

hartsville sign

They start so early here. It’s a shock to the system, getting up and out by 7 or so. This morning drove to Hartsville for the septic permit, and then breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Lebanon, where their headquarters are based.

The warmest day in a while, going to be in the 60’s later, and then – snow tomorrow! Crazy weather. Cathy told me a saying – Mother Nature is having hot flushes!

Traffic is heavy early on. More is made of each day here, with the early starts. This also explains why ‘lunch’ starts at 11:30/12:00 for many people. Four o’clock is drive home time and best to be avoided if possible.

The local television and radio coverage of the traffic is excellent and can save you being stuck in a jam for hours. There was obviously an accident on the i40 this morning going into Nashville, traffic at a standstill but luckily we were going the other way.

Listening to the radio there are currently two tracks that possible indicate a way ahead for country music – Sam Hunt’s ‘Take Your Time’ and Chase Rice’s ‘Ride’. I’m sure these will annoy purists, both having such an R & B feel, but country music has to move forward. I personally love both tracks, a lot.

Here are the links if you’re interested.

Sam Hunt –

Chase Rice –

Posted March 3, 2015 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized