…young and in love, couple finds…
In Hippie Hollow
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
HIPPIE HOLLOW – Paradise, as Carlie and David Kindernedl see it, can be found just off Oxbow Road in the Town of Milford.
“Our vision has a lot to do with finding a haven,” she said. “We don’t want a posh existence, we just want to build something beautiful.”
Three years ago, the couple acquired almost four acres at the corner of Oxbow and Chlorinator roads – Carlie’s dad dubbed it “Hippie Hollow.”
“He wanted to turn it into a baseball camp,” she said. “We want to make this land into and edible forest garden, with plants for food and medicine.”
Carlie, a 2002 Cooperstown graduate, and David, a 2001 Gilbertsville graduate, met in 2014 when a mutual friend was moving and asked acquaintances for help.
“I had been traveling a lot and I was growing really weary,” said David. “I couldn’t find where I belonged, and I was ready to kill myself.
“Then I saw Carlie get out of the car, and I thought, ‘I’ve found my wife!’”
Later that day, he helped her with her garden, and by the end of it, the two had made a marriage pact. “We’ve been living as husband and wife ever since,” he said.
Down the ravine by Hinman Hollow Brook, they’ve erected a two-room tent with a generator-powered stove and solar-powered lights. They drink from the spring-fed stream.
Carlie collects the garlic mustard that grows wild to season their food. David cuts down the trees for firewood, and next year, they hope to build a 10 x 10 log cabin.
“We’re struggling to beat the winter,” said David. “It’s hard. I’m doing this all by hand. We’d trade work if someone would let us use some heavy equipment for a weekend. We’d have the cabin up in a few days if that was the case.”
Because there is no permanent structure, they have to vacate the land every winter. “We pack up everything and drive west,” he said. “We try to find work, but sometimes, we have to panhandle for food or gas.”
“It’s stressful,” said Carlie. “But sometimes we meet people who have less than us, and we always chose to help them, too, with whatever we have.”
In April, they’re able to return and continue building their paradise. “Right now, the land is inhospitable,” said David. “We need to eliminate a lot of the trees to get light in, and then we can terraform the land and replant.”
Once the land is clear, the couple hopes to plant fruit trees and make gardens of edible and medicinal plants.
David was diagnosed with Lyme disease 10 years ago, and Carlie, an herbalist, studied up on what herbal remedies might help. “We collected Japanese knotweed at Wilber Lake this spring,” she said. “I made three quarts of tincture of the roots, and he takes it every day. Ticks are a problem here, so I take it whenever I see a bullseye, and it seems to help.”
Carlie and David don’t intend to be the only people in Hippie Hollow. “Our dream is to find like-minded people to share this place with,” said David. “They would have to work hard and share our values, who want to escape the conundrum and stupidity.”
“No one should have to pay to lay down their head at night,” said Carlie. “We want to turn this place into a sanctuary where people can get counsel for their ailments and learn to use healing herbs.”
But for now, it’s just the two of them and their dog, Apollo.
“It’s been hard, and we’ve been through tough times,” said David. “But we wouldn’t change a thing.”