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Living simply in an Adirondack valley

HAGUE Just north of Bolton Landing, in a lost valley that once held farmlands, Ruth and Sandy Lamb moved into an old farmhouse, leaving the suburbs of Boston behind.

Ruth has written a book about the experiences and reflects on the challenges and lessons they faced living in the wilderness. Called At the End of the Road, Reflections on Life in an Adirondack Valley, Lamb describes the old farmhouse her husbands family had left him, along with 160 acres in the valley and their life there until they recently moved back to the Glens Falls area.

The house had no amenities, we lived off the grid, Lamb said. We left our busy life in Boston where we were both health professionals. Her husband retired at age 56 from his job as head of the Boston Health Department, after their children had grown and they moved to the valley.

We wanted to see what it was like to live on the edge of society, she said. We had both been environmentally concerned and wanted to live simply. That meant learning about alternative energy, such as solar power, and installing indoor plumbing.

The book is reflective, and its about the challenges we faced, but its not a how-to book, she said. At the heart of the book are the creatures of the valley, and learning how to observe them. She describes watching coyotes, turkeys, egg-laying turtles and migrating birds and butterflies. There are 14 color photographs in the 10-chapter book.

Over time, they had solar energy, and found a computer that ran on less power than most.

We got a cell phone that we hooked up to the truck so when it rang, the horn honked, she said.

The valley was once called Wardsboro, and for about 100 years, from 1820 to 1920. Settlers cleared the land for farming, and about 20 farms sprouted up in the area. By 1875, Wardsboro had schools, mills and merchants to support the community.

Ours is the only house that remains in Wardsboro, Lamb said. There are five or six other dwellings in the valley, but theyre mostly hunting camps or partial use places.

Lamb will be at the Hague Community Center this evening, Saturday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. for a presentation on Ghost Communities. Wardsboro, Graphite and French Mountain will be featured.

At the End of the Road, Reflections on Life in an Adirondack Valley, is available at Trees in Bolton, Red Fox Bookstore and LARAC in Glens Falls. She expects it to be available in more places soon.

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