I love looking through old books and have especially always had a thing for the hippie-ish publications of my parent’s era. Their basement is still home to Whole Earth catalogs, Ina May Gaskin books, and slim, hand-illustrated guides to building your own saunas – and thank the lord for that. Now that our family is out of the city and doing the odd quaint country thing like making maple syrup and pickling home-grown vegetables, I find that these books (many out of print) actually contain practical information relevant to aspects of our lives as they are now. I mean we’re not constructing any saunas yet, but… give us time. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover another fantastic old magazine series that I’d never heard of before, carried at our local library. It’s called Foxfire.
Started in 1966 by Eliot “Wig” Wigginton and his high school students in Georgia, the class conducted interviews and wrote articles about the lifestyles, traditions, and knowledge of local citizens. The magazines were gathered into Foxfire anthologies and now, I’m reading about making wagon wheels and moonshine from elderly Appalachian gentlemen.
The mixture of practical skills and oral histories on beekeeping, weaving, midwifery, community gatherings, and “more affairs of plain living” feels quite far removed from the majority of my life experience… and yet it speaks to me in a way that’s so refreshing and inspiring, and utterly without airs. I’m certainly a fan of Kinfolk and all that, but this sh*t is the real deal.
Turns out that Foxfire has continued to thrive and lives on not only as a bi-annual publication, but as a teaching philosophy, museum, and foundation. You can find more information here. And if you can’t find any issues at your library, there are quite a few floating around on ebay (I’m going to start collecting them, so… please hold off on the hippie lit bidding wars).
Images in this post taken by The Symmetric in some lovely natural morning light. Just as it was meant to be, no?