by | Dec 18, 2001 | Archives

Soaking in the deep woods Ofuru (Japanese Soaking Bath),  fed from a sacred healing spring (the Indian’s Trough) is healthy and is a joy!

Merri and I are enjoying the soak, enjoying the summer days, the isolation of the creek and beauty of nature.

White ridges of wetness sing a rushing song in harmony with the groaning bridge.  Smells of damp leap through the willows. I feel this soggy touch and taste a pure, sweet cleansing that stings my lips.


Summer rains have taken our gentle creek into a cascade. I stood on one of the small bridges that cross the creek and thought how blessed we are here with water.  It falls on us, rushes down our creeks, bubbles up through the grass, springs from the hills and cascades from cracks in the rocks. This is no mistake. Merri and I began looking for our farm with two goals, altitude (to avoid air conditioning in summer and mosquitoes anytime) and an abundance of water.

We certainly attained both at Merrily Farms.

When growing up in Portland, we didn’t think it special to be able to drink clear, clean Bull Run water fresh from the tap. Then I began traveling and was amused. The poor French, the Mexicans and people all over the world could not drink water unless it was bottled!  How strange I thought.

How little did I know?

I really became aware of the growing water supply problem when I returned to Florida.  The diluted chlorine mixture coming from our tap in Naples was not only expensive but barely drinkable.   Merri’s Mom lived in Macon, Georgia and her house was the first from the chlorination plant. The tap water would make your eyes burn!

I became concerned. Then in Portland I discovered that the previously sweet, pure water was chemically foul as well.

This was when I first became concerned.

We are too many.  Too dirty. Our water too little.

One our farm in the Blue Ridge there is…


a path leading to a  cabana that contains our Japanese soaking tub.

This led to investing in water. But where? How?

One way is to own land with water. That’s why Merri and I decided to go to the source and buy land with springs . Each of our houses at Merrily Farms has its own gravity fed water supply from one of four separate artesian wells.  There are dozens of other springs on the land plus three rushing creeks.

However, the granddaddy of all the springs is the “Indian Trough”. This is a huge spring where about three gallons a minute pours out of a large rock formation. It is a historic site because the natives here viewed it as sacred (when this land was their hunting ground). They gouged a trough in the rocks so they could drink from the spring face and their horses could water from the trough.

This redwood Japanese soaking tub has spring water filled for each use.  The water is heated by an immersed wood stove that sits in the tub.


When you sit in the warm water… surrounded by the soft, sweet sound of the creek flowing by leaves


into a small creek and then straight up a hill that rises a hundred feet or so and ends on a ridge.


The Japanese soaking tub is heated with a wood burning stove and refilled after each soak… so the water never requires chemicals but is always clean.

The water is said to be medicinal and the locals have come here to collect it for generations. Mainly for their health, but one neighbour said his father was a famous moonshiner and only used this water to make his moonshine! The locals still come up to collect it and a dear friend whose brother was passing asked for some to take to the hospice. To drink this water was his brother’s dying wish.

We are blessed with this water and have built a wonderful Japanese Cedar Soaking Tub (the Japanese word is Ofuru) deep in the woods. The spring (which comes out at exactly 49 degree temperature year round) fills the 450 gallon tub (it can accommodate six people). A wood burning snorkel stove with heat exchangers is immersed in the water and heats it to the temperature desired (usually a little under 100 degrees). After the soak (and drinking lots of water while there) the tub is drained and filled again so no chemicals are needed. We mix cool water with the warm so that the creek water is never comprised. We also have ten gallon oak barrels so we can drink it all over the farm as well.

Summer up here is wonderful….and until next message, all the health in this world to you!