Video and Photos by: Buck Kahler
Article by: Barbara S F Davis
Jeanne Lane has built an authentic retreat facility on her 20 acres in Lenoir City. No hotel conference rooms, no fluorescent lighting, plastic palms or street noise. This is the retreat of the future. Buckeye Farm Retreat features a brand new yurt, a circular structure that looks as well-made as it does welcoming.
Assembled on site by Asheville area Laurel Nest Yurts, Jeanne had looked at different yurt suppliers over several years before she made her choice.
One complimentary night at Laurel Nest’s guest yurt in cold January confirmed her choice. Jeanne’s new yurt will be “a facility for a variety of spiritual and healing arts practices, and available for classes as well as overnight or weekend stays,” said Jeanne.
With her “Victory Garden,” two horse barns and a remodeled residence decorated with her own paintings, Jeanne Lane’s retreat will become a Destination.
The yurt measures 24 feet in diameter and 452 square feet. Though intended for more intimate groups of 10-12 people, a capacity of 35 was proven at Jeanne’s recent 60th birthday celebration.
A landscape designer and former licensed general contractor, Jeanne sketched her lay-out and bought the doors and windows. The foundation and decking were built by Tony Laux, and Laurel Nest did the framing and installation of the yurt package. The green covering is made of poly-canvas sewn by hand at Laurel Nest Yurts.
“Tony Laux and Patti Levenson, who are building their own home on five acres I sold them, found the $1.50/foot yellow pine flooring which we installed. The unfinished floor stood waiting to be sanded for months; it was much more complicated than I realized. Once Mack’s Flooring came to do the sanding, staining and varnishing, it was finished in four days!”
Five SE windows face the mountains; a glass door and two additional windows face NW, opening onto a spacious deck under the shade of a “grandfather” cedar. A bathroom with RV model composting toilet by “Nature’s Head” was built separately just outside the yurt. The toilet requires two gallons of peat moss for the solid waste container; liquid waste is separated into an easily removable plastic container. To ease the olfactory experience there is a small 12 volt fan for ventilation.
The windows inside the yurt can be opened to allow air flow when it’s hot; an electric oil core heater provides thermostatically controlled heat on cold days.
Buckeye Farms Retreat Amenities
Jeanne says, “We will eat in the main house, since food prep isn’t possible in the yurt. Weekend workshops will be treated like a B&B experience, with meals prepared in my kitchen. People who bring their own food can store it there.”
In addition to the yurt, there is a Native American Sweat Lodge built with cedar. It’s approximately 12′ in diameter and stands 7′ high at the peak. Heavy canvas covers the lodge during ceremonies conducted by Jose Gonzalez and Tony Laux. “The sweat lodge is meant for grounding people with Mother Earth as well as their own inner Spirit; a spiritual refuge where people ask for and receive guidance,” Jeanne said.
The Gardens & Animals
After years of concentrated pleading, she got her first horse at age ten. As a child she spent many hours working in the garden with her father. Jeanne got her B. S. degree 1979 with a focus on Horticulture and Landscape Design. She acquired the Buckeye Farm Retreat property in 1998. The 1800 sq. ft. cottage that Jeanne calls home was built about 1950, and is dubbed Clover Cottage after the 13 four-leaf clovers she found the first time she saw the property.
Friend and riding buddy, Patti Levenson, owns three horses living on the farm. The retreat is named for one of Jeanne’s three horses. There are four dogs, two cats and 17 laying hens ably attended by a Baby Huey, the big black rooster.
Jeanne, Tony and Patti cultivate the fruit and vegetable gardens. “That prickly ‘pigweed’ has to be pulled by hand rather than resort to chemicals,” says Jeanne. “We hope to attract more gardeners to share the load and improve yields. We foresee a community organic gardening cooperative, using heirloom seeds where possible.”
Amazingly, Jeanne finds time and energy to teach Iyengar Yoga at Knoxville Yoga Center and has led fitness classes in Knoxville since 1981. “I intend to start teaching yoga in the yurt by March, and my partner Chaz Barber plans to offer massage. We also want to offer holistic and alternative healing workshops,” said Jeanne. Like his wonder-woman, Barber has multiple specialties. He’s a licensed massage therapist, voice coach, actor, musical director and avid art collector.
In addition to the main dwelling there is a small house Jeanne built for her mother, and Tony’s and Patti’s dwelling with structurally insulated panels. “We should be able to heat it with a candle!” exclaimed Tony.
Buckeye Farm Retreat with its fine yurt, glorious views and friendly two- and four-legged residents may have once been a bootlegger’s compound, but it’s been upgraded to an spirited eco-community.
Come visit the farm and yurt for the premier retreat on February 21, 22 and 23. Jeanne’s hosting a yoga training produced by local Kundalini Yoga instructor, Ajeet Khalsa. Adults who live and work with kids will come away with confidence and skills to teach yoga to children. Check out Dancing Spider Yoga Training for details.
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© Barbara S F Davis, 2014.