I live in the suburbs of Piedmont, N.C., but we also own (so far, the closets of) a little house in the Great Smoky Mountains. Our house is on a low mountain, or “knob” as the folks around here like to say. Granny’s Knob is what it’s called. We may, in fact, live in Granny’s house, as ours is by far the oldest and shabbiest on the road, but it’s fairly snug except for the stinkbug problem. But, as I’m not the type to let the perfect lie in the way of the good, we’re pretty happy with it.

Down in the suburbs, we have a fairly sizeable fenced-in back yard, which our Akita mutt uses to full advantage. She’s a fine dog. We found her as a little bitty thing in a box of pups in front of our local food co-op. The dude who was trying to find homes for the puppies had been stymied at the shelter, due to overcrowding. A huge puppy mill—the sort that generates lap-dogs—had…

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