When Clark Anderson’s great-great-great-grandfather, William Tandy, set out from Virginia around 1810, he came to Christian County in western Kentucky to settle in the country between what is now Pembroke and Fairview. He built a log cabin there, married, and later became a pastor at the First Baptist Church in Hopkinsville.
Clark Anderson relaxes in his tiny hemp house in Northern California. (Instagram photo by @glynraven_gardens)
Two centuries later, the massive, hand-cut oak logs that supported the minister’s home were transported across the country to Anderson’s 100-acre cannabis farm and artist retreat in Mendocino County, California, about two hours north of San Francisco.
Anderson had just the right place for these oak beams – a tiny hemp house that now stands on his farm.
“My motivation was to save the building materials … I couldn’t stand the thought of it being burned in a heap,” he told the Hoptown Chronicle.
The story behind the Kentucky oak beams and Anderson’s hemp house is featured in DIY Network’s Building Off the Grid program. The broadcast is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15 at 8 p.m. CDT. Anderson is in the program.
The network describes the episode: “A cannabis farmer is building an off-grid hemp house in the mountains of the Coast Range in California. Together with a bio-architect and hemp expert, the farmer fights against the elements and time to finish the house by hand before the rainy season. “
Anderson, 65, grew up in Hopkinsville. His parents were the late Billy and Mary “Mimi” Anderson. His father was an engineer and worked in the family’s tobacco markets. His mother was a civil rights activist and marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in the capital of Kentucky in 1964.
Although legal marijuana grows on Anderson’s Glynraven Gardens farm, the hemp used as insulation in his tiny house comes from France.
Hemp husks, which come from the inner stem of the plant and resemble wood chips or straw, aren’t yet processed very well in the U.S., Anderson said. That’s why he bought the Hurds from overseas.
In his project, the bowls were mixed with agricultural lime and a volcanic material to mix a concrete-like substance. It encapsulates the frame of the house.
“Right now, no one in this country has developed the process of keeping (hurdles) clean and consistent,” said Anderson.
Hoping someone in Kentucky will perfect the process, he adds that hurds are also used on animal litter.
The hemp house is 420 square meters and has a sleeping loft. The size is significant – 420 is a slang for marijuana and refers to smoking at 4:20 in the afternoon.
Anderson moved into the house when it was finished a few months ago. Several artists and farm workers also live on the farm.
Clark Anderson’s tiny hemp house while it was under construction. (Photo from www.glynraven.com)
In addition to the cannabis harvest, the farm has an orchard with 500 trees, a large vegetable garden and enough solar panels to cover all of Glynraven’s electricity needs.
Anderson has another construction project in mind for his farm. It will be a 2,000-square-foot log cabin that originally stood on the old Boddie Farm in southern Christian County.
Built 200 years ago, the log cabin was almost set on fire in the 1980s when Anderson stepped in to rescue it. A farmer who ran the land for the Mormon Church, who bought the farm at auction after the death of the last local member of the Boddie family, allowed Anderson to demolish the house, log by log.
“I spent a summer taking it down,” he said.
The logs were numbered and stored in a tobacco warehouse in downtown Hopkinsville for several decades. About six years ago, Anderson hired several Mennonite men to prepare the tribes for shipment to California.
Boddie’s farm and house were known as Hemphill. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Kentucky grew hemp for fiber. Christian County’s farmers were among the hemp growers who made Kentucky a major producer. According to A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky, a book published in 2015 by the University Press of Kentucky, the state was the largest producer in the country between the Civil War and 1912.
Today in California there is a large, rounded hill at Glynraven that Anderson calls Hemphill, and there he plans to reconstruct the log cabin from Kentucky.
“I can assemble it just like the bodies did in the 1820s,” he said.