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The Magic Garden . . . a new series

It began as a way to have a better quality of life on a meager income.  It has turned into technology that could radically change America.

In 2011, I was living in an abandoned chicken house in Union County, GA and trying to figure what in the heck was on the side of the mountain at nearby Track Rock Gap. The only store-bought food that I could afford was loaded in preservatives and those preservatives were making my tummy swell up, even though I was obviously not “living off the fat of the land.”  I planted a small garden with a shovel and hoe next to the chicken house.  The only fertilizer that I could afford was kitchen waste, diluted human urine and humus hauled from nearby woods.  I also could not afford insecticides, but birds and lizards took care of the veggie-chomping insects.

The first magic garden packed many plants into a small space.  I used Creek gardening techniques, practiced by my grandparents.

The first magic garden packed many plants into a small space. I used Creek gardening techniques, practiced by my grandparents.

That little garden made a big difference in my budget during the summer, but I did not have a freezer or equipment to can veggies, so during the winter, I developed the same water retention problem from the preservatives.  During the following four seasons, the concept of the little garden has become a terrace complex at another location.  By mixing the sophisticated indigenous farming techniques from several parts of the Americas,  I am achieving unimaginably large food production quantities from terraces hand dug out of the mountainous forest.

While at the chicken house, I  received astronomical power bills, even though I did not have an electric water heater, central furnace or air conditioning system.  I learned why in September 2011.  Power was being drawn off my box to run an underground marijuana operation.  After “someone” tried to burn down the chicken house, I quickly had to move to another location, the basement of a house in the northern part of Union County, GA.

In March of 2012, I was informed by production companies, associated with PBS, National Geo and the History Channel that they wanted to film the Track Rock Terrace Complex in May or June.  Then in late April, the film makers informed me that they had been refused access to Track Rock Gap by the US Forest Service, so the documentaries were cancelled.

Later in March,  I started a Maya-style raised bed garden in back of the house, where I was renting.  The sandy soil was composed of decomposed limestone and chalk that was high in calcium and magnesium.  I hauled top soil from the woods to build the beds. I did not use either chemical fertilizer or insecticides.

Meanwhile, the owner of that house was busted for selling oxycodone, stolen from the local hospital. My personal belongings began to disappear as she struggled to pay her court costs.   I had to quickly get away from the insane drug-trafficking in Union County . . . in the process, abandoning my new garden before I could harvest the picture perfect cabbage plants.

Raised bed garden in early spring in northern Union County. The soil was sandy and calciferous in this section of the county, but dark humus where the terrace complexes are located in the southern part of the county.

With no money for a rent and a security deposit . . . and accompanied by three herd dogs, I was very limited to where I could move.  Finally, the owner of a resort complex near Dahlonega, GA kindly allowed me to move into a cabin on land owned by the resort.  Just a month before, his daughter had moved into the cabin, lived there three days, then died instantly when she drove over a mountain cliff, while drugged on oxycodone and booze.   The man was very sympathetic to my hatred of the corruption in the mountains caused by drug dealers.  I think that is why he took the gamble of me moving in there.

This is what has happened in the areas of the Southern Highlands, north of the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, the northern tip of Georgia and eastern edge of Tennessee.   High ranking politicians and law enforcement officials are in bed with major drug dealers and organized crime.   Trying to find something to arrest me for was just a side show,  intended to show some result from all the years of work that went into having me evicted from my home on Christmas Eve in 2009.  They busted the property owners for doing things that a lot of people are doing in those mountains, in hope that in return for leniency, the owners would provide lies that could be used for an arrest.   Things did not go as planned,  yet again.  As far as I can tell, most law enforcement officers, where I live now, are quite honest.

The cabin was covered in vines and even had vines growing inside.  All the young woman’s clothes and person belongings were left as they sat on the day she drove off the cliff.   He offered me free rent for awhile, if I would take care of her belongings and clean up the property.  It was a deal I could not turn down.

Appearance of the cabin on moving day. No wonder the girl took to using drugs!

Part of the cabin had been damaged by a fire caused by the previous tenants before his daughter and not repaired.  Scorpions were everywhere.  I had no bed and so still sleep on the floor – but the scorpions were eventually eradicated.   At night you could hear the skunks, ground hogs and rats who occupied the place scampering up the walls as black snakes and copperheads chased them.  Previous tenants had filled the dirt-floored basement three feet deep with garbage bags.  The bonfire for the items in the basement and yard that couldn’t be hauled to the dump was 25 feet long and 8 feet high.  I got rid of the copperheads as quickly as I did, the scorpions.

I only been in this hovel about three days, when Scott Wolter, future host of America Unearthed,  emailed me.  The History Channel executives were furious about the refusal of the US Forest to allow filming.  This had given them the idea of making the documentary into a pilot for a series in which Scott Wolter investigated archaeological sites that government agencies or academicians had covered up.   They wanted to film me at my house for a full day in June, before going to Mexico to check what Mexican archaeologists thought of my theories.  All Georgia archaeologists contacted, had refused to be filmed or even to make off-film comments.

OMG!  I begged Scott not to come to this hovel.   His producers insisted.  In retrospect, I don’t believe that it was an accident.  If you recall the beginning of the America Unearthed premier, it portrays me as a Snuffy Smith type eccentric.  The program was actually changed  from portraying me as somewhat of a nutcase, after the Mexican archaeologists backed me up 100% and the University of Minnesota proved that attapulgite was mined in Georgia by the Mayas for many centuries.

The Mayas probably also mined mica.  gold and copper here in the Georgia Mountains, because the Mayas used even more mica than attapulgite and there is very little mica in southern Mexico and Guatemala.  The nearest significant quantity of mica is 800-1400 miles away from the large Maya cities, near Popocatépetl  Volcano,  southeast of Mexico City.  That mica could only be hauled on human backs, while Georgia mica could be transported in freight canoes down the Chattahoochee and Oconee Rivers to the ocean.

Meanwhile, the Maya Myth-busting in the Mountains campaign was in full swing. Teams of Georgia archaeologists were going around the Atlanta area, giving talks to the elite that mainly consisted of slandering me professionally.  They refused to call me an architect, but used a wide range of mocking labels instead.  The reason was that the ignoramuses had no clue who built the terrace complexes in the mountains and very few even knew they existed until I publicized them.

Federal and state cops were telling everyone around Dahlonega that I was simultaneously crazy,  a male prostitute, a gay predator of young boys, a heterosexual predator of college coeds, probably a serial killer, but they couldn’t find the bodies . . . and that my three Scottish Farm Collies were killer attack dogs, who would devour all the small dogs and children in the neighborhood . . . but worse of all, they were convinced that I was a LIBRUL, but could not find enough evidence yet to arrest me on that charge.

The bit about being a predator of coeds was not quite as insulting to me personally as the other lies , but highly insulting to the coeds at the University of North Georgia. No sane young woman would have wanted to be within 25 feet of me.  A bunch of my teeth had been knocked out in the winter of 2010 and I had a net wealth that could easily fit into one’s pant pocket.

Nevertheless, the tracking device that had been used to monitor my previous paths of mayhem and destruction throughout the Appalachians was linked to the computer of the University of North Georgia campus cops.  Unfortunately,  I had to pass through the campus to reach any stores in the county.   A trip to the Dollar General,  WalMart, Fresh and Frugal Supermarket or Andersons Feed Store would trigger an all points alert.  Campus cop and Sheriff’s deputy patrol cars would race out to the road leading through the campus to make sure that I didn’t grab a coquette to go along as dessert with my pork chops, collards and brown rice with mushroom gravy.  Well-lll  . . . maybe one of the single, female professors, but she would have been grossed out by me also.

In that insane environment, I was in a panic.  I had to build something  within a few weeks that would draw the attention of the Minnesota-based film crew away from my hillbilly hovel.

THEN a seven inch long black lizard came to the rescue  You heard him at the beginning of the America Unearthed Premier.   Why these huge lizards live in the Dahlonega Area, I don’t know . . . because Wikipedia says that they only live in the region of Mesoamerica, inhabited by the Mayas and that they keep their gardens free of insects and field mice.   Hm-m-m,  do you see the plot thickening?


By the way, I am not a novice at agriculture.   For the first half of my adult life, I operated a federally licensed goat dairy farm, sheep operation and cheese creamery – complete with a huge historic barn filled with hay, a tractor and tractor equipment.  One year, I was US Soil Conservation Service Farmer of the Year.  HOWEVER,  at no time back then, did my vegetable gardens begin to approach the productivity of what I am achieving now with indigenous technologies.  The productivity here is at least triple what was grown in the Shenandoah Valley farm’s garden.

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    Richard, this is an awesome blog. Love what you are doing with
    the garden. I stopped using fertilizers and chemicals on my garden years ago when I heard Jerry Baker on a radio show. He was giving the ingredients for home made fertilizer so I tried it, and have been using it ever since. I am sorry you have had so much trouble with finding a suitable home to live in. Believe me I understand.
    The ingredients for the home made fertilizer is … cup of ammonia, one cup of cheap dish washing liquid, and one regular size beer. lol Put these ingredients in a hose end water sprayer, stir and attach to your water hose if you have one or you can just mix extra water with it and water the plants with it. It also keep some of the insects off the plants. You will be amazed at what it does to help green up the grass and benefit
    your plants and vegies. All the materials you use in your garden are really good too, but if you want or need a booster, try it. lol I never was a beer drinker and always felt strange buying it in the stores so felt like I had to explain to the cashier why I was buying it. When I explained what I did with it, they could not believe it. I have shared the recipe with many people.
    I also would tell the beer store clerk that if he drove by my house and saw the drunk bugs crossing the road he would know they came from my yard. lol I might do the same for the
    black lizards you have in your garden too. lol

    I want you to know, that I watched the Scott Wolter America
    Unearthed on net flix and I saw that segment where he interviewed you and the explored Mayan blue paint and the pyramids in Georgia. The show was AWESOME!! Until a
    new video comes out with more of his explorations, I keep watching the old one. lol Absolutely love it!! Keep up the good work with the gardens, they are beautiful. Good luck with all the agencies . Hope they will ease up on you and let you enjoy your gardens .


    It is always such a delight to read your posts. Your blog is incredibly educational and – witty.
    Thank you for sharing your stories and your brilliant knowledge

    • Well, thank you Monika. Y’all come by a get some butternut squash in September. I planted seven seeds on July1 and so far, 57 fruits are growing. An additional 4-7 fruits are forming everyday. I can’t possibly eat that many squashes. Each one weighs 2-7 pounds!


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