Kathryn Elizabeth Skelley-Watts was born and raised in northeast Ohio by two ministers. Her parents are the nicest people you could ever meet. Her dad still preaches every Sunday. Her mom is now retired and spends her time jamming on the fiddle. Kathryn grew up with one big brother who tortured her as much as he loved and looked after her. They still get along famously.
Kathryn ventured away from Ohio the first chance she had. She spent four years at Warren Wilson College, where she learned how to drive tractors and identify plants. For two months she studied in India and Sri Lanka, where she contracted Giardia and Amebiasis. She graduated from Warren Wilson in 2006. Her digestion has never been the same.
After college Kathryn traveled extensively out West and through Central America, where she worked on farms and herded buffalo. She spent her summers with the American Youth Foundation as an educator who led bicycle trips and nature walks. In 2008 Kathryn was traveling through Asheville, NC, where she accidentally found a full-time job, joined the local roller derby team, and met the mountain man of her dreams.
In 2010, she and her fella moved out to Burnsville, NC, where they started farming together. Aardvark Farm has now been in operation for six years; the farm produces a large variety of organic vegetables and nearly two acres of blueberries. The farm sells produce at three farmers markets a week and has a CSA program.
Kathryn, a.k.a. “Skelley-Tor,” played many seasons of roller derby for the Blue Ridge Rollergirls. Skelley and the team traveled from Omaha to Wisconsin to California competing in various tournaments and winning bronze at the Division II Championships.
Beyond roller skating, Kathryn loves spending time with her three dogs and her incredible group of friends. She enjoys running in the woods, biking up mountains, drinking whiskey, and crafting with her girlfriends. Her favorite day of the week is Taco Tuesday.
In May of 2015, Kathryn contracted Lyme Disease and was forced to hang up her skates. Thanks to the flexibility of working from home and her supportive partner, she has been able to farm throughout her illness, resting and taking days off as needed. She takes daily naps and a mountain of pills to keep her going.
Writing a blog is something Kathryn never imagined herself doing. She also never imagined herself becoming so sick that her life had to shrink to work, rest, and recuperate. Lately, she has not been able to bike up mountains, play roller derby, or go out with friends. She has delved deeply into self-discovery and self-care. She has been a vegan and a hermit for the first time in her life. Kathryn hopes that writing this blog can serve as encouragement and education for others that are going through chronic illness.