Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
She started pointing out the fencing on the pens we had just passed and the boy mentioned to his grandpa (he called him that) that we would need to be careful of the wolf. We thought he was talking about the dog chained to the truck where they were standing but it turned out that that dog was only half wolf, the other half being Rottweiler. It seemed to be a very laid back, fat old dog that appreciated a little attention and a pat on the head, but it could have been more aggressive if they hadn't been there. Then the old man started telling us about how many dogs he had breed from the female wolf that was somewhere in the pasture below, with or near the horses. I was beginning to wonder if he thought we had come to buy a dog when the realtor got him back on track by asking where the property lines for the 3 1/2 acres were. He pointed out the ones we had seen along the road as well as where they used to keep the pigs when they had pigs.
He pointed to a gate behind the house that he said opened onto a neighbor's land and as we walked back I saw a couple of dachshunds in a dog run. I started toward them but thought better of it when they started yapping at me. The old man said to just go on back to see them so we all walked back. Just as I spied one really, really long dog with it's back held at a horrible angle, he said that two or three of the white ones were blind. He explained that they used to breed them to sell and there were always one or two in a litter that the kids wanted to keep and that's why they had twelve. I adore dachshunds and have had to put two down because of bad backs but all I could think was that all of these needed to be spayed, some of them put down immediately, and all of their offspring be hunted down and spayed. So as we walked into the house, I was already feeling a bit of shock.
The old man and the boy walked into the house with us and sat down on the couch to watch TV. They pointed out Bobby who was washing dishes at the sink and there was another old man sitting in a chair. I can't remember if he spoke but he seemed to be pointing toward a bedroom. I don't know if he was asking for something or trying to tell us about something. He had a doughy look as if he didn't ever get out of the chair and in the bedroom were the things I remember from my mom's house when she was bedridden. Bobby didn't stop washing dishes but told us his wife had left him and wanted him to sell the place. He said he had hoped he could keep it but that didn't seem to matter. Every surface of every piece of furniture was covered with stuff. I don't know what the stuff was - it was too much to comprehend. How would these men ever begin to pack it up and get it out of there? How would they get themselves out of there and where would they go? There are not enough boxes in the world to pack up their lives and go. We poked our heads into each sad room and got out quickly. As we left, I noticed on a wall by the door pictures of a nice looking youg man. They looked like several graduation pictures.
Grandpa and the boy followed us out and told us that the calf in with the cow was a Charolais but the cow was a Brahman. A neighbor's very young bull had been visiting? boarding? and he had never imagined that that little bull could have breed her. He said he hadn't even wanted to breed her again because she was so old.
We walked out to the barn which was really more of a manger or maybe a half barn since it was missing one side. Ken pointed out a pig lying in a depression beside some tools. We wondered if it was alive and it answered by wiggling it's snout. It was in no way contained; it could have taken a mind to folow us home but it just laid there. Then Ken started wondering if they even knew the pig was there since they had referred to a time when they kept pigs. The pig didn't tell us the answer to that one and we decided not to go back to the house and find out. We drove down the drive and around to the other road beside the old pig pens and chicken coops. There, in a small field, were enough chairs and tables and stuff and more stuff to fill another two houses the size of the one we had seen. Maybe their realtor, like ours, had told them to clear the house out a bit.
I've tried not to inject my feelings into this, not altogether successfully, but I really can't get this out of my head!!
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
After the farm part of the presentation we were supposed to go to the Everett co-op and listen to a short presentation by their buyers but we got lost on the way and missed the presentation. It was a very well stocked co-op, though, and we were pleased to get some sorghum molasses which we haven’t been able to find anywhere since we’ve been here. We also got a $16 gallon of the raw milk produced at the creamery to see if we would like goat’s milk. It tastes pretty good although I haven’t really drunk milk straight for quite a few years so I am a little more interested in learning to make cheese. We seem to be adjusting to using it on our cereal but it cleaned us all out pretty thoroughly. We met some other people at the presentation who raise goats (Nubians) mainly to make a little cheese and asked if we could visit their farm also, so that will be a fun thing to look forward to.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The weather was atrocious and contributed to my getting quite sick along with a number of other people. I had Ken come to get me at the end of the second week and it took several days at home to get back to normal.
The jury is still out about whether I would attempt to build cob anything, but I do think I would try something more managable than a house the first time out.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
This will finish up my postings about the Off the Treadmill workshop. The first photo is the courtyard which is on the other end of the garden wall from the Myrtle and overlooks the garden (second photo). The third photo is looking out the large window in the Myrtle onto the garden. Linda is working on a discussion chart, Sarah, Ianto's apprentice gardener, is next; Todd and Kei Chi are seated also. In the photo of the outdoor kitchen, Ken is chatting with Ryan, the cook for this workwhop. Sarah and Ryan are married and are staying at the Boggs Homestead as part of a work/study/apprentice program. They were on loan to the NASNB for the workshop. Ryan is a photographer and did a great job as a first time cook. The last photo is Linda's kitchen inside of Laughing House.
As I said in the first post, I've given this workshop quite a bit of thought. There must be zillions of folks out there who have been exploring the ideas of self-sufficiency, permaculture, off the grid, etc, but up till now I haven’t examined my life with respect to those concepts and I would say that Ken and I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb at the talk sessions. Ianto Evans, the man who was running them, is a Welsh man who has lived in the states for a long time. He states right up front that his reason for living here is to undermine the consumerism that is driven by (mostly) the US. His way of doing that relates to his field of study, architecture, but is very removed from formal concepts. He believes that people should not be living in houses that 1) make them sell their souls to banks; 2) are made of semi or outright poisonous materials; 3)require heating, ie, houses don’t feel the cold; 4) have gobs of unused right angle corner space; and 5) don’t embody the magic to make the inhabitants feel joy. He probably had a few more reasons to justify his belief in cob building but those are the first that I think of. We talked about family, food, housing, community, and money. I felt very attuned to lots of things he was saying, like making and doing so much for yourself. His gardening skills were amazing but that was covered rather sketchily. The houses were little oases of magic, even the ones that were in process, which was probably over 50% since the site is a school for cob building and people need to be able to experience all phases of the work.
On May 17, Todd, Kei Chi and I are headed back to learn the bare bones skills to build one of these cob cottages.
The first two photos are the washing station, which has the shower behind it, and the passive solar water heating system. Be sure to click on the water heating system. It is brilliant: just black hoses full of water being heated by the sun helped out by the glass in front of them.
The next two are the garden wall which runs from the courtyard (next post) to the Myrtle library. The closeup is the gate to the garden. As I understand it, all of the mass of the garden wall stores and holds heat to warm the garden soil.
The last photo, which should have been the first, is the troll bridge that we crossed over to get from where we parked the car up to the first of the cob buildings.
I neglected to take a picture of what I considered to be the most amazing auxillary structures: the outdoor composting toilets. Kei Chi said using the toilets was kind of like when we take the doggies to the potty box. They were sort of open outhouses facing out into the woods and surprisingly had no odor.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
This Photoshop collage was done a couple of years ago as the final project for a Photoshop class I took at Columbus State Community College. We were required to put an image of ourselves into the work and short of that anything was OK. I used images from magazines, calendars, a tarot deck, a travel book, and an insect field guide. Mostly I think we were demonstrating that we knew how to make a decent selection with various tools. It had upwards of 50 layers and I still remember how much fun it was.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I'm not going to become a farmer at the age of 65, but these readings make me consider how little trouble the chickens and goats were for the 8 to 14 year olds on "Kid Nation," and how much satisfaction they gave. Ken and I (mostly him) have gardened for quite a few years now; we love our tomatoes and herbs and it isn't such a stretch to imagine expanding a little and starting to preserve food in ways that I have seen my mother do in those few years we lived on a farm.
So Ohio is a least up for consideration, given that land values there are more in range of our retirement income. We shall see what we shall see!
I've been speaking with an old friend from Ohio who went to check out a small farm in Chillicothe for us and one of her abiding interests is mandalas. She was telling me about a software program that makes mandalas and I told her I thought I could probably do them in Photoshop. For this first try I used a photo of a crystalline mess that was on some glass after a dying experiment. The small pieces of dyed velvet were great but Kate and I were just as excited by these photos of crystals. This mandala is eight sectioned because eight seemed so easy but I think twelve sections would maybe be more interesting. My friend, Jean, is printing them out to quilt with.
Friday, February 29, 2008
This journal page was one I had a hard time getting started on because I had painted the background a pretty bilious shade of pink, overpainted ugly brown, and was not inspired by either. The hands, the dresser, and the borders got me started and I filled the drawers with the stuff that's always in the dresser drawers of the houses I'm exploring in my dreams.
But last night I had a dream I've never dreamed before. I found an old art journal of mine that was filled with wondrous pages. They weren't painstakingly overworked , they amazed me and I wish I could remember even one of them. And now the circle is complete: dream -> journal -> dream.