Moss working a pair of felted boots.
Monday, September 01, 2008
I am happy to report we now have our computer back ! We can now manage our etsy site and begin selling things once again. This also means I can resume my somewhat regular postings..
When I last left off we were just beginning our journey north. We went first first in the car, with Moss driving south at a later date to fetch the bus and bring it back up. Our initial plans had been to stay in a hotel while we worked a local initiative and saved money to bring the bus up. However, at the last minute we caught wind of a fellow who needed someone to caretake his land for part of the summer . The land was in the Applegate valley in southern Oregon, beautiful, wild, remote and right on the river.
We stayed there in the bus and used our little car to drive the 40 minutes to Ashland once a week for groceries and supplies. Our chores were simple, in exchange for a place to park, we were to feed the animals, water and tend the garden. The rest of the time was spent immersed in felt making, creating boots , dolls and puppets for the festival and dyeing many pounds of wool . We saw very few people for those two months, just the thee of us and the birds in a beautiful timeless world of forest, river and sky.
On June 9th, Sages first birthday, we decided to take a trip into Ashland for a visit to Lithia park. This park is stunningly gorgeous and was designed by the same person who made golden gate park in San Francisco. Sage had a great time playing in the river and climbing on the playground equipment with the other kids. We were not able to get a birthday ring this year but we did have a yummy carrot cake and I gave her the doll I made for her which she seems to really like.
In early August our careaking position came to and end and we packed up our camp and headed north to Eugene and the Faerieworlds festival. We were excited to be moving again but our time in the woods really drove home our desire to be rooted some place.
The Faerieworlds festival was nothing short of spectacular, as always. We met a few regular blog readers and some fellow etsy artisans as well. Two of them wrote up a nice little feature on us, which you can read here and another one here .
While financially it was not a huge success, we did meet a man, a professional shoe maker who wants to collaborate with us on making felted clogs. He makes great ergonomic soles for his leather boots and has been interested in making felt clogs for a long time now. When he saw our boots at the festival he was (apparently) impressed and asked us if we would like to work with him on this project. Basically we will make the felted boot part and he the soles. It looks very promising and could be a long term production felting gig for us.
Brian, Wendy and Toby Froud were there as usual and I almost fell over when Brian walked up to me and complimented me on my newest large piece, saying "she really has presence ".. This of course thrilled me to no end as he is the KING of Faerie after all.
We saw many of our old friends which was wonderful, including Sunshine, Dylan ,Timothy and there new baby Lila ! This was the family we met a few months earlier in Santa Barbabra. Sunshine ended up having her baby unassisted in the back of there rig at the Health and Harmony fest. Her birth story is amazing. You can read it here,
After the festival we went to our friends farm outside of Eugene Oregon. They are old and dear friends of ours and have invited us to stay for as long as we wish on there land . In exchange we would help out around the farm with the gardens and horses and pay a small rent. The land is twenty acres of rolling meadow with a small amount of woodland. There are horses (including a pony), fruit trees, and a big garden space as well. We are seriously contemplating staying for a good long while, at least through winter, maybe longer. It would be a perfect place to build that roof extension on our bus.
Sage loves it as well. There is so much to explore and she adores the horses and apple trees. There is also a huge and ancient grandmother oak tree, many hundreds of years old with a swing tied to it, overlooking a meadow.
We have looked into a few other land possibilities in the area as well, but cannot seem to decide between them. There seems to be something wonderful and also something lacking in each choice. So far though staying on our friends farm seems to be leading, at least for now.
Although it is beautiful I cannot seem to shake the feeling that it will not be the place. It has many lovely meadows, but very little woodland for exploring and no riparian area at all. My vision of our home-land has always been something more much like what Moss and I lived on years ago in the tipi.
I really loved that land. I loved not being able to see any houses or man made things around me, just a narrow old deer trail that meandered from our tipi through the woods and across a meadow, a 1/4 mile to where we parked our car. From there it was a half mile or more drive down a dirt road , through the property to the main road. All this on a few thousand acres only a couple miles from town.
There was something just so right about being able to walk out my door and keep walking for hours through woodland, forest, streams and meadows, then to return home again without having come across a single person or man made structure. I would go for these long walks regularly, sometimes on horseback and often have the feeling that I was a pioneer, exploring uncharted territory for the first time.
The interesting thing is, upon reflection, it was the experience of all these habitats together that made it all so magical, at least in part anyway.
I remember well the dark, mysterious and moss drenched forest beckoning me deeper and deeper into it's depth. I wander the deer trails lost in a timeless world, my senses all engaged. The smell of wet earth, the sound of twigs cracking and birds singing sweetly from tree tops. I stop momentarily to refresh myself and reflect beside a stream, and on bending down I notice fresh bob cat scat placed carefully upon a rock. Nearby I see coon tracks in the mud leading away from the stream. The tracks are are pebbled with small holes from yesterdays rain, telling me they are at least a day old. I walk on, emerging from the darkness, slowly at first, as the conifers give way to broad leave trees and a sun dappled oak woodland. I soon find myself upon the edge of a great rolling meadow stretching on as far as the eye can see, the sun shines brightly as a red tail hawk circles over head. In the distance I can see clusters of oak hammocks scattered throughout the meadow, and beyond that, more forest, so much to explore...
Unfortunately, in today's world this type of rural, intact ecosystem is somewhat rare, with most land having been fragmented into tiny parcels. One parcel may be all woodland, while the neighboring one has mostly meadow and the adjacent one has the riparian area. We forget it is all really one great whole living entity and each habitat has beauty, meaning and a place in the collective unconscious. The forest represents mystery and intrigue, the meadow, possibilities and expansion, the streams cleanse and renew. Each with it's own gifts and lessons to teach.
Unless one has lived on such an increasingly ( for private rural land anyway) rare and intact piece of land, it is hard to imagine the intimate and subtle experience I speak of. It seems to tap into some sort of ancestral memory of our species having evolved within all these habitats. Now that I have had this experience, it is hard for me to accept anything less, at least for long term living. I do want to point out however that it is not the acerage that is the important thing to me here, in as much as the quality of the land. Five acres containing a small woodland, a few meadows and a pond or stream would be perfect !
The place we are at now is beautiful and magical in so many ways, and I do not mean to sound ungrateful, but Moss and I both feel in our hearts it is probably only short term. As much as we love our friends and the land, we feel this is true.
In other news, our lawyer called a few days ago to tell us that she has officially filed our civil suit against the un named giant super store ( hint - think "bulls eye"). She says it could take from six months up to two years for this to be settled, depending on if we settle out of court or go to trial. If all goes well with that we can use the money to buy land ourselves or go in with others on a piece of land that really does speak to us. We are not going to count on this happening, but it would be nice...
In the meantime, we will likely remain on our friends farm or in the Oregon region, watch the seasons change, grow some veggies and ground out for a time......
This is how we do our wash, in a lovely little machine called a James washer.
Moss working a pair of felted boots.