May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you, guide your way on "~Incredible String Band

Monday, August 24, 2009

Home On The Range...

We are STILL here on the farm in Oregon...going on almost a year now since we parked our bus in the lower meadow. There is still so much to do as far as renovations go, but I think we are finally beginning to find our rhythm and learn all about settled life.

Our business is comming along nicely ! Recently we vended at our beloved Faerie worlds Festival, which we do every year. I spent months working on my new piece to debut at the festival, a giant, life sized banshee puppet, that is as of yet still not completed. She is the first puppet in series that is being made for our production of the Grimm's tale, The Nixie of The Mill Pond. Despite the 100 degree heat and no shade, we did well and the festival was incredible. We did not sell many boots, most likely due to the 100+ degree heat, but our hats sold out quickly as well as some small dolls and yarn.

It is interesting to me to look back to the beginning of this blog, when I first started it, it seems so long ago now and I looked so much younger. We began with the intention to make a rolling home and to make a living off our art. The rolling home we DID create but making a living off our art was never really that easy in the bus, but then our expenses were so much less as well. It seems like now we are finally fulfilling the second part of our original intention. It will be intresting to see where this all goes and weather or not we will eventually merge our new found business success back with the bus again and take it on the road. I often get the feeling with this blog, and with life in general, that I am reading a story of someone else's life, wondering how it will all turn out....

This is the 4.5 foot tall banshee puppet I have been working on..

Firming up a doll at Faerieworlds Fest. This one just sold ! Finally !

Helping Sage adjust her wings..

Me in another of our new hats..

Sage giving her apple to Pan....

Helping out in the garden...

Looking very vouge in this pic..

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spreading Our Wings....

Moss and I are still here in Oregon and very busy working in our new studio, making dolls, puppets, boots and hats for Faerieworlds Festival, which will take place on August 31st here in Eugene Oregon. Our fiber art business is starting to pick up and it seems settling down in a house was just the right thing for us. The extra space has really allowed us more room to expand and create, just as we had thought. After hand spinning my own yarn for many years I just recently decided to start selling it on Etsy and at the local weekly craft market here. Surprisingly people really liked it and we sold it the first day ! Needless to say I will be spinning more yarn in the near future.

With all this extra space we are finally able to fine tune our skills and production. Our hope is to work it out so that everything we are doing can be easily replicated in the bus. This will enable us to eventually go back out on the road again, selling and making our items in a more consistent and lucrative manner. Weather we will do this in our current bus or start over again building a smaller, more efficient one remains to be seen. We would really like one that could be easily taken over seas for travel in European countries....

While I will continue to update my blog from time to time as the mood strikes me..I have been also doing a lot of posting on Facebook and would like to invite everyone to connect with us there as well. I have included an app in the lower left hand corner of the page here and you can access my Facebook site that way.

I will leave you here with some random pictures from my life in the last few months...

A view from our kitchen window..

Moss and sage enjoy one of the many hot springs in Oregon...

Summer solstice celebration at the farm. That is our friends Bus-sauna in the background !

Moss and Sage at the beach on her second Birth Day..

Sage flies a kite all by herself for the first time, on her second Birth Day. She was SO excited !

Sage among the flowers

Sheep inspect a new fleece..

Preparing fleece for washing....

Faunas..the gentle one..

Our humble abode..

Monday, May 18, 2009

Settling In....

It's been five months now since we have settled, here in this beautiful meadow, and now that the initial thrill has worn off the reality has set in, the reality of rent, bills and the inevitable inertia I feel whenever I am in one place for a long time. I sometimes wonder, if only for a fleeting moment, if we made the right decision. Then I look at Sage romping joyfully through the house, exploring the meadows and woods out our front door and I know that we have made the right decision, at least for now.

Although I very much miss life on the road, I feel no bitterness about the situation at all, nor do I feel as though I am being made to live a life other than I would chose. I am learning how to breathe through my impulse to always just go when things get tough, and things have been tough lately. Although our rent is very little compared to most, it has been difficult as we are used to paying nothing for rent. The whole idea of paying huge amounts of money to someone every month to live, is a new experience for me, and it is taking some getting used to.

To make ends meet we are still selling things on our etsy site and working hard on the felt boot aspect of our craft. We have finally, with the help of our friend Babu, a leather shoemaker, come up with an all weather, rugged sole for our boots. They can now be worn in just about all climates. In town here there is a weekly craft venue, Saturday Market, and we will be vending there. So far however we have not been able to get in as one must acquire a certain number of points to get a place and everyone else seems to have more than us right now. We expect to have enough within the next few weeks and in the meantime we are working on building up our stock. It is slow going as each boot takes about 9 hours or more to complete, but we keep at it. A few weeks ago we took the last little bit of money we had and purchased a drum carder. This is a hand cranked device that combs fleece into batts, batts that can be used for felting or spinning. It is an expensive item by anyone's standards, but we hope it will pay for it's self by saving us money on the purchase of already prepared wool batts. In addition to that it allows us to experiment more with color blending.

Our days have been so busy here, busier than I am used to, and perhaps than they ever have been. Trying to jump-start a business ( in this economy no less), raise a small child and renovate a house while at the same time making sure we have money for food has proven very challenging. Yea I know, you are all saying, welcoming to the real world, right ?

Truth be told there are times when we literally have nothing, but then something will always come through weather it be an online order or sometimes a trip to the local food box. I feel strongly that once we get established at the market we will do exceptionally well. We have given ourselves one year and by that time if we are not making regular money we will go back to the bus where rent is free and living is cheap.

Whatever happens, we have both agreed that there is no way either of us could ever be content with an office or other job. Not that there is anything at all wrong with those jobs, they are just not for us. It is either make this work, or back to the bus.

Our little community here on the farm, now consisting of five adults, four kids, three horses, three sheep, two dogs, and two cats, is growing in new ways. We now have a name, The Land of AHS... ( A. Healing. Space). There is also a small garden and a wooden yurt that is being used for retreats and workshops. It is turning out to be a wonderful place to live and I feel so blessed.

In other exciting news, I have recently realized my long time dream of becoming a shepherdess ! We have adopted a small Shetland sheep family, a mama and two lambs ! They are the sweetest little family and I plan to use their wool for hand spinning and felting. Sage adores them as well and helps me feed them every morning and evening. She already understands that the sheep have wool that mommy and daddy use to make things out of.

Speaking of Sage, she is thriving...speaking in complete sentences now and continues to amaze and surprise us every day, constantly pushing me to expand and flow with her in new directions. In a few weeks she will be two, it is hard to believe. I know parents always say that but it really is amazing to witness her growing, it all seems to go so fast. For her birthday we hope to have the room we are fixing up for her completed with a bed, play area and such.

This whole settling process brings up a lot of fear for me. Mostly fear of being stuck. More and more though I am realizing that I can only really be stuck in my head. I am learning how to let go of things and just flow from a place of stillness as opposed to one of constant motion. It seems when we were on the road in the bus, we were always home and if a situation or place was not working for us, we would just move on, flowing and floating freely about the country. It was rather like changing the channel on a TV. Turn the dial and, da ta ! , a whole new scene and cast of characters !

What I am learning is that, in a settled life, when things get bad, that same flowing, the letting go or surrendering to what IS still needs to take place, but instead, from a place of stillness inside my heart and mind, as opposed to moving about in the world physically. I must realize my true home is not where I am at in the world, but where I am at in my heart and mind.

That is the challenge.... and if I can master that, then I can be free wherever I may be....

A trip to the oregon coast beach..

A trip to the oregon coast beach..

A view from our porch...

Sage helps feed the baby lambs..

Jameila, the mama....

My new Strauch "finest" drum carder...

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Enchanted Gypsy Has Landed

When I last left you we were parked on friends land in Oregon making preparations for our bus renovations. I had been feeling as though we were on the verge of some momentous change....and indeed I was correct..

We continued planning our bus renovations, dreaming and scheming throughout the month of November. Towards the end of the month the rains set in and it became obvious that it was not the proper time to replace and raise our roof. Around this time the bus was beginning to feel quite small as Sage continued to grow and explore her surroundings. The near constant rain and cold kept us indoors quite a bit more than usual.

It so happened that, in early December a friend was moving out of one of the small house 's on the very property we were parked on. Our friend asked us if we wanted to rent the place for the winter and without knowing exactly how we were going to make the rent, we thought about it for a few days and said ....yes.

So, here we are now, living in a house .....

For the first time in my adult life I am renting my "own" house, that is, I am not just living with others for a time. I have never, as an adult had a place with a bathroom or hot running water. It has always been outhouse's ( which I still prefer) hauling and boiling water for me. The place is small and lovely, with many large windows overlooking a meadow with peaceful grazing horses. There is no central heat, only a wood stove, which I like as it keeps me more in touch with the natural world. Having more than one room is a wonderful luxury as well. I now have room to set up a fiber studio in and can finally bring my large floor loom out of storage from down in California.

Most importantly however, Sage loves the additional space. She runs around and around, dances, rolls on the floor and seems to play more enthusiastically. We are taking the other bedroom and making a playroom for her. There is a a lot of work that needs to be done on the place, and we prefer it that way. The birds are even getting larger quarters with a big aviary we are building in the living room for them and an outdoor one as well.

On the down side, one of the immediate differences I noticed was the greatly reduced connection with the natural world. I am used to ti-pis, yurts and bus's , dwellings with thin walls, where you can really hear wind blowing , the rain, even the sound of snow falling. In the house the walls are much thicker and so all the many wonderful outdoor nature sounds are eliminated. It is SO quiet, too quiet and almost claustrophobic. Not being able to hear the rain on the roof or hear and feel the wind blowing my home about, is rather like watching a movie with the sound turned off. I will adjust though and will dwell instead on the many opportunities this change presents for us.

There are horses here and many acres to run and explore on. I even found a way to reconcile my feeling that there is not enough wild-land for me. Across the road here, a charming and winding country road, and down about 1/4 of a mile, is the land we used to live on all those years ago in the tipi..many thousands of acres. There is a back door to the property there and I can ride the resident horse here, Tom , over and explore all I want. We also try to go for regular walks there. I feel very strongly that Sage should know what undomesticated, wild land is like, and that is the best I can do for now. The land does have many wild inhabitants . The other day while hiking , we crossed a stream and noticed fresh black bear tracks. Upon looking up we caught a fleeting glimpse of the tracks owner as he bumbled behind a tree. Sage said he was a dog and I of course pointed out that he was a bear. I like the idea that she witness's animals in the wild first, instead of a zoo.

So, Is this the big change I was anticipating ? If so, what does all this mean for the enchanted gypsies and our travel blog ?

Yes, I do think this is the change we were sensing, or the beginning of it anyway. It may not seem very momentous by most standards, but for us it is significant. It is possibly the beginning a new chapter in our lives. Being still for this time, weather it is ends up being just through the winter, or possibly longer term, will enable us to embark on many other projects that have been difficult or impossible to accomplish on the road. We can focus more time on developing our puppet show and I my fiber arts . Moss can finally work on and record his music, something almost impossible to do on the road and something he has neglected for far to long. We can grow a garden and if we stay on long term, are planning to get a few sheep, chickens ( for eggs) and raise some bees. In addition to that I can even get back into wildlife rehabilitation, which I had done for many years last time I went through a prolonged stationary phase.

As for the blog and it's future..well the content may change a bit as I grow and explore various topics, but it will remain, and I will continue to update it as well, when the mood strikes me ( or when enough angry people write demanding an update..LOL). You can expect detailed posts on everything from sheep rearing, mothering, felting projects, birdwatching, animal tracking and naturalist studies to case histories of various wildlife patients that may come through my doors ( if I end up back into rehab work).

After all, the Enchanted Gypsies are us, and our journey through life and how we view things, not just about our life in a bus or on the road.

As for the bus, it is now parked near our place and will be used, for the time being, as a recording studio for Moss's music. I do not see us ever parting with it and we will most definitely be living and travelling in it again, maybe in a year, maybe in two.....

Who knows ?

We could, and very likely will, leave here at any time, just as quickly as we arrived, in any manner or mode of transportation. Such is the nature of our lives, and we like it that way.

So how are we paying our 400 dollar rent in this new place ? We are still selling our fiber art online, which brings in a decent amount from time to time. We have also begun doing production type felting work. We are making large flat sheets of felt for a local leather shoe maker who wanted to add a line of felt shoes to his business. We make the felt and he cuts and sews them into shoes. The shoes are very different from ours which are done using a resist and are seamless. It does not pay a lot of money at this point but holds lots of promise.

In this manner, we hope to be able to make ends meet. We prefer to have less money and more time with Sage and each other. Getting a 9-5 job, if it is even possible for me having virtually no work history in the past 18 years to speak of, would sure make it difficult to spend time together as a family and pursue our creative endeavors, as those are our priorities.

I leave you with various pictures of life on the farm, our new home and pics of us on solstice morn...

Our view of the meadow from living room window.

Sage rolls on the floor, enjoying the extra space to play.

Feeding Tom.

A funny picture of Sage, laughing and bouncing on the trampoline.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Breathing In ....and Breathing Out...

Its been a while since my last post and as usual when my posts lag, we receive many nice emails from concerned folks wondering if we are o.k . Once agin I would like to remind people that, although I do intend to continue to write this blog for an indefinite period of time, it is reflective of my somewhat unpredictable and constantly changing life. Because of this, there will be times when, due to the natural ebb and flow of lifes circumstances and to a lesser extent my mood, I will not be able to write regularly.

Rest assured though I will always, in good time, resume my somwhat regular postings.....

Before going any further let me just take a mommnet to rejoice, along with the entire world, over our new president Barck Obabma ! We returned to Eugene just in time to vote for Obama then head to the county fairgrounds and watch the returns along with hundreds of others. Although supposed to be a non partisan election hall, I think everyone in that room was rooting for Obama. When CNN announced that he was the next president the entire room began to cheer . Out in the street of this very liberal town people ran from their houses cheering and crying, hugging neighbors. I kid you not. It was quite an amazing experience. I feel the time is comming where I can once again be pround of our country. It is definitely a new day here in the USA, and it makes me so happy that Sage will live the first four and likely eight years of her life with Obama as her president....

We are all doing well and currently still parked for an unknown period of time at a friends farm in Oregon. We had previously spent the last two months in southern Oregon, working at farms in the area and doing various odd jobs.We have been saving up money to to do some work on the bus. We would like to finish our water system and add a sleeping loft on top. This would free up space in the back of the bus that we could use to create a playroom for Sage.

There are many ways to create a sleeping loft on a bus. One could raise the roof in metal, build it up with wood or use the body of another car welded to the top. After thinking about it for some time, talking it over with various people and reseraching the options we are leaning heavily towards the, "welding another vehicle on top", option. In our case we will likely be using the body of an older VW van, with a pop top included. This is by far the easiest and most economical option. We have already located the vehicle and will likely begin the project within the next few weeks. I will be certain to document it all and include lots of pictures.

In addition to the loft we will also be finally finishing our water system. We have located a nice deep tub and the tanks and the on demand water heater we have had for quite some time now, we just need to put it all together. The idea of hot running water, or any running water in the bus is very exciting !

Sage is now 17 months old, as of Nov 9th, and is suddeny a real little kid. She is talking up a storm, it seems every day she says new words. Seeing her personality take shape and emerge is fascinating. She really loves animals, especially horses and birds. There is a horse on the farm here, three in fact. She particularly likes one by the name of Tom, who we spend a good deal of time petting and talking with every day. When not hanging with horses at the barn we go for long walks in the nearby woods, eating apples, watching and listening for birds, deer and other animals. Sage really likes owls and can identify and imitate the call of a great horned owl from a picture.

We also go to the park in town now and again as well as the library and a little place called Bounce, where kids can just run around, jump and play on trampolines. We try to let her have as much unstructured time as possible and prefer to just let her play freely at whatever she choses around the farm or woods.

On a very sad note, our dear dog Gaia has passed on. She had become very ill in the last two years and for the last year had been with Moss's mom, as she was to sick to live on the bus with us. Our plans were to find a place to stay for a time, then bring her there to live out her remaining days . We went down to california to get her a few weeks ago and brought her up to the farm with us. Sadly though, after only a week, she passed on. She was 15 years old and had been with us since she was a puppy and the first year Moss and I were together. She spent many lovely years with us in this valley, right down the road a bit where we lived all those years in the tipi. Perhaps she was just holding out for us to come get her and bring her back to this valley. We burried her on the farm under a several hundred year old oak tree. Her death marks the end and beginning of a new phase in our lives. Farewell Gaia we miss you terribly and will love you always. ....

Moss and I are beginning to feel the stirrings of some big changes on the horizon for us, though we are not quite sure what or when. It seems to be a cyclical thing, occuring every few years, where we feel the need to reasess the direction we are going and to recreate our lives aknew.

It usually manifests itself at first in conversations about dreams and visions we have had, then a gradual, yet dramatic increase of energy and ideas that build up over months or sometimes years, followed by an inexplicable series of syncronistic events and ultimately an explosion of frentic activity then finally......massive change. In the tarot deck, for those familar with those sorts of things, this might be represented by the fool card, followed by the tower, followed by the world.

Actually, I think most people feel these feelings quite regularly, but tend to ignore them. Then again, maybe other people just posess some measure of self control that we do not seem to have....

The kind of change varries from time to time and we never quite know how it will end up. There is often the feeling that we are along for the ride, that the ideas are comming through us but not neccesarily from us . Actually, it is more like a collaboration between myself, Moss and the universe. We just notice and observe as the various realities emerge and begin to take shape then merge back into the sea of possibilities . Eventually one possibilty will begin to stand out as events happen to move us in a certain direction, until it becomes obvious that, this is the change we have been waiting for ( yes I have been listening to Obama speeches quite a bit this month. )

I realize this sounds insane, but the big difference is that we do have veto power over the universe, while an insane person does not, they are simply at the mercy of the universe and the various entities it contains....

In the past this has resulted in several spontaneous, creative and somewhat dangerous ( on retrosepct) adventures. Hitchiking solo around the country, getting lost at sea on a small sail boat for nearly a month, living in a tipi for eight years and building this crazy bus, among other things. ..

Whatever the result may be it is always exciting to see what the next change will bring when we feel it comming on. I wonder if now that we are getting older and more domesticated if these cyclical life changes will reflect this. I would not be opposed to that in any way, to every thing there is a season, right ?

However, I do know that, Moss in particular, has been seriously kicking around this idea of a horse and wagon journey in this continet and in Europe. Maybe we could combine that with the puppet show we have been working on. There is also our long time dream of living and sailing aboard a house boat. The again, settling down and building an off the grid homestead sounds nice too..

For right now though we are enjoying the slow pace of life here on this lovely farm ,where we will soon begin work on the bus. We will take the winter to hibernate and dream, to nurture our visions, there are so many and so many to chose from. In the spring we will have a much better idea of what our next move will be, if there is a move to be made at all.....

A good friend once told me ,
"Life is all about expansion and contraction. In breath, and out breath..."

I like that. It is true on so many levels.

I leave you with a few lines from one of my favorite Cat Stevens songs from the movie Harold and Maude...

If You Want to Sing Out

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free,
be free

cause theres a million things to be
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunitys on
And if you can find
a new way

You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can
make it undo
You see ah ah ah
Its easy ah ah ah
You only need to

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say
no, say
no cause theres a million ways to go
You know that there are

Our bus in the meadow.

Sage offers Tom same hay.

Sages first real Hallows Eve. She is an eggplant.

Hallows Eve in Ashland, the freaks come out.

Election Central in Eugene, people react to the news of our new president. Photo from Register Guard.

Gaia ~ 1993-2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just a Little Update...

Well, it turns out that our computer which was supposedly fixed was actually not.

We drove the 150 miles to pick it up at the computer store in Medford, but when we got it back to Eugene discovered that some of the keys did not work , they gave us the wrong cord and then the computer suddenly froze. All this within a few days of having it back. Alas... I am now back on the library computer and hence my infrequent postings. In a few days we will travel south to southern Oregon for some work related activities and at that time we will drop off the computer to be fixed again. The computer store seems to think it is due to an error on their part and we, of course, agree.

It will be at least another week or two before I can get back to my more regular infrequent postings. Gotta go my computer time is ticking away.........

Monday, September 01, 2008

Laying Roots.....

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.

Moss fulls and shapes the boots with Sages help
Our friends, Elvolution, a travelling circus that performed at The faerie Fest

A Great puppet at the Faerie Worlds Fest

Everyone comes in costume.

This is one of my favorites.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Still Here .......

It's been a very long time since my last post, so if anyone is still reading this blog, I just want to let you know we are alive and well in Eugene Oregon. The festival did not do to great financially though we made a lot of connections that will hopefully be panning out into good opportunities for us in the near future. Including a possible production felting gig for a shoemaker.

Thank you for all the offers for computer repairs. Our computer is fixed and at a computer store in medford Oregon where it will stay until we have 230 dollars to get it back. The problem is that most of the money we had been making was from etsy and various other online sales, which we obviously need a computer to manage. It's a revolving door nightmare scenario, but we are doing our best to remain posotive and keep our options open.

At this time we are here in lovely Eugene Oregon staying with friends on various pieces of land and trying to sort out our lives and finances. Our email service and website has been turned off for falure to pay . In the meantime to send an email you can use,

I have so many wonderful photos, stories and thoughts to share, but I will have to leave it at this for now, as my library computer time is running out and I must go.....

Friday, July 18, 2008


I am writing this quickly from a computer store in oregon. We are not dead but our computer has been for the past month. We made it to Oregon with the bus and are camping in the woods in abeautiful remote spot in southern Oregon near a river . Hopefully we will have the money to fix our computer shortly. We will be here for the next few weeks then will be heading to Eugene for the Faerie Worlds Festival.I have lots of updates and pictures to share from the past few months.

The sales guy is shooting me looks so I better get off......

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just wanted to post a quick update before we set out on a longish road trip up north.

Now that we are no longer bound to this area for reproductive or legal reasons ( at least for the time being anyway) we are once again free to travel. Unfortunately, quite a few things have changed since before I was pregnant and these changes present more than a few difficult, though not insurmountable issues.

For starters we no longer have our veggie system. Secondly, the price of bio diesel and all other fuels for that matter, has risen to ghastly new heights. This is all complicated even more so by the addition of our previously mentioned Mercedes diesel. We acquired this when we mistakenly thought we would be settling for a while . THAT in turn is further complicated by the fact that we do not have a tow hitch nor the money to purchase one.

But wait, it gets worse ( oh, cm on admit it, you love this ! The drama of it all ..)! Not only do we not have enough money to purchase a tow hitch, but we do not have enough money to drive both vehicles up north where we can make some money working a few initiatives.

What to do....

After a few moments of panic and confusion we sat down and thought things through a bit. We thought of selling the car, this would bring in about 3-4000. Then again the car will really come in handy at some of those remote campsites we will be going to. Also, if we do find a home base of sorts anytime in the near future, the car would again really come in handy. After thinking through all sorts of options- we left none out mind you, including the increasingly tempting one (Moss's favorite)of trading all vehicles for a wagon and six mules- we decided at least for now anyway, to keep the car and park the bus at a friends house for two weeks. We will then drive the car up north where we have some initiative work in Washington. After a few weeks Moss will take a greyhound down south, pick the bus up and head north where Sage and I will be waiting, probably in hotel. At that point we will be in the beautiful northwest region, land of many free and cheap campsites. Here we will remain for a few months, maybe longer working on stuff to bring to the Faerie Worlds Festival in July. It makes me sad that we have to leave the bus, but it will only be for about two weeks.

With all that out the way we breathed a collective sigh of relief and turned our attention to other matters.The last few days have been spent refinishing the floor,cleaning and repacking the bus. This is a time consuming, though necessary task that we try to do at least once a year. The task consists of taking everything out of the bus's various storage areas and tossing it into three piles. The piles are as follows,

Pile 1 ~ Need it
Pile 2~ Want it
Pile 3 ~ Gotta go..

Following that we scrub down the bus interior, reorganize, and finally burn some sage. This is to cleanse the vibes, ward off any lingering, unwanted spirits and keep the air fresh.

I actually like this activity, maybe it is just my triple Virgo nature, but the bus feels so good when we are done. I also really like the idea of having to take stock of our belongings every so often and reassess what we need. It is a noteworthy activity that even those in brick and mortar houses would be wise to practice as well.

Refinishing the floor was something that we had wanted to do for a long time. When we first put the floor in we applied, regrettably, a coat of polyurethane . The walls and other furniture which we did later, were finished using Osmo Hard Wax Oil, an all natural oil and wax mixture. We liked the look and feel of the walls so much better, we decided to refinish the floor in the same manner. This tedious process entails removing every floor board, stripping the old finish, sanding and applying the wax.The difference in the floor so far is nothing short of remarkable. Also, it feels good knowing it is an all natural environmentally sound finish on there. I will post pictures when it is finished.

On another topic, Sage's birthday is coming up on June 9th and I am sure no one would be surprised if I said I cannot believe it has been one year already ! Although it will likely make no difference to her at this point we would like to start the first birth day off with rich family traditions that we will cherish and return to year after year. One tradition we really like is the northern European tradition of the birthday ring or wreath. Here is a description from Three Sisters Toys,

The Birthday Ring is a classic German birthday tradition. It is a symbolic way to celebrate the anniversary of your child's birth and show reverence for each year of their life thus far. A birthday ring consists of a wooden circle with holes representing each year of life. You may place ornaments or candles in the ring to adorn your birthday table or cake top.

Traditionally, on your child's first birthday, you place one candle on the ring and fill the rest of the holes with figures. On each consecutive birthday, you replace one figure with a candle. Place the unused figures in the center of the ring to signify the child's previous years. Finally, on the twelfth or sixteenth year (depending on the ring you choose), the ring will be fully illuminated. This is truly something your child will look forward to each year!

You may choose to create your own variations on this tradition, perhaps placing figures that represent events your child experienced during the year since the last birthday or using just one number decoration to represent the child's age along with the corresponding number of candles. The birthday ring can also be used as a decoration throughout the year. It is a beautiful addition to a nature table when the decorations are changed with the seasonally.

A lovely tradition indeed, though it is a bit pricey and money is tight, so it may have to wait until next year, we'll see.

I am also making for her a doll that I will present to her on her birthday. In addition to that we will have some type of healthy cake and hopefully will be in the woods some place near a stream, river or lake that we can swim in.

We should be done repacking and cleaning the bus within the next few days and at that time we will say goodbye to friends and family and drive north to Washington where we will work for a few weeks to earn enough to bring the bus up. We will also likely buy a tow hitch at this point for the car.

After that, it's into the woods for the next few months to soak in the hot springs, swim in the lakes and of course work on items for the festival...

An example of a birthday ring.

Moss pretends to be crazy while holding Sage. What can I say, he has an intresting sense of humor.

My friend Jackie, a photographer, did a photo shoot of Sage. This is one of my faves.

Moss looking more his usual self..

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Two Roads Diverged........

In early March we said goodbye to our friends in Santa Barbaara, (with the exception of Sunshine and Dylan who split town in true gypsy fashion. I understand guys, when it's time to go it's times to go ! No worries !)and drove south for Moss's court date.

I am happy to report everything went well. At the last minute the DA suddenly wanted to make a deal. She offered to delay for six months then drop the charges. However, Moss would have to agree to some community service work. Our lawyer advised us to take the deal because it would not hurt our civil case at all and it would save us money in the long run with not having to go to trial. Now we can proceed with the civil trial, but not before a much needed six month break from legal hassles.

In mid April Moss, Sage and I flew to Florida to see my mom and dad, who had yet to meet Sage. We stayed for 12 days and had a wonderful time swimming in the gulf and visiting. My dad and step mom live in Sarasota and my mom and step dad live in Vero Beach.

We are now back in California and contemplating our next move. As always, we have many options. We will be vending at the Faerie Worlds Festival again this year and need to find a nice woodsy place where we can settle in for a time to make boots, dolls, puppets and dye 30 lbs of wool. The question is, where would be the best place to do that. It needs to be someplace easy to get to, but at the same time remote, wild and inexpensive. There are some beautiful and very remote campgrounds in the mountains north of Santa Barbara, but the tiny mountain roads that lead to them are winding, narrow and prone to rock slides. If we can make it down those roads, it would be a lovely place to nest for a time. We may also head north ( which we need to do anyway this summer for the FW festival), and stay near Cougar Hot Springs in oregon. Then again, Northern California has some very beautiful and inexpensive campgrounds as well.

The truth is, with our veggie system down, we now have to pay for fuel and diesel is up near 5.00 a gallon. Increasingly we find ourselves parked for days at a time in one spot as we save money just so we can drive to another spot. To make matters worse we have recently purchased another vehicle, a 1983 Mercedes 190 D. It's a great little car that gets about 40 miles to the gallon. We bought this car a month ago for only 3000 dollars. We bought it because we thought we would be staying on some friends land up north for an extended period of time and needed a way to get in and out of town easily. Now however, due to to some serious family/domestic problems on his part,it seems we might not be able to stay there after all. That is really to bad as it is such a beautiful cabin, hand built in the 1850's right on the Rouge river.It has the most beautiful balcony and porch, as well as a bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. Gorgeous. We were going to stay there in exchange for work on his organic farm. There still is some hope that we can stay there, but it is slim, so we are making other plans.

As much as I love bus and nomadic living, I have been a bit conflicted about it of late, and am starting to wonder if full time travel is the best thing for Sage.

There is something to be said for staying in one place year after year, watching the seasons change and the trees grow. There is a feeling one gets from knowing a piece of land, it's secret trails and wildlife, as intimately as the lines on a lovers face. To know, through careful observation and long quiet walks in the woods all the magic and revelation the forest holds. To know the deer and vole trails, the best watering and swimming holes, where the various plants grow from year to year in all there many cycles. To see yourself and life cycle reflected in the seasons. To know the joy of planting a garden with your own hands, helping to care for it and then eating the food you helped grow. When living this simply and close to the earth in a day to day sort of way, there is a true magic and peaceful rhythm one experiences that cannot be substituted or experienced in any way other way. I deeply miss this connection to place, to land.

Having experienced these things myself ( Moss and I lived in a tipi for years at one point )it is my hope that Sage will have the opportunity to as well. This is difficult on the road. Yes, we can walk in the woods from place to place and explore many and diverse habitats as we travel, but it is not quite the same.

I guess what I am saying is, I am feeling a bit like it may be time to try to lay some roots. In my ideal world we would have a home base, somewhere wild and remote, preferably in a community but not necessarily, where we could grow a garden and build a cobb house. A place with lots of trees, a pond or stream and a nice sunny, south facing meadow. From there we could travel part of the year in the bus, maybe even leave the bus at times and travel internationally by foot, wagon or boat.

So, we are putting that out there in the universe as our prayer, that we find a piece of land someplace wild and full of magic. A place where we can lay some roots and grow a garden, at least for part of the year anyway.

One thing is for certain though, neither Moss nor I could ever settle down permanently. We both have the heart and spirit of a gypsy nomad. I have known since early childhood that I was destined, for better or for worse to spend a good deal of my life wandering, seeking out the dsuty, remote and wind swept corners of the earth.

Gypsy, rolling stone, nomad, wanderer, tinker, us what you will,we have been called by many names, but one thing is true, most people who wander relentlessly do tend to feel this call from a young age. You know who you are. Keep in mind, this nomad that I write of is quite a different animal than the one who enjoys frequent trips, usually pre aranged via travel agents, to resorts all over the world. For the true nomad it is more about a way of life. There is also a kind of frantic yet aimless quality to the travel. It is rather like you are racing to experience as much as life has to offer in the short amount of time given

When ignored this calling for the road only gets louder and louder until you find your thoughts increasingly filled with images of travel in all forms, train hopping, bus conversions, gypsy wagons, RVs, hitchhiking, sailing. Before you know it your drifting off at work or school, unable to concentrate as you continuously design and redesign the perfect bus conversion or gypsy wagon in your head.

As much as I love this wandering life, at the the same time I have always been a homebody, believe it or not. In fact I am probably the biggest homebody I have ever known. I would much rather sit in the bus and read, work on felting, watch the fire or clean than go out to a movie or friends party.

It's true, I am a basket of contradictions and somehow I must find a way to marry these two sides of myself, the side that wants, no, NEEDS to keep moving and traveling, with the side that wants to be grounded and have a home base.

I believe I have found the answer and now we just need to manifest it in the form of a piece of land or community....

Every Sunday this group of Veterans gather on the beach in Santa barabara and put up this memorial to the fallen soliders of the Iraqi war. One cross for each person. It is heartwrenching..

Sage enjoying the beach in FL, who by the way, is now walking fully at ten months ! In fact, she is running !

Camping on the beach , we have a nice view....

Our friend Sunshine drew this picture for sweet pigeon Palomino, no longer with us..

Sage peers from the bus window....