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

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Turn and Face the Strange Changes....

Brace yourselves folks, I have big news and you should be sitting down for this one.

Moss and I are having a baby and it is due June 5 ! I am 14 weeks pregnant at this time !

That's right, you did read correctly. No need to adjust your monitors or reach for your glasses. It is quite a shock to both of us as well, but a rather pleasant one. The truth is, we had decided some time ago that we would probably not have children. The last few years have seen us both soften a bit to the idea, but still, this is a BIG surprise.

We are both very happy and excited though and have been having a great time thinking up names and such. I rather like the name Sage, and Amaya is pretty too. Feel free to send in your suggestions as well !

At this time we are back in California, visiting with Moss's family for the holiday's and sharing our good news, then we head up north to Oregon. I really hate this area, people are so uptight and nasty about our bus. The law states that we can park anywhere in the neighborhood for three days then we have to move it, and drive at least a mile, before parking either in the same spot again or a different one. We have been very good about following this, yet the neighbors still continue to not only harass us but vandalize our bus ! They have spray painted on us, egged us repeatedly, stolen our license plates and put Crazy Glue in our locks ! I fear what will happen next . The cops said they have received dozens of calls, and it seems everyone in town knows of our bus and has an opinion.

The funny thing is, we have been in some very sketchy places, and never, ever have we been vandalized until this place. Keep in mind the area is rather upscale and was voted the safest place in the country a few years in a row. It has the highest concentration of retired cops of anywhere, and yet our bus is repeatedly vandalized ! I am really sick to my stomach about all this, and just cannot believe the amount of obnoxiousness the people in this area display.

We are thinking really hard now about finding a piece of land somewhere for a home base. We still want to travel in the bus with our child, but it would be nice to have a homebase, if even just an empty piece of land we could go to at times to lay some roots. Another option would be to find an intentional community somewhere to become part of, or at the very least renting a spot on someone's land where we can put up a yurt.

So many options ! Which one will we chose ? It's all so overwhelming.

I sometimes feel as though my life is like one of those "Choose Your own Adventure" books. You know the ones, there is a brief short story followed by several possible scenario to choose from. You make your choice and the story continues from another page according to the scenario you picked.

That's how my life is. Just a list of possible choices that I chose from, hoping, but never quite sure if I made the right one, and the only way to find out is to keep reading the book.....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Homeward Bound...

After spending a few months laying some roots and working in Santa Barbara, by late June, we were more than ready to hit the road.

So it went, on a beautiful June day, we packed up and headed towards Steamboat Springs Colorado and the National Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes...the largest, free, completely non comercial gathering of hippies, gypsies, freaks and nomads in the world.

Everything went smooth for the first few hundred miles, until just outside Las Vegas Nevada the bus began to sputter and cough, right before coming to a stop on the side of a very busy interstate in 111 degree heat. We tried for hours to get it to work with no luck.The cars were wizzing by at 80 miles an hour, inches from where we were working.

It was around 6:30 at night when we decided to take what little money we had left and pay for a tow. We called up the nearest place and they said it would be at least a two hour wait.


What could we do ? We waited, and waited, and waited..two hours stretched into four, then six..we called repeatedly and each time were assured they would arrive soon. Soon we saw the sky beginning to lighten and knew that sunrise was close at hand. The thought of sitting through another day of 111 degree heat was agonizing.

Finally, well after sunrise the tow truck arrives and takes us to the nearest truck stop. The cost was near 200 to go 5 miles. It was a good safe spot where we could stay for a few days if need be. The time was 11 am and already the temp was near 100. Moss wasted no time getting to work on the bus. He worked for hours, even as the temp continued to climb to 113 degrees. I have never felt heat like this in my entire life. The candles on the wall were literally drooped over, like a wilted flower.The birds sat with their wings outstretched and moths open. It's all I could do to stay concious. There was a small water bottle that we kept filled and I went around the bus constantly spraying everyone down, including the birds and Gaia. ..but Moss would not stop ! Sweat was pouring from his head, there was no shade and still he continued to work.

Honestly, Neither Stone or I understood how he was able to do this..but do it he did. Finally by late evening Moss had isolated the problem and fixed it. It was simply a small crack in the gasket on a veggie filter.

By early the next morning we were off again with filters fixed and full tank of veggie. Earlier in the year we were given a Garmin, gps navigation sytem. You just type in where you want to go and hit GO! and it takes you there,telling you by voice when to turn.It knows all the rest stops,food, gas stations, shopping centers. I managed to get the gps coordinates for the gathering and puched them into the garmin, and we were guided the whole way by this thing. We chose shortest distance , rather than fastest time setting, which also tends to be the more "scenic" route.

At one point we were guided 60 miles down a dirt road with washboards so bad we could go no more than 5 miles an hour ! The scenery was beautiful though, huge red rocks dotted with sagebrush ..which of course we had to stop to pick some of.

We arived at the gathering site around the 18 th of June...a very remote site in the rocky mountains, 10 miles down a dirt road and many,many miles from the nearest town. We were met at the front gate by a couple of older hippies with walkie talkies who informed us that the feds had a road block further down and that they were aresting, searching (with dogs)and ticketing people going to the gathering. Suprise suprise..

This back and forth between the forest service and Rainbow has been ongoing for years, with the feds trying everything possible to put an end to our first amendment right of freedom of assembly. In 1995, after losing sevral court cases to the family, it was ruled that the feds have the right to decide "time, place and manner restrictions". From that came this new rule that any gathering larger than 75 people required a free permit. The problem is that in order to obtain a permit, someone needs to sign it, which means taking responsibility for 20,000 plus people. Not only that, but rainbow has no recognized leaders or organizers in the way a religous group, the girl scouts or a festival would, so there really is no one to sign!

For more info on Rainbow legal battles ( it is quite intresting really..) go here,

After a brief discussion we all agreed to take our chances. We went about 7 miles down this windy mountain road until we arived at the roadblock..a bunch of green forest service trucks and uniformed forest service officials standing around.

They waved us down.

We stopped and opening the door with a big grin and playing dumb, we asked what this was all about. The woman forest service agent was quite nice and wanted to inform us that this was an illegal gathering and that, if we continued on we could be subject, at any time to arest or ticketing.

We thanked the woman, explaining that we had come a long way and that it was our first amendment right to gather on our public land and we would be going on. She nodded, we waved and off we went!

Unfortunately, for so many others this was not the case. At some point I guuess they received their orders and inevitably there were hundreds of arrests and tickets. So many in fact that they set up a makeshift courtroom at some remote forest service fire station, and volunteers at the gathering ( lol..we are ALL volunteers at a gathering) trucked bus loads of people out to make their court dates.

This continued for another week or so until they realized, as always that the wave of people comming in could not be stopped and to do so would require the national they gave up (or at leat reduced their ticketing activities) and all went well. There were some tense momment's however, especially early on when 200 gatherer's decided to confront a roadblock of police armed with riffles. The gather's joined hands and walked toward the roadblock, oming all the while.

The officers retreated.

Following is a link to some amazing video footage of part of the incident..unfortunately this otherwise peaceful act of civil disobedience is punctuated with highly provocatory and negative cooments from a disgruntled and obviously frustrated A Camper. Check it out..

Despite all this the gathering for us was a good one (excluding a week long toothache for Moss and a bout of stomach flue for me), we met many new friends and saw many old ones. Unfortunately my camera battery charger was lost and we were unable to replace it until recently, so the whole summer we were unable to take pictures.

After the gathering we drove up the backbone of the Rockies ( taking the back roads whenever possible), through some truly trecherous roads, some of which were still being made ( I'll try to get a video I took up) and into Oregon. We stayed at a free campground, right on the Mckenzie river, and down the road from Cougar Hot Springs, for about two and a half weeks. We stocked up..working like mad, making dolls and felt boots to sell at the Faerie Worlds Festival in Eugene. At the festival we met Brian and Wendy Froud, who both coomented that they really liked my work.I had a roving vendor pass and sold 1000 worth off stuff, many of which were custom orders.

We stayed a few weeks in Oregon, visiting with some friends, before meandering back down the coast via the 101 freeway bringing us full circle back to Santa Barbara, where we are at this time.

We are currently busy filling the orders taken at the Festval, basking on the beach and working another good initiative..lower tuition for Community Colleges. Our plans, as always are tenetive and sporadic.In afew weeks we may leave for Northern California, then head to the east coast so I can visit my mom, who is sick.

After that we need to decide on a place to winter over. Any suggestions ??

On our way to the gathering..a view from the captains chair..

At a rest stop in Utah.

Moss takes some time off from driving to enjoy the view ( wich you cannot see here, but trust 's a GOOD one) at a rest stop in Utah..

Casper enjoys a good stretch at the rest stop, after many long hours of bus travel.

One of my newest creatures, here shown enjoying a lovely lupine flower growing in Colorado.

On the main trail.Photo by,

One of the many fine kitchens at the Rainbow gathering.Photo by,

Looking across main meadow.Photo by,

Tipi Village. Photo taken by,

The G Funk Crew ! They actually made a full size Pirate ship stage out of downed trees, for the talent show stage ! You can kind of see it in the background. Photo by,

Main Circle. Photo taken by,

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Thank you all for the concerned emails regarding our well being ..we are fine, and no, we have not been abducted by aliens or run off to live with some remote tribe in the jungles of south America. The truth, I am afraid, is far less spectacular, but only slightly so..

Lets begin where I last left off, in Santa Barbara...

All told we stayed in Santa Barbara for nearly two months,...working very hard on the alternative energy and marijuana initiatives and saving green energy to get us through the year. We met some wonderful people and even managed to do a little bus work on the side.

Southern California has always been one of my least favorite parts of the country, in sharp contrast to it's sister, Northern California..which is one of my favorites. The last five years however have found me ( due mainly to financial and familial reasons) having to spend a good deal of time in southern California. Faced with this reality I have been trying to make the best of it, seeking out the quiet, wind swept places at every opportunity and observing the bizarre and sometimes shallow culture.

Santa Barbara is a very wealthy city, one of the wealthiest, yet oddly small and intimate. Because the cost of living is so high, the " middle class" is nearly non exsistent..the majority of folks are either rich, very rich or living on the street. What is intersting is how little physically divides the rich from the poor. In many of the other wealthy areas of southern would be hard, if not impossible for a homeless or rubber tramp to live at all, as it has been effectively rendered illegal to do so. This was recently the case in Santa Barbara as well. In fact there has been, for some time an ongoing war of sorts between the city, who want very badly to sweep the whole unsightly "homeless problem" under the rug (for the benefit of the tourists and locals) and local grass roots activists. What it really amounts to is class warfare of sorts.

In an effort to crack down the city has made it illegal to park anywhere from 2:oo am - 6:00 pm. In response, local activits have aranged a program where by one can get a permit to park for the night on several Santa Barbara county lots. In addition they are apealing the parking law..and so it goes..

For now, on any given day you will see a wide variety of vans, campers, rv's, bus's, shopping carts and rickshaws parked along the main street that borders the beach. Directly across, on the opposite side of the street you will find the million dollar resorts..and in them people who have paid unspeakable amounts of money for a room with a view of the ocean...not to mention the parade of rv's, bus', campers and shopping carts..

Many of the people we met seemed to harbor a deep seated resentment towards the "rich bastards" who live in the area, most notably in Monticeto (home to Oprah winfrey, among many other celebes ). We were warned repeatedly not to trust anybody. Well, as it happened we had the occasion to meet some of the folks who lived in the area, Montociteo in fact...

In order to respect the personnel privacy of individuals, I will not be using their real names.

I was sitting in the bus working on one of my sculptures, when an energetic woman with fiery red hair, popped her head into the open door to say hello, and that she loved our bus. I invited her in and we ended up chatting for a good 45 minutes. Before she left we found ourselves invited to a party at her home in Monticeto... She wanted us to drive our bus up to her home and park it there ( I found this particularly interesting as usually people are demanding that that we move immediately from near their house or they will call the cops). She would then have a party and an "open house" type tour of the bus. The idea was to educate folks about veggie oil, solar and other renewable/alternative energies. Since this was keeping in line with one of our original visions, we readily agreed.

The day came and we were met by, Dan, Brendas husband. He drove in front of us, leading the way as we followed behind in the bus. We soon found ousrselves winding through the narrow, steep hills of residential Montecito, passed sprawling mansions and palatial estates until finally reaching the home of our friends, a beautiful, earthy house, on a steep, tree lined street.

We parked and went inside, passed the courtyard/ gardens, and through the glass doors leading to the kitchen.

On the tables inside there was laid out many kinds and varieties of foods, dips, veggies, pates, cake, wine, juice, soda. We chatted for a time until soon, one by one, the guests began to arrive. We were introduced to each and every person as they arrived and gave "bus tours" when asked. We explained about the veggie oil system, solar energy and shared our vision with folks, coming from the heart as much as possible. Moss and I were, admittedly, a bit apprehensive and not knowing quite what to expect, but the genuine warmness and enthusiasm of the people soon allied any initial discomfort. Before long we found ourselves sitting in the bus welcoming a steady stream of people inside , sharing wine and heartsongs. Many of these folks were exceedingly wealthy, TV/Movie producers, writers, owners of large business's, musicians...

At one point in the night we were inside the house, enjoying the food and chatting, when suddenly Brenda steps forward and rings a bell. The room becomes quiet as all turn their attention to Brenda, who then proceeds to announce us as the "guests of honor". Their is a donation jar up front, she explains and she would like it if folks would donate to our bus project.

Moss and I were stunned, frozen between fork fulls of food (which we were now almost choking on) as the room fell silent, all eyes were on us.

This was totally unexpected.

"uh..well...gee".. I stammered, taking the fork from my mouth and setting my plate down slowly.

I am VERY uncomfortable with public speaking , I could feel my face burning and my mind freezing up.Moss came to the rescue though, thanking everyone and saying a few words about our vision of a sustainable lifestyle, and how all the things we have tried to incorporate in our bus, and much more, can be applied to a stationary house as well.

After the party we stayed over, chatting long into the night and enjoying our new friends. We had a lot in common. One of Dan's favorite bands is the Incredible Stringband, as it is ours. We showed him our DVD copy of Be Glad for the Song Has No Ending, and he delighted in the old footage, saying it brought back many memories for him. He also was a fan and friend of Joni Mitchell, as am I (a fan that is..).

We ended up staying over a few days before then saying goodbye and heading back to reality in Santa Barbara. I am sure we will continue to keep in touch with them as it is quite obvious they are kindred spirits and literally some of the most loving and joyous people we have ever met.

Another amazing person we met was Jason and his dog friend Dakota. Heir to a family restaraunt business in Texas, Jason gave it all up five yeas ago and set out on foot with Dakota. When I say gave it all up I mean gave it All up! He gave away all his possessions and created a rickshaw from some bike tires and scavenged wood. He then set out on foot, from Texas, to walk across the u.s...taking odd jobs here and there , moving at his own pace and camping in secluded areas on the edge of towns. What always impressed me about him was how incredibly articulate and clean he was. It's not that I think there is anything wrong with a little natural road dirt, and I know first hand how hard it can be to keep fresh on the road..but he always was. He always had a sparkle in his eye and some words of inspiration to share.The three of us shared many days relaxing on the beach, collecting shells and engageing in some great conversations. When we last saw him he said he was heading out that day..walking to the redwoods.. a life long dream of his. I know we will see him again somewhere down the road.

Meeting Jason brought to mind another intresting nomad we once met..

Years ago, while on our way to the Wyoming Rainbow gathering we saw a strange sight on the side of the road. We saw what looked to be an old wooden gypsy wagon, a few on them hooked to together, with what seemed to be a train of donkeys pulling it. Walking next to the donkeys was a small bearded man in his 60's ( later we found he was in his 70's) wearing an engineers cap and red suspenders. We stopped to introduced ourselves and chat for a bit. His said his name was John and he had been on the road with his donkeys for close to thirty years. He said that he travels the western us walking along side his donkey's. In the coaches that they pulled was everything he needed to live sustainably. He had chickens for eggs and a goat for milk. In addition, he fished and took advantage of the abundant wild edible plants that grow naturally in the forests and meadows. In the spring he would approach a farmer and offer his services as a farm hand in exchange for a small plot to farm. Then, in the fall he would harvested what he grwew, canning and storing it in his wagons for the winter.

We were enchanted and fascinated by John..and talked long into the evening. He offered to teach us his lifestyle, teach us how to build a wagon and everything else...he WANTED to teach his lifestyle, to pass it on. We were very tempted, but at that time quite intent on moving to Oregon and living in a tipi. We wanted to lay some roots.

Seeing Jason, had brought all this back..and we are now seriously thinking, in a few years we would like to persue our old dream of traveling the states in a wagon,....carrying on the legacy of John Stiles. The only question is, do we do this before or after sailing the oceans in a pirate ship ?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

One of several beautiful beach's we have enjoyed in Santa Barbara.

Stairs leading down to the beach

A friend of ours and her amazing "smart car".

Anti war demonstartors on state street..Santa Barbara.

Many hundreds of UCSB students take part in a demonstration, sleeping outside, overnight on state street, in an effort to bring awareness to the plight of Ugandas children. Tens of thousands of demonstrators, in many areas of the u.s, also took part.

On a cliff, overlooking the beach. This shot stired up ancestreal memories of an ancient ireland.

Our dear friends Jason (human) and Dakota. Four years ago they gave up all worldly posseions, built a cart, and togeher began walking to california. We met them in santa barbara and shared many wonderful sunsets, on the beach engaged in conversation. They are now walkng north to see the redwoods.

I love the way windows on the bus create little framed sort of pictures, that change, depending on where we park. This is the picture created when parked for the night on the side of the road next to a gorgeous meadow.

So may wonderful ways to experience life !!

Building our Sofa/Tub in the back of the bus. When not being used for bathing, we flip the lid over, throw on some cusions, and we have a great day bed or soafa !

This is a shot of the fold out bench/table we made for the bus, in the locked position.

We have added another battery box and five gel batteries to our solar electric system.

The bench unfolded, ready for sitting, washing dishes or selling our wares..

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Computer Down AGAIN...

Just another quick note to say that Moss and I are not dead and that, yes, once again we are having computer problems. I am writing this from a pay internet machine in Santa Barbara. Our computer should be fixed soon and I will post an update detailing our adventures within the last month.

An intresting month here, to say the least, stay tuned....

Monday, March 13, 2006

Any Way the Wind Blows...

It's raining here in santa barbara where we now are parked.

This has resulted in us spending a greater amount of time indoors, curled up upon the window seat, watching the wood fire, sipping tea, practicing our insturments, reading, and contemplating things. It is actually quite nice. I love the rain and colder weather. I find these conditions to be most inspiring and creative of all for me. I enjoy snow especially. To me a winter and spring without snow and rain is like summer without the sun. I need this weather and ocasional times of hibernation, to help me incubate new idea's and create new works.

We moved from isla Vista to Santa Barbara (just a few miles south) beacause we are working a new initiative that is only applicable to those registered within santa Barbara city, proper.

It's another wonderful one....a marijuana initiative that would make posseion in santa Barbara a lower priority offense. Santa barbara, we are finding, is another little bastion for liberalism in southern california, as is Isla Vista. The people are amazingly kind and pleasant. In the State Street area, which we are parked near, the streets are full of musicians, street performers and travlers.

In the day we park for free, along with various other free spirited nomads in a day parking area right on the beach !! We can stay in this spot pretty much all day until 2am, then we must find a place for the night, until 5am...then it's back to the beach parking. I would much rather be in a forest or some other remote location, but work brings us into the city for now. As far as city living goes though, it is nice being right on the beach. State street, where we are working, is only a few blocks away, and we can ride on our bikes to it.

There is even free fire wood for our wood stove! The beach where we are parked is covered with bone dry pieces of beautiful, sun bleached driftwoods, perfect for the stove. Before we leave I plan on filling our wood box full of it, and keeping some as new percehs for the birds, as well as decoration. While I am at it, I will get a trash bag and clean up some of the garbage lying about...a nice way to give back.

Life is good here in Santa Barbara California !

Lately, we have been receiving a large number of both public as well as private emails stateing how wonderful our lives seem and how unhappy some say they are with their own lives and liveing situations, and how lucky we are.

I am concerened that people may be getting the wrong idea. Although our lives may seem idylic and even a bit romantic to some, the reality is that it is not always so. We have our own unique dramas, challenges, issues and karma to work through, just like everyone else. The unpredictablity of our income is a BIG one. Ocasionaly we have had to borrow money and/or rely on the kindness of others during a down time financially. However, when we are in a position to help others we try to do so, the best we can, thereby passing the good energy on. I know, it sounds very idealistic. However, it should be quite obvious by now that Moss and I are both prone to idealism.

To be honest though, I sometimes really enjoy the unpredictability of it all.I seem to thrive on it in fact.

You see, although it doesnt seem so, life is really lived momment by momment. Everything changes and nothing is permanent. People, situations, everything, is in a constant state of flux. When a person realizes this, there is a tendecy to feel, at first, despair and sense of pointlessness to it all. This can cause some to give it all up, live in a cave and become a renunciate, hindu sadhu, budhist or christian monk, hari krisha disciple...most spiritual paths have their equivalent.

Others however, like myself, chose simply to make a mental note of all this and try to enjoy life, yet remain unatcahed and ever aware of the transient nature of it all. I try to experience every secound as magikal and wonderous as the next ( you remember that feeling as a child, dont you ? ).

It certainly doesnt always work out that way, as I am particularly prone to moodiness and momments of extreme drama, but then, I just wait for the next momment, and all is good and brand new again....

Moss and Gaia on the beach in Isla Vista.

The view from inside a cave, on the beach..

A rainbow after the storm ....

Moss snaped this pic of me engrosed in dulcimer practice. Many people have been asking "what is that "thing" on my head, and why do I always wear it ?" To answer the question, I am attempting to grow my dreadlocks back after cutting them off a few years ago. The bandana, or a hat, is used to help the hair matt and lock together. I really do prefer to keep my hair very short..but I am finding the cost and maintenence involved in maintaining short hair to be quite annoying. Especially when compared to the many years( all of my adult life)of haveing dreads, which require virtually no maintenence to deal with..besides a vigorous shampooing once a week..

Moss gathers wood from the beach for our woodstove...

We met a very nice fellow with two young boys that live and travel full time in this gorgeous bus. Moss and I have been thinking real hard about adding a small secound story as well..though we are not real shure weather we would do a vw top (certainly the easiest mathod) or a wooden or metal roof raise..

My newest creation..

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Keep On Truckin Mama.....

Here we are in the parking lot of a shopping center in Isla Vista C.A . Isla Vista is a small college (UCSB) town very close to Santa Barbara. This whole area seems to be an oasis of kindness and unabashed liberalism in the heart of a very conservative southern california.

We are working a few really, really excellent initiatives this year that we are SO excited about. I mean,these are the kind of initiatives that we are just more than happy to work on and be a part of under any circumstances.

In previous years this has not been the case. The initiatives wanting to get on the ballot have been ones that we would not want ever want to see on the ballot, hence and we did not work them. Whenthis happens we have to rely on other ways to earn a wage.... artwork, CD sales, odd jobs, bartering, luck,..

The first initiative is for Alternative Energy . This would encourage the research/development of alternative fuels in c, essentialy setting up an infrastructure for the industry. In addition, it gives grants /incentives for businesses and individuals to use energy efficient fuels and technology.It does this by putting a tax on oil production and using that to fund the programs. This initiative is just out within the past week or so, though I am shure you will soon be hearing a lot more about it. Hopefully it will be the beginning of similar initiatives all over the U.S, and the start of an alternative fuel industry in this country. If our federal govt refuses to take these issues seriously, then the states must take up the slack. Here is a link to more details about it,

The secound initiative, we are equally as excited about, is a clean water initiative that also goes for conservation, habitat restoration, nature education, establishing greenway coridors between existing parks, it also helps with sustainable community developement by promting "infill" in cities..and so much more. Here is a link with more details,

Basically, what we do is park for the day in the parking lots of various stores around town. We work the initiatives during the day from about 8 to 6. Because we do not work for anyone, and are considered "independant contractors" we get to chose our own hours. In the evenings we camp by the beach. So far, folks have been very receptive to the issues and the authoriites quite nice. That hasn't always been the case though...

Recently, we were in the town of Valencia and people were just so nasty. The Target called the cops twice within two months. This is something we have to deal with every season though, at least three or four times. You see most people, including the officers, do not realize that our right to gather signatures is a matter of free speech, protected by various state constitutions. The law allows us to stand outside the door of any store open to the public, on their property, set up a table, and ask for signatures on proposed state initiatives.

The intresting thing is that, we do not need their permission. This very often causes problems as the stores generally do not want us there. Further, the managers of the stores (usually a Wallmart, Target or other large chain) are ill informed in regaurds to the law. They try everything, lies, intimidation, to get us to leave. In many cases it seems they actually know what the law is but are purposefully told from higher ups to deny it, in hopes that we will be intimidated.

We have always stood our ground though, calmly explaining that we are allowed by law to be there (citing various court cases and codes) and that we will be nice and be certain to not block the doorway. Ocasionaly they will have been through it before with other petitioners, realize that we have called their bluff, and leave us be.Too often though it culminates in the manager calling the cops, and then we have to go through this little dance with managers, cops and sometimes the city attorney.

This can go one of two ways....

If we are lucky, about 75% of the time, the officers are familar with this obscure law, and will inform the managers that we are well with in our rights.The difficulty arises when the officers are either unfamilar with the law, do not believe us, or are too obstinate to look into into it further. They try everything, essentially a more agressive version of what the store managers do, to get us to leave. Often they form what Moss and I have come to term the "huddle", a gathering of several store managers and two or three cops, brainstorming every conceivable way to bust us.

They threaten repeatedly to arrest us, they insult, lie and intimidate us....all the special techniques reserved for use on thieves, rapists, murderes and other criminals. The only difference is, we are none of those things and the law really is on our side in this case.

Eventually the officer wonders why it is they have failed to shake our confidence and why we are so willing to go to jail over the issue. At this point the coyly call the city attorney, are told that we are within the law, and we are inevitably unhandcuffed to continue our work. The funniest thing is watching the smug look on the astonished managers face disapear as they are told we have every right to be there.

Only a few times have we been actually placed in the back of the car in handcuffs, and never have we been officially "read our rights". Others have however and hefty lawsuits were settled against both Walmart and Target for obstructing free speech. If someone ever makes the mistake of actually fully arresting us, we have the names and numbers of lawyers experienced in this area ready to go.

We do try to avoid this at all costs however..

We should be done petitioning in May or June and hopefully will have made enough, combined with our other endevours (Moss's c.d sales and my wool sculptures) to get us through the rest of the year. We may even have enough to finish the water sytem ! Then we can focus the remainder of the year on our art and music.

Yesterday, after getting our computer back from the repair shop, we signed up for Verizons National Access, wireless internet program. We now are able to access the internet inside the bus as we travel !! Previously we relied only on our wifi card and the ocasional free hot spot to get on the net. Now we just insert this little card into a slot on the side of the computer, pay verizon 60 bucks a month, and we can get on the net for unlimted amounts of time at broadband speeds, wherever the signal can be reached !

We were also able to finally find a good bike rack for our bikes and a welder to weld it on the front of the bus for us. We are thrilled to have found him, as we have been looking quite awhile now for someone to weld us some storage bays under the bus, extend our battery box, make a new veggie oil tank and weld some racks on top.

All in good time though...

The officers and a few Target managers form what we call the "huddle"..or "what can we possibly do to bust them", brainstorming session.

Moss gathering signatures outside the K Mart..

The bus with bikes and new bike rack welded to front bumper...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A quick Note...

Just a quick note to say that Moss and I will be without a computer for the next ten days or so as it will be in the shop for repairs. So I apologize in advance for any unanswered emails.

Also, we have added a new section, by request from some readers. It is "About Us" on the left pannel and provides a more detailed profile of Moss and I, pictures of our tipi and yurt homes and profiles and pictures of our whole flock as well as Gaia, our dog of thirteen years.

We will take lots of photos and have many stories to tell at next update..

Namaste....two hands pressed together and held near the heart with the head gently bowed...namaste. A traditional gesture in the east upon ariving and departing. The hands, held in unison signify the oneness of a dual cosmos. The bringing together of spirit and matter, the self meeting the self.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Brick by Brick....

This week Moss and I spent some time visiting with good friends of ours in the area, and then house sitting for them while they vacationed in Hawaii. Jackie is a long time fellow bird lover and rehabber and it was a joy to house sit and take care of her many wonderful animal friends.

While there we also did much work on the bus as we were able to plug in our power saws and sanders. Moss started to build the partition for the bedroom area, built a storage box at the base of the bed and one on the far side of the bench in the livieng room. In addition to that we began work on the work table in the back and finished the faceing on some cabinets. I removed the top lights from the front of the bus and bondo'ed in the holes then painted over it, as well as doing some sanding and finishing work inside.

Monday we head to Valenica C.A to earn some money and work on a few initiatives. We will stay there in the area for a few weeks working and parking the bus at various spots around town dureing the night. Last we week we were able to finally purchase our two Trek ( Gary Fisher) seven speed mountain bikes ! This will make it so much easier to get around. Next week we will have enough to buy our bike racks for the front of the bus.

The following are some photos of the work we got done this week....

A view towards the now partially finished back, still needing be sanded/finished.

A view of the new storage box at the base of the bed ( also still needing to be sanded and finished though ). We will be building a wrap around bookshelf above.

Me painting, after removing the lights and filling the holes with bondo.

A view from in the bed loft,towards the front of the bus. The start of the workshop area also be seen. On the left is the start of what will be a closet. Above the work table will be a cabinet and T&G on the faceing plywood wall..

Casper and Joseph enjoying the view from inside their aviaries..

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Beat Goes On....

Happy belated new year everyone !

Our original plan of going to a nice boondock location and working on the bus has been scrapped temporarily. Instead we will be doing some initiative work in the state of california, northern and southern. This is good as it means money for us, money to finish the bus especially. Curently we have been going between helping Moss's parents fix their house to sell, camping out at various campgrounds and working and saveing money.

Being as this is the first month of the new year..I figure it is the apropriate time to re visit, and perhaps, redefine our original goals.

It seems like years since we left Washington state for Florida, where we did much of the work on our house bus. In reality it has been just a little over a year! Since ariving in ca in May, things have been going quite slow as much of our focus has been on working and makeing the money to complete the project.

Those of you who have read from the beginning may have wondered about the phase two of our plan. You know....the naive and idealistic part about how we are able to make a meaningful living, traveling the country selling our art and music at fairs and festivals.

Unfortunately, that part is not as straight forward as building the bus is, and until the bus is complete it is hard to focus on phase two. In the meantime, we have kept our day jobs gathering signatures on various state initiatives that we support. It is a good job that pays either by the hour or by the sig, though work is seasonal and highly unpredictable, at best. The greatest difficulty is finding good initiatives that we can truly support and can get behind. Often, the initiatives are very conservative or just plain obnoxious, and if we dont support it, we dont work matter what the pay. For this reason we often find ourselves haveing to pass up work.

We are planning on scheduling a few shows this year where I will go in as a roving vendor with a few wool sculptures, some handspun yarn and some felt boots. Because the sculptures take so long to make it is doubtful that I will have enough to fill a booth, so the roving vendor may be the best bet for me.

Moss is still putting together his solar powered, mobile recording studio and is working on a live show for festivals. Since most of the music on his c.d, Songs From the Electric Greenwood, is made by himself, playing the insturments then recording them as tracks, a live show has proven to be a complicated endevour. A live show however IS an essential ingredient if we want the music to truly get out there and be heard by the masess.

The mobile recording studio that he is putting together consits of a laptop with numerous professional audio recording programs, a small keyboard/midi controler, a firewire audio interface with preamps, a condensor microphone, a stero microphone and 4 portable solar pannels /battery pack to power everything. With this set up he can take all his recording equipment and insturments and walk off into the woods, canyons, meadows or mountains to record and write his new c.d. The idea is to capture the spirit and energy of the beautiful, wild places that we visit, a sort of "sounprint" of the enviroment. Plans are also in the works for a c.d of just the two of us, myself on mountain dulcimer and he on banj mo ( a combination of a banjo and a mountain dulcimer ).

Speaking of the dulcimer, I am so enjoying becomeing re aquainted with this insturment. I have played off and on for many years now. Although other intrests and endevours pulled me in different directions for awhile..I always knew I would come back to the dulcimer when the time was right, and that time is now. What a joy ! What a simple, intuitive and forgiving insturment! I encourage those of you who feel they could never play an insturment to try a mountain dulcimer.

As for the bus, we have finally been able to get some more cabinets built in the kitchen and we painted some more brown around the windows. On the ninth we will be taking a week off to do some more interior wood work and maybe finally install the water system.The shorterm plan is to work hard until late spring, working on the bus whenever possible. By then we hope to have saved enough money to complete the bus and get us through the rest of the year, along with the few shows we will be doing when possible.

Meanwhile, we continue to meander about southern California, working hard, seeking out the quiet wild places on the outskirts of the cities, at every oportunity....

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Camped out at a california state park..

Camped on the beach..the view from our window..

Moss serenading the ocean with his banjo.