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

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....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Arrival of New Friends and the Passing of an Old One....

It's been many a moon since I last updated, or so it seems anyway. After spending a month or so up north in Oregon rambling about and visiting with friends ( where we had on going and seemingly never ending computer woes, hence the delay in updating the blog ), we headed down south again just in time for Moss's court date.

Once again, it was delayed until April 9th. We contemplated driving back up north to wait it out, but alas, it just did not make sense to drive all the way back up there only to turn around in two weeks and come back here. As of now, we are in the only place in southern California that we find to be the least bit tolerable, the Santa Barbara and Ojai region. Here we will remain until April 9th, when Moss's trial begins, hopefully for real this time. After that we can go back up north for an indefinite period of time. Due to the high cost of bio fuel we will have to stick to even more regional living than we normally do, in an effort to save money. That means spending extended periods of time living within one region, seeking out free and low cost campgrounds and out of the way places ( there are lots in Oregon!). Once we get the veggie system up and running again we will be able to ramble aimlessly once more. Hopefully this will happen in time for the national Rainbow gathering in July. While here in C.A we are enjoying the wonderful sunny weather and Moss is earning a few extra dollars working some good initiatives, one of which is another great alternative energy initiative.

Since Sage is now nine months old and is actively crawling and standing (in fact today she took her first forward steps without holding on!), we felt she needed a little play space of her own. We created an area in the living room of the bus, a shelf with some toys and a place for her high chair. It is not much, but she loves it and has great fun pulling all the toys off the shelf and tossing them around.

We have been trying to spend as much time in nature, real wild nature, not the manicured kind of nature that one may often encounter at the local park ( although that can be wonderful too !) as we can. The last few months, while up north I was very happy to have been able to go for long walks in the woods with Sage in the carrier. Here in Santa Barbara we enjoy regular walks along the beach and pier. She has so much fun waving to everyone and is working on saying her first word, "Hi". I have to laugh because she looks like a little parade queen in her stroller (which she now prefers to the sling carrier) waving and laughing at every single person. She really loves people !

We met another family here in Santa Barbabra recently, Sunshine, Dylan, and their two boys Timothy and Trace. They have given me permission to write about them, which is nice as we meet many fascinating people but so few will allow us to take pictures or write about about them on the blog ( which I more than understand and appreciate.) They live in their RV, and have begun their nomadic journey within the last year. Sunshine is pregnant and expecting her baby around June 4th ( Sage was born June 9 th !). They are such a loving and kind family. Sunshine is a talented artist, she sings, draws and makes beautiful art from recycled stuff that she finds. Dylan is talented musician who plays guitar flawlessly and knows every song you would probably care to hear. I have been helping them get their blog and Etsy shop set up. You can check it out here,

I have some sad news to report as well, Palomino, my sweet pigeon friend has passed away. I tried her for days to help her, but she died on Easter Sunday from a combination of head trauma and canker ( a protazoan parasite). I am very sad and do not care to go into the details at this time. My friend Sunshine drew a beautiful picture for me commemorating her life. She is still working on it and when she finishes I will post it here. It means so much to me.

As much as I enjoy this area ( as cities go anyway) I am eager to get out of the city and back into the mountains or on the beach. In a few days Moss will take a break from working and we will head into the mountains around here and camp for a while near the hot springs, or maybe on the beach. I think we will take that opportunity to do a deep internal cleansing and fast as well. It will be a nice thing to do just before Moss's court trial and will help him remain clear headed and positive.Then, once that is all behind us we can head back up north for the remainder of the spring and summer.....

Sage enjoying her first strawberry.

The play space we set up for Sage.

Sage and Mom on the beach

A windy day on the beach..

Our new friends Sunshine, Dylan, Tim and Trace

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Legal Update and a Trip Northward...

Just a quick update to let you all know how Moss faired at his court hearing. He went to court last week and all went fairly smoothly. They allowed us to switch lawyers from the public defender to a private lawyer. Because of this the trial had to be postponed yet again, until some time in early March.

At this time we are preparing for a trip up north to visit our friends and the farm. We will have to be back in a few weeks though for the trial. This is all getting really old, although I have a sneeking suspicion it is not even close to over.....

While visiting with family, Sage helps dad play his banj-mo (cross between a dulcimer and banjo).

Fun in the basket...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Legal Saga Continues...

The New Year has come and gone and we are all doing well here in rainy southern California. We have to stay here until the beginning of Feuary, then we head North for more farm work.

Moss's pre trial date came and went in early January. They set a date for the criminal trial. It will begin on February 1st. I wrote briefly about the legal woes back when this all began, but in order to sufficiently update the saga, some more details are needed. ....

As some of you know who follow our blog, Moss was arrested a few months back for exercising his right ( protected by both the state and federal Constitution) to gather signatures of registered voters on a state initiative. He was in front of a certain big name store which I am not going to name due to the legal issues. It is a very well known and established fact that this activity is allowed any place that is "open to the public" and connected to other stores via a sidewalk ( like in a shopping plaza). This particular store chain knows this and has challenged this fact many times in court and lost, the ruling even being upheld by the supreme court. However they continue to find new and inventive ways to harass people working on state initiatives and registering people to vote.

Despite Moss's best attempts to talk to the police and store managers, including showing them the laws and cases upheld in superior courts, they threw him in jail and made us post 5,000 dollar bail. This by the way is the bail amount reserved for felonys, he was booked on a misdemenor.

At this point we went directly to a civil rights lawyer who agreed we had an air tight case. She is so sure that she is willing to take our civil case on contingency (meaning she doesn't get paid unless she wins).

First however, we need to get through the criminal trial, which is the scary part....

What makes it particularly scary is a man, a passerby who showed up while the managers were asking Moss to leave and interjected himself into the drama. He approached Moss and told him that the sidewalk was for "walking not harassing people with your damn initiatives " and that he should leave. Moss declined. He then got in his face and threatened to "kick his ass", to which Moss just ignored him and turned back to trying to reason with the store managers. At this point several of the store managers took him aside and began speaking quietly to him for some time.

While this was happening there was a woman present, the woman who was in the middle of signing the initiative when the managers first approached. She happened to work for a lawyer, and heard the whole thing from start to finish, including the interaction with the man who threatened Moss. When the cops came she tried to help by explaining to them that it was indeed his right to petition there, regardless of private property or not. They of course refused to listen and Moss was inevitably thrown in jail.

A week or so later when we got a copy of the police report we were stunned to read that the man who approached Moss and threatened him bodily harm, told the police that Moss had physically blocked him from entering the store! We also noticed that he was booked on a 602.1., "interfering with a business operator". A quick search on the net revealed that a 602.1 is the following.....

(a) Any person who intentionally interferes with any lawful business or occupation carried on by the owner or agent of a business establishment open to the public, by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on business, or their customers, and who refuses to leave the premises of the business establishment after being requested to leave by the owner or the owner's agent, or by a peace officer acting at the request of the owner or owner's agent, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days, or by a fine of up to four hundred dollars ($400), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

This is ludicrous of course as Moss did not harass or intimidate anyone. We realize however that this is how the store and police are attempting to spin the situation in order to legally arrest him, as they know they cannot simply arrest him for partitioning. We were very surprised to learn that this man has decided to go before the court in February and tell this lie. We however also have our witness, the woman who was in the process of signing the initiative and saw the entire interaction. She has agreed to testify on Moss's behalf.

There are a few other interesting points as well. In regards to the 602.1 there is a little clause at the bottom which states the following,

c) This section shall not apply to any of the following persons:

(1) Any person engaged in lawful labor union activities that are permitted to be carried out on the property by state or federal law.

(2) Any person on the premises who is engaging in activities protected by the California Constitution or the United States Constitution.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to supersede the application of any other law.

So, even if Moss had been physically blocking the man from entering the store, which he most certainly was not, according to this law, he could not be arrested for it. We brought this up to our public defender who in turn brought it up to the DA and we are awaiting his response.

We have also recently been made aware of the fact that this man, who has decided to go before the court and lie, is a retired police officer. This brings up a whole host of interesting possibilities.Was he working for the store undercover ? Was he a plant ?

The trial begins on Febu 1st and if found guilty by a jury Moss could go to jail for three months. If he is found not guilty we will then proceed with the civil trial and lawsuit.Currently we have a PD for the trial but we are quickly loosing confidence in her. Our civil lawyer said that she would take the criminal trial for us, thereby relieving us of our public defender who means well but is way over burdened with cases. She said they very rarely will take a criminal trial, especially on contingency, but she really believes in this case .

Going with the civil lawyer means that the trial will be pushed back another 30 days and that eventually we will have to pay a lot more money. The money saved will mean nothing though if Moss is in jail for something he did not do.

Both our PD and civil lawyer have mentioned that the area where this occurred is very conservative. The judge, as well as the jury is likely to be conservative as well. What's more is this particular station is well known for being corrupt. The lawyers even went so far as to mention, independently, that they would not be surprised if the store (located directly across the street from the main police station and courthouse)had favor with the court and police.

We came into this whole thing very naively, thinking that if a person is innocent, that is all they need, they will be found not guilty and justice will be served. However, we are becoming increasingly uneasy as we realize that this is not always the case.

I think the court blkif himself said it best recently.

At the last hearing Moss asked the judge (filling in for the previous one)to return the 5000 cash bail we posted six months ago. At the first hearing the judge ruled that she would return the bail under the stipulation that he must not come within 500 feet of said store. The bail however never came and as it turned out the court clerk neglected to write it down, so there was no record of it. Our PD asked the judge about this and he decided that, regardless of the previous ruling, since there was no record of this, the bail would not be returned until the conclusion of the trial. Moss questioned the judge about this and he did not take kindly to the questioning.

On the way out of the courtroom the bailiff whispered to Moss that he should not ever question the judge that way. Moss responded,

" You know what happened ! You were there, she ruled that the bail be returned. It's just not right.." The bailiff indicated that he did indeed recall.

" It's not about what is fair ", came the bailiffs almost aplogetic reply...

" It's about doing what they tell you " .......

Original painting entitled " Hypnagog " by Carey Thompson

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year !

We left the land in Oregon towards the end of November, with lots of hugs, sadness and promises of a speedy return, and headed south towards California. Along the way we stopped over near Mt Shasta for a few days, to visit with some friends. While there, on one of the nights the temp got down to 11 degrees. This was the coldest temperature we have ever endured in the bus and all things considered, it was rather comfortable. If we were to remain in those kinds of temps long term however, there are a few simple winterizing things we could do to make it much better.

The front of the bus where the stove is stayed very warm, but the back where we sleep was a bit cold. We realized that directly under our bed where have a storage area, is the only place we did not put insulation. That, coupled with the fact that the bed is surrounded by windows, is the main reason it did not heat up the way the front of the bus did. We blocked up all the windows near the bed with pillows and blankets and this helped a great deal. We did this during our recent stay in Oregon as well, as there were some real cold nights. For living long term in below freezing weather I think that some cut up wool blankets sewed into curtains and hung behind the regular curtains would be all that is needed.

Moss went to court on the 5th but the lawyers requested another extension. The new pre trial is set for January 7th. Sigh...these things can take a long time.

We celebrated Winter Solstice/Christmas/ Hanukah with Moss's folks and his sister's family. This is quite funny as they are all atheist Jews and Moss and I celebrate pagan holidays. We had a great time none the less and exchanged gifts, lit candles, sang songs, ate cookies. A merry time was had by all.

Sage was gifted a few nice wooden toys, Moss received a printer for his music Cd's and for myself some wool roving for spinning on my wheel and some pre spun yarn as well. I have been in a knitting frenzy lately, making wool soakers/pants to go over Sage's diapers.

I love my in laws dearly but they are such techno savvy geeks ! Since we have decided to definitely not do t.v, video games and electronic toys, this may present some difficulty in the future.I realize that it is unrealistic to think that we could shield her entirely from t.v, video games and the like, nor would I want to. Our goal is simply to limit her exposure while we are able to ( being careful, of course to not "demonize" it therby making it more desireable) and gently encourage her towards other intrests while still young. We do plan on introducing computers and movies, but not until she is 8 years or older and then only if she expresses and interest. Instead we will focus on exploring nature, making things with our hands reading and listening to the radio. It is not that I feel computers and movies are inherently bad somehow, I just question the effect they have on developing minds and imaginations, and feel they are best left for older kids and adults.

Speaking of my inlaws, I want to take a momment to help them out by shamelessly plugging their websites...

Moss's mom, Carol Ratafia has been in the art business for 37 years selling her paintings with her husband, Less, at art shows all across the nation. They have just put up a new website featuring her work,

Also, our brother in law Scott Mccloud, is a comic book artist and has a great website featuring his work,

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog posts...

As of January 9th Sage will be 7 months old. In late Decemebr she began crawling and now is quite mobile. She has also been having a terrible time with teething lately and after having tried everything, I bought her an amber teething necklace. These are very common in northern European countries where they have been used for centuries to help alleviate teething pain.The amber necklace, when worn against the skin gets warm and exudes an oil that is then absorbed into the bloodstream where it has an anti inflammatory affect on the gums.

It really does seem to work ! I am thinking of making these and selling them on etsy to help generate some extra income.

Speaking of..we opened a shop on etsy this month and I am happy to report that in the first week we made a whooping 435 dollars ! I sold my favorite needle felted guy ever, the elf in the green overalls on the top of the page, for 350 ! We also sold a beautiful pair of boots that Moss made and a small needle felted figure. This is very encouraging and we are now busy making more stuff .

We will be in California through January then we are going back up north to do some more work on the farm in washington..

Sage on solstice morn, playing with her new favorite toy, a silk play cloth..

The soaker pants I am curently knitting ....

Sage and her new amber teething necklace. These really work !