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

Monday, August 24, 2009

Home On The Range...

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

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

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

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

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

Helping Sage adjust her wings..

Me in another of our new hats..

Sage giving her apple to Pan....

Helping out in the garden...

Looking very vouge in this pic..

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Spreading Our Wings....

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

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

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

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

A view from our kitchen window..

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

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

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

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

Sage among the flowers

Sheep inspect a new fleece..

Preparing fleece for washing....

Faunas..the gentle one..

Our humble abode..

Monday, May 18, 2009

Settling In....

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A trip to the oregon coast beach..

A trip to the oregon coast beach..

A view from our porch...

Sage helps feed the baby lambs..

Jameila, the mama....

My new Strauch "finest" drum carder...

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Enchanted Gypsy Has Landed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who knows ?

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

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

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

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

Our view of the meadow from living room window.

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

Feeding Tom.

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