Thursday, May 31, 2012

Check Point

As our trusty mechanic, Jim says, it's time to

"Check your oil.  Check your tire pressure.  Check yourselves."

We on the space bus have been talking a lot about how the moment feels like the closing of the first chapter of the trip, and the opening of another.  We are comfortable with each and patience abound within the family.  We are all beginning to get a grip on our personal struggles and to define our personal goals, and encouraging and supporting one another in all this.  Problems on the bus these days seem to be external, rather than internal, which almost make them not problems, because what is a problem up against six creative and optimistic heads, hearts?

We've made our current priority the addition of a veggie oil system to Loki, so we might have a chance at affording to continue our quest across the country later this summer.   The list included a tour of our neighbor's veggie school bus (front engine, 90s), research on what system would work best for our old girl (rear engine, 80s),  finding a suitable mechanic or enough people who know what they are doing to help us, then to install a veggie filtration system, extra tank, heater and additional fuel lines to the engine.

Yesterday I spoke with Dr. Dave, veggie oil man in Asheville, yesterday, and worked out a deal where if we pay him for parts and labor, he will not only convert our bus but teach us how as he does so.  Great!  Because we were nervous about paying someone to convert Loki and then not having a clue about how to troubleshoot and maintain the system.  Dr. Dave is well reputed in Asheville as a guy who knows his stuff, recommended to us by a girl who converted her own bus and another guy who runs his own machine shop in the river arts district. Says the tank, the kit, and some additional valves are going to  run us just under 2,000, and figure 15 hours at 80/hr in labor.  So onto our list goes the task of raising 3,000 dollars in the next month. Today I will make headway into a brand new kickstarter page with which we will fundraise just for Loki's operation.

The first priority indicates it's time to leave Burnsville and head to Asheville, where lie the resources.  Which brings us to the next overdue project...thanking everyone who has made our stay in the Burnsville area so rich, rewarding and enjoyable.  So we threw a party last night on the farm!  A potluck, in honor of our Philly roots and a Southern tradition, and everyone we know from three towns was invited.  Fried chicken, and sliced watermelon, and soup with the greens Jeff and Brad and Max and I weeded for down the road, peach moonshine and pasta salad, an evening jam around the piano in the trailer bed still hitched to the truck, a fire and old sing-alongs underneath a huge Carolina night sky.  Much laughing, hugging, strong voices, love, gratitude.  One huge family all together, who we know we will come back to now and again. 

There's talk of reevaluating our mission statement, paying special attention to the transition between our intentions leaving Philly and our understanding of what we are after now.  The trip took us, in many ways.  We have been so much in the moment every day for the past five months that the journey has molded our values, dreams, perspectives a little each day. As a result, what we say we want today is much closer to the truth than it was five months ago.  It is still community, still to live according to values we develop through experience, rather than scripture, still a better understanding of unconditional love, and even more so today than ever to nurture our creativity and gifts to the world.  We are still looking for a space to ground the community, rooms of our own.  I think our mission has evolved to include the very important need to be ourselves, check in often with what we want as individuals, make sure we are giving ourselves permission to be it, do it, find it.  That, we have learned, is when a community functions best, when communication becomes second nature and cooperation not a hurdle.  We have not, as we thought, been able to squeeze extra travelers on the bus comfortably, but we have much more than we thought shared creative space and projects with others as our paths intersect along the way.  Local and healthy eating have become much more fundamental to our vision for the trip and especially for the Someday Space, wherever it puts down its roots.  A farm is most definitely on the blueprint, now.

I would add to our mission statement and current priority list CONNECTIVITY.  One of our surrogate road moms, joy, used the word when she was describing what is important to her in her life now, by the campfire last night.  We have been so blessed with being raised by supportive families, by our Fuhrly extended family back in Philly, by each other, and by all the adoptive siblings, parents, guardians who we have picked up throughout this trip.  Our network is such a special one, and so enormous, at this point, I think we must be very committed to nurturing it, reviving it often with correspondence and visits.  I'm not sure we would be successful at what we are trying to exemplify without such a magical family, and to lose touch would be taking our very foundation for granted.  And I certainly want to be a part of this family as it grows, which it must.  I am going to compile a master contact list for Loki in the next couple of weeks.  So, if you would like to be added to it, please send whatever contact info you would like us to have to If not,  I will come find you!

Thanks for reading, family.  Be well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

special moments

"they said we were just people"

Here is the beginning of a story I am writing; you will have to follow along for X amount of time to know it all! Love, rabbie.

They said we were just people, but I knew better than that. We were magical creatures flying through space and time on our space ship knowing it was not really space and time at all, but an illusion. All that really means is that we were aware of the fact that our lives were just ours, in our own hands, and so we treated them so. This is not the way that other humans were acting, for it was in a time of great selfishness and corruption that we began that glorious journey. All we really wanted to do was be free, and all I wanted to do was to make my own reality reflect the dreams that had been dwelling in my head for years.
            These were dreams of self-sufficiency, dreams of understanding the Earth well enough to live right from it, hands dirty and calloused, and a true symbiosis of respect. But alas, I was reminded time and again of the industry and social standards present in those times, and though I wanted to wash them away with one swipe of a damp rag, I couldn’t make those things disappear. All I could do was keep on, the gypsies and I in our shambled caravan, and hang on tight to all we held dear. Many times, this was each other, and other times, this was our own fleeting feelings of stability.
            I suppose it would be a lie to say we knew what we were doing. In fact, everyday was a surprise, and often a great one at that. We kept being handed gifts that just poof! dropped out of mid-air. Some call this synchronicity, or the universe looking after us. I thought we were leaving a pretty good karmic trail behind us, and I felt like we were getting what we deserved ( and not getting what we didn’t ). Maybe “deserve” isn’t the right word, because who can decide that? I suppose only yourself or someone else, but I’m tired of other’s projections of us. Dirty hippies, wandering nomads, merry minstrels, furry freaks – whatever we were – it was all love and a good amount of struggle, but always unconditional love. I never knew 6 people so in love. We taught each other about one another and everyone taught me about myself. It was uncontrollable, continual growth. Sort of felt like some sick form of self-inflicted torture at times, but only because we had to be so open, so honest that it hurt, but this made for good kinship.
            So there we were whirling and swirling down the East coast into an unknown abyss of oblivion and it was all very exciting. Sitting up on the edge of the front seats in that 48 year old hound of a vehicle, all 35 feet thrusting forward down the highway, chug chug chug, silver and red, maxing out at 55. 55, that’s as fast as we ever got, but I swear there were times we were traveling the speed of light. The captain seat was a good one, too. Going through tunnels was like going through vortexes. And all of everything rocked back and forth like in a big boat at sea. Our house on wheels was as rickety as a rocket soaring through the sound barrier and it all stayed in place with bungee chords.
            The chords to our soundtrack were Bobby Dylan and old timey jams, paving the musical pathway to heaven. Woody said it, it’s a hard travelin’, I thought you knowed. There were times of seemingly eternal blobbing out, tired of it all. Had had enough, dammit! But alas, it was always love when it came pummeling back down to it. We had to keep our heads in the game or we’d lose it for sure. Lucy, our girl she powered on down and we rolled into Asheville and right into the corner of someone’s fence. It was 3 in the morning and we were all just zombies, exhausted from a day of being stranded in a grocery store parking lot for hours with a dead battery and then a 5 hour drive. It got confusing and we parked on the side of a random residential road and slept the night. Luckily the next morning we found a fellow bus-dwelling hobbit named Forest that pointed us in the right direction. Into town it was! Our first stop was Jack of the Wood, a leafy bar full of bluegrass music and solid local beer. I drank so much of that beer, it mighta been the best damn beers I ever had, or ever wanted. The music was damn good too, different musicians every night. We busked a lot around town, then spent a couple of bucks on some tea and coffee to warm up our fingers.  It was good money; it’s a busker’s haven down there.
            There was all sorts of characters on the street, including 73 cents. He wore a sequin shirt and carried around a broken guitar, askin’ for 73 cents. One day he got real close up to Marlin and Jed, right in their faces, and said “WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” And then paused dramatically, “I mean, wee.” We hit ‘em all by storm, and stumbled drunkenly around town at night hootin and hollerin and dancin honky tonk like.
            Everything was going all right in Asheville, we definitely found a groove in there real quick. I’d say it was something like getting caught in a tornado of beautiful minds and exchanging our knowledge left and right, warmed by a wood-burning stove of a house full of books and wonderful folks.  People are strange, and so are we. Works out well. God I couldn’t believe all the amazing books that filled that wood floored, rocking in a chair of a living room. Herbalism, sustainability, why capitalism sucks, foraging, DIY everything…all you really need? Almost, anyway.
            We must of been there a month, swirling in and out of random absurdities. Jed walks around with his banjo, I find myself smitten with a rat named Lily that I sometimes carry around in my shirt. In fact they all carried rats and dogs and other furry loves of theirs. There was one night we had the bus parked in a random abandoned gravel lot off the side of Patton Ave, a fairly busy and sort of industrial road, one of the main ones into town, and learned of Tommy Two Tone. He was a rather skinny homeless bum, riding around the bus on his bicycle for days, we couldn’t quite figure him out. Esmeralda opened the door with the lever and asked what his deal was and he biked away, mumbling something. Eventually he came around and swooped Marlin, Tuki and Bok into a sermon of his own. “It’s all one. There’s no problem. Nooo problem. We’re all friends. All friends.” He said as he entered the bus. We were all a little weary. I was afraid he might spontaneously combust or something and wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to be sitting so close to him, but really that’s all he said, “We’re all friends here. There’s no problem. All friends. Noo problem.” He said the lot was land he partially owned, and that we could stay there 3 more days. Sometimes creepiness compels you to move on, and so we did. Tired of being aimless and kicked out of everywhere, we decided to head for the mountains that had been teasing us in the distance, 360 degrees of glorious lust that I’d been eye balling all the time. And we immersed ourselves within them.
            Perched on our hippie paisley handmade cushions Esmeralda and I had sewn months before, I anxiously awaited trees, grass, and dirt. Fresh air. In fact I ached for it with my every being. Truth be told, I’m not much of a city person, I never was but didn’t know it until I moved from farm-lush and open south Jersey and moved to Philly for 4 years. No, the city is no place for me. It makes me feel trapped and I crave green and yearn for luscious open expanses.  It’s really the clusterfuck of chaos that just drives my head mad. Too many people, too many things, just too much stuff. It’s mayhem. And when I am in and amongst the great glorious flora and fauna of this Earth, I fell more whole, more centered, more focused, more content.
            It was especially entertaining when we were parked on an incline and we would put our drink down on the table and it graciously slid itself towards me. It was rather courteous of the table, I suppose, but sleeping was a bitch and always made my back sore when we weren’t flat.  We listened intently to the Doors and determined it sounded like robot space sound. Rather confusing, really. O! And a hint of the Beach Boys! “Every instrument has this weird, crunchy space tone.” Jed said. “Hello! Helloooo! Hi! How ya doin!? Hello!” and he waved. The ants were endless. be continued.

Monday, May 14, 2012

wooooooooooooooossssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh goes the wind

The past few weeks..................I've been doing some self maintenance. Well, maybe more like complete rearrangement from the inside out. It's pretty hard to rearrange your insides, considering they're so stuck and wedged in tight little gooey places. Just when you think you know yourself, you really don't, and then when you do, all you can say is: "Holyfuck! This shit is crazy."

The farms are blissful for me. Trees, mountains, dirt; it's all aces in my book. It's my head that drives me mad, and the scenery doesn't seem to change that. I've challenged myself to a duel with....well, myself. Trying to address the parts of me that I'm not content with, the parts of me that are in such physical and emotional pain, the parts I sometimes feel like I have no control over, but want to learn how to control because really, I've got a lot of work to do in ways I didn't even know existed before. This way of life I've embarked on has opened a lot of doors, and I am a curious creature that has to open all of them. So I'm hopping around like a madman from door to door to door, creeping in, rolling around, singing songs, and bursting out and into the next one. It's been impossible to relax, and talking has never been so hard in my life. I took a day off from verbal communication a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. I felt no pressure, and still communicated well with everyone around me. This, I've decided, is of ultimate importance to me. Forcing each other to depend on words to communicate all the time is too much, and we forget how capable we are of understanding in other ways. There are days when I am completely consumed by pain in my whole body and fogginess in my head (thank you, chronic lyme disease, I think) that it feels like I will never heal and it's too hard. But really I just need to allow myself the time and attention to do just that; to heal. We can never neglect ourselves.

We have this conversation all the time with each other about what it's like to be the freaks. That is so say, what it's like to live outside of the "social norm," in the romping gypsy way that we do, and I've never been so disoriented in my whole life. Even though this feels more right than anything else I could be doing, I've felt confused and at a loss so much of the time. This, I can tell, will be an extremely important lesson if I can manage to finagle through it. There's something really powerful and humbling in putting yourself in the middle of chaos and just letting it ride to see what happens. I recommend this to everyone. So many people tell me they wish they were doing what we're doing, or don't think that they can. I think everyone should just do it in whatever capacity that means to them; step so far out of your comfort zone that it hurts, and then you can really know yourself. If we're always comfortable with who we are, how do we learn? What's the point?

It's not all daisies and roses all the time, but I don't think it'd mean much if it was. We plant, grow, blossom, whither, die, and become dirt for new birth. It's genuine.

                           O, and I'm learning to juggle!



Everything is a part of a whole and giants

Looking for virtual anonymity finding pockets to breathe.  Closing our eyelids around galaxies almost getting there.

Underwater pitching riding waves together, screaming our joy and fear of too much,

hearing it together

and screaming our trust. Go giving not searching or you'll not see what you want.  But you were you with out me and that's where we give from.  Even when damn I'm trying to believe in me is what gets us shaebing.

It hurt then; we were growing stronger.  Our heart muscles burned from the exertion of trying and trying again.  We practiced hugging ourselves better, though our thoughts lingered on holding each other. 

We grew for people's bellies as we ourselves became giants, hoping it would all just slow down.  Bent, releasing what we thought necessary for the sake of a good stretch, creating space in our new cloud castle.  Welcoming whatever face shows up on the page of the next chapter.

Leaving without going anywhere

staying and being anywhere, everywhere else.  

I know what you meant!  We come from giants!  We live on giants!  The giant is our swollen potential!  We are becoming giants again, and returning love to everything, everywhere, always.

Inching toward infinity, we ride the sunset.  (Jesus was an anarchist and we all come from the sun.)

Everything, everywhere, always love.  Love everything, everywhere, always.

KeRDieekrDAAD May 12 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The next move

The Loki crew talked a lot yesterday (and will continue the dialogue today) with each other and Jared, our host here, about our ideas and plans for what happens next.  Things are moving along well here at Snaggy Mountain, but Jared needs space to invite more WWOOFers to rotate through and work with him throughout the summer.  As for us, our quest for the right space and community for our personal visions of home to take shape.  The conversation resulted in a rough plan, which we will be fine-tuning over the next week, to get as far as we possibly can on the conversion to a veggie-oil system in the next month.  We will be looking for a new destination to aim for by mid-June.

To Do List!

1.  Set up a kickstarter page to raise money for the conversion.  We are looking at about 1,000 dollars, including transportation to and from the local scrapyards and Asheville, parts, and potentially labor if we find any mechanical work we cannot accomplish ourselves.  We will be working out the estimate more specifically in the next few days once we:

2.  Phone calls to the list of mechanics, conversion-graduates, and bus people; compile research and figures.

3. Field trips to scrap-yards with our neighbor Gwyn, who converted her schoolbus Elsie herself, look for parts.

4.  Help Jared get the rest of the apple trees, potatoes, and herbs in the ground.

5.  Jackie is finishing her last few commissions and make a trip to the post office! Woohoo!

6.  Network in the area, see if the next destination is a farm in these parts, or back to Asheville, or somewhere in the wide world!

7.  Build dining table and:

8.  Plan and throw a Welcome to Snaggy Mountain dinner for all the amazing people we've gotten to know in the community.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Welcome to Snaggy Mountain! Phototour

 Max and Jack built a mailbox so you can send us letters!
156 Joe Young Rd.
Burnsville, NC
walking up the drive to the Bus Stop, you pass the lower barn and our neighbor Gwyn and her yellow bus Elsie

our front yard...a breakfast gathering around the fire pit Max built, Kaley doing dishes at the dish station she and Jeff set up.

Jack painted on a table she found in the barn, and Max made a chandelier out of bike parts and some pretty jars he found in a barn

Jeff the Baller.

Rabbit made the back deck of the trailer beautiful with some vines and fallen branches

Max and Jack built the outhouse for the composting toilet.  Saloon doors so you can feel like a cowboy :-)

This is Max's scarecrow friend.  He protects the blueberries and strawberries up in the field.

 The other day, Jackie let Brit go to town with the scissors before she shaved her hair off.   

 The good life. (Dogs, wine and basketball)

Snaggy Mountain Mornings

I wake up on the ridge under some mosquito netting to a burning pink sunrise over blue mountains.  Hang up my sleeping sack, zip up my bag, and hike down to the farm. Cow paths, dodging thorns and patties all the way down the hills.  Fried eggs and taters, oatmeal, and coffee over a breakfast fire next to Loki.  Joined by Max and Rabbit and Brad.  All I need to do today is paint and photograph this place for our family that isn't here to see it.  I think the others will be weeding up in the field.  If the tractor comes today we can plant the potatoes.  Our big dreams are fulfilled through simple purposes these days. We have space to dance.  Lots of light, clear minds, happy bus crew.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Snaggy Mountain Magic

So here we are, helping our new brother Jared bring his farm and visions of community into the world, finding our rhythms and purposes out of utter freedom and all the space we could ever want, nesting and exploring and dreaming.  DOING!  Planting strawberries, blueberries, apple trees, asparagus, potatoes, raspberries.  Harvesting wild greens and learning about medicinal herbs in the 67 acres of pasture, orchard, pine thicket, forest, hills, mountains right outside Loki's front door.  Making sanctuaries for ourselves, enjoying the option of space, and the stronger bonds that creates within our family.  Balancing.  Painting, weaving, writing, making music, drawing.  Building from salvaged and found materials...a mailbox, and outhouse, a basketball court, a scarecrow, rails around a new deck.  Stretching, doing headstands, cartwheels, hiking, running, swimming, jumping, stargazing.  Dancing!  Basketball, soccer, hackey, fetch.  Dogs everywhere.  Travelers passing through, helping out, playing with us.  Cooking over the fire.  Fresh homemade bread every day.  Designs for a chicken coop, outdoor kitchen, dining table for the hilltop, a festival?! 

Love to everyone, photographs when the internet is faster in these remote parts.  Jackie