leaving the farm

yesterday morning after a stressful beginning, the honey left the farm.  

here are the last few photographs taken on yeaw road:

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

last week i worked on cleaning the honey, gathering final material needed, reupholstered the couch, made a mechanic appointment, and hustled for work.  

yesterday morning i woke up early bought a battery, filled a gas can, and drove up to the farm.  the honey had an empty tank, a bunk battery, and had been sitting at the farm for months.  after filling her up and switching the battery, i turned the key to nothing.  i began to panic and asked judy what she thought, to which she had little advice.  then miraculously david franklin, who runs a dairy farm down the street, stopped by to pick some fencing up from judy and kindly helped me by moving some hoses around and getting it to spark while i turned over the engine.  the honey finally woke up from a deep slumber. 

i called the mechanic to tell them i would late for my 10 am appointment and began the 20 mile drive back down to franklin county.  when i made the appointment i told them i was driving across the country and wanted them to make sure she was road ready and to get her ready for inspection.

the mechanic called later in the day.  he basically said - it's a 30 year old vehicle, you could drive across country without any troubles or something could break, but for now there is nothing pressing.  i have never had a mechanic not give me a laundry list of items to fix/repair.  i felt relieved but also nervous... what about her not wanting to start this morning?  to which the best answer i can find is she's been sitting for a while. 

i asked him to fix the lights so we could pass inspection.  the honey is still there and i am sure he'll call me any minute to pick her up.  hopefully i can get her inspected today and then she is finally road ready and will be parked at my house.  once at my house, i'll wire the solar panels, put up the ceiling, install desktop, and begin the process of nesting.  

there are only a couple of weeks left before my intended departure date.  i feel it all.  and at moments, it feels like a movie i am watching, or something i am reading about someone else doing.  i am excited about all the work i will make, my new studio, the people i will meet, the beautiful places i will see, the friends and family i will spend time with, and the unknown.  i am terrified of breaking down, unexpected expenses, getting lost in a bad way, running out of money, sketchy situations, and the unknown.  the thing is: both will happen, exciting and terrifying things... but i know ultimately i will be okay, i will be better for it, i am ready for big things, i am ready for hard things because they beget worthwhile change. 

 

weekend at the farm

i spent the weekend at the farm caring after the few remaining animals, while judy was in maryland seeing her new house for the first time.  

between cleaning out the barn, running around in the rain after brunch on a hot day, moving fence and watering sheep, playing with kittens, watching idyllic sunrises and sunsets... i managed to get a few things done with honey.  

when i painted, i was careless and paint was everywhere.  so i sat on my hands and knees for several hours scrubbing the floor.  there are still some areas on the stove, hood fan, and around some windows.  i figure those can wait for awhile...

As you see from the photo below, i removed the fridge!  thanks so much nick z!  and today marlene, judy, and i loaded it up in the truck and sent it off to the dump.  since i took this photos, i have placed the batteries right next to that vent and built a battery box around them for the solar panel power unit.  i was so happy that vent revealed itself because it is crucial to have your batteries ventilated.  and today i put the first coat of paint on it.  

no fridge

i also bought an inverter!  it should arrive tomorrow, so i could be solar powered as soon as the weekend if things go flawlessly!  i went to the solar store, where i bought the panels and hardware, to get an inverter, but they didn't sell any.  and honestly they were not much help, telling me i would probably have to spend 900 bucks on one for my needs (a pure sine wave inverter 1000w -2000w peak- 12v).  but amazon sold me one for $170.  

tomorrow, i am going to buy a new battery and then call a mechanic to get it checked over and hopefully inspected.   this is going to be the next big stressful hurdle.  i wish it would have been taken care of months ago, but now is when its happening.  *** crossing my fingers this goes smoothly.***  please think about me and send vibes to make this process as simple as possible.  i would really appreciate some easiness right now.  plus, that stash is slowing being picked at and i need this mechanic/inspection visit to not deplete my funds more than necessary.   

here is a beautiful new addition to the honey that was totally free!!  old and gifted fabric! 

here is a beautiful new addition to the honey that was totally free!!  old and gifted fabric! 

and to ease that looming stress, there is always this sweet one lounging in the sun beams.  

and to ease that looming stress, there is always this sweet one lounging in the sun beams.  

having the honey at the farm has been really crucial to the narrative i am creating.  that land and that farm changed the way i wanted my life to look like, it made me questions by priorities, the way i spent my time, they way i worked jobs.  that land shook me awake to see i had been living an unintentional life.  and it made me change.  so building the honey there has been the best gift.  and i know this land hasn't just changed me, it has changed judy who has lived on it and cared for it for many years and now in just 28 days, she'll be leaving it forever.  despite this heaviness of change hovering over the farm, we are confronted with wonder:

a puddle of kittens, so small but still romping 'round.

two chickens who hid during the herding into the trailer that was bound for the slaughterhouse.  

the duck who sat on her nest all summer long, to hatch one ducking a week before all the ducks were to be sent to slaughter.  

these are the remaining beasts in the barn.  

they remind me to be resilient, to have faith in my ability to will something into being, they remind me to be joyful.

they are up

panels are up.  install took an hour and half.  nothing went wrong.  

a weight has been lifted and now i can see things more clearly.  i've been focusing on all the bad (which is undoubtably real and hard) but all the while the bad has been brewing, the good has been growing and blooming.  so i want to shift my attention to some seriously positive things.  

to begin this pma post, i want to thank all the folks who have helped me so far because while loneliness can be palpable, i have not been alone.  so...

judy, roy, justin, rachael, travis, noel'le, lior, kasha, cea, emma, wally, will, sheryl, jd, marietta, my parents - thanks, y'all have been great friends, supporters, helpers, and have contributed in specific and invaluable ways.   i hope this list of gratitude continues to grow.  i look forward to making y'all some beautiful postcards/drawings/and mail during my travels and hopefully supporting your dreams in my own specific ways.  our community is built and expanded through us aiding each others desires, needs, and visions.

process of installation of panel hardware

assembling people has been hard for me.  luckily, monday my dear friends came together and we prepped the panel frame support in the dwelling of the honey.  then on wednesday travis and i committed to install the panels on the following day.  while i had confidence the two of us could do it, i knew if we had two other helpers getting those panels on top of the honey would be a breeze.  i have been using social media to causally ask for help as an open call.  some friends from turners, who recently arrived back in the area from traveling, offered aide.  it was great to get to spend time with nice folks doing a big project.  

we didn't all convene until after noon, which caused me a lil concern for how hot everything would be.  as soon as we got to the farm, travis assembled the hardware on the roof, i drilled the pilot from the inside, and emma and wally helped gather tools and such for travis.  travis took the reins and before i knew it the rails were installed.  the sun was high in the sky and the roof was hot.  but as wally and i brought the panels out of the honey, clouds began for form around the sun and lingered until we were done which gave us some relief.  wally stood on the roof, i was on the attached ladder, travis on a leaning ladder, and emma on the ground.  emma held one end of the panel as travis walked the other end up the ladder.  once travis and i were at the same spot halfway up, emma handed me her side of the panel, and then we lifted it up to wally.  it was seamless.  then we secured them tightly and it seems that they are not going anywhere (or wait, kinda everywhere, but they are staying on top of the honey). 

holes drilled and laying it out. 

holes drilled and laying it out. 

travis and i were on the roof assembling while emma and wally hung out on the ladders.  wally made a good joke about how it felt like a city job, two people working, two people watching.  

travis and i were on the roof assembling while emma and wally hung out on the ladders.  wally made a good joke about how it felt like a city job, two people working, two people watching.  

they are so beautiful!  the panels and those punks!

they are so beautiful!  the panels and those punks!

travis, seriously you made my life so much easier by taking charge.  xo

travis, seriously you made my life so much easier by taking charge.  xo

portrait of wally and emma.  thanks babes.  

portrait of wally and emma.  thanks babes.  

i am about to scoot up to the farm where i will be staying until monday.  judy is going seeing her new house for the first time, so i am going to stay at the farm, watch over the few remaining animals, clean out the barn, and work on the honey.  i am looking forward to a little retreat, away from all distraction.  though it will be bittersweet, this will be a goodbye to a piece of land i have fallen in love with, a landscape and a way of life that has inspired a change in what i want with my time on this planet to look like.

some thoughts on funding

rachael made this video of me.  it a joke, kind of. 

but jokes aside, i have been toiling over whether i want to use a crowd funding platform like kickstarter or indiegogo and i think i have come to a conclusion.  yes, i want your aide but don't want to use a crowd funding site, at least not right now.  if you want to contribute, great!  let's talk about how that can work out best for both of us.  i want to send you endless postcards and drawings, maybe you want to give me a few bucks, or help out in some kind of way.  this has already started to happen naturally with will making me that flat file, my cousin sheryl sewing me curtains, my wonderful friends helping me with repairs and honey chores, but you can help too by making it possible for me to get to the beautiful places i want to make art in, by aiding in gas money, helping me buy art supplies, etc. 

think about it.. also, support does not alway come in the form of currency, i'm interested in your creative supportive ideas!  send me an email.  

love 

s

c l o s e r

it's been a while since i wrote on the internet.  my notebooks are full of musing, maps, and webs.  its so strange how things can be simultaneously coming together and falling apart.  i no longer have a job at the restaurant, we are all replaceable and when we are replaced capitalism will no longer pretend to care about our humanity.  school started the other day and while i am confident that 'sabbaticals', dedication to art making, and adventure are paramount to healthy, happy lives, i am sad that i will not be teaching this semester (or for a while i would imagine).  

so that which is falling apart: jobs, some friendships it seems (or loosening the weave of that fabric), the stability of 5 sherman drive house, love and partnership.

that which is coming together:

photo by noel'le longhaul  solar panels!  are close but not done.  i swear it'll happen soon.  i'm always one tool short.  

photo by noel'le longhaul 

solar panels!  are close but not done.  i swear it'll happen soon.  i'm always one tool short.  

my genius friend, lior, suggested drilling the solar rails from the inside out rather than the outside in to insure correct pilot holes.  so we created more supports and began that process but we were missing a looooooong drill bit, which i now have.

my genius friend, lior, suggested drilling the solar rails from the inside out rather than the outside in to insure correct pilot holes.  so we created more supports and began that process but we were missing a looooooong drill bit, which i now have.

my hero

my hero

noel'le and cea 

noel'le and cea 

the most exciting new addition (and spirit booster)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is a flat file.  a wonderful human being who comes into the pint offered to make me a flat file a few months ago.  i sort of forgot about it and then i get this email saying it's done.  and it's beautiful.  it is full of all possibilities.  it holds my future.  it holds my hope.  it is the single nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.  and we are strangers.  one of the things i am curious about with this project is how quickly i will go from stranger to friend... this is not the last one i am sure but the first of many accounts of the goodness of people.   i am giving him a painting. 

the most exciting new addition (and spirit booster)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is a flat file.  a wonderful human being who comes into the pint offered to make me a flat file a few months ago.  i sort of forgot about it and then i get this email saying it's done.  and it's beautiful.  it is full of all possibilities.  it holds my future.  it holds my hope.  it is the single nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.  and we are strangers.  one of the things i am curious about with this project is how quickly i will go from stranger to friend... this is not the last one i am sure but the first of many accounts of the goodness of people.  

i am giving him a painting. 

i made some cushions!   and i am broke so i am left to choose fabrics laying around my house, which worked out better because now i will be lounging in the curtain from my first studio and fabric justin brought me back from asia.  

i made some cushions!   and i am broke so i am left to choose fabrics laying around my house, which worked out better because now i will be lounging in the curtain from my first studio and fabric justin brought me back from asia.  

we've been charting our course.

we've been charting our course.

the departure date is creeping up.  i am nervous i won't be done but i have to have faith that it will come together.  faith in my own abilities.  for some reason, no - for many specific reasons, i have not been able to sleep at night.  the last two nights i have wondered onto the porch in the early hours to stare into the woods and listen to crickets.  i have been wishing i would have dealt with all the mechanical and inspection issues months ago before i started the demo and rebuild of the inside.  the solar panels are the bane of my existence.  i've been thinking a lot about how dumb cismen and capitalism have really screwed me over.   i've been feeling alone in the whole process.  i have been listening to a lot of cheesy music.  i dread over money.  

when people ask me any question about this project, i usually can't answer.  i don't know past today right now.  but maybe soon tomorrow will come into light and we can start talking about that.  

 

deconstruction is over, it's time to build.

i'm still waiting on my friend travis to help me get those panels up, but i have been filling the waiting time with interior chores.  painting is done for the most part, minus some little areas (like that hole next to the newly build desk frame - sometimes you just want to see what's behind a wall and you have to tear through it).  it's getting so close to being together and i am starting to get so so so excited (and terrified).  the honey is looking sharp, but my bank account is dwindling, i am hoping to pick up some more shifts at the bar, beg folks to have me do chores around their houses, babysit, sell some paintings, something.  i have been kicking around the idea of doing a kickstarter (with awesome postcard subscriptions) but it feels strange asking for money, especially in this terrible cultural climate.  

almost a desk

judy hurt her knee a few weeks ago and there are numerous chores to be done around the farm that she is not capable of doing at the moment.  a pressing task has been cleaning out the barn, where sheep and chickens and ducks have been living for a long time.  there are areas over a foot tall of compacted shit and hay... totally compacted.  this task is impossible for her right now, and it has to be done by october, so i took it on.  after 5 hours i had completed a quarter of the east side of the barn, my hands blistered, my back sore, my clothes shit covered.  though it was not as miserable of a task as it sounds, something about clearing the shit, digging down to the foundation of barn, visible progress... felt cleansing, not just for our beloved barn but maybe cleansed my spirit some.   

one of three truck loads

one of three truck loads

it's time to put it all together. 

a step closer

solar panels:

i organized some folks, we met, we accomplished some.  as some of you may remember, i bought  solar panels a few weeks ago and between bad timing and bad weather, they have been leaning against a wall waiting for me.  when i bought them from the solar store, the man gave me a thorough rundown of how to install them and then handed me a box of hardware and helped me put the panels in the truck and sent me on my way.  the memory of those verbal directions were all we had to go from, as you can imagine it was much like putting together a massive puzzle. luckily, my crew consisted of rachael, who was with me when i bought the panels and has her own faint memory of those instructions, and then travis, who has done so much building work over the years.  both folks are also super intuitive, smart, and great problem solvers.  

"look confused" 

"look confused" 

uh... this piece goes like this???

uh... this piece goes like this???

travis on top of the honey / the world 

travis on top of the honey / the world 

after some time of piecing it together, we are quite sure we have figured it out.  but because this is such a structural project, we decide the best thing to do is to take the hardware to the solar store to get a second tutorial from the solar guru and then eat some burritos.  john, at the solar store, reassures us that we were putting it together properly, we fill our bellies, and return to the farm.  

the first thing we do is map out where the rails for the panels need to be installed.  travis is on the roof with a blue sharpie finds the middle of the roof and draws a line, finds where those sweet spots for support are and makes more marks.  we reinforce the internal frame with 2x4s where the rails will be.  

once things are mapped out and support is added we are ready to start drilling.  it's strange to think i just patched all the holes in the roof, just to add more.  well... this is where things get a lil hairy, we figured that since the roof is aluminum and the frame is wood, we could easily find the beams by simply knocking on  the roof.  the thing we didn't account for is that there are furring strips between the beams.  and so with two mis-drills, we decide that we cannot move forward until we get a stud finder.  once again, the project waits.  the success, though, is in the unveiling the mystery of the solar installation.   

outside the honey:

the past few weeks have been wrought with big feeeeeelings.  

the world is hard.  the world is sad.  the world is fucked.  i talk so much about my micro-world that i experience daily and that i have created, probably because it is easy to talk about.  but i can't stop thinking about large scale problems in our world that makes my little problems seem like mosquito bites.  are you paying attention to the climate we are in?  a place where our 'public defenders' murder our kids?  a world where territory is more important than people and children are just another causality?  

and all my lil woes eat at me still, and then i feel guilty for being so narrow sighted.  and then all the world's woes eat at me and i am consumed.  i don't know the solution.  i listen to a lot of daniel johnston, i pick flowers, i love my dog, i cry for my friends, i cry for the world, i occupy my time trying so hard to not go into that dark place even though i hear it calling and i am one foot in.  

besides the honey, here are some of my short-term woe remedies:

after swimming with friends and puppies and babies, i gather some flowers.  i don't keep them for myself but give them away.  

after swimming with friends and puppies and babies, i gather some flowers.  i don't keep them for myself but give them away.  

8/12/14 stick and poke lets stop being afraid of discussing mental health and depression.  letz get real: i have not been 'keeping it together' very well lately which mostly means withdrawing and lots of lone cry sessions... and maybe that is keeping it together, maybe i'm feeling it all and then can release it (for a while, because as we know it's cyclical and always returns).  either way, i am trying to forgive myself.  everyday.  

8/12/14 stick and poke

lets stop being afraid of discussing mental health and depression.  letz get real: i have not been 'keeping it together' very well lately which mostly means withdrawing and lots of lone cry sessions... and maybe that is keeping it together, maybe i'm feeling it all and then can release it (for a while, because as we know it's cyclical and always returns).  either way, i am trying to forgive myself.  everyday.  

tanning hides takes a daily routine.  that helps.  i am also committed to preserving and honoring these beautiful beasts that i have helped raise.  

tanning hides takes a daily routine.  that helps.  i am also committed to preserving and honoring these beautiful beasts that i have helped raise.  

baby kitties always helps... duh. 

baby kitties always helps... duh. 

evidence

now i have a lofted bed platform, i have painted the kitchen/bedroom.  near future plans include creating netting for the shelves above the table, getting a piece a nice wood and making a new table top, creating ball jar hanging devices for kitchen shelves, bedroom shelving and bed installation.  

now i have a lofted bed platform, i have painted the kitchen/bedroom.  near future plans include creating netting for the shelves above the table, getting a piece a nice wood and making a new table top, creating ball jar hanging devices for kitchen shelves, bedroom shelving and bed installation.  

i love that it's looking a livable space!  i will cook you dinner on this stove.

i love that it's looking a livable space!  i will cook you dinner on this stove.

looking from the cab towards the back.  behind me are the solar panels, to left will be a desk and studio space, to the right will be a couch, behind the panels is the bathroom and closet.

looking from the cab towards the back.  behind me are the solar panels, to left will be a desk and studio space, to the right will be a couch, behind the panels is the bathroom and closet.

creating new narratives

july has escaped me somehow.  these past few weeks have been a whirlwind.  progress on the honey is happening slow but steady.  a few weeks back i finally obtained solar panels, two 215 watt panels which ran me about 530 dollars for the pair and hardware which was nearly the same cost.   they have yet to be installed... instead they just lean up against the bathroom door reminding me to fix the (allegorical) leaks before the project can spring forth.  the thing about doing large projects, is that sometimes you really can't do it alone.  the installation of my freedom requires help.  i have lined up a few crews to help but to no avail, one was rained out, the other was unbearable due to heat and a heavy sadness which the river and friends eased.  

riverfriends

plans have changed, as they often do, and i am no longer spending the end of july and beginning of august in west virgina at clifftop.  because of this sudden shift in the cards, i have found myself without work and with weeks on my hands.  the first few days of this unintended time has been filled mostly with listlessness, but hasn't been without work.  my dear friend, noel'le, went with me to the farm and we painted a great deal of the the interior space.  it was nice to accomplish a chunk of such a menial but important transformative task.  we also picked herbs and visited newborn barn kittens, all are good remedies for ailing hearts.  

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

photo by noel'le longhaul

along with this unplanned time to reinvest in the honey, i plan on spending the next few weeks tanning some sheep hides i got from the farm.  i just ordered a new bridge and fifth string replacement peg for my banjo, and noel'le has offered to give me some lessons.  and an unnamed mid august adventure is in the works.  

i am seeing an emerging endpoint to the initial work on the honey, though she isn't wanting to turn on, but her battery is drained just like mine.  with some new energy she'll be fine. there is still no ceiling since i have to wire the solar panels before that work can be done.  the desk isn't built and half of it isn't painted.  she's still illegal to drive.  the composting toilet is yet to be installed and well as the solar shower.  but these tasks feel easy to accomplish as soon as the installation of the solar panels is completed.  

i am having a difficult time processing how i am feeling about the coming voyage.  i am so embedded in the moment and cannot see past today (or yesterday).  it makes working on the honey a strange endeavor.  preparing for the future when you can't see tomorrow is hard.  tomorrow is coming though, and i am building a nest, compulsively creating a new narrative, something that allows room to breathe.  

 

mold and rot and the unexpected savior

monday, i hit a serious wall with this project.  really, it had started a few days before when my car didn't start one morning and then on monday the honey wouldn't start either.  both were the same minor problem, dead batteries.  i must be vibrating on some strange frequency which is causing me to ground or drain things in life.    

the plan had been to take the honey to my friend's farm on monday and work for three days uninterrupted, but things never go as planned.  monday was a bust with the dead battery.  i tried to jump it with my car (and it's brand new battery) but my car overheated in the process so i had to call a friend.  my friend, roy, has been a good sounding board as far as mechanics go.  he came and jumped it, tested the battery along with the alternator, then we inspected the electrical system and made sure it all worked (which it did).  by the time all this was done, it was too late to head to the farm.  while i did get work done, it felt like a wasted day.  i started to feel demoralized and frustrated about the project, so i sat in the honey and cried.  after the tears stopped, i went inside my house and shaved half of my head.  it felt like regaining some control. 

the universe is a strange and complicated thing and in one beat everything turns around.  one of my dearest friends, justin, who is based in Taos NM but from western mass, and who builds houses - ecofriendly, off grid houses, and who is lovely and strange, and traveled the grand canyon with me... he appears at my door, with tools in hand and all his knowledge, positivity, and practicality.  he lends me tools for tuesdays work, and tells me he'll help me on wednesday.  i drive the honey up to the farm tuesday morning and begin tackling the total removal of the ceiling.  

let me brake for one moment to discuss the current home for the honey at my friend's farm.  my friend, judy, is amazing!  she rents land in gilford VT where she has numerous gardens, 4 pigs, 19 merino sheep, and a barn full of ducks and chickens.  she lives in the old milking house off the barn which has been converted into a tiny house with a wood stove for heat and a composting toilet.  she farms the land and takes care of the animals by herself.  she's well into her 60s.  we are great friends and have spent the last few years having lunch together once a week, sharing skills, discussing radical ideas and what's happening in the world, building things, and gardening.  she has offered me a place to park and work while i get the hard part of the project accomplished.  she is also furnishing me with insulation for the ceiling along with wood... oh yeah, and the most amazing farm to table food during my refueling breaks.  i am so grateful for her help with this project!

the honey lending this mama and her babies shade.

the honey lending this mama and her babies shade.

so, after i spent all day on tuesday taking down the ceiling, and discovering a decent amount of mold and wood rot, justin picked me up at the farm.  he accessed the work i had done.  he's quiet and thorough.  after a while, he tells me i accomplished a lot for the day, i am on the right track, and while there's work to be done, it's doable.  he somehow makes all the doubt i had concerning the project in its current state disappear and i am now just excited.

tuesday's work, removing ceiling and some of the panels containing mold.  it really feels like a house. 

tuesday's work, removing ceiling and some of the panels containing mold.  it really feels like a house. 

that tin does not hold tobacco but wrench sockets, be sure to check out those chickens roaming in the background. 

that tin does not hold tobacco but wrench sockets, be sure to check out those chickens roaming in the background. 

i received some criticism for wanting to redo the ceiling.  exposing all the mold, wood rot, and dead animals in the ceiling reassures me to always trust my gut.   RIP lil' friend.

i received some criticism for wanting to redo the ceiling.  exposing all the mold, wood rot, and dead animals in the ceiling reassures me to always trust my gut.  

RIP lil' friend.

the next day, we drive up to the farm together.  when we're nearing the farm, a bear suddenly crosses the road right in front of us with her three babies, each a second or so apart.  the last one, lagged behind and so we both squealed when it scurried across the road a few seconds behind the rest.  what an amazing way to start the work day. i spent most the day ripping out the panels under the rafters which have mold on them and on exposing all rotting wood in the frame.  justin works on the bed above the cab, removing the waterlogged shitty fake wood, he also removes the rotted wood in the frame supporting the bed above the cab.  he then teaches me how to replace and create support for rotted or missing pieces of the frame, he's a great teacher.  we worked well together, separate but together.  it's amazing how the rv felt large and we were never in each others way.  judy made us a quiche and greens from the garden for lunch, which we devoured.  

justin unscrewing the outside panel which was at one point attached to wood that is now rotted,  we replaced the wood and reattached the panel.  

justin unscrewing the outside panel which was at one point attached to wood that is now rotted,  we replaced the wood and reattached the panel.  

wood rot removed.

wood rot removed.

that daylight sneaking though was due to a totally rotted piece of wood.  the wood pictured is the replacement right before we screwed it back in. 

that daylight sneaking though was due to a totally rotted piece of wood.  the wood pictured is the replacement right before we screwed it back in. 

ceiling mold removal by me (right side only)

ceiling mold removal by me (right side only)

the day is done selfie.  

the day is done selfie.  

we pack up at 5, so justin could spend time with his family in his brief visit.  the ride home is beautiful and the company is a nice combination of laughter and quiet.  the sun is warm and the windows are down.  it seems surreal to be sitting unexpectedly in my far away friend's truck, riding through the lush greenery of southern vermont.  he drops me off at my house, we hug for a long time, and i express my amazement and gratitude for his presence.  

it's funny how low everything felt on monday and then despite being knee high in mold and rot on tuesday and wednesday i felt invigorated and totally positive.  part of the positivity has to be the beautiful place the honey is residing in, all the animals wandering around, the amazing humans who have been apart of the project the last few days, along with some real progress being made.  there is so much more to come so soon.  

some progress

it has been nearly two weeks since my last post.  as the project gets more in depth, i will post more often.  progress has been been a bit slow with the winding down of the semester and a momentary heavier work schedule at the bar.  the most important progress is that i have left my job at greenfield community college.  it was a difficult thing to do; i love teaching, i love my students, i love helping people realize their creative projects and challenging their ways of thinking while being nurturing.  as far as jobs go, that one rules.  but it drains a lot of my own creative energy and is not helping me find balance in my life.  my studio practice has dwindled to basically sad notebook doodles in the past few years.  a big part of this project is to fully recommit to my practice as an artist.  and a part of that means sort of not being committed to anything else.

wall notes in my studio

wall notes in my studio

RV UPDATES

the honey did not pass Massachusetts inspection due to some lights and other minor issues.  i have 60 days to bring it back to be reinspected without another fee.  at first this really stressed me out, but as the time has passed i have decided not to worry about it and just add it to other chores concerning the honey's makeover.  

i did, however, drive her for the first time.  i was alone, which i think was best.  it was pretty great!  she is huge and while i totally need to spend some serious hours in an empty parking lot learning how to maneuver her like a pro, i could get around town with little problems.  since i was out and about for the inspection, i drove her to my friend, nick's house.  his 3 year old son, locke, was pretty impressed.  

it's nice to share this experience with friends and get so much support.  everyone's response is excitement and reassurance that it is an awesome thing to do.  the few people who have seen the honey have agreed that it is an awesome rig.  it was a pretty joyful feeling when i was driving back to sherman drive, over the mountain, near poet's seat, when i heard someone yell my name.  and i have both friends and family from far away places confirming work and places to park when i need it.  

there is some fear on my part concerning this project and so this reassurance is really helpful.  

some demolition 

there was a serious couch in the honey that i wanted to remove so i can build a desk and a studio space. 

there was a serious couch in the honey that i wanted to remove so i can build a desk and a studio space. 

my old roommate, eric, left behind this amazing mask that has come in very helpful for ceiling demo.  i'll mail it to you when i am done, eric! xo

my old roommate, eric, left behind this amazing mask that has come in very helpful for ceiling demo.  i'll mail it to you when i am done, eric! xo

some notes on my future plans.  

some notes on my future plans.  

here are some remnants of unnecessary baggage. 

here are some remnants of unnecessary baggage. 

i found dice in the couch i demoed.  i am so excited about playing lots of cee-lo.

i found dice in the couch i demoed.  i am so excited about playing lots of cee-lo.

these are the curtains that once separated the bedroom from the rest of the living space.  the first of many temporary installations. 

these are the curtains that once separated the bedroom from the rest of the living space. 

the first of many temporary installations. 

some intimate thoughts 

now that everyone knows that i am planning on leaving Massachusetts in october, this project is real.  it's something that has been ruminating in my brain and in my heart for some time now, at least since i was went to the grand canyon last summer... and now it is becoming a realization.  

i spoke earlier about how part of the project, a large part, is about recommitment to my practice as an artist.  and this is true, but there are other factors about why i am doing this.  i grew up in indiana and lived there until i was 22.  i then moved to western Massachusetts where i have lived since, minus less than year in Brooklyn and several short traveling adventures.  recently i  have been thinking a lot about why i live in MA and it's all based on accidents and other people.  i first moved here because umass amherst gave me a teaching fellowship.  i then left brooklyn in panic, because the city wasn't for me to live in, and had a partner back in MA who i loved and wanted to be with.  shortly after moving back, we split.  and now it's been 3 years of me living this accidental life.

while i did end up in turners falls on accident, i have built a decent life for myself here.  i loved working at the college, my job at the bar was amazing in the beginning and has changed a lot as most restaurants flux but is still quite nice and stable, i have some good friends here and lot of nice people around me.  but there are things lacking for me, and while i am sure i could manifest those things if i really wanted to... i don't want to.  i want to wander, experience, and then make my own choice on where to plant myself.

between the loss of several friends, people moving, loves lost, bad reactions, serious depression, and the brutal winter... i'm over it (and it's over me in some ways, i am sure).  i live in a house of ghosts.  "i don't want to live in new england anymore".

the other day, moon and i went for a long walk.  behind my house is a bike path.  if you follow the bike path for about half a mile you reach the train yard, it seems so fitting.  if you take a dirt road by the train yard it will take you to these horseradish and rhubarb fields, strange i know.  and then it opens up to the forest and there are these forest clearings where many large mushrooms grow.  moon and i explored all of that.  as we were on our way home and we rounded the corner to our house, i see a friend approaching my front door.  my friend, field, stops by often and we sit and talk.  we have similar temperaments in some ways.  we talked about how hard it is to be a person.  we also talked of how hard it is to live in Massachusetts (field has spent much of his life in California).  but the thing that makes Massachusetts so wonderful is happening right now, the spring, and so we spoke of that.  the sensuality of the new england spring is over the top.  it slightly makes up for the horrible bleakness of winter.  

i've been spending lots of time outside.  and a lot of time alone.  i feel the isolation that happens when you are going to move.  i imagine i am doing a dress rehearsal for this project, spending heaps of time alone, working on the RV, working in the studio frantically trying to finish those large works which can't be made in the honey, walking in the woods with moon, and having momentary real connections with other humans.   

 

this is the beginning

the decision has been made and i am now working on and modifying a 1984 ford honey.  

it has been one week since i handed over $2900 to a man i met on craigslist, who constantly told me to 'be blessed' and who left a new testament bible in the driver's side door.  so far i have made the following adjustments to the honey:

  • removed all religious material 
  • insured and registered her
  • inspected her - but we failed due to lights, easy fix
  • started to take down damaged ceiling and insulation
  • discovered she has no leaks!
  • got some new mirrors
  • made a serious assessment of how it's going look (drawings to come)

what am doing again?

over the next few months i will be working on the honey, customizing her into a great small home and tiny studio. and then by the time the snow falls in massachusetts, i will be somewhere warm.  i will be traveling to national forests to set up camp and make art in the woods for long stints of time.  i plan on making drawings and water based paintings on paper, temporary installations, and videos (maybe even some music).  i will also be traveling to national parks to see the vastness of north america and to folk art sites and road side attractions.  i will be traveling with my dog (moon), my cat (poe), and an occasional friend or two, as the wind blows them towards me. 

the honey will be an off grid home, utilizing solar panels, composting toilet, solar shower, and sourcing in water.  i am planning a tiny potted garden and i am interested in living as minimally (but as comfortable) as possible.  

my budget is small and will be exhausted by the time i am done with the renovations.  i hope to sell my car to fund a portion of gas expenses, and find temporary or seasonal work when i am in need.  my perfect realization of this plan, will not require the need to find these temp jobs but instead i can sustain off of selling my art and trading my skills for places to set up camp or food or a hot shower.  

and so this is the beginning.  i am writing this from my very comfortable desk in the house i rent but love, with my new home (that i own) sitting the drive way.  i have spent my most life between two places in one way or another... this liminal space will soon be replaced with an openness that is not between one room or the next because it is not confined in binary of black or white, bad or good, stranger or friend, this room or that room, here or there.  it's time to start putting my beliefs in full practice.  

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