A chronicle of Mike and Julia's adventures creating a home on the Missouri range...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter migration

     Once again I find myself overdue for an update! Especially since we packed up our bags (and boxes and bins, etc., etc.) and left Missouri over a week ago already. Our final week on the land was a frenzy, essentially, of packing and finishing final projects. Of great assistance in that process was a work party of friends who came over to help for half a day. Together, we finished the third and fourth swales in our future orchard hillside, moved around sixteen giant debarked timbers onto pallets for safe, rot-free winter-keeping (imagine pick-up-sticks for giants, it took four men and the log-arch to move one at a time!), and last, we screwed on metal panels on all sides of our formerly open-air shed (now a creepy-looking windowless/ doorless storage vault). Come spring, we will pry off the panels and unearth our tools and bins and tent, etc. which are now most likely something of a mouse-condominium. Gross, I know, but entropy is the law of the land in nature, and it seemed like the best storage solution for the time being since our Amish auction purchases have greatly multiplied the number of things we arrived with! 

      In many ways, with a week’s perspective, it feels hard to leave the land where we are putting down roots. We have done a giant about-face back to a very different way of life. Just when I was getting used to bathing out of a bucket... back to hot showers! (I tell you, life is tough...) We plan to live in Philadelphia for the winter, work and save money for our next homestead-building phase and reconnect with good friends and neighbors back east. Our re-entry back into civilization happens to coincide with the American consumer frenzy of black-Friday, cyber-Monday, and the subsequent holiday shopping period leading up to Christmas. Quite a strange scene to witness coming from our hand-made, home-grown life in MO. Mike is bravely (and rather ironically) plunging into the very heart of this holiday-consumer world in NYC selling X-mas trees and wreaths with a few friends. The exodus journey seemingly detours to some strange places. Send him warm thoughts this month as he works the rather cold and long night-shift.

    I, on the other hand, am doing handy-woman jobs in my home neighborhood to earn income. I mostly enjoy this work since it is hands-on and usually for neighbors and acquaintances that I feel good about helping. My first week back I have been catching up with the bureaucracy of city-life--renewing my car inspection, registration, license, and insurance and just generally getting legal about things. This kind of stuff is not my forte, and leaves me wondering if there isn’t an easier way to live than throwing armfuls of money in all directions to be allowed to participate in the systems of society. (Hm, I guess that is what I left behind in MO?) Still, it hasn’t all been headaches and drained bank-accounts: on my first night back, I went to see a friend act in the excellent and very provocative play, RACE, by David Mamet, where I ran into several beloved friends from my church congregation. As we sat around openly discussing the play and all of the complex issues it brings up, the thought clicked into my head, “I am going to miss this in MO”. Something about the way the arts penetrate life in the city, constantly shaking up perspectives and interactions... it just doesn’t happen as often in rural settings. Not that our community isn’t doing our best to change that, creating discussion groups, theatrical performances, bringing in or creating music and dance events, etc. But still, I can tell this city-country transition is going to provoke still more meditations on how I want to be living and what kind of world I want to help create. And there are aspects to both worlds that I love and miss either way.

    I should probably leave off there and save our spoon-carving saga for another post. But in case you are a pond-project supporter patiently awaiting spoons or prints, they are in the last stages of completion, soon to be sent your way! There is hope!