Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A wee deck, local buzz and the gift of oracle

Sometime in the near while, we may be able to share pictures of life in the forrest.  Bye and bye.  Our tiny moveable home has had steps of varying width and climbs since VardoForTwo became home.  While on the Ledge the steps were as broad as the vardo is wide, and a sturdy hand-rail added to the stability of our wee home.  Regardless of the size of it a stoop has always been one of my most favorite places to be.  I am comforted by the feel of steps and like the view of living that passes me or comes to join me.  Here in the forrest, the steps are narrower than those on the Ledge, yet still the life that passes or joins me here is precious stuff.  Just this past week new friends have come to visit ... lingering with me while still in my flannel robe, chatting about this and that or simply coming to see the variation of 'home' we concoct.

This weekend Pete and I dared to expand that variation, and between my imaginings and Pete's artistry with weathered wood and a screw gun, we have a wonderful new deck on the back of VardoForTwo.  Company for the tall full wall where laua'e (sweet Hawaiian ferns) are milk-painted, softed grayed boards and a picket of up-rights create a portable (if necessary) deck where we can set to watch the sunset, enjoy the warming sunshine in the later day, and JOTS is especially enjoying the added height to peruse the forrest happenings.
Pohaku li'ili'i (small stones) gathered from the dirt surrounding us now scatter at the foot of those deck up-rights.  A few collected pohaku from walks elsewhere ground the wee decking at both sides of the wide-V shape.  One of the pohaku is my Sature-stone ... ringed and smooth it is my reminder to keep on friendly terms with the keeper of time, the governor of gravity.  I am grateful to have the reminder.

Not far from us and just up the road is Mukilteo Coffee ... a local roastery and cafe and favorite gathering place for islanders and visitors.  In a life previous, we lived in Mukilteo just across the watery Sound and knew the owners of this roastery during the earliest times of their enterprise.  This morning I smelled the beans toasting ... slow-roasting from the metal roastery through the woods.  Eileen arrived just after Pete and I began our morning prattle with a fresh cup of coffee ... I guessed it might be the local buzz.  Along with coffee, a small bunch of freshly pulled garlic were our morning gifts.  Pete has been working his transition man magic with our friends and neighbors, tending the ducks and chickens, mending gate latches for smooth exiting and entrancing.  It is his kuleana, and he does it as a calling he heed long ago. Another of the recent gifts blessed upon us is a package of Rune cards and The Book of Runes written by Ralph Blum.  We took a drive to Freeland and ventured into a gathering where Ralph Blum was giving a talk about Runes.  Many years ago while I worked for a large corporation in Seattle, I met one of my dearest teachers, Betty.  I came to her to learn hula, and did that to a degree.  But, it was her introduction to the other teachings ... Numerology and the Runes that have laid a foundation of depth and insight at a time when life meant commuting to work and working for the man.  Thirty years later in a woods just across the water from the home where I was mother and wife and career woman, I would be gifted with time with the man who wrote The Book of Runes. 

This morning just before Eileen came with caffeine and garlic, Pete and I pulled a Rune card a piece.  #25 THE UNKNOWN was my rune.  #7CONSTRAINTS pulled upside-down or reserve was Pete's rune.  The Runes are a personal compass reading that gives you guidance on issues with unfretted influence and a large view of environmental influence.  A wee deck, local coffee and the gift of oracles with a bunch of garlic, that is a bouquet of daily grace.  Thank you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Measure of success

Capricorn was raising on the horizon when a wee girl, not quite ready for the journey was called to begin life here on Earth.  "Pre-mature" by modern science terms the girl was pulled from the dark inkly womb only to learn over time, that all human babies are 'pre' mature and that all of us need months if not years of further nurturing to be as ready as the tiny deer who suckle with weak yet ready stick-like legs.  I was born when the zodiac would call my Sun position, "Scorpio" and my Moon Capricorn so with the Ascendent sign also Capricorn the journey would be purpose-filled, the track lined with hurdles of all sorts and the lessons of persisting emphasized in the arena of shared resources, re-births, deaths and inheritance/legacy.  In the brief view, this is the legacy I live with.  Re-births come often if one looks at the challenges from the point of view that life comes from the dark and contractions prepare for the forward motion and contraction can be painful. 

In many ways our Wee Life living in and from the VardoForTwo has been a series of contractions-- slow down and becoming more and more conscious of the visceral, remembering what labor is without sedation.  A few days ago I had one of those precious conversations with my son.  I told him giving birth to him was the hardest work I have ever done and the most satisfying work I've ever done.  He will be 38 at his next birthday, and at the time we talked telling him that seemed divine direction.  Pete and I are living close to Nature again, and divinity has a more direct line to us here in the forrest.  I have offered our gifts of presence to the fairies (chocolate covered raisins) and they have taken all five treats just as the Solstice welcomed more light! 

It matters that each success be recognized and as life continues to change for us the successes and failures mute. What does the farmer with the magic flute say after he has played music for his hens hoping to coax them into more eggs, yet finds no more eggs than usual?  "Ah, yes.  It was a grand day for making music!"
Yesterday we had many successes. 

Pete finished building the salvage yard sink, and last night we had running water to wash with.

Visitors have begun to show up on our stoop and in our kitchen.  Our neighbors and friends who rent space to us have begun to invite others to visit, and visit with us themselves.  They are fragrance-free and appreciate the life we live from the vardo.  Those two things make visitors the welcome presents we have prayed for.

A potluck gathering happened yesterday as well.  New to us folk brought drink and food to the patio-deck just across the duck yard, and we sat to eat, share stories and listen to other stories.  I learned that animals other than cats and dogs are very much part of the lives of the folk on Whidbey.  "There's always something dying ..."  Now hear out of context perhaps that snip of conversation would seem odd.  It wasn't though and was instead just part of what happens in the woods where predator and prey includes everyone.  Pete helped put a door on the cobbled house for the ducks that are our neighbors.  Two of the ducks have been snatched late at night by a creature a bit further up the food chain.  It pleases both Pete and our land-ladies to see how handy a screw gun and saw can be to make country life easier for the folk.

Folk with Capricorn rising know that life is learned through repeating a lesson over and over again.  Instead of all else, the school of life requires accepting the assignment hurdles and all.  Our successes make life a bit easier, like putting a door on the chicken and duck houses .or building a sink at standing up level with water that runs through a tap.  How many days have I misjudged as failure when in fact, it was probably a grand day for making music.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Making friends with Saturn

The sun is out ... the long months of Junuary ... a length sort of soggy season seems to be changing, at least by degrees.  Seated this morning at Computer Station #9 I am with Ka La ... the sun.  The Solstice came yesterday and with it Pete and I took ourselves on a roadtrip with Saturn.  Old Father Time-Keeper, Saturn has been teaching me many, many lessons of self-evolution the kind of lessons that must be learned in this lifetime.  There was work being done with a pressure washer, the wet forrest had dampened us so nearly spontaneous were our thoughts of taking a small road trip north to scan the recycling and reuse centers on the island.  There is an active spirit of solution-based community economy in the Whidbey Island whirl.  The small towns and expansive rural nature of this very large island seems to be tapping our own nature.  With the 'Ole Cycle lending us energy to review and focus on 'plantings' with sound seeds, we headed for Coopeville to explore what my father and I would have called the "Junk Yards." 

Our dream of building a Half-way House of a space for a warm and dry kitchen-privy-shower and storage place will take lots of creative enterprise.  Like many of our ventures, we try to focus on what we know is need rather than what we want.  This theme is surely an example of making friends with Saturn who is there to teach me groundedness.  Still the adventure North was both a break from the bone-wearing and with the 'Ole Cycle reminding us that it was a venture of exploring we made a brief stop for cookie restoration (oatmeal-raisin for me and a coconut-cranberry-lemon for Pete) and became searching for basic needs.

What do we need first?

A sink

The outdoor kitchen we use has improved by degrees, and though we work out of the direct line of rain, it is down on the ground dishwashing and bathing we do.  The dream of moving slowly yet with wisdom includes knowing a sink would raise the bar on our wee life.  Our search was successful and unexpected.  We found a very fairly priced double stainless steel sink further north, in Mt. Vernon.  Miraculously there was room in our Subaru to haul it back to the forrest. 

Pete has plans for putting the sink into a wooden table he constructs with bits and pieces of material to create a cleanable and tolerable surface.  The sink will fit under the arched tarp kitchen as a next step to making the in-between stages of our Half-way House construction more comfortable.

Viewing what others do

We have a size and shape in mind as we envision and toy with the design of the Half-way House.  Saturn maintains his watch on the work we do and from the limitations that are my accepted reality I know there are materials and resources that shape our search.  As we drove through towns we have known, we looked anew at the creativity with materials we could use:  metal siding.  One very beautiful example of a cobbled domicile made most of metal siding in very fun shapes is inspiring us.

Even when I experience the bone-wearing times, the esteem I have for myself grows when I let those very worn human moments be ... just for what they are.  Human moments.  We are at least half-way to something different.  Saturn has the plan for me, and with aging I learn to accept the many, many, many steps involved.

Grateful I am to have a sunny day to enjoy today.  Be well where you are.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Half-way Houses

We are still here ... less frequently stringing stories together, we are none the less here in the town of Langley on Whidbey Island.  Bone-weary for the past several days, the tiny comfort of the vardo with its warm space, dry against the soggy wet have been a refuge.  Twenty steps from the wheelie home porch, the outdoor composting toilet is a luxury many would wonder about ... until of course, you have been without such a facility and sought that service in a public space.  Pete has raised the sides of the outdoor kitchen so we are now a family with cathedral ceilings made from aluminum framing and old plastic tarps.  A toteable carbon filtration system filters the hard water that we use from a hose that traverses the duck yard to our camp spot.  An ingenious ridging has food grade plastic tubing available for washing our clothes, dishes and hands.

I know this life we live seems nighmarish to some who come to read about it.  Among the challenges that have been our reality we have moved seven times in two years and financially, a social security check is the one regular form of incoming resource we have.  Yet, with the parcel of minutes left to craft a short post, there is room for patient and hopeful dreams even now.  Pencilled onto composition pads are the dreams of a half-way house, a stabilizing version of our cathedral ceiling kitchen and privy.  We are parked and renting the vardo space from two kind-hearted women who we did not know three weeks ago.  With each experience with them, we are encouraged to believe we can dream of a home that is our half-way house:  shelter that is as safe as we know how to build and maintain it living with people who are willing to learn what it takes to create life upon a foundation of chem-free and fragrance-free as possible.  Details are future issues, dreams come from a recipe of acceptance and illusion (the scent of something yet to be).

When we prepare for sleep at night we tell each other stories of things we have done, things we have loved doing, places and people who have filled our lives with joy.  It softens our drift into the world of dreamtime, and gets us at least half-way to the place of Grace where all possibility is fueled with surrender, first.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Two old dears and a feline ... we're one week back in the woods

A week ago yesterday we made our shortest trek from one encampment to another ... eight miles I think.  Whidbey Island is a long boot of an island and the southern end of this Salish Sea-found place is where we are today.  A wet spring has extended herself to this area, leaving our two clotheslines of garmets mostly wet for the past seven days.  People who live with chemical sensitivites know that cleaning most garments, bedding etc. can take as long as years and at least several months of nature doing her work (rain/snow/sun/wind/fresh air) before those garments or bedding are useable.  Tall trees once again provide us their stout bodies for clothesline poles and the clean air and rain rinse and soften thrift shop outerwar which we might wear this summer, or next.

There is healing and progress by degrees as we look back on our year of life from VardoForTwo.  Life from a cozy and tiny sleeping loft of a home has presented us with challenges and value.  The challenges show up when we are without a place to cook and store our kitchen-chattels; and toileting/showering is another phase of the challenge; and finally the issue of how and where to wash and dry clothing round out the basic challenges.  There are other luxury wishes, too yet the three challenges remain the basic needs of a human life so those are the ones we address ourselves to as we adjust once again to a new environment.

Camp Kitchens

Thus far, the reused green house frame gives us shelter and electrical connection to keep our hot plate hot and the tiny refrigerator we inherited from our Everett 'ohana is chilling most of our food.  The water of Whidbey is hard, heavy with iron and magnesium.  We use our glass jugs and use the grocery outlet RO (reverse osmosis) water machines for drinking water.  A garden hose feeds water for dishes, and today I took my first rain bath which was wonderful.  The magnificent trees and the woodscreatures are not offended by a little round two-footer washing herself with rain water and a cotton napkin.  We use no soaps so the forrest floor remains intact save for my washings.

We are working on the next steps for kitchen improvements, with a wise memory of what the winter is like when there is no covered and sheltered kitchen.  Many ideas in the work. At this point in the journey we are both still in agreement that keeping the kitchen and toileting space separate from our cozy VardoForTwo is a good idea.  Maintaining a safe sleeping haven remains priority.

Composting Toilet

Liz our dear friend from Anacortes has recycled her Nature's Head composting toilet to us, and we are very thankful!  In time, we will exchange some work for this valuable asset.  The toilet is parked on a small platform Pete built of recycled boards, and is tucked behind a new stand of young alders twenty odd steps from the vardo porch.  We have some work to do, and lessons to learn in making this toilet 'compost' ... our challenges come from using (too much) toilet paper/paper that doesn't break down easily, and the soggy cool weather makes it hard for air to move through the peat moss and poop. 

The toilet separates the pee from poop, so one must become conscious of those bodily functions and push down on the lever for the pooping part, and pull up to direct the pee in its own holding tank.  At first, it was such a treat to be seated under the tall stands of trees ... losing attending, until I was brought back to the moment. 

In all, this part of our evolving VardoForTwo life is such a leap of progress.  The details and adjustments are coming.


Our first laundry day is yet to come.

JOTS and the Woods

With the minutes left here at Langley computer #9 ... I'll leave this first week's narrative with the wonderful times we are having with JOTS back in her woods element.  She is happy to be with the woods again ... huntress and wild being.  We have many more walks through the new trails and spend long minutes cuddling her onto shoulder or lap.

Blessings and aloha your way,
Mokihana and Pete

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Living in the Woods again

We have been busy inching our way back into the Woods, again.  The 'Ole Cycle of four days and nights have just past and just in the nick of moon time, we did find a path to the woods where the Wee Wheelie Home of Vardo for Two plus One is now encamped.

Whidbey Island.  That is where are are living with the forrest floor, damp and mossy with White Pine and many many Cedar and Fir to remind us of our relative importance to the whole of All.  Two very kind women share their piece of land with us three vardo folk.  We pay them a rent that is affordable, and from the woods we have access to the things we need.  The women live with many animals including two dogs, an unknown number of inside cats, a string of quaky ducks and young chickens who will soon be laying eggs.  JOTS is appreciated for her skill as huntress, and we make our prayers to the beasties, and have conversations with her that include, "Kill only to eat!"

We are recouping from the painstaking work of going from one place to another; Pete masterfully moves our chattels and I set about making 'home' where we are while attending to the messages my body sends when there is no more energy to pour out.  I have rested during most of the 'Ole Moon times; and was so glad to see Hina the Moon in the midday of this Saturday.  Living in tune with Nature Time is different than some.

There is a community of like-minded folk who are open and positive about the style of living we practice.  Connecting with them has been delightful.  I have a cutting of fresh comfrey being bundled for me this afternoon for I am in deed our comfrey's bone-mending remedy ... my ankle has been hurt and only now can I spend time and mending on the small yet essential joint that holds this old body upright.

We are setting up our second summer outdoor kitchen using the metal framework from an old green house.  QUESTION TO ANY ECO-WOODS FOLK:  I am thinking of using organic canvas for covering, and need to 'waterproof' it.  Has anyone used a recipe of warmed beeswax and oils to coat canvas?  Any other ideas or non-toxic recipes for water-proofing are most welcome.

I'd love to hear from you. 

Aloha to you where you be.
Mokihana and Pete