“The Way of The Stick”
“How Did I Get Here Anyway?”
The January snows have been deep and often. Today the wind is howling madly around our compound’s doors, the temperature is around +10°. In our youth we faced the winter with cords of wood stacked and more ready for splitting. It was hard to keep that old homesteaders log cabin warm using a barrel stove. It had three rooms plus a bathroom that never worked which I turned into a sauna with wood heat at first, then an electric sauna heater. Then later it became our son’s bedroom with his bed up in the air and storage draws beneath and a secret door. Carvings of dragons adored his bed and squirrels lived in the between the logs and the interior walls I put in to make it warmer. But the squirrels found there way in through the gaps in the old cabins corners and made it their home storing bags and bags of dog food between the logs and the interior wall with insulation. They would visit with David outside his small window next to his bed and were his friends.
Life here was good, though it took a lot of work making it through the long winters, but it was a challenge living at the end of a muddy road before all the development came. Came it did with a vengeance. Turning this spot in the road called Wasilla into the “big box store” nightmare that it is today. If I were a younger man, I would move to a more remote area of the state. But I am too old now to start over and do all of the building that we did on our place here. We built this whole place with our own hands, the walls, the windows, the roof, & the doors.
As we got older we went from heating with wood to heating with coal, which was much easier to keep all of the stoves going. But that involved a lot of hauling of coal to the stoves and constant feeding and disposing of the ashes on a daily bases. So older and older we became, and the price of fuel oil was not much then, but when we had to take care of Vickie’s elderly mother who had dementia, we went switched to oil heat to keep her room warm. She lived in one of the rooms in the old cabin which was Vickie’s studio with her large floor loom in the main room along with lots of art, journals and books.
So all this came to be, after we returned home, rather broke from our sailboat cruising adventures from Seward, Alaska to the Sea of Cortez and on to Hawaii and home to our port of Seward. Ahh the Sea of Cortez! How I loved it there. I long to return and sail where the wind is warm the days are hot and the nights cool. Visiting with other cruisers from all over the world, playing music, drinking margaritas, eating sushi and fresh tortillas. We are planning to sail again before we are too old, and become snow birds for part of the winter.
But back to the story from wood to oil.
Vickie’s mom caught her room on fire while trying to dry something, and the whole cabin went up in flames on a cold windy winters night. Vickie’s loss was devastating. Her mom survived, but Vickie had to find a home care facility where she lived until she died at 92yrs. By then, all of our heating stoves were converted Toyo’s. A Toyo stove would not have caught on fire. I wish her mom’s stove had been a Toyo. It’s along story.
So, now-days the hardship is finding the money to pay for all the oil we use in our 4 Toyo’s stoves. We have put on a new roof for the pottery studio, with lots of insulation and this last fall had the roof of our living area sprayed with 4” foam and that has reduced our fuel use some. But what we spend on fuel per month, we could live well on a boat in Mexico, no problem. We are planning to live on a boat during part of the winter in our near future.
As some of you might know, I am waiting to get my right knee replaced, I had the left knee replaced last January 2011, but it still hurts a lot and I can not do lots of the things I used to take for granted. I feel like I have turned old over night. It’s a hard thing to accept. I have been creating some of the best pottery I have ever done in regards to shape, form, glaze and brush work. It has become a time for inner growth, to delve into the mysteries of one’s own being, to become more aware, to be one with the self. I am reading Jung and Tolle to help find the path to greater enlightenment. This is the true path in life, I feel. Working in the arts, brings me closer to my path. I can quiet the talking in my mind easier than before and feel the stillness surround me more, so something is working.
Thinking about working, I am getting ready for the summer season and I have put more “how to do it” lesson on my Youtube channel so that my students can review what I have showed them in class. If they have smart phones they can view it while in the studio on open studio days. The link to the tutorial videos can be found on the right side of this blog page & at the bottom of our main web site. Youtube has all of the lessons created so far. There will be more videos coming, but the basics are posted for anyone to view.
“I will not fear. Fear is the mind-Killer,I will face my fear, I will let it pass through me. Where the fear has gone there shall be nothing only I will remain” Frank Hurbert/ Dune