Wait List Suprise!

    Just a quick post to say that Julia and I were stoked to learn that we got in on the waitlist for next weekend's Eugene Holiday Market (Decemeber 15th and 16th)! This means another week of busy busy sewing and another week of non-bus related work. So for all of you wondering if we're still building the bus -- we are!....just not this week. =)

    Though we haven't been doing any hands-on work in the last few weeks, we've been learning more about how the bus relates to the seasons here in Oregon. For one - there's moisture. Lots of it. We are going to invest in a dehumidifier pretty soon and turn it on every now and then to cut down on the condensation on the inside of the windows and on the ceiling. We are also planning on putting a space heater inside the bus for the time being and turning it on first thing in the morning along with our black-tea-and-mate ritual so that by the time we're ready to start work it'll be nice and toasty in there.

    The bad news: the vent on the ceiling escape hatch started leaking. We caught it early and sopped it up with the usual towel-and-bucket routine. Fixing the leak is obviously the first thing on our to-do list when we start up on buswork again. The good news: The doors and windows are solid. My caulking paid off!Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Holiday Market & Magic

    Hey folks,

    Erin here. J and I have been super busy this last month stitching together tons of new clothes to sell over the winter season. It's been difficult to put the bus work on hold for the time being and invest all our energy in a different direction. We are looking forward to getting back to work on the bus plumbing in the coming weeks.

    Our two-week run at the local Holiday Market was a huge learning experience for us. Learnhng to be effective craftswomen is an ongoing process and we've been lucky to receive a lot of advice and encouragement from old-timers in the Eugene craftsperson economy/community. Lately, I've been struck by the magical quality of craftswomanship and the magical prowess of my fellow craftspeople. Handmade things are a novelty these days. They are unexpected, vital little anachronisms. The main reaction I get at crafts fairs is disbelief ~ "Do you make all of this?!" or "Is this handmade?!" and then, "How long does it take you?!" and "Where do you find the patience?!" ~ which to me indicates that what craftspeople do - or what craftspeople are - somehow blurs the lines of reality for a lot of folks. We are so used to being alienated from the magic of creation ~ not knowing how our homes are made, not understanding how our cars work, not knowing the name of the person (or persons) who made our toothbrush in China, not even really knowing how they made that toothbrush in China.

    It's funny to think that the basics have become magical. The hand-knit sock is the new unicorn. Yeah, maybe you can find those in darkest India but here? In Oregon?!

    A plug for a good book: I was lucky enough to find a book called "Women and Craft" at my local used bookstore the other day. It's a collection of short pieces (essays and stories) by a bunch of women from the 80's in the UK edited by Gillian Elinor, Su Richardson, Sue Scott, Angharad Thomas and Kate Walker. It was awesome. Everything I've been trying to rant about in the last couple years - gendered ideas about art and craft, magical crafting, women and making stuff and how important it is, the history of women's work, what it means to sell your craft - it was all there. Good luck finding it...looks to me like it was released in the UK only. Where was this book when I was teaching my section on feminism and crafting?! The UCSC library didn't think any book like this existed.

    Warm holidays to all who read this. Check back for more bus updates later this month. More new clothes will be posted at The Patchwork Underground tomorrow!

    Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Miles to go before I sleep.....

    We are back now in "civilization" after spending several weeks at a lovely and remote farm in Washington. We had a wonderful time harvesting the crops, learning about perma culture and helping take care of the animals. Getting in and out on the half mile long dirt road was a bit of an ordeal, but not nearly as nerve wracking as first crossing the small bridge in our 27, 000 pound bus. The farm was huge, many hundreds of acres with apple orchards, grapes and much more. There was an adorable little cabin built in the late 1800's on the property and we spent a good deal of time there when not working, visting with Nadine, the grandmother of our friend who owns the place. She is a wise and generous woman who Sage took to imediately. We were sad to move on but have plans to go back as we made many wonderful new friends and connected with old ones as well . A good time was had by all.

    It's kind of sad as we meet so many wonderful people and have many adventures in our travels that I would love to write about, but I must draw the line somewhere. It is one thing for me to divulge my own thoughts, feelings and life online here, but I cannot expect everyone I know and meet to want to be part of our blog as well. So, out of respect for folks and their privacy I have a policy of not writing too much about or showing pictures of friends and relatives on the blog. That is , unless I have been given express permission to do so. Instead I try to keep it mostly about Moss, Sage and life from my own perspective. That of course means that only about 3/4 of the stuff I would like to write about actually gets in. You'll just have to use your imaginations as to what the rest of the stuff may be....

    Anyway, we are now on a friends farm outside of Eugene Oregon, our old home town. I mentioned in a previous post that we were invited to move here and become part of the community they are creating. My friend, I will call her Meadow, is a midwife and her partner, Stone works with horses . They have a five year old girl and an eight year old boy. There is another lovely family here as well with a three year old daughter, Maya. All the children are now being home schooled, after being in a Waldorf school for several years.

    We have given ourselves this month to feel out the vibe, and to see if it's right for us here. . .

    The people are wonderful, we already knew that and our visions are in sync...to create a healing space and a self sustaining community of artists and musicians. A place to hold outdoor concerts and workshops.

    The rain, which has not let up much since we have been here, does not bother me one bit. I am a rare bird in that I like the rain. In fact, I welcome it ! I love to get cozy with a cup of chai tea, and a book by the fire. Sometimes we will listen to the radio..Coast to Coast AM with George Noory or a radio drama. Often we will just sit and watch the fire and listen to the sound of the rain on the roof. Sage really seems to enjoy watching the fire as well, and I love the fact that she is staring at a fire rather than a t.v .

    When we have had enough of being cozy there are lots of indoor gatherings around here this time of year . Sage has already been to three since we arrived two weeks ago. It is all very laid back with lots of other kids and babies, campfires and spontaneous live music. I was worried at first that it would all be to much for a barely five month old baby. Sage however takes it all in stride, smiling and cooing at everyone she meets. She really seems to enjoy just being held in our arms or the mei tai as we chat. Eventually she falls asleep and there is always a quiet, dark room nearby for her to lay down in.

    So now we have the task of deciding if we will come back to live here for awhile. Although everything seems perfect, there are other things to consider. We need a place here to work our fiber business in the winter. Down south we can do it outside on the beach or at a campground. Here, we need an indoor place. One option that is becoming more and more attractive is to buy a small yurt and somehow attach it to the bus. That way we will also be able to pack it up and take it with us if we need to move. The other thing we need to sort out is, are we really ready to settle some place for any length of time ? On the other hand, it might be nice to travel about then have a home base to come back to.

    Wow..so many options..

    Anyway, for now we are just here and in the bus, on this beautiful land. We will be leaving a few days after Thanksgiving to head South. Moss's trial is on the 4th and we cannot miss that. We plan on visiting with his folks for the holidays then working in the area before making our way back here in January or February.

    I am so intrested to see where all this leads..........

    An old abandoned mill on the farm.

    A fresh bowl of grapes from the farm

    The resident geese.

    Sage Evenstar.

    An old cabin on the property.

    Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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    The scary little bridge we had to cross on the way to the farm.

    A view from the bridge.
    A view into one of the rooms of the cabin.

    Sage sleeping in one of the rooms in the cabin.

    Sage and dad out for a walk.Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Couch, cabinet and water pump beginnings

    Along with all of the involved electrical work we've been doing lately, we have had a little time to start on building a few of our house fixtures. Much more on these to come.

    Below are a few photos of the frame of our couch. Eventually it will have nice wood panelling and of course be cushioned, etc. Check out the handy hidden storage space within!

    Below is our kitchen sink cabinet that is undergoing some refurbishment. We got this unit at Bring Recycling, and in order for our scavenged sink to fit in it, and for more comfortability, we decided to raise its height. We are planning on covering the mis-matched raised portion with tiles to match the counter top. Thanks to my Dad's extra big cabinet vices, it wasn't too hard to attach the extra pieces. Next comes putting the sink in and getting some water to it!

    One last development - after discovering that our electric ShurFlo water pump was designed to use plastic Pex tubing, we decided to rethink our plumbing system a bit. We have been trying our hardest to use the least toxic materials and processes available throughout this whole project, so we weren't too fond of the plastic water pipe idea. We thought about doing a gravity-fed water system, but decided against that because we felt it might get a bit sketchy with a big ol' 55 gallon drum rolling around on the roof. Erin did some research and found a sleek all-metal and leather Fynspray hand-pump that we finally settled on. It's made for yachts. :)

    Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Energy from the sun!

    It has been quite a while since our last (delayed) post, but that is not for lack of activity. Erin and I have been super busy finally putting the crowning touches on our electrical system, as well as trying to sew up a storm for the upcoming Holiday Market. But we finally made a breakthrough and got everything hooked up and juiced up - as Luna waits patiently out in the driveway, every tiny sun ray is generating energy! It is quite a feeling to truly be power-independent.

    I have to say that at the beginning of this project, I was proud of learning such simple things as the differences between types of screws or lumber, but it was seriously a mental hurdle to now come away with a relatively competent understanding of electrical wiring and all the intricacies therein. Erin spearheaded the hard science learning and planning, and we are now blessed to have a working system in our bus, without any serious injuries along the way.

    Above: our bus-wide master plan.

    Below: detailed info on how the solar controller is hooked up. The solar controller switches the panels on and off depending on how charged the batteries are and does other mysterious things, too.

    Our electrical gizmo "bay" which will be built into the wall under the kitchen table with a door to access it when need be.

    On to technical details... The first thing we did was plan out our various AC and DC circuits and wired them into our respective 12 v. fuse block and 120 v. circuit breaker panel.

    An example of some of our circuits - (DC) light to light and (AC) outlet to outlet. Library books helped us figure out how to wire the AC circuits. DC information was harder to find in print. We are going to cover all the wires with those little plastic sheath things.and paint them the same color as the ceiling (which is going to be a creamy butter color).

    Our overly large but functional AC circuit breaker panel. We will try and get a picture of the wiring going on behind the scenes later. It looks pretty cool in there.

    Our DC fuse block - room for more circuits if need be.

    Next we installed our four 6v. batteries in their snug little box and wired them together - two in series and two in parallel to make a final output of 12 v.

    This is how our battery bank is wired. We took pairs 6v batteries and wired them together in series to make 12v. Then the 2-battery units were wired together in parallel for more amperage.

    One of the biggest hurdles in accomplishing this whole mess was figuring out the proper gague wires, connectors and all the other doohickeys that are used. It was hard to find concrete, applicable information for extreme novices doing such an obscure project at the library or on the internet. We also found that most of the various folks we talked to at the many electrical/RV/auto/hardware stores that we visited had divergent answers as well! We ended up contacting the specific manufacturers of our inverter, converter and solar panels to get the intended specifications. We also were able to track down a few folks at some stores who really demonstrated that they understood what we were trying to accomplish and had some awesome suggestions. (Like the people at Northwest RV Supply and Surplus and the Knecht's out on West 11th)

    Anyway, after getting the batteries wired together with 4 gwa, we hooked our 1000 watt inverter in between our battery bank and our AC circuit panel. We used a heavy duty extension cord to plug into one of the AC sockets on the inverter and power our 120 v distribution panel. We took a lead from the positive terminal of the inverter and ran a 15 amp in line fuse straight to the DC fuse block and grounded it all from the negative terminal of the inverter straight to the chassis. After this was accomplished, we could actually turn on our DC lights, and plug into our AC outlets.

    The inverter has a pleasant little hum when it is turned on.

    Next came the final step: mounting the solar panels and wiring everything through solar charge controller. Luckily, the kind people at AM Solar in Springfield made things super simple for the DIY-er by providing clear instructions on how to wire everything together. When the first sunny day rolled around, we were up on our bus roof mounting the panels and wiring it all through the roof-top combiner box and down through the ceiling and into the charge controller. We got all the other wires hooked in and without one spark we now have power!

    The two 100 watt panels basking in the Oregon shade. The combiner box with the whole down into the bus interior is underneath the right-hand panel.

    The hub of it all: the solar charge controller.

    Wires entering the battery box from the charge controller, inverter and engine batteries.

    More holes into the floor of the bus.

    We have to give serious thanks to our friends Yona and Zeke who were generous enough to come over and do a safety check and help us put the final touches on everything. It was all very exciting and quite satisfying to finally have that most crucial element complete!

    We have decided to forgo the converter/charger element in our electrical system for now. We bought a huge old used 50 amp ferroresonant converter and we'll keep it around until we decide whether or not it's going to be a necessary part of our system. We didn't like the idea of a sparking, arcing box in the all-wood interior of our bus and we've started to hear there are other ways of going about charging the batteries directly with shore power without the need for a permanent box. For now the solar is meeting all of our electrical needs so we'll see how that goes.

    On to the plumbing!
    Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Lord I Was Born a Ramblin ( Wo ) Man......

    We finally are headed north ! As I write this ( we have a new E.V.O.D card that allows us to access the net wherever there is cell coverage) we are driving north on the 101 to an organic permaculture farm in northern Washington, where through a mutual friend, we have found temporary work ! I will probably not t have regular net or cell phone access while there, (I will be able to go into town or use a land line to check eBay auctions though) so this will be my last post for a week or maybe more . It was quite difficult to get Moss's pre trial changed, but we did it after much back and forth phone calling to the lawyers. It is now set for December 5th instead of oct 17. That means we will have to drive back here in the next month or so, but for now we are northward bound !

    Santa Barbara is lovely and has been nice to us but it was so time to leave. I can always tell when it is time to really move on because a place starts to look and feel different, sort of empty feeling and desolate . This is however different from actually wanting to leave and feeling as though it is time to leave. We can want to leave a place badly, but if it is not really time to leave then it becomes quite difficult. I have seen this time and time again in my travels over the years. Some towns have a particularly strong hold, New Orleans is one of them. The other reason I know it is really time to leave is the steady stream of visitors throughout the day and being unable to take a walk on the beach without running into someone I know. Don't get me wrong, we love meeting people but it can get tiring when all I want is a little privacy.

    Living in such a high profile home tends to attract a lot of attention. People see our bus and make all sorts of assumptions about us. They often identify us, correctly, as free spirited, caring and open minded people. Certainly, like everyone we have our many flaws, but we do strive for this ideal. Because of this, unlike folks in a conventional RV, we regularly attract a LOT of people, of all backgrounds who come looking for healing and someone to talk to. We don't mind this at all and are happy to listen and give and receive energy to a person when we can, but it can sometimes be scary and a bit difficult to read someones real intentions and allow them into our home. We often have trouble defining our personnel boundaries and knowing where to draw the line. Now, with a baby things are even more complicated as we want her home to be a safe and healthy place. It just seems that sometimes the rules that apply to those who live in brick and mortar houses are different than those that apply to rolling homes. This is understandable, to a certain extent and is part of why I love travel, but it can be complicated at times.

    For example, this week we were sitting in the bus reading when there was a knock at the door and a voice called out

    " Spare a little time for an old Vietnam vet ? " followed by, " Permission to board ?" in a very military sounding voice.

    I went to the doorway to see a weathered looking bearded, grey haired man wearing a faded black cap with the words "Vietnam vet" on it and a huge back pack. He was a bit dirty and smelled of whisky, but my heart went out to him. These kinds of situations can be difficult as it requires one to make a character judgment of a person in the space of a few seconds. So far we have never been wrong, but there is always that possibility. When I was younger and hitchhiking around the country by myself I got a lot of practice in this art form. When someone pulls over and offers a ride, you have about twenty seconds to asses the person and make the right decision. I rely a lot on my gut instinct and intuition.

    Moss and I looked at each other and shrugged,I turned back to the fellow and told him,

    "O.k, but leave your pack outside "

    He put his pack down and hobbled into the bus, sitting down on the bench, thanking us repeatedly. We then began over an hour long conversation consisting of him crying hysterically and reliving, in vivid detail , story after story of his time in nam. He showed us bullet holes, where he was damaged by agent orange and cried bitter tears for his brother William, killed in combat. This was a broken man and my heart went out to him. The intensity of his emotion was frightening and we did not know what else to do so we just listened, which I think was all he wanted anyway. At one point I reached out and grabbed his hand and he seemed to appreciate this. When he was finished we offered him some food, which he ate then thanked us and went on his way.

    This is just one example of an often repeated scenario, with a varying cast of characters, all with stories to tell, some sad, some happy, some rich, some poor, all just wanting to share.

    Anyway, Sage is doing well and seems to enjoy traveling, though this will be her first long trip. We are trying to provide a sort of stability in our day to day rituals to counter the constant stream of new places and people that she encounters. I think she is adjusting well. I took a series of photos of her, my favorite to date, showing the first time on her belly and having "floor time".

    I have included them below.....

    Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Run River Run

    My advice to anyone thinking whitewater rafting in a ducky (inflatable kayak) would be fun....DON'T DO IT!

    I have done a little bit of whitewater rafting on the Rogue River in Oregon. Almost every year. Not hard core but II's and III's and depending on the flow of the river, sometimes even a IV. Never was I thrown from the raft. Never did I feel afraid.

    When in Colorado this summer in a great little historic town, Salida, which is near the Arkansas River and home to many rafting companies, the hubs and I decide to go whitewater rafting. Sounded fun. On the day of, he decides it would be fun to go in the duckies. Now, I am always up for adventure and even though I wasn't keen on the idea, being the trooper I always am, said okay.

    That was the first mistake. However, the number one thing I did that day was something I had never done in any of my rafting trips. And that was to have a guide. Don't ask me why.

    The guide goes over the if you flip, fold your arms keep your feet up and ride it out drill and we were soon on our way. The first rapid was classified as a III-IV, Hubs becomes a swimmer and I however, make it over the small fall and felt pretty triumphant. We go a little further in II-III level rapids and it's a little scary but I'm doing good. The guide then has us get out and scope out the next one, Seidels Suckhole and Twin Falls. Did I say we had two guides? A guy and a girl. The girl decides she isn't going to run it and would wait and have the guy come back and help her carry her kayak around the river to where we would be waiting.Ummmm, shouldn't that have been a clue that the novices shouldn't run it either?

    Okay, so that was the plan. Follow the guide. Number one take the falls at the far left then the far right, NOT DIRECTLY OVER THE FALLS. That's really not an easy thing to do when the river is running as fast as it was. I make it through the suckhole, meanwhile, the hubs is a swimmer again and rides around the falls (excellent choice) catches up to the duckie gets back in and the guide tells him to wait around the bend for us to catch up.

    My turn on the falls. I try and follow the path the guide took and make the far left side of the first fall just as he does, but the second one I can't paddle hard enough to get to the right. I see I am going over and paddle hard to straighten up and take it head on as that was my only shot. Right over I go, perfect. Until the big back wash and splash at the bottom tosses me out like a paper doll. Unfortunately, I landed in deep water with the backwash pounding me down under the water even with my life jacket on. I am doing everything I can to try and push myself up out of the water, but when I can get my head up there is so much splash that I'm just sucking in water and then pushed down under again. This goes on for several minutes and I realized I wasn't going to make it out. I was trying everything I could to push myself out of the backwash so the current could take me downriver, but couldn't get out of the hole I was in. I was ready to give up, but told myself to just keep trying don't give up. I was thinking how upset my daughter was going to be when she found out. We were supposed to be to her house the next day.

    Meanwhile, the guide sees me fly and the raft go down river and thinks I did too. He paddles over to get my raft and oar and realizes he can't see me. He thinks I have gone around the bend where the hubs is hanging out. He said out of the corner of his eye he saw the top of the red helmet for a second shoot up and then disappear. He quickly got out with his kayak and got up above me and ran that portion of the river again and was able to get close to me. I popped up just at the right moment to see his yellow kayak and grabbed on. He is yelling at me to swim and kick my feet. But I am so fatigued it is all I can do to hang on. He then tells me I have to let go or I am going to flip him when he goes over the next small rapid. I look down river and know I don't have anything left in me to swim. I then see a big rock and know I would have to grab it on the side and hope it wasn't to slippery, or that I didn't get caught under it. I let go in time to grab the rock. I can't tell you how great it was to cough and choke and breathe in air and hold that rock. I held on for about 15 minutes trying to figure out if I could let go and make the swim downstream that I needed to make through the rest of this section of rapids.

    I decided to pull myself up over the rock and climb a series of big rocks to get to the side of the river. So, up and over I went and around to where the guide was waiting for me. I then got in the duckie knowing the only way out was down the river.

    So, there is the hubs waiting on the side of the river around the bend in a nice little shallow pool. I was a little pissed that he didn't realize that something was wrong when we weren't coming down the river. "Yea, I was a little worried, but I couldn't get back to see what was going on."

    I almost drowned. I had to be rescued!

    I'm still a little pissed about that!

    So, then when that adventure is over and we are in the van being shuttled back into town, I realize my knee, shins and arms are killing me. I look over myself and I am nothing but bruises with a knee swollen up like crazy. I guess I was being pouned into the rocks and didn't even feel it. Thank heavens I didn't feel it, or I am sure I would have quite given up.

    I have since found out that 5 people had drowned this summer, more than they ever had. I am counting myself lucky that I wasn't number 6!Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Song to a Seagull.......

    Today was such a beautiful windy day ! The kind of wind that shakes the bus and bends the trees ! I adore windy days. There is something magical about wind that seems to transform any ordinary day into one of mystery and wonder. I went out to the beach for a walk while Moss stayed back at the bus with Sage. They are both sick..runny noses, coughing. Poor girl, this is her first cold and she is teething as well.

    I wore my mohair poncho, as I always do on windy days. It's warm and cozy and flaps around behind me like a cape or wings as I walk. I had a great time on the beach alone reflecting on all the recent and wonderful changes in my life. I also took the opportunity to study some bird species I was unfamiliar with and take some photos. I saw a few dead birds out there which was sad. I wonder if it's from all the pollution in the storm run off pond where the sea birds hang out.

    On a sad note..early this morning while driving from our night time sleeping spot to our daytime hang out spot, I saw a dead sea gull in the road. He was recently killed, just a few hours maybe. Such a beautiful bird he was, so clean and white and healthy looking. He lay on his back, wings spread out behind him like an angel and head turned to one side. In some morbid way he looked quite beautiful. If it wasn't for the small trickle of bright red blood coming from the side of his beak, one might wonder if he was still alive.

    It made me so sad to see him like that, cut down in his prime. He was an adult herring gull , and judging by the beautiful condition of his feathers, had probably recently finished a molt. Perhaps it was his first adult molt, as herring gulls retain their brownish feathers for several years before growing the typical white and grey ones.

    We stopped the bus and Moss went out to move him from the middle of the street to a patch of shrubs on the side of the road . We frequently do this for animals we see that have been killed in the road. We do this for a few reasons... one because neither of us can stand to see such beautiful creatures rotting on asphalt, instead of earth, and two because it keeps the crows and other scavengers from being hit while attempting to feed.

    There are a lot birds around here, especially on the beach where we park. There are a few juvie gulls and a flock of pigeons that we have become acquainted with as well as many other species of gulls and salt water birds of which I am unfamiliar. Every day the pigeons are there to greet our big green bus as we pull up. I throw them bread, bird seed and whatever we have that's healthy. A few times I had Palomino with me on my lap and it was interesting watching their reaction. I think they trust me more now because they saw another pigeon being friendly with me and now they don't venture far from the bus during the day.

    Seeing that sea gull and my walk on the beach today reminded me of one of my favorite Joni Mitchell songs, Song to a Seagull.......

    Song To a Seagull

    Fly silly seabird

    No dreams can possess you

    No voices can blame you

    For sun on your wings

    My gentle relations

    Have names they must call me

    For loving the freedom

    Of all flying things

    My dreams with the seagulls fly

    Out of reach out of cry

    I came to the city

    And lived like old crusoe

    On an island of noise

    In a cobblestone sea

    And the beaches were concrete

    And the stars paid a light bill

    And the blossoms hung false

    On their store window trees

    My dreams with the seagulls fly

    Out of reach out of cry

    Out of the city

    And down to the seaside

    To sun on my shoulders

    And wind in my hair

    But sandcastles crumble

    And hunger is human

    And humans are hungry

    For worlds they cant share

    My dreams with the seagulls fly

    Out of reach out of cry

    I call to a seagull

    Who dives to the waters

    And catches his silver-fineDinner alone

    Crying where are the footprints

    That danced on these beaches

    And the hands that cast wishes

    That sunk like a stone

    My dreams with the seagulls fly

    Out of reach out of cry.................

    Some of the regulars gathered in front of the bus. The view from the pop out window.Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Battery Box!

    The battery box construction, though it would seem to be a simple and unremarkable thing, was actually a super exciting and challenging endeavor. Erin designed an immensely solid box that involved salvaged angle iron, plywood, extra long and sturdy bolts and lock-nuts. We finally got a chance to test our true construction skills by sawing up metal and drilling fatty holes in the bus frame :)

    We started by measuring out how much room the four batteries took up and the space we had to work with between the two L-shaped beams underneath the bus. We put it on the right side (facing the bus) directly in front of the wheel-well. We arranged it so it would be in a direct line from the solar panels and charge controller to minimize wire runs. Next we cut two strips of angle iron to be the two side supports that would hold the bottom of the long threaded rod that we would suspend the whole box from.

    Meanwhile, I drilled a bunch of holes in the angle iron using our nice cobalt bit and my dad's old drill press. We cut up the 1/2" plywood sides to the box - two thicknesses for the bottom plus two strips of steel for extra security. Erin drilled a bunch of holes in the back piece for a vent. Then we mounted four pieces of angle iron to the inside bottom of the box that would hold the batteries exactly in place so they wouldn't slide around, and planned two pieces that would also run along the top sides of the batteries and be bolted down as well

    Once we got the whole box screwed together, we cinched up three of the lock nuts - one underneath the box, one on top, and one that would go under the L-shaped bus beam. Then Erin sawed a square out of the side of the bus and we put a couple of hinges on it to make an outside door! We had also put a couple of hinges on the front of the box itself and a locking piece so that we can throw a pad-lock on there just in case.

    Next came the tricky part - trying to hoist the massively heavy box underneath the bus and shove the long bolts perfectly into the pre-drilled holes we had made, with just two people. To say the least it was a challenge, but we got it in there and cinched down the last of the lock-nuts, the ones that will actually keep the whole box from falling out beneath us. We were quite proud once we have finally got it up there!

    Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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Business Plans and an Epiphany......

    Before I begin this latest update, I wanted to mention that I have added a photo archives on the left panel. Here you can view most of the photos contained in this blog, including a chronological order of bus construction and a separate folder for travel photos. I will be adding more regularly as we go along...

    We are still in Santa Barbara and probably will be in and around the area for awhile, or at least until Moss's legal stuff is resolved. The other day we got to listen to Dennis Kucinich speaking down by the pier. He is, as most of you know, a possible candidate in the presidential race, and one of my all time favorites. Last time he ran on the green party ticket. It was so refreshing to hear someone tell it like it is. He will certainly have my vote if he ends up a candidate.

    Anyway, I do enjoy this area but it seems we have been trying to head north for so long, and each time we are delayed. On the bright side it feels sooo good to be back in our home again ! There are a few good paid initiatives that Moss has been working on and that has been wonderful for our cash flow, although we are trying to wean ourselves off petitioning and onto more creative ventures. These initiatives will be going until possibly December which will give us lots of time to save up money to invest in our fledgling business's and to live off.

    There are a few things we have been tossing around, but so far the best ideas seem to be a combination of eBay sales, felt boots and a travelling puppet show. The felt boots have been coming along quite nicely and we have recently sold three more pairs ! We are still perfecting and fine tuning them and I hope soon we can offer them on our site here. In addition to the boots we have also been selling the herb kratom on eBay and doing well with that, picking up lots of regular customers and bringing in hundred or so a week. This is great, but our cost of living is higher now since our old engine was destroyed and with it the veggie oil system as well. Until we get that up and running we have to pay for bio diesel, which is more expensive and harder to find, though there is a place here in Santa Barbara. The new veggie system, when we finish it, will be way more efficient and operate on three tanks, two for the veggie and one for the diesel.

    The other thing we are working on is a travelling puppet show. For the past year I have been experimenting with turning my felted dolls into puppets. That's the easy part . The hard part is coming up with good stories. Ultimately we hope to have a mix of stories, some political, some educational, and some fairy tales for children as well as psychedelic ones for adults. Some shows will be specifically for street busking and some geared more to schools, libraries and museums.

    Moss, who has extensive theatre training and experience ( a BA in theatre and one in audio engineering) , will be doing the audio and probably most of the puppetry. He has been dabbling in puppetry since he was a young child, even doing paid shows at country clubs and dinner theatres! His sister, Holly has a degree in puppetry and lots of professional experience (she taught him how to move them well) to lend. We are very excited about all this and will update everyone on our progress as we go along, though it may take a year or longer to develop.

    Warning..I am about to launch into another deep, poetic and sappy soliloquy about my beloved daughter, get used to it......

    Sage is doing well and growing so fast ! Everyone always says how alert she is for a three and a half month old. Since we both have had very little experience with babies, or even children, we both assumed that's just how babies are, but people keep telling us that is not really so.

    It seems I spend a good deal of time just gazing at her, dreaming of all the things I want to share with her and teach her. I realize we do not have the money that many other families have, so my aim is to fill her life with so much love, magic, beauty and poetry that she will grow up completely unaware that we were a "poor" family. It will only be when she is older that she will suddenly realize that her family was poor. As I dream so many things for her it is hard not to lose myself completely in her. At the same time though, I now understand that to a certain extent it is part of being a mom. However I also think that it is important to keep a part of myself for me. This may seem obvious but it is surprising how so many women seem to forget that. It is also, I have recently realized, the secret to allying my sadness of her growing up. The love one feels for their child is so encompassing that it threatens to swallow you up. One can become so identified as a mom that as the child grows and needs you less and less, it can feel as though you are withering away. Eventually when they move away there is great pain and sadness as the role of mom is diminished.

    The inevitable question at this time becomes, "If I am not a full time mom, then who am I ? "

    This is even more so for younger moms who have not had the chance to really find out who they are and explore their world. I have had 18 adult years to do so and so it is easier for me to recognize this as it happens. The answer, I am discovering, is to continue to pursue your passions and to follow your bliss, whenever possible, so that when your baby grows up and leaves, you have something left for yourself.......

    Sage and I hanging out. The rocker in the picture is a folding antique one I got on ebay for 30 bucks ! Comes in handy for nursing Sage to sleep, yet takes up very little room.

    Sage and I..

    Our house plants enjoying a sunbath...

    Palm trees and sun..need I say more ?

    Dennis Kucinich telling it like it is.....

    Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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    We are finally back online with a new, or at least refurbished computer, thanks to Moss's brilliance ! He found a computer on eBay for 200 bucks with a 10 gig hard drive, bought it and replaced the smaller hard drive with our bigger 30 gig hard drive.. He then went on to replace the screens and wifi cards, figuring it all out as he went along.

    As of this writing we are in Santa Barbara, after spending two weeks house sitting and visiting with our friends Jackie and Frank in the Valley. While there we took the time to get some much needed work done on the bus. In the back,above the bench/bathtub combo, a shelf was added for Sages clothes and diapers. Then we added a cabinet at the foot of the bed for our clothes and moved the bookshelf from the foot of the bed to above our heads. We also took the bottom of the birds cages and created storage areas. Some time ago we noticed that the birds never venture to the bottom of the their cages and hence that is wasted space. We now have a great place for recycling, trash and various other things. Lastly we took the ugly black windows on the outside ( spray painted black because they are blocked on the inside by walls) and painted them green to match the bus. SOOO much better looking ! Now all we have left to do is install our water system, which we have all the parts for, including the Paloma on demand hot water heater, a 70 gallon fresh water tank and a 40 gallon grey water tank. What we don not have is the money to have the tanks welded under the bus.

    In addition to the work on the bus we also spent a good deal of time last week calling around looking for a lawyer to take our civil case against the "unnamed store" and "unnamed police Dept". This is in regards to Moss's false imprisonment last month. Every lawyer that we met with was willing to take the case on contingency. They all said it is not a big money case by any means, but it is the principal that interests them. All agreed Moss's civil rights were clearly violated and that he was very much allowed by law to be there. This, according to the lawyers is a clear cut case of false imprisonment and there is no doubt we would win in court. They are so sure that they will take the case on contingency. We went to court on Sept 17 to plead and a public defender was appointed for the criminal case, as we can not afford a lawyer for that part.The public defender seemed clueless and the only reason he did anything was because we suggested it. Moss of course pleaded not guilty but surprisingly the DA still wants to go ahead and prosecute. Everyone was sure he would not go forward. That's fine because it just makes our case better in the end.We go in again on oct 17th for the pre trial and according to our lawyer the judge will likely throw it out. After that we begin the civil trial. If for some reason the judge decides to let it go on and the DA goes forward then we have a full blown trial on our hands and we get to subpoena the store video surveillance, call our witness and have all kinds of fun !

    If we do win we don't expect to receive large amounts of money by most standards, maybe 15,000 after lawyer expenses and such. Of course, that will help us tremendously, but it is, as our lawyer stated, the principal as well. Moss spent 24 hours in jail, was extremely disrespected and forced to post 5,000 dollars for his freedom. All for absolutely no legal, justifiable reason. Surely that is worth some compensation.

    All of this means our plans to head to Oregon in October are delayed for and indefinite period of time. It looks like we will spending more time in Santa Barbara, which isn't to bad. We found a new place to park near some gorgeous botanical gardens. Sage has been enjoying looking at the flowers and trees. I noticed she is very visual, preferring intricate patterns and bold colors. From the time she was two weeks old I noticed her staring intently at the art on the walls and smiling. She does that in the bus also where the walls are much closer and adorned with artwork. Perhaps she will grow up to be an artist ?

    On another note, to the person who made the (unpublished), nasty comment regarding my spelling and their hope that we were not planning to home school sage, thank you... It is true my spelling in the previous post was horrid ! I am actually an adequate speller. That post was written in a hurried manner and when I am doing rough drafts I misspell a lot of things then go back and fix it all later. At that time I had forgotten to do that. So thank you for bringing it to my attention, but I do think there was a kinder way to word it than the way you did. And to answer your question, yes, we do plan to home school.... :)

    The bird cages with new closets underneath for storage.

    Shelf for Sages clothes and diapers.

    Book shelf above bed and Sage sleeping peacefully..

    New closet above bed.

    Bus windows now painted green.Source URL: http://threemoonsevolving.blogspot.com/2007/
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