2019 update

Hi there!

I think a few people are subscribed here, and now and then I hear of someone checking in. So I’d like to let you know where I am now and what I’m doing.

When I built my little yurpee, I hoped to be able to live there most of the year and earn an income through freelance work that I could do online – I’ve been a freelance copy editor and writer since around 1998. It seemed reasonable.

But things didn’t quite work out – often my Internet access didn’t work, and I had to drive into St. Johns to work at the library – over an hour’s drive. Then, in 2015, my major client was sold, and I lost that work.

At that point I decided to do what seemed necessary: live somewhere else for a while, so that I could work and get on my feet financially, and then return to the land when I could.

The summer of 2015, I drove all over New Mexico looking for a place I’d like to live, and a job, and I didn’t find anything. I was living in my truck and was what I’d call officially homeless. Eventually I stayed with a friend in Santa Fe for a few months and worked waiting tables, and then I moved in with my mother. I went back to the land to visit when I could.

By the end of 2016, the situation wasn’t improving. I hadn’t been able to secure new freelance work, and my options seemed to come down to waiting tables, managing a dollar store, or learning to drive trucks.

I know I had other options – I could have got an office job, or probably worked as a librarian in Apache County. But those things felt like dead ends, as did living with my mother with no end in sight.

So I scraped up the money I did have and bought a ticket to Bangkok.

Since October 2016 I’ve been a “nomad.” I’ve spent a total of about 19 months in Southeast Asia, and the rest of the time in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Australia, and the USA. I’m loving it.

The first six months in Asia were dicey; I had so little money. I was earning a little (between 50 cents and about $3 an hour) by working on Mechanical Turk and transcribing audio for an Internet service. Once I decided to stay in Asia long term, I sold my truck to Peter Bigfoot at Reevis Mountain School – he’d been storing it for me – and that gave me a bit of funds.

Then, in the spring of 2017, while I was in Thailand, I discovered a new type of work: writing abstracts (for a company out of Switzerland called getAbstract). I also found work copy editing academic papers through an online service. It was huge: for the first time in my life I was making a decent living on my own, making ends meet through my own work. Before, I’d always either been with a partner who provided for me or been on my own and broke. So becoming financially solvent and independent was a huge boost to my confidence and self-esteem.

I’m currently continuing to travel while I pursue a dance and writing project called The Year of Dancing. You can read about that here.

I’m also writing on Medium under the pen name SK Camille. I write about life lessons, love, healing, and my experiences at the farm and traveling.

Now that things are starting to take shape, I wanted to touch base with anyone who found me on this site, and bring you over to my new places, if those topics interest you. I’ll be sending out a weekly email just to let people know where I am and what I’ve been writing. I’ll put a form at the bottom of this post so you can sign up for that if you’d like to. It won’t be permaculture at this time – it will be about my writing, travel, and dance, for the time being. (NOTE: If you subscribe to THIS blog, you won’t get anything – I’m not going to post here anymore, unless someday I do return to Apache County! The only way you’ll get updates from me is if you subscribe via the little “Let’s connect” form below. Thanks.)

I still think often of my land in Apache County and I long to go back. I don’t own the land (I’d been making payments on it), but I stay in touch with the seller and he’s told me if I want to come back, the land isn’t going anywhere. At this point, I don’t know. If I had a million dollars (or even a lot less than that! 😉 ), I would certainly purchase the land and get there whenever I could.

As it is, I’m looking to settle down in 2020, and that will probably be in Portugal. I have my eye on a little stone cottage with enough ground that I could plant an orchard and garden and keep bees.

In the meantime, I’m writing a lot, continuing to work on my emotional healing and spiritual growth, and enjoying my travel and dance project.

Blessings to you, wherever you are. If we don’t connect again, it’s still great sharing the planet with you.

Patricia

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A visitor

My friend Nick Fox visited in September, and he’s written about it here.

I’ve known Nick about eight years, since we both attended writing school at Warren Wilson. Somehow, of the hundreds of memorable people I met at WW, Nick burrowed himself into a particular place in my heart. Meeting him again after, what, six years since we graduated (only that long?), I saw why.

Nick is the guy who would station himself next to the registration table during arrival day at Warren Wilson and personally see to it that every new student felt welcome and supported. He’s a true extravert, and he’s also truly humble — genuinely hail-fellow-well-met. You feel that he engages you because he wants to know you (not because he wants you to know him). He lives from the heart, and writes from it, too.
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Pictures

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This might not look particularly lush, but the photo doesn’t do it justice. For this land it’s astonishingly so. I actually became disoriented at one point when I was walking from one side to the other, because the grass has grown so high and it makes the contours appear different. It’s benefitted from the fact that the rancher has rotated his cattle off the land – which has been the case for around a year now.

And this is the site of the teensy strawbale – there’ll be a shady patio between the house and the juniper:

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I’m planning a 9×15-foot (o.d., approx.) load-bearing structure, precompressed with straps, with a concreteless cinder-bag foundation, a sleeping loft, and a tiny greenhouse attached to the south side. Stay tuned.

August

I’m back on the land, and so happy to be. The weather is warm in the afternoons (mid 90s) – I lie down on the floor in the yurpee, the only place that’s comfortable – but it’s cool in the mornings, windless and peaceful. Some afternoons cloud up, and sometimes there’s rain. In fact, it took me three days to drive in last week, because an inch of rain had fallen in one storm. It rained three days in a row. This is El Nino, and it’s made the whole region greener than I’ve ever seen it.

After spending a day at the Canelo Project (Bill & Athena Steen) earlier this summer, I’m super excited to build a teensy straw house – just one small room, with a loft – a solid shelter where I can work (edit and write), and space to unpack some of my things that have been stored under tarps for the past year. Building it will also give me practice with the skills of building with straw.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing. Dark Mountain 8, which is soon to appear, will include a little essay I wrote about building the yurpee, and I’ve written a short profile of Peter Bigfoot as “pioneer urban farmer” that I’m told will appear in Greg Peterson/Urban Farm‘s August newsletter.

I’m also writing online, and intend to do more so as my internet access allows. I’m going to focus this here blog on the natural building and permaculture work that I do at Somewhere. I’m posting items of another nature, such as little essays and book reviews, at tozeweaver.net – Toze Weaver being the name I’ve chosen to write under. (Weaver is my mother’s maiden name; Toze is a longer story.)

I’m having some tech trouble here at the St. Johns Public Library (I think they’ve blocked Dropbox!), but will post pictures, and further details, when I log on at the end of the week.

Update & 2015 plans

I haven’t posted since last summer – about time for an update, for the five or six people who follow this blog! Hello!

I’m writing from Texas, where I’m staying with my mother for the winter – sheltering while also helping her during recovery from her shoulder surgery last month. I need a place to be for the winter; she needs someone to cook, help her dress, and run errands. I’ll be here till mid-April, probably.

2014 recap: In the spring/summer I built my little yurpee and experimented with using an olla to create a fertility cell. After that, I had very little time at Somewhere. In late August I went to New Mexico for two months, then came back in October and again in November, briefly. I made some small improvements to the yurpee and, ever optimistic, sowed seeds in the orchard basin: buckwheat, pinto beans, yarrow, clover. Also, in a trench that runs from the road to the basin, wild roses (hips gathered in the Pecos). And a couple of peach pits!

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yurpee raising

I’m back on the land, with materials – and muscles, I hope – to raise my yurpee!

I was away the entire month of June, visiting family in Texas and building the yurpee’s parts down at Peter Bigfoot’s place.

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The yurpee in embryo – back in November.

After transporting the panels to here, I finished sewing the canvas roof at another friend’s place, and then picked up additional materials on the trip up here.

Now all is in readiness, and if the weather cooperates sufficiently, I’ll have a roof over my head by this weekend.

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The site.

I’ll post the story with pictures as it progresses.

But what is a yurpee, you ask?

Watch and see!