Thursday, June 26, 2008

my two cents

I haven't been posting much lately, but here are a few shots from our date to help Lydia move out of her trailer. Enjoy.

Dancing in the dark

When I met Lydia she was wearing a dress that looked like a red picnic table cloth with lace strung around it and a red hat with a wig attached inside. She told me she was a 65-year-old gospel singer and she wanted to teach me how to flatfoot (it's like tap dancing meets riverdance, check it out). "C'mon girl," she yells as she grabs my hand, and with her 4'8" body pulls me onto the floor with more force than a lucha libre wrestler. We danced and I was exhausted after the first song... But, we stayed for many.

After the evening was over I offered to help her carry her belongings back to her car. I slung her bright white guitar over my shoulder and carried a bag full of framed 8x10 photographs with me. (She loves to take pictures of people and blow them up - whether or not they are good - and give them out framed and matted. I have a few now, including some Polaroids.) In the parking lot she told me I was a sweet young lady. "I love you, honey," she said. "Can I play you a few gospel songs?" I couldn't refuse such an offer.

She pulled a new-in-the-box electric mandolin out of her trunk and slid a cartridge inside it to provide a back up beat. "This is for all the veterans," she whispered into the red darkness of exiting taillights.

As she sang, she swayed back and forth and played with so much passion I thought her skinny fingers were going to pound through the black plastic casing of the mandolin.

She played three songs and by the middle of the third, she was crying and dancing. It was just the two of us in a nearly empty parking lot. I, in my bright blue dress and she in red and white. It was beautiful.

By the end, I too was crying and dancing.

This is how I met Lydia.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Puppet Circus VI

The two Patricks and I crashed a 6-year-old's birthday party. We offered armfuls of asparagus and berries in exchange for entertainment. Although complete strangers, we were welcomed like family.

Under a willow tree in the backyard of a small Floyd farm was a time machine, a 12-foot tall paper mache elephant and an odd assortment of puppets handmade from bone, paper and pieces of trash. Besides being an excellent gardener, Wesley (the 6-year-old's father) is a puppet master.

The puppet show lasted about 30 minutes and included pyrotechnics, time travel, dumpster diving, global warming and the police. And, the whole thing climaxed with a homemade, 15-foot tall papier mache dinosaur descending from the hills to give rides to the children.

The whole performance was accompanied by a three piece band, made more fabulous by a drum kit pulled out of an old leather suit case. After the show, the band set up near the fire and continued to play Tom Waits, David Byrne, and 14th century Spanish songs.

I would have been happy to just have conversation, a potluck, and the handful of sweet pea pods in my pocket, but this will probably be the best birthday party of my life.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm back

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

32 hours into food poisoning

I should have stayed on the farm. One day back in the city and I'm ill out of my mind. I equate this to a bad spirit quest. Last night, while dreaming in delirium, I met my spirit animal. It's a wolf, and not a pretty one either. It's gnarly and its coat looks like shredded tree bark. It lead me through yellow and orange caverns into the dark.

I hope I'm never this sick again.

Thank you Justin for letting me set up a bed inside your bathroom. Thank you Katie for being awesome.

I am under the weather, but hope to be back up again soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

taking it way back; supplemental

just a few shots from the most epic foam fight ever. . . props to Nate for capturing the moment so expertly while being assaulted with foam himself. This little shindig took place after Justin, Jeana, Nate and I shot a wedding in Hendersonville, NC. the first weekend we were here. Jeana and I were soaking our feet with some bathsoap when she turned on the jets and things got crazy. It was a good night.

down on the farm

Jeana and I are staying at Seven Springs Organic Farm, which is why we haven't been too good about updating the blog. Neither of us really get cell phone service, let alone internet out there.

The farm we're living and working on is located in Check, VA, just outside of Floyd. Floyd is an absolutely amazing place, filled with the kind of people you always wanted the world to be populated with. Jeana's met some really fantastic people, but I'll let her tell you about them. I'll just say that after being here for a week, we know at least a dozen people who stop us on the street to ask how we are. They city has tons of artists, farmers, musicians and just all around good people living and working there. On Saturday we met a navy veteran who runs an Angus farm with her husband and four kids in addition to working three jobs that add up to something like 110 hours of work a week. Her doctor told her to cut it out, and she finally just picked one job outside of the farm.

Yesterday we were walking down to the Baptist Church to attend and she stopped us to say hi. The people here are just amazing.

The farm work is hard, but satisfying. We do a lot of weeding, a little planting, and every now and then we get sent out to try and catch an escaped pig at a neighbors' farm. (They'd caught them by the time we arrived, but it would have been amazing.)

I think my favorite work has thus far been bailing hay. The farm runs like it would have about sixty years ago, and the bailing is no exception. The machine is from the 1950's, and bales into squares. It poops them out and we have to follow behind and pick them up, stack them in the bed of the pickup or on the wagon, take them to the barn and restock them. The work is really hard and amazingly fun. Jeana, intern Patrick and Kari and volunteer Patrick and me were the bailing monkeys. We must have collected somewhere between three and four hundred bales over the course of several hours. It was hot, dirty and fun work.

As for the pictures: Jeana was cooking chili in the outdoor kitchen the interns have up at their quarters on the farm. It's a fully functional kitchen with one and a half walls, which is pretty cool.

The second picture is of Jeana and Kari, one of the two farm interns, hanging out by the office one evening before Jeana and I headed into town.

Farm living is the life. . . at least for a few more weeks.

Monday, June 2, 2008

natural bridge is the most incredible place ever

seriously. . . from a local drive-in that made me think it was 1954 to the wonders of a replica of stonehenge made entirely of foam. . . this has been an almost unbelievalbe place.

Tourist day

Natural Rock, Va. -Our last two days before we move onto farms. We spent them camping and being tourists.

Prof. Cline's Dinosaur Kingdom

I helped Katie set up the tent.