Odd Folks


    In times like these, where many of the things we've taken for granted have proven to have a downside that is dark and destructive, doesn't this behoove us to become strongly nonconformist, rejecting society's constructs in many ways? 

    I don't understand conformity.  I have always had issues with conformity, and often found I didn't fit into the conversations about what's on television, or what's in style.  I don't really often know what the latest fashions are, and wear whatever I feel like on any given day. Often this means I probably look like what might best be described as, "Helena Bonham Carter meets skate-boarding gardener mash-up". 
    Whenever I've met someone who's also a bit odd in their manner of dress, in their ideas, or even in their behavior, I am immediately drawn to them.  I relish their uniqueness, even if I might not relate to much of what they say or do in a familiar way, since the whole point is, they're offering something I haven't encountered before.  Even if they are dressed in a somewhat bohemian fashion I have seen before, I may understand where they got their ideas, but because their choice of clothing flies in the face of all that is considered "in fashion" others may harshly judge, or avoid this person out of some sense of distress about their lack of conformity, while I will attempt to learn more about them
I tend to have way more fun thinking about things in unusual ways.
    The area where I grew up is very conservative.  There was a lot of ridicule aimed at anyone not fitting in, dressing in the same styles as everyone else, talking about safe subjects, not questioning anything to a degree others find tiresome and so on.  When in a more populated area, I find that this tension eases to a great extent, and you may even find people who value eccentricity, even in a rural area where people have come from away, bringing open-mindedness with them.
    Creative types offer displays and endeavors to fascinate and entertain, and often, to teach us something about ourselves or the world we inhabit, but only if we look for the greater meaning.  We might gain insights en mass, and grasp as a nation what needs to change about our culture in a tangible, or in a metaphysical sense.    Can such insights and cultural influence be found in a long-running popular TV series?  Perhaps.  That will depend on the viewer.  The viewer needs to have the vision, and an understanding of the value in examining ourselves and, more importantly, be open to discoveries that may lead us to change negative behaviors.  Does The Walking Dead inspire you to be a better, more caring person?  Something to consider.
    Most artists start off small and perhaps struggling locally, or trying to get a screenplay made into a movie, and so on.  But this isn't necessarily about those struggling or striving to be noticed.  Attempts are made at breaking into the mainstream with a fashion trend, or getting signed on a major music industry label.  Local, small-scale, individual creative efforts that are well away from the mainstream do go on to become well known en mass sometimes.  But how often are they unable to make it if they aren't conforming in some way to the trends, to industry's needs and caveats, to a need for money?  Their creative endeavors are shaped in a million ways, by within that system that ultimately is peddling "lack";  We consume products made by a system that we know is corrupted and destroying the planet.  
    Creative people right in our own communities are essentially the harbingers we must now look to in order to help us decide on how a new age and new culture may function for us as we head into an uncertain and apparently darkening future.   The value in strange displays of nonconformity may only be accessible and understandable in a hyper-local context.   These are cultural outsiders. What they bring to the table is often more valuable than mass-culture's offerings.   

    Often rejection of the mainstream is cause for gossip, and some  folks may find this attitude offensive, or interesting, but none of this is the point I want to make here.  Perhaps any attempts to change the culture by being unusual and persisting in committing fashion faux pas, or demonstrating an insouciant lack of familiarity with the latest episode of the popular television series, can only influence a way of being in the world if eccentric types, (be they artists, poets, or just plain folk expressing weird ideas about things), as well as those not necessarily creative, but paying attention,  both embrace an irreverent, steadfast rejection of much of today's culture. 
    They may make some folks uncomfortable, but those odd folks, who might cause us to chuckle and wonder, are an indicator species in our communities, counseling us on what about our own culture, its fashions, habits, customs and ideas, needs to change.


As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still...

"As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know. Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible."  ~ Carl Jung 

   My father always encouraged me to go my own way and think for myself, be myself, and unapologetically do what makes me happy. 
 It's no small matter in the course of my life events that he, in a manner that seemed rather perfunctorily at the time, abandoned my mom and I when I was the tender age of 12. 
   I had an unhappy time of it as a teenager, and when I wasn't able to do self destructive things with my friends, I spent a lot of time alone.  I became very comfortable in my day dreamy world of art and books, and spent long afternoons in the woods, pretending...


On Reverie...


“In the trembling of a leaf,” says Baudelaire, “in the color of a blade of grass, in the shape of clover, in the buzzing of a bee, in the sparkle of a drop of dew, in the sighing wind, in the vague fragrance coming out of the woods, an entire world of inspirations is produced, a magnificent and colorful parade of disorganized and rhapsodic thoughts.”


Latest photography....

This photo was taken way back in 2006.
The first one I took with my old Nikon.  
I found it recently, saved to the camera
(not the card!)  
What a pleasant surprise!  
Unadulterated, this photo was taken in my back yard,
 an early morning shot of the pasture 
behind the old farm where I used to live...

...in a past life.  :)


And coming soon in 8 x 10 open edition:  
"Bright Spot"


Felted Make-do...

My latest felted make-do project... 

"The Early Bird"  
Available on Etsy.


Plans for homesteading...

Looking at options and opportunities in Maine, and really amazed at the amount of resources for those wanting to farm in Maine... apprenticeships, classes... organic, local, and small scale is the norm!
 From large scale to 1 acre operations, I am just SO impressed with the community of farmers!

2 off grid ways to obtain vegetables = garden / greenhouse
2 ways to obtain sufficient "protein" hunting / livestock (eggs, milk, cheese)
2 ways to preserve a harvest = canning / drying

Since the horrible winters in Maine is the one thing of which no one ever fails to reminds me. 
Woodstoves. Propane. Oil, electric... how many ways are there to heat a home?  2 off grid ways to heat = wood / propane...  Large, southerly windows for sunlight?
A woodstove for cooking sounds lovely, but primary heat, but maybe starting off with propane or oil, supplement with wood for awhile... plant a lot of trees with the intention of harvesting. I'm thinking that Black locust is an easy, renewable and fast growing hardwood, and after planting in succession, in 5 years, we could start to get serious about using that as our primary source of heat.  Excellent for coppicing, stinky when burned but excellent to use in rocket stoves.  It is shallow rooting...  in high winds when limbs break, or if it is uprooted, it will sprout new trees wherever it lands... and need cut back... It creates good protective cover for small game and ground nesting birds.  Very hard wood.  Used for boat building.  The flowers taste like peas.  They look like tiny ballerina slippers and have a heavenly smell...
Anyway, by the time we have 5 years of growth, I'm guessing we'd also be more familiar with the quirks of our particular woodstove(s), the localized climate, and the "final" amount of space we need to keep heated ... so it's hard to depend on wood I guess is what I'm getting at. To heat my mother's 30 x 60' space, it takes one little wood stove and about 4 cord of wood a year. Based on that, I'm going to start off guessing that a space half that size will require twice that much wood in Maine's climate.
Everyone thinks, well, just buy some acreage with timber, and cut firewood... but a great deal of the timber there is white pine, too soft for firewood. So hardwoods are precious resource.

3 off grid ways to cook, = woodstove / propane gas oven / outdoor firepit.  I want a cookstove, for day time use in Winter. Summers, I really love to cook outside...and A propane gas stove for indoors...

Off grid ways to obtain water, = Rain water catchment cistern / hand-pump well / pond or flowing water on property.

Just my thoughts on these things... :)