Not lazy full. Productively full.

It is a great feeling. Not a blissed out feeling, nor a manic feeling either, not dreaming, not hoping, not sleepy, not wired. Not self-satisfied, not aggressive, not rebellious, nor flag-bearing, nor charge-leading. Not shy either. It is odd how much easier it is to define ourselves principally by what we are not, when we are trying to pinpoint precisely what we are.

Last night, at The Z-Man’s request we took off the few metres past the duck and chicken coop, and down into the lake-bed. Adventures with children can be so close to home, don’t you think? It is one of the many special gifts that our children bestow upon us – the gift of staying right where you are and seeing everything so much more clearly. It is the gift of remembrance: all the magic, all the lightness, all the beingness of truly 4

Our ‘lake’ is a man-made pond that Senora Azul had dug before she left for the summer. It is a vast one-day-to-be pond, designed for the irrigation of the farm. It is already a puddle. A growing one, it swells a tad after each rainfall, but it is definitely currently a puddle. Still, to a boy raised on desert-earth, where trickles are creeks and streams are rivers, this muddy puddle – our muddy puddle – is a Lake.

And it is a-buzz with Life. Deer visit for sunrise refreshments, dragonflies dip and rise during the heat of the day. Last night it was a-buzz with the frenetic energy of a five year old boy rejoicing his own being; naked, bathing in moonlight, shrieking with delight, plowing through the grass and soaring high into the night sky as he pointed out the big dipper and ‘the Rion’. He span in circles, he sang, he was utterly unfettered, completely complete, naturally supercharged and righteously radiant.

He was incredible. Both J and I shed a humbled and grateful tear to witness this ecstasy. It was so raw, and at once so powerful and so vulnerable that we were entranced by this fire-fly that we are blessed to call son. It was utterly, totally and deliciously enchanting. We returned to camp and Z and I bathed together in the moonlight, while J played mandolin to Lady C in the tent and the crickets joined in the chorus.

This morning we repeated our field trip to the Lake. We visited the dragonflies who were already celebrating their own dance, examined the hoof-prints of the deer who had silently supped at sunrise, and were joined by our three dogs and our three ducks.

We acquired a third duck yesterday – Elizabeth, the ‘tame’ duck of a friend of a friend, who could no longer be housed where she was, due to the arrival of a rambunctious puppy. So, Elizabeth came home us and fits in just perfectly. She has begun mothering the two ducklings, stands up to the dogs and cats like a goose and will, I believe, soon overtake the Chihuahua as Queen Bee around these parts. We favor the underdog, so this is a good thing.

photo 3Incidentally, on the subject of Chihuahuas, we learned the other day that Chihuahuas are not actually descended from dogs at all, but are distant cousins of the fox. The desert fox, I assume. This makes perfect sense, as anyone who has ever hung out with a Chihuahua for any time will surely verify – Chihuahuas are not dogs. Not at all.

Take now for example. I am alone – J has taken the children into town on the bike to run some errands, pick up a new bike inner-tube for me and have a Dad-Kid adventure. The dogs – the two dogs – Alfie and Lulu are at my feet. They are both lying on their left side, Lulu looks up to check I am there occasionally, then lays her head back down, Alfie moves only to scratch, or to lick his used-to-be balls.

Honey, the Chihuahua, is nowhere to be seen. She vanished as soon as the dog treat received for not running after the bike and trailer was finished. She will remain, cowering, in hiding, until Z’s return. She is a one-person rat – ahem – fox – ahem – Chihuahua.

I digress.

Our new friend, Elizabeth, is a true Queen. That was my point. The Queen is a duck.

And the sweet beauty of life at Pirate Camp can be summarized by a few key sense-impressions, moments for me that will forever characterize this feeling of right now:

Walking down the path to camp from the garden through waist-long grass and clouds of tiny, blue butterflies;

Planting seeds (greens, beets, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, squash, beans – more to follow) while my children play together inquisitively and sweetly on the porch, with books and sticks and leaves and the breeze;photo 1

Cooking sausages on sticks around a camp-fire with my life’s loves;

And That Moon.

[…]As a short postscript, I have just returned from picking J and the children up from town. It would seem that a bike trailer, two kids, an enormous load of grocery supplies, heat and several hills do not go that well together – even when your husband is a super-hero. Thank goodness for the ability to borrow a truck from time to time, I suppose. Now to get manifesting that horse and cart.

The Chihuahua was, incidentally, not hiding at all, but had scoffed her treat-for-not-running-after-the-bike-trailer, and then promptly upped it and ran two and a half miles after the bike trailer, catching up with it half way along its journey into town. That crazy rat-fox-dog.

When we got home, the duck was taking a rest on the couch. Pirate Life Rules.


I have heard it said that the truth is in the details. Or is it that therein lurks the devil? Maybe, for some, the truth is the devil, although I would argue that the truth is always liberation.

Regardless, today my focus is those devilish, revealing details.

Many people ask questions, people near and far: those whom I see around and about the island; those further away on the phone or in an email, on Facebook, or comments on this blog.

How’s it going out there? How are you all finding life at Pirate Camp? How do you deal with the heat? What are you using for light? Refrigeration? A bathroom? Cooking facilities? Laundry? How are the animals doing? What do you feed your chickens? Are you growing anything yet? What have you learned?

Last night J and I were discussing this. And we concluded that there is little that either of us offer in reply, other than to smile and say, ‘it’s awesome, so awesome’. Yet, from the outside, what Pirate Camp Life actually looks like is probably hard to imagine, so allow me to take you through the keyhole of our life without doors.

We wake up pretty much with the sun. One of us puts the kettle on.

The children wake up naturally and gently and (usually) in a soft and gentle mood. The Z-Man begins playing with legos or something mechanical or robotic, Lady C begins her day-long activity of ‘Coco holdaduck/holdachick/holdachicken’.

I drink tea.

I am able to converse.

photo 4(1)The Morning Motion for all, takes place, less in an outhouse currently, as there are no walls or roof, but outdoors, as with everything else. We built a simple ‘thunderbox’, which I believe is the term. Basically, we have a five gallon bucket, on the ground, boxed in with three walls and a roof. The roof part has a loo seat shaped hole cut out of it and onto it screwed a nice, comfortable, wooden loo seat. Most pukker.

The early sun through the trees makes for a pleasing and calming MM moment.

Each time you go, on top of your ‘pile’, you add a handful or so of dirt and grass. Simple. We deal with the humanure – as compost – by emptying the bucket when it is full into a composting bin, made of four wooden pallets arranged in a cuboid fashion. We layer in some cardboard and lots of grass, both fresh and dried.

The cardboard adds to the heat of the compost to aid its breakdown, as it traps air in the pile. We can add thermometers to check the temperatures, but we have read that after two years it will be completely safe for all compost use – before that, if the temperature is hot enough. We may invest in equipment but, for now, the knowledge that we are transforming our waste back into food – indirectly – is a good feeling.

Sometimes J has woken up before us all and is already at his Mobile Solar Office, stationed somewhere deep in the woods, specific location unknown. In this case, the children and I will make breakfast: homemade granola; or eggs; or porridge; or pancakes; or fruit salad; or some combination thereof.

I will have more tea, or a coffee.

photo 3(5)Next we wash ourselves. We run a hose from the street level, uphill, down through trees and brush, to a holding tank, from which we syphon using another hose, further down, through more brush and grass, to our wet area: the shower and its neighboring washing up and laundry station. The holding tank is under a tree and in some pretty dense shade, so our water always runs cool, even in the heat of the day.

The children prefer a bath, so they each take a tubby, while the base of the shower is a pallet, with a large shell holding the soap, razor, washcloth and scrubby mitts.

Then it’s feeding time for all our animal companions. The chicks are alone in a smaller cage in the kitchen camp area, for their own safety so they don’t get lost, eaten, or lost and then eaten. They get some granola and fruit from our own breakfast, some cracker leftovers, crumbs, raisins, honey water, fresh grass pulled up with dirt and bugs a-go-go, a touch of cat food maybe, and a little apple cider vinegar in their drinking water to help them digest what they eat. Their cage is on the floor directly too, so they are able to scratch around all day.

photo 2(8)The chickens and ducks are out all day, scratching and hunting their own protein. Along with the bugs and worms, over the six or so years we have been raising them, I have witnessed chickens eating mice, rats, thousands of fly larvae, snakes. They are not vegetarian – in any way. That’s where the Omega 3 EFA in your eggs comes from, and the Vitamin D. That’s why ‘conventional’ (since when has animal abuse been the convention? Yuck, where have we come to?) eggs are devoid of nutrition.

Confoundingly though, these chickens have yet to produce us an egg since we moved them here to Pirate Camp. Elizabeth has popped out a fair clutch of delicious and creamy, large-yolked duck eggs, but the chickens seem to be highly protective of theirs. We can’t find them anywhere! Watch this space – we WILL have chicken eggs for breakfast.

We serve the cats their scran – grain-free cat kibble in a tray. It is a bit of a free-for-all. Around the tray this morning scoffing cat food, were Alfie the dog, Tiny Little Rockstar the kitten, Elizabeth the duck and two chickens. The other cats looked up at me imploringly until I gave them their own separate bowl. Wussies.

Alfie, Lulu and Honey then get their bowls of food – gone in 6 seconds. Snarfed. Inhaled. Boom.

Next, do we need to do some laundry? Yes, all too frequently, we do. The children and I unload the laundry basket into a large tub, add laundry soap, and fill with water. We woosh it around a little and let it soak while we get on with other things.

In one laundry load, I will had a cup of washing soda (made from heating baking soda on a tray in the oven at 245F for 25 minutes, to change its chemical structure and make washing soda); a generous squeeze of Dr. Bronner’s , or some other natural, organic soap; a cup of white vinegar;  a sprinkling of non-chlorine bleach (like Oxi-Clean, if you are stateside), a drop of lemon oil and a drop or few of lavender oil. Wazaa.

Anything that needs pre-soaking can sit for a few hours in the sun in Oxi-Clean and a little topical strength hydrogen peroxide before the laundry.

photo 4After the laundry has soaked, I load it in again, same as before and scrub and scrub it this time. I stand in it and act like I’m pressing grapes – fun and makes for very clean feet for babe and me. I scrub it with my hands, take out each piece and wring it, then fill the tub again and rinse everything. Twice.

It’s pretty laborious and somewhat therapeutic. I want to use the word ‘devotional’ as was suggested to me recently, but, rather like the oft-illustrated washerwomen of yore, I can see the muscles that this ‘devotion’ is enabling – my biceps, shoulders, forearms, and I feel rather heartier and more butch than the archetypal image of the zen monk sweeping.

Late morning play time: maybe to the beach together. That’s about a third of a mile down the dirt road outside the entrance to Pirate Camp. It’s called Mosquito Bay and is a lot more picturesque and considerably less of a bite-fest than its name would suggest. Lots of thorny trees though – got to watch your feet.

The Z-Man and Lady C and I are currently assembling a collection of natural artifacts, so we are always on the lookout for things to add to that. We collect shells, sticks, crab parts that have been pulled apart by hungry sea birds, interesting leaves, dried and dead creatures – lizards, dragonflies, snakes and the like. We spend the heat of the afternoon sorting through our finds into categories for our museum, which will be showcased by solar exhibition, details of that to follow in the fullness.

photoThe kids are often involved in painting or making projects of one kind or another. Wonderful, colorful, naked, messy fun.

We spend time doing kitchen things like brewing kombucha, fermenting veggies, sprouting salad seeds, flavoring oils with herbs from the garden or with garlic.

photo 1(5)We haven’t got our solar oven facility going yet so, on the occasion that we need to bake, we use Senora Azul’s kitchen for that. The other day we made chocolate mini-muffins and had a tea party on the deck over a bookfest at siesta time. Delicious.

Lunch: eaten at camp, altogether, around our table that is an antique boat hatch sitting atop a spool. Sitting on pleather or pallet or dirt.

Afternoon. Hot as hell (Caribbean summer). Sometimes we are able to weather it at camp, if there is a little cloud or we are just feeling particularly cool as cucumbers that day.

Sometimes we are up on the covered deck at the main house enjoying the cool breeze and delightful shade that this spot affords. It’s a brilliantly conceived addition to Senora Azul’s place and we enjoy those cool times together bookfesting it up, as with the aforementioned muffin day.

Sometimes though, as with yesterday, we are out at that hot time, at the beach maybe, seeking the shade of a palm tree and the cool of the turquoise water. Snorkeling, napping, swimming, spear fishing,  reminding ourselves that, yes, we are indeed supremely jammy bastards who get to call the exceptional beauty of a Caribbean island our home.

The farm gardening stuff sometimes takes place at this hot time of day, simply as it is a time when both children are quietly occupied, either playing quietly together in the shade of the deck, or C is asleep and Z is reading to himself.

photo 2(7)This means that I can then don my wide-brimmed hat and sweat into my eyes until I am blinded by salt and my contact lenses are smeared, while I spread compost, weed, plant seeds, dig, hand-turn the soil with a garden fork and generally have a fantastic time with my hands and feet in the dirt, quietly and in my own thoughts. It is a satisfying time.

Although a lot more comfortable if it can happen a little later in the day, after the intense heat is done, or earlier, before the intensity is fully mounted. But easier to go with the flow of everyone’s energy and pay the heat price, rather than force everyone else to fit into my vision of the shape of the day, and then pay the miserable, wingeing, moaning child price.

That’s just how I roll. Makes for happier kids, a happier (sweatier) Mama, avoids the struggles that are not worth letting rise, while granting my children the power to give shape to their own daily lives and find their own flow.

I’m sure this style of parenting has a name – child led? Empathic? Organic? Intuitive? Relationship-driven?

Any one of those monikers sounds better than the ‘she’s a mug/pushover/those children need discipline/everyone needs routine’ or – my personal favourite – ‘at some point you have to realize that the real world just isn’t like that?’ criticisms that my parenting style occasionally elicits.

One day I will write about my thoughts on the realness of that Real World, but this day is not that one, so I shall parp along…

I don’t know what my ‘parenting style’ is called – other than, Jo-Mama-Style – because I steer clear of those sodding awful parenting books, as they always make me feel like I would rather be reading something else.

With so many brilliant books to read in my one, short life, why would I waste my time reading a how-to-raise-your-kid manual, written by someone who doesn’t know my kid?

Anyway, I digress, it’s my ranty tendency. Apologies.

J dedicates his Pirate Camp work-time to working on construction projects: coops, the loo, stairs for our raised platform, kitchen counter tops, tables; the list goes on… As well as weed-wacking, weeding, planting, and tending to cisterns, hoses and the like. Between all that and riding his bike with the two children in the trailer behind, he is getting buff.

At some point in any day, returning to camp I will find that one or more of the dogs has dug up the kitchen floor, and one or more of the chickens has taken a dust bath somewhere else in the living space. There may be a duck egg waiting for us. Honey is digging a hole as I write this actually. I will then fill the hole and tread it down, cut some long grass and strew it about the living space. It makes me feel like a medieval English villager actually.  And then there are the iPhones, Internet hotspot, solar chargers and power tools, social networking sites, internet memes and emoticons helping us keep it real and grounded in the 21st century ;)

photo 1The afternoon cools – it’s luscious. Probably my favourite part of the day. Like a daily Autumn. The shadows get longer, the light softens, the heat dampens and we potter about the place in all manner of different ways, from gardening, to fishing, to filling up water tanks and re-syphoning, to playing legos, to building altars and shrines and rock mounds, to hiking through the woods, to exploring new paths from the beach or vantage points from the hillside, to sitting, to drinking tea, to idly facebooking, to sewing ripped clothes or making new or reconfiguring old ones, to phoning a friend, to taking a final dip of the day.

Then dinner, and struggling to head off the pre-mealtime meltdown. Attempting to prepare food and remain calm while refereeing irritating and seemingly pointless battles between just five and nearly two year old children should be a Zen mind sport practice recognized by the Olympic committee. It quite sucks.

We eat, light fades, up solar fairy lights, re-cue tubby time, towel, teeth, bi-parental story-time, song. Lights out. Ahhh.

Kettle on. Chocolate out. First uninterrupted conversations of the day. Mutual blinding by head-lamp whilst being simultaneously dive-bombed by blood-thirsty mosquitoes.

Game of Thrones?


This is the eve of my thirty seventh birthday. June 21st – the Summer Solstice – is my birthday. Woot!

I am proud to have the privilege to celebrate another revolution of the sun on my days. The number is a little alarming though. Not the number in itself, more the societal perception of it. What it means from the outside. But I suppose that just keeps on happening, with increasing effect, as the years pass.

I had a conversation with a friend the other day, over some particularly strong and buzzy balinese coffee, which was very enjoyable, but got my mind whirring at a million bejillion one hundred miles an hour (my kid taught me to count like that, I had forgotten the skill.)

Anyway, I recalled, during this conversation, how as a child I used to imagine the kind of woman I would one day, hopefully be. It was never about anything concrete or physical, nothing to do with my job or anything like that. I just had a feeling in my heart (of freedom I think, artistic, physical, mental and cosmic) of how I wanted to feel. The me of the then-future, was full and colorful and wise and had traveled and seen a lot. She was fun to be around and the kid-me of back then liked her a lot.

What occurred to me, in this caffeinated sense-high, was that I really think that Younger Me would totally dig Now Me; but that I am a lot younger feeling inside than I thought I would be when I was picturing it all back then. Because this Now-Me is still Me, something that Young-Me couldn’t quite grasp at the time.


I generally try to avoid the term ‘grown up’ in our family. All other animals are either young or adult. So I am simply an ‘adult female’, with no bizarr-o manners and cultural norms attached.

No phoney, hearty laughs over conversations about wine and private schools, or jokes about how feckless we were when…

No mum-bum jeans, as far as I know. I am a mum though, with a not particularly tiny bum, and I don’t have a mirror, so who knows?

In fact, all the things I don’t do that self-professed ‘grown ups’ may or may not do, is as long as it is broad, and pointless and divisive to discuss.

What is important here is that I am most definitely an adult. And an adult who enjoys taking part in most games (for all our guises and chapters and choices and lifestyles are all games, right?) as long as they are not stifling and/or competitive.

I never liked competitive sports, I feel that they bring out the worst in people. Not my cup of tea. And I like tea. Analyze it as you will, but competitive sports make me want to run away to the woods and take my clothes off, pick berries and sing to myself.

I guess I kind of already did that.

I am Jo, and my family and I live in the woods. On the eve of my 37th birthday, I reflect on my journey, which – I hope – has many many great years left to run and run. Because it is brilliant. I love everything about it. Thank God for Life.

I am (almost) 37 years old.

I was born and raised in a small town in the county of Surrey in south east England.

I lived – the first-born child to my two loving and devoted parents – in a small semi-detached house with my one sister and one brother. My parents did end up moving two days before I left to start Uni – 500 metres down the road, to a charming cottage with a stunning garden – but I spent my whole childhood in that one house.

We had no pets, bar a bunny and a goldfish here and there.

I went to the local primary and secondary schools, performed well but was not uber-engaged or enchanted by much, if any, of the curricula, although I did have a few stand-out teachers who influenced me.

I had friends, good friends, but also met with the barbed brushes of bullying and ostracization at times – most notably, during my penultimate and final years of secondary school, aged fifteen or sixteen.

Painful; yet fabulous preparation for life as a wild and wandering renegade – more often than not, an outsider, too far-out to be in ;)

After taking a year out, working in publishing in London and traveling to the French West Indies, I studied French at the University of Liverpool, an institution I was drawn to not for the strength of the faculty (although it is a solid school), but for the partying that the awesome city of Liverpool and her people had to offer. And I wanted to get as far as I could from the stifling obsession with social class that is so pervasive in the south of England. It is as present a part of culture as the tea bag, and it sucks.

So – Liverpool, French, a year teaching English in Guadeloupe (again the French West Indies), graduate with honours and receive some commendation for my ability to respond to literature and pen a note or two.

Shudder at the ‘options’ laid down before me by a society that is morally and economically and emotionally and socially and psychically and physically buggered.

Deliberately buggered that is, in order to serve those it has always served – The Rich.

Always, always, always those too few, who live their lives parasitically off the lifeblood of those they deem to be beneath them: everyone else. And the Earth. Draining, harming, digging up, pillaging, blowing up, polluting, disrespecting, tainting, poisoning, nuking our Earth. And all of this, for their own meager satisfaction, during their own meager lives, based on their own meager intelligence, perceiving nothing but the fact of their own meager selves.

In fact, perhaps this accusation can be extended to all of us to a greater or lesser extent. We are not the serfs of the past, well, large numbers of us are not. Our serfdom has a delicious consumerism and sense of choice to it. These things are so delicious that we do not want to lift the curtain to see the long, grey faces of the demon corporate-folk, banker-wankers and legislators who pull the strings of this cardboard cut-out culture of contentment, crap food, celebrities, culturelessness, forgetting and shame. We are blessed.

We are free to make consumer choices, to drive cars, fly in planes, use electronics, to eat food that is not native to our food-shed or even to our landmass. We are beautiful, animal creatures, governed by the same laws that govern everything else in the natural world. We are part of the circle, and yet we are so removed from our nature that we are able to choose to contest the fact that our disrespect is costing us our Life. We are so ‘privileged’, that we have privileged ourselves with the ability to doom ourselves. What a dangerously absurd situation.

Such a shame that the world has always been dominated by the most stupid and useless people. It would appear obvious that the extent of a person’s power (over others – for it is always about that, right? Power over others), can be measured as an inverse proportion to his humanity.

Hence, the leaders are always twats. Unless they are freedom fighters. In which case they are more often dead.

I digress.

In fact, I digress so much that I cannot remember where I was or what the point was? What was the point? Oh yes – ME! Me me me!!! Tomorrow is my birthday, hurrah! I was twitting on about my childhood and the like. Shall I continue?

For just a bit more:

Post-grad at the University of London: a teaching qualification and some in-depth study of Education, Literature and Theatre.

After all the study: a mad scramble of leaving the UK for extended bouts of traveling and roaming about our planet; and returning to the UK to gather more dosh from working various jobs and intermittently pretending that I liked them enough to stay and buy a flat and make a go of it in the smoke and climb the career ladder and do all that stuff but not doing it because the concept actually made me miserable.

I worked bars and restaurants and nightclubs, I did freelance editing and writing work for large publishing houses, I was a secondary school Drama and English teacher, and a florist.

I walked and rode trains around Eastern Europe, walking through forests and mountains, crossing the Czech-Polish, Polish-Slovakian, and Hungarian-Croatian borders on foot. I spent a month in a hammock in the woods on a small island on the Dalmatian coast; I travelled extensively around Morocco, lost myself in spices, writing, hashish and Islam; tried moving to Bristol, and Glasgow; visited India, fell in love in Goa (another story); tripped off to Thailand after the news of the tsunami broke, spent a couple of months as part of a clean-up crew on the island of Ko Phi-Phi, traveled around Thailand and Cambodia, moved to the north of Thailand, settled for a while practicing yoga, galavanting, painting and chilling, while living in a wondrous commune in the mountains with some deliciously wonderful people (the place was called Wonderland!); tried living and working on an organic farm, left sharpish when I found out the guy was ‘farming’ as a cover story for growing weed (a crime for which the punishment du jour was shooting on sight); moved to Bangkok, lived in abject poverty awhile, was hospitalized with kidney disease, lived in a wooden stilt-house on teensy island in the Chao Phaya river, taught English, worked with a physical theatre company, got back on my feet; split my time between the city (weekends for work) and the islands (weekdays for chill); enjoyed earning what represented some serious dollar for the region (most jammy job ever).

Left Thailand for the United States to pursue artistic training at Double Edge Theatre in Western Massachussetts. Met my husband, a wild-haired, blue-eyed, strong, kind, creative genius, an adventurer, a lunatic, and the sanest person you’ll ever meet.

Ran off.

IMG_3007[1]Got married in Topanga Canyon outside LA, on a mountain-top, by a street-fighting teacher, witnessed by a woman who gave us free Jade plants from a free ad on Craigslist. (She was the only person we had met – have you tried to make friends in LA? I mean, seriously!!)

Moved to NM.

Started the whole farm/homesteading period of life.

Moved five times in almost seven years.

Started a touring band – Silvermouse.

Made two kids and collected a shed-ton of animals.

Moved to the Caribbean.


Cut to present.

Pirate Camp.

Eve of my birthday (said it again), everything to be grateful for. Camp evolves and changes as it grows and we root deeper.

Tomorrow is the solstice and, fittingly, this week has been all about the sun, one way or another.

IMG_4242[1]First, arrived our Soul Pad – ‘sol’, geddit? It’s a well-put together, ethically produced canvas masterpiece. A cross between a scout trip, a circus tent, a healing space and a Bedouin traveling home. We sleep soundly and long, breezes sweeping across us from the ground level windows and through the large door. We sprawl out on our ridiculously spacious imperial bed. We feel great.

To get up to the Soul Pad, which is erected (fernarr fernarr) on top of a large 16×16 foot platform, we built a set of steps with a large front stoop. We built this entirely from pallets, harvested from one of the local supermarkets – 16 in total. The deck/stoop part is two pallets wide and each of the three steps is two pallets deep. We put an old carpet on the top step so there are no gaps for little feet to get stuck in, or for toys and whatnot to fall through. The steps are covered with that spongey, puzzle tiling stuff for kids, with numbers on; a gift from the headlamp donor of yore, since departed from the island and moved on to new beginnings in the Pacific northwest.IMG_4289[1]

Our old tent is now in a new part of camp, a wooded area now referred to as ‘Play Camp’. We harvested a double slide, platform and ladder (for a treehouse) from the dump, after the former municipal (and perfectly awesome) playground was dismantled and trashed, for reasons unclear and/or unknown. Still, we scored.

IMG_4287[1]Then came our sun oven. The ability to bake bread and cakes, make stews, roast meat and dehydrate fruit and veg using nothing but sustainable materials and the heat of the sun. It arrived today, so will be christened tomorrow with a fresh loaf and a birthday cake. Huzzah!

Lastly, our solar system is now complete.

This means that we are freeing ourselves from our dependence on the mains electricity at the house, to charge phones and laptops (the solar mini-laptop charger is pants, it takes about three days in full sun to reach full charge: fine for phones, completely useless for daily laptop work purposes).

We will be able to run a fan as the weather heats up from the bearable hot as anything of the current time, to the less bearable hot as hell that is to come.

It also means that our music rehearsals can resume full throttle and our new project, Earthadelik, can grow the roots and wings she needs – yeehaw! [If you want to check out our music so far, take a look at our Silvermousepage.]

IMG_4250[1]We still rely on the house for refrigeration and the freezing of our cold packs. This will change as we expand our solar set-up and buy a fridge. All in good time, all in good time.

So, sunshine, thank you for shining for so long on the day of my birth. Thank you for cooking our food and for providing us with electricity. Thank you for shining on the watermelons that are growing and the greens, the tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers (until the latter were devoured overnight by those pesky green worms that so love to eat everything on this island).

Thank you, Life, for providing me and my loved ones with so much, and with each other.

And thank you, Young Me, for having the bollocks to buck convention, follow your heart, and follow the wind when it blew like it was meant for me.

It blew me to the free-est, most wonderful, grounded, earthen, humbling, satisfying, rich, adventurous, rhythmic, harmonious, and blessed experience I could have imagined.

Viva la revolucion! Ella es bella.