Goodness, my blogging muscles are stiff…! It’s been ages, but my little bit of internet space feels cozy and welcoming. Maybe a little shy of me, worried that I might get it’s hopes up only to drift away again for months… I want to promise my blog that it won’t be like that this time, but we’ll see. I do think the time is right to get back in the groove though. After all, I live in a proper town. And I read a ton, and watch movies, and do crafts with paper, and take pictures, and go hiking. All the things I used to do all the time, before Aprovecho hijacked my life (in a good way!) – with one additional thing. I’m an apprentice timber framer!! Oh, and I drink tea now. Lots and lots of tea.
In my last post I mentioned that I was plotting my next move. I ended up staying at Apro through the autumn, minus a brief adventure up to the wilds of Washington for a permaculture design certification course. I completed my first natural building “job”, working with one of my favorite mud men to do an earthen/lime base plaster in what will be Apro’s new commercial kitchen. When I finally left Apro in late December, the Boathouse (the structure I spent much of the latter half of the year helping to construct) had a roof and was looking pretty nifty. I spent Christmas in southern Oregon, and started the new year in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Before I knew what had happened I was back in Oregon however. The opportunity to continuing pursuing my natural building passion, while getting paid and getting to explore a new town and area presented itself, and I couldn’t possibly say “No”. I moved to Bend, OR and started working for Oregon Timberworks in mid-January.
I was in just the right mood to live in a town again, and I’ve been basking in the various perks of being a townie. Car-less since the sale of my admittedly beloved Subaru Impreza last fall (which helped fund my continuing adventure…*sigh*), I have been enjoying walking and biking everywhere and am grateful for a very walkable and bikeable town. This is a place where there are streets with 3 bookshops and 4 thrift stores in a 2 mile stretch, where there are 9 breweries in full operation and more starting up all the time, where the library is open on SUNDAY!!, and where there is live music at 1/2 a dozen venues nearly every night of the week. (Yes, this is the largest town I’ve ever lived in…!) It is sunny almost all the time, relatively warm (for winter), and there are very large mountains within sight from downtown. I’m sure the novelty will wear off sooner or later, but at the moment I have no complaints.
And the work I’m doing is fun! As well as really hard, both mentally and physically – moving round timbers that are not too far off from still being TREES, laying out complex joinery, cutting mortises and tenons with a plethora of hand and power tools, learning the quirks and moods of my boss, starting from scratch on building a whole new skill set… A challenge for sure, but such a satisfying one.
Things are looking promising in my immediate future, and I find myself approaching the idea of pausing here in Bend for a bit. The house where I am living with some cool folks is comfortable and brilliantly located, and I can’t resist nesting. In fact I am having a hard time resisting the idea of getting my sewing machine and cello shipped to me from Maine…!
As 2012 drew to a close I came to the realization that my time at Apro had changed me and shifted my perspective and introduced new passions into my life. But it hadn’t changed me THAT much. I’m still me, and finding a balance between the builder and the librarian is where I’m at now. I need my books just as much as I need the mud and wood. I think I’m close to finding that balance here in Bend, for the moment, and it is SO GOOD.
I feel like I’m one big set of crossed fingers. There’s a lot still up in the air and I don’t feel like I’ve really got my feet under me yet (not working for a whole year does that to your finances at the very least…), but I feel pretty confident that everything will continue to work out, and very hopeful that this year will be a brilliant sequel to last year’s epic tale.
Coming soon, I CAN promise – at least one post about the 17 books I’ve read so far this year! And maybe a movie review or two.