Monday, September 24, 2007


The day after Homecoming, Bob R took me to a delicious and outstanding lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s, home of my favorite “triple prime” burger, plus a starter of wonderful crab cakes. With my tummy in seventh heaven, I joined him for a ride up to Avalon.

The first of the leaves were turning, which is quite early for our area, but I believe this extended draught has caused a good deal of early leaf-fall and, sadly, some deaths where trees have not been watered. We saw many brown-leaved trees along the roads going up. The crops seemed to be through early, and to bear a smaller yield, also because of the draught, I imagine.

Lorena L and her darling infant daughter had been there before us, Melissa told us when we drove down the access road to meet her. Even where the shade is deepest, we could see the distressed condition of the flora. Even the weeds were wilting. The creek’s feeder and the creek itself were bone-dry.

Melissa has been working every day on the chicken coop, which runs along Locust Creek, but far enough away that the chickens do not pollute the creek water with their droppings. It is almost finished, now! It is a tremendous achievement, which Mel has done solo and without blueprints, as none of the ones she saw were right for Avalon. So she has done all the figuring herself.

In addition, the thrifty woman that she is, Melissa has scavenged construction materials from the ruins of an ancient house on Avalon which now lies in a heap. So, many of the boards in the coop are century-old yellow poplar. This makes the building so much more interesting to me, as it is a piece of living history, preserving more than a bit of Avalon’s past. She says she will build the run next, fencing it all around and overhead as well to protect the hens from predators, which are in abundance on Avalon. We have flocks of buzzards that roost around the old ruins. She has not roofed the coop permanently yet, being undecided about materials. It is temporarily covered securely, however.

She reported that, all things continuing on schedule with the construction, she would be ready to receive the chickens next weekend! I am so excited! It is our very first step towards bio-dynamic farming.

It was sweltering hot, about 100 F, but Mel was working away! Her chain saw's rough song accompanied Bob’s walk, with his camera, over Melissa’s shorter path. Meanwhile I was glad to rest back in the comfortable nest Mel has created for me on the back porch, sing a song to Avalon, read a book to its end, do a double-crostic puzzle and nap.

Just when Mel decided to take a break from her labors, Bob obligingly returned from his walking tour. He broke out some ice cream, which he had in his car cooler, and a fresh watermelon and Bob and Melissa had a small feast! I was too full to eat again, but did drink at least a half-gallon of water.

As we were conversing, the telephone rang and it was Mick, wondering where I was! That’s the country for you. I thought it was about two hours earlier than it really was! So we gathered up our things and sailed back to Louisville in Bob’s sporty Subaru.

Bob put his photos on our computer before he left, so we could include a few shots in this log entry, and took off to Michigan and his home at dusk, armed with a sandwich and a couple of bananas from our kitchen.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Mick and I went up to Avalon for a picnic this afternoon. Carmen had helped me make some picnic goodies and others also contributed food and drink. We had a feast indeed! It was a thoroughly enjoyable time of resting in the sweetly powerful ambiance of Avalon Farm. Seven besides Mick and I shared the time and conversation – Melissa herself, Avalon’s resident caretaker, Carmen, Steve F, Gary B and his girlfriend, Valerie, her seven-year-old daughter, Ocean and their young neighbor, Ocean’s friend Brennan. A very good time was had by all.

Jim and I walked through Sugar Shack in awe! The last time I was there the rooms smelled musty. There were unidentified plastic bags of things and heaps of this and that throughout the cabin that needed investigation. Mick had spent some off-season winter time hauling away trailer loads of trash, so the worst of the mess left by departing volunteers was gone. But much remained to identify and dispose of.

Patiently and determinedly, Melissa had gone through every bag and pile. We sent two packets of things to Bruce P, one each to Vara L and Parnell S. We had to toss the bulk of the things left behind, as the cabin becomes infested with field mice whenever it is unoccupied for long, and the mice had made the garments and other items useless by making nests in them.

Then Melissa had cleaned and cleaned until the place smelled normal again. And how she is able to do this in wilderness conditions is something at which I marvel! However, she has done it. She also has arranged the cabin’s rooms, after making temporary repairs to the floor in the back room so we can use that room again. Now there is a place for tools, one for parts like nuts and bolts, a kitchen area with a clean fridge, and an office area with files and desk, all orderly and organized. The living/bedroom, usually called the Stove Room as the wood-burning stove that makes the cabin habitable in cold weather is there, now has a bed set up for any time I should wish to sleep overnight there. Melissa made the wooden frame that inclines the head of the bed herself. All is tidy and sweet-smelling, it is an incredible accomplishment!

Outside, her work is everywhere. The meadow had a pile of rocks in it, which Mel has now dismantled and replaced in the walls of the fire pit. All the dooryard grass is neatly trimmed. She has rescued our one peach tree and you can see the new growth. She has built an outhouse – the volunteers tore down the old one – which works beautifully, and she used good poplar from the ruins of another house which is on our property, so it looks rustic and folksy as well as functional; altogether charming.

And she has re-created her old nature trails. She had made two: a ninety-minute trail and a twenty-minute trail. I have not looked closely at the map she gave us yet, but I believe she has added more trails now. All the trails are trimmed and covered with home-made mulch which she chipped and shredded using the balky machine which she has available there.

And now she’s talking chickens! And the possibility of growing ginseng!

The situation with power availability is clearing. We cannot get water at Avalon at all. That’s a no-go. We shall either dig a well or buy a big cistern. I suggested that we place rain barrels around where they would collect water from the Sugar Shack and the Ute's roofs. We may do that soon.

And we cannot get electricity until we have a building permit. Since we will not have one of those until an unknown period of time passes, where we are able to save enough to afford to build the passive solar house whose plans we now possess, that means that we continue with the solar power we do have.

The volunteers who replaced Melissa in late 2003 did many good things there. They built the Ute, a shed which houses the solar panel’s batteries. They repaired and strengthened the shack, renewed the wood stove, completely redid the smokestack for the stove and screened in the back porch. As well, they wired the cabin to use the solar power and Vara covered all the walls with insulating material, as previously the structure was a sieve, with nothing but the shrinking, century-old boards of the outer walls between the occupants and the winter winds. Melissa intends to continue Vara’s good work there by finishing that job, covering the inner walls' construction materials with dry wall.

On the access road, Mel has worked to even the road and stop its washing, which had begun as soon as we dumped new gravel there last winter. The road is doing very well, probably the best I have ever seen it.

Mick and I were just thrilled with the progress. Looking a year ahead, I can definitely see the growing possibility of using the location for a retreat during our Channeling Intensives, as I have hoped we could.

The last time I actually explored Avalon’s buildings to assess their condition, before Bruce left, well over a year ago now, I was somewhat dismayed at the ramshackle condition of everything, inside and outside. However on the way home that early spring day, a tornado passed very near. My car-mate and I had ducked into a coffee shop to escape the worst of the storm and when we got back on the road home, we saw not one but two double rainbows. I took that as a sign that Avalon’s promise still held true; that Jim’s and my dream for these acres, of developing a spiritual center there as well as an organic, bio-dynamic farm, was still on the metaphysical table.

This time, as Mick and I drove home, we received – and this is a miracle, since we are deeply draughty here – a soaking, wonderful, deep rain lasting at least a half-hour. The Creator once agin encourages Jim and me to believe in our dream and to move forward with it in gentle, natural ways. Melissa makes this far more possible, with her solid and persistent labors. I am so happy that the Board of L/L Research has funded her position. She will be able to abide there for the next year, continuing her good work.

I sat in the shadow of Sugar Shack, the picnic table groaning with food and fiesta in the air as we enjoyed each other and the day, looking at the washes of Queen Ann’s Lace in the meadow and the stark beauty of the teasels along the fence line, reflecting on how very much has happened there since we welcomed our batch of volunteers in 2003. Each volunteer contributed what they could. Each, I think, received as much truth there as they could abide. And each moved on without acrimony, for the most part, and remaining good friends with us.

The cream of the crop remains: Carmen and Romi have made homes in Louisville for themselves but constantly come to Camelot and Avalon to volunteer their time. Gary has remained with us in the house and we three – Mick, Gary and I – have found a seamless and seemingly effortless way to be a household together and get all the needed chores done without any trouble or friction. And now Melissa has returned to take up her original job on Avalon.

And we love each other, so the vibrations in both Camelot and Avalon are splendid. It has been a fascinating time, and Jim and I have learned much. We are also glad indeed that the community has matured to this point. We have fallen upon happy days here.

Much – in fact most – remains to be done if we are to move there. However, this is a wonderful start! Kudos to Melissa! And thanks be to God.

Monday, June 4, 2007


I accompanied Mick to Avalon today, a delightful holiday for me from the workaday world. It is so good to see all the foliage along our route in good health again. Only the Bradford pears have been seriously damaged, of all the trees. They received some kind of bacteriological blight which affected places where the freeze had caused ulcerations in the bark.

The country comes to new life this time of year. There were brand new tobacco sets out wherever we looked, and one amazingly large field of tomato sets. Now there’s one ambitious farmer! Soy beans and peppers were also being planted and the apple and peach trees were in much fuller and healthier shape than a month ago when I was up this way.

By golly, the largest barn I have ever seen was still standing. Ever since we bought Avalon Farm nearly twenty years ago, we’ve been expecting it to collapse. It is no longer used, as the farm has been sold off for houses, the new crop of exurbia. It is entirely overgrown with various vines. It leans. It totters. But amazingly, it’s still standing! When we pass that barn, we’re almost at Avalon.

The wild flowers were gone from the steep banks of the ravine along the access road. Everything has greened out now and all the small weeds are growing happily away in the permanent shade of that access road. In the dooryard, the iris was in bloom, and the clematis climbing the back porch of Sugar Shack was in glorious blossom up to the roof. Two of the volunteers had refreshed the paint on the signs for Avalon and Sugar Shack, and they looked fine indeed. It is such a blessing to be here.

I sang to Avalon and then did some work, hunting quotes for my next UPI article on Dana Redfield, while Mick repaired the fire pit and did some road work, as well as placing large bundles of branches along weak spots in the ravine bank which edges the access road, trying to head off more erosion.

And then we came home amidst a very much needed rain! I could almost hear the earth drinking up the much-needed water.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


This entry is a true catch-up entry, spanning several visits I made to Avalon’s sweet acres, only two of which I shall describe in detail.

Firstly, though, I would like to offer some thoughts on the transition from November of 2005, when Hotaru (Vara) made her last entries in the Avalon Journal, until now, in May of 2007..

There was a dwindling of the volunteers at Avalon through the summer and fall of 2005. All the people left for their own, personal reasons. All left on good terms with us. But each did leave, until only Hotaru/Vara and Bear/Bruce were left on the farm. Hotaru decided to move into town and stayed with us briefly at Camelot before moving to another old farm near Shelbyville, Kentucky where she stayed until just this last month, when she departed for Georgia.

That left Bruce all on his own at the farm as of November. Bruce was in poor health. Jim and I decided to close the construction portion of the Avalon project. There was no crew to do Bruce’s bidding and without a crew, he could not function. Also we reckoned with the actual cost of feeding and paying the expenses for all the volunteers and discovered that we could not sustain the effort. We never could recruit donations from the public at large for this project and so the expenses had fallen on Jim and me entirely.

We offered Bruce the opportunity to stay on Avalon and begin working with the land bio-dynamically. However this prospect did not intrigue Bruce. He was not fond of living so roughly or of farming. He felt that he was better at construction than farming. At the time there were people out west whom he felt he could help more with his construction know-how than he could help L/L Research. So we shipped his back hoe and his chattels back to his ranch and Avalon was peacefully empty of living souls once more.

Just before Bruce left – I cannot find the exact date, but I believe it was sometime in January or early February of 2005 – I took a journey to Avalon, bringing with me Dr. Steven Johnson, an osteopath, alternative healer and bio-dynamic farming fan. He wished to see the land, as he had some friends who were looking for good bio-dynamic land in this area. He thought perhaps they and L/L Research could collaborate.

Johnson did not feel, upon viewing the property, that Avalon was a candidate for his friends' projects, which involved farming in the meadow area, our only cleared acreage. It both floods in wet weather and is draughty for several months at summer’s end each year. This removed our land from his consideration.

However he loved the place. He described it as a psychic collector. Whatever one brought to Avalon would intensify until one had to face it. This explained at least in part why so many volunteers had found it a challenging experience to live there! It was a real hothouse for transformation and if one was not ready to change, one needed to leave!

For Jim and me, however, this feature has always been a real plus. We experience Avalon as a place which loves us and can’t wait to see us. Perhaps after working with spiritual processes for decades, we are more willing to change under Avalon’s influence. For whatever reason, we have always experienced the farm as a wonderfully empowering place.

I was heartbroken to see the scars which had been left on our land by unfinished projects. The meadow was full of all sorts of metal debris; nails, bolts, pieces of metal and other building materials were apparently left where they had fallen. A failed effort to plow the meadow had ruptured the land with several huge furrows, far too wide for planting – more like ditches. These had been left as they were. Construction materials were placed here and there along the meadow as if planning for projects to come. When the projects were abandoned, the materials remained.

Two sides of a fence had been put up, presumably for a garden. The project lay abandoned. Our ancient well had been filled in with dirt.

Trees and bushes had been torn down because of their “negative energy” and left to rot where they lay. At this point Bruce was unable to work. So things of nature on Avalon were in a royal mess.

However, much work had been done to improve Sugar Shack. There were many jacks under the floor firming up the building, which is at least 150 years old, and looks it! Vara and Parnell had lovingly restored the old one-eye cook-stove. Vara had insulated the rooms in use in the Shack and she and Bruce had screened in the back porch. The tin roof was re-painted, a hard job done well by the crew.

And since we had solar power to the utility shed and Sugar Shack thanks to Bruce and the crew’s building efforts, there was minimal “civilized” comfort possible in the valley now. All of this was a blessing and Jim and I greatly appreciated the improvements.

An unfortunate decision had been made to take down Jim’s system of ditches and drains on the access road in favor of a system of culverts and pipes. This new system did not work, and the road was perilously close to dropping down into the ravine made by a feeder creek into the Locust Creek which bisects our meadow. Both on the access road and in the meadow, the big back hoe had been too much of a good thing, and the whole area was muddy as the big machine churned up pasture and road as it went.

I got back on the road with Steve J, my head whirling with the mostly bad news of Avalon’s situation! I had had no idea how chaotic and toxic things had gotten on Avalon. Yet at the same time I felt, as I have felt from the first time we saw Avalon together in 1985, that this land is sacred, beautiful and special.

Steve suggested that we look into growing wild herbs at the edges of the woods as opposed to doing traditional farming. We had no water on the land and no system of irrigation which could draw off the creek’s flow, so normal farming was out for us down there.

Steve and I had an interesting conversation on these points, and we were absorbed in it, only slowly becoming aware, as we drove along, that something serious was happening with the weather. It grew very bad indeed. We had driven over the bridge into Madison, Indiana, as Dr. J wanted to check out the downtown area there for his bio-dynamic researcher friends. The sky got so black and the winds whipped up so much that we parked and went into a coffee shop there to wait out the storm.

We found out later that several full-blown tornados had ripped through the area. It was a very good thing we were off-road for that short period of time! Steve and I had a nice cuppa and suddenly the world was smiling again, the storm having washed the weather clean and calm. So we got back on the road to come home.

About ten miles into the fifty-mile trip, we saw an amazingly complete double rainbow. All the colors were there, and there twice. It was just breath-taking! We parked for a while and just took it all in. After a few minutes, it began to fade and we took up our journey again, only to find another, equally spectacular double rainbow across our path. Again, we pulled over and communed with its beauty. This one lasted for almost half an hour.

Rainbows are traditionally signs of good news, promises for the future, and I believe that our rainbows were Avalon’s promise: it was still good land; community there was still a good idea; all was well.

A year has passed since those rainbows graced my eyes. Thanks to grants from generous donors, I have been able to spend this last year working on creative projects here at Camelot. I have not returned to Avalon except once or twice until this last Sunday. Jim has been going up on weekends and working to clear the debris left by our volunteers. All the metal and construction material is now picked up, so he can mow the meadow again. Fescue, a wonderfully aggressive grass, has re-covered almost all of the muddy places in the meadow that the big back-hoe had torn up. Jim took three truck-loads of debris from inside Sugar Shack and the utility shed and from the dooryard area and spruced things up tremendously. Jim continued to clean up during this visit last Sunday while I settled myself by the creek and just enjoyed the beauty.

In this past year, we have refined our own plans for moving to Avalon. We have retained a passive solar architect, Gary Watrous, and he has created for us plans for a house for us and the L/L Research work. We cannot at this time afford to build that house, so our plan now is to save and look forward to the day when we can make that move.

There is a Library in that house-to-be! How sweet it will be to have allof our books in one room! And what a beautiful space that will be for L/L Gatherings! We have much to envision and imagine into manifestation!

Jim intends to go up to Avalon on weekends all this summer and work more on the road, which is again washing in spite of our pouring a large amount of new gravel on the road. He recently poured concrete on the worst of the washed areas, an emergency save that worked. Under Jim’s tender care, I know Avalon will soon be completely recovered from our volunteers’ involuntary damage.

I have no ill will for any of the volunteers, all of whom were doing their absolute best at all times. The experiment of having people on Avalon without our being there to oversee and direct the work taught me a tremendous amount and I count it all as an experience well worth the gaining. I am just thankful that everyone’s patterns, which brought them to us with such high hopes, worked out so that all beings left us with their hearts and our hearts in good harmony and our mutual affections remaining bright and clear. These are the real treasures to store away in memory.

The future beckons. I would love to do channeling intensives on Avalon next year. By then, the place might be ready. We shall see! Meanwhile the land waits, singing its song of wildflowers and wind, running creek and limestone bedrock not too far beneath the soil. Fair indeed are Avalon’s hills and valley! I look forward to the ever-unfolding story of Avalon.