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.