Villages in the Sky: DIY World Change

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Dates and Ticket Prices February 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — paxus @ 6:08 pm

Our favorite outlaw laywer Diana from Brooklyn was rightly chastising us the other day for not being public with the dates of our fair event.  So without further ado:

Villages in the Sky will be held from June 1 thru 6, 2010 in the Ozarks

It is not so simple with the ticket prices.  We dont really have ticket prices, we have something between ticket conversations and negotiations.  Originally there was going to be a grid, with two axes.  Your ticket price increased by the amount of wealth you had access to and it decreased by the eco-friendliness of your transport here.

Using this scheme roughly, we have sold the first ticket to someone who is worth more than a million dollars and they bought it for $1,000.  Of course only a tiny number of tickets will be sold at this price, but if we are serious about taking on climate change and peak oil – the folx who are going to pay for that are well off.

So now what we are thinking is something like

Students and low income    $50 to $75

Working or middle class    $100 to $250

affluent                            $500 to $2000

if you have no income and any willingness to help do landscape work, construction or set up for the event the best thing to do is to plan to come early during seed camp.  Participants in seed camp get free access to the event and get feed by the festival before it starts.

Travel discounts:

If you bike or walk or come by greasel to this event you are having the minimal carbon footprint and you can cut your ticket price by 60%.  If you are taking a train to the nearest city you can cut your price by 50% – contact us about arranging shuttles.  If you are taking the bus you can cut your ticket cost by 35%.  If you are carpooling with more than 2 adults people or taking the bus you can cut your cost by 20%.  If you are flying any leg of the trip you need to pay full ticket price.


Rag Tag Armada February 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — paxus @ 2:28 am

The changing plans and escalating numbers on my gchat status around this trip to East Wind became something of a running joke.  36 hours before we were going to leave the trip was size 5 people – we ultimately changed vehicles 4 times and brought 10.  This was a bit shocking to our hosts at East Wind who rarely have visitor groups this size.  But it seem like folks are integrating in well.

Floating road signs

We left Cville at around 8 PM after some second thoughts and tears,  And fortunately Wrenegade (age 8 months) slept thru the entire journey.  We had added Wizard (aka Kenrique) as a passenger, thus allowing us to use a Twin Oaks minivan and his amazing driving stamina.  We were at East Wind just after lunch, causing Sara some headache getting ready for us in a shorter than expected period.

Pilgrim is bringing as many able bodies out to the magic meadow festival site as he can for clearing and burning brush and building huge stacks of firewood.  Yellow Sun (aka Nile) drove us and some beautiful black walnut lumber back and gave us the grand tour of the saw mill.

Will is looking at moving into Marco Polo (the newly named shed we are clearing of wood and insects) and being one of the first people on the land.  He is also something of a mycologist and served me the most foul tasting mushroom tea i have ever had this morning.    Hopefully Will be adding photos to this site soon.  We played magic today, which was a nice break for me from rushing around to get ready for the architects.


Chasing trains February 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — villagesinthesky @ 7:53 pm

There is never a dull moment in this manic adventure we’re co-creating out here in the Ozarks.  It’s taxes season and Pilgrim’s got to head east for a number of days to take care of business back home and to see his step-granddaughter grow a year older.  A couple of days ago we were standing on the front porch of RB in the snowy sunshine and he asked if I could deliver him to the train station about two and a half hours away in Arkansas to catch a train that left at 1:41 in the morning.  Of course, I didn’t hesitate.

Pilgrim is family now–part of this tightly knit and wonderfully complex group of people dedicated to VIS and living it daily–and I’d do about anything for him.  I was a little nervous about traveling back by myself at such an hour, but Bean joined the trip to keep me awake.

At ten last night we started off: Pilgrim, Bean, myself and a friend, Mike who we were dropping off to begin an unplanned journey to New Orleans.  The company was good and the coffee was hot and we didn’t notice when we had passed a poorly marked turn that would take us to the train station.  Raucously we stormed along enjoying each other and that last bit of time together before we parted ways.  When we hit a town that looked big enough to be on our map but wasn’t, we got nervous.

Fortunately, it was a better spot to leave Mike to start his journey south so we hugged goodbye and got back in the car to fly north, trying to outpace the train.  I’m on the phone with Amtrak waiting for someone to tell me the train, like all Amtrak trains, was running late.  Unfortunately, when Robert came on the phone he told me the unusual news that the train was running on time as we were running out of time.  Perfect.

Of course it would’ve been no fun if we hadn’t gotten lost again.  By around 2:15 in the morning, when we’re certain we’ve missed the train, we pull into a gas station, not certain where we are but knowing we’re tantalizingly close.  We go in and ask for directions only to find out we’re in Walnut Ridge (our final destination) miles from the train station.  But we’ve admitted defeat and instead we make a B-line for the closest motel.

We ring the bell a couple of times and out of the back comes the elderly proprietor looking a little groggy at 2:20 in the morning.  As Pilgrim and I are inside filling out the paperwork to get him a room, I hear a train whistle blow somewhere nearby.  And then the train passes right in front of the motel and Pilgrim and I exchange an incredulous look and wonder aloud if it could be.  The man behind the counter asks where Pilgrim is headed and when we answer Chicago–in unison–he tells us that’s our train.

Pilgrim and I fly out of the building and yell at Bean to get in the car as Pilgrim slams the trunk closed.  Bean, totally oblivious to what we’ve just discovered, plays bad movie scenes in her head, wondering what we’ve done to the poor old man in the motel.  I put us in reverse and scream out of the parking lot–chasing the train down the middle of this tiny town at 2:30 in the morning, hoping to god we can catch it.

With ten seconds to spare we shove a sentimental Pilgrim onto the train–he wants to tell us he loves us, to take a picture.  But there’s no time and the grumpy conductor is threatening to leave if he doesn’t get on.  As the train pulls out of the station Bean and I do a little victory dance in the parking lot and, exhausted by the adventure, slide back into the car to drive three hours home.

We stop for gas where, maybe 15 minutes before we’d stopped for directions and I notice an Arkansas police officer pull in as I’m pumping gas.  I’m probably visibly agitated, recalling my mad driving of moments before, hoping he hadn’t followed us here.  But nothing happens and we get back in the car, Bean in the driver’s seat this time.  Not far down the road, we notice head lights behind us and Bean gets nervous.  She asks me what the speed limit is and travels five miles under.  Another mile down the road the blue lights start flashing.  Now it’s like a bad dream.

The cop harasses us for awhile–he’s from the drug unit, bored at 3:00 in the morning and having fun with two totally exhausted travelers.  He asks us why we’re nervous; he can somehow tell from outside our window that our heart rates are elevated.  We try to explain–lots of coffee, almost missed trains, but he won’t back off and we sit there for nearly fifteen minutes waiting to see what his move is.  But he’s got nothing and finally let’s us go.  We’re on edge the rest of the way back, but we pull into East Wind–after driving passed the poorly marked turn onto county road 530–at 5:30 in the morning.

We brush our teeth, wash our faces and fall into bed, exhausted but not quite able to fall asleep.  We’d done it–against all good sense, we got Pilgrim onto his train and we made it back alive and unticketed.  And as I recounted the story this morning, this afternoon, I guess, a friend asked me if anything good had happened on the adventure.  And I was surprised by the question.  Because the answer seemed obvious: every bit of bad luck we had was actually good luck.  We got lost the first time and found Mike a better starting point; we got lost a second time and found a motel on the train tracks and watched our train race towards the train station; and even the cop, who’d threatened to give us a 250$ ticket didn’t, in the end, because he had no right pulling us over in the first place.

It’s funny, I travel and work and play with this pack of chosen family and even when everything’s looking like it’s working against us, it turns up.  The part I left out was that yesterday had been a terrible day, all of these cracks started surfacing out here at East Wind and I was at odds with even my best allies before I took a late night trip to Arkansas.  And then I was reminded of the strength of our team, of the depth of our working and personal relationships and that, when you’re trying to do the right thing, even the bad luck hides good intentions.  I couldn’t have been reminded in a more perfect moment.


Meeting Mrs. Miller February 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sara Tansey @ 5:34 pm

There are really only three neighbors within close range to East Wind Community.  We’ve already met the Satterfields and gotten permission to park festival traffic on their land–which will work brilliantly as long as we can keep the cows from making nice with the cars.  The third neighbor is Mrs. Miller.  She’s eighty and in great health and lives all by herself on a piece of enviable land that bumps up to East Wind’s property.  The view from the top of the foothill she lives on is pretty breathtaking and her front porch, in my humble southern girl’s opinion, begs for rocking chairs.  As Qn and I pulled into her driveway I was taken aback by the awesome beauty and the isolation.

And then I met Mrs. Miller.  She, like the Satterfields, has lived on this land for decades and has no desire to leave it–despite the tireless persuasions of a son in Memphis.  And, like the Satterfields also, has a great fondness for East Wind, great appreciation for the big and small ways they’ve been a neighbor over the years.  We talked about other business and then mentioned the festival that would be literally right next door.  She was unphased, again trusting the judgment of a community that had put itself on call to support her as she was taking care of her ailing husband, and soon we’d moved beyond business.

Mrs. Miller showed off her new stove to me and sent Qn off to look at an industrial refrigerator-freezer she thought East Wind could use, so that her and I could have “girl talk.”  It was wonderful!  I scratched the surface of her stories, her history here in the Ozarks, her fondness of the country, but the trip was brief and my curiosity was well piqued.  Already I’ve talked to some of the women here and soon I want to plan a spontaneous cookie fueled girl talk session with Mrs. Miller.  I imagine I’ll visit her semi-regularly while I’m living here and I am certain we’ll become best friends.

It’s refreshing to be here and to see how these unconventional neighbors really support and love one another.  And it’s just another unexpected perk of my work here to get to make friends and build personal relationships with them!