Monday, May 23, 2011

Outdoor Living

For the last 4 days, I have been camping on a ranch near Hollister, Ca, about an hour and a half from where I live. It was a small gathering of Mountain Men, much smaller than anticipated. We were welcomed by a very kind rancher to set up on her spread. This was a rare opportunity to experience being far away from it all in California's rolling hills.

I took a couple of days off work and drove over on Thursday morning.  I walked all around and selected this spot to set up my tent because the view from here made me feel happy.

Although there were not a lot of people there, among the few there were some real gems and I was well entertained for the 4 days!
I had the pleasure of meeting two men from Colorado and my life feels greatly enriched for it. Bill Cunningham is an author of several books, including one on skills of the mountain man, in which he is well-versed. He's also written several novels involving characters with these skills living in the modern world, and one called "Rendezvous: Back to a Simpler Time" about re-enactments and re-enactors from recent times. He tells a good story in person and I am anxious to get my hands on these books! You can find them here.
Howdy Davis regaled us with stories of his life's adventures including cattle drives, hunting trips, primitive archery and childhood mischief in the Blueridge Mountains of Pennsylvania. You can find a little about him here on the North American Frontiersman website and read some of his articles.
Several mornings and evenings were spent around the campfires sharing meals and stories. I sampled some tasty wild hog sausage made right there on the ranch and booshway, Mark,  baked some yummy cherry cobbler in a cast iron dutch oven using hot coals from the campfire. I'm not much of a cook at home or in the field and was mightily impressed by the cooking talents of these folks!
My sweetie making breakfast on the portable barbeque.

During the greater part of the days, I spent my time weaving and happily lost in conversation with Mary and Joe Fatula. They travel to many types of events selling their line of  "innovative, educational, inspirational, fun items at a fair price" from the Lumenaris Group. Mary has created felt kits for her old-fashioned penny rugs, needle cases and other accessories for the home. Then there are wooden puzzles, leather bags, jewelry, cast toy soldiers and other curiosities. The premier item for re-enactors is a portable barbeque  based on an old Shaker design. To read more and browse their catalog, visit their website here. They are clever folks and each possess many crafty skills. We dreamed up lots of ideas together and had a great time doing it. I'm excited about future collaborations!!
Joe & Mary's shop with my weaving set up off the front corner.
We even had a Sunday morning prayer service and a friendly conversation to follow.

My fiber stash for the weekend, tossed into a cloth bag the day before I left, included mostly hemp and linen and some handspun wool.  My weaving spot was a sheepskin tossed on the ground in the shade.
After I had begun weaving this pink linen sash, I realized that the clover flowers growing at my feet were just the same colors! Meant to be, right?


  1. I like the clover and pink sash photo!

  2. Annie, you do the coolest things! You were so helpful today that I had no idea you were campng out with the Mountain Men! You must have sneaked your computer, or your phone, into the tent!

    Thanks for your help. It worked~

  3. Joe- Photo credits to go Rick for that one!
    Marcia- I responded to your message on Sunday after I returned home.

  4. Wonderful to meet such interesting people! How wonderful that the colours of nature came through subconsiously in the sash.