Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
An appropriate day it is, for sharing some more about my new home here at 130 Orange Street, also known as Kindler’s Haus. Kindler was the man who bought this very strange and amazing structure I now call home, many years ago, and totally redesigned it. He was a very eccentric man. Among other things, he was an environmental activist, piano tuner, book and music lover, community builder, and a father. Legend has it that his wife returned from a long journey one day, opened the front door, and found that there was no floor to step on. It was not long after that that she decided to leave him. He died last year, and his son Asha (our landlord) inherited the house. I met Asha one beautiful snowy day up on Mount Ashland, the day of Bobcat’s Snow Blessing Ceremony. Bobcat is an old friend of Wolf’s from his activist days, so really it was thanks to Wolf that I made it to this ceremony, and ended up meeting Asha, Jules, and Jessica, who were all present that day. We all connected in a beautiful way that day, along with several other new friends, and of course Bobcat, who I got to spend some quality time with before he drove several hours back to his land in Northern California.
So many stories, which ones to tell?
My new room
Today, I think I’ll mostly just share a bit of the magic of the last four weeks. I’ve been living in this house for a month now, and it’s been quite an experience. There have been many interesting changes that have happened just in this short time. Jessica and her wonderful partner Thadeus had been contemplating a move to Peru and have now at least for the time being decided to stay here. Our weekly potlucks have shifted from being very tiny to very huge events. Last week a few of our guests were still playing Persian dulcimers at 2 am! An old girlfriend of Jessica’s from Germany, Hannah, that she first met in Peru, came to stay with us for a few weeks. Another friend, Michael, an herbalist and activist from Florida going through some major life changes, also stayed for quite a while. A fifty seven year old carpenter, also from Florida, was living in a room the size of a large closet, moved out after many discussions and negotiations. This week another friend of Jessica’s, Monica, will be moving into the tiny room. We all collectively decided to split the rent evenly instead of putting different values on the very different rooms, for many reasons, but it took us about two hours to come to that agreement!
In the kitchen, there are many little ways I’ve already affected things here. Balsamic vinegar, grapeseed oil, parsnips, parsley and swiss cheese are now considered priority items on the collective shopping list. It’s now getting a little more acceptable for all of us to put our names on things we don’t want to disappear too quickly, since I’ve joined Mattiyah in this practice of keeping certain items to myself. (like the pint of Ben & Jerry’s coffee toffee in the freezer right now!) We’re making frozen bananas into healthy ice cream at least a few times a week, and several batches of Parsley Pesto have been made, often by people besides me. I’ve taught everyone not to compost lemon, lime, and orange rinds, and have showed them how to make preserved lemons and limes and candied orange peels, and to put minced lemon and lime rinds in our salsa. We’ve baked loaves of Rosemary walnut bread with the recipe and method I used in the canyon, and fed hordes of potluck guests with variations on my Potato Soup. And I’ve been fed many incredible meals by my lovely housemates, who seem inspired all the time by the bounty we share to create all kinds of delicious and nutritious treats! Everyone has their own specialties: Thadeus excels at fried potato and omelet breakfasts, Jessica adores making blueberry pancakes, cacao smoothies, soups, enchiladas, and oven-baked sandwiches so huge it’s hard to fit your mouth around them. Jules loves making veggie burgers with the stuff leftover from making carrot-beet juice and is always a willing sous-chef whenever she’s not working on our permaculture garden-to-be. Matthiah loves making green juices, sprouting wheat berries for homemade manna bread, and buckwheat granola. So, yeah, there’s been loads of kitchen fun!
It means a lot to me to feel “at home” in this kind of crazy household. Every day, I feel so much gratitude for the abundances we share so well with each other, and for all the ways I feel appreciated and understood by my very loving and kind housemates. And just to come home from work at night and to walk into this beautiful kitchen, even when it’s messy, makes me breathe a very happy sigh.
Back when I lived in the canyon, most nights when I was finished putting the kitchen to bed, I would whisper, “Goodnight, my beautiful kitchen”, before I shut the door. This kitchen may not be as “mine”, but it has a life and a beauty that is its very own, and is worthy of songs, and valentines, and so much more. I love you, beautiful kitchen of Kindler’s Haus! Thank you for all your blessings, each and every day, each and every meal, and for all the ways I feel you in my heart!