For Starters

It all started with a summer spent in chicken coops. Sure, I complained about sloshing out the pig slop as banana peels & oatmeal remains stained my jelly shoes. & yes, my shoulders burned red as I bent over endless stalks of corn & tomato constellations in our organic garden, but at 10 years old, Appel Farm was my first taste of what real community could look like. It was where I learned the simple joy of human touch–a head in a lap, an arm linked with another, fingers reassuringly braiding endless plaits of hair & weaving neon pink thread through curls. It was where I learned that there wasn’t an endless supply of power–as the lights went down on 4 bunks full of pre-teen girls plugging in their hair dryers all-at-once to doll up for the dinner dance. That air-conditioners didn’t grow on houses, let alone trees.

As an only child I’ve always longed for a big-picture family to come home to, a sibling to break china with, some noise to drown out the familiar silence of alone. At 25 (the big QC), I’ve learned to enjoy my solitude–filling it up with yarn and paint, film, paper & thread, books & my latest craft obsession–come to grips with the fact that alone is not always lonely. But that knowledge doesn’t suppress my urge for sleep overs, for cuddle puddles, for busy hands juggling pans of squash & sweet potatoes & emerald kale steaming up my home. Our home.

This is the first installment of what will become written (& eventually visual) documentation for what can only be called a social experiment of the sincerest kind. Take 6 ladies & gents hailing from different states, countries & continents–watch them build a house together. We’ve got Russians & Midwesterners, business majors & poets, construction workers & farmers, how-to-video divas & fire-spinning crocheters, photographers & WAC workers, carnivores & vegans, High Sierra hikers & just beginners. Basically–we’ve got it covered from all ends of the spectrum.

What we want is big–a self-sustainable, environmentally friendly home that can house all of our dreams–from music studios to writer’s colonies to green houses to gardened acres of plenty. & we’re going to build it with our (& perhaps your!) own 12 hands. We’re not going easy on ourselves–we’re not venturing to hotbeds of solar heaven like Arizona, New Mexico or Hawaii (or even Europe where they’d at least give us some health insurance to start with). We’re building our dream in the cold climes of New York State–the Adirondacks to be more precise. If nothing else, those mountains will provide us with endless beauties to hold our spirits up high (& the swampy land will provide more than enough mud to fight out the difficulties in). We’re starting out with a whole lot of optimism (tempered by just enough realism to forge ahead) & a whole slew of families who think we should, at the very least, be committed. & we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Let the documentation begin!