Greetings from Hebron Hollow!!
We ARE making progress…
… on our VISION
We have named our farm. It is Hebron Hollow: A Farm for Arts and Ideas . North Hebron (pronounced “hee-brun” in these parts) is where we live. “The hollow” is what locals call the stretch of valley we now call our own. The name, then, signals the importance of place to our emerging vision.
We moved here on July 1, 2005 because we wanted space for making our art and ideas. Physical space, yes, but also intellectual, emotional, and spiritual space—space to create a way of living that provides us with a perspective on contemporary culture.
We believe that our culture has come to a time in history when the strategies for survival we have worked so hard to cultivate are killing us. We have succeeded in moving upward—into our heads, our ideas, our technology, our language. We live through the symbols and machines we have created. Yet, this movement upward must be balanced with practices that move us down and around as well, down into our bodies and the rhythms of the natural world. We need practices that encourage us to remember the sources of our movement up, the conditions for our ongoing health.
In short, here in Hebron Hollow we are seeking sources of wisdom we as a culture have learned to ignore. Our aim is not to romanticize a “return to nature” but to observe the chronic patterns of dis-ease in our culture—physical, mental, spiritual—and generate strategic, effective responses.
… on our HOUSE
The first step in all this has been to make a home where we can live. In the two and a half months since I last wrote, we have: assembled and installed kitchen cabinets and countertop, plumbed the sink, disposal, and dishwasher, mounted stove and range hood; laid pine floors in the laundry room and kitchen; installed the shower, finished tiling, and hung a door in the downstairs bathroom; screwed in sheet rock and treated, primed, and painted walls in the guest room; moved in some more; set up a study for Kimerer and a studio for Geoff; dug a 200’ trench for a new electrical wire to our well pump; and assembled and stuffed a new liner in our wood stove chimney. We have mowed and hacked; plugged holes, caulked cracks, insulated walls, and gently removed all manner of spiders, millipedes, flies, grasshoppers, and daddy long-legs from the house. Kyra (4) is the one who scoops up the spiders in her cupped hands and calmly announces: “Mom, it’s crawling around. Can you please open up the door?” Meanwhile, our contractor and his crew put on a new roof; built us a 26-foot shed dormer (still in process); replaced 17 windows; connected the heating system; re-mortared two chimney tops, and replaced 70 slates in the 1840s part of the roof. Visitors chipped in too. Special thanks to Sue Evenson, Rich Grunwald, John, Jack and Cynthia LaMothe for helping us out!
Through it all, Jordan (now 10) has run and fetched, hammered and screwed, much of the time on the roof with the crew; Jessica (8) has read and imagined; Kyra has shuttled between Jordan and Jessica and her own play space (most often, playing farm); and Kai (born August 3) has nursed, slept, and grown.
The “to do” list stretches into infinity. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the details. However, as long as we keep enjoying the scenery (and there is much to admire), we are happy taking one step at a time.
… on connecting with the COMMUNITY
When September rolled around, school began. Every morning at 8 the bus stops in front of our house to pick up Jordan (grade 5) and Jessica (grade 3) and take them to Granville Elementary. They have great teachers, small classes, music and gym twice a week, as well as art, computer, and band (Jordan is starting sax and mallets). Jessica’s teacher is named “Jessica”; Jordan’s classroom is green (which says it all). Their friends collect tractors and ride horses. So far so good!
Lost pets have provided an even better entrée to the community. We seem to attract roaming dogs. The first was a gorgeous shepherd/husky named Star. His owner turned out to be an electrical engineer--and the man who saved us when our well pump stopped working.
The next visitor was a chocolate lab who belongs to a family of six. Father is a vet who loves people to accompany him on his rounds (Jessica can't wait); Mother works for the county with new farmers; the three teenage daughters babysit; the son is a year older than Jordan, and, to top it off, they breed horses!
After finding huge teeth marks in the fruit on our kitchen table, we decided to get a cat. Responding to an ad for a stray cat with kittens, we met the owner of a Granville store, and ended up with the mother. Back at home, Jordan, Jessica, and Kyra called a “Kids Council” and emerged 15 minutes later with a name Jordan invented: “Zelsha.” (Yes, something like Zelda plus Sasha, “Zellie” for short.) A mostly outdoor cat (except when needed inside), she now delivers us mice on a regular basis. Good cat.
... on FARMING
We have livestock: three chickens and two ducks, gifts of the farmer who lived here before we did, Harold Craig. In August he gave us a nesting hen, rooster, and four eggs. Three eggs hatched. Harold gave us two ducks. One ran away. Two chicks disappeared… a fox or a weasel. Harold gave us another duck. So (for the math minded) we now have five birds. The kids take care of them every day, providing table scraps and water. Soon we will have eggs. And, if the kids have their way, we will also have goats, rabbits, horses, and, for Jordan, a cow. Did you know that every family used to own one? As our family’s favorite foods are ice cream, butter, cheese, cream, and of course, milk, we are not averse to the idea.
The land has kept producing even though no one has lived here for the past four years to reap the fruits--raspberries, grapes, and apples. Geoff is reading up on methods of preservation, history in process (why do we eat what we do?), and experimenting. We have made grape jam and juice; raspberry jam, syrup, pancakes and bread; apple crisp and sauce, with visions of next year’s gardens dancing through our heads.
… and on our ARTS and IDEAS
Geoff (when not putting up sheet rock) bought a piano and is composing again. He took advantage of our flexibility this fall and accepted a two-week gig with a five-piece percussion group (The Richard Grimes Collective), touring the Midwest. The experience was terrific in all respects (and Kimerer survived and even thrived as a solo parent of 4!). Back at home Geoff is making music and working on developing our production company. Stay tuned for upcoming news of solo shows, a new website, possible podcast, and video clips of our renovation project! Drummer Russ Gold (featured on Geoff’s album “Excursions”) arrives later this week to do pre-production for a new album.
Kimerer began her work here by finishing: she completed the last round of production for her second book “Nietzsche’s Dancers: Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and the Revaluation of Christian Values” (Palgrave Press, December). The third book is coming... written on and from the farm. In November she travels to Philadelphia and Charlotte, NC to talk about her work. And she eagerly awaits the opening of her dance space… as soon as the dormer is finished!
And so it goes. We hope you are well and, as ever, we look forward to sharing this place with you!
Love from the members of Hebron Hollow…
Kimerer, Geoffrey, Jordan, Jessica, Kyra & Kai