We arrived in our new home in Western MA over a month ago. The transition to a new life and a new job has been a lot to handle, let alone process. A lot has changed since my last post.
We are no longer living in the prairie schooner. We called the schooner home for the first three weeks we were in Massachusetts, which means we lived (rent free) in 54 sq. ft. for a grand total of nine weeks. I feel pretty good about that. Fantasies of living in that tiny space through the winter aside, we know in practical terms that our little home on wheels is a seasonal home at most. I am looking forward to putting it to use in new capacities now that it is not our primary residence. It will serve as a backyard reading room/clubhouse, and will shelter us during events such as the 3-day Radio Station Barnraising we're attending in a few weeks.
Our new home is a community house that we share with 5 other folks. Neither of us thought we'd be living in a group house again, but when we met with the folks at the Parish House about parking the wagon in the yard, we realized we were a perfect fit for their open room. The house itself is literally a Parish House, built in the 1930s, and at one time it stood next door to a church. The church became a BBQ joint at some point (Holy Smokes) which then...burned down. True story! It's a beautiful place with great bones, and there's even a dirt-floored root cellar in the basement. We were able to jump right in and plant some fall veggies in a vacant plot in the garden, and aside from the lack of chickens we are feeling quite at home.
The house is not a formal collective, and yet we seem to be developing an informal collective that I have high hopes will function well. We're developing a plan to share most food purchases, simplifying things by buying into CSAs and maybe a dairy delivery service. There are many home improvement projects on the roster, including preparing the root cellar for use, building an improved compost system, chickens (yay!), and building a work space in the garage. I will be writing more about our new experiment in community living as it develops.
Returning to Western MA has felt like coming home in a wonderful way. Living in an agricultural area rich with organic farming operations is such a boon, and my definition of a local diet is readjusting to more of a 20 mile radius versus the 100 mile radius considered local in New Mexico. I love the feel of this small New England town as it transitions into fall. The air crisping, harvest in full swing, the students returning, something going on all the time. I could go on and on, but this post is rather long enough already.
I suspect you'll be hearing more regular dispatches from me again, now that I have a thin grasp on my new life and its new responsibilities. Til then...