Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Countdown

Much of this year I've spent thinking back on what was happening last year.  I have a litany of dates in my head, starting with November 17, 2011, when Peter was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and ending when he died - December 7, 2014.

In the year following the death of a loved one it seems that your job is to "get through" all the special events...the first ones without the one you love.  My birthday fell three days after Peter died, so that passed in the blur of the aftermath, but I was surprised at how difficult that day was.

By summer's end I thought I'd made it through all the birthdays and anniversaries, and then remembered, "Oh god, the State Fair."  I burst into tears every time I thought about all the years we'd gone together, including 2014.  Some friends advised me not to go, and others said they'd go with me.

In the end, I knew I had to go alone, and so I did, on opening day.  I wrote a piece about that day, but didn't post it.  Then Jessie, Matt, and I took Levin near the end, and seeing the fair through his eyes was an entirely new experience.  I don't think future fairs will hold so much drama for me.

Scrolling back I see what I wrote about "Estevating" this summer.  I think I did more than that.  I think I slipped into a deep slump...maybe even a depression, and I didn't realize it until I started crawling out.  Summer is not my best time of year, and this year we seemed to skip those crisp cool fall days that energize me, and got warm rain instead.

Finally my energy is coming back.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday I tackled several project that been overwhelming, including starting to move that huge pile of split wood into the woodshed (that had a bit of a make-over this summer).  That is next year's wood.
This year I am still burning what Peter cut and left for me.  He's still keeping me warm.

There is not a day that has passed that I have not thought a lot about Peter, and very few days that I haven't cried.  After a lifetime of saying, "I am not a crier," my story has changed.  Some people have told me that the second year might be even  harder.  That is difficult to imagine, but perhaps that is what this year has prepared me for.

As I write this an author is warm and cozy out in the Tiny Cabin.
All of the outbuildings have seem pretty steady use this year, and even more will be happening in 2016.  I seldom walk around the farm without thinking of all of Peter's toil and handiwork that created this place.  He used to joke that he had an "Edifice Complex," and you don't have to look very hard to see that was true.  I walk around and say, "Thank You."

Today, in 2014, Peter went into the pond, and Jessie captured his "dunk" so beautifully with her camera and photographic skill.  Afterwards Peter said, simply, "I did it because it felt good."  We had the rope around him for safety, but in the end he just needed a little help coming back up the ladder.  His sister, Karen was here that day.

As this last week of the first year without him unfolds I might post a little more....until the 7th.  And then I'll close out this blog and begin posting on downyonderfarm.blogspot.com for the farm and all of the arts activities taking place out here.  Once the warm weather gets here we'll be busy.

 My sister sent me a "Peace Crane" earring set and as a result I've started folding Peace Cranes again.  Tonight, in the dark fog, I took one down to the pond and "set it free," as I did so many days and nights last winter.  I began by writing sad notes to Peter on them, but gradually the messages became ones of gratitude. 

Peter built quite a place out here and I'll continue sharing it in the months and years to come.  In the short-run I am making plans for how to share these Peace Cranes to remember Peter on December 7th, the day he left us in 2014. I'll let you know here as any plans un-fold.

So watch here for the next 7 days, and after that day the news will come at downyonderfarm.blogspot.com.

Thanks for reading.

Susan












Friday, August 14, 2015

August 18th SOLD OUT

NEW EVENTS AT DOWN YONDER FARM!

 August 18 SOLD OUT
August 27, 6-8 p.m.


Enjoy a delicious meal and participate in an interactive discussion about diet, lifestyle and healthcare.

     You'll become informed about the latest and best scientific information about diet and health that will allow you to make the most informed decisions for you and your family.

     It's free and you can bring friends.

     Choose the regular or gluten-free option below. (IMPORTANT: The meal is not medically gluten-free, and therefore not appropriate for those with celiac disease. We're simply swapping out what noodles for rice noodles in the lasagna.)

=====================================

 Howard Jacobson, PhD is founder of Plant Yourself and host of The Plant Yourself Podcast. He is contributing author to WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition and The Low Carb Fraud
(both by T. Colin Campbell), as well as the upcoming Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis.Howard lives in Pittsboro, NC, where he gardens, dreams, and helps people get off the medical treadmill and discover true wellness.   

===================================================

 TO SIGN UP, CLICK THE LINK BELOW:

August 27: http://j.mp/pydinner-08-27

Thursday, August 6, 2015


NEW EVENTS AT DOWN YONDER FARM!

Choose either August 18 or August 27, 6-8 p.m.


Enjoy a delicious meal and participate in an interactive discussion about diet, lifestyle and healthcare.

     You'll become informed about the latest and best scientific information about diet and health that will allow you to make the most informed decisions for you and your family.

     It's free and you can bring friends.

     Choose the regular or gluten-free option below. (IMPORTANT: The meal is not medically gluten-free, and therefore not appropriate for those with celiac disease. We're simply swapping out what noodles for rice noodles in the lasagna.)

=====================================

 Howard Jacobson, PhD is founder of Plant Yourself and host of The Plant Yourself Podcast. He is contributing author to WHOLE: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition and The Low Carb Fraud
(both by T. Colin Campbell), as well as the upcoming Proteinaholic by Dr. Garth Davis.Howard lives in Pittsboro, NC, where he gardens, dreams, and helps people get off the medical treadmill and discover true wellness.   

=================================================== 

 TO SIGN UP, CLICK ONE LINK BELOW:

 August 18: http://j.mp/pydinner-08-18

DYFA - First resident artist (sort of)


In creating the Down Yonder Fund for the Arts to honor Peter, our thoughts were to continue his legacy of generosity and hospitality out here.  When we brainstormed for a mission statement, the word "retreat" kept arising.  We have a good space for events, of course, but on an ongoing basis I think our primary offering is time and space apart from the rush of daily life.  Besides the music building, which many of you know, we have two small cabins for retreating.  One is equipped for one person for overnight.









When Jessie, Amanda, and I presented Peter with the idea for the Down Yonder Fund for the Arts we all agreed to define "arts" broadly.  One of the first things Peter said when we gave him the booklet we'd created was, "Include healing arts, too."  Well, last week we added "Legal Arts," because our first visitor to the Tiny House came here to find a peaceful place to study for her upcoming bar exam.  Having a daughter who took (and passed) the bar a couple of years ago, I was happy to provide that space.

Jasmina Nogo was born in Bosnia and grew up in Durham from about age 10.  She went to UNC and, a few years later, to UNC law school. 

Jasmina was a a perfect first visitor.  Getting the cabin ready helped me see what was needed, and having her here has spurred me to hurry up on the deck extension and outdoor shower.

Tiny House with residual snow


I enjoyed her company.  We're both introverts, but enjoyed our encounters and planned one dinner together which became a long evening talking in the front yard.  She loved being here, and wrote a few paragraphs about her experience (below).  

We have a musician visitor lined up for the early fall, and hope others will come before the cold weather rolls in. 

7/21/2015 - by Jasmina Nogo

When Susan asked me to write about my experience at Down Yonder Farm, my mind started flooding with adjectives, and I thought - there just aren’t words to describe the feelings, clarity, sensations, depth and peace that I experienced at Down Yonder. But I will do my best to put words to a most ineffable experience. I arrived on a beautiful summer Sunday afternoon and planned to spend a couple of days retreating from the helter skelter of my life in order to find peace and clarity preparing for the bar exam. As I drove down the gravel driveway onto the farm, I thought to myself - “I’m never going to want to leave this place.” It only got better from there.

Susan wasn’t home when I arrived, but I felt guided around the place nonetheless. It felt like home from the beginning and Susan made me feel welcome before I even got there. I stayed in the Tiny House - a cozy, quaint and loved little house, perfect for one person. Susan offered the Writer’s Cabin as a study space, but I found the Tiny House perfect for both a good night’s rest and a day’s studying. The sleeping cot was perfect for peaceful sleep and at night as I slept with the windows open I could hear the horses sporadically neighing, the bullfrogs of the night and the summer thunderstorms beating on the roof.

The Tiny House is only a few feet from the main house, where the bathroom, kitchen and all other necessities are. Susan was tremendously generous in sharing her space, making me feel welcome and providing much more than I needed - a bike to ride, a beautiful meal to share, woods to hike in, and meaningful conversation to engage in. The farm carries with it a history that you can feel in the grass, stories you can hear in the wind and love that envelops and embraces you, even if you’re strangers at first.

There’s no separating Down Yonder Farm from Susan and the life she and Peter built there with their family. All of the love and intention with which Down Yonder was built continues to resonate. Coming to Down Yonder you become part of the history and creation of a magical sanctuary.


I couldn’t leave when the time came, and after prolonging my stay a few days, I continue to think about, miss and daydream about Down Yonder Farm.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Coasting

When the link is available I'll connect this to my latest column on the subject of "Coasting."


Coasting is what we do in these hot summer months I think.  I know it is what I am doing.  Peter always said that he "estivated" in the summer.  Look it up - it is the same thing as hibernate except in the hot season.  I especially love the definition because it uses the word "torpor."  What a great word!


es·ti·vate
ˈestəˌvāt/
verb
ZOOLOGY
  1. (of an animal, particularly an insect, fish, or amphibian) spend a hot or dry period in a prolonged state of torpor or dormancy.



Jessie, Amanda and I met in May with Jay and Ebeth of the Shared Visions Foundation to get the ball rolling for the Down Yonder Fund for the Arts to which so many of you have contributed.  Events are happening already and the buildings are in use even though the official structure isn't in place.  That is coming and we will keep you posted.  However, July and August are looking rather busy!

If you're on the email list you'll be hearing from us.  If you're not and want to be, send an email to downyonderfarm@gmail.com and say "subscribe to email list."

In the mean time, the week after PeterFest was a busy one, with a house concert out here (a full house!) and a photography session the Saturday after PeterFest.  The photographer, Courtney Potter, generously shared the link to her blog with a lot of great pictures taken here on the farm (click on the link).





Right now I am trying to plow through and discard lots of old files and finding that difficult most days.  For one thing, I am firmly planted with one foot in each of two worlds.  One is the world of paper files, and the other is, of course, the digital world.  I am a big fan of Google Documents.  I tend to misplace (seldom lose) papers but so far have not lost my computer and, with online files, someone else is in charge.  Still, I am attached to those papers.

However, the real difficulty is nostalgia.  Right now the file open on my desk is from Peter's construction of what we call "The Farmstead Building."  In there are all the receipts from Peter's raising of this building I am standing in...a roughly 22x24" wood-paneled, scissor-trussed building that has housed my various farm endeavors including a wool processing plant and now Farmstead Health Supply.  Our long-term handspinners group meets here once a month.

Most of the papers are receipts that can go, but they remind me of how hard Peter worked to erect this space and how much he loved doing it.  He loved to say that he had an "Edifice Complex" (say that quickly three times). He said he'd name his construction company "Don't Look Too Close Construction."  There are visible mistakes and Peter always said that he wouldn't live in anything he built, but everything is still standing after 24 years and though a storm is raging outside, I feel safe in here.  Thank you, Peter.

I love hearing your stories about Peter and will share those here (I need to ask permission from a few of you).  Peter has visited a few of you in your dreams and I love to hear those, so please keep sharing.  Meanwhile, Peter's sister Karen shared this yesterday, so I'll end with these good tales.

================================================

I was thinking today about Peter and music.  As an older sister it certainly had its challenges.  When he was 8 or 9 someone had the bright idea of getting Peter a drum set.  For months there was not a moment of peace in the house as Peter banged on his drums as loudly as he could.

Several years later when he was about 13 or so he took a deeper interest in music and fell in love with rock n roll which he blasted on the radio.  Again, this reverberated through the house.  When I would ask him to turn it down because I had to do homework, he replied that of course he would adjust the volume.  Pesky younger brother....by "adjusting" he meant he would turn it up even louder.

Fast forward many years.  I was working on the Village film and found that I couldn't use a Bob Dylan song without paying tons of royalty.  I told Peter what I needed as a replacement.  It was harmonica music that would sound enough like Dylan that the audience would associate it with Dylan, but not too much like him that I would be sued.  Peter knew exactly what it should be and within 24 hours a disc arrived at my door.  The harmonica sound is in the film.

Just thoughts of the day



Sunday, June 7, 2015

Six Long-Short Months

At 1:54 this afternoon (Sunday, June 7th) the six-month anniversary of Peter's death rolled over the farm and through me as I sat on the dock of his beloved pond.  As an anniversary gift of sorts, I spent much of Saturday and Sunday clearing the pond of a noxious weed that threatens to invade the waters and choke off the swimming lane that Peter so faithfully traversed during each year's warm-enough months (and some that weren't).  

If you were at the memorial service you heard Taylor Ellerbee read the words of Peter's email about the pond:
My other favorite hang-out space is the pond. When I was looking for country property in 1978, the highest priority was a place where a pond could built. This came true after Susan came out here (and never left!) in 1981. The feeling of jumping in on a hot day and finding the cool below, or going in on an early spring or later fall day and drying out in a bright sun, is indescribable. Throw in a few dogs and it gets even better.

Scroll back through this blog and you'll see Jessie's stunning photographs of Peter's last "dunk" in the pond, on December 1st, 2014.  I thought about that day long and hard while I toiled at the pond's edge today.  At other times I could almost hear the familar splash of his  right arm against the water as he swam, and I thought about all the times I looked out from the house to see the ripples of his wake and know he was ok...especially after he got sick.

Our weed-eater has been broken and while waiting on a part to come in, the weeds have taken over both on the shore edge of the pond that I can't reach with the mower and in the water, where long red tendrils bearing bright green leaves reach urgently towards the center of the pond.  I know that the tall weeds and invading vines would worry Peter, so I tackled them this weekend.

In lieu of mechanization, I supposed that I could cut the weeds the old-fashioned way, with a swing blade.  But even with a new tool sporting sharp tempered cutting edges, I only lasted through about 40'  of thick grass before my arms gave out.  "But it's not an aerobic workout," Peter used to love to say about any exercise I did (to taunt me).  At one point I stopped and said out loud, "Peter, THIS is aerobic."

WEEDS, BEFORE

CLEAN SHORELINE - AFTER

SHORELINE GROWTH
 I relied on our dog, Shady, to be a scout as she traversed the water's edge ahead of me.  Hopefully she flushed out anything that might put me in harm's way (snakes and snapping turtles were on my mind).  I met quite a few water spiders, but always heading the opposite direction.  Fish and frogs plopped around me and once something large bumped my leg.  I will simply assume it was piscean.


SHADY ON PATROL

SHADY ON THE NEW SHORELINE


The red water-vines could be as thick as a finger and some reached 8 to 10 feet out into the water.  I used the fork to pull them towards me, then gathered them into a ball, much like you might gather the moving the legs of a small octopus.  Once contained into a mass both larger and heaver than a bowling all, I tossed it up onto the shore where, tomorrow, once it has dried a bit, I'll gather it all into the front-end loader and dump it where it can't find its way back into the pond.


Peter used to describe himself as a "swamp thang" when he did this job - working from a more prone position, belly down on the surface of the water.  I tried to maintain my footing, which was quite difficult bare-footed on sharp rocks.  Several times I let myself fall backwards into the pond when I lost my balance.

I realized as I worked that the plants and the vines at the water's edge have the intention to fill in the pond.  I could see where the vegetative life had, indeed, extended the shoreline inward, just as new growth at the edge of a field will gradually fill the field and turn it back into forest.  Peter complained about the shrinking lanes around the edges of our pastures.  I spent much time this winter cutting back that growth.  It occurred to me that this isn't any different--just wetter.

The work was easier today with proper footwear, but both afternoons I slogged back to the house feeling much like I did the first time I ran 10 miles all-at-once.  I decided that these 5-6 hours were worth logging on MapMyRun, because it was a workout, and it WAS cardio.  

Scrolling through the list of workout options, I chose "rowing" for the hours I spent pulling the weeds from their deep rooted homes along the shore, and I chose "kettle ball" for the remainder of the time that I hurled each gathered biomass up onto the dam above me.  My CrossFit friends would be proud.

In the future I'll probably schedule work-days to get help from the friends who use the farm and the pond.  Doing this work with a group of friends could be fast and fun, and I imagine a cook-out afterwards.  This weekend, though, the work alone was meditative and thoughtful.  It was at times sad and somber...missing Peter...and at other times joyful--recalling the building of the pond (dynamite was required) and all the times we'd spent there with family, friends, and dogs.

An old song came to mind...one that Peter and I both loved.  Written and sung by Laurie Lewis, it was on our "Sunday Morning" playlist.  The words seem especially poignant now, and as I slithered along the edge of the pond, feeling rather reptilian in my toil, I knew I was attempting to fill Peter's empty place.  I wonder who will fill mine when that day comes.

Have a listen:  Who Will Watch the Home Place - Laurie Lewis



Who will watch the home place
Who will tend my hearts dear space
Who will fill my empty place
When I am gone from here


The pond was many things for Peter, but primarily it was where he swam his daily laps faithfully, week after week, month into month, until the falling temperatures sent him, finally, to the SportsPlex in Hillsborough.  Near the end of his life a shoulder injury unrelated to his disease curtailed his swimming.  I honestly believe he'd have lived a little longer if he just could have kept logging those laps.

The last part of what Peter wrote to Taylor was this:

I tell friends that if they want to make me feel better, tell me that you're taking care of yourself through good nutrition but especially with exercise. 

Wherever Peter is these days, I hope that my work on the pond made him feel better.  When I finished the long northwest shore today I packed up the tools and headed to the house, opting not to swim laps because the weeding had been so much work.  I could almost hear his voice and see the twinkle in his eye as he told me, "That's not cardio!"   I squared my sore shoulders and smiled back, "Oh yes it is!"

Thanks for reading,
Susan

Thursday, May 7, 2015

PeterFest made the news!

Thanks to Dan Way for the pictures that graced the last post, and also for this wonderful article that captures the essence of PeterFest so well.  


Enjoy!  Dan was my editor for years with the Chapel Hill Herald, and was great to work with:

http://www.heraldsun.com/chherald/chcolumnists/gladin

The Friday after PeterFest we hosted Darlingside for a great concert here at Down Yonder Farm.  The next (25th) was the 34th anniversary of the day Peter and I got married (what a grand day that was!).

The following week I took a silent retreat here on the farm...no phones, no screens (TV, computer, laptop, etc), and no visitors.  I tried not to talk to myself, even, but did have to tell the dogs to come or stay from time to time.  I delved into The Presence Process and Seven Sacred Pauses again, and used the time as a sort of "re-set" from all the busyness of life.  It was much needed and I think really helped with my overall well-being as I move into this new and very different life.

That being said, every event following a death feels like another door closing.  I've felt a huge come-down following PeterFest, and, oddly, his death feels more preposterous to me than it did closer to the actual event.  More often, it seems, I think, "I'll just tell him this," or "I need to ask him that."

In 20 minutes he will have been gone from this world five months and that just gets harder to believe.

I sit here watching the grass grow (and calculating what I'll mow when).  Peter was the lawn mower and we shared the field cutting on the tractor.  So I've had to learn the quirks of the riding mower and where all the rocks and roots reside.  But I feel close to Peter when I mow.

I have a lot of Peter related things to post here in the future, but have had to get my legs under me again following PeterFest.  We're having a DYFA (Down Yonder Fund For the Arts) meeting this weekend.  We've already had so much interest in individuals and artists using the space.  I am eager to see this unfold.

Thanks again to every one who is a part of Peter's enduring community.

Susan 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

After PeterFest



It will take some time to come down from the highs of yesterday's PeterFest.  It was a day of memories, music, meetings, and old friendships and new.  I met Peter when he was the director of Hassle House in 1980.  One former co-worker came all the way from Florida to be here.  

Family and friends came from afar, too, and so many people from all walks of Peter's life.  

In past years Peter would sometimes read the accomplishments of his peers in Duke Magazine and say, "I am such a slacker."  Yesterday, if anything, proved that Peter was anything but a slacker.  In fact, one acquaintance came up to me to say, "I can't believe all that Peter has done.  I am such a slacker."


PETERFEST PART 1
(Photos courtesy of Dan Way)

This was what we called "The Service," held at Peter's beloved Schley Grange Hall just 4.5 miles up Schley Road beyond the farm.  The hall was packed, "SRO," as Peter loved to say about music venues (standing room only).  

Peter's sister, Karen, thought to bring Peter's guitar to remind us that he would have been there, picking along with the others.  



Peter's college friend Marty Ellin was a most excellent emcee.  One of Peter's former band members told me today (they were practicing here) that he thinks Marty has another calling ahead of him when he gets tired of being a lawyer.



The Service alternated speakers and music.  Below is the Doc Branch Band doing one of their two songs.


 Peter's life-long friend Evan Rashkoff hit the perfect mix of who Peter was...caring and funny.  Evan's wife, Clare, and I talk about the times we've come into the room when these two were on the phone laughing so hard they might fall off of their sofas.


Other speakers for Part 1 included Julius Jenkins, from Peter's VA Writing Group, Taylor Ellerbee, family friend whose writing about the farm and the pond moved Peter deeply, Anne Montgomery, Peter's friend from the Schley Grange, Peggy Sexton, former co-worker, Mary Spradlin, from Peter's extensive volunteering with the Red Cross, David Ginzberg, Peter's uncle (also able to make us laugh),  Geoff Hathaway, music buddy and close friend, and Ebeth Scott-Sinclair, who had worked with Peter on many music and volunteer endeavors.

Besides the Doc Branch Band, playing "Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Sittin' on Top of the World," the other musical acts included Peter's former bands - Green River Band playing a song Clarence Clemmons taught them ("Savin' Up") and"The Flashbacks," playing "Knocking On Heaven's Door," and "Stella," a 7 woman acapella act with Jennifer Evans, singing a rousing "Up Above My Head."

Thanks to Sharon Van Horn who brought food and drink for the musicians, to Gayle Dauverd, Marty Ellin, and Jeremy Collins for set up and take-down (there may have been others I don't know about, so thank you, too).  Thanks to my daughters and sons-in-law, and to all of the speakers and performers who made this first portion of the day such a tribute to who Peter was in this world.


PETERFEST PART 2
(All but first and last two photos courtesy of Dan Way)


First-off, after much gnashing of teeth, the day turned out beautiful.  It was partly-cloudy, which shielded the musicians from the hot sun.  It was warm enough, and despite reports of heavy rain showers all around us, not a drop fell at Down Yonder Farm until after the guests left.  That's because there was an invisible dome over the farm, I am convinced.  Today, Sunday, has rained all day.  We hit it just right with the weather, as with everything else.



This is Red's Rhythm, the band Peter performed with until his death.  Stacey wrote a song for our 30th Anniversary and performed it (to my tears):

I know a place where we can meet, behind the barn where the air is sweet.
The bees go by, sing their lullaby for you and me, after all these years beneath the tree.
I’ll always be the one to love you.  I’ll always be the one to hold you.
Whether the sun comes up or the rain falls down on us, I am yours.

RR also performed a song Peter had requested, Tracy Chapman's "Say Hallelujah

Say Hallelujah
Throw up your hands
The bucket is kicked
The body is gone

Dry your eyes
And stand upright
Put a smile on your face
He wouldn't want us to cry

The sun will rise
The stars will shine
Turning day to dusk
And night to dawn
We'll pass on
But until that time

Say Hallelujah...


This was the scene taken from the porch of my writing studio.  We learned that we can hold a mini-music festival in the back yard.  What a scene!

Back at the farm the music unfolded more like a jam/festival though all the songs that Peter requested (and a few of mine) were sung.  These included Money Honey (Flashbacks/Billitones) , Stand by Lynn McGee and the Monarchs, Saw her Standing There and Stop Draggin' My Heart Around by Red's Rhythm, Savin' Up and Passionate Kisses, by Green River Band, No Woman No Cry by Rachel Stern Parting Glass by Stella, and Elija Rock by Jennifer Evans and Rick Keena.  Members of Mobile City Band jumped in for Money Honey, and Mary Rocap sang Save Somebody.  Look for some of Mary's writings about Peter in future posts.  These were among so many others!  Thank you all, and please send corrections or additions.

We missed having Harvey Arnold with us to perform Every Mornin' and Wish I Was a Catfish with Billy Stevens.  We also missed Bubba Norwood, who couldn't be with us.  We might have to have a PeterFest Part 3 to get those acts in.

Jessie and Amanda each sang a song , Guilty and Stand By Me respectively, and then they coaxed me up (before a much smaller crowd) to sing Late In The Day, which I'd practiced a bit with Jessie.  Like the Tom Paxton song I shared on the "Scattering" post, the words of this song have haunted me, and I've sung them nonstop since Peter died:


Late in the day when shadows start to play
On my backdoor and up and down this alleyway
I think back on the times with your hand in mine
We sat talking low...late in the day
It seems you never know a good thing till it goes
Slippin' through your fingers...that's just the price I pay
For being my own man and doin' the best I can
Now I'm alone without a plan...late in the day

Now I pour whiskey, break the ice
Put my feet up and close my eyes
I try hard to listen to what my heart might say
Try to find the rhyme to take me back in time
And be with you here...late in the day

...My life is still the same
My lips still call your name
And my heart can't hide the pain
Late in the day

Here's a version of a young Tim O'Brien performing his song: Late In The Day

I am going to attempt a few additional thank yous for now for those that made the time here on the farm possible, but I know that others pitched in that I didn't even know about, and of course there is a chance I'll overlook someone, but here goes.

First, every time I woke up in the wee hours of the night, frantic over PeterFest details, the following day I got a phone call or email from a very competent person who said, "I've cleared the day for you...what do you need?"  The first of these was Sharon Van Horn, who was mentioned above for her contribution at the Grange and here for stocking the "Green Room" with food and drink for out of town guests and musicians/speakers.  

The second was Meg Williamson, who has contributed heavily to the success of many of our family events (Amanda and Alejandro's wedding, Peter's and my 30th Anniversary party) and now this.  She and her mom, Sandy, coordinated the food for the participants.  Many, many of our guests brought something to share as well, and we thank you so much for your contributions.  

The third call came from Oriana Galardi-Este, dear friend who has helped with many other events including Jessie and Matt's wedding and "the Gathering" we held shortly after Peter's death.  Ori floated between Sharon and Meg's endeavors, and stayed late to clean up afterwards.  Rick Lonan, Gauld Dauverd, Marty Ellin, plus Taylor and Dylan Ellerbee were on clean-up crew as well.  Our audience was a tidy bunch and so helped make the job do-able.  I know there were others...

One of Peter's mottos in life was, "Always thank the sound man."  Well, usually the sound guy is a guy and that is true this time as well... I know that Geoff Hathaway, Jay Cunningham, Leon Patillo, and Scott More had a lot to do with the flawless sound we had at both events.  If there were others, please let me (and the world) know.

If Peter were able to witness the events yesterday he'd be so pleased.  If he were composing this post he'd tell you who wrote every song that was sung, when, and on what label it was recorded.  I'll spare you those details but if someone wants to compile them, I'll post them! 

 What I WILL compose and post, later, is a list of the musicians in each group.  Each person gave so much of him/herself to make this event what it was.

Late on Saturday morning I was alone at the farm, raking the last little bit of debris from a seating space, when the air got still for a moment, then picked up into a little swirling wind that brought down the maple tree seeds...



The seeds pinged off of the nearby tin roofs and for a moment I thought it was raining.  And then I felt, rather than heard, Peter say, "You're work is done, and this is going to be great."  

With that I went in to shower, get dressed, and head up to the Grange.  And it was... it all was great thanks to this incredible community that Peter created.

--Susan Gladin

Saturday, April 18, 2015

PeterFest - Day-of Details

PeterFest 2015

Memorial Service and Musical Celebration
of the life of Peter Kramer


1 p.m. Schley Grange Hall
3416 Schley Road, Hurdle Mills, NC

3 p.m. AT DOWN YONDER FARM!
811 Lipscomb Grove Church Road, Hillsborough, NC

The weather should be beautiful!  
BUT, the ground could be a little wet,
so plan accordingly for chairs and groundcloths

 
WHAT TO WEAR Since we'll be moving from the Service at the Grange Hall to an outdoor music festival back at the farm, please dress casually and comfortably for both occasions. Please wear "sensible shoes," as heels just don't work well on our lawn, and you might be walking some distance from your car.

WHAT TO BRING:  The Musical Celebration will be the equivalent of an outdoor concert, so bring folding chairs, blankets, and even a picnic meal if you plan to stay the duration.  Bring water bottles and your beverage(s) of choice. We will have snacks on hand along with iced tea and lemonade.  Remember sun block and bug spray.

NOTE:  We will have seating, extra food, and amenities for our out-of-town guests.

WHAT NOT TO BRING:  1. Children   2. Dogs or any other pets    3. Illicit substances. 
Thank you.

WHERE TO PARK:  There should be ample parking at the Grange, but very limited parking at Down Yonder Farm.  We ask visitors to carpool down to the farm from Lipscomb Grove Baptist Church, which is across the street from the entry to our driveway, and 4/10 of a mile from the farm.  We should have plenty of room if you'll ride down together from the church.  We'll also have a few people driving shuttles.

THE MUSIC:  Peter chose most of the music being played at PeterFest, but we're planning for some open mic time for others to play and sing.  If you'd like to participate,please send an email to downyonderfarm@gmail.com with "OPEN MIC" in the subject line and someone will be in touch to coordinate.

Please take time to sign the register at both places so we'll have a record of your time with us, and please write a card for the memory tree.

EMAIL LIST:  The Down Yonder Fund for the Arts (DYFA) will continue Peter's legacy of generosity and hospitality for musicians and artists.  If you want to receive (very occasional) news of events at the farm, send an email to downyonderfarm@gmail.com with "LIST" in the subject line.

And we are excited to launch downyonderfund.org where you can keep up with events at the farm.

Thank you to all of the generous donors who have made the Down Yonder Fund for the Arts possible, and to the Shared Visions Foundation for housing the fund.  Donations to keep the arts alive on the farm can be made at the blogsite:

Questions?  Email Downyonderfarm@gmail.com.
We look forward to seeing you all on the 18th!

Susan, Jessie, and Amanda


Friday, April 17, 2015

PARTLY SUNNY



THE WEATHER REPORT

3 p.m. at Down Yonder Farm

(1 p.m. still at the Grange as planned)

Weather news has become increasingly fickle it seems, but as of now we're calling it for the farm.  

JUST IN CASE, please check back here this evening or tomorrow morning in case things have changed.

What HAS changed is the chance of showers overnight, which means the grass could be wet, but it does dry quickly so by the afternoon should be ok.

Still, please bring your chairs and if you'd planned to sit on a blanket on the grass, you might want a sheet of plastic underneath.

We will have benches and chairs for our out-of-town guests.

We're working outside like mad to do everything that couldn't be done earlier, so that's where I am today and not taking calls except sporadically.

Thanks to all the helpers!

Susan




Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Raindrops are falling..


...on my head!

The weather does not look good for PeterFest at the farm on Saturday.  BUT, sitting here by the big front window I see sunshine where thunderstorms were predicted.  So we don't know, and we WON'T know until Friday.

The 1 p.m. portion of the service is at the Schley Grange Hall (see previous post).  If  the weather is rainy, we'll stay there for the duration.

But we will have to make a call on Friday.  With all the equipment to set up for the Celebration portion, we have to know where we are going.  And, the rain that is or is not falling from the sky is only one factor.  How much rain has fallen, and thus the wetness of the ground is another.

So please keep a look-out here for updates on Friday and Saturday.

Susan

Wednesday, April 8, 2015





PeterFest


April 18, 2015


1 p.m. Memorial Service at Schley Grange Hall, 3416 Schley Road, Hillsborough, NC   27278

3 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Musical Celebration at Down Yonder Farm, 811 Lipscomb Grove Church Road, Hillsborough, NC

NOTE - In case of rain the entirety of PeterFest will be held at Schley Grange Hall.  Check the blog at www.peterupdates.blogspot.com for news and information.
WHAT TO BRING:  The Musical Celebration will be the equivalent of an outdoor concert, so bring folding chairs, blankets, and even a picnic meal if you plan to stay the duration.  Bring water bottles and your beverage(s) of choice. We will have snacks on hand along with iced tea and lemonade.  Remember sun block and bug spray.

We will have seating and amenities for our out-of-town guests.

If you would like to bring some snacks to share with others (very helpful), please send an email to downyonderfarm@gmail.com with "SNACKS" in the subject line.  Our wonderful food coordinator will be in touch with you to plan.

WHAT NOT TO BRING:  1. Children   2. Dogs or any other pets    3. Illicit substances. Thank you.

WHERE TO PARK:  There should be ample parking at the Grange, but very limited parking at Down Yonder Farm.  We ask visitors to carpool and park at Lipscomb Grove Baptist Church, which is across the street from the entry to our driveway, and 4/10 of a mile from the farm.  If you need to drive down and park at the farm, please come with a full car.  You can pick up passengers at the church, and we'll have a few people driving shuttles.

THE MUSIC:  Peter chose most of the music being played at PeterFest, but we're planning for some open mic time for others to play and sing.  If you'd like to participate,please send an email to downyonderfarm@gmail.com with "OPEN MIC" in the subject line and someone will be in touch to coordinate.

WHO IS COMING:  We are expecting quite a crowd!  We are excited to have so many out of town guests coming.  This event will bring together family and friends from the many eras of Peter's life.

Please take time to sign the register at both places so we'll have a record of your time with us, and please write a card for the memory tree.

EMAIL LIST:  The Down Yonder Fund for the Arts (DYFA) will continue Peter's legacy of generosity and hospitality for musicians and artists.  If you want to receive (very occasional) news of events at the farm, send an email to downyonderfarm@gmail.com with "LIST" in the subject line.

And, very soon we will have our own DYFA website where you can keep up with events at the farm.

Thank you to all of the generous donors who have made the Down Yonder Fund for the Arts possible, and to the Shared Visions Foundation for housing the fund.  Donations to keep the arts alive on the farm can be made at the blogsite:

Questions?  Email Downyonderfarm@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you all on the 18th!

Susan, Jessie, and Amanda

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blowing In The Wind

This post begins below the dotted line, but first this reminder:

PeterFest
Saturday April 18, 2015

1 p.m. Memorial Service
Schley Grange Hall

3 p.m. Musical Celebration
Down Yonder Farm

Details to follow here soon
===========================================

I am a little late posting these, in part because of the strange circumstances that, well, erupted as our family gathered and spread Peter's ashes.

But before I tell that tale, we spread the ashes on March 14 when Peter's sister, Karen, was down here from New York.  We chose three of Peter's favorite places on the farm:  The Music Building (outside...no pictures),

The pond...







...and out in the woods where Peter felled trees and split wood to heat our home.  I've mentioned several times how much I appreciate all the wood he left to keep me warm this winter, with some left over for next.




The scattering was deeply moving, and sadder than I had expected.  It felt like another loss...another letting go of the physicality of the man I loved so much.  

Each of us chose a song to say or sing...since Peter tended to philosophize about life in song lyrics.  

Jessie chose "Drift Away:" 

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away


Amanda chose "Landslide:"

I take my love, take it down
I climb a mountain and turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Will the landslide bring you down


Karen chose "Oh Mary Don't You Weep Don't You Moan:"

Brothers and sisters don't you cry
There'll be good times by and by
Pharaoh's army got drownded
O Mary don't weep

Well oh Mary don't you weep, don't mourn
O Mary don't you weep, don't mourn
Pharaoh's army got drownded
O Mary don't you weep


Alejandro chose "The River of Dreams:"

I'm not sure about a life after this
God knows I've never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That runs to the promised land
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night


Matt chose "If I Had A Hammer," in part because Peter sang it to Levin:

Well I got a hammer,
And I got a bell,
And I got a song to sing, all over this land.

It's the hammer of Justice,
It's the bell of Freedom,
It's the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

And I chose a song that I've been singing softly to myself ever since Peter died.  If you've been through grief and mourning, you know that regret in intimately tied up with grief.  I have regretted so many opportunities and openings I didn't take; all the times I said "no," to an invitation when I could have said, "yes."  So my song was Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing On My Mind:"

As I lie in my bed in the mornin'
Without you, without you.
Every song in my breast lies a bornin'
Without you, without you.

Are you going away with no word of farewell
Will there be not a trace left behind
Well, I could've loved you better, didn't mean to be unkind
You know that was the last thing on my mind


Finally, what happened is that we were all felled by a stomach virus that hit the first of us during the scattering, had claimed three by the evening, and all but one by the following Monday.  I got the "lite" version of the acute phase, but the loss of energy following the bout lingered, and has made it harder than ever to get things done.  Fortunately we're all better now.

I'll be posting again soon with lots of details for PeterFest - the Memorial Service and Musical Celebration that is coming oh-so-soon.  Stay tuned.

Susan