The CBE press works very well now that we have re-enforced the hopper as suggested. It created enough bricks yesterday from the foundation soil alone to create the start of the walls for the blue house, donkey pen, dairy goat pen, and chicken coop. We have found that the donkeys are fierce defenders of the chickens and they both love to shout at each other most of the day. Meanwhile two newly formed families are staying next door to the soon to be blue house in hexayurts.
Meanwhile we have only barely managed to keep a peaceful jurisdiction over this part of the valley. Mostly we are able to maintain our presence because of the upriver downriver peoples alliance. Most of the would be squatters are caught long before they even get to the old county line. We also have the support of the dairy cooperative people, including the drivers who take most of our goods to town for us, and with whom we swap products for dairy and meat. They keep the norther perimeter of the river clear as well. Ten years ago it was less of a luxury to be mostly vegetarian maybe eating fish. These days we just rely on who and what we have in place and we do have quite a lot of happy cows here in Humboldt. To think that it has been thirty years since I begged my friend Dick Bryant to consider farming organic silage for his dairy cooperative. Just a seed plot even. He saw the wisdom in farming their own fodder, and he loved his jersey cows and knew that silage was the healthiest option ("they wont have belly aches" he used to say). In twenty years they were producing organic milk as well as ice cream and when fuel prices began to double they were all sitting pretty because they were not buying hauled alfalfa. That one little seed catalog made such a difference. That and tenacious begging.
The blue house disturbs me because it is not a planned part of our system of quarantine or residence here. It was simple to have people stay at the red house who were probably fine but not entirely checked out. We have a house up on the Thomas road that takes on quarantine issues and major health problems. Mostly it is just the house of a healer with an ability to work with people. We used to have a lot more people carved out from substance abuse and stress and malnutrition. Through experience we quickly learned how to keep harmony. Its better if you keep harmful social influences to a minimum so we care for people differently when they are like that.
Once people are accepted enough to become at least allied members of our community, and they have passed quarantine, they move to the yellow house. That is the main place where we keep the donkeys and dairy goats and chickens. Usually we try and have families find a place up here on the hill in the green house where there is access to our shared schoolroom facility. Usually one of the musicians or more teaches at the daily social sessions. Our fortunes have been good in that two couples have formed at the yellow house, one with an existing boy, and now there are likely more children on the way. We decided at a meeting of the Kris that the best solution is to build up our facilities down near the trading station so that we can accommodate more work animals and provide more privacy and autonomy for our emerging family units. Its also gotten pretty crowded up here on the hill. The green house is full and so is the musicians area.
Annie May is a special case. Essentially she is an orphan. There have been a few cases in the past of children being taken in by related families, however this case is quite unique.
Our first orphan.
Annie May is similarly malnourished and stressed as her drug addicted mother was. The toll the life takes has touched her. She has had little daily regularity or care. It would be disruptive to thrust her too quickly into any intense social circle here. Her sense of self and identity would likely suffer.
Since the news came yesterday of the Bo squats getting burned out in Eureka I have had one short conversation with Annie May about her mother. Whenever her old life is mentioned in any way, or there is any suggestion of connecting her with her mother again she would start shaking and repeating the phrase that I realized I had used in her presence.
"Its no LIFE" she would say with strangely adult intensity. "Its NO life".
For now Terran the donkey wizard was happy to comb her hair and have her follow him around as he wheedled and coaxed the donkeys in and out of their work harnesses most of the day. She is only six years old however she is dexterous and quite bright. The donkeys seem to like her so its hard for anyone to complain.