Paul Varese and his wife Molly provided the Land Whale's most recent dock space. Paul was waiting for us at a freeway interchange to lead us to his home and nascent permaculture farm. Talk about service. After guiding us into our resting space, he invited our crew down to a fire pit for a glass of wine and conversation even though it was already past 10:00 p.m. Already I liked this guy! Our Paul had plans to visit some farms and other sites the next day before making a presentation in the small city of Oceanside. My plan was to snooze as much as possible because we had decided the best way to cross from San Diego to Phoenix was during the night time so I scheduled a day of relaxing and snoozing in preparation.
Just when I think I have met most of the nice people in the world, along come Molly and Paul. They and their son, Julian, have been on their spread for a little over a year and are in the process of converting it from avocado orchards to something a little more permacultural-ly.
As I lay dozing on my bunk in the Land Whale, Molly came down and introduced herself and invited me up to the house for lunch with her and her Mom. Molly is one of those creative people who has a fine eye for design and collecting interesting objects. What's more, she is keeping goats on their place and developing a line of herb-based soaps. (Later when it came time to put the goats back in their pen, she called out, "Time for a cookie!" and those goats came running, their soft hooves clicking on the driveway like little leather hammers. Goat whisperer? More like "Goat Hollerer"!) She and her Mom were the warmest lunch companions I could imagine and before I knew it, a lot of my snooze time had happily disappeared.
Before we all left for Big Paul's presentation in Oceanside, our host, Paul, gave Eivind and me a tour of his property and the projects he had planned or had gotten underway.
|Paul shows Eivind his terracing.|
|Goat Hill Ranch or Rancho Juliano or...?|
One of the features of the place Paul showed us was this cement reservoir that had been installed long ago but which was no longer serviceable due to cracking and settling. Paul recognizes that this is a perfectly good hole in the ground at the upper edge of his property and is mulling options including a small residence that will allow them to enjoy outstanding views and a place to get away from everything--except perhaps the goats who have already claimed the reservoir as their play ground. Paul told us that the goats sometimes get in the cement pool and just run and run around it like those caged motorcycle daredevils. Apparently that counts as fun for goats--no one has made a reality TV show of that, but there is still time.
|Cement Reservoir/ Goat Playground|
Big Paul's talk was scheduled for the Oceanside Library. Oceanside is a nice little town in which I felt immediately comfortable. The Library, a modern building which is part of a larger municipal complex had clean lines, lovely public spaces and is something I hope the residents of Oceanside are proud of. When we got there, we found that there were a host of signs to Paul's lecture room which made way-finding in a strange building easy (much of the organizing work for this talk was done by Diego Footer, one of Paul's many fans. thanks, Diego!). It's always hard to guess how many people will turn out on a Friday night to hear a talk on permaculture as an alternative to irrigation. In this part of California, it turns out a lot turn out.
And, in the audience were Eivind and Paul and Molly. What a great bunch!
|Eivind along with Paul and Molly|
After the lecture was over, it was back to Paul and Molly's to board the Land Whale and make our crossing to Phoenix. Paul and Jocelyn were understandably exhausted from a day of touring and speaking and headed for some rack time. I kept Eivind awake just long enough to get me on the right highway and off we sped into the night. Fortified by iced coffee, chocolate and cold pizza,I got us to our current docking station by around 7:00 a.m. The relative peace and quite of fairly traffic-free highway provided me with some of the most enjoyable Land Whale riding I have experienced so far. To keep myself amused, I thought of all my grade school and high school teachers and tried to remember classmates from those years. I imagine all the things they have accomplished and achieved, and I wonder if they have ever taken a trip like this.