Archive for December, 2007

Our dream home

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

rocks
This is our dream home. A month ago we purchased this pile of rocks from a fellow in Gunnison. When the snow melts and the ground thaws we will begin moving all 70 tons of rock to Spring City where it will wait to be cut and laid up in to our permanent home. Meanwhile I am studying all about stone cutting and masonry. The local JC is offering a three day workshop in the same in April. By taking that class I’ll at least know if I should just hire this out or make it a multi year project.
Since acquiring the stone we have been looking around our community for historic homes to use as models for our building project. The one we like the best is not even a stone house but an adobe one in the neighboring town of Ephraim. It is slowly being restored by McKay and Sharon Anreason. Here are some images of that home that I am posting so our architect can look them over and get a sense of the place.
house1.jpghouse2.jpghouse3.jpghouse4.jpghouse5.jpghouse65.jpghouse6.jpghouse7.jpg
What you have here is a walk around the house starting at the Southeast corner and ending with the Southwest. What follows are some details.
detail.jpgdetail1.jpgdetail2.jpgdetail3.jpg
detail4.jpgdetail5.jpgdetail7.jpgdetail8.jpgdetail9.jpgdetail10.jpg

Joseph’s Birth

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

(This entry was written December 23rd but not posted until the 26th due to technical difficulties.)
Everyone is all about the birth of Jesus of Nazareth these days. So am I. I love the Lord and enjoy Christmas for that reason. It is also a cool family time. We had Christmas two weeks ago when all three of our daughters could be here at once. We are now up to our ears in moving and have no Christmas plans other than packing and moving 29 years worth of accumulated stuff. Lee took down the tree yesterday and put it in the yard. Who knows what the neighbors think we are up to.
joseph_smith_jr_1843_photograph.jpg
Today, in addition to being the first day past solstice, is the anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith in Sharon, Vermont. I visited his birthplace quite a few years ago with my daughter Louisa when we were out east looking at potential colleges for her. Joseph is easily the most controversial figure in American religious history. I count Joseph as God’s prophet, the first with all keys and authority since biblical times. This year I have been reading Richard Bushman’s biography of Joseph sub titled Rough Stone Rolling. I come away with the deeper feeling of his genuine calling and of the fact that he is fairly universally misunderstood even by the people who belong to the church he founded. I can’t say that I understand him well either but my attempts to understand him have been adventures in deed. He was a radical, a mystic, an alchemist, a visionary, a charismatic leader and a revolutionary. So, happy birthday Joseph and thank you.

When it rains it doesn’t always pour.

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

 sale11.jpg  sale21.jpg    sale31.jpg Our holiday sale dates this year were December 1 and 8. There has been no precipitation all fall and into early winter except those two days. The people stayed away in droves. It was, with out a doubt, the poorest sale turn out we have ever had. Oh Well. As my potter friend Jim Simister says, “A showroom full of pots is money in the bank.” He is right. With our move coming up I don’t know when I will get back to making pottery.  

Talking with Doug Fabrizio

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Back in May, before the evil cyber gremlins ate my blog, Doug Fabrizio of KUER and KUED came to Spring City with his Radio West and Utah Now programs. He featured Lee and me on both programs. Here is a transcript of the complete interview I did with Doug for the Utah Now program. What apeared on the show was edited down from this.

 utahnow.jpg                              leedougjoe.jpg

Joe and Doug taping Utah Now.       Lee, Doug and Joe. 

[Doug Fabrizio]:

I wanted to start with you, there was something about Spring City that made you want to stay, and did you know right away that this was it? That this was home?

 

[Joseph Bennion, Potter]:

Yeah, the day that we drove in to town I remember coming down the main street, we stopped at the post office talked to Gordon June Sorenson who was the bishop and the post master, and we came over here and talked to Osral and to Dudley, that was his CB handle. Glen Osborne was the mayor and I could just feel things coalescing. It was like I just had this feeling, because we had a criteria for what we were looking for and it was like, “throw that out the window,” it felt right. That was before we moved here, and two weeks later we bought a house and moved in the following spring and really never looked back.

 

[Doug]:

How do you describe this place, the character of the place. Is there a characteristic of the place?

 

[Joseph]:

It’s actually like the town I grew up in. I grew up in Orem in the 50’s and there was space, and there was a certain diversity, but a certain monoculture as well. I’ve often said that it’s like Orem was when I was a little kid growing up, it’s just held back 40 years.

 

[Doug]:

I guess like all places it’s got its good, it’s got its bad, do you feel like you fit in?

 

[Joseph]:

 I suppose if you took a poll of everyone in town and asked: Do the Bennions fit in? You’d come up with an 80 percent rating or more, but yeah, there’s something odd about us, we’re a little more Bohemian. We go to the Ward house, we’re there, we’ve been active in the church, in the politics, but we’re not from here, our politics are a little bit off, our way of approaching the faith is a little bit different, maybe a little more open minded or less orthodox. I remember once someone saying, “Tell me Joe, you’ve smoked pot,” and I said, “No,” “No you’re lying, tell me.” There had to be something in the background to make us that weird, but I think we do fit in finally and we’ve raised three children here, we’ve lived here 30 years, I hope we’re part of the fabric.

 

[Doug]:

I want to ask you about your art, it seems to me that the essence for you of art, of your pottery is the function. You’re not about creating a museum piece, you want it to be used, you want it to be functional.

 

[Joseph]:

Yes, hand to mouth to table. I care much less about my pieces showing up in a museum, or the collection at the Smithsonian or something like that, what really delights me is seeing someone who, especially someone who grew up around here, coming into the shop, taking 15 or 20 minutes, touching and picking out the mug that they then want to use, and to know that that’s going home and it’s going to be used, and there’s that daily connection with that piece, and maybe their connecting with me, but I’d hope they’d connect with who they are and where they are in this place.

 

[Doug]:

It’s interesting though, it’s not like you’re just crafting a bowl, I mean it is art as well isn’t it? Or not?

 

[Joseph]:

What’s art? And that’s the question, what is art? Is art what happens in L.A. or New York, or is art what happens in homes? Is art how people live? Is art the artifact or evidence of life? That’s what I want to know. Suzanne Langer said that the art is the expression of human feeling in perceptible form. I hope that bowl is art, I hope that how it’s used is art, I hope that as people gather around the table and eat food together, whether they’ve raised it themselves or brought it in from the grocery store, that that communion happens around in families, and however you define that family. I hope that my work isn’t the center of that, I hope my work doesn’t detract from it by being too loud and ostentatious, rather, here’s this bowl that you might not notice unless your attuned to that quiet aesthetic.

 

[Doug]:

You said once that you thought of the process of eating, using your mugs and your bowls and your jars, as a kind of performance art?

 

[Joseph]:

It gets acted out in homes all over the country. It’s real site specific performance art. The site that I intend is the household, it the heart, I think of the table in my dinning room, and all the dinners that have gone down, and all the conversations that have gone down, and all the different people who have come and sat and eaten with us and shared that and all the different combinations of dinners that have happened. If you know anything about Japanese tea it’s very much about the uniqueness of this situation right now, this particular flower setting, this particular set of pottery implements and artifacts, and this particular grouping of people. I’m not really long in Japanese tea, but I understand the concept and I understand that this happens in people’s homes all the time. Each gathering is a unique happening. Life is art.

 

[Doug]:

We’re sitting here, and in the backdrop here is your kiln, and I wanted to ask you about those, tell me about the process of firing up the pot, you said, and I gather it was only sort of partially tongue and cheek, but you had the potential of being something of an arsonist when you were a kid, what’s your relationship with fire?

 

[Joseph]:

I loved to play with fire. A couple of times when I was young, we’re talking eight, nine, 10, 11 years old the fire would get away from me and burn things down. I burned an empty field one summer, and then I burned a cherry orchard to the ground. Somewhere in the Orem City Police Department files I’m sure there’s still a study in black and white of the whirls of my thumb and my mug shot at 11 years of age, and my mother was there saying, “Why are you booking my little boy?” and they said, “So that when he’s 45 years old and he’s torching warehouses or schools we can trail him.” She was horrified. I now get to play with fire. I’ve got a kiln that’s 22 feet long with a smokestack that’s another 18 feet in the air and I can get six or eight feet of flame out there, doesn’t that excite you? Didn’t you ever want to make a bomb when you were little?

 

[Doug]:

It’s more than heat, it’s more than just light, what do you love about that process, because it’s really the thing that’s going to make the pot right?

 

[Joseph]:

Well I choose to fire with wood partly because I love to play with fire and partly because I love the way the flame caresses the pot. It’s like you have this river flowing through the kiln, this river of fame, of hot parts, of cooler parts and red parts and yellow parts, and as I place the pots I’m placing the stones that that river is going to flow around. And it will form eddies and it will have rapids and it will have flat places, and all of that is written on the surface of the pots. If you look at a wood fire pot that doesn’t have too much glaze on you can read where it was in the kiln and where the flame was coming from and how they touched and hinged. That’s wonderful, it’s specific to that setting, much like I was talking about for dinner. Each fire is going to be unique. No two pots are going to be alike. Like blades of grass, they all look the same at the first glance, and then you get down to looking at them, and each one is unique just like each person’s fingerprints, or each snowflake is unique. Each pot, before it goes into the kiln, but especially after it comes out has its own character, its own story to tell, this is something industry can’t give you is a pot that will tell you stories.

 

[Doug]:

Is there ever a moment when firing up a kiln is ordinary? Is it ever just part of the task or is there always something kind of exciting for you about that?

 

[Joseph]:

I think it’s always something I enjoy. I enjoy the solitude. When I built the kiln I always thought I would always have a crew here to help me fire it, and as time went by I realized having other people here while I’m firing doesn’t work. I need to fire solo. There’s this give and take between me and the kiln, I’m reading the fire, I’m reading the kiln, I’m listening, I’m looking, I’m smelling, all of those senses come into play. When is the right time to stoke, and how much to stoke, and what the interval and cadence is. I hope I can put this in words properly, but having other people around just distracts and takes away, and I realize that when I fire alone my pots turn out the best, and I enjoy that solitude, well, I guess it’s not solitude because I’m there with the fire, and I’m there with my thoughts, and my thoughts roll all around while I’m doing that.

 

[Doug]:

What is it that you love about clay?

 

[Joseph]:

I love that I can make a mark in it, and if that clay is protected from the elements, that mark will still be there just as crisp in 1,000 years. And if it’s fired it’s never going away. I like the fact that it’s plastic. I like the way it feels in my hands, especially on the wheel. To feel that clay turning, it’s like having something a little bit alive there, and it’s not this inert thing, it had currents in it, it has eddies in it, it has things going on, and of course the first thing you do when you start on the wheel of clay is to center it. Students used to come to me and say, “Mr. Bennion can you tell me if my clay is centered, and I say, “Well I’ll have to sit down and put my hands on it, and I would take it up and down once and say, “No it’s not centered,” or “Yes that’s right.” And I said, “You need to learn to feel that.” And it’s that feeling of okay the clay is ready, it’s finally got all that worked out, and I love centering clay and I love pulling up walls. I love the sensuality of it, just dancing with clay. Peter Volka said that clay moves and one must learn to dance with it or to move with it. And you have to take into account the character of the clay. This might be a clay that’s fairly course, or a very smooth fat clay, and you learn to take that into account as you’re working with it, and you make vessels that are appropriate to that character rather than trying to impose your will on a material that isn’t going to go there. It’s a lot about respecting materials.

 

[Doug]:

It seems like symmetry doesn’t really matter that much. You want it centered, but you also like that it is not perfect.

 

[Joseph]:

Well, again, in dance there is fluidity, there’s movement, and I want the pottery that’s finished to be a record of the dialogue, the dance and the interaction that’s happened between me and the clay, between the fire and the clay, between the particular characteristic of these materials, this particular kind of clay, I want that all to be evident, but not overbearing if that’s making sense. A lot of people just say, “Oh there’s a pot,” but another person who’s maybe more attuned to that language will go, “Oh wow. Look at this clay. I can tell how he fired it. I can tell what he was doing.” But yes, symmetry is a worthy goal I guess, it’s something young potters getting started get really sucked into, being able to throw symmetrical, and being able to throw thin, that’s a technical feat that everyone strives for, but at some point you depend on your intuition. I sat once at lunch with a Zen priest in Japan, and he said, “You need to learn technique to where it’s chewing gum and walking at the same time.” You don’t think about it. The technique, then in real moments of strength it’s like you turn off the instruments and you just fly, you just go and whatever you need it there, but you’re not consciously thinking about what you’re doing, you just are with the clay. And that’s an exciting thing to experience, but you do need to get past being in awe of your own technique, and it can be very seductive and it can be very dead, it can be very boring. The life comes in with the mark of the hand. What’s the hand? It’s an extension of the potters heart or soul. And the pot is going to reveal the person, their strength and weaknesses, because by the way, our weaknesses are a powerful thing, they’re not something to be denied, they’re what we have, and that should come out in the pot too. To remind me, “Oh yeah, I’m not quite perfect yet, I guess I’m going to have to keep making pots.” I mean how would it be to open the kiln and have perfection, well I guess I’ll learn how to fly a jet now because I’ve finally conquered clay.

 

[Doug]:

You said something once where you related the process of firing a pot to being a parent, and you said, “There’s this collision between the kiln and your expectations.” Which is like being a parent, the expectation you have, think of your three daughters, the expectations you’ve had on them, talk about that.

 

[Joseph]:

I think it works both ways, I try to teach the kiln, I try to tell it how to fire, and “I’m going to stoke you a little bit heavier now,” and then the kiln resists and the kiln does this other thing and it teaches me in a way, it makes me as we go through this together, it forms and shapes and changes who I am, as does the whole process, but I love the interactive nature. There’s a certain order to it, certain things are always going to happen, and then there’s this wide open thing where it’s always different, it’s always a little bit unique, and it’s not going to be the same thing happening again.

 

[Doug]:

But have you always had that wisdom, or did you fight it for a time? Did you have to finally concede that point?

 

[Joseph]:

I actually remember really early on I had a wonderful teacher in college named Max Weber, and he is still alive, and I had a piece come out of the kiln, and it didn’t do what I expected it to do, it turned a different color, and I was quite unhappy with it, and Max said, “Joe, this is a wonderful piece, what are you crying about? Throw your expectations away and go with what the kiln is going to do,” and it was a great lesson, and the piece wound up actually getting into a pretty good show once I let go of my expectations and accepted what it was, and yeah, there’s parallels there in raising children. I couldn’t have predicted where my three daughters were going to be thirty years ago when I set out to give them a life. And I look at where they are now and it’s just like, “Woah, thank heaven that these kids found their own way,” because I couldn’t have dreamed up anything this beautiful for them. I would hate to think of them being in the world that I would have created for them.

 

[Doug]:

How do you define success with you kids? You look at them, and I’m sure you’re thinking they’re successful, what does that mean? Does that mean they’re faithful in the religion that you taught them, in the relationship with God that you gave them? And the work ethic that you provided for them? What’s success?

 

[Joseph]:

Success is going to be, are they happy? Are they productive? Are they self actualized? Are they living the life that they were given? Or are they trying to be something else? Are they looking over their shoulder and believing that lie that is told to them by the media. I mean all around them is advertising that says, “You’re not enough, but if you’ll do this or do that we can make up the difference for you.” I would think success would mean that Adah is fully being Adah, that Louisa is fully being Louisa, there’s no other Zina in this world. That would be success. And that they’re happy.

 

[Doug]:

But there’s and expectation right? They’ve been given a gift, and there’s something expected of them, whether it’s from you or from God or from life in general, there’s something that’s expected of them, right?

 

[Joseph]:

And they need to find out what that is. And I need to let go of my expectations of what that might be. It’s really hard as a parent to accept what they actually become, just like accepting how that pot turns out and let go of that disappointment because it didn’t do what I wanted it to do, and realize, wow, this pot is really amazing and I didn’t foresee this result, I had no idea that this was going to happen in the kiln that would cause this thing that I’ve never seen before to happen. And yeah, I’m certainly experiencing that with my daughters. They’re turning out in ways that I hadn’t guessed when they were little, and yet I look at them and it’s like, “Wow! You go girls!”

 

[Doug]:

There’s a mark you put on your pots. How many of those stamps do you have?

 

[Joseph]:

Maybe two or three, there’s one that I always use, and then there’s a couple that I’ve had to make when I lost that one, and then like a year later I’d find it when I was processing scrap clay. But I still have the original one that I made probably back in 1982 or 83. I was reading in the prophets of the Old Testament in Zachariah where it says that all the pottery at Jerusalem would bear the inscription Holiness unto the Lord, and that immediately has a connection because Brigham Young had that on all the businesses and the temples, and it was Holiness to the Lord, and Holiness unto the Lord is what’s in the scripture, so I went to a Hebrew scholar friend of mine at Brigham Young University and asked him, “How would you write that in Hebrew?” and he said, “Well it’s three characters.” And I said, “I need one concise chalk,” and he said what you want is the Ha, which is one symbol. The imagery is taken from a person with their hands raised in prayer, which is the way the ancients did, and I started marking my pots with that, and to me personally, it just reminds me that this isn’t about putting money in the bank account, it’s about caring for your family, it’s about doing God’s work. I believe that bottom line, what God has given me to do in this world is to take care of this family and to let them take care of me. To interact with them, to teach them, to be taught by them, to hug them a lot. Make sure that there’s bread on the table, remind them that that’s my primary purpose here, rather than making lots of money, and that’s something that I don’t think I can be accused of is trying to milk money out of the pottery business. I couldn’t have picked a less likely place to sell pottery than Spring City, and really when I measure the success of myself as an artist and my career, the thing I can point to is that I make a living selling pottery I make in Spring City, and I sell it here, I sell it at the point of origin, I don’t take it out to fairs, and I don’t have it out on consignment, if I’m able to bring people here to buy it, and that to me is miraculous. Thirty years ago I would have laughed in your face if you told me that was going to happen. When I first moved here I knew I would be shipping my work away. The mark is about all of that.

 

[Doug]:

I wanted to ask about this community and the type of people that are here, and how they look at you. You always hear that distinction between the locals, the people who have been here for generations and the weekenders and the move-ins and those who haven’t been here for so long. But I want you to tell a story about Craig Marble as it relates to the way this community looks at people.

 

[Joseph]:

Craig was a man who spent 31 years in the Utah State Prison system. He was on death row at one time and managed to get his sentence commuted to life, served those years and was paroled in March of ’06. March 7th he walked out. The warden had approached me and said, “Look Joe, normally you aren’t supposed to have anything to do with these guys once they walk out of here, I know you just volunteer at the prison in Gunnison, but I want you to shadow Craig because he’s gonna fall through the cracks, he’s Rip Van Winkle, and he’s a gentle soul that has no more mean left in him, we know that.” And so I arranged for him to come to Spring City. I talked to all of the neighbors by the little cabin he was going to live in and got their consent to have this capital murderer moved into their neighborhood. And I was gratified with how open they were. To some extent they were trusting me, because he’s an unknown quantity, and he was received so well. The local bishop came over to meet with him and offered him services and goods, and everything, and then as we walked back out to his car he said, “Joe, make sure your friend understands that there’s no strings attached. He never needs to walk in the door of this church to have our love and support.” And I was just like, “Harrah for Spring City,” and he only lived for ten months, he passed away in January, from complications of Liver Cancer, but I never heard a negative thing here in the town of him being treated with prejudice or unkindness, people opened up to him and responded to him and gave him work, and it confirmed a lot of what I hoped and felt about Spring City. He hit bumps other places, but not here. Spring City was good to him. And the service that we had over at the church was very well attended. A lot of people came out and expressed their feelings about him, it was kind of an open mike funereal, and yeah I came away from that feeling much better about this place. At least having my good feelings confirmed.

 

[Doug]:

You said this in the eulogy for Craig, you said, “Some might say that Craig’s life was a tragedy, and I will argue his life was a triumph, proof that no soul is unworthy of God’s love and our effort to reach them.” Is that a philosophy that sort of guides your life?

 

[Joseph]:

There was a time when I thought it was my crummy luck to be born Joe Bennion, a younger Joe Bennion. There were great ones and then there were not so great ones and then there’s some really crummy ones, and my role was to be one of the crummy ones, set a frame of reference so the good ones could be seen as good or something. But going into the prison for the last ten years I have completely had that overhauled. And I have found out how much our creator cares for those men in their broken state, and I look at myself and go, “Well what does he think of me?” And bit by bit I’ve learned that, and actually Craig would teach me that. I would come in to the prison yard, and he’d be there doing his gardening and he would come over and say, “How you doing?” And I’d say, “I’m okay,” and he says, “Your eyes don’t tell me that, what’s going on?” “Oh, I had words with Lee.” “Well you go back and talk to her, you put your arms around her.” He coached me on many occasions, through my feelings of inadequacy, “I had words with Lee, I’m not worthy, I failed, I’ve done a bad thing,” he let me know, “Joe, if I can feel good about who I am and where I am, can’t you?” A wonderful teacher. I went down there thinking that, initially in 1994, thinking that I would lift these guys up and help them do the good thing, and I have been taught and had my deck reshuffled and have been healed by sitting with these very wise men. Craig is a very wise man. Very articulate in the heart. He knew the topography of the heart, and he had learned how to walk with the Lord as he put it. He said, “All I want to do is go out of this prison and walk with the Lord.” And he showed me how that’s done. Me a fifth generation church attending Mormon, and here’s this so-called social refuse teaching these important things, about who I am. And that I am worth reaching out to too.

 

[Doug]:

What do you worry about when you walk through town? Think about the big lots here, the big plots of land, big open space, see the mountain? Things are changing, I mean every town does, every community does, and Spring City can’t be immune forever. So what do you worry about for this place?

 

[Joseph]:

I worry about development. Intentional development. I have wanted Spring City to grow up organically. Lee and I came here in ’76 looking for a place, we didn’t know what that place was, and when we saw it we recognized it and we got into it. I like to see other people coming here, finding their way to Spring City, finding a lot, building on it, finding an old house that needs rehabilitation, finding a house that’s already fixed up, but that organic growth of community rather than someone coming in and saying, “Okay here’s the North 40, let’s cut it up let’s put in curb and gutter, let’s do this, and then let’s convince people that they need to live here.” That’s what I’m worried about, someone thinking they need to draw people to Spring City. Spring City is medicine if I may call it that. And medicine calls who needs it. When there’s a teacher or a healing it calls in, it attracts in the people who need it, and those who don’t need it don’t hear it. And Spring City’s like that. And to have somebody then trying to hype Spring City and sell it to people, and bring people here who really wouldn’t have heard, that messes with the organic growth that a community could have. I am worried about that. I’m worried about people more interested in profit than community, choosing the direction as time goes. We all have to make a living, but I’d rather profit not be the motive behind this towns growth.

 

[Doug]:

Here’s one more thing, you’re in that sort of transitional phase right now. You and Lee are selling your home of 28, 29 years, and I think that besides the house, the thing that’s gong to be most difficult for you to leave is probably going to be that patch of land there, the garden. You said that you created the garden knowing that someone would be coming behind.

 

[Joseph]:

I’ve had a relationship with that piece of ground for 28 years. Every summer I’ve watched the green come in, I’ve eaten from it, I know what’s gone into the soil, what kind of dung, what kind of clippings, what kind of compost, and I know what’s been done to it and I’ve done the cycle with it many years, and I understand it, I know it, and I’ve become a part of it. Is it like every seven or nine years your body completely sloughs of and becomes new? I am that piece of dirt. It’s hard for me to leave the house where we raised our kids and conceived them and watched them go away to college, it’s hard for me to leave that soil that has nourished us. I’m comforted to hope that someone comes in who appreciates what’s there, that someone feels the spirit of that house. I know that the Maury have a concept, I saw this in an exhibit of Maury artifacts, that a spiritual power called mana is imbued into artifacts in use, and I sense that in pottery, I really sense it with the house. The house has a personality, it has a spirit. I can put my hands on the walls and feel that, and it’s hard to leave it, I still get a little choked up thinking about leaving that house, but I feel the same way about the soil that I’m leaving. I joked about coming in with a loader and hauling a few dozen yards of soil away, but that wouldn’t be very fair now would it? And it would certainly be a huge show of disrespect to that piece of land to strip it off and take it away. It lives there, it grows there, it is there. It is planted there. I have a hope that someone is going to come in and root there like we did, and raise a family and love each other and have fights and make up and all that stuff that goes on. Disappoint one another and then move on. Hopefully find what we found is that structure of bricks and wood over there has really served us well. I’m also looking forward to simplifying, getting down to under 1500 square feet. Less vacuuming, less to heat, less to paint. I’d rather knock around in a smaller space with Lee so I can see her better.

 

 

Last Waltz

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007


Last Waltz Last week end the girls came home to celebrate a late Thanksgiving and an early Christmas. Louisa and Adah are not able to get the holidays off. I guess all those New Yorkers can’t live with out their java even on holidays. It was good timing as we signed a contract to sell our house just a couple of days before they all arrived. After they left Lee and I fell right into packing for the move. It was out last time together in the only home the girls have ever known for our family. We had a wonderful time going through things with them deciding what to keep and what to pack away for storage. It was hard to watch their faces as we pulled away Monday after having one last waffle breakfast together. Adah wept while Louisa just kept looking back. Zina was different as she will be here in the house with us for Christmas, spending the holiday packing up things and moving the four blocks to our new house.We listed the house last April and have had some time to get used to the idea of leaving it. Lee and I came to the idea of selling and moving on one day and it just felt like the thing to do. It is hard to say why but we both feel like it is the thing to do. It was that way when we came here, just an intuitive feeling that we followed and have never regretted.The new place is a house on 2.5 acres that Lee’s mother purchased ten years ago. We are buying it from her estate with the proceeds of our house sale. WE will have to build a studio and hay barn for Lee. Later when those projects are finished and paid for we will start building a permanent home on the place. The existing house will be a rental after that. We have purchased 70 tons of oolite limestone from a demolished school house in Gunnison. We will build the new house with it. Ann Larsen is the architect for that project.Amy Jorgensen came over Monday morning to document the meal we had. She is currently artist in residence at Snow College. Here are a few of the images Amy captured.

prayeries.jpgZina LooksLooking downThree girlsDBLouisaZi in ovenimg_2629-version-2.jpgZi & AA on bedadahbooh.jpgloukitchen.jpgZi windowimg_2694-version-2.jpgLouisa playsLast Waltz 2

There you have it the last time around for all of us in the old digs. It was kind of bittersweet but all good. We will always have the memories. It makes sense to us to down size at this point in life. The new place has roughly half the space as the house we are leaving.