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Caspar 18 August 2015

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Hard Place to Leave

More and more every year (and I suppose this is true partly because we're older and slower) this place where we have taken root, Caspar, suits us more perfectly, and is a hard place to go away from ...and a very easy place to come home to.

In years past, we may have briefly considered what it might be like to live elsewhere. But then, taking all the elements into account, Caspar comes up so close to perfection, it seems easier to apply ourselves to perfecting the here rather than seeking something better elsewhere.

We have been working hard for 25 years now on building community. Here's Professor Mumblemore delighting the young Casparados at this year's CasparFest, a celebration of community we invented 12 years ago.

<p>Caspar Fest 2015</p>

Caspar Fest 2015

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<p>Uli painting a face at CasparFest</p>

Uli painting a face at CasparFest

In a tourist economy, one thing we learned the hard way is that the locals are too often forgotten. In summer, when they can't find a parking place downtown and they're busy serving visitors, it often doesn't feel so bad -- it's a sort of ache that you ignore until you have a little time. Caspar, in its secret favored position beneath the highway, is a place that most tourists whiz by. One guesses they see the old schoolhouse and church and think "How quaint."

Because of our location between Fort Bragg, our "municipality," and the prime tourist destination Mendocino, we're perfectly situated to offer a safe place for locals to bask in community. This year's CasparFest proved how valuable that hidden community place can be. We saw more children, more diversity, and just plain more community that we've seen in a coon's age.

Add the fact that the woods hereabouts are full of fabulous musicians, and we produce some of the best food on the planet, and the weather in summer is often glorious (as well as often foggy), and you're set for a lovely gathering. That's just what we had toward the end of July.

All that community building isn't just about fun-raising. We're also devoted to caring for our Headlands (that we bought and gave to the State as a Reserve) and the qualifty of ALL life in Caspar, meaning that we need to manage our own water. That's our next big project.

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Our sweet eccentric house gets more and more comfortable with time. Last year's big improvement was a massive soapstone masonry furnace that provides just the kind of heat needed to keep it comfortable with minimal effort during the long cold nights of winter. That's Klaus on the right, the mason who flew in from Germany to build the furnace.

<p>Shaped to harvest solar income:...

Shaped to harvest solar income: photovoltaics along the roof, hot water panels on several other surfaces for domestic hot water and to heat the hydronic floor. Center left, the solar hot water panels that keep our sustainably hedonistic hot tub cooking.

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<p>We are just putting finishing...

We are just putting finishing touches on our little pink cabin.

So: we live in a great place. Why whould we leave?

The West Coast of this continent is gorgeous, right from south of Carmel up as far as I've been. Past Vancouver Island, it's a little too mosquito-ey for Rochelle, and maybe a little too cold for me. But in Indian Summer, we think it's worth a shot. What do we think about, nowadays, when we contemplate traveling?

Food. We expect to visit plenty of farmers' markets, and stay in several Air BnB places where we can do our own cooking. We expect quite a few superb restaurant meals, but what we're looking forward to on this trip, besides the sights and the people we'll be meeting, are a variety of food that's different from, but as high quality, as the food we already get at home.

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<p>A couple of recent dinners, nearly...

A couple of recent dinners, nearly 100% from our own garden and our two local farmers' markets.

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