Solstice & Yule 2014

So… This year is a little different. To give you some context, Kurt is attempting to write this year’s letter using primarily Machine Based Dictation on his Mac workstation… and one-handed typing. Back in November, he suffered a dead stupid household accident and lacerated his palm. A few days later, the nicked tendon snapped. He had tendon repair surgery on December 8th, and has been told to expect to be in a wrist and hand splint for about 6-8 weeks along with physical therapy. Needless to say, this has already compressed and complicated our already traditionally batshit insane holiday schedule. Will holiday cards, and this note get put out late again? Of course they will!

Otherwise, the most interesting news of the year is that Heather and Alexander are both attending school at Blue Ridge Technical College. They're both in an Associate’s Degree program in Mechatronics. Yes, most people go,“what's that?” Essentially, is combination of Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics, Machine Automation and Robotics. Stuff for the 21st-century. They survived their first term mostly unscathed, actually they did rather well. Currently they’re enjoying winter break before spring term starts, which is a good thing since Heather is stuck being Kurt’s driver for his errands, doctor’s and PT appointments. Kurt notes that the higher education experience has diverged a lot from what he remembers back in the 80’s. However, they figure that if both of them are going, and taking most of the same classes, they will motivate each other to stick it out.

We mentioned last time that we put a new metal roof on the house. This turned out to be a good move, with that record-breaking snowfall that rolled over our region in January. Snow just slid off the metal, and didn’t crush the house! Huzzah! But even after we dug ourselves out, we were pretty much pinned down for the better part of three days, until the county was able to get to our road–with a front end loader!

Nicholas this year, has been taking some time off from his studies at Buffalo State College. Like many folks his age, he decided to get a job and laying in some cash while considering his options. However, that gave him the schedule flexibility to come visit us for Thanksgiving, and finally see the new place. It was quite something to see the two boys riffing off each other again pretty much from the moment Nicholas got off the bus.

Even while having gone back to school, Heather continues to expand her fiber art skills and delight and amaze the folks at Knitwits and the Weaving Guild with clever and beautiful things, and still volunteering at Starting Points. Over the summer, she ran a Fiber Arts Craft Camp at Wickerman this Year.

Kurt got drafted by the folks at Four Quarters Interface Sanctuary to serve on their Board of Directors as a Member’s Advocate. Tiger traps, butterfly nets, and bags over the head were involved. He's getting used to the idea and the position, and is trying to catch up. The Studio is hanging in there. While gradually getting a foothold here in Berkeley Springs, enough large projects from existing clients have come in to keep him from getting bored! He is of course still doing ceremony with the one Heart One Mind Interpretive Center, especially singing on the drum, and a couple of Ceremonial Road Trips. Not to mention, working out with Shangö Percussion, dropping in at the New Earth Granary, and supporting the Morgan Arts Council, both as a designer and as a patron.

Of course, all the hand drums are put away until Kurt recovers from his injury. *muttergrumble*

One of the things we have discovered is that heating with renewable biomass, i.e. pellet and wood fuel, is an entirely different animal than oil, gas, and electric. The pellet stove has been working out well, But there has been a learning curve, mostly involving the care and feeding of its fuel, and the fact that fuel quality varies year over year even from the same supplier.
So once again, another brief synopsis of our year.

Wóstkate anpétu wasté – Happy Holidays!

The Griffiths
Kurt, Heather, Alexander, Nicholas & Nagí

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