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Aloha And Back To The Mainland

February 11th, 2017 Jorma 26 comments
Happy campers, pickin' and grinnin'

Happy campers, pickin' and grinnin'

Another fabulous Fur Peace Ranch On The Road has come to an end and it is time for us all to return to our ‘normal’ lives… whatever that means.

A last look at Molokai and a search for whales...

A last look at Molokai and a search for whales...

Yep, this was a dandy alright. Vanessa and Izze and Montana flew back yesterday. True, it is still winter in Ohio, but home and our animals are there!

Pickers and family support...

Pickers and family support...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Time for me to close up my bags and head for San Diego where I will meet Jack Casady as well as Phil and Myron. Our first gig will be at the Belly Up in Solana Beach.

If I have to see one more beautiful sunset...

If I have to see one more beautiful sunset...

Yep, it’s been great… but I gotta be movin’ along…

More will be revealed!

Of Felines, Football & Sunrises

February 6th, 2017 Jorma 18 comments
This is not a white oak

This is not a white oak

Saturday started with a trip to Lahaina for breakfast and of course I took yet another close up of the Banyan Tree. Our plans were to take the ferry to Lanai and visit the cat sanctuary.

Heading to Lanai

Heading to Lanai

Personally, I don’t think I would like to live on an island… too confining… but to be here when it’s winter in Ohio and to, in some way, make this a ‘work’ trip… how good does it have to get.

Izze loves kitties… we have four at our place. There’s Miss Kitty, the mistress of the Fur Peace Ranch, There’s Zammy and Aslan and Mary Katherine who came with us from Hillside Farm. There are also a number of visiting felines who come to share in the buffet when Maverick, Dog Of Light And Destiny, is not out. The feline sanctuary, was an amazing forever home for cats who would otherwise be destroyed.

How true... how true!

How true... how true!

The cats get medical attention, food, and a safe place to live. There were almost six hundred in permanent residence the day we were there!

New found friends!

New found friends!

Most of the animals were moderately friendly. The feral ones kept to themselves and we neither saw nor heard any cat fights.

Just a microcosm of what is going on here.

Just a microcosm of what is going on here.

Keep in mind that the Lanai Cat Sanctuary is a donation driven non profit organization. Check out their website, and if you love kitties… give them a few bucks. It is also ocean with an amazing view from a gentle hillside. What a location!

A sly look from above...

A sly look from above...

What a cool place. Yes, there is occasionally eau de cat poop tickling your nose, but hey… there’s over 500 cats! It could be worse… and the staff is constantly cleaning the grounds.

Can we take them home?

Can we take them home?

Then it was back to Maui in time for some late afternoon swimming.

This doesn't suck too bad...

This doesn't suck too bad...

Yesterday, of course, was Super Bowl Sunday. I didn’t have a favorite team. My Steelers were eliminated in the playoffs. I’m not fond of New England so I was rooting for Atlanta. Vanessa is a New England fan, so football at our place is always exciting. All this being said, I don’t think I have ever seen a more amazing game. My first NFL game was Super Bowl VII. Dolphins vs Redskins. We had tickets on the 50 yard line at the L.A. Coliseum. I was hooked and later I would have season tickets for the Oakland Raiders. I parked in Al Davis’ parking spot when I bought my first season ticket. Good times. Anyway…yesterday’s game was off the charts for me. Great football from two fine teams. I may never see a better one. Of course… there’s always next year.

Exciting stuff for sure!

I was up early this morning and out the window day was breaking in the most amazing way. I grabbed my camera and hit the beach!

Morning over Molokai

Morning over Molokai

You can’t make this stuff up!

Indeed...

Indeed...

Today we begin our second Fur Peace Ranch On The Road and I will be joined by my pal David Wolff. He and I will be teaching here until Friday morning.

Classes don’t start until this evening, so I think I’ll take a drive on the back side of the island to Hana.

More will be revealed!

Volcanos And Frets

February 1st, 2017 Jorma 33 comments
From 10,000 feet

From 10,000 feet

Every time we come to Maui, a trip to Haleakala is mandated, and it never gets old. The drive to Kula is amazing enough, and then you enter the National Park. I show the Ranger at the gate my Golden Age Passport an me and my carload of family and friends are passed into the park free. Age is recognized at national parks.

Not a bad view

Not a bad view

This is one of those places here everywhere is a photo op and more. If you consider that the last eruption here was in 1790, it seems like yesterday.

Lava grows

Lava grows

We’ve been up here when the temperature was in the 30’s, but on this day, the low 60’s were delightful.

The caldera...

The caldera...

Mountains of the moon?

Mountains of the moon?

The power of nature is always awesome wherever you encounter it… it is truly in your face here!

Life in the rocks...

Life in the rocks...

To see vegetation so far above the tree line, is truly breathtaking.

Another look at the caldera...

Another look at the caldera...

Yeah, the hits just keep on coming!

One great shot after another...

One great shot after another...

Looking down from 10,000 feet

Looking down from 10,000 feet

What a great day Sunday was. Yesterday our Fur Peace Ranch On The Road began and we have been able to invite our creative souls with the sound of the ocean gently rolling in the background. Every now and then a whale breaches and a cheer goes up from the beach.

Good times!

Another glorious day bids us goodbye...

Another glorious day bids us goodbye...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Sometimes you have to make the best of where you are… and sometimes where you are… is the best!

Onward!

Back In Lahaina

January 30th, 2017 Jorma 20 comments
The Banyan tree on Front St.

The Banyan tree on Front St.

Well, it was a long day of travel from Columbus to Kahalui, but hey, how tough could it be? We started today with a trip to Front St. in Lahaina and had a hearty Moco Loco for breakfast. A little snack shopping and back to our hotel on the beach where starting tomorrow we will enjoy our first Fur Peace Ranch ‘camp’ for this year… on the road in the sun as well.

Twenty steps from our abode...

Twenty steps from our abode...

Yeah, sure there’s more traffic than when we were here five or six years ago, but that’s OK.

Nephew Montana, Izze an Nessa eyeing paradise.

Nephew Montana, Izze an Nessa eyeing paradise.

A good couple of miles walking on the beach and a plunge in the Pacific. Yeah…

Awesome... and warm too!

Awesome... and warm too!

Yeah, we start ‘working’ tomorrow. I’ve got the best gig in the world on any given day! A delicious dinner, and a beautiful sunset!

And tomorrow is another day!

And tomorrow is another day!

More anon… for now, to bed!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch Tags:

The Measure Of Time

January 25th, 2017 Jorma 26 comments

We all hold the measure of time in our own eye, our own vision. Early this morning I heard of Butch Trucks’ passing and I was saddened by this news. I usually got to see Butch at least once a year at Wanee and we always had a great hang. I’m at an age where I get news about my contemporaries that can go either way… could be good, could be bad. Butch will be missed. He was always in it to win it and in my minimal relationship with him, he lived to play.

Vanessa was lamenting the passing of so many people and it is sad to see the fabric of our world diminished in any way… but we are designed for this. We are gifted with a life on earth and a chance to make something of it. For a while we will have some relevance in our present but as our time passes this will diminish. I know something of my parent’s life, but very little of my grandparents. Their dreams and aspirations will always be a mystery to. My children’s children will know they had a grandfather and probably not much more.

I believe there is an inherent self involvement in those of us who have been chosen to be artists and that’s OK… if not carried to an extreme. Sometimes I look around at the world that surrounds me and my family and I am amazed how we got here from where we started so long ago.

Our world today

Our world today

When I moved to Southeast Ohio in 1991 I could never have imagined how this decision would play out in my life, but here I am. I could not have written this script in a million years.

Nothing by blue skies...

Nothing by blue skies...

Today my world fits comfortably like an old pair of jeans or an old shoe. There was a time when nothing was comfortable, and yet… here I am.

Mr. and Mrs. Kaukonen look to the sky

Mr. and Mrs. Kaukonen look to the sky

Each day is filled with measured duties… some more enjoyable than others, but all necessary. To be able to perform these as needed is a blessing indeed. As for Butch, rest in peace my friend. I’ll miss those spring chats and the fact that we were both on the same side of the pale.

There’s not much more to say.

The Welch boys' stairs behind my house...

The Welch boys' stairs behind my house...

All things are one step at a time.

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Winter Waxes And Wanes

January 16th, 2017 Jorma 57 comments
Fur Peace Station in the snow

Fur Peace Station in the snow

The weather is, well, changeable as the weather. Yeah, there was some bitter cold and a little snow. Never a bad time to put the drone up and take some pictures though.

The tiny Shade River swollen by melting snow and rain.

The tiny Shade River swollen by melting snow and rain.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in the country know what I’m talking about. I’m not a farmer, so I’m not one with the land in that pure and unarguable way. I’m am, however, connected to it enough to feel it breathe and change. The frigid cold came and went and so far the ice storms have bypassed our little part of the world. Lots of rain, but still some breathing time to put the drone up again.

From 380 feet in the air.

From 380 feet in the air.

Yeah, hiking through the woods sure gives a different picture from the aerial shots. I’m getting to know my little corner of the world in a completely different way.

Fur Peace Station, Psylodelic gallery and Company store... in short lived snow

Fur Peace Station, Psylodelic gallery and Company store... in short lived snow

Yesterday there was a break in the weather action and my bud Jerry and I decided to suit up and go over to Athens Fish And Game and do a little shooting.

Nanook Of The North prepares to head out to Robinette Ridge Rd.

Nanook Of The North prepares to head out to Robinette Ridge Rd.

Athens Fish And Game is a beautiful facility that is both family and conservation oriented. I thought about the venison meatloaf I had for breakfast as I was driving over and took a moment out to thank the Great Spirit for sending that buck our way.

My good bud Jer' and partner in crime.

My good bud Jer' and partner in crime.

Yeah, we had a great time plinking around. I came home in time to clean my pieces and eat some of Vanessa’s killer home made chicken soup. Almost all of the food on our table these days comes from the land around us. It’s a nice way to be.

Well… time to walk the Big Dog again… best to all, and honor Martin Luther King on this day!

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Jahrzeit For My Father

January 8th, 2017 Jorma 21 comments
The Shade River from the A-Frame Trail... Jan. 8, 2017

The Shade River from the A-Frame Trail... Jan. 8, 2017

Jarhzeit For My Father
Jorma Kaukonen,
October 24, 1910-January 8, 1997

Dad on the fridge gallery... circa 1944

Dad on the fridge gallery... circa 1944

Twenty years ago I had driven over from Hillside Farm to the property on St. Clair Rd. where the Fur Peace Ranch would bloom the following year. Though it was January, it was not an exceptionally cold day like it is today. Ranch construction was already under way and the following year we would open for the first time. I was down at the little A frame which at the time was a functioning studio. I don’t remember why I was there on that winter day, or what I was doing. We had been in California over the New Year and had spent time with mom and dad and my brother Peter. We had only been home a couple of days.

Dad circa 1995

Dad circa 1995

This was before any of us had cell phones, if you can imagine such a thing. I had just returned to Hillside Farm and as I got out of my truck and walked across the driveway in front of the barn, Vanessa called out, ‘Your father just died,’ Vanessa told me. ‘You have to go back to California.’ Mortality is always with us but sad to say, for me up to this point it was an abstract concept. Friends of the family had passed… true. My grandparents had passed… also true… but for some reason in the order of things that’s just the way it was.

This was different on many levels.

Vanessa couldn’t leave the farm untended at that time soI was on a plane back to California the next day. I got together with my brother Peter and our dear friends Chuck and Donna and along with my Mom, went to the funeral home where there was a viewing. The moment was so surreal. We had just seen dad the week before, and here he was in a funeral chapel…

My father was as human as any of us. In life he was, as I am, an imperfect man. That said, he always did the best he could and loved his family with a passion all his own. In life that kid who was born in 1910 in Ironwood, Michigan in Gogebic County to Finnish Immigrants would stride across the world with very long legs. My relationship with him as a young man was always contentious and in retrospect that is more on me than it is on him. Late in life I was blessed to be able to call him friend. We were often able to show love for each other… to be able to say, ‘I love you!’ Death leaves many things left undone, unsaid… but this was not one of them.

I remember so well the last time I saw my father. After our time with mom and dad over those Christmas holidays Vanessa and I stopped by their house in Mill Valley to say goodbye. Dad already had a far away look in his eyes, as if he could already see another place waiting for him. I did not see it then… but over they years I have came to recognize that look when I see it today. We all hugged each other and as I was getting into the car dad went up to Vanessa. He looked at me and then at her and said, ‘Is the kid going to be all right?’ I don’t know what Vanessa answered but I can tell you today, ‘Yeah dad, the kid is all right.’

I miss you dad.

May your memory be a blessing!

Jormason and Maverick contemplate the world

Jormason and Maverick contemplate the world

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

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Happy New Year… We Welcome 2017

January 1st, 2017 Jorma 18 comments
The Chinese Lantern Festival at Columbus Expo

The Chinese Lantern Festival at Columbus Expo

In the waning days of 2016, Vanessa and Izze and I joined some friends on a snowy cold night at the Chinese Lantern Festival in Columbus. Well worth it!

An amazing show...

An amazing show...

It was Freeze Ass Cold… but only the strong survive!

The mighty Dragon... I'm Year Of The Dragon...

The mighty Dragon... I'm Year Of The Dragon...

This is really good stuff!

This is really good stuff!

That was on Thursday… then on New Year’s Eve we joined Kevin Morgan and his wonderful family for a New Year’s Get Together. We’ve been doing this with the Morgans for a decade and a half. Back home at the Fur Peace Ranch in time to watch the ball drop in the comfort of our own home, and today a New Year’s adventure in Vinton County.

Sy's place... Truly remarkable!

Sy's place... Truly remarkable!

The Union Ridge Wildlife Center is an amazing place in Vinton County, Ohio where wild animals that have been mistreated or otherwise out lived their usefulness in previous surroundings find a home for life!

Here there be tygers...

Here there be tygers...

These animals are so beautiful!

Oh my...

Oh my...

Sy and his friends are doing awesome work, giving these beautiful animals a place to live out their lives in peace!

Proud as a peacock

Proud as a peacock

What a great facility!

What a great facility!

After an hour or so at the preserve, we returned home and Izze helped me fly my drone.

The path to the Fur Peace Station

The path to the Fur Peace Station

I love taking aerials of the Ranch!

Some afternoon...

Some afternoon...

And last but not least…

Izze and Dad contemplating the controller...

Izze and Dad contemplating the controller...

2016 was one of those years when we lost a lot of colleagues and friends. It’s quite a list and it’s easy to find so I don’t need to enumerate it again here. I’m getting to that age when the sound of the phone ringing could be good… could be bad. I know none of us will live forever but friends are departing for the other side at an alarming rate. The guard is changing… eras are beginning and ending and the only constant is change.

Here’s to us and those like us! Damn few left. May 2017 bring serenity and enlightenment to my family… and all of yours.

Be well, and keep smiling!

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Slice Of Life At Home

December 28th, 2016 Jorma 15 comments
A dank tarn

A dank tarn

First day of Hannukah… also Christmas this year… time for a nice walk in the woods by Stroud’s Run.

Mega wind chimes in the woods

Mega wind chimes in the woods

The trail head is right behind my sister-in-law Ginger’s place… Even took the little dog.

Let's climb

Let's climb

Southeast Ohio is filled with magnificent rock outcroppings.

Chain saw put to good use

Chain saw put to good use

Lovely day for a hike… all the dogs dug it too!

The girls in the valley

The girls in the valley

I am my father's son!

I am my father's son!

I look so much like my dad did at my age… it’s… well, I am indeed my father’s son!

Another bridge to cross...

Another bridge to cross...

May all her bridges be this easy to cross!

Then, the first night of Hannukah.

Mother and Daughter

Mother and Daughter

Izze sings

Izze sings

Then it was time to fly my new drone.

Big Brother is watching

Big Brother is watching

A couple of aerial at the Ranch

How cool is this?

How cool is this?

Smiles and I reflect on the state of the world.

Smiles and I reflect on the state of the world.

Sure am digging being home…

More anon…

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I’ll Be Seeing You Walt…

December 15th, 2016 Jorma 32 comments
Walt Sample & Toby

Walt Sample & Toby

It is ten degrees this frosty morning (Thursday, December 15, 2016) here at the Fur Peace Ranch in Southeast Ohio. Maverick and I just came in from a chilly but necessary walk across the parking lot and down the old road to the A Frame. The remains of the Super Moon were falling slowly into the tree line. From our vantage point on the road we could see the lights twinkling from Donnie’s farm over there by SR 681. My heart was heavy with the loss of our dear friend Walt Sample late last night. December 14th, 2016, was just shy of becoming December 15th when Walt’s son called to give us the news.

There is never a good time for bad news and I realize that on this planet we call home, millions die each day. That said, each of us humans navigates the world with our own universe and the circles of these universes may or may not intersect. There may be magic in these meetings. I have been fortunate in my life to have had a number of these meetings but one of the most memorable was with Walt Sample. He came to us at the Fur Peace Ranch a number of years ago… I can’t really remember when. It was immediately apparent to me that we were born to be friends and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

He was a man of infinite spirit with a love of all things good in this world and the rare ability to find good in most things. He had talents in many fields. In his art whether it be music or painting, the purist of truths always shone through utterly free of artifice. One must check out Big Mule Music and you will get some small idea of what I’m talking about.

Walt & Jorma at the Source Of The Sacred Soil

Walt & Jorma at the Source Of The Sacred Soil

In late August, one of our dear friends, Rob McNurlin, was down on The Crossroads in Mississippi and brought some dirt back from said crossroads. We called it Devil Dirt… and there was something dangerous about it. Walt thought we should strike back on the good vibe and came up with the idea of Sacred Soil from the Fur Peace Ranch. We had been doing some excavating so we had a huge pile of dirt. Walt loaded up the sifter, we made labels and le voila, Fur Peace Ranch Sacred Soil! I say ‘we,’ but it was all Walt, sitting in garage next to the Harleys giving substance to yet another dream. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here in Southeast Ohio and every little bit counts.

Walt and another kind of mule

Walt and another kind of mule

A renaissance man…father… husband… brother to all who were authentic. He didn’t suffer fools handily… he disdained poseurs… but he treated all with respect.

He passed suddenly, without warning and he although it is not for me to say how any man perceives his own passing, I would imagine that Walt would have wanted it this way. His great heart, having done its duty, retired the field. He had many different relationships with all he knew. I did not write with him. We thought about it… talked about it… but never got around to it. We were, however, friends!

All of us who knew Walt will miss him in our own way, but none of us will ever forget him. For me that ever-present smile, hearty handshake and the sly look that said he had something really cool to show me will live in my heart always.

At this point in my life, unexpected phone calls as often as not do not bring good news. Simply put, as the book of life is opened some of us do not make the next page and that’s just the way it is.

So in closing this sad but yet celebratory little note as I looked at the Super Moon last night and early this morning I was immediately reminded that by some strange coincidence yesterday morning I was listening to Jimmy Durante singing I’ll Be Seeing You by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal.

I’ll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day and through
In that small cafe
The park across the way
The children’s carousel
The chestnut trees
The wishing well
I’ll be seeing you
In every lovely summer’s day
In everything that’s night and day
I’ll always think of you that way
I’ll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you
I’ll be seeing you

I’ll be seeing you my friend… in my heart always… In the meantime

Fair wind and following seas brother. My the spirit wind always be at your back!

Big indeed!

Big indeed!

Categories: Diary, Friends, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags: