2016 photos and review, 2017 preview

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I have uploaded 48 photos of the 2016 Homestead Hoedown from the always excellent camera of Byron Wiley. Click on the photo above to jump to the PHOTOS page. Thanks Byron!

2016 was a very good year here at Brushy Run. We hosted a Paul Sprawl Concert, a Spring barn dance, another awesome Homestead Hoedown/fiddlers reunion, workshops in composting and off-grid living, a Fall barn dance, and a romantic waltz night. Much love has been shared, and I am super-grateful for a truly wondrous community and for all who helped make the magic happen (in many ways, large and small). Your friendship is very important to me. I hope that 2017 looks a lot like 2016 in all these regards, and with that…

Here is our first-rough-draft EVENT SCHEDULE for 2017:

March 11 — Paul Sprawl concert in the barn. Paul made his Brushy Run debut last year about this same time, to a thrilled crowd. His masterful and compelling performances include his extraordinary blues/bottleneck/percussive/atmospheric/edgy/avante-garde guitar work, soulful baritone vocals and harmonica, and cutting, thoughtfully-crafted lyrics. His dancer/choreographer wife adds additional layers of beauty and intrigue to the performance. Anyone who has seen a Paul Sprawl performance will tell you to not miss this show. More info: www.paulsprawl.com

June 3 — Homestead Hoedown featuring the Second Annual Fiddler’s Reunion (foul weather date June 10)

October 7 — Fall Barn Dance (foul weather date October 14)

A happy and blessed 2017 to all! We’ll do our best to help with that.


PS: I am still looking for suitable employment, per the “Job hunting” post below. Do let me know if you know of any employers needing a consummate designer and builder of stuff.

Waltz/Social Hour Tuesday evening, Oct. 18, 2016

Join us for an informal hour of socializing and waltzing, on one of the few remaining “lovliest evenings” of 2016. Caroline and I will be celebrating our 6-month anniversary (of meeting) with a fire and some waltzing to recorded music — perhaps a bit of romance will be rekindled in your life as well. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to stop by — couples, singles, young and chronologically-challenged! Bring a splash of wine, a snack, or nothing at all (no gifts, please).

We will dance from 7-8pm, with visiting during and after. There will be no expenses for this event, and therefore no request for contributions. This is very likely the last dance event at Brushy Run until Spring 2017. We’d love to see you there!

Fall Barn Dance — October 8, 2016, ONE HOUR EARLIER!


PLEASE NOTE THE NEW TIME FOR THIS EVENT, and spread the word to anyone you have invited!

We are expecting lovely, clear weather for the event. The temperature, however, will fall rapidly after sundown. We will keep everyone comfy with a fire inside and outside (as well as opportunities to dance!), but we need to keep the musicians and their instruments as warm and happy as possible.

So, we are starting the dance one hour earlier. Potluck at 5pm, beginners lesson at 5:45, dance at 6:30. We are expecting a number of musicians to bring instruments and jam after the dance, and we can move the jam inside near the wood stove if necessary. We will try to have some hot cider on hand, feel free to bring other warming treats as well.

We have heard from a lot of fine folks who are coming, and we have a fun band, so this should be a good one. Hope to see you there!


As if the music really needed to get any better for our Fall dance, we are pleased to announce (and introduce) the new band YELLVILLE! This band features three very fine and motivational fiddlers (Tricia Spencer, Howard Rains and Betse Ellis) who will also be passing the guitar around. Banjo by Clarke Wyatt and bass by JJ Hanson. Whether you’re inclined to dance or not, don’t miss this band!

Calling by Jerome Grisanti, sound by David Barnhill.

Saturday, October 8
5pm — Potluck dinner
5:45 — Basic barn dance instruction
6:30 — Contras, squares, and maybe some fun surprises
9:30 — Jamming, visiting by the fire, maybe more dancing, whatever works out. Bring instruments, a late night snack, beverages, marshmallows… (or nothing at all).

For the dance, no partner or experience needed. New dancers should be on the dance floor promptly at 5:45 to learn the basic barn dance moves. Suggested donation $6-10 (goes to the band, caller and sound guy… thank you for helping to make these events possible).

For directions, please follow the “Directions” link on www.brushyrun.farm. This is a semi-outdoor venue, so dress accordingly (we suggest light layers). There is no alternate date for this dance — in the case of unsuitable weather it will be cancelled (always check the web site before traveling).

We look forward to seeing you!

Please feel free to invite anyone who should attend this event.

Background photo: 2016 Homestead Hoedown by Byron Wiley

Spencer and Rains:

Betse Ellis and Clarke Wyatt:

JJ Hanson:


Job hunting

My awesome job of 10 years has come to a wimpering, untimely end. I was hired for a one-year project (developing and prototyping a telescoping drone wing for a NASA project), which turned into a two-year project, which then led to a host of other tasty aero (and terrestrial) design projects… Around the ninth year, the position began to feel deceptively secure. So sorry to see it go, but I am grateful for the experience, what I was able to contribute, and for the opportunities it bestowed on me.

Should you happen to come across an organization needing a designer and builder of stuff, would you please remember me and perhaps share my online résumé and portfolio? It’s super easy, here is the link:


And while I’m here, apologies for my delay in posting a review of the June party. We had around 230 shining souls*, and as far as I can tell everyone had a great time. I know I did, and I (happily) did a better job of visiting with folks this time. Luckily, you guys don’t need me to have a good time. Byron Wiley has shared bucketloads of great photos from the event, and at some point I will definitely make a gallery of the best ones and post it here.

Lastly, watch this space for a possible barn dance on Saturday, October 8.

Cheers and love, Doug

*  edited 9/9/16: I had accidentally typed 130 shining souls.

June 2015 party revisited

HH poster 041915 144 dpiOh wow what a party! We estimate that 250 or so of our favorite people showed up on June 6, and if you look through the photos you’ll see few without big smiles. I think a lot of them were suckers for the promise of FOOD-MUSIC-DANCE-LOVE, but who can blame them? With everyone’s enthusiastic help and loving vibes, the party delivered the goods!

For me, the photos are bittersweet. Bitter, because I see how much of the party I missed by being the nuts and bolts guy frantically tweaking all the machinery and whatnot, and also by playing some in the dance band. It felt important to me, after working so hard for months to build the new dance floor, to get to play some of the inaugural dances, but now I see the cost of doing that. I pledge to be a more personable host in the future, so if you’re one of the many guests whom I barely said hello to, please give me another chance next time. “I am a man… but I can change… if I have to… I guess!” (Red Green Man’s Prayer)

But mostly the photos are sweet, as they give me a better feel for all that I missed, especially seeing all you awesome people enjoying each other and building community. If Brushy Run does nothing more than that, I will be a happy homesteader.

And now, finally, what I set out to write here… We were showered with great photos of the party from four different photographers. I have selected 261 of the best photos and posted them in four galleries on the PHOTOS page (link at the top). I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have while working them up. Big thanks and love to Byron Wiley, Bayliss Harsh, Dwight DuBois and Marit Ehmke for capturing these great shots and allowing me to post them here.

We’re gonna be looking for the first suitable weekend come Spring 2016 for a “cabin fever reliever” potluck and dance. Won’t be as big of a deal as the next Homestead Hoedown, and we’ll be trying to figure out the best date for that one as well. Y’all have a great winter, come over and throw some food on the fire with us now and then, or just bring something warm to sip by the woodstove. Keep the community thang going. Otherwise, perhaps I’ll see you around the time I shave off this warm winter beard (my personal ‘groundhog day’).

Peace and love, Doug

New tricks, new web site

Thanks for visiting Brushy Run. This site is under construction as I learn to drive WordPress. I’m an old-school web designer who hasn’t kept up, and this newfangled way is going to make my life easier, right? I’m very open to that. I was blogging “back in the old days,” before the word “blog” even existed, when you had to slog through HTML every day, 10 miles in the snow, with a headwind, both ways. I also created Lawrence’s first community web site and forums, without all these fancy apps and widgets and things kids have these days. Bah, who needs ’em? I do!

I have lots of awesome photos to share of the June 6 Homestead Hoedown, so please come back soon and have a look…