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Fall Dance — Friday Oct. 25, 2019


Due to weather incompatible with our outdoor dance floor, the Fall Potluck Social, Concert and Community Barn Dance featuring the awesome Steam Machine from Minneapolis, MN will be held at Buck Creek School, Perry KS.

Potluck dinner at 6:30, concert at 7:00, and dance at 7:30

In 2018, Steam Machine won second place in the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Music Festival’s traditional band contest, released their first album, and played for audiences from California to North Carolina. 2019 has seen Steam Machine playing festivals and concerts throughout the US, ranging from the Indiana Fiddlers Gathering to Boats and Bluegrass, teaching at camps such as the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association Jam Camp and Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and preparing for their next album. And this summer band members Nokosee Fields and AJ Srubas took first and third place in the prestigious Clifftop Old-Time Fiddle Contest!

The band will perform a short concert during dinner (please have your contribution on the table by 6:30 if possible, as we’ll be feeding the band first), and then we’ll clear the dance floor for some very fun community barn dancing expertly called by Jill Allen and Lisa Harris.

Buck Creek School is located at 15490 13th St, Perry KS, a few miles WSW of Brushy Run. Directions below. At this venue we’ll gain table seating for around 64 souls for the dinner/concert, and then all the tables will be whisked away for dancing on this beautiful floor:

This is one of the chalkboards in the schoolhouse, assuring us we’ve found the right place. The township that makes this lovely space available to us has a policy of no alcoholic beverages inside the building. We will endeavor to have a toasty fire going just outside the front door, so the marshmallow policy for kids (of all ages) abides. Kids are always encouraged at events like this, but if you do bring them know that there will very limited room for them inside during the dance.

The first set will feature some gender-neutral dances, an idea whose time has come and something we will be seeing more of very soon. If you are new to contra and square dancing, please be on the floor for the first few dances to learn the basic moves. The dances will become more advanced as the evening goes on, and we are really looking forward to turning this band loose for a rowdy and fun time.

Suggested contribution is $10 for the evening. Check the web site for updates before traveling. Old-time musicians, bring your instruments — there has been good interest expressed in jamming after the dance. More info: 785-760-5590.

Looking forward to seeing your smiling face at this event!


Directions to Buck Creek School, 15490 13th St, Perry KS:

From the I-70 East Lawrence exit (204), go NW on hwy 59 for 7 miles. When the highway makes a sharp turn to the west, slow down and continue straight north on Phillips Rd (gravel). Take a quick right at the stop sign onto 13th St, and you’re there. Easy-peasy.

Concert – Potluck – Jam – Thursday, Jan 10 2019

Note: Seating is sold out, we still have standing room available.

We are excited to announce a very special Brushy Run concert event on Thursday, January 10:

Leva and Calcagno
Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno are tapping into the deepest parts of American music, taking old songs that have seldom been heard and presenting them next to their own timeless and visceral originals. When they are not performing as duo, they’re often found sitting knee to knee, playing under the canopy of trees at fiddle festivals across the country, such as the gathering where they met in June of 2016. Across any campground, or concert venue, the echos of their vibrant and magnetic harmonies ring out.

Vivian, of Lexington, VA grew up playing and performing with her parents, Carol Elizabeth Jones and James Leva, learning traditional songs from their sources and honing her rhythmic guitar style. In June, 2017 Vivian recorded her debut album Time is Everything in close collaboration with Calcagno during an inspired session at Studio 808A in the small town of Floyd, VA. She released this album of original music on March 2nd, 2018 on Free Dirt Records to critical acclaim, including being one of Rolling Stone Country’s “10 New Artists You Need to Know.”

Riley, of Seattle, WA spent his earlier years playing with the widely recognized band The Onlies, described as “masterful” and “deliciously well-crafted” (Kithfolk). He is amazing on fiddle, guitar and banjo, and a terrific vocalist as well. Riley recently collaborated on the excellent old-time album “The Ruglifters” with the Onlies, John Herrmann, Meredith McIntosh and others.

Together, Vivian and Riley have toured across the country, in living rooms and concert halls. As individuals, they have shared the stages with and played, both nationally and internationally, in the bands of Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, The Lost Tribe Of Country Music, and Bruce Molsky to name just a few. To this collaboration they bring both the steady hands of experience and a refined taste for American music, yet still a youthful abandon that can’t be forced. In 2018, they will be on tour internationally to support Vivian’s new release and bring their distinct brand of old-time and country to a festival, hall, bar, or fireplace gathering near you.

$10 for a chair, $7 for standing in the back. Seating is very limited for this up-close and personal show! Reservations are recommended asap — write or text 785-760-5590 to hold your seat. All proceeds go to the performers. Directions at the link above.

6:00pm — Potluck dinner
7:30pm — Concert with Leva and Calcagno
Old-time jam to follow the show — bring reinforcements!

Looking forward to seeing you!

Your hosts,
Doug and Caroline


No Depression article about Vivian Leva:

Suggested videos:
Leva and Calcagno – Time Is Everything –
The Onlies – Boogerman – Clifftop 2017:
The Onlies – Stagger Lee – Clifftop 2018:

Web sites:

2018 Homestead Hoedown — Saturday, June 2


We have a great party for you this year! The flyer front & back are posted below. For clearer viewing or printing, download PDFs here: FLYER FRONTFLYER BACK

Our keynote speaker is Marcin Jakubowski of Open Source Ecology (OSE) in Maysville, MO. Marcin was trained as a fusion physicist. He left academia right after finishing his Ph.D. to start a farm – in Missouri. For the last 7 years, he has been working on the Global Village Construction Set – a set of enabling tools and machines for building regenerative infrastructures. Marcin is passionate about creating the Open Source Economy – a new operating system for Earth (see Marcin’s  bio and Civilization Starter Kit TED Talk.)

Marcin’s presentation for us is “Towards an Open Source Civilization: Democratizing Production and Regenerating the Environment.” Expect a compelling and entertaining talk covering his work with OSE, its immersion programs and workshops, initiatives such as the Open Building Institute (low-cost, open-source ecological housing), aquaponics greenhouses… If you are interested in small, local industry, his Open Source Microfactory — based on OSE designs — will be right up your alley.

Catarina Mota is an open source advocate. She founded the Open Building Institute, co-founded Open Materials (do-it-yourself smart materials) and AltLab (Lisbon’s hackerspace). Previously, she co-chaired the Open Hardware Summit 2012, served on the board of directors of the Open Source Hardware Association, taught as an adjunct faculty member at ITP-NYU, and was a fellow of the National Science and Technology Foundation of Portugal. Catarina holds a Ph.D. in communication sciences and her research work focuses on the social impact of open and collaborative practices for the development of technologies. She is a founding member of the Open Source Hardware Association and a TED fellow.

Catarina will join Marcin for the panel discussion “How to Make Affordable, Ecological Housing Widely Accessible.”

As if all this wasn’t enough, Marcin will lead a 3D Printer Building Workshop from 8am-1pm, open to anyone who would like to take home their own 3D printer. For a full description of the workshop and registration, see

Other workshops include the Old-Time Music workshop led by Jeff Haemer of Boulder, CO, and the Let’s Talk Solar Electric! workshop led by Caroline Hendrick and Mike Lee. More details on the flyer back (below).

We have awesome music and community dancing for you as well! The barn dance, immediately following the epic potluck dinner, will feature beginner- and advanced-friendly calling by Jill Allen (Lawrence, KS) and Jim Thaxter (Columbia, MO). Seriously good, live old-time stringband music by the Katy Flyers of St. Louis, MO and Lawrence, KS. The band features Roger Netherton (fiddle), Tricia Spencer (fiddle, guitar, banjo-ukelele), Howard Rains (fiddle, guitar) and Kathy Gordon (bass fiddle).

Don’t miss this great band, and the epic old-time jam to follow. Stay late, bring a snack and your favorite beverages!

Paul Sprawl concert — Saturday April 21 2018

This is Paul’s third annual show at Brushy Run, and we are always thrilled to have him back for an up-close and very personal encounter. His masterful and compelling performances include extraordinary blues/bottleneck/percussive/atmospheric/edgy/avante-garde/psychedelic 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. Show starts at 7:30, seating is very limited, advance reservations are recommended. Reserve your seat at any time via email (doug at brushyrun dot farm). $10 suggested donation. Hope to see you there!

2017 Homestead Hoedown — June 3

We have a great event for you this year! Join us for another afternoon and evening of FOOD, MUSIC, DANCE, LOVE and more. The Junkyard Dogs, a terrific old-time band from Boulder, CO, will be here again to energize hearts, souls and feet for the barn dance portion of the show, led by our awesome beginner-friendly callers Jill Allen and Lisa Harris.

We are stoked about our Keynote Speaker Dan Chiras of the Evergreen Institute. Dan is the author of 36 books and over 400 articles on renewable energy, green/natural building, off-grid living, sustainablity and other topics. He will present a talk just for our audience: “What the World Needs Now…” or , “What Nature Knows that We Don’t About Sustainable Living.” Many of the secrets of living sustainably on the Earth come from nature itself, and Dan will cover a lot of ground in one hour, including how biomimicry offers valuable insights as we endeavor to change our lives, our communities, our world, and our future for the better.

Jeff Haemer will lead a workshop for old-time musicians of all levels. The Kansas Permaculture Institute will host a plant indentification walk. Caroline Hendrick will lead a Homesteading Systems Walkabout. After the Dan Chiras talk, it’s time for the epic potluck dinner, followed by barn dancing, jamming, and of course all the visiting you can handle. Please check out both sides of the flyer (below) and let us know if you need hard copies. We look forward to seeing you!

(PS: We anticipate a lot of cars this year… please share a ride if possible, and help us maximize our parking efficiency by parking close together.)

2016 photos and review, 2017 preview

bw 2016 28

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:

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!

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