At the close of a long weekend on the property, I sat down in the sunroom with some of my reference material to find images for my new paintings. I'm cannibalizing books we found on the property, outside in the sand--ten volumes of an encyclopedia, published in 1930, the year the Dairy was built. They are bound in embossed leather, with priceless spine text like "Proverbs to Tapeworm." Diagrams of mathematical structures, measurements, and architectural drawings are perfect for my developing series based on sky surveillance and military menace in the desert.
Anyway, I was looking through one of the books, and it slowly dawned on me that this is not only an encyclopedia, but also a home-schooling manual. Although I still have to research our original homesteaders, they probably came with young children, and there may not have been a school in 29 Palms yet (in fact, the City of 29 wasn't incorporated until 1987). Now I can picture the mother, leading lessons (highly gendered in these books), and the father, working the kids on the land. Less that 100 years ago, and so very, very different.
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.