It was a craigslist find. Last summer, Amelia was hoping to add a few chickens to her menagerie. We did a little hunting on craigslist and made a few calls. When we finally found what we were looking for, we started discussing, with the friendly voice on the other end, where to meet. He suggested I bring the children and plan to stay. He thought it would be worth their time to check the place out. I didn't really register what he was talking about...
The next afternoon, George headed out with the kiddos to collect chickens. They stayed gone for quite sometime. Five hours later they returned with piles of stories and excitement galore. They had just visited Patrick's Hobo Camp. There was tomahawk throwing, archery, blowguns, rope tying, gardening, and supplies for whatever project you might want to try. In every direction, there was something to do and learn with clear directions on how to do it. Patrick was eager to teach it all to them.
That next Sunday, we headed back to Patrick's place. We drove twenty minutes out of town and down a dirt driveway into an outdoor paradise. Gardens, orchards, chicken coops, archery, food prep, metal work, anvils, tools... All of this, made out of treasures made from another's trash and organized perfectly. Most items, I would think old and rusty and done for. But, Patrick used all of it to create, make, teach, learn, build, and survive.
The children spent hours throwing knives, tomahawks, shovels, and other objects into targets Patrick had made. He was very thorough at teaching them how to always stay safe. Take it slow. Communicate, pay attention, focus, use your strength, keep trying, share the space...
He sent us home with produce -- some we had never even seen before, and new knowledge and skills.
The children asked every Sunday if we could go back. Not just so that they could keep throwing and shooting, but so that they could help. We returned several times to work in the gardens, collect produce, sing, and throw...but mainly to be in the presence of Patrick. A true teacher. A real renegade. Actually surviving on his own.
Patrick recently passed away. It is hard to loose him. His life was full and raw and real and he shared it so openly. We are so very thankful that we had the opportunity to know Patrick.