We settled on ten acres that had an old farmhouse, barn/garage, and an outdoor shower. Crawford volunteered to get our garden underway. Collectively we decided to name our commune “Free Spirit Farm.” We took in stray people and animals. Soon collections of outbuildings and vehicles became home to up to two dozen folks. There was so much coming and going it was difficult to tell who really resided there. One thing we held in common was our idea that the best way to fend off hot Florida weather was to shun clothing. We gardened, did housework and arts in crafts in a wide assortment of naked bodies. Since our community had contacts with the outside it was necessary that robes and pants were kept nearby to quickly don lest we offend the stranger.
Our first goal was to find a way to provide for our needs without resorting to taking regular jobs. Our needs were minimal since we paid no rent and needed only to cover food, utilities, and fuel for vehicles. We mostly scrounged small side work for cash or barter. Since we held all our money in common, we skipped keeping any tax records. If we were going to live beyond the reach of the beast those would not be needed. Occasionally we ventured out to perform small jobs lending a hand. Bill had car repair skills and we engaged in auto repair. Gail even went off to a regular job. Since we were free spirit, we let people who felt called to work a regular job go. Her income was appreciated. I even took a job at a structural steel firm. After witnessing two workers get severely injured, I comprehended another reason not to have a job and left.
Then we hatched the idea to hold the Free Spirit Arts and Crafts Fair. We spent several days fashioning assorted crafts from materials we could obtain for free. I gathered scrap cypress boards and made a few small spice cabinets. Other folks made assorted pieces of functional art. We made a large wooden sign for our commune and burned in the letters and a crescent moon and star logo. I doubt any of us realized we were borrowing the Muslim symbol. We made a large project of promoting our fair in hopes we would have a huge success and not have to go out for jobs. Our fair was a large success but not commercially. Lots of folks came, few items sold, and we attracted a lot of attention. We even managed to keep on our clothes. Though some folks were skeptical of our notion of free spirit as a life style, we widened our network of contacts that held like ideals of peaceful anarchism. The next set of stories will provide small vignettes of life at free spirit for both people and animals.