Our house is in Pennsylvania. Our home is a few degrees north of the Equator, where the bananaquits roam. Goat Waters is our family adventure blog written by the resident typist – and, yes, I’m old enough that I turned in college papers typed on my grandfather’s hand-me-down Underwood when, oh brother, my word processor was giving me fits. Family adventure entails everything from snake handling to crossing the Pacific by sail, from baking Whoopie Pies to making passage from St. Thomas to Tortola by ferry, from gardening to wandering through the leaves of Turtle Grass on Grand Cayman – and most of these days logged as homeschool days. This blog will be a little spicy, and a little salty. You’ll need that zing, and a quaffable pint of the bitterest IPA, a Negroni Dark – neat or spilt, or a glass of your favorite wine to help as you chew, swallow, and digest all the blather that will accumulate here. If you’re too young for all that, savor your youth – the drinking age will catch you soon enough, then baldness, the grippe, piles, rickety knees, dementia, and death. Thank goodness there’s time to explore during the interim years. Make the most of it!
Within this site, which will apparently have both static web pages and blog posts (I’m learning as a I go), we’ll help you explore the Caribbean our way, which is not the typical path tread by tourists. Our Caribbean is an escape, from routine, and often from bitter weather, and that’s fine. It’s also an opportunity, for us and for our kids, to immerse ourselves in a different and worthwhile corner of the world. Caribbean travel, even if it is not as frequent as we’d love, has become integral to the way we homeschool and unschool our kids. I’ll write a lot about homeschooling on this site. You’ll discover that I’m a bookworm, an info junkie, and a homeschool dad who believes that his own continuing education should provide the model for the kids to follow. There will be frequent reference to craftsmanship, in the traditional sense of handicraft manufacture, but also in the broader sense that the pursuit of happiness, the act of living well, is a matter of intent, follow-through, practice, repetition, accident, and art. I believe craftsmanship can be mastered, though never completely, absolutely. Mastery is an ever receding goal, a target unattainable – a muse, but never a laurel crown. Mastery is expressed in the doing, not the having done.
We do interesting things around the world, with our dead dogs, with chickens, with an injured duck, with questionable curse words and Words Of the Day, in the kitchen, in my mother’s kitchen with dead snakes and the better portion of a decapitated deer, and much more besides. Yikes. Much of that list sounds rather morbid. It’s not; sometimes science requires that we tinker with the dead, sometimes honor (and sanitation) requires that we dispose of the dead, and sometimes hunger urges us to eat the dead – especially the dead goats. I hope our family adventures will inspire you and your family to turn from the crowd and blaze an uncommon path while you’re still alive!
Lest a continuous slog of work and education, and no play, make dull Jacks (or Jills) of the adults, I’ve included a section of this site – for those who are permitted: that’s only ye who’ve attained your majority plus three in the ‘free’ states, and eighteen in most of the rest of the world – devoted to recreational grog. Grog is good, but not always; too much and you might find yourself unexpectedly walking the plank. For what it’s worth, I’m using the term grog expansively, so let it encompass worthy adult drinks and not limit it strictly to watered down rum. Grog in any capacity is best in small doses, like attenuated rabies.
I’ll share parts of our family’s path, but don’t follow it. We’ve endured our significant calamities. Who hasn’t? We’ve had great successes, too – usually after years of striving in this direction or that. We’ve learned a few things worth sharing which we’d like to pass along to other families for reasons that will be discussed at length elsewhere – perhaps most importantly because we’d be further along this good path had we started sooner. Nudge. We’re as flawed as the rest of you, but hoping our hindsight, within the scope of a work in progress, will help to inform your foresight. We’ve misallocated resources, lacked focus, dawdled, and, one of us tried to catch a ferret on the loose, suffered a savaged foot for the trouble, and earned a month as a human hypodermic cushion.
The best advice I can give you is NEVER to get out of your car in an attempt to rescue a feral ferret; rabies is still a first world problem. The second best thing I can tell you is that once you read about our stuff, do your stuff – get off your duff and make things, learn things, do things, go places, recover from the pitfalls and go forth again. Live your intriguing life. Enough of this dull prefatory prelude. Go nose around. Find one of the blog posts or web pages that tweaks your fancy and read it through. Read two. Come back again, I’ll write more. Also, please note that while many websites try to trap you inside them, picking up clicks as you pinball your way from page to page (and there is a certain Indra’s Net aspect to GoatWaters.com, most explicitly visible in Curiosity’s Cabinet, but fully penetrating the entire site if you read enough and pay attention to the details), you will find lots of external links, many of which will guide you either to an interesting article tangential to whatever I’m writing about, or to some source where I think, or I know, I harvested a notion. In other words, the outside links are showing some of the reflecting gems within our family’s perception of the net, the web, in which we’re caught. Careful, here, parents – not every link is squeaky clean. Billy Connolly drops an F-bomb in one linked clip, and it’s not fluthering.
If you’re still here, reading this, take heed. This is a site wide warning. If I were technologically ept, at the bottom of every page which was the tangential extent, sub-page following on sub-page, of any line of thought – or if the page were a simple stub, a reminder to myself that I need to write more on a given theme – then I would plaster these boundary limits with archaic, cartographic warnings. These furthest reaches would be marked out with ferocious images of dragons, or of lions. Hic Sunt Leones. “Here Are Lions.” That would be your clue to turn back from the uncharted regions, click home, and find other stuff to consider until I pursue a thought further, or until the stubs find their middles and their ends. If you wondered, the phrase “Here be dragons” is an anachronism; if you want to see a foolish firebreather, then here be our dragon.
PS – We need your support. As Goat Waters becomes ever more successful, the support flowing into Goat Waters will lead directly to more adventurous posts on this site. Want more travel writing? Then please help us travel. Learn how you can support Goat Waters as an individual or as a company. Help us get home, again. On the way, we’ll help you to make your home one where memories and talents are seeded through travel, reading, and craftsmanship. Practice, repeat, adapt, advance, explore. Read on…you’ll see what I mean.
PPS – Readers, I urge you to support the Goat Waters corporate sponsors. When you do business with them, please tell them you learned about their business while visiting Goat Waters. Thanks!
Spend enough time in the islands over an eight or ten year span and even a Pennsylvania boy, born and bred, can wind up looking like he belongs much closer to the equator. Here’s Drake playing guitar on the bow nets of the Argo as they close in on Panama.
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