other children may have been raiding their older brothers’
magazine collections of a very different nature, it was his oldest
brother’s subscription to 'Mother Earth News' that Rusty was
helping himself to and hiding under the bed." - Mark L
up on a family-owned sheep ranch, it was not unusual to camp for
weeks at a time in the remote deserts and mountains of Idaho. During
one such time, at the ages of 17 and 10, my brother and I, with
no adult supervision, spent an entire summer shepherding in the
mountains. Living in a traditional sheep camp, our luxuries consisted
of a Coleman camp stove and stack of books read by the firelight
of a kerosene lamp. We drank from creeks like wild animals, bathed
in beaver ponds, and passed time by exploring, whittling, and lying
on stream banks trying to land brookies barehanded. Life was simple
and I was in sheer bliss, or as my dad would say, "in the
height of my glory". Those childhood experiences fostered
a passion for the outdoors, and not only set the stage for all my
interests today, they are, as outlined below, the roots to every
branch of Earthen Exposure.
health waning in the late 80’s, I was faced with a monumental
choice: Take over the farm and ranch or continue on with college.
Vowing to return to my roots one day, the ranch land remained
in the family while the sheep and farm were sold. With eclectic
interests ranging from psychology and art to archeology, architectural
design became my pursuit. Midway through school, I began working
as an intern which led to six years in construction, engineering,
and architectural firms. In 1993, I started a residential
design practice and worked the spectrum from rustic to contemporaries.
With increasing interest in approaching design from a different
viewpoint, I began focusing on permaculture in 2001, unifying
my background in agriculture, construction, and architectural
before starting my design practice, I learned to kayak. Despite
a nearly fatal first outing, I learned that kayaking meshed
perfectly with my love for the outdoors. I was wildly hooked.
With a new appreciation for life and a fresh obsession to
feed, I immediately began experimenting with loading my boat
for multi-day excursions. Not only did camping in remote river
canyons provide a nostalgic and comforting familiarity, my
self-support kit and techniques served as a great parallelism
to my philosophy on life, and how it is possible to be light
and simple without sacrificing comfort or overly impacting
the land and its inhabitants... how ever indirect it may be.
In the early
90’s, I rediscovered whittling, a childhood pastime
I picked up on the range. Within a few years, this hobby had
progressed to tribal-inspired wood sculptures that were finding
their way across the western US and Europe. A couple years
later, I met an unusually talented and multifaceted artist
who replicated prehistoric implements. They were beautiful
and inspired me to take my interest in primitive technology
to the level of being a near daily practitioner... acquiring
skills that not only fit within my personal code of ethics
but those of which help keep ancient traditions alive through
a primitive skills group targeted towards the youth.
Earthen Exposure is the culmination of these backgrounds along
with complementary interests, and my devotion to leading a
healthy and simple lifestyle... a lifestyle based not upon
fashion but rather a set of genuine convictions set forth
long before "green" became the buzzword du jour.
|I often reflect on my childhood
years and consider just how lucky I was. Being raised in this
unorthodox manner was a wonderful learning experience, facilitating
my independence, resourcefulness, and reading habits. Best of
all, the lack of artificial distractions allowed me to develop
a keen sense for my surroundings and in return, a profound appreciation
for the natural world, a world that I find sustenance in and
a grounding that counters the centrifugal forces of modern-day
not convey how much gratitude I have for these two. They raised
me in environments inherent to daily discoveries and adventures
money can not buy. Even the associated adversities were beyond
price. Having served as inlets to a reservoir of valuable
life lessons to be drawn from, I cherish each and every experience.
From the core of my being, thank you, mom and dad!
Mom 1924-2016, Dad