An unusual night at the Farm

Road racing the Bridgestone motorcycle

1976 A.D."The Farm Commune" Summertown TN.. December: I was staying at the farm with about 2000 people, my class was "soaker", while most of the others were residents of this experimental community.
This commune was famous in the beatnik community and I was there as a journalist to write about my experiences.
This is the first that has ever been written of this week long sojourn.
Steve and Ina Mae Gaskin founded along with their followers a haven for the practice of midwifery, spiritual growth and a back to nature philosophy. The concept was a Zen/Christian monastic life where telepathy was acknowledged as real and a life of vegetarian and non violent behavior was the norm.

"Billy Goat", one of my room mates at the transient lodge, and I decided to drive my Honda 305, to the laundry room.
Stopping to cop a forbidden smoke before laundry detail,(cigarettes and alcohol were taboo), we spotted a U.F.O. low in the tree line. It was orange in color an seemed to bob and weave before us. My new friend and I compared notes and discovered we both had seen these objects before. After what seemed to be 15 minutes or so the device departed.
Upon entering the laundry building I excused myself to use the real bathroom, not the smelly outhouse at our dwelling. Much surprised when I urinated blood, I felt actually as if it was a cleansing and felt much relieved. Immediately connecting the blood with the event a few moments before seemed only logical at the time.


Diana and I had gone to Santa Fe Community College a few days before my journey, on some personal academic matters.
In a campus publication, I found a referance to the Farm Commune and it's alternative community.
Determined to write an article about it for our fledgling newspaper, "The Hog Town Holler" a division of our company Systems Marketing Corporation, I called and secured an invitation.
Placing an ad on the School bulliten board, as my new Chevrolet had blown it's engine, for a ride produced no results. Diana did not want me to go, but our relationship had been strained for several weeks due to our recent dismal finances following the loss of our lease on our motorcycle franchise. I needed a break and a story to write.
I took off on my 1966 Honda 305 Super Hawk motorcycle in the middle of the night.
After about one half hour I noticed a U.F.O. tagging along with my cycle.
Suddenly my leg seemed wet.
I reached down and felt the wetness, raising my hand to my nose I smelled gasoline.
I immediatly pulled over and shut down the engine, to keep from becoming a ball of flame.
The U.F.O. by this time was the farthest thing from my mind.
Taking my cigarett lighter for light, I carefully inspected the damage to my cycle, while attempting not to set myself or my machine afire.
There were holes in the bottom of the gas tank.
Flagging down a motorist, I sent him to call my friend Eddy, who had a truck.
After waiting for over an hour, another motorist stopped with a truck and offered a lift in trade for whatever I could materialize.
I accepted and he drove me to my house with the Super Hawk, and I gave him my Honda SL 90 that was one of the more than fifteen junk motorcycles left over from my former shop "Superbikes" Inc.
By this time I was very despondant, and sat out on my lawn with my dog "Monster", for several hours. Sometime about three A.M., Eddy drove up, as he had been searching for me all this time.
The next day I inspected the gas tank which I found has thirteen holes in the bottom.
I discarded this tank and found another one in my storage shed behind my lake house.
Soon I was Farm bound once again, and riding my motorcycle with it's new tank.
After riding eight to ten hours I began to tire and I was very cold.
Seeing a rest stop with covered picnic tables, I stopped for the night.
The Men's restroom had a hot air hand dryer which I used to warm my whole body.
Pushing my steed next to a picnic table, I placed my sleeping bag on said table.
After about three quarters of an hour, time to get warmed up by the hair dryer.
This routine went on for maybe two or three times. Just as I thought I had drifted off in semi warmness, a voice awakened me. "You can't sleep on the table." It was the voice of the night watchman. After talking for a while he let me stay in the equipment room which was heated.
I was even offered cookies and cofee, by my kind Government host. The rest and comfort and human kindness of that night was one I will hold in my heart forever.

Around dawn I set out upon my quest for the elusive Farm.
About two hours later the bottom fell out of the sky, rain and cold and light snow. The water was pouring into my leather jacket and soaking my sweaters. Rain was seeping into my sleeves and up my arms. Ducking close behind tractor trailers my little cafe racer was drafting the big rigs and staying in their suction,where the water and snow seemed less intense. About Chatanooga I gave it up and found a truck stop where I used the hand dryer to sort of dry my clothing, between busy truckers. Each person I met was asked I my steed and I could catch a ride to Nashville. Finally a young man and his wife and pickup truck, volunteered for the duty.
By the time we arrived in Nashville it was dark and the rain had stopped for the most part.
Heading south and with my navigation set for Sumertown, I drove about sixty miles. Arriving at Summertown, I asked some folks in a small cafe, for directions to Steve Gaskins house and the Farm.
Ariving at the Gate House, I was greeted and asked a lot of questions. I must have looked like "The Man Who Fell To Earth". Dressed head to toe in my racing leathers and just haven taken off my helmet.
The gaurdien of the gate was named Steve also as I recall. I was told that I could stay as long as I worked in my trade. "What is your trade?" "Electrical engineer I blurted, as this was my field of education, and I had just recently been involved in electronic bio stimulation and brain wave research and development and had designed a device that used Alpha brain wave entrainment. We looked into the Ham radio shack and I learned that the farm had a C.B. radio in most all the houses for communications. They also had a book publishing company and had a book on C.B. Radio "Got Your Ears On" a picture of a rabit with head phones if my brain cells are still working. A book on "Spiritual Midwivery" as well as many others.
I was led to the transient house, a Army tent house to stay the week.
I had a little trouble with the out house, but soon evolved into the rural life style.
The next day, I was led to the laundry room where I spent most of the day, happily repairing washers and dryers in my electrical engineer role.
The meals were served communal buffet style, with items of food coming from the "free store".
The main crop that was used for food was the soy bean.
I never knew that soy beans could make milk, soup and what passed for cheese.
Each building except for the Laundry room and I believe the gate house, ran all of their electrical systems off Direct Current trickle charge lines that kept the automotive storage batteries charged. About two amps. at twelve volts was supplied in each dwelling. Twenty four watts continious or in practice, using automotive tail lights for reading lamps only in the night, maybe one hundred watts or so at one time. I wish my usage today could be reduced like this.
That night I read by one of these lights, every one of the Farm produced books that every where.
At dawn after eating, we painted windows that were being installed on the only modern structure in sight.
The "Solar House" a large new high tech residence.
In Gainesville Florida at the time a comparable structurewould have been in the fifty thousand dollar range (today about $100,000-$200,000).
Having invested about two hundred dollars into this dwelling to date, this was a recyclers dream. The basement had a huge water tank. This contained the water heated by the solar panels on the roof.
Water thus heated on the roof was circulated by a small pump through radiators and stored in the insulated water tank.

The next day we worked on the solar panels.
Basicly a box made of wood with tin on the bottom, and solid translucent, green house plastic on the top.
These were insulated and water pipes were run inside.

This event converted me to Solar Power the rest of my life.

The children were wonderful in their behavior, but my appearance, with a watch on one wrist, a silver I.D. bracelet on the other, leather boots and a leather belt and no embrodry on my clothing, caused a lot of questions from them.
Now I was the "Man From Mars".
Certain aspects of civilization as we know it, just were not necessary at the farm.
Since meat was not consumed, no leather was used.
Ego was the word of the day and you were supposed to leave it at the gate.
Telepathy was recognised as workable, and was acknowleged when it was observed.
I finally met Steve Gaskin at the Sunday Worship hours before my departure.
I vowed to come back soon and join for a longer period, so I left my duffle bag with my personal papers, books and Boy Scout hatchet and my fathers hand made machette.
I talked to Diana on the phone and assured her I would be back before Christmas.
I was told not to come home.
The saddest day of my life was leaving the farm and returning not to my wife, but to my Mother, where I was supposed to put on a glad face, as my heart broke.
Three years later Anne,my future wife and I finally made it back, but only visited with the folks at the gate house, who talked of armed troops landing from helicopters and scaring the children.
With the paranoia rampant I did not even bother to inquire of my junk.
Sorry this article for the "Hog Town Holler" is over due, by a quarter of a century folks, but it was at the mid point of two great women in my heart, my wives. Thank you Diana and Anne, may the Grace of God surround you forever.

E-Mails and links to add, corrections and all that are welcome. Thanks to the folks who made a differance in the planet, the residents and soakers of the "Farm Commune".

Robert R. Colee March 18, 2001

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