Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: the last photo shoot. He was the best dog on the planet.

Tomato Madness

Tomato Madness
The author of Mark's Work

Hollyhocks and zinnias

Hollyhocks and zinnias
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Tomatoes are us.

Tomatoes are us.
Smoked paprika catsup, here at HappyDay Farms

Packing some heat...

Packing some heat...
These peppers know how to party!

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
Lito and Keelee

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Unc Keith

Unc Keith

The sledge hammer dropped again, Tuesday, with the shocking news that Keith Oakford passed unexpectedly, while on the job site. Still reeling up here on the Bell from the recent deaths of both Ken and Celia, and Sparky, Keith’s passing is another keen blow, reminding us of the fragility of life.
Unc Keith
“Perrrrrrrrrfect,” was his trade mark statement, and from my vantage point, being struck down while doing what he loved so much, was just the perfect way to bow out. 

Keith could do everything that had anything to do with construction, including the electrical, plumbing and all things related to building. He knew solar, twelve volt and he knew how to make the term “off the grid” immaterial. So much of his handiwork is a prominent part of my system, I will miss him terribly.

When we worked together on the Maguire job, a few years back, my last go at a full-scale project, Keith astonished me by scrambling around on that rooftop like a monkey, he was that limber. I was up on that roof too, but only on my backside, straddling the upper-story wall while installing two-x-ten, twenty-foot-long rafters. 

That there’s some gnarly work.

Already in his 70’s, Keith’s mobility was that of a twenty-year-old. His crusty exterior carefully masked a heart of pure gold, but his sense of humor shined forth always, keeping the work-site upbeat. I strive for perfection, always, but am willing to settle for what I get; Keith strived for perfection and got it.

I first met him back in the early eighties, when he would regale us with stories from his houseboat days, down in Marin County, with some of the old crew: Rex, Tom Tillinghast and the Friel Brothers. 

The Friels came up one summer, long about ’78 or so, and put out 300 pots of soil with freshly planted cannabis plants, all growing just fine with the spring rains, and left. When they returned in September to pluck the vast numbers of Benjamins off the plants, they found them long dried out and brown, not much taller than when they had departed. 

We got a lot of mileage out of that one for a lot of years.

Keith had a lot of stories, but he was no bullshitter. He was straightforward, warm-hearted and talented as fuck. And he made us all laugh. It’s hard to believe that I can no longer schedule him in to deal with the most challenging of the logistical snafus which arise so frequently, when you live off the grid.

I loved him like a brother and will miss him terribly. Good-bye Unc Keith-Be sure and pack a pipe wrench with you when you head out-there’s bound to be a leaky faucet wherever you end up.






6 comments:

  1. Wow, Mark, so sorry to hear about Keith's passing. I never met him, but I have heard a lot about him over the years and I know how much the community loved and depended on him.

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  2. I am so sorry to hear this news- Keith was a great great guy and I am so happy I could know him. A kind man like no other.

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  4. I am utterly shocked to my core. He was a familiar face of the local Boomer's regular...pop in once or twice a week for a quick drink and a hello...then gone on a mission. RIP Keith you are missed!

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  5. Such a very nice guy, always smiling and lots of energy, we talked about antique cars all the time, will surely miss him

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