The Builders

One of the surprise pleasures of building Mountain Water has been the crews coming to work at the different phases of construction. Their skill, humor, and friendliness have been a continual delight. Last summer, the concrete pour was an all-hands-on-deck production with Jeff Reynolds overseeing his workers with a command that was playful yet sage-like.


Since the beginning, Rick Jennings, our trusty contractor, has been a knowledgeable advisor, meticulous in his attention to detail. He and his crew show up like clockwork early every morning and work through the day. Each day they leave behind a neat and orderly work site. Now, with winter in full blast, they continue even when the temperatures are in the low teens. We’ll all be glad when the building is completely closed in and insulated!

Mountain Water Press Novel Selected for Kirkus Review's 100 Best Indie Books

The owners of Mountain Water Ranch also have a small, interdependent press publishing works of fine writing & fine art that celebrate the enspirited land — in books and magazines. We call it an interdependent press because we are fashioning a new collaborative model of publishing with artists, authors, and printers and exploring what that means.

Our latest publication – and our first novel – is the inimitable Quarry by Meredith Ann Fuller, illustrated by Joan Anderson. We are pleased to announce that Quarry was selected as one of The Kirkus Review's 100 Best Indie Books of 2017; and 1 of only 8 fiction works selected!


If you are in Boulder on February 28, 2018, Meredith and Joan will be at Boulder Bookstore for a reading and book signing. You can buy your copy of Quarry at Boulder Bookstore during the event, or purchase online directly through Mountain Water Press

Below are a few of Joan's illustrations that appear throughout the novel.

Best Stories of 2017 from Mountain Water Ranch

Dear Friends,

The Lunar New Year is here,
the Year of the Earth Dog has arrived.
Deep winter, the time of stories in the northern hemisphere,
gives way to the intimations of spring.

We’d like to share with you
two of the best Mountain Water stories of 2017:


The day the contractor and his crew came to stake out the site,
they said they suddenly heard the sound of rushing water.
There in front of them, from a clear blue sky, a long banner of red and white triangles streamed to earth
and landed right in front of the building site.
The coincidence of this remote place, the timing, and the three witnesses is strange enough.
Add to that the insignia that we use for Mountain Water
—a small diamond made of a red triangle over a white triangle—
and we’re left speechless with wonder.


Mountain Water Press,
our nascent interdependent imprint,
is making news with its first published novel,
written by Meredith Ann Fuller, designed and illustrated by Joan Anderson.
Kirkus Review named Quarry to its
100 Best Indie Books 2017.
Wow, are we excited about that!

Meredith will be reading, accompanied by Joan, 
at the Boulder Bookstore,
February 28th, 7:30pm,
1107 Pearl Street, Boulder CO

If you’re on the east coast, keep an eye out for April readings in
Boston, Quincy, and Falmouth, MA,
the “home town” settings of the novel.  

This is a novel to share with your book club!
You can even order a copy directly from Mountain Water Press.

Wishing you this New Year the best the Earth Dog has to offer.
Stay glad, dream good*, be the Earth’s best friend.

Build Mountain Water with us by making a non-tax deductible contribution to
Building Mountain Water

Love to you all,
 from Mountain Water
Laurel, Samagra, Emily,
Joan & Robert

* excerpts from Woody Guthrie's 1943 New Year’s “rulins"

BOMBERS, BOOKS, and BUGS: New and Old Work from Robert Spellman

A favorite among websites to visit is Trend Tablet, the site founded by Lidewij Edelkoort, who, as the site claims, is “a trend forecaster, curator, publisher, and educator who constantly lives in the future.”

A circuitous amble across the site links me to the work of the Piecework Collective, and from there to the Mississippi-based quilting workshop, YaloRun Textiles. At the YaloRun site you can find packs of pre-cut quilt scraps curated by Susan Cianciolo.

Using scraps dawned on Robert Spellman, too. Look closely at the surface of his paintings and you’ll see them.

A ladybug’s carapace, the fuselage of a bomber, the elements of a sofa (or davenport if you are from Ohio). Many of his paintings present one thing. It helps us see, as he seems to, the beauty of what we forget to notice. Since I’ve written the word forget, it occurs to me that Spellman’s paintings startle recollection and seem to portray what has happened to these things in the time that elapsed since we last noticed them—they’ve become iconic, wizened, perhaps a little melancholic and ghostly.

Paintings by Robert Spellman.

Paintings by Robert Spellman.

For the optimists among us, the paintings give us another chance for sweet regard, before old things disappear altogether in the constant renovation of the future.

BOMBERS, BOOKS, and BUGS: New and Old Work from Robert Spellman

January 16—March 2, 2018   

Opening Reception: January 26, 5-8pm

Naropa University, Nalanda Gallery, 63rd & Arapahoe Avenue, Boulder CO










Hay Forks

My grandfather owned a hardware store when I was growing up. Though I was no stranger to tools, it took Jim Dine’s drawings to open my aesthetic eye to hand tools. It happened after I graduated from college and moved to Boston. Dine’s tool drawings* were on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. I recollect they were taller than I, raw and poetic. The veil between myself and the ordinary beauty of things was lifted.

Jim Dine, Tool Drawings.

Jim Dine, Tool Drawings.

Decades later, I receive an Amish hay fork for my birthday. Need I say they are beautiful? In a tool beauty isn’t all that matters, though, so I took one out to the field with my scythe. It was in December so cutting old grass that’s been nested upon and walked through by deer and elk was laughable. Nevertheless, I cut enough to try out the fork. Miracle. The forks themselves are so light, certainly not weighing even a pound. They are cunningly made from one piece of wood, steamed, bent, split, and shaped, with three small dowels added as spacers. But that is not all. They work, they perfectly lift and balance long grass. Happily, mowing season will be here in a twinkle.

* In looking for a suitable link to Jim Dine’s drawings, I discovered his grandfather also owned a hardware store—his in Cincinnati, OH, mine in Stow, OH.

Amish hay forks. Photo by Joan Anderson.

Amish hay forks. Photo by Joan Anderson.


Jimmy Red Corn

Show me a seed and tell me a story, a good story, and chances are I will want that seed—to hold, to admire, to dream of its life at Mountain Water.

Jimmy Red corn is the latest story and the latest seed seduction. It’s a whiskey corn that has made a comeback (hallelujah!). My farming buddy, Chris Silks, sent me a link to a recent NPR story about Jimmy Red. You read that story and you will understand why I now have seeds. Take a look at those seeds and see if you could say “no” to having a hand in the salvation of Jimmy Red.  

The question for Jimmy Red and me is whether she will grow at all so far from sea level and the climate of South Carolina. I’m counting on Jimmy Red to remember how to travel, to take up where she finds herself, and over time to get to like the high and dry weather here in Colorado, something akin to her primeval home in Mexico and Central America. May be a long shot. Whiskey and gambling are known to be friendly. So, we’ll see. 

Stay tuned.

Jimmy Red seeds. Photo credit: Joan Anderson

Jimmy Red seeds. Photo credit: Joan Anderson

Join The Crowd: Building Mountain Water

Over the past year or two, an intrepid and creative group of nine investors (individuals and couples) have come together to raise over 2/3 of the needed funds for Mountain Water's infrastructure.  Now we are expanding the circle and inviting our community - all those who are curious about the confluence of art and meditation practices - to join us in building Mountain Water.  

There are two ways to contribute: first, if you are in or around Boulder, Colorado, please join us on October 22, 2017 for a crowd funding party.

Second, while you are here, make a contribution online.  Either way, you can opt to receive a hand-painted invented landscape post card as a token of our sincere thanks!

Invented Landscape post card painting by Robert Spellman.

Invented Landscape post card painting by Robert Spellman.