Bryce Black and his wife Kathleen Plunkett-Black have lived since 1978 on their 60-acre homestead, Ostensible Farm. They live near Arkansaw, Wisconsin, at the northern edge of what geologists call the Driftless Area. They hope any future Ice Ages will pass them by.
Bryce and Kathy’s driveway is NOT for the faint of heart. They live in an owner-built home made of mostly salvaged materials. Bryce firmly believes in the old Chinese proverb: “Man finish house, man die,” since it virtually guarantees him eternal life.
Bryce and Kathy have three sons: Lorin, Christopher and Geoffrey. These good lookin’ dudes somehow survived years of attachment parenting, unschooling, and windmill and garden servitude, to become approximately well-rounded responsible adults.
Kathleen has been a full-time subsistence gardener and seed saver for 25+ years.
Bryce’s day job is restoring vintage water pumping windmills. He regards himself as the curator of a vast museum consisting of all the windmills in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He explains more in an article he wrote for local underground paper The Carp.
Bryce prudently limits himself to one New Year’s resolution every year: MAKE MORE MUSIC. Sometimes this resolution even gets kept. Bryce’s current main musical outlets include:
- A long-time songwriting and performing collaboration with friend and neighbor Yata Peinovich. Bryce & Yata recently released their long-brewing first CD, Sheer Caffeine. It features 13 quirky, catchy, thought-provoking original tunes about diverse subjects such as mad cows, dinosaur chickens, and The Most Useful Substance Known to Man: Baler Twine.
- Frequently Bryce and Yata team up with poet friend Timothy Young to present a compelling blend of song, music and poetry that’s either keenly insightful or hilarious (often both at once)
- Bryce sings bass with the Travelin’ Shoes Gospel Choir, a group of more than 60 folks from the wider Lake Pepin area. The Shoes sing “roots” gospel music from the African-American Gospel tradition, the kind of rockin’ gospel music that makes you wanna get up and clap and boogie. Directed by Dave Zahn, the group performs to raise funds for area food pantries and other worthy community organizations. The Shoes helped raised over $20,000 for the needy in 2006 and 2007.
- Bryce has a soft spot for that quintessential American art form, jug band music. Recently he teamed up with various friends including Kari Larson and Lisa Schultz of the Ditch Lilies to form Sliced Bread. Sliced Bread competed in the 26th Annual Battle of the Jug Bands in Minneapolis. They did not come home with the Coveted Holliwood Waffle Iron (the World Cup trophy of jug bands). They did receive honorable mention for the best song list. Next year the Waffle Iron!