The Laughing Owl Press

Why did you go away...


"Why did you go away from your home among the hills?" (In my best June Carter voice) “How happy we will be near the lonesome pine tree in my home among the hills.”

The LOP has a new home (among the hills) and we couldn’t possibly, in any way, be any sort of happier. After years of printing in our garage in Flemington, New Jersey, we kicked and scraped (literally, we had to do a lot of remodeling to sell our old house) our way to our new garage, and also home.

I call this home, because this is where I grew up. In the Allegheny National forest. Where the cold misty nights take time to burn slowly out of the valley as the sun crests the mountains. The nights, by the way, are as starry as you could ever hope to see. The Kinzua Creek winds close by our house and down the valley. It opens up at Big Rock - the best swimming hole - ever, and then rambles its way through Westline, down to Thunder Shower, along the trail, past Libby Run, Whiting, and so forth. Our tiny little village, Kushequa, like so many others was once a booming and industrious town. Here, it’s hard to step out the door without finding a treasure from the old brick factory. If you look close you can even see the old bricks ground up in the road pavement.

We know people here. They know us. When my dad tells me the forecast, it actually applies to both of us. I can see my mom at any time of day, any day of the week. We can get fresh eggs at a moment's notice from my brother and sister in law. Eggs from their chickens, of course. We can spend any given weekend with my mother in law (I never believed that whole in-law thing, she's great), and expect regular visits from my other sister in law and nephew. These things especially, are not things that could be found in New Jersey. We had a good go of it though, and while New Jersey surely has its own beauty, it wasn’t ever really and truly home.

Our big move...consisted of a few car and trailer loads over a couple months, but then came the convoy. You know, the “Breaker One-Nine, this here's the Rubber Duck” type of convoy. We barrelled down route 80, and appropriately arrived in a snowstorm. Luckily, we brought the mild weather with us, and the next couple weeks were like this:

The best time of year, when things are ready to burst. The excitement of spring this year is doubled... tripled maybe. Because after two years of working night shifts, morning shifts, and weekend shifts in the print shop, we are able to finally print full time, and maybe take a shift off on the weekend (but let’s not be too hasty).

We’re off to a running start, and even though it took a while to find a place for that second couch we really don’t need, we had a place for the ink knives and coaster stock in two days or less. I just finished a delightful job of full bleed biz cards, for a customer patient enough to wait for us through the move. See that ink coverage? That's brown ink on white paper, pal. We can't be stopped.

Now I’m looking forward to printing our own business cards, new address included. Things haven’t slowed down much, but now we have time for our own plans, our own letterpress print shop. We’re here (among the hills)!