Tuesday, May 27, 2008

mudslinging, and curious groundhogs

The straw bale hut seems to be approaching completion. We've Christened it "Chapel Perilous".

With such organic structures, dead lines are pretty much irrelevant. After all, the structure's life cycle could extend beyond any of our rational speculations. We are wise enough on our foolishness to allow for factor x.

Building Chapel Perilous has been totally worthwhile. Uncertainty in method and indefiniteness in timeframe are the Chaos that we bring our Work out of. WHAT AN ADVENTURE. I've been having an identity crisis which extended into this work season, a crisis which has been stomped into the mud along with the signature blood, sweat and tears. It's been hard to talk about- the connection between identity and voice is very strong. My relationships with myself and family and friends have been under pressure from the uncertainty, but I can talk again now. This, because I have the authority of knowledge that my journey is this 10x12 hermitage, and beyond. By the season that some lucky forest gardener WWOLFers find a way to crash here, I will be gone, like the offed gas of our bodilly fluids from the mud.

We wait, the cob is drying on its own. I am so glad, because it's been a long work spell and my Sabbath is right now. See, this weekend past, Griffin, Kat and I led workshop on the whole holy process of making and applying earth plaster. First, we made a watery clay mud mixture and pressed it into naked bales. These dry, and act as a sort of glue for holding on the next layer of mud. After lunch, we mixed up cob and applied it as a second coat. It held on there nicely, and is functioning much as your hide does, keeping vermin from the bales and breathing out moist air.

The last stage is applying da finish coat. It's gonna be really sandy, with special colored clays and some borax to keep the critter populations down.

I don't begrudge the critters, I just want to be the Acidopholus in this yogurt. They are keeping court there, now, in a mellow and balanced way. I saw a cricket and some ants, which attract big wolf spiders just like in Fukuoka's primordial rice paddy. Another critter was the mold. The cob layer coughed up a bit of that white, furry stuff. I would have known that the gliding undines were scheduled to muck around with the aesthetics if I had checked a weather report. However, I don't bother to get on the T.V. or computer these days, not even for facebook. Some things just don't matter. You could also say they don't soul much, or spirit either. We got the air moving through with a window fan, and the final coat will go on in a few days.

O yeah, about the groundhogs. We've known there's a big one living in the Sweet Annie patch. Yesterday, for the first time, it showed its four babies to us. They were so cute. Totally "Indigo", the kits crept up the hill, very curious, and stared into our eyes from five yards away, at most. Wild animals coming near you is an interesting indication of some peaceful piece of mind- like finding the meaning in a dream, such occasions can be good times for personal reflection. The kits eventually left us, and played in my tobacco patch.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

food not lawns

Today we held a plant and seed swap, attended by scores. An abundance was given, an abundance was taken, and an abundance was left over. Offers of donations were refused, on account it cost no money to put on the event. Flats of tomatoes, many heirloom varieties, were enjoyed by many, especially the people who were having a cookout after our event; they left with the last flat, with glees of joy. I brought home three black raspberries, many black eyed susans and coneflowers, mint, garlic chives, and miscellaneous others. We also have a box of large canisters of 2006 seed, donated by a local greenhouse--one that sells their heirloom tomato plants three for a dollar, affordable for we masses. The flats of tomatoes were purchased by a member of the group who offered them to everyone with encouragement to save their seeds. I talked to a reporter who is really interested in environmental issues, and gardening.

There were so many people, of different races and castes and experience, that attended. It was amazing to see. What a beautiful sense of sharing and community, people bringing their abundance, and taking home treasure, all blessings. We as a city will be that much richer as the growing season progresses, an abundance of fruits, herbs, vegetables, flowers--enriching the bodies and souls of Springfield's citizens, all sharing it with their neighbors, with promises of starts next spring.

Ah, it is so beautiful being part of this paradigm shift, this new way of looking of things that doesn't shortchange our grandchildren's grandchildren. What a legacy to leave behind, an inheritance beyond money, a thriving relatively self-sufficient community in a larger community filled with biodiversity. It can be realized. It can be the birthright of the future, instead of a giant mess swept under the bulging carpet.

And tomorrow, we dig. We think about making seedballs out of these giant canisters of seeds. Hakim is thinking of vines, and next year we will have grapevines (and seeds) to share. The pushing up feeling of the verdant present has pushed up my soul, cracked the mortar forever holding up this cracked civilized worldview. This feeling is the opposite of the ineffable mystical experience; it's one I can't shut up about.

So yeah, incredible plant and seed swap. Next up, farm/garden tours and vermiculture with free worms, courtesy of the abundance. If you're interested in learning more, we have a blahoo group you can join if you're so inclined.

Love to gardeners everywhere,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Jason wants me off the computer for UTube

The wild irises are losing their blooms while the rhododendron blossoms get a little larger. It is ten times greener after every rain. The creek beds are thick with moss and waterbugs, and I have discovered that my piscean senses require me to put my feet in that cold ass creek as often as possible. The weather makes me tingle. :D

Mike is helping Jason build a pentangle structure for his oldest daughter. Jason is also employing the daughters' AWOL marine boyfriends, exchanging labor for their right to hang out with the daughters. It's called permaculture. The problem is the solution, folks. Also, we maybe might live in North Carolina a while. You know, whatever.

We have planted broccoli, onions, garlic, cabbage, chinese cabbage, greens of all sort, sugar snap peas, scarlet runner beans, poppies!, calendula, bee balm, lettuces, chard, beets, carrots, parsley, cilantro, savory, salad burnet, dill, etc etc. I stopped because it gets boring to read. and there are about a million other plants! I wish all could live amongst the world's oldest mountains in this crazy rain forest. The smell of sassafras and birch should convince anyone.

Time to go eat real food at the crib. Also, this is the last night for the kung fu/t'ai chi teacher and his wife. They're pretty rockin'. Trading labor for produce at Firefly farm, too, so the foods are quite tempting at the moment.

love, too much and all

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

so much beauty it can make you cry

I was voraciously reading food not lawns the book by Heather Flores on the bus when the driver said, "Oh, I'm so sick of rain." This was surprising, because it hasn't been all that rainy here lately. The other guy on the bus agreed. I guess I had some kind of telling look on my face because he swung his mirror around to where he could see me and said, "You look pretty happy about it." I said I was, because I had a garden, and it could surely use the rain. "A flower garden, or a real big garden?" asked the driver. I answered that it was indeed a real big garden, and that I had flowers growing also. The driver told me how I was saving money by doing that. "Yeah," I said, "saving money, and eating food that actually has nutrition, and that tastes good." The other bus passenger chimed in and said, "Nothing tastes better than a real garden tomato. Can't buy that taste in a store, anywhere." Well, it might as well have been a revival meeting at that point, with the amens and uh-Huhs, even though it was just us three.

The driver said he was thinking about planting a food garden, because it was less to mow, and with gas getting more expensive all the time...well, he thought he might have to get one of those old-time push mowers. I mentioned that I have one of those, that it isn't that much harder to push than our old mower. Our old one was stolen, and what was the point of getting another one? He asked me, "Are you going green or something?" I wasn't sure exactly what he was talking about, and he said, "You know, riding the bus, growing your own food, using a push mower..." I wasn't sure about that, but told him it might be more of a consequence of being poor. But it does take less natural resources, uh-Huh.

Walking home in the gentle rain, I think about these conversations, connections with human beings that aren't on a screen. It's all good, as Dorothy says, Dorothy being the almost-elderly woman who rides my bus all the time on her way to work at McD's. It's all good. It is. It's so beautiful, connections with FEELING with human beings and plants and everything in between and outside of and inside of all of it. It's indescribable, undeniable. I think the dirt has given my soul a new religion, one without words or feelings of right and wrong, just pure joy, pure appreciation of this world given to us without blemish, in perfect order (being chaos).

Exquisite poverty doesn't exactly describe it, as it focuses on the lack of money in the old perception of life. More an exquisite abundance, of community and life and joy. I'm so blessed. There is so much beauty it does indeed make me cry.

I am so blessed.