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Green Family Cemetery

 
pollinator
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My next tasks for this project are:

1. Survey the plot and register its location with the county

2. Make shrouds for my husband and myself

Shroud patterns:  http://cindea.ca/shrouds.html

Shrouds to purchase: https://www.usurnsonline.com/burial/how-to-wrap-a-body-in-a-burial-shroud-for-natural-burial/
 
Tyler Ludens
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Another important bit of preparation which must not be forgotten is to appoint an agent for the disposition of remains and formally declare one's wishes for what to do with one's body after death.  Here is the form for Texas:  http://tfsc.texas.gov/files/Forms/Appointment%20to%20Control%20Disposition.pdf
 
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If you are considering a backyard burial, think carefully about what it may mean for the property itself and the person who owns it (which may be yourself). All other issues aside, burying someone on private land impacts the future sale of that property. In addition, however remote the concern may be, you should consider how you’d feel, and what you would do, if your deceased loved one resided on property that you no longer owned.

For instance, depending on the type of property, the land could become fundamentally unmarketable to succeeding buyers if the interred body isn’t relocated, and even then, a stigma might remain that makes selling the tract difficult. Not only that, exhuming and transferring a body is expensive. However, even if this isn’t done and the property is sold, family members and others won’t necessarily have access to the property to visit the gravesite anymore. Perhaps most unsettling of all, what if the land is sold and developed for a different use, one that rattles the bones in their resting place?

In light of these issues, reflect on all the possible outcomes before committing to creating a private burial ground on residentially zoned property. Further, don’t make this decision without legal guidance and consultation, and begin the planning process well in advance. It can involve a lot of paperwork.

But do not let these cautions discourage you if this is your dream or the final wishes of someone you love. I am truly finding that people are increasingly embracing the mindset of ashes to ashes and dust to dust, and many families I have served would not have done it any other way.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Elizabeth Fournier wrote: In addition, however remote the concern may be, you should consider how you’d feel, and what you would do, if your deceased loved one resided on property that you no longer owned.



Elizabeth, I think all of your caveats are important to consider.  Our intention is to own the land until we die and will it to either a permie or to the Texas Ornithological Society (I want the permie, my husband wants the Ornithological Society).  We may be able to have the land protected by a Conservancy for its primary purpose as habitat for native flora and fauna, but need to look into that more to see if it is feasible for our small tract (20 acres).  As it is, all the land along our stretch of road is deed-restricted against most forms of development besides homestead, farming, and wildlife management.

My deceased loved ones who have been buried in caskets all reside on land which I don't own.  Those who have been cremated have been returned to the Earth or the Sea.  In any case I don't have control over what happens to their particles, so I am not overly concerned about what happens to our remains once the meat is off our bones, which is supposed to only take a few weeks underground.  If for some reason our skeletons have to be dug up and moved, I hope no one is upset by it but instead thinks "Human skeletons?  How cool!"

 
Elizabeth Fournier
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Hi, Tyler. Thank you so much for your well-thought-out purpose, and for your very helpful comments for all who are reading.  For those of you who are new to this thread, please make sure you double check to make sure private land burial in your specific state, as well as your specific county, is legal.
 
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Hi, everyone, and welcome, Elizabeth!

When I first heard of green burial, I was immediately excited. At the time, I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, and a local non-profit opened up a green cemetery with natural burial as a small revenue generator for the other work they do promoting peace and justice and getting immigrant farmers back on arable land (they operate a farm incubator on the property): https://farleycenter.org. Erica Colmenares, it wasn't there at the Farley Center in Verona that your mom was buried, was it? It's an amazingly beautiful spot, and I think they do incredible work. The organization I worked for at the time held a small retreat/meeting there one year (another service offered by the Center) and we ambled through the sanctuary/cemetery on a break. Although I'd been a fan of their work in all areas for some time by then, it was the first chance I'd had to spend time there in person.

I'd love to know of other places making natural burial available -- especially in Arizona, where I am now -- as well as resources for doing it on one's own land legally. Would the best source for this information be your book, Elizabeth?
 
Elizabeth Fournier
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Hi Beth! I suggest checking my book out from the library because some of that info will be there. All states have their own rules, so you will need to check with your county zoning and planning for the rest.

I love the Farley Center!

Elizabeth
 
Tyler Ludens
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On Friday we took the big step of filing our Notice of Dedication of Family Cemetery paperwork with the county clerk, making our cemetery official and ready to plant!  

We still need to fill out our Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains forms in order make sure as much as possible to actually end up buried in our cemetery.

 
Elizabeth Fournier
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Tyler!!  A huge congratulations. This is such a big and boldly positive move. May all the learning along the way come very easy.
 
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Beth Wilder wrote:
When I first heard of green burial, I was immediately excited. At the time, I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, and a local non-profit opened up a green cemetery with natural burial as a small revenue generator for the other work they do promoting peace and justice and getting immigrant farmers back on arable land (they operate a farm incubator on the property): https://farleycenter.org. Erica Colmenares, it wasn't there at the Farley Center in Verona that your mom was buried, was it?



Shoot, I'm just seeing this! Yes, my mom was buried at the Farley Center. It was a lovely experience, start to finish.
 
Tyler Ludens
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We buried our beloved dog Izzie in the family cemetery the day before yesterday. She was sixteen.  On the other side of the fence are large rocks under which is buried my sister's horse, who was in her early 30s.
izzie.jpg
Izzie's final place.
Izzie's final place.
izzie_in_grass.jpg
Izzie in her prime
Izzie in her prime
 
Erica Colmenares
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Tyler Ludens wrote:We buried our beloved dog Izzie in the family cemetery the day before yesterday. She was sixteen.  On the other side of the fence are large rocks under which is buried my sister's horse, who was in her early 30s.



What a beautiful dog, and the perfect resting spot. <3
 
Elizabeth Fournier
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I love the photos and story of Izzie. Just precious!
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote:We buried our beloved dog Izzie in the family cemetery the day before yesterday. She was sixteen.  On the other side of the fence are large rocks under which is buried my sister's horse, who was in her early 30s.



So sorry Tyler.  I just lost my dog a couple months ago.  He is buried in my food forest.  I posted pictures when I buried him but I need to take new ones.  It's a very special spot to me, and I stop and talk to him each time I walk through my forest.  I've planted all kinds of plants and flowers around the rock pile above his grave.  I'm glad you have a spot to visit and remember Izzie as well.
 
Trace Oswald
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A current picture of his gravesite. Chives, comfrey, speedwell, host a, American persimmon tree, false indigo, miniature roses, mint. Much more will be added.

I love that you started this thread.  My plan is to be buried here too, in a place that I planted and created in my image, surrounded by nature.
20200610_185200.jpg
 Gravesite
Gravesite
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you all for the thoughts.  It is being very hard on my husband.  That dog was his child (we are a couple without human children).
 
Trace Oswald
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Thank you all for the thoughts.  It is being very hard on my husband.  That dog was his child (we are a couple without human children).



We are as well.
 
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https://recompose.life/ Recompose have studied this issue extensively and already have a composting system designed, built and legislated approval for Washington. They have major investment secured and are opening a 'prepurchase' system this month, with services beginning November 2020.
This is a bona fide replacement for the current [very polluting] burial options offered to  most people in the USA.
 
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G Freden wrote:

When someone in the family dies--even when expected--it's such a shock and so much needs to be organized;  better to have the burial side of things ready now while everyone is still alive.  Even if this means getting caskets and shrouds measured and ready.  


Galadriel (is that what the "G" stands for?), thank you for sharing not just (at your blog) the moving story of your son's short life, beautiful death and green burial, but also (here) the wisdom that came from your exquisitely sad yet heartwarming experience. I somehow feel more fully human today. Deep condolences ... and appreciation.
 
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Chris Kott wrote:I don't think there's anything specifically not green about being buried in a box, as long as that box itself is sustainably made.

I would personally want the casket inoculated with relevant fungal spore, and I have been toying for a while about burial garments containing seed of different kinds.

I think that the concrete vault thing is a real downer.

One approach that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere is encouraged natural decomposition by insects. I must admit that this is the option that appeals least to me on an aesthetic level, basically a bioreactor of decompositional macrobiota into which a body is placed. I don't know why it gives me the existential willies, as it's just an accelerated version of what happens when a body is buried within the biologically active layers of soil, but I figured I would bring it up.

Hell, a really permie approach would be to do the bioreactor approach, or the shallow natural burial approach, and have chickens penned in a toroidal paddock with the decomposing body in the doughnut hole under a layer of healthy soil. Bugs eat body, chickens eat bugs, humans eat eggs and eventually chickens too. Or, for those to whom reincarnation appeals, what about the idea of having a rooster and a bunch of broody hens in the doughnut paddock, with all of the eggs laid being fertilised by the rooster and raised for eggs or meat?

If I were truly concerned about the pathogenicity of dead bodies, I would personally favour the bioreactor or shallow living soil grave over concrete entombment. I mean, it probably gets the job done, but cycling biomass through the digestive tracts of multiple unrelated species in a soil environment without room in the soil biome for pathogens to take hold sounds like a more certain path than sequestering everything away where it's of no use to anyone.

I am glad people are talking about this subject in a permacultural context. I think modern burial processes, that basically turn bodies into subterranean soap cakes, are one of the great wastes of the day. I don't think for a minute that reverence for the remains of the deceased should be lessened, but I think that I prefer the idea of living monuments in the form of trees and living plants, and the cycling of nutrient and mineral resources into the soil and the environment.

-CK



Grok?  "stranger in a strange land"  " Having consumed a small portion of Smith's remains in keeping with Martian custom, "
 
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http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/02/09/death-suit-makes-burials-eco-wallet-friendly

Maybe this has been discussed before but this is the way I want to go. I want to be composted and this "mushroom suit" provides that option. It's cheaper than cremation and way cheaper than a funeral and casket, even if you go the Costco route. It's fashionable, which would be important to my daughter and, if buried properly on my land the kids can plant a tree over me. We might even end up with a family orchard rather than a cemetery. How cool is that?
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