• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Life at Ant Village, my POV  RSS feed

 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ahoy, Permies! World shifters and shakers! I am (**was) writing from a tree stump surrounded by kinnikinnick and yarrow, a favourite spot of mine to sit and witness. It has a perfectly sloped view of Jesse's ant village acre, pines and stumps, flowers and tall grasses, and oodles of hugel in the making - a piece of land swimming in potential. The sun has just poked his head up from behind the mountains, and the chilled air is no match for the ever pressing momentum of this new day. Word on the dusty road says that it's supposed to reach 100 degrees today. Mmm, feeling real fine, real fine.

As the screen name might suggest, my name is Carol-Anne, and I am a recent addition to the wheaton laboratories crew. Jesse the Ant some how managed to tuck me into his little and loaded down truck last week and picked me up from a gathering in Utah, and so I shall remain for as long as it feels good, but mostly for as long as my Canadian bound citizenship will allow.

We arrived a week ago today, settling into the flow of PDC life, and taking in this amazing opportunity to practice what we think we think we know about land, home, and community design. I am still in awe that Ant Village is still so teeny tiny, where are y'all? If you've ever dreamed of laying the foundation and ground work of your own community, well, pssssst - it's here, and being dangled in front of you like an organic, fair trade, non-gmo, local and wild crafted piece of candy. Sugar free and super sweet.

The PDC is currently taking up most brain power, time, and energy, but the mornings and late evenings are spent exploring the land at the Lab, sitting at random locals for witnessing, and tuning in to the medicine and forage that the land has to offer. We quickly depleted our store-bought Good Food greens, and have taken quite a delight to all of the mustard and lambs quarter that are growing, dandelion and what appears to be wild lettuce, and so many other greenies I don't have a name for yet. Thimble berry, saskatoon berry, strawberry, huckleberry -- they're all here, and we're anticipating soon days upon days of fruit picking in preparation for the winter, and of course pies for the present. Yarrow and mullein are abundant, and I will be concocting salves and tinctures soon to insure the Village has medicine for the coming months. I have been perusing the Wild Forage books that have been gifted to the Gappers and Fred is a wealth of knowledge, so I reckon I will be finding more edibles and medicinals in the coming days.

There is not a lot of work to report right now, mostly us gathering materials, brainstorming, and helping out at Evan's plot during the PDC. I have some projects of my own, and bounty projects that I am noodling on for when the timing is right, but, after the PDC. I plan to log what we're eating (I'm a foodie), how much we're spending on food, the overall costs of living out here, and plainly what it's like to live out here. Pertinent information (such as my peeing in the forest techniques -- I'm experimenting right now) is being gathered for any peoples identified as female who want to come here and be apart of all this amazing.

Pizza night tonight at Base Camp! Afterwards, gon' find me another stump, play the ukulele until the vibrant evening skies turn dark and the half moon beams me back to camp. Venus and Jupiter are conjunct in the night sky as an added treat. Missoula Farmer's market in the morning. I love this place.
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Moonlit tree stumpin' here at the village, and thinking about an equation that was brought up in a PDC lecture a few days ago. It keeps coming up for me. It was specific for permaculture design, but as with everything in perma world, it applies to all of life just the same. At least, it seems to apply very directly to my life.

diversity => stability => fertility => production



Diversify. Before any settling down in life occurs, diversify your skills, experiences, and interests. Diversify the people ye meet and associate with, the places ye have met ye self at, and find what fits. If settling occurs before a rich tapestry of soul is reached, regret over what coulda been or what ought to be paralyzes one in a place of wretched comfort. To settle is to die if life has not been lived yet.

Build your soil.

Stabilize. After a thorough examination of who ye is, and what ye wants, root down deep in that place and stabilize in ye's enormous potential. Shed and die, shed and die every day, building on what is home. Without questioning, reach outwards to support life that supports life, and get to really know the community.

Build your soil. Grow a fucking tap root.

Fertility. The density of life surrounding ye, reflects the density of life within. All around, things are looking up, waaay up. The potential that began during the long days of diversifying are manifesting, and the home you imagined is the home you have, and the community you deserve is the one that you've got. This is where the magic is.

Build your soil. Grow a fucking tap root. Spread the magic.

Production. Dreams are wide awake now. The fruits are falling all over the place, and ye've got a bumper crop ye absolutely have to share. Four leggeds and two, winged ones, crawlers, tall and standing ones, and all of life in between are feasting off ye's bounty. Seeds are being cast with the winds and the soils are so thick with juice they're growing on their own volition, supported by the community to reach maximum potential. All for one and one for all.

Build your soil. Grow a fucking tap root. Spread the magic. All for one, and all.

If the design fails, begin at step one armed with the gifts of hindsight. Begin again, begin again.
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2124
69
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love that philosophical framework, carol anne. It helps us think about natural cycles of soil and life, and making it work through patience and time. When I see "ye" I think of old Christmas songs, like "God bless ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay".
John S
PDX OR
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2091
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
185
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What this place has needed is more poetry.

Thanks!
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wooooeeeee, hello sun! My how relentless you are. There has certainly been no doubt of your magnificence these past few days. High high heats of 100 degrees and more, everyone around here is swimming in their own bodily fluids and in various states of undress.

Everything feels so much slower and labourious on days like these, and just walking to the pooper deserves a high five. There were grand plans today for our afternoon PDC session but it was all nixed by 3pm, when we were let go to increase our chances of survival.

It didn't stop some miraculous souls from working (berm shed crew, you kick ass!), but for others, or at least my self, it meant retreating to a dark place.

In times like these, seek water. Sure yes stay hydrated, but really go to places that have water stored in and around them. I know of one place in particular at the Lab that offers such retreat, and it required tromping through the forest in shaded corridors of animal trail and old roads to get to it. The creek is nothing more than old bones of exposed rock, but around it is lush with life that I have yet to see anywhere else around the Lab. Yet. It gives me a very clear picture of the possibilities up here...

But today. Today I was looking for the subtle cool breeze that accompanies this ecosystem, the hints of moisture that kisses skin and causes sighs of relief.
Ahh mmm. I spent a good part of my afternoon getting to this place, and then leaving it not long after due to time constraints , but for a moment there was peace.

On my way back to camp, the flow of water on the property became a lot more noticeable to me, and I could see where water was destined to accumulate, destined to be ponds some day with the right people with the vision to make it happen. There is water here, it is leaving us clues of where to look. Animal trails are helpful.

Other than my water and shade excursion, I sat with Jesse for a bit to talk female urinal. We want women to come pee on a compost pile like the men do. The current designed is flawed and not favourable for too many alterations to accommodate a squatting female. Females want to contribute to the hot shower fund that is the compost. I am starting to think a separate pee place, a little further up from the Pee Palace, that funnels into the compost pile. It might start to stink of pee though. Paul seems keen on a female urinal, but I am not so sure the Pee Palace as it is now will make it worth the work to make it a female friendly pee zone. Plus, what about when you're bleeding for a week each month? More on this later.

The moon is approaching full, and Saturn is conjunct with her, looking like a little freckle in the night sky. I tend to stay up too late on nights like these, and the animals around here are livelier too.




 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2091
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
185
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Keep cool, everyone! It's a historically terrible heat wave in the Northwest right now.

Carol-Anne, there's a long discussion of "shark week" here at permies.com you might want to peruse, if you haven't already.
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yesterday...
Glugglugglugsputter, we had rain! For one glorious minute, drops of godly nectar splattered here and about, which dampened the ground for what felt like a whole n'other minute. We's was praising and hootin' hollerin', til the clouds parted and the sun dried up our tears of rejoice, along with everything else. Ah well, at least the sky tried. 'Better to try and fail than to never try at all' - I think I learned that through a meme I sawed on facebook, so..

For the afternoon PDC session, we split off into groups, some of us helping with an Ant Village communal tool shed, others on operation mulch and water basecamp bermage, and even more others to put the excavator back on track. I was only privy to the tool shed, but in hindsight I would have been much more useful mulching, as it only takes a few competent people to build a small structure. So a good part of the afternoon was spent durping with some others, watching handsome men do stuff, and thinking of how nice it would be to be doing that stuff too. Intervally, a few womban friends, Nikki and Heather, helped me harvest yarrow for salve making, and I went to visit Sir Chops down in Hamelot. He is a wonderful being to have at Ant Village, an honorary Ant even, as he may very well be the first to successfully store water via wallowing wily about in his wonderful way. Good work Sir.

A half finished shed is now sitting happy in the no-man's land between Ava and Jesse's plot(I wonder who is going to sandwich themselves there some day, some day...) I imagine a more detailed recap of the resurrection of le shed will be coming through another POV soon.

Other than tromping through the forest, biking around the Lab is the way to go, and I spent the evening rolling around on J's mountain bike taking in the sights and sounds; the culture if you will, and witnessed a most spectacular sun set. I wasn't watching the sun though, but the moon. The moon, near full, was hanging in the east with a back drop of increasingly pink and purple skies, and fast moving clouds rolled over simultaneously obstructing and enhancing the golden orb as night sounds around me brought in the darkness. Trying to describe it is like trying to take a picture of it with a flip top cellphone camera, but maybe you can feel my enthusiasm. :3

We're prepping for our final PDC design this evening - right now, so may be I'll rehash today tonight.
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yesterday always pales in comparison to Today.

But quickly,
Yesterday; windy, warm, lunch time bike ride down dirt roads, first truly ripe Saskatoon berry squishing, tractor driving, excavator maneuvering,  laughing laughing, huckleberry pancake dinner, star gazing, strumming, singing, cool night zzzzzleeping.
Quickly.

Today was long. No weather to report, though it was very nice indeed. There was an underlying theme throughout this nice day, of the finely woven connection between life and death, so tightly bound that not even the puppet master can separate them.

We found 3 baby birds on the side of the road at base camp, so small all 3 could fit into the palm of my hand. They surely fledged early as they could barely fly, and they were calling out for mama in a heart tugging way. We gathered them up, set up a nest in my wicker basket, and gave them water, seeds, and mushed up worms. The crying stopped shortly after their first sups of water and first taste of worms, but they all were worn out and needing some TLC. Mama CA to to the rescue! Or so I think.

They spent the afternoon with me perched on the basket and on various body parts. The nurturing instinct was fierce, and I didn't want to leave them out of my sight, but alas there was much to do so I left them in the shade and went about the day. It would come as no surprise, but none of them were in the nest when I came back almost 2 hours later. Whether they can make it on their own or not, their instinct is to fly.

Their little cries from various places around where I had left them gave up their locations, and we swiftly captured them and put them back in the nest. More sups and nibbles. More lovin'. But then it happened again. And again. I could no longer deny the feeling that nature was telling me to back away and let life run its course, but but but! They're so cute, and tiny! and they NEED me! Resist the message! Mm.

Then it came time for our hands-on project; killing and butchering the rabbits that had arrived earlier in the day. Adorable, fluffy, innocent, I didn't want them to go as much as I didn't want those babies to die, but I was not about to persuade anyone else to feel that way (not that I didn't say some sassy things . It was all done in a Good Way (thank you James and all)  and in a deep way I felt grateful to have been there to witness.

It also steered my head clear, and after I had enough rabbit guts and went back to the birds, I made the decision to not follow their cries. Instead I set up their nest with more water and food should they find their way back as they had earlier in the evening, and left them to live out their lives as was destined. I could not postpone their death any more than I could postpone the rabbits,    and it was not right of me to manipulate them to fit the vision of what I wanted from them. 

It reminded me of the manipulation I was born into, the price tag and expectations to fulfill some kind of role in this life as forced about by society and its unconscious following of tradition. School job, religion, rules, roles, manners, monogamy, marriage, marketability, fortune, family, functional.  ahhh forget about it. I've never wanted to be kept, and I've never wanted to keep other beings captive. Tamed to obey the demands of another, domestication of life could be found in the root of the mess we have created on Earth.

It is why I'm drawn to permaculture. The only tangible solution to the rewilding of life is to bring about and encourage systems that obey no one but the nature of its being. 

Eat plants that grow in a row, animals that feed in a row and die in a row, then line up!get in line, it's easier that way.

Look at that moon! She's so lovely. It's been a good good day.
 
Cassie Langstraat
steward
Posts: 3933
Location: Zone 9b
306
bee books food preservation fungi
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love your writing style carol-anne. Looking forward to watching this thread.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5911
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
366
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cassie Langstraat wrote:I love your writing style carol-anne. Looking forward to watching this thread.


me too! me too! me too!

This is one of the first things I read in the morning.....
 
Don Dufresne
Posts: 24
1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Eat plants that grow in a row, animals that feed in a row and die in a row, then line up!get in line, it's easier that way. "

Nicely said
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Take the time to observe the baby birds. Momma bird is always nearby, see if you can spot her.

Love the way you write !
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1183
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm enjoying your writing too. Nice to see the Montana season through your eyes!

I had the same thought about the compost pile at wheaton labs - would it be possible to put the showers downhill of the compost heater, and move the pooper closer on the uphill side?
Maybe when this compost pile is exhausted, it could be done. But maybe they want to keep it where it is because of the structures already built.
My impression is that even the wash-water would benefit the compost somewhat, but maybe the willow-swale needs to be factored in to avoid drowning the compost in heavy usage times.

I have had some success approaching the compost pile from uphill (when it's dark and not too many people there), or from the side. But the platform is pretty exposed, I agree I'm not inclined to hang my butt out there for the entertainment of drivers passing by, nor do I feel comfortable swinging out on the handrails when I may have to deal with skirts or cleanup or whatever.

I'm hoping that the portable nature of these buildings will lead to some optimization of those flows as the community settles in and learns how to use them. Granting that the optimum for a 30-person workshop may not be the same as for when there's only 4 visitors. I've often observed that workshops put a strain on the facilities in many places, even "pee in the bushes" becomes a problem when all 30 people are looking for a private bush during the same 10-minute break.


As for the baby birds - Ernie had a nest full of fledglings move into his sweater pocket one year, the parents tried to get them to come home, but eventually gave up and built a new nest in the sweater pocket. (They were originally from a garden shed shelf, where they had nested on some gloves - very suburban nuthatches.) He left the sweater hanging there for the whole season, then they did it again the next year. (Sun-rotted the yarn but I don't think he regrets it one bit.)

It's generally thought best not to handle baby wild animals, as their parents rightly mistrust people, and may be scared off by our presence (or even lingering traces of it).
Also, as Jon Young put it, "Nature abhors adolescence." The fledgeling birds whose parents are ignoring them need to learn to forage for food, and to shut up when danger approaches.
The ones who don't learn often get picked off by hawks, which hatch their eggs about the time that songbirds are fledging so as to ensure a steady supply of food for their chicks.
A songbird's life is not easy, and they have their work cut out to reach maturity.
The parent birds are generally pretty good about giving the babies what they need, if not what they want.
(Including the clue by example, to hunker down and shut up when danger approaches - which may be why you didn't see the parents.)
If you get a chance, Jon Young's "Bird Language" CDs and learning materials are pretty fascinating stuff.

I've seen Ernie butcher rabbits, too. Not his favorite job, but one that is important to do well if you are going to do it at all. He does it gently and quickly and well.
(Much better than I handled sectioning them - there are still divots in my cutting board that probably correspond to fragments of cutting board in the carcase, alongside the mashed-up bones where I had to take several strikes.)
But we did it, and got them packed into the freezer all nice and fresh.

And then he goes and fries them up in breading like fried chicken. Wonderful!
It was so good I saved all the scraps, and just made stock with them a few weeks ago, a chicken-noodle-soup but with rabbit. Also delicious, if I do say so myself.

It's probably one of the biggest transitions of my life, being able to combine the full responsibility to tenderly care for domestic animals, to kill quickly and humanely when necessary, and to prepare and enjoy that animal (or plant) as thoroughly as possible.
My mother-in-law was not able to do this when they moved to the country: they got mixed chicks, slaughtered and de-feathered the cockerels when they got to fryer stage, and then those birds sat in the freezer for three years while she bought Foster Farms chicken from the store. When I consider the other places my meat could come from (and the likely conditions of its short life), it's easy to feel good about being part of the cycle of feeding and being eaten in the way we do it here. I'd much rather eat an animal that I've seen bouncing around, or chewing something with a daffy expression of contentment, than something faceless in styrofoam. I don't like the killing part, and neither do most people I know, but I'm proud to live among people who don't shrink from doing their own dirty work in order to see it done well.

A big part of the fascination is starting to regard the world not as black and white, "nice" and "yucky," but as a series of gifts from one form to another. Surplus milk becoming cheese; surplus whey and moldy fridge-jams becoming pig food; pigs becoming bacon just before the goats take a winter rest from heavy milk production. Surplus stalks from radish pods becoming compost, keeping flies off the fruit pits from a Ricotta-cherry cheesecake. There's a lot of satisfaction in eating directly from the bush and baking with this week's produce, even if I do need to get three more big pots to keep up with it all!

Best of luck with the Ant-ing, and please continue to sing the praises and predicaments of life up there!

Yours,
Erica W
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Huckleberry hands! Blue and purple stained, and so sweet little bees kept latching on licking and buzzing in between fingers, bringing progress in the berry patch to a halt. After a few hours of steady work on the first pickings of the season, I was grateful for the slow down. Fallen trees made for mediocre seating, and the views of the mountains were stunning. Occasionally I'd catch glimpses of my newly familied friends bent over their own little slice of heaven,  crunching bramble underfoot following the flow of fruit across the acres of slope beyond the old logging road. For the most part we were alone together, deep in thought and no thought, munching and filling buckets of yum. Yaaaa It's berry season! 

Only hours prior, we were receiving our PDC certificates,  saying goodbyes and giving hugs to all hitting the road for the long journey home. Spending 2 weeks in close proximity with people who share a piece of the same dream as you is a powerful bonding experience, and I feel like I have a dozen new brothers and sisters from all over the country to go visit some day. I love you guys!

It has been a busy busy few days, with PDC designing, PDC schmoozing, PDC certificating, and PDC celebrating. My mind is toggled with new perspective, and I feel like a bubble head floating in deep space Potential. I wanted to report on what's gone down over the last few days, what has felt like a hundred days, but I'm so zzzleepy.

Thank you for all the love, permies folks! Looking forward to all that is still to come :3

Ooh and yes, I wrote a silly poem for the talent show last night, and some folks wanted me to post it: :::

sticky sweaty icky icky
all the weeks I sat in front of Nikki
bobbly head all up in her way
squirming worming in my seat all day

excuse me while I go take a pee
and take in the outside scenery
crouched down low and tinkling
the sand around me is twinkling
trees are swaying and I'ma praying

that wind will bring the rain

back inside feeling lighter, better
spray bottle in hand and getting wetter
hugelculture!in another lecture
and people standing up to take
pictures of pictures!
time for a movie
geoff lawton is groovy 
he's so on contour with everything he's sayin' it's scary and always in varying states of hairy

another interjection from someone behind me
a southern drawl i know who it be,
at least it was with something funny
cause i'm starting to feel bermed out
from caffeine, holzer, dust, and no water in spouts 
haven't taken a shower all week
i heard though there's some kinda leak 
we did go to the creek but it wasn't super deep
and i couldn't even count it as swimming. 

my head is full of all kinds of gobbly gook
and i'm starting to see signs that most if it took
soon i'll be blabbing about permaculture as much as a bearded man
with a piece of land and a far reaching plan 
singin
i'm gonna dig me a swale
gonna dig me a pond
and dammit
gonna grow me some taters along side it
hugel berm that shit so tall
that paul can't see over it 

thank you to everyone for being so awesomely you
and writing funny things while taking a poo
i will miss you and you and you and you
but not for too long, i assure you
THAT'S IT


  

 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2091
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
185
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Love it!
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yesterday: ::: it is very unsettling to carry a head in a Ziploc baggy. Decapitation feels and looks awful. Sorry, no stories of sunsets today.

My stomach turned a little  when gathering the materials to tan the rabbit hides left from the PDC; one head, one brain, and 4 hides. The hides were left hanging on tree poles encrusted in salt (first mistake), perched against the berm shed in the attempt to preserve them for a time when some one could take care of them. I typically have zero interest in fur, unless attached to a cuddly and alive animal friend who lets me shove my face into their coat, but I felt very strongly about honoring the rabbits that had been turned into stew days before.

Neither Jesse or I have any experience with tanning hides, so we used the Google machine to lead us through the process, and it very clearly said do not salt! Begin working with the hides upon the rabbits demise! So we knew we were walking into a mess of ignorance, but curiosity and will got the best of us. We loaded everything up into the truck, and made our way back to camp, and at about 8pm we found ourselves soaking hides, spoons out, and I put on some tunes to help with the ordeal ahead of us. Yellow jackets buzzed all around us as we started scraping the hide to remove the remaining skin and senew, the smell of death permeated pores and nostrils, and flesh gucked up fingernails. The salt had hardened much of the fleshy bits, and with improper tools the laborious reality of what we got ourselves into settled in. Legs still attached, tails still attached, I worked the hides with every ounce of my patience. When night started settling in, I could feel a weight of stress taking residence in my shoulders.  I don't wanna do this anymore! but keep going, this is the reality of living on the land. I was mushing brains with linseed oil in the moon light, oh romance.

You know that feeling when you're doing something you've never done before and you're watching yourself doing it in a fumbly bumbly way, knowing that anyone else could be doing it better than you but you're committed to following through with it even if it sucks. That. There is a fine line between knowing when to quit and knowing when to persevere.  By the time we got back to camp, all I could do was sit in a chair and stare off into space. My hands smelled sickly and sweet. Yet, I felt complete.

Now to wait and see if it'll be worth it to enter phase 2 of the process. Even if it's not worth it, I reckon I'll see it through to the bitter end. Making mistakes and doing things wrong are critical for self development.

But then, Today! I woke up early, in time to watch the Earth spin in its perfect way so that the sun pokes his head up over the mountains for yet another day of awesome. Today there shall be progress.

After a breaky of huckleberries, rye flakes, and peanut butter, I was off with shovel in hand to start on our garden bed for the season. It was going to be a simple 10x10 bed to plant every kind of seed we have to see what will grow as we begin preparing the site which will soon house our home, but I was feeling ambitious and decided to go bigger. The beds are in a corner of the property that leaves ample room for the imminent excavator toiling that will shape the land, so I felt good about putting in a solid day of moving soil knowing it should remain undisturbed.

The digging was easier than I could have anticipated; after two months of digging through clay on the last project, the shoveling felt like I was slicing butter, and I made a lot of headway. I like round and flowy beds, and these ones are raised to waist height for easy pickings. Tomorrow I'm going to go mulch hunting, and by tomorrow's tomorrow morning, I'm planting those bad boys with an eclectic array of seeds gifted from dear Antevan. It is late in the season to expect too much, but I'm going to be whispering sweet words of encouragement for every seed that is cast. Groooow!groooow!

I really need to find myself knee deep in some bounty work, and holy hannah there is a lot of it, but surely planting a garden to grow the food that I need that bounty money for in the first place is well placed time and energy.

I am feeling well exhausted from this wonderous day, and I'm looking forward to curling up in my freshly aired sleeping bag and dreaming the night through. My dream life is so vivid and memorable the farther I retreat from the distractions of city lights, it is as though the cleaner I live consciously the cleaner my unconscious life is. Mmmmm, sleep :3

Erica! Thank you so much for your thoughtful message, I read it a few times and thought how lovely it would be to have you around here. Your name has definitely come up a number of times at wheaton labs.




 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rain! And this time I mean it. At conception of this post, I'm hanging out under a tarp listening to the pitter patter of glorious drops of rain and they're mingling oh so well with the sound of Jesse's guitar. Boots are drenched, feet are bare, and there is a layer of moisture on my every thing.

I spent the morning yesterday planting a huge amount of seeds in the newly developed garden; after a tease of a thunderstorm a few days ago, I checked the forecast for the first time since coming here and a chance of rain was all I needed to prioritize garden over every thing else. I planted in bare, silty, sandy dry soil, and now the soil has depth. Oh how pleased I am now! The garden is already brimming with life, and it has only just begun.

Water is collecting in pockets all over the Lab, Zach's pond in particular has captured quite a lot, and the road just in front of the garden is a pool. The redirection of water is imminent.

Last night, we had an Ant Village gathering on the tail gate of Jesse's truck, some on pallet, and others bum to dirt. There is a severe lack of seating here. A topic that kept coming up was community, and we schemed up ways we can attract others here.  Others, as in womben. What would it take for females to come and balance out the energies and inputs here in the village? I love love hanging out with the guys, but truly it would be wonderful to have a sister or two or ten here to fill in the spaces, the glue that holds community together.

It is rugged up here. There is no running water and therefore no showers, nowhere soft to land after a hard days work, it is dirty and uncomfortable and there is  hard work to be done. So much hard work to be done. I know womben of a tough breed that could soften the edges here, but something is keeping them from coming and staying.

In all of the other burgeoning communities I've lived with and visited, an over emphasis has been placed on the masculine. Building, beers, heavy equipment operating; building a house takes priority over making a home.That is all here too, it has to in order for this place to grow, but there is a softness in the spirit of the people who are here that absolutely encourages beauty and sharing; that purple the intellectual Permie world often tries to separate and even denies. It's what sets Ant Village and the whole of what Paul and Jocelyn are trying to accomplish here. 

Gayful laughter, alters of flowers and sweetness in well traveled paths, art, skirts, soft and squishy hugs, ears that listen and comfort, medicine making, food crafting; that fine feminine touch that heals and uplifts. There is just as much emphasis and need for that as there is for big earth works.

I'm not trying to pigeon hole either sex, but I do want to make it clear that there is a yin to all of this yang, and that it will not be undervalued or neglected here.

Our wish list for Ant Village; yoga and meditation space, full moon celebrations and events, an apothecary, a library, community jam and art spaces, soft spaces! outdoor kitchen and food sharing, annualized thermal inertia HOT tub, herbal walks and forage, and ahh the list goes on.

I imagine this sounding like a lot of hippy shit, I'm rolling eyes at my self, but what's the point of building dozens of Wofati's if there's no one around to fully enjoy them.

So, I wonder, ladies, what could we do or build Now, that would convince you to come out and join us with your youness?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 4221
Location: Missoula, MT
395
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you Carol-Anne for your light-filled point of view and eloquent prose. Refreshing indeed.

carol-anne besler wrote:In all of the other burgeoning communities I've lived with and visited, an over emphasis has been placed on the masculine. Building, beers, heavy equipment operating; building a house takes priority over making a home.That is all here too, it has to in order for this place to grow, but there is a softness in the spirit of the people who are here that absolutely encourages beauty and sharing; that purple the intellectual Permie world often tries to separate and even denies. It's what sets Ant Village and the whole of what Paul and Jocelyn are trying to accomplish here. 

Gayful laughter, alters of flowers and sweetness in well traveled paths, art, skirts, soft and squishy hugs, ears that listen and comfort, medicine making, food crafting; that fine feminine touch that heals and uplifts. There is just as much emphasis and need for that as there is for big earth works.

Paul and I both have actually been craving more flowers, more sweetness, more softness, more art, more of the "yin." We probably do have more "purple" in us than folks imagine, or than might come across in the podcasts or on the forums. One of the things I admire most about Paul is his deep, deep reverence for life - all life. It feels spiritual, yet totally open and fitting with almost anyone's philosophies. He's been called crazy by some for being so careful about not wanting to mistreat apple trees or chickens; yet this reverence, this level of respect, underpins everything at wheaton labs. If it's a softness, or a purpleness, then so be it. I guess what I'm trying to add here is that I'm so pleased the goodness at wheaton labs has been noticed and is now being built upon by such fine and inspiring people at ant village. It warms all the colorful corners of my heart.

IMG_20150607_220037661.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20150607_220037661.jpg]
a virtual bouquet of base camp flowers for Carol-Anne
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2091
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
185
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been thinking about your question(s) since I read them last night, but I'm not sure what I have to offer. Other than my gender, I am WAY off from your target demographic, being a middle aged lady who is the primary breadwinner for 2 kids, husband, house, dog (cat, chickens, OK I'll stop there). My young adulthood was a steady stream of education and training: high school, undergrad, med school and grad school, residency; although I did branch out in spending my last year of undergrad in London, and my grad school years were a serious break from the sausage factory that is medical training. Still, when I think about what might work, I think you need to get women to come out for an event, then after they have a great time on the land they may become open to the idea of staying.

My advice would be to set up a weekend course in something you find fascinating (you need to have enthusiasm for the rest of it to work) and then recruit some (preferably female) mentors to come out and lead some of the educational endeavors. Price it as low as is practical, you're not trying to make a profit, you're trying to find some female members of your tribe! In fact, I could see the possibility for "bounty" work that leans toward female skills, but that's not place to say. What I mean is that maybe somebody who finds your workshop hugely appealing, but doesn't have much cash, could come out early and work for their tuition, if there was work available.

The idea of moving out to Wheaton Laboratories is going to be less daunting to women who already live reasonably nearby, like in Missoula. I would be sure to advertise any events in places that will catch the eye of students at U of M. The only downside I see there is that if you swing and miss, meaning you bring out a person or persons who turn out to bring the crazy, it's more problematic if they and their people live not so far away. Still, you're not THAT close to Missoula and female stalkers are really quite rare IRL, all those movies aside. . .
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2124
69
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes I think there are some demographics working here. Suburbs and big cities have more women, rural areas, more men. Rural Montana, way more men.

A lady I've met here teaches vegetable gardening classes and she says they are almost all women. Our fruit tree organization, Home Orchard Society, is mostly men. In general, I think aesthetically oriented, communal sharing activities in which it is possible to feel attractive and tell your friends about it are more popular with women. I realize that last sentence didn't sound very politically correct. I do'nt know how to fix it.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
Chelsea Mae
Posts: 1
Location: Orange County, CA
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Carol-Anne, Love your writing! I like how you see it

As for attracting the ladies, could I send you a solar camp shower? It's just a black bag with shower spout, you could build a little shed with a platform on top to sun the water, or hang in a tree. That would help I think, ladies like hot showers. A circle of hammocks in trees could be an easy, soft meeting place too, thick fabric with knots at the ends could be a cheap way to do it
 
Amber Samandulugu
Posts: 26
Location: Ghana 05°31′12″N 00°28′48″W: Rainfall 83 inches, Temperature 83 degrees F, Elevation 260 ft
3
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Love your writing. I'm the tough breed you are looking for, but I'm a little different and I couldn't stay the winter. Montana is really great. Spent many summers there at my great uncle's place chasing grasshoppers and burning tent caterpillars. Plus, I've never made any money at anything, but fed plenty of people and made lots of medicine. And isn't there a fee for staying there? I really can't pay anything except my time. I am thinking of coming back to the states to raise money for the permaculture school here in West Africa. Like I said, I can't do winter. I haven't had running water since I got here, but no complaints here: the birds are all new and the plants are all new and the people...well they are new too... so its always as my hubby says "Gradually." There are no grocery stores, one type of cheese (cheese curd), a pescatarian and four eggs a month diet, malaria, water logged dirt roads, the sound of all night prayer over loud speakers from both Islam and Christians, power shutoffs, and the delightful frog songs.
Malaria has me inside today, thinking on how to solve the power struggle that exists here in introducing permaculture to my apartment area. I know what to build, how to build it, but finding people who will allow me the space and not wreck the work from fear of superstition over insect production is one challenge. The other challenge is the corruption that exists here when you are successful at something: the landowner comes to lay claim to your build and your business. I can lay out the one thousand benefits of permaculture including the reduction of mosquitoes, rebuilding the soil, harvesting the rainwater, etc. but as soon as anyone sees money being exchanged the bullies will come for their cut. There is one way into this and I pray for the small capital to be a landowner...for in Africa that is the key to freedom. Thank you so much for your writings. It brings me back to my roots for a bit to remind me of the simple reasons I came here and the good blessings of permaculture everywhere.
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Has it really been a month? Indeedlydo it has been. I'm having that reflective moment of time passed, where minutes are hours are days, now month, and the overall importance of time is etched in the moon and in her journey around. New moon talk.

The sap and dirt under fingernails and imbedded in the creases of my hands only enhance the callouses, and my hair is wind blown and perma-matted with sweat, to which a dreadful dread has taken residence. I've been waking up earlier and going to bed later, and each day is so different than the rest that the only real routine I have going on is breakfast. It is such a blessing to wake up knowing that I have the opportunity to carve out the day as I wish, to have a million projects to work on and a million more tree stumps to sit on and do nothing at all. I feel so busy and tired, yet also have so much Carol-Anne time during the day that the emotional and spiritual stress I came here with has dissolved. Still could definitely use a massage or ten, but the ache in my shoulder blades is different now, less like I'm trying to carry the world on my shoulders and more like I'm building the future I've dreamt about for years.

some recap of the last few days: :::

rain rain rain, thunder showers. stomping barefoot in clay, soggy walks through woods, game playing, ditch digging, sitting under tarps schmoozing

skiddable kitchen building; logs over shoulder, draw knife out peeling peeling, hatchet, saw, chisel, chain saw. half way there.

garden; greenies sprouting already, so many! checking up every morning, singing praise to  new life.

hugel foraging; back and forth back and forth, dragging. piles of wet decomposing wood by the road now, hugel berm making imminent.

wood burning; making signs, attempting art, hope to make a lot more signs in time for super week.

new Ants! communal kitchen bonding, looking both ways before taking a pee now, more people meandering through the woods. lots of good times are being had.

Jesse and I made a trip into Missoula yesterday, having avoided doing so for a 3 week stretch, and went there with an obscene to do list. I am not a shopper or browser, a traffic sitter, nor a herd kinda person, so going to town can some times stress me the fuck out. Missoula is a beacon of hope as far as cities are concerned, and if it weren't for all of the other stuff I mentioned above, I would have really enjoyed my time there. Missoula is swimming with beautiful people, bicycles, fresh food, and community spirit. Having grown up in Alberta, I am amazed with how progressive people are here, a kind of progressive I've only really experienced in coastal cities and mountain towns. It is so good to live so close!

We went to Freecycle, a free-by donation bicycle vortex for building, fixing, and restoring bicycles; and will be going there to build and fix bicycles for the commute between the Lab and base camp.

We also went to Restore, a huge warehouse of salvaged every thing at low low prices, and bought a full stainless steal sink for our new kitchen, and a huge carpet for yoga. This place reminded me of one of my favourite Formidable Vegetable Sound system quote; "there's no such thing as waste, only stuff in the wrong place". We could build a home out of all the scraps here.

The Good Food store is also an amazing place, and we loaded up on staples and splurged on some rich foods for a treat.

I said in my first post that I was going to record how much money it takes to live up here, but honestly I am shit at keeping track of money, which is one of the many reasons why I have been creating a life for my self that doesn't take much of it to sustain and thrive. But! Give or take $50, I have spent $400 in the last month. That covers food, gas, treats, and odds and ends for the homestead. I think this number will ebb and flow throughout the months, so I'm going to do better at tracking the comings and goings of the all mighty dollar bill. For my own sake. I think.

I also said I was going to talk about the food we're eating up here. It has not been overly exciting, I assure you. Every meal is some shade of beige mixed with fresh picked greens, salt, pepper and oil. Grains! Copious amounts of grains. Salt. Lots. Oil. Lots. Yet so satisfying and delicious, my taste buds have well adapted to simple foods.

Ultimately, life is simplifying. And it tastes good.

Speaking of, I'm gonna go make some grub now...


Thank you so much for all of the comments and suggestions and of course virtual flowers, for my last post. Lots of great suggestions and ideas, and I've definitely taken some things into consideration. In the meantime, I'm just going to let Ant Village be what it is, and know that each day changes it, and slowly surely the peoples will trickle in. I love it here, how it is.
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been deriving much pleasure as of late sitting on the porch sipping tea and watching this large, chubby, slow moving bunny nibbling and hopping her way around the vicinity of Allerton Abbey. She is totally unlike any other bunny around here in that she spent her existence up until this point in captivity, and I can get within a foot of her before she hopples away. She's been hanging out with the squirrels and chipmunks in the wood pile, under dense lambs quarters, and I love her. Ballsy brazen furball! She was unintentionally liberated from her cage at Josh's plot about a week ago when he let her out for some hops about, and she took off quickly enough to not be put back. Ya! A success story for all captive beings! (Josh is not particularly torn up about it) She was not exactly equipped with the knowledge of her bunny descendants for wilderness survival, but there she is, holding her own. Evidentally domestication did not break the spirit of Miss Hops.

I was staying at a farm in California, where a family was keeping a pet bunny in a cage so small she couldn't turn around. She was never let out, and all but forgotten about, aside from the occasional poop scooping, and watering. She had an aura of insanity. I so badly wanted to open her cage and let her out, and I spent nights in bed thinking of how I'd go about doing it, and if anyone would even notice or care. When I see any kind of being in a cage, I feel like I'm in there with them, so I get pretty distraught, outraged, and claustrophobic. Holy projection! But alas, perhaps it is because I can relate...
Anyways. I regretfully never did liberate crazy bunny, I was sure she wouldn't last a minute outside the home, and I feared persecution (the owner was my boss, and so). But now that I've seen Miss Hops living out her hoppy life, I feel a little more prepared to deal with the next time I'm presented with an opportunity to free a neglected being. Life is relentless in its pursuit of survival at all costs, Miss Hops is a testament to that.

I'm an advocate for respecting the sanctity of life, and I know plenty of people who keep animals, revere them and then eat them, and that is totally rad. Thank you permaculture for continuing to shine a light on how humans and animals can coexist in a system that supports one another.

Other than loving on a bunny, which actually probably has taken up less time than it did to type about in on my teeny tiny phone, I've been busy busy helping Jesse with the renos of Allerton Abbey, preparing for Soooper Week!, and helping out Jocelyn in the home when ever I can. I am stoked to have such fine folks coming to join in on the fun up at the Lab, and I imagine we'll all be feeling inspired and well ahead on our projects after the week is over. One of the main focuses will be on Allerton Abbey, which is well talked about on the wofati thread, and I reckon there will be a shit show cob-off to report on later.

The morning sun is hitting my back side, and is telling me to get to work before it gets crazy hot, so I bid ye farewell. May you too have a glorious day doing what you do.

 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2124
69
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi carol anne,
I suppose I am going to meet you in a couple of days. I just want you to know that your posts are fun to read and think about. I really enjoy them,and I think they are helping me to visualize what I am going to see at the lab.
Thanks,
John S
PDX Or
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cob! Gobs and gobs of blobby cob consisting of piles of poo perfectly proportioned pending Clay!  Squish Squish smoosh smoosh under feet and in hands, poo tea splashing all about so close your mouth!, dry clay creating arrays of wonder on bare skin and ensembles, in hair but don't care.

I'm typing to you from the deck of our partially finished kitchen, my now-almost-favourite spot to chill out. It is nothing but a deck and a few poles that will one day hold up a roof, but it is flat and fabulous. Night is settling in and my muscles are all achey brakey from long long days of cob work and it feels really great to have this moment all to my self (to which I share with you). It's the end of day 2 of working hard, having fun, slathering earth on the exterior walls of Allerton Abbey, and running around trying to get the show organized with the materials we need to maximize efficiency. I am feeling particularly blessed to be working alongside Erica Wisner, who is a magician at all things cob, and a slew of other things. She is a wicked cool womban, and I have absorbed so much know-how already. Ernie is forecasted to be working with us tomorrow now that Jesse has prepared the site for his expertise, and I'm looking forward to more of his enlightened conversations on politics and policy. Wow team E&E, you kick ass!

Nothing accelerates opening people up than working on team-effort projects, and it has been a hoot stomping cob and sifting shit with the folks who have been visiting the Lab. Raoul (pronounced Rule!), was visiting for Code Ranch week, and it was such a delight to watch this quiet computer programmer slip sliding away doing the cob stomp dance, with such a shit eating grin on his face. He had been so apprehensive in coming out, and he ended up never taking his bare feet out of the goopy cob. Nothing like getting down and dirty like a child to put us all on the same playing field.

And Burra! What a delight to have her English humour and quick insight, not to mention her eager hands that enjoy sifting old cow turds. So many laughs have been had at Allerton Abbey with all of this fresh energy, and we've only just finished day 2.

The Permies staff, Cassie, Julia, and John, arrived this evening too, and they surprised us with a quick visit at AA. So nice to have faces to the names who have been leaving such wonderful messages all over these forums. Looking forward to sharing space with y'all :3

So there you have it. I love everyone who is here and I wanna share that! Also. Cob. Love.

 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi. Blue sky, crisp air, clean hair, old socks, belly full of toasted oats, hot tea cooling. We all made it through yet another day, and if you gotta find something to smile about today, then let it be the simple realization that life is still being lived. Hoooray!

I've been feeling kind of down and out the past few days, sprinkled with joy rest assured, but far more gloominess than usual. Like the intoxicating anticipation felt as a child when waiting for Santa to come, and then he comes and you tear into all of those mysterious presents, and only minutes afterwards mom is telling you to pick up all of the wrapping paper and get dressed, and everything that was unwrapped is strewn about in a sad display of expectation that did not come close to meeting the grandeur of your imagination.  when I say you, I always mean I. Give me a box to play in and I'll be none the wiser.

July super days are long gone, everyone has gone home, and I'm looking up at this mountain of work ahead of me that is seeking completion so that I can work on something new, so that I can make my way back to Canada for a visit in mid August (more on that later) with some coin to rub together. Mountains of plastering, of wool still requiring home in cracks, of shit that still needs sifting, of cob making, of of of.. Many hands make for a lighter load, and even with the many hands helping with Allerton Abbey, I was still exhausted by days end. But exhaustion is disabled when there is so much chatter and merriment, and the progress we were making was hugely motivating. I am so grateful for all of the help we had last week, but it was kinda like Christmas - sharing food with folk, hearing laughter, seeing smiles, finding comfort in shared experiences, and then booof back to reality.

The reality is that the Allerton Abbey project is destined to be completed by few hands, the cobbing seemingly thus far resting in my hands while Jesse is working on the construction aspect. Everyone who is living here have their own many many projects, like building a home for winter!!, and volunteer labour is hard to come by in the boonies. Calculating the hours left, I'm looking at a measily pay out by the time it's done. So I've been feeling pretty dow. This is all speculation, I have faith that something will turn around, but I couldn't help stew over it for a few days.

I genuinely want, and wanted, to have an active part in the face lift of AA, and the only way for me to find happiness is to completely drop the expectations. I have worked for a lot less and for a lot less recognition, and throughout it all I've never regretted putting my bones into a project to see through its completion. I may have laid awake in bed at night questioning my self and my decision to get involved during the doing phase, but ultimately the experience and the satisfaction of completion served its own rewards. The reward for this project has already began to be felt with the wealth of new knowledge that I've acquired, and by the end of it I'll probably be able to say I know what I'm doing. This project has also inspired me to start reading more about natural building, and I can always use more Cool Things I Do in my arsenal to impress people at parties.

Just admitting to my gloom makes me feel a lot less gloomy. How I could I dwell in any one state of mind, when the sun is threatening to incinerate me, a humming bird just circled my head, and the cute brown bunny that is living at our camp came by for a nose twitching visit. Thank you New perspective.

Ultimately Carol-Anne, suck it up and get on with the show. Quitting is for weiners. I have a date with some stinky bags of wool, so Later days
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2091
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
185
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hang in there, Carol-Anne! Your Cool Things I Do arsenal is already too awesome for half the folks you meet. I wish I could have done more sobbing - I intended to, but the unexpected gift of all those trees and plants seemed to require immediate action.

Just be sure to work on the shady side of the wofati when you do! Hopefully the bunny will come back and visit now that all the noisy folks and dogs are gone.
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Whoo-oo-a niiice one" ~ probably not the typical response when coming across a big meaty cow patty,  but maybe when you too are scavenging around for cobbing materials your eyes will light up when coming across a turd the size of a basketball. Maybe you'll wonder about that cow, and commend it for its wonderfully useful digestive system. With a big black bag slung over my shoulder full of such pies I just described, I be feeling ho ho ho happy.

And everythings a-changin',
round and round
thankfully so

Gloom doesn't loom ' round these parts for long, and the low moments of days prior just serve to enhance the Good Times, which serve to cushion the blow for when I fall again. Round and round it goes. Cow pies!


Slowly and surely we're making headway on Allerton Abbey, and geeking out to formidable vegetable and nahko bear has significantly improved morale.
Slowly slowly though, to be sure, cuz it's hotter than hell out here in the great wild west, pushing 100, and I'm trudging around zombified until about 7pm when it becomes bearable enough to do the real work of the day.

Lately when I make my way over to AA there is at least one person jamming out, as in making apricot jam. Fred, Evan, and Curtis came away with a massive score of fruit after being tipped off by the great Paul, and there are jars upon jars of yum housed all over the kitchen area. Evan gifted Jesse and I a generous helping of his bounty, and after stuffing our faces with freshies, we made some preserves from what was left. There wasn't enough to warrant the energy turning it into jam, so we made a sugar syrup and jarred up halved apricots as a test. The outcome reminded me of those tins of fruit cocktail my mom fed me as a kid, and it turns out that I like them now as much as I did then, so we'll be making a trip to glean what is left so we too can jam on. I'm hoping to be half the jammer Fred is. He's a magician.

Where there are apricots, there are pits, which could be TREES some day, so I planted a bunch on the south end of J's plot, just past the draw, where they are least likely to be devastated by all of the earth works that are planned. I'm going to plant a bunch more tomorrow, and while I'm at it I may as well plant a bunch more around the lab. Think of the children!

We've decided that we need to push our projects forward as much as we can while pushing Allerton Abbey forward, and Jesse has moved a lot of earth with the tractor to prepare the site for the berm shed on his plot. Now when I look out from camp there are massive piles of top soil obstructing what little view I had over ant village. No more sitting around watching the rare occurrence of activity take place on the road (like a bike go by, or a neighbour walking by for a visit. woooeee excitement!) It's motivating to see what can be done in a few hours of work, and now my front yard is a giant sand pit with piles of hard clay. If there were a pond, we could call it a beach and invite all of our friends over for some volleyball and a barbeque. Progress, slowly and surely.

It feels like a lot has happened since last post, then also nothing at all, and time keeps escaping me. So I'm going to put it out there now that I'm heading back to the west coast of Canadada, Vancouver Island, for a spell as of August 11ish. Estimated return, late September, early October. I have things and stuff that I need to take care of, and truly I'm looking forward to going back to mama ocean, I miss her dearly. Jesse is driving me part way there, and I'll bike the rest of the way (by choice). I'm going to be putting my feelers out to find Permies on the Island, and hope to find some work and a new friend or two. I'm going to breath some life back into my old blog when I head out, and I'll put the address on my profile.

Mama moon is a big ball of orange tonight and last, the colour of forest fire somewhere in the distant.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ooooooooh hoo, I love reading this thread Carol-Anne. Your perspective is so valuable and your attitude of wanting everything to be free is a breath of fresh air in the world.

I think to make women come, it would help if children were welcome and safe! I am deeply rooted to my own land here. I love seeing the ant village through your eyes.
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Ah sorry, we're just doing a little grocery shopping."

In the back alley of a neighbourhood in Missoula, Jesse's truck was parked blocking a woman in her car from
getting through.

"Oh don't worry about it, I do it all of the time!"

A few days ago we had been tipped off through a Craigslist ad that there was an apple tree producing more fruit than the owners could keep up with, and we jumped on the chance to do some urban foraging. The back yard had a beautiful garden, and I was bathing in the aroma of lemon balm as one of the residents of the house gave us the low down. The tree had been planted at the time the house was built, about 1890, and it was  as tall as the 3 story walk up. The branches were gnarled and hanging heavy with small yellow Transparent apples, a hearty early fruiting variety. Jesse used the stairwell and started piling in the apples in a bag, and I stuck to the ground and gleaned all that had fallen already, and resident Rose sang us praises for being there. On top off all of the fruit, I got a big bear hug from her at the end and we were invited to come back for more any ol' time. 

This wasn't the only tree we were welcomed to, and the neighbours from across the way had 2 plum trees 'making a mess', and we loaded up another box of the sweetest plums I've ever had.

We also scored outside of the Good Food store and brought a box home full of greens, peppers, broccoli, and one perfect brussel sprout. That brussel sprout made my day. Yum.

If that wasn't enough, we went to the Natural Grocers and came away with a bunch of perfectly ripe nectarines, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and bananas all hanging out in the dollar bin. Holy feast! This was the best trip to Missoula yet, and it was a beautiful thing to see our bounty stacked in the back of Jesse's truck. Yaaaaa urban forage!

In the light of all of the fresh food, I spent all of yesterday jamming out, saving seeds, making food, cleaning cleaning, and had an awesome garden salad for lunch.

Apple butter, plum and nectarine jam, and hot pepper jelly are all jarred and stored away for later days. Over 7 litres of future bliss.

My first inclination is to share what I have, and I made a big pot of broccoli soup and stovetop Apple crumble for the folks up at the lab. It was also a ploy to get everyone together, and we ended up playing games that the new Ant Chris brought until the wee hours of the morning on the new deck of Allerton Abbey. Have I mentioned how much I love all of these wonderful beings here? My belly still hurts from laughing so much.

The night was super crisp and clear, and the deck of AA allows for a good vantage to lay and look up at the stars, to which many were a'shooting. Someone asked if I had wished for anything, and I realized I hadn't, for I felt so full up I couldn't imagine needing any thing else than what I already have. Maybe tonight when I see a shooting star, I'll remember to wish for those who don't.

It's feeling surreal that I'll be heading out soon. Every other homestead/farm situation I've been in, I left ready to leave and start a new adventure, while here I feel like I've just barely begun. Unlike the other places, I am at home here. What a gift home is! With that, I am reminded that I get to come back, and I need not get so sentimental for leaving. The novella of Carol-Anne has many blank pages yet, and I'm just putting a period at the end of a sentence.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 4028
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
172
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just looked at craigslist up your way and there seem to be lots of free fruit, roosters and geese. Even a free small house but that might be a little too much !
 
Gary Huntress
Posts: 87
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That was an excellent post, Carol-Anne. A good writer has the ability to paint pictures in the minds of their readers; almost like being transported into the story and YOU certainly have it! Thanks for the trip!
 
carol-anne besler
Posts: 29
Location: here and about
37
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Whoa. So, mike oehler hey. Whoa. It's been 24 hours since we left his property, and I am still high on inspiration and awe. I have seen pictures and video of underground homes, hobbits holes, and earthen structures, but I've never seen them for my own eyes; felt them with my whole being. It is as though I just accelerated my evolution by a dozen years, and it feels fantastic. Thank you Mike for the life altering download.

Our trip to Oehler's kinda ties this post in with a podcast we did around the table in Jocelyn and Paul's kitchen to discuss Ant Village shtuff. We spoke into a black red eyed Cyclops, and apparently y'all will hear it later.

It was fun to hear everyone speak of their plans, needs, and desires for the village, and by the end I nearly forgot that it was all being recorded. Before the recorder went on, we brainstormed some topics to bring up, and I chimed in with a '10 year vision' for whakt this place could be like that. My 10 year vision, and every thing else, sits in my mind as pictures, symbols, and feelings, so when Paul asked me what my vision was, I sat there bug eyed and said something to the equivalent of 'urm ah durrr', which really did not do my imagination any justice. So I want to hash it out now.

The answering of this question coincides beautifully with the trip to Mike's place, as it gives my imagination some tangibility, making it easier to write it out now.

This is probably more of a 20-30-40, ah more of a 60 year vision, a place in time I would like my children to raise their children.

It's story time! And to start out....

If not for the sounds of a hammer in the distance and the chatter of young voices in amongst the trees, at first glance it would appear that no one lived here. From the road, the untrained eyed would take in the canopy of trees and hills of flowers and foliage, and marvel at mother earth's ingenious design. With closer inspection, the same visitor would begin to recognize the orbs of fruit and nut hanging off branches, of bushes teeming with berries that shine, and an array of medicinal and edible flowers, and herbs. Walking the road, one comes to a wide well traveled path that juts to the right, shaded and lined with more of the same; trees and hills (y'all call them berms), food and forage. As one walks farther down the path, a hand carved sign announces that the traveller has come home, and welcome.

Around a bend, the path opens up and a stunning view of plants growing in spirals in amongst a shallow creek captivate the senses, and only the glint of reflecting sunshine gives way to the fact that embankment to the right is not just a hill, but a home. Windows of all kinds of shapes and sizes speckle the earth, and a large doorway nearly visible is covered by a pergola overgrown with fruiting vines giving clues as to where best to knock and receive greetings.

Unbeknownst to the visitor, the inhabitant of said house, me, saw them coming, having watched them approach from the vantage of the yoga and meditation platform high up in the trees.

"Hellooo! I'll be right down!"

A quick zip down, and I am faced with a forlorn traveler, gaunt with hunger and fatigue, eyes sparkling with life and wonder.

"We have been expecting you!" I quip, though both the traveler and I know that this is entirely impossible. No one has ever come down that path without divine assistance though, and I know no accident when one comes upon my door.

A warm embrace, and a hand baring fruit, I offer the traveler my trust and welcome them to drop their well worn bag and offer them a brief tour, guiding them down the path that runs along the creek. The incline is gradual until the end, where the shallow creek makes way to a deep dark pond, hollowed out by work done decades prior, and I point to the falling water from the far bank.

"The shower is over there, the water is quite warm at this time of year. We like to use the flat rock to sun dry, and feel free to take rest in the hammock beneath the oak while I let the others know you have arrived. The water fall is yours for the drinking, and if you look around you'll see plenty of fruit to eat. Lunch will be ready when the sun moves just behind that rock ledge. All paths lead to the village centre eventually, do come when you are ready."

I offer the traveler a wooden bowl and a simple robe, and leave them to their own to rinse the road from their hair. As I make my way back down the path I look over my shoulder and see their sun bronzed body already floating in the water. Mmm, having been there before, I can interpret their body language as utter peace and contentment.

I walk down the path, and instead of following it back to my home, I take a right at the alter of rock, sage, bone and crystal, and sprinkle petals on it from the bloom of wild flowers I had past by the creek. The alter is in a perpetual flow of change, telling the story of who had last visited it.

The path meanders through large trunked trees, and the singsong of birds accompany me as I make my way to the village circle. As I get closer, the sounds of activity become audible, and I remember that today is market day, and the village people will be out trading their wares to their neighbours.

"...and my sandals are near worn out, so I could trade you a week's worth of eggs for another pair."

"...I could use a hand making more preserves in a few days. Why don't you come by for a day, and you can take a few of these jars now."

Children are running about with gooey remnants of treats on their mouth, and people are under pergolas and wandering about looking to trade, unhurried and content to take their day of rest.

I walk through the circle, sharing smiles, hugs, and kisses from friends and lovers, though it is obvious that I am walking with purpose, and I am not postponed in making it to my destination to the great hall.

The great hall is a shining beacon and unlike my home, it is only half encloacked in earth, with a large front porch and decks jutting out from each of the 3 floors. I can see faces through the windows, and can tell that the elders are preparing to sit down and meet. A perfect time to let them know of our newest addition.

I walk up the porch, greeted with a tiny hug around my legs by a few of the children, and enter into an expansive room. After all of these years, it can still take my breath away.

Mosaics of bright tiles, wooden beams etched with designs, and paintings of the week tell the story of the people, and the shafts of sunlight illuminate the craft of care full hands. The elders are sat in a circle in the far left of the room, comfortable on patchwork pillows stuffed with buckwheat and rice hulls, and it is obvious that they had just finished their yoga routine given their flushed and vibrant faces.

I fill them in with the pertinents, and one of the elders feels called to take the traveler under their wing, to feed and house them, until they are on their feet.

Not to disturb their meeting space for long I take my leave and make my way up the spiraling staircase to one of my favourite spaces in the village. The library.  It is both quiet and exuberant at the same time, with students milling around tables discussing their work of days prior, and others lounging with books, pads and pencils, lost in thought. The book shelves are brimming with wisdom, but I know which one I am there for, and find it easily. It is creased and dog eared, a community favourite, and I look forward to sharing it with the traveler, "The kin of Ata are waiting for you".  Surely a great story to curl up to and find understanding.

I see a few of my students studying, astronomy and astrology books in a colourful array of symbols and imagery, and I smile wondering what passionate discussion will take place in lesson tomorrow evening at the setting sun. It's not required that any of them attend, and lessons are opened to all ages, thus those who convene are wholly present and ready to share and learn. 

It seems that most of the village comes by the education center at some point every day, though it is most often filled with young people, and those new to the village. The mission is to insure everyone who wants to is equipped to create a life for themselves, to go out into the world and forge their own path, and continue to spread awareness and knowledge. For every body that stays and lives out the rest of their lives at the village, we hope 2 will leave and create another home.  Rainbow Warriors in training. 

I smile and wave at the group, and head back down into the main hall and out into the sunshine. Judging by the change of energy and the current of people heading down pathways, lunch will be served soon. The village does not always eat together at every meal, but on market days, rest days, harvest, and special occasions, everyone who wishes to gathers to break bread and catch up with each other on the going ons. For a community so tightly knit, it is not uncommon to only socialize during meals and events. As all roads and paths lead to the centre, those same paths lead in the opposite direction to peoples homes. It is well known that home is sacred, and those boundaries are respected. 

I see a lover of mine who I haven't connected with in days, and I am grateful to cross paths with them. Their eyes share the same, and we walk leisurely hand in hand until we can deviate from the main path, and on to another where we can lay near the creek on a well shaded hammock. We fill each other in on what is new until talk turns to silent cuddles, and we soak up this space in time which is all ours to share. We don't have to see each other every day to share love now, and there are no expectations to place upon each other for the next time. 

A rumbling belly reminds us not to dilly dally for too long, lunch waits for no-one, and we lazily get up and get moving. As quickly as we came together, we kiss our goodbyes and make space for the rest of the day to unfold. Shared meal times is always highly energetic, and it is not long before I am swept away into yet another loved one's arms, with laughter and delight, and we take a seat at one of the many big round tables outside near the kitchen. I look around the table at all of the faces I have known so well, and give a silent thanks.

And the feast! It is always a bountiful feast, with everything placed in the middle of tables, arranged in a cornucopia of colours and texture. Everything on the table was produced, grown, made,and harvested by the people, and we take in the nourishment through our eyes first, beginning digestion before it even reaches our mouths.

We give thanks to all of life for its offerings, and with eye contact give acknowledgment to all that sit around us for their contribution to the whole. When two eyes, real eyes, realize.


Woooo ok, that is going to have to be part one. It's been a great exercise putting my vision into words. More to come tomorrow.

 
incandescent light gives off an efficient form of heat. You must be THIS smart to ride this ride. Tiny ad:
Ernie and Erica Wisner's Rocket Mass Heater Everything Combo
https://permies.com/t/40993/digital-market/digital-market/Ernie-Erica-Wisner-Rocket-Mass
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!