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28/M west coast (and free to move) looking for partner with whom to serve land and community

 
Posts: 22
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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I’m pretty happy being single.  I have good friends and community and a lot of love in my life.  Even so, it could be really sweet to find someone I really click with and try to do life together.  To share all that beauty.  I don’t leave the land I’m on very often right now, so I rarely meet new people in person.  In addition to looking for a partner, I’m also happy to talk with likeminded people on here and make new permie friends.

In a partner I'm looking for a woman who:
- Loves what I love / has the same primary values.  I love life in all its forms, beauty and abundance and diversity of all forms of life.  My mission is to help life thrive, to help create and nurture habitat.  For humans yes, but not only for humans, and perhaps not primarily for humans.  I particularly love forest.
- Has deep integrity.  Like, you’re not perfect but you at least aren’t afraid of acknowledging the ways you’re not perfect and you actually want to better live in alignment with your values.  Honesty, with myself and others, when I’ve fallen into a bad pattern of thought or behavior is really important to me.
- Is as excited as me about piles of organic material.  (This follows from the above two ;)
- Cares about her health.
- Isn’t so afraid of things.  I mean, yes, we’re going to die.  Life is beautiful and we’ve been given so much; let’s give back and enjoy it in the time we’re given. “Is not impermanence the very fragrance of our days?”  Have a sense of humor, almost everything is funny if you think about it!
- Isn’t in denial about ecological collapse, climate change, etc.  We’re headed for hard times and we need to be mentally prepared for that.  I’m not necessarily expecting to survive whatever comes though I’ll try, but more importantly I’m going to serve the land while I can and create something beautiful.  Even if does get wiped out by some calamity, it will have been worth it and I’ll have enjoyed doing it.
- Is around my age, give or take 5 years.

As for where we could live ultimately, there are a lot of options.  There’s a beautiful big piece of land near here in northern california where I’ve been offered to stay permanently and build/garden/raise animals on.  (The owner wants people who deeply care about the land to live there and protect/nurture it long term, it already has some permaculture development on it.)  Or it’s possible I could stay at the place where I live now in the redwood forest, if you were into that.  It’s a tiny community kind of thing, and focused outwardly on serving the forest more than just on creating local community here, but I do love it here, been living here 7 months.  I’m not depending on it, but I wouldn’t be shocked if I stayed a very long time.  Or I could buy land in western NY where I’m from and start a farm/homestead/community sort of thing there, close to my family and a lot of connections.  Or, if you already have a place somewhere, or want to live in some other place, I am open to the possibility of coming to love another region and community.  Though I really love the forest, and I don’t want to live in a desert.  I don't intend to live in a city.

As for kids, I absolutely love kids.  I think I could be a good dad.  I’m also not in a rush, and it’s not something I absolutely need.  In the right circumstances it could be wonderful, and I could see myself having kids in a few years, or in 10 years, or never.  Ideally in a situation where the kids don't have to go to school, unless it's some hyper-local thing with neighbors.  I would want to spend a lot of time with them.  I do think in the long run I want to be around kids for example in a community setting, whether or not they’re my own.

As for lifestyle/career stuff.  I will probably want to live close with the land and grow food etc, like I'm doing now.  If you end up wanting to be part of that, or if you have your own thing going on or your own dreams and we can mutually support each other, that's cool!  I'm pretty flexible about what I end up doing as long as it serves what I love.  Honestly, while I do have space in my life to commit to things long term, I haven't yet, and so I'm still in a very open place as far as how the future will look.


Where I’m at right now:
I work most of the time here where I live, at a little community in the forest in Mendocino county CA, taking care of the garden and land, feeding the people here, and generally supporting the work that goes on here, which is a group focused on forest advocacy/protection/regeneration.  I saved money so I can live for a long time without needing to make more money for myself, so I can find the work I want to do and just do it.


In the past I’ve been reluctant to share much about myself in online dating sites, because it kind of feels like bragging.  But life’s short, and I may as well share the ways I’ve been blessed as it may help you, you wonderful person, to feel that we’d be a good team.  I don’t expect you to be the same as me, I just want to say who I am so you can have some sense if we might be compatible!

I wrote a lot here, and it's cool if you want to chat without having read everything.  It’s fairly quiet where I am these days so I like to talk on the phone if you’re into that.  And to you elders out there, if you know someone awesome feel free to play matchmaker for us.  ;)


Some things about me:  

I’m very healthy.  I think health is all about attitude, nutrition, and exercise.  Having a healthy attitude and not being stressed about stuff helps the body stay healthy.  As for food, I care mostly that I get good nutrition.  When I’m living with land I’m pretty good at this.  Some of my guidelines are: if it’s good for you and won’t ruin the food, throw it in!  And, the more different plants and fungi you eat every day, the better.  No surprise given that we’re on permies.com… that I generally avoid processed stuff, inorganic stuff, sugar, factory farmed animal products, and so on.  I never have coffee or alcohol or marijuana and I quit caffeine when I was 16.  I have nothing against these necessarily, I just don’t need them myself.  I don't watch TV and I have enough to do outside that I don't waste time on the internet / social media much anymore.

I’m 6’4”, physically fit, only medical visits in the last 10 years were for a couple of nasty spider/bug bites.  That’s not to say tragedy couldn’t strike and I get cancer or something.  But right now I seem to be in good shape.  I’ve never really been on any kind of medication.  (I used to take ibuprofen for headaches once in a while, but haven’t had to in years.)  I’m very skeptical of modern mainstream medicine — not to say it’s all bad, just I think a lot of it is.

I don’t need much physical comfort.  For example I often don’t mind just bundling up in winter and going without heat.  (Though when there’s a woodstove I don’t mind chopping wood and staying toasty!)  I’m pretty low maintenance in this way.  The only thing I use to clean myself is apple cider vinegar, toothpaste, and water.  (This is negotiable but it's worked well so far!)

I’m very frugal and ecologically conscious about what I buy.  I’ve never owned a vehicle because I haven’t really needed one yet.  If I was running a place myself and had no other vehicle to use I might get a vehicle, but so far it’s not been necessary.  I wish humans had never invented cars for obvious reasons.  I rarely buy packaged food, I generally don’t eat at restaurants or pay for entertainment unless it’s directly to someone I know.  Still, I’m not at all innocent.  I think for us to live in healthy relationship with the land would ultimately mean a lifestyle much more like that of the native americans pre-colonization, and I am far from that.  I don’t wallow in guilt about this all the time, but I’m very much aware of it and do make an effort to do better.

I’m totally privileged.  I grew up feeling loved, financially safe, got to go to college, etc.  And I want to use this privilege wisely and generously.  If we do some beautiful land project I’d want it not to be just for us — we must share the bounty and the beauty, especially with non-humans of course, but probably also with other humans too.

I don’t have a work ethic in the abstract sense, it’s more that I care and so I work for the good of the things or people I care about.  In my ideal world we wouldn’t have destroyed the habitat and so we could all goof around making beautiful things most of the day and hunt/gather a little for our food.  But the things I love are in danger right now. Kind of like if your village was being attacked, you have to fight.

I'm good at math and have an engineering mind and funnily am very skeptical of all our modern technology.

Oh, hobbies.  I mean.. gardening obviously.  Learning all about forest ecology, and ecology in general, and how to fit that into forest gardening.  Is cuddling the cat a hobby?  I do nature photography mostly of the forest: http://flic.kr/philipmcg.  I love to sing, I sing scottish gaidhlig.  I love to write when I have something I must say.  Foraging wild food and experimental cooking and preserving food are probably my biggest hobbies.  I get a lot of mushrooms and acorns and berries from the forest.  Learning all the plants around me and how to use them.  Sharing food with people is my favorite thing to do, especially foods from the land that they’ve never had before.  I got to share my roasted garlic-chanterelle-marinaded acorns and quince sauce with city people over Christmas.  When I’m in cities I always help out with Food Not Bombs which is a grassroots group that serves free healthy food in public in many cities -- I did this in San Francisco for two years while living there.

Some of my hobby dreams are to build a truly eco-friendly home from stuff on the land, make a longbow and hunt with it, learn to play an instrument well, and grow an abundant food forest with minimal technology and minimal maintenance.  Maybe I will just learn that this region is already a food forest of acorns and huckleberries.  ;)

I was vegan for a while, I’m not anymore.  I don’t generally buy animal products and if you’re vegan I’d probably be happy to eat that way.  I just think hunting a deer makes more ecological sense than clearing forest to grow a field of beans.  Or even than fencing off forest to keep the deer away from the acorns so I can have them.  Better to let the deer eat some of the acorns and then eat the deer if you need to.

Spiritual/religious life.. I grew up in a fundamentalist christian church.  When I was 14 or so I was questioning it all, like how can it be that everyone but us are going to hell and we can somehow save them but we don’t seem to actually try that hard, and why is God so vengeful?  I stopped going to church at 17.  There’s a lot of story in between then and now that I won’t get into here.  Now, I’ve been part of the mennonite church in san francisco for almost four years, and this community has meant a lot to me.  I see them only every few months now since I left the city, but I feel very supported by this group and also feel a responsibility to them to live my life well in service.  This is not a burden but a joy.  The rituals, gatherings, and commitment to each other transcend religious terminology.  I don’t call myself a christian, though I still love some of the stories about Jesus.  The forest and its mountains and rivers are my temple.  I feel very close to whoever the spirit/creator/god/mystery is that holds all this together, and I’ve been learning to trust this one intuitive voice inside me which pretty frequently guides my day to day.  It’s led me to so much beauty in the past year, I don’t think I could do better trying to figure out life logically.  I take mushrooms sometimes, which has been a beautiful and clarifying experience.  I’ve read a lot of poetry and wisdom and hopefully absorbed a lot of it.  I am full of gratitude for life.  I love this line by Rilke: that “life’s bestowal of riches already surpasses any subsequent impoverishment. What, then, remains to be feared? Only that we might forget this!”

Politics… I mean I value the forest.  Neither of the big parties in the US seem to give a damn about healthy soil.  One party is sometimes slightly less blatant in their disregard, perhaps.  I don’t pay much attention to national politics anymore — not saying it’s wrong to, but we don’t all have time for everything.  Local politics I do think are important, and wherever I end up I’d love to understand county/town government and see if I can help push things in the right direction.  Perhaps deep ecology is my political affiliation.

I admire strong women, and I feel most at home in a matriarchal context.  I have a lot of strong woman leaders in my life who I deeply respect.  I feel like women tend to have more purity of purpose than men — they’re less often acting from personal ego, and more often acting from love and care for the community.  This is a generalization I know and there are plenty of exceptions.  I don’t mean that women have to make all the decisions, just that when they do feel strongly about things I usually respect their wisdom more than mens’.

I cry.  Often in gratitude or joy, and also often in grief at what’s happening to what I love.  Usually when I’m with myself.  If you think a man shouldn’t have emotions, I beg you to reconsider.  It doesn’t get in the way of acting appropriately in response to the situation, quite the contrary.  I feel things deeply and this is what motivates me to do the work I do.

I don’t get stressed much.  I don’t get angry at people.  I’m pretty practiced at letting go of things.  I do care about stuff and I am angry about what we’re collectively doing to the earth that I love and its inhabitants.  I just have never had much personal drama and don’t want to.

My weakness is peanut butter.  It’s weird because most everything I cook tastes better than peanut butter but I still have a sort of addiction to peanut butter.  My other weakness might be that I spent so much time in front of a computer and so I have a lot of catching up to do on the real world, but I do have all of my time free to give to this catching up now.  I know I have many other weaknesses, some of which are too complex to write about here, and probably many more that I’m blind to which I’ll need you to point out for me.  I'm very open to talking about the ways I'm not perfect or not who I want to be.  I don't have much to hide or defend.

Finally, here’s a very short version of my life story.  I grew up on a farm in western NY.  Was homeschooled along with my siblings.  We had a garden and some goats, chickens, and cattle, although I wasn’t too involved in that it was always there.  Then I got interested in computers and ended up getting my “dream job” as a software engineer out of college.  I didn’t feel like I belonged there deep down, but I did enjoy it and was very successful so I rolled with it.  Then I started realizing how the industrial economy is destroying everything beautiful that I love, for example the forest, and I realized that I was part of that, and that all the money I was making was effectively coming from decimated habitat if you follow the economic interconnections.  This was mostly during 2015-2016.  So I finally took a three month leave from work in spring 2017, moved out of my apartment and traveled on bicycle in Oregon, and spent the summer in nature.  When I got back I moved into a homeless protest camp in Berkeley.  I was going to quit my job right away but was persuaded to stick around for a couple months so I could be a “senior engineer” when I left, in case I wanted to come back some time.  I slept in a tent on the street and then rode the fancy techie bus to the office during the day.  It was funny.  Finally quit the job at the end of October 2017 and went slowly traveling, wwoofing and looking for community to be part of.  I spent some time back in western NY, then in North Carolina last winter, and then returned to California and took my bike up to the northern california coast, and fell in love with this place.  It was a long time coming — I first met the redwood forest six years ago in the afternoon after my job interview, and I had come up to this region twice before and absolutely loved it.  I’ve been here since April at the same place.  I also frequently spend time at a friend’s place in the mountains where there are a lot of animals.  I’ve been taking on more responsibilities and at this point I feel like I have good practice and familiarity with what’s involved in living permaculture off grid.  Of course there’s *tons* I don’t know, but I’m broadly aware of what’s going on and how to learn what I need to learn (permies.com, haha!).

So, that’s me in a nutshell.  Hey, I had some time for writing over the holidays since I didn’t travel back to NY this year.  :)  I don’t expect you to write me something really long about yourself.  It’s been a fun little self-reflection.

If you feel like talking, you can post here or send me a message by clicking https://permies.com/forums/pm/sendTo/261775 or email me at phil@philipmcg.com.

Best wishes to you on your journey, whoever you are!
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gardener
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Location: PNW
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What a great post!  Good luck in finding your perfect partner.  :)
 
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Just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to write and post this! It restores my faith in humanity in general and single men specifically to know that people like you are out there. Have a wonderful new year up there in the redwoods!
 
Posts: 122
Location: Zone 4b Ontario, Canada
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Lovely post Philip.

You're the sort I would like my daughter (24) to meet.  Our homestead here is a Matrilineal Trust, Women are the Guardians of the Land.  We are closer to NY, but not in the US (shame).  Comforting to know that a person such as yourself is out there, (so few it seems).  Very best wishes!

Cheers!  K
 
pollinator
Posts: 181
Location: Lewis County, WA
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I haven't smiled in a long time. Thank you for your beautiful post. Thank you for elevating my mood. Thank you for touching my heart.
 
Philip McGarvey
Posts: 22
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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You all are so kind

Sonja, if that ever happens I won't know what to say.  If she's even out there I don't deserve to meet her on top of everything, but hey, I'd love that.  Life will unfold and be beautiful either way.  Not holding my breath

Ingrid, if you find out where those people like me out there are let me know; we'd probably become friends.  It's been such a beautiful winter here.  So many mushrooms, and now snow... ahh ahh ahhh.

Kate, I spent some time in your neck of the woods last august (well, close enough relatively speaking), and got to visit Algonquin PP.  So beautiful!  If I'm ever up there again I'll see if I can visit your land.

Beth, I'm sorry you haven't had occasion to smile lately.  I don't know what to say other than that looking at lichens or our moon or especially our cat usually makes me smile.


I guess I can't edit my original post here, which means whatever things I've said are set in stone.  I did mean it all, but I also change from time to time.. so just putting that disclaimer out I guess  I'm not exactly the man I was yesterday.  Though in some ways I know and feel I'm the same person I was 20 years ago with a tad more perspective.
 
gardener
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Location: Western Washington
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Actually, there is an edit button you can use, though depending on the device you're on I'm not sure where it'll show up. But instead, I'd suggest you just post a reply periodically to update the ways in which you've changed.

Good luck with finding your partner. If you're looking for a friend or just to chat, feel free to shoot me your message. I believe I read your blog at some point--the one about processing acorns =)
 
Philip McGarvey
Posts: 22
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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A little update.

I'm still at the same place in the redwood forest.  Since my first post here, I've stepped into the role of land and garden manager.  The community has been just two of us most of the time, me and the woman who owns the land.  We've taken this quiet time to really get organized and get a lot done.  We're doing quite well and are optimistic that we'll find the right people to live here and tend this land with us, over time -- there are a couple good people who have come and stayed for short stints and will do more of that in the future.  While I've not made a formal commitment, for now I'm all in with the mission here, and I won't be surprised if I stay here tending this land and garden for a very long time.  I really love it.  I've become more connected to the local community, the farmer's market, etc.  I picked 300lb of strawberries from the garden this spring, sold a lot and gave away a lot and canned a lot of jam.  The garden is doing well.  We've been finishing up the new community building (two guest rooms and a communal space with a woodstove), and are designing an outdoor kitchen space to be built using strawbale and cob and poles this fall.  We also got to host a bunch of people this June and feed them with the land's bounty and beauty and quiet.  Right now I'm visiting my family in western NY so I find myself on the computer again since there's no garden for me to be in here.  Can't wait to get back to the land.

Also I'm hosting wwoofers now:
https://wwoofusa.org/farm/cougar-mountain-2/
 
Philip McGarvey
Posts: 22
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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Well, with the pandemic and not going anywhere, I turn again to the internet to find people to talk with.  :)

A few updates since last summer.

The guest building is mostly finished, has water and a woodstove, just some details left.  We've hosted a number of people in there and used it over the holidays with some friends.  I've been sleeping in there for a few months.  We also have a third person since December who has been working on starting the native plant nursery here.

This fall I spent my time working on the new kitchen building, and harvesting and preserving food, aside from the usual things like firewood and cooking and maintenance of all sorts.  The new kitchen is probably half done -- the foundation, pole frame, strawbale and cob walls and roof are in.  We used some poles I had cut and peeled here last spring, as well as some from friends property nearby.  The clay was dug out of hardpan in the orchard about 50ft from the building site.  From here, the floor and interior are left.  It will all be wood fired -- no propane or electricity needed, and no refrigerator.  It's a beautiful building and I'm excited to bring it into use.  

I've been making friends with our neighbors around here, and there are a number of pieces of land adjacent to ours that are potentially for sale, so I'll likely be buying land here sometime soon, probably within the year.  I may also buy part of the land we're on so I can build a home really close to the community.  I feel very committed to this little valley, and it will feel good to have the legal security of owning land here.  I still hope and intend to stay part of this community as it develops.

We’ve been avoiding town for nearly a month now due to the pandemic.  Happily, we were well prepared to hunker down here and really have no good reason to go to town.  We have two interns planning to come out here in the next week or two to help with the nursery.  They'll be quarantining themselves in the woods here for a couple weeks before joining us, which will be interesting.  I'm impressed that they're willing to do that, and excited to have more forest-loving people here to share all this beauty with.  

Also, because travel and events are not happening now, we all have no plans coming up other than being here with the land and tending it.  I'm getting materials together for a chicken coop.  We got a pet rooster from some friends, and plan to get chicks.  I'm also slowly but steadily working on a big solar dehydrator -- I dried a lot of fruit and mushrooms and some jerky this year in various prototypes.  Dried strawberries are the best.  I also set up a compost tea brewer and have been using that.  Also I recently gave in and got my first car.  I'm still morally opposed to cars but I guess selfishness for me and the people I care about finally outweighed my purist stance.  I've been living here two years without one, and as I've taken on responsibilities and become more connected to community in the hills around here I've found myself wanting to be able to get around on my own.  That also means if you live somewhere in road trip distance, when the pandemic is over I can potentially come visit your neck of the woods.  ;)

The most exciting thing for me right now is how beautiful the sky has suddenly become, with much less pollution.  I can see the mountains around us so much more clearly, and the sunsets are amazing -- the colors come through so vividly, not just in the sky but even the red and pink glow on the forest itself.  Everywhere I look I’m reminded that mother nature is having a respite.  If this pandemic brings us all down, I'll die happy under a clear sky.  But probably we'll go on living a while yet.

I'm excited for spring, have a lot of plants starting, and look forward to sharing strawberries and all kinds of other things at our farmers market here, assuming the great social distancing is eventually relaxed.
 
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Devious Experiments for a Truly Passive Greenhouse!
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