I published this post first on my exopermaculture.com site. See:
I published this post first on my exopermaculture.com site. See:
Here we are, supposedly still in the “dead of winter,” but the ground is already waking up, crocuses pushing through, birds returning, and juices flowing in all directions. Global warming?
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14
On Tuesday morning, Ari, Brie and Rebecca worked in the new greenhouse, planting seedlings into “soil blocks.”
We made the soil blocks from Eliot Coleman’s recipe from The New Organic Grower (includes peat, sand (perlite), compost, soil, lime, and base fertilizer (we used worm castings)). This recipe concentrates nutrients so powerfully that the plant shouldn’t ever need more amendments. An excellent jump start for seedlings!
Here’s a view of our newly repurposed garage into greenhouse (and bunk room) from behind.
And here’s what the completed project looks like. We will be both transplanting seedlings and offering some for sale, once they grow up enough.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15
Our usual, weekly community dinner. That’s Evan, on the left. You already know Ari, but how about her reptile, Orin?
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16
Rebecca and Brie broadcast seeds, including peas, not sure what else, into one of the long beds. Given that they are lying on top of the soil, it’s important that we put a thin layer of mulch on them, which Dan promised to do on Friday.
Meanwhile, that evening, our first pod (two house) meeting in many many months (We kept trying, and outside work schedules kept interferring). And the very first meeting for Logan (third from left), our newbie. And I must tell you, this was the first time where I felt we have graduated from inspiring a village “atmosphere” to embodying a village “culture.”
Why do I say that? Not sure. But I do know that for the first time I could feel all the long-term members stepping up to the plate in their own highly energized and original ways. An extremely productive and creative meeting, with everybody volunteering for appropriate roles in whatever tasks and celebrations (including Equinox!) lie ahead. PLUS. And this is HUGE. Ari, Brie and Dan are now all three fully vested in seeing their own individual value-added food-and-home-based businesses get started and grow. Stay tuned!
Already we have all sorts of short and long-term ferments starting, thanks to Dan, including mead, kim chi, cabbage and beet slaws, various others. “Green Acres Alchemy” is bubbling up from below.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017
On Friday morning, both Brie and Dan went out to Brin and Duncan’s place outside town to help mulch their garden which we are jointly farming. When they came back, yes, they did as Dan promised, spreading a thin layer of crushed leaves on those broadcast seeds so that the returning birds wouldn’t be tempted. Logan joined them.
Meanwhile, our dear Ari, 20 years old, decided to put up a hammock on the front lawn. And yes, she was the one who gave the finger at the pod meeting. Check above. There’s always one . . .
My Sufi mentor, Darvesha MacDonald, asked me to contribute a story about our Green Acres Village to the launch of a beautiful new web magazine, Ruhaniat Ziraat. This publication is devoted to celebrating and exploring the Sufi founder’s profound understanding that Nature is our Teacher.
BTW, in case you were wondering: I call myself a “Bufi,” i.e., one who gravitates towards both Buddhism and Sufism — as well as Gnostic Christianity, plus Native American, Pagan and other aboriginal practices. — A.K.
This week was jammed packed with community events.
First and foremost, on Tuesday, for a very receptive audience of 40-45 people, our Evolution of Green Acres Village PP presentation with my commentary plus Q&A at the public library auditorium downtown. Unfortunately, we forgot to take pics of the presentation itself, but here’s one of the Q&A afterwards.
That’s Jelene, on the left, a neighbor from Eastgate Lane who has held several spring Green Acres plant shares in years past and attends our Community Dinners, plus Green Acres villagers Brie and Ari, Kat (who used to live here), and Rebecca.
The entire presentation was filmed by CATS (Community Access Television), and I need to fill out a form and pay $10 to request a digital copy or DVD. Then it will take about a week. Meanwhile, I am so grateful for this city service that films not only government meetings, but community events!
Our regular Wednesday evening Community Dinner —
— attracted about two dozen people, three of whom I have never met before. Two were dressed extravagantly!
Here’s Joe, who says he’s in Bloomington to help spread peace, with meditation, chanting and Kirtan. Would have liked to talk with him longer. Hope he returns next week!
And here’s Sarah, whose coat I told her I wanted to steal. She’s Kat’s friend, and is very knowledgeable about herbs.
Yesterday evening Dan, our resident alchemist, decided to start the process of fermenting the mead (honey wine), taking up a collection from all the villagers for two half gallons of local honey ($67) to get it going. With Ari stirring, Dan gradually poured the honey onto the fruit (apples and pears). This “primary fermentation” will take about two weeks, he says, until the mold covers the fruit enough and the bubbling dies down. Then comes the second fermentation process, where he decants it into a giant glass jar, and it sits for at least six months. Homemade Mead Party for Halloween?
Logan’s guitar songs wound into the stirring.
Darn! Forgot to take pictures of the clean-up party for the Overhill back yard this morning, and the compost forking this afternoon.
New post on exopermaculture.com:
This morning I was sitting in my fabulous crone chair when housemate Dan walked in the kitchen from outside. He’d been turning the compost. Says that “for the first time this winter, it’s now steaming!” I asked him why. “I think it’s because I switched from adding manure to adding leaves. The manure just decomposes too quickly.”
Meanwhile, I walked over to the DeKist house this morning, to photograph a seed sharing party in progress.
That’s Rebecca, Brie, Ari, Bryn, and Duncan, left to right. Bryn’s holding what I thought at first was dollar bills, but then discovered they were seed packets. That’s when she laughed, said that seeds are the new currency!
Meanwhile, Rebecca and Brie, the co-founders of our CSA in 2016, are going to be working with Bryn and Duncan on a joint project to cooperatively farm a 5000 square plot on Duncan’s mother’s rural land, about 20 minutes away. Permaculture spreads slowly, like mycelium, knitting us to each other and to the earth. We live and work under the radar of the unraveling cultural chaos to regenerate land, hearts, the soul of this beautiful world.
BTW: here’s the book that Rebecca says was her Bible when she started as an organic farmer, back in the early ’90s.
Rebecca’s going to get me a list of experienced organic farmers in this area that might be available to help young permaculture graduates move from theoretical knowledge of how systems work to the actual hands’ on experience needed to do permaculture. First, we’ll need to bring these farmers up to speed with permaculture. But as Rebecca states, it’s much easier for an organic farmer to pick up the systems thinking of permaculture than it is for a new permaculture graduate to gather the detailed seasoning and experience that comes from farming organically over many years.