Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Study and Practice.

This winter Matt is getting ready to settle into a project where he will get to do some really quality work making cob walls to retain heat. I can tell he is getting excited to be able to design and test some ideas on natural building, and I am excited to, in fact I hope to be able to join him for a while in January so I can keep up with him on practical knowledge, or at least stem the rate that his lead is growing.

Right now I am staying with my good friend Mathias a little outside of Philadelphia. We are going to work on some writing relevant to a larger cultural project that the farm is a part of, and hopefully condense some skills and resources relevant to the farm itself, but more on that later after more is settled.

So I am studying the farm project, and Matt is practicing it. Of course by the end of winter I am sure we will both get in plenty study and practice.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

So Much to Learn.

I find my self being quizzed about how to solve the various small problems of farming, and I am surprisingly good at giving very convincing answers to these questions. But I want to admit to a degree of hesitance about thinking that I have 'everything in order before I being.' I have witnessed many farm techniques enough to know that the solutions are out there, and they work. But to make the farm requires coming up with techniques for the exact circumstances of that particular, yet unknown place. So it is important to remember that I will be flying my the seat of my pants for a few years on the farm, and needing help who have more experience in particular skills. Going to other farms and learning can only ever go so far.

To reach the level of mastery sought I will need to do types of trial and error that I have no right to do on anybody else's land but my own. So I am not worried about getting everything in order before I begin, instead I want to have a more relaxed pace for the first year, during which time the sufficient basics to go on can be learned. This requires resources to support the project at the beginning. The resources available to the project right now are enough if we are lucky enough to get a good land deal.

Conversations with people traveling off the west coast suggest to me that if we go around to a few desirable properties willing to put decent cash on the table, even if the land is going for a much higher price or not at all for sale, and willing to do it right quick (let's assume we have already inspected the land and deemed it suitable) alot of people will be willing to listen, and maybe for a bit under the expected price. If this money can be saved, the relaxed pace of the first year can be afforded. Also there have been a couple of people who have implied that they might be able to offer some small aid, always in a casual conversation and I understand the offers as very hypothetical, and any small aid would go a very long way in helping us afford the farming education we need, the time to figure stuff out thinking with our hands. So if you are able to contribute information, equipment, money, books, labor, or any other kind of support; do.

Not knowing.

I know that Matt is going to be with me on the farm project. And I have several other friends that I hold in high hope. But even the ones that I feel generally confident about, other then Matt, I don't know which ones will actually be there. I think that for some people it is hard to commit to a project that doesn't actually have its land purchased, which I admit makes a lot of sense. And even if I knew who would be there, there would be no way to know who will be staying, that's fine though, I wouldn't want someone who didn't like it to stay. So I am always looking for more maybes.

I am on a train heading out of Chicago, I go to the observation car, not for the views of the halogen speckled darkness, for the company. I have meet many good people on this trip, and some people that even if they aren't good I still like 'em. Folks ask me where I am going, why I am going there, where I have been. And talking about the dream of the farm is tied to every aspect of my life, my trips doubly so. And people from all walks of life are very impressed, in fact sometimes more impressed then they have any right to be, I must be too good at spinning this yard. But there is more to it then that, folk are eager to hear that there can be an alternative to the way of life that surrounds us. Its a story that people want to hear, and they pull it out of me more then I give it to them.

Are these people the people I want to invite to the farm? If they want to wwoof for a few weeks or two they would be worthy as soon as we are able to support such visitors. And maybe by grace we will find a couple of people that would fit in for longer. More importantly it has shown me that there is a hunger for projects of this nature, it gives me cause for cautious optimism. The close friends who I have invited, I hope they come and at very least try the farm life for a while, because some of the cases I am thinking of are people I already know would be good for the farm, just if the farm can be good for them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Look at your hand.

I will tell you how to see everything you need in life right on your five fingers.

Look at your pinky finger, look at it and be reminded-
     You need to breath.
  • Good air, fit lungs, medicine to stay healthy, and good aromas.
Then look at your ring finger, look at it and know-
    You need to sleep
  • A lot goes into a good nights sleep. You need shelter, one that feels save and warm; you need to have a satisfied mind that won't keep you up with thoughts half thunk, a tired body healthy and well exercised from the day, and a clean soul that won't trouble you with deeds left undone.
Now look at your middle finger, it reminds you of a basic need-
    You need to shit
  • Some of us don't like to talk about it, some people don't even like the word, but we all know deep down how important it is. It means you have to eat, and to shit well, you need to eat well. Means you need to exercise and move around. Means you need to be able to take care of the shit somehow, most people just flush it out to sea, but its better to decompose it on land, leave those minerals to the earth, but you gotta find a safe way to do it, compost it. You need to keep your body clear, inside and out.

Your pointer finger
    You need to love
  • "I ain't  gonna tell you how to love or be loved, because you get a different genie each time that lantern is rubbed." To be human, you need love in your life, maybe not always a special sweet heart (though that is nice when it happens), but you need to have love, your very life depends on it. Without love you never would have made it past your first week, and I doubt many of us could live a whole day with out some love, even if its just caring for yourself. We can't be a human alone, our speech, our thoughts, our triumphs, our deaths, it's all with others, part of our shared life.

But then there's your thumb, the one that grasps things, it gets you in trouble.
    You want to control things.
  • Now control ain't a bad thing, we all know that its mighty useful to have some control from time to time. But wanting to control things gets us in trouble. Most the other animals don't have so much control, and they do just fine making do with the world as it's given to them "the sparrows in the sky, they do not sow or reep..." but we can shape the world. The thumb makes us want to hold on to things, to control things to shape the world. Make a fist, see how your thumb covers the other fingers: you can't love with control, you can't control the fact that you shit, you can't maintain control in you sleep, and you have no control on how much longer you will be breathing for. Controlling things can be good and can be useful, but be mighty careful, the chains that bind go both ways.

I stole the basic idea for this post from a cool dude named Leaf living in Eugene, as far as I know its his original material, and I wanted to give credit where credit is due. But I did have to rebuild a lot of it from scratch and half remembered conversations long past.

This blog is also about the adventures of getting to the farm, and this gem is one of the real highlights of going through Eugene a couple weeks ago.