Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I struggle financially in this world because the global marketplace is at a scale that is too large for me to handle. The global marketplace hides cause and effect relationships and is destructive and dehumanizing.

I need to operate within a much smaller economy—a homestead with some local exchanges. I just need to figure out a way to earn enough money to buy some good land, build a good cabin and outbuildings, and supply it with all the tools I’d need to live self-sufficiently.  Then I’d be able to live in a proper-sized economy. The majority of our physical needs should be supplied locally. From the rest of the world we should only trade inspiration, love, beauty, culture, art, spirituality, knowledge, stories, dance, wisdom, dreams, myths, friendship, peace, kinship, sun, moon, stars, wild imaginings, and only those physical commodities that spring uniquely from the locale. Spices from the Spice Islands, Vidallia onions from Georgia, ginger and tea from China, maple syrup from Vermont, olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Italy, etc. The unique expressions of particular places should be our only commodities, and with limits. Certainly the earth should be left intact as much as possible—not ripped apart for diamonds and coal.

Monday, July 27, 2009

There’s a metaphysical aspect to gardening and eating fresh healthy foods. I’ve been experiencing this most strongly with the herbs—I feel like each one has its own personality and each one shapes human expression when ingested. Plants are powerful. It seems important to take in a wide variety of plant essences—not just for generic health but because in a metaphysical way we absorb their attributes. We will be sickly humans as long as we continue to eat the standard American diet—we will be physically sickly, but more than that, we will be diminished humans, unable to reach our full potential.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A few nights ago I had a dream that is still lingering in my mind. I had moved back east. In the dream it was Kentucky, but it looked just like Pennsylvania. I was moving into a simple, pleasant-looking house that sat on the edge of a forest. There was a front lawn that would be perfect for gardening and the woods would offer lots of wild foods and materials for crafting. I was going to be working at a Folk School of some sort. The whole feeling of the dream was one of coming home to my destiny, being where I belonged and doing what I was meant to do. And also of finally being a part of a like-minded community. I felt such deep contentment.

In my mind I can immerse myself in the setting of this dream and when I’m snapped back to reality here by some practical concern like having to move the water in the garden, the whole aura of the dream lingers and I feel like I’m a different person. If I lived in that landscape I would be the fullest expression of myself. For those fleeting moments where I’m transitioning back to reality here I am that fuller self.  It’s beautiful while it lasts, but it leaves such an ache in my heart. For a few moments, the aura of that land gets superimposed on the land here and it feels like anything is possible. I so desperately need to get back home.

The Folk School reference in the dream was interesting—and totally unexpected. It made me realize that a very core part of me is my love of traditional skills and crafts. Also it was clear that this love of mine is an expression of the energy of the whole Appalachian region, as evidenced by the Folk Schools that sprang up there.

Maybe part of my destiny there will be to teach classes. First, I will have to learn all the skills involved in self-sufficiency, but eventually I should have a wide range of hands-on knowledge to pass along.  It would be neat one day to have my own mini Folk School.

Last night I had a strange dream. I was in a forest with some other people in these wildcats chased us up the trees. These were mountain lions, leopards, panthers, etc.—the big cats except these either weren’t full grown or were just smaller varieties of each species—like medium-sized dogs, maybe.  Anyway, there was a person above me in the tree I had climbed so I was blocked from going any higher. A cat climbed up and started clawing at me. I grabbed it by the neck and kept punching and kept punching it in the face and head until it was disoriented enough that I could toss it to the ground. Then another one came up after me. This one I grabbed by the scruff of the neck and swung it around and around in circles to get it dizzy, then I tossed it. They kept coming up and I kept abusing them and tossing them away. In the end I had bloody hands but no other apparent injuries. I sensed that the cats were not going to allow themselves to continue to be harassed but would simply move on to new territory to get away from us humans. I felt sorry that we had entered their territory and forced them out—all I had intended was simply to save my own life.

The dream might simply be a metaphor for what we’ve done to so many animal habitats, but I wonder if there isn’t more to it than that.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The garden is now up to about 500 square feet, since I added a new bed for some of the fall crops—fall peas and beets are in already and there’s room for a little more of something.

I'm still thinking about expanding next year. Eight hundred square feet is sounding about right to me now. I think I could pull that off without making the whole yard look like one big garden. (If I owned the place that wouldn't be a concern.)

Next year I want to get some bean towers or rig up some bean trellises. I want to be able to grow a lot of dried beans for use in the winter. 

Herbs have begun to preoccupy me a bit. When I move back to PA, I want to have an enormous herb garden. It’s been great this year having nine different herbs growing, but I want much more than that. I really believe fresh herbs are vital for good health.

Most mornings Collin and I have been enjoying a cup of oregano and rosemary tea. It sounds a little odd, I know, but it’s really delicious. I make a decoction—just steeping the herbs isn’t enough to release the flavor—and it gets a really wonderful full-bodied flavor. It’s so wonderful to go out to that big bed of oregano every morning.

I've added a small still to my wish list now. I want it so I'd be able to distill essential oils from all of my herbs.  That would cost several hundred dollars, so it’s got to go lower down my priority list.

This month I bought a food strainer to help with the upcoming tomato harvest. And once I buy the optional screens it will be good for other things like pumpkins, berries, grapes, and making salsa.

Bit by bit I’m making progress—I expand the garden a bit, get a few more tools, learn new recipes and preserving techniques, try new varieties of veggies and herbs. By the time I move back east I should be fairly well set. It’s nice to be doing something productive while I’m here in Colorado. There’s a lot I can do already as I work towards self-sufficiency.