democratic national convention

ha ha- this ain't about the DNC.

Part of my reasoning for listing meads and tinctures, etc, is so that I have a record outside of my log book. Sometimes I lose those things. So, yesterday I made calendula, dandelion root/burdock root, and lemonbalm tinctures. It's fun. I also found another half gallon of moonshine. :D

It's raining today, in other news. I thanked the sky.

A very good book I'm reading is called Ancient Futures, it's about a Himalayan culture called Ladakh that is similar to Tibet where they live around 10-11,000 ft and pasture their hybrid dzos (yak and cow, I think) at 15-16,000 ft, away from their small fields of barley. The dzos love it up there, but the land is fairly barren, so they eat the vegetation that grows around the glaciers and high mountain valleys. The Ladhakis collect all the dung and use it for cooking fuel. They live in thick mud and stone houses on basic diets of including local "weeds," barley, yak butter, apricots, and a lot of chang (barley beer). They get very little rain, as they're in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, so they have intensely managed canals and shared irrigation canals that are small enough to allow just enough water onto each field. The women are strong and independent, and all are allowed to choose not to have children and/or leave their children and join the monastery. This usually means living at home still, but as a Buddhist nun or monk. The families are important social units where the children are given loads of affection and tender attention, and they take responsibility at a very young age for whatever they can, including younger children. They have beautiful smiles, and 95% belong to the same class of subsistence farmers without any money. The worst transgression within their culture is to get angry, and they often respond when one inquires why they aren't angry about anything, "What's the point?" Cooperation has been necessary and paramount to survival in their harsh surroundings, but in 1974 their thousand-year-old culture was opened to tourism by the Indian government in an attempt to bring them more into the fold as a part of India. This has caused great problems. Television and movies have entered the culture, luring young people away from farming and training them in English and giving them poor quality "educations." They leave their villages to go to school, finish school, have no idea how to farm, then have to move to the city center in Leh (a town of 10-15,000 people) to find one of the very, very few jobs in the region.

Anyway, the book is great, gives a very accurate and complete view of the "global village."

I would like to also say I feel very odd about the passing of Masanobu Fukuoka. The man is a sort of folk-hero, and I refer all of y'all to the zinelibrary.net website to read "On Green Mountain," which pretty quickly summarizes his ideas and integrities in regard to natural farming, no-till and balance.


I surely hope so

Women in the United States who are spiritually free to move about could change the world by expressing their disapproval of this farcical machine to their children. They could continually discover ways not to participate, thus providing for their children's future spiritual freedom (which guides all of our body through its own energy) and for the freedom of more in the future.

I think mothers can become very serious about spiritual freedom because we as women can be acutely aware of he emotional shackles that come with corporatism, globalism, market economy, school, jail, church, television, and other conceptually similar confining institutions and standards within our society. Hopefully, we as mothers, who are supreme artists by virtue of our task as mother, can offer our children freedom, love and hope for the future. Or there will be no future. We have to set our children's mind alight with wings we weave for them, and in turn our spirits will be set free.

Why do we not think of our children as future? Or do we, but we are too busy to consider the future? If we don't care about ourselves, we don't care about anything else. Why are we so ill? We are the future, because we are the only example our children have. If youth is always at the lead a few years down the road, then our lives lead them. We must continue to act our part as mother to the future, to lead in the manner of the strong heads of family who have led us to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (May we all be fed.) More than lead, we should listen and learn by example.

The television is not an example. Let us recognize tradition, again. The oldest tradition is that of a mother feeding her child, in honor of continuing the cycle. She did not question the cycle, had no need or desire to alter or interrupt the cycle. She fed, and in turn all of the children who fed us have been fed.

This continues in my mind about home, children, future, inspiration and hope. I see the progression that comes with letting go of fear, opening your mind, settling into a space, and moving forward. Lately I can't stop thinking about the motivation that a child gives a home, the responsibility she or he requires of another, the constant humbling and frustration and joy they inspire. They are our path to somewhere, wherever we decide. This may be a good way to describe our interactions with the earth. We are children, she is mother, providing so much abundance and allowing us to live. We are the future of the earth, and we must also act as stewards of that ultimate gift, or we'll lose our home.


In other news, I've started white peony root, angelica sinensis root, red clover blossom, and schizandra berry tinctures, blueberry jam mead, and red clover/raspberry leaf mead. I've been trying to use up the moonshine and wildflower honey... down to half a gallon of moonshine, 1 1/2 gallons of honey.

Stephanie, Mike, Denali and I went on a hike yesterday to Singe Cat Ridge and checked up on the elderberries for future mead/tincture/syrup/wine/jam. They've got a bit to go until they're big and fat. The hike was nice, though. It's always beautiful here, and hiking always feels great on the body when you get home afterward.

Pray for rain.


set the pace

To the left is a Hemlock Varnish Shelf, the type of ganoderma/polypore mushroom I found yesterday on our little wandering with Lee behind the Berry compound yesterday, staking out the boundaries. Lee took us up toward a few creeks along the way, and I wandered into one without much water but tons of jewelweed filling the bed where the water is right below the top, and when I turned around there was a dying hemlock and this crazy mushroom. It has tiny, very slow-moving beetle things inside of it, eating it from underneath. To the right is a goldfinch, which I've been seeing a lot more often these days. I love them because they always make me look again, grab my attention. Focal point.

This morning waking up in the tent to the sun, I had the very pleasant experience of realizing I certainly am continuing my education, and furthermore I'm gaining work experience in the profession I choose to follow for perhaps the rest of my life. I'm deep in it, now. I know volumes more than I did two years ago, and this life provides me the opportunity to inter-act very deeply and soulfully with the entire world, people and plants all included. Walking through the woods I'm able to orient myself with the trees, and my ability to recognize seems to me a more valuable skill than any you might learn at the university.

And now a word about education. I thank god for the poverty I was raised in for all the bullshit it's allowed me to acceptably ignore and with which I've not needed to participate. I feel as if the shaky, fearful ground beneath me all my life, the grasping need to find something to hold on to that would deliver me from the drowning feeling of me inside this televised society, has led me directly to here. and how fully I am here. I have no need for a degree, no need for a job, no need for a car, no need for a television, no need to impress my parents for the funds they might provide ('cause they ain't got none), no need to wrangle me a man with money. I just don't need anything like that while there is this Great earth beneath me, raising me up like a beautiful cash crop, one stalk of maize amongst the weeds, fully supported by their presence, needing no addition. Thank this beautiful earth for overgrowing empty commercial and residential lots and providing me a million options for work and food. I don't need a degree to plant seeds, don't need a paycheck to eat.

I don't need any man or woman in a suit to tell me anything out of a book. and I thank all of them that might try for making it economically impossible for me to even begin to be convinced that they could teach me anything. I thank this earth for continually providing me the most whole education I can use, for allowing me to know what real fear is for and how to let go of the imposed fears of our culture, and for allowing me to to recognize the incredibly solid ground beneath my feet, all without one single word.


i was born right in the doorway

I have had too much good coffee this morning- what better way to find the headroom for blogging?

Making the transition to the Berry's, moving our little boxes and trying not to think too much about the sadness of leaving Mountain Gardens. My home has been this beautiful little garden in which I've had the opportunity to play out my beautiful green fantasies, been willing to be open more to everything, have had room to love my incredible co-working rock star community pardners. I've fallen in love six times this season, a few times for the second or third round. It's amazing how green will do that to you. We spent our last week at Joe's cooking beautiful lunches for his Peace Corps reunion/yurt workshop with Bill Coperthwaite. I am now in love with Bill, and I'm trying to think of reasons to go to Maine and hike the hour through the woods to his house after getting there by canoe. Anyway, it's a beautiful little round wooden structure with a big skylight circle in the ceiling, cedar shingles and windows all the way round. I whittled the top shingles with Bill's really good knife, and they fit perfectly, I hear. Mike did a lot of work on shingling and putting the boards inside the walls, and I hammered so much! I also sawed singles (which is nothing) and contributed significantly to the meals. I am beginning to realize how great it is to make delicious, nutritious food for folks and have them compliment and appreciate it. You don't get that so much with room-mates.

To report on recently practiced foodways, I've got almost a half gallon of blueberry jam preserves made with a little bit of raw wildflower honey stocked up now, as well as a half gallon of watermelon rind pickle preserves, a pint of pickled purslane, half gallons of dried red clover, a mix of red beebalm flowers and dried mountain mint, dried raspberry leaves, a gallon of mountain mind mead, 3 of red clover/lemonbalm/borage mead, and I spent all day running the still over the fire on the deck yesterday for nearly 2 gallons of 92% alcohol for tincturing. I guess this runs over into medicine, but if I've learned nothing from Susun Weed it is that medicine and food necessarily blend. I suppose I've also picked that up a little more strongly watching and tasting Jesse's beer brewing- I've never had "Wood Tea" Chinese tonic cider before this season. In any case, this season I've made tinctures of black haw, motherwort, goji/schizandra/licorice, borage and mimosa flowers. With the alcohol we made I'm planning to tincture siberian motherwort, california poppy, maybe more mimosa flower, holy basil (if possible), more borage, and more I have not yet decided. The fact that I have so much alcohol hadn't hit me until the still finished running yesterday. I'm still a little in shock.

Plans for the future! Me and the boy are going on back up to the midwest for October for wedding, birthday, end of the harvest, working, etc. I think from there we may head to this fella in Tennessee's abode, a kind older man with an orchard and berry production. Joe Hollis thinks highly of him, as the Hidden Springs nursery he began specialized in unusual varieties. I'm actually pretty excited to meet him and his wife, to spend time with them- we'll most likely be stopping to meet them on the way up to Illinois. I'm putting my eggs a little bit in that basket, as I'm not so keen to experience the North Wind through these great big mountains this winter. Perhaps we'll leave the country to visit central America beginning of next year, perhaps I'll make some money and somehow arrange to go to the Chestnut herb school in Asheville next season, maybe we'll work in the piedmont biofarm/biofuel coop for a bit, maybe we'll stay with the Berry's a bit this winter, maybe next spring. This world is our little oyster clammy.

I miss my friend Katie. Worth mentioning. She is in southern France enjoying the Mediterranean and doing it with her long-haired Frenchie boyfriend. :D Maybe she'll come back to go to herb school with me, then stash me in her luggage to go to Nova Scotia. O! We'll meet Jesse there in his little yurt mushroom paradise. Also! We can go to Bill's place and look at his incredible yurt in the quiet forest and check out the fjords. I think I just made a life plan.

To finish this up and shoot off this little missive, we went to the Permaculture Gathering drum circle/ritual/Goddess dance party last night, and it was nice to see folks I've taken workshops with and from, as well as conference folks, and a few neat people I met last year at the gathering. This year was much less intense for me- for one thing a middle-aged couple didn't smoke me up with herb too good for me this year. We stuck around 'til the end, the boys explored their inner depths with some sort of fungi, I held the stray puppy Mahra found and hung out with a little girl who walked her around a lot, and we made fun of the white people dancing all funny. It was pleasing. The after party was fun, too, but I was too tired to repeat details accurately, and for the protection of certain fellows I won't attempt to recall.

Good day, and be well, friends.