future thoughts

It's been quite some time since I updated with anything significant here. It's a matter of the end of summer, a return to the harvest of the corn fields in central Illinois (my unlikely second home), and an odd mixture of stagnation/liberation. I'm doing OK, learning from and adjusting to... everything. :)

At the very beginning of October we drove down to NC for me to attend the SE Women's Herbal Conference, and he to pack up our remaining Stuff from the summer cabin. I had a fantastic time work-exchanging the $300 cost for the lovely ladies who put on the event from Thursday until Sunday evening. I camped out, ate beautiful and lovingly concocted local and organic foods, connected with about 600 incredible and brilliant women, and learned more than I can incorporate into a blog post at this time. :) There we were, intelligent, creative, passionate, brilliant women all in a lovely camp setting with the fall leaves beginning to change color in the mountains surrounding us around a 20-acre lake. I camped next to a dripping dam and shared the campsite with some great ladies. There were all ages, from tiny babies breast-feeding everywhere to old great-grandmas keeping pace with all the lively inter-actions. Everyone wanted to connect, there was zero catty-ness, everything flowed beautifully, and I had a free massage, acupuncture, and an herbal consultation which basically confirmed my own conclusions as far as an sustained health regime for myself. I went on an edible/medicinal mushroom walk, took a class on abdominal massage, listened to Susun Weed tell stories to a room of 500, and generally felt like a whole person for a full weekend. I feel particularly fond of this event because it ripples out, our interactions with each other, and our ability to communicate across so many supposed barriers. We who attended will share this information, this beauty, this healthful growing appetite for sustaining all the incredible bounty we've been blessed with for the future, for our children and their children for ever after. It was hard to feel bad about the future of our planet or our species in the company of these women.

The boy and I are looking at land in and around Madison county North Carolina, which is relatively close to Asheville, a thriving and beautiful mountain big city. It's a big city that acts as a crossroads for many kinds of people, especially those interesting in sustaining life on the planet and encouraging growth. Our goals are to build a similar cabin to the one that M built this summer in NC to live in while we build a fiber-adobe structure. First wood, then earth.

My hope is to go to herb school from March to October outside of Asheville, which is a big deal in my world. There is no legal accreditation for herbalists, except to earn your PhD and then to go back to school for herbs. While that doesn't seem even half-way reasonable to me in my life, I am very keen to learn more specifics and continue in the environment of the western NC mountains, a very bio-diverse and incredible place. One of my very good lady friends attended a particular herb school this year (http://www.chesnutherbs.com), and I was so compelled by studying with her on a few occasions that I realized I need to know more. This particular herb school meets twice a week for 8 hours each day, has multiple teachers, spends most of its time outdoors with three week-long camping field trips, and it studies anatomy & physiology, wildcrafting plants, nutrition, cross-tradition studies, botany, ecology, wild foods and medicine-making. It's a $4ooo course, but my hope is to work-exchange at least half of that amount. We'll see what mother God provides for the other half. :)

So, that's the deal for next year, but before that! I'll be re-connecting with my parents and sisters in FL for a few months, helping my older sister with her new home gardens and repairs while Mky gets back into silversmithing. Another goal is building his jewelry business, building stock, taking more and better photos, and making his etsy site better, as well as building relationships with retail sellers.

I'm excited. It's taken some time to even get around to approaching the "real world" from an angle that suits us both and doesn't seem completely insane. We've both had to keep learning, growing, adjusting, and shedding what doesn't work. It's all coming around, and for the first time in a long time we have almost everything we own in one room. We have to figure how to fit it all in a car, though! :D

Enjoy &
With love, I go now to feed my increasingly loud belly,
Abby <3>