I was shivering a little, but I thought about misogi and appreciated the chill. I had such a wonderful time working this winter in the yard during our "period of wood" as we call it. Right after work, around 4 or 4:30; I'd head outside and hauled and stacked wood that Jeffrey chopped. It was great exercise and we could ham it up all evening together. He would chop wood part of the day and loved the work out. When you first start out working in the cold, you are all bundled up. Then after just a few minutes, the layers start peeling off. There is a picture of me in shorts and long johns shoveling quite a bit of snow. When I wanted a little aerobic work out, I'd just move faster and of course it would make me breathe harder. No need for a gym membership doing this. The air I was breathing was oxygen dense because it was cooler and it would result in a wonderful workout. It made me happy which is important I think to stay healthy. Tonight I didn't have the energy to work outside to try to perk myself up. So when sitting on the porch just watching the outside scenery, I did some deep breathing exercises to simulate exercise-type breathing. It worked, I felt so much better and really had fun paying attention to the detail around me as I started to wake up. Each form growing up from the ground. The trees individually, and then as a whole. Very interesting patterns and none the same. What a variety of sounds - from the farmer's machine humming away next door to the peepers and crickets. There was a flower basket over my head with these little pink and white bells, no idea what they are but the lady down the street sold them. All the animals laying around in their pet lounge that is the back porch. After a few exciting moments of "MOMMY'S HERE, MOMMY'S HERE!!" they all lay down and found their spot to enjoy the evening with me. I've never had a dog like Barney, he enjoys staring outside intently better than anything in the world and would rather do that than come in with everyone else some times. The breeze comes and goes and creates part of the tapestry of this 3D, surround-sound experience. I wish everyone would sit outside instead of watching TV if they must just sit. It really is healing. So tonight, I feel like writing again. Thanks breeze!
When I lived in "the ghetto" as my friends at work called it (and probably my family too :-)), I'd sit outside and it buzzed with life too. Motorcycles taking off and cruising. People yelling at each other in anger and in friendly laughter. Bicycles with plastic trash bags of aluminum cans stacked literally about 10 feet tall on the back, towering over an ancient Mexican man's old cowboy hat. What talent and an incredible sight! You don't see that in the suburbs! Ding Ding of ice cream bells on bikes and you felt like you were in an old city, it was great! There was some crime there, but no one bothered us and it wasn't that bad. I had 2 lots in a WWII neighborhood with small houses for the service men coming home. It had enormous old trees to shade the yard, but I was really worried the garage was going to fall down in a strong wind. The house was from 1937 and worth about $20,000, if that. It was fairly run down. But it was close enough to work, it had a big fenced lot, and the rent was $500 a month with no lease. I cleaned it up and it worked out fine. I lived across the street from some Banditos and my now ex-husband, a biker from El Paso I met during my biker phase, made friends right off. They were always friendly to us. In the 5 years I was there, there was some trouble here and there. It was always exciting, if nothing else. There was a deaf woman I ended up taking care of when I wasn't sick and her deaf drug addict friends would go up and down the street hollering at the top of their lungs looking for her sometimes. She'd hide out in our house when they got like that. There was an old couple across the other street (we were at an intersection) where the man had health problems and the ambulance had to come take him to the hospital all the time. We'd always run over there and see if they needed help. He was very large so it took 4 people to carry him and people to help move furniture and hold doors, he was bed-ridden. There were always cook-outs and I could smell the neighbor's wonderful cooking. My brother drove a firetruck and ambulance for the neighborhood so sometimes he hit the sirens a certain way when he raced past my house. He'd blast the sirens a specific way if he wanted me to meet him outside for a second on the way back to the station. I could hear him a few blocks off. I just had time to get my shoes and run outside to say hi for a second. I thought that was so much fun. So there was always something to see and hear and smell out there. I wish everyone would go outside and look at the neighborhood instead of at a box. Wouldn't it be great in the evening if every one would just go watch "outside". No I wouldn't prefer to live in the city; but when I had to, I tried to enjoy it some. I didn't sit outside as much as I now wish I had because I was in front of the TV more back then.
This week I've read the most amazing information and that has taken my spare time. Many things that have been on my mind, or I've been talking about took form in print the last few days. Here are some of those daily discoveries and their background story...
After my last post, I didn't feel like posting the next day. So, I checked out a link my friend put on our small private homesteading group for this area.
I had already read last week (I think) that the oil companies are being questioned about the increasing cost of gas and their record profits. Their answer was supply and demand and investment in technology I believe. I don't know enough about it, but it has been on my mind. The price of fuel is - and their record profits are, ridiculous. It makes me wonder if they are trying to set themselves up for maintaining large profits when getting to the remaining oil is going to be more expensive and difficult. Every time I put gas in the truck, or look at the price of produce in the store I think about it. Checking out this link was a timely read for me. I was amazed that I never heard of this person, his book or some of the things he talked about. To me, this website is a wealth of information and the article he wrote was a good summary of so many things in the world today and on farming and permaculture. Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt and I realize there are many opinions. I do not bow down and take at face value any (wo)man's opinion or interpretation though. I've also read Buckminster Fuller's "Critical Path" or rather I've read the parts-I-could-get-through-with-the-incessant-word-hyphenation. He also has a "history of civilization" summary that is worth the read just for that alone.
From the link
"Permaculture was developed in the late 1970s by Australian ecologists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in anticipation of exactly the problem we see unfolding before us. Holmgren defines Permaculture as “consciously designed landscapes that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fiber, and energy for provision of local needs.” Common Permaculture strategies include mulching, rainwater capture using earthworks such as swales, composting, and the harmonious integration of aquaculture, horticulture, and small-scale animal operations. A typical Permaculture farm may produce a small cash crop but concentrates largely on self-sufficiency and soil building.
Biointensive farming has been developed primarily by Californian John Jeavons, author of How to Grow More Vegetables. Like Permaculture, Biointensive is a product of research begun in the 1970s. Jeavons defines Biointensive (now trademarked as “Grow Biointensive”) farming as:
. . . an organic agricultural system that focuses on maximumyields from the minimum area of land, while simultaneouslyimproving the soil. The goal of the method is long-termsustainability on a closed-system basis. Because biointensive ispracticed on a relatively small scale, it is well suited to anything
from personal or family to community gardens, market gardens,or minifarms. It has also been used successfully on small-scale commercial farms."
Since I'm relatively uneducated (other than in my direct trade), I've struggled occasionally to explain how I feel or think. I have a cloudy idea of how to explain something and love when I find someone that has explained so well what I've struggled to. When I am sleepy, I become physically sensitive to loud noise. It sends very uncomfortable waves or ripples through me. I feel like jello that has been shaken or a bowl of water that has been hit; and have to wait for my insides to stop quivering. I finally put the word "water" to it. Very loud noises when I'm sleepy "disturb my water" and that has been the only way I could explain it. I have to plug my ears when they are anticipated or it delays my sleep for some time.
As I've already posted, my friend Kendal's blog helped get my own going. She mentioned a book in her's, "The fruitful darkness". I'm always up for a good book recommendation to add to the library of "Everything you need to know for $5 and under I will eventually read". The book was cheap and it arrived recently. What a wonderful book. Well written, easy to read, and thought provoking quotes that I would never have otherwise had the privilege of reading.
The 2nd night after my last post, I didn't feel like writing again. So, I picked back up at the chapter "The way of silence". Very nice, I believe that silence is very healthy. I thought I'd enjoy it. Then i got to page 26.
"Our eyes remain on the surface, like water flowers, behind which we hide / our trembling bodies floating in an unseen world." - Garcia Lorca
Such a beautiful way to describe it. The continued reading was just as amazing. I don't know where this book is going, but it's good for now.
Jeffrey and I have been discussing the pros and cons on whether solar power or wood be better for a cook stove. I know we could do solar power, but that would mean an electric stove. I hate cooking on electric and the range is going to eventually break down as are the solar panels. I love to cook on gas, but that's not something that we can produce and would have to buy. Wood isn't the best for the environment and tree pests and disease could wipe out our limited supply. We have planted wood-lot trees, but they have some time to go before they'll be ready. Also with an earth sheltered home, I won't need the amount of heat a wood stove may put off while cooking.
I went over to my friend Donna's a few days ago and she loaned me "Better Off" and "The untold story of Milk" (which I haven't looked at yet). Another of these last few nights after my last post, I again didn't feel like posting. I picked up the book "Better Off" (yes I jump around a lot) and I'm only on page 8, but I can't wait to finish it. It's about "Two people, one year, zero watts." Perfect timing! I can't wait to see how they cook, probably wood.
We went to visit our friends for a little while last night and were able to brain storm with them on which way to go with cooking since they've just converted to a wood stove. Our other friends power with solar, but cook with a wood-stove also and we've talked to them about it a great deal. It's great to have all this experience around us. These types of books, along with the experience of friends we know in person and online, will help us come up with something that will work for us.
There are maybe 13 people now on my small homesteading forum for this area (all of them I met from a larger homesteading forum) and when I joined there were maybe 6. My newest friends are mostly these, I'd be lost with out them. They keep me safe with good info about living up here. They helped me plan my garden. They have encouraged me when I was down. They have gifted us with food, pots and pans, compost, conversation and mostly friendship. We meet occasionally every few months for a potluck and maybe some walking around town. Others of us that are closer will occasionally see each other for a trade, quick visit or to tag along on an errand. There are great people anywhere you go.
Well that's a little bit of my week. It's going to take me a while to get through all the new reading, but I'm here to learn. This is the healthiest, most fun and best education a person can get.