Sunday, April 6, 2014

Choosing Home

Moving has never been easy for me but this move was probably the hardest knowing I was picking a new place to die and leaving behind my first choice was hard enough.  Though the when is never certain with death, I’d like to think I may have a choice of where.  The home is humble and warm, the acreage is enough to roam on and the trees are big and beautiful.

I love creating home, hanging century old pictures on walls that have shared so many other lives, no matter how temporary.  We plant roots wherever we live and recently we planted our 37 fruit and nut trees.  The orchard fencing was finished in less than a month of moving in.  Though we many never enjoy a harvest from the trees, their roots like ours will stand firmly on and in the ground until we/they can’t anymore.

We consider ourselves lucky to still have a roof over our heads as our chimney caught fire while we were relaxing after a hard days work shortly after moving in.  In less than five minutes I went from enjoying a warm fire to standing outside in the cold, thinking about what I need to retrieve from inside. 

The Sykes Creek fire of 87 was a strong reminder (one we were evacuated from), and I quickly gathered my thoughts around necessities.  Instead of calling the fire department, we called our closest neighbor who came over to watch the thick black smoke turn clear as the fire got hotter and the flames started shooting up and out of the chimney.  With ladder and hose we soaked the roof for over 20 minutes then sat back and had our first beer with the neighbor, a memory we will hold dear in the
future I’m sure.


Pretty scary looking


We were lucky to have been home and awake.  Seldom do we burn a fire all day but the previous owners often did and the creosote had built to the point of combustion.  We felt it our responsibility to tell them, and were glad that it happened to us rather than them as they were more likely to be sleeping with a fire going. 
Looking down the chimney at the terra cotta lining
The next morning after the cap was cool enough to remove we discovered the terra cotta lining had collapsed down inside the chimney and proceeded to get the repairs done.  The pictures of the damage made me realize how a little maintenance can prevent something we seldom see.

We were sidetracked for a few days while repairing the chimney and making sure the stove was safe to heat with again, but continued to move ahead with the garden amending the soil with sand and compost and replacing the roof of the greenhouse that was here.

Old Greenhouse
As the roof came off the walls came down and we discovered the rotten corner posts that were holding it up.  Our saved seeds (some of which have been started) are in a small hoop house that was built to serve the purpose for this season.  Dismantling the greenhouse was not something we expected to do but we took it down to the foundation leaving something else to rebuild.
New temporary greenhouse
Seems like we have always had to start small, much like walking before running, we take it all in stride.  It reminds me of where we started years ago as an “us”.  When we focused together on a goal, we started simple and worked upwards.  Our steps were small and incremental and we learned as we built one foundation after another.

It’s been nice to focus on building a different vision as it’s become clearer to us now after a little fine tuning.  Not much matters anymore about what is said whether it’s about climate, political or economical crises.  We know we’re screwed and the redundancy of what’s been said and said again doesn’t help the motivation, usually it stifles the ability to do meaningful things.  As we put one foot in front of the other we move in a direction that will better suit our needs and we don’t feel bad about it. 

We’ve tried for years to educate, listen to, debate with and even feed those who had an interest in what we were trying to do.  Now the time has come to stroll casually through the garden of life, enjoying the fruit of our labors.  We don’t own what we have because of luck, we’ve only asked for financial help once and were declined (this was for a small amount of the down payment on our first home), and we BOTH have worked hard (though a choice of ours), giving up having fun like many others our age.  We work more than we play as long as there is work to do and we play when we can.  It’s kind of like spending money, the less you have to spend the more you appreciate what you buy.

Having read about many different aspects of collapse years ago, we embarked on a journey of hoping, though we know it’s not a strategy.  Then we began to share our message with those we cared about and hoped once again it would be heard.  We built what was needed for 6-8 people and began to market what we had. 

Many times we’ve said what I’m about to repeat but it’s worth hearing again if you’re in the business of building community.  Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed.  Communicating has to take place and talking things over is a good place to start, but taking action and working together will prove that it can be done.  Just being aware of what is going on around you is only the beginning and it takes much more than talking or listening, it takes time and energy to put a plan into action and make it work.  In trying to communicate this with others, we never got past the common goal part, so very little got done. 

There are some who are dependable, responsible and communicative but primarily every idea is based on a market economy as they don’t see the future the same way we do.  Or, there are those who know where we’re headed and are right and ready to discuss it…but when it comes to taking action, they are still clinging to the old paradigm of making money and have little to no time to invest in a very different future.

Very little now spoken or written have we not heard so we read less and do more.  I must admit though we still like being entertained and without television we turn to the online tube to watch video’s of Gerald Celante and Jesse “the body” Ventura.  Abby Martin is also worth watching occasionally on RT and we enjoy the education we get from Paul Craig Roberts.  His hair seems to be on fire these days with the mess in the Ukraine.

Like the blog Survival Acres, I too have thought about giving up this blog. Sitting behind a screen typing is too much like work for me and I would rather be handling the month old chicks,
 Australorps and Barred Rock Chicks
planting in the garden or just sitting outside watching the chemtrails mark up the sky like a tic tac toe board.  It’s a challenge we play trying to decide where the next one will be as well as guessing when it will rain.

Speaking of rain, sure is interesting weather we’re getting.  I’ve never seen wind pick up so fast and become calm so quickly before in my life.  And what was that all about last week in the Dakota’s with both tornado and blizzard warnings, really?  Is there anyone still doubting that our climate is changing?

I enjoy walking in the rain as I did the other day and I love to stay dry while doing so.  Being part of the uniform program at work the last eight years of my career awarded me some bitchin outdoor wear, (though I was never an outside tech, all my wiring was done inside).  I stayed completely dry in my 4 mile trip though I appeared drenched on the outside and a kind gentleman must of felt sorry for me when he offered me up a ride.  I smiled and replied, “no thanks, I’m enjoying the walk”.  I laughed out loud to myself thinking about being branded with a telecommunications logo, maybe I should wear some Kevlar underneath just in case.

I notice many things while walking, that I don’t see while driving or sitting in the passenger seat.  I marvel at the signs posted, mostly religious.  Some say, “Prayer, America’s only hope”, or “Pray for America”.  The latter has a quote on it, “I will heal their land” and below in red, Signed, God.

Looking past these red, white and blue signs as well as the flags flying high, I noticed the soft pink blooms on the manzanita bushes and the brown mustard colored trunks of the madrone trees appearing like gold in a bright green forest of cedar trees.  As a cement truck passed me, I could feel the spray on my lips and it brought me back to reality and the road I was walking on.

My thoughts traveled quickly beyond the gates of the homes boasting these signs to the lives of the individuals who live there.  How does religion affect the way they live?  What things do they do to protect nature?  One home I passed had a prayer sign out front and I noticed the new fencing that was up as well as the two strands of barbed wire strung above it.  I PRAY that a animal doesn’t get hurt by their lack of concern for other living beings.  I know there are some wonderful people who live by these scriptures both in and out of church, I’ve met them, but I’ve also met those who live a life much different than what is preached about.

I enter my church when walking our property under the cathedral of oak trees.  I’m humbled by their size and age. I can’t wait to identify the herbs that grow naturally in this region, which reminds me of the other signs along the road like the “NO SPRAY” ones.  Very seldom do I see these and the religious ones together.  The best one is just a few driveways down from us it states:

  No Trespassing
      Survivors will be prosecuted

It’s fun to read while walking and I find it very entertaining at times.  With the amount of work to be done in preparing for a season, I try to smile when I can. 

We don’t allow ourselves to get overwhelmed.  Our last blog mentioned the fencing of the orchard and the fruit trees that needed planting, now a thing of the past.  We dug a hole, planted a tree and moved to the next one.  The deer watched from the outside.
New orchard
We even managed to find Pinot Noir grapes at a 40% discount that were nicely placed in the orchard along with the trees and much of what we brought with us.  The elderberries look healthy with new spring shoots as well as the raspberries, thornless blackberries and hops.  One of the hops is already up about 6”, maybe this will be the “year for beer”.
Elderberries we brought with us
Obviously we’ve always focused on living more than dying as it gets the work done.  But we also know that many species are dying every day and without them we will cease to exist.  When asked now, “what can I do?”, our reply is, “live simply, do no harm and be involved in our basic needs such as food, shelter and water.”  Time is short, find a purpose and make your life meaningful.
Our first rainbow on the property March 2014