Author Archives: akcrone
Mid-July Updates: New flag, pole in hole, Shadow intervention, Community Dinner, CSA harvest and prospect, plus shape-shifting Andreas!
So much going on here! Not sure what I’ve already posted on this site, and which made it only into the exopermaculture.com site; so if any of these updates introduce a subject for the first time for you, then check exopermaculture!
New Earth Flag, that is. The old one finally got so grungy and faded that I actually noticed it! — and ordered a new one immediately. However, I shouldn’t be surprised, given that it only cost $6.95, that the material of the new flag is flimsier; so how long will the flag last? Meanwhile, the Earth herself seems to be getting flimsier, more and more fragile, thanks to human beings and our continuing obsession with getting the biggest bang for the buck . . .
POLE in HOLE
The infamous hole discovered during the Pluto opposition to the last New Moon is receiving visitors. A few days ago, my son Colin Cudmore came to inspect it, and agreed with Rebecca that it’s probably the remains of an old cistern, and that in any case, it does hold water, and could be used for overflow from the roof when our large containers fill to the top. Good!
They took a metal pole and pounded it down through the muck, to finally hit what seemed to be a bottom. Conclusion? Hole is four feet deep, with three feet of muck under standing water. We plan to dig out the hole and create a pond for the extra roof water.
In any case, that’s the idea now. It may change. Meanwhile, I still do wonder what “caused” the hole, how long it’s been there, and how long it’s been growing. One person suggested that it may be another symptom of an “expanding earth”? True?
Puppy Shadow continued to show signs of total obsession and exhaustion, not to mention personality disintegration, due to 24/7 guarding the bone that was way too big for him to eat.
Here it is, in his bed with him.
Under the kitchen table . .
Regular spot on the rug . . .
Dan and Alex finally felt sorry for the little guy, and took it away. While we all enjoyed our reflections on the mental and emotional disorders that attend excessive greed for “stuff,” I’m glad that they had mercy on him. He’s back to his normal self!
As we get ready for this week’s regular Thursday Community Dinner, on the patio out back tonight. here are a few pics from last week. As usual, a great time was held by all, including three new people — two dear old female friends of Mariella’s from afar, and one who is here from Australia to visit his Bloomington parents. That one, Keith (green t-shirt below), peppered me with questions, especially as to how to ignite and nurture social permaculture. He’s currently studying to become a permaculture designer.
At one point, Roberto boldly struck out into the 78-tomato-plant patch behind, and grabbed the very first two ripe tomatoes. He says it’s all he gets from this week’s CSA, since Mariella gets all the rest (they are dividing a 1/2 share).
Last week’s Friday harvest, besides various greens, finally ripened enough to include some heftier items — one squash, and one tomato for each half-share. Plus more of our value-added offerings. This time? Lemon balm tea and tinctures, made with plants grown here on this land.
Tomorrow’s Friday harvest promises much more. The tomatoes are out in force, and we’ve already had to harvest a bowl full of them plus summer squash.
We always tell Andreas that he should not ruin those amazing hands of his with our garden work. But he persists.
Last Saturday evening, I and some lucky few others, got to attend his glorious, deeply felt and intricately precise 90 minute recital at the Brown County Art Guild —
— — the same pieces he has prepared for an international piano competition in New Orleans, to be streamed live starting this Sunday evening. Wish him well!
We have not held our traditional weekly Thursday Community Dinners for two weeks now, so we’re actually excited about the next one, tomorrow evening! It does help to take time off, even from what you love. Also, during that time, both Rebecca and Solan were gone, which meant that the CSA had to function pretty much with only Dan and myself (as vegetable washer). Here’s last week’s offering, Dan at the helm on an extremely hot and humid evening. Luckily, we worked in the shade.
Value-added food this time? Lemon balm and spearmint tea, in quart jars. (Last Friday was pesto; Fridays before that, radish kraut, sourdough bread.)
Monday Morning Work Party
Rebecca posted on our private fb group page re: the tasks before us. Notice her language: she seems to have returned from her time away with great appreciation for her podmates!
Early Monday morning she told us she would be out there by 9 am rather than 10 am, to beat the heat. Would we like to join her?
Well, not that early . . . except for one chicken.
An hour later, both Solan and Tim (a periodic visitor from Indy) joined her.
Meanwhile, Dan and I took her up on the idea of pulling trees. I had in mind especially the constantly emerging wild hibiscus on the north side of the Overhill house. On the one hand we appreciate it, since its blooms are pretty, and it camoflages both our windows; on the other hand, it’s just too wild and has gone out of control. Damn! Didn’t take a “before” picture. But here we are, nearly finished, leaving only the original hibiscus to shade the windows, after about 90 minutes.
That’s Dan above, hunched over on the left, sawing down an errant black walnut that we didn’t even know was there until now, so thick was the hibiscus profusion.
Here’s what the little tree looks like fully down. He’s going to make a walking stick out of part of the trunk, so nice and straight! Perfect size for the hand.
In order to accomplish our task of clearing, all of us were using one tool, the shovel. Dan was using our fantastic “Puller Bear” to extract some of the roots.
And to down that pesky black walnut? His special hand saw.
Small, appropriate technology. Where would we be without these tools, so perfectly formed for their function, in concert with human labor? I thought about this again this morning, when a gigantic truck rig pulling a platform with two huge, tractor like mowers on top drove up across the street, proceeded to mow that lawn to the accompaniment of huge roaring, in about ten minutes. We have traded our connection to nature for “efficiency”! How different from our trusty hand mower here, with which I walk what land in grass we do have left, blessing both the mower and the grass with every foot step.
Aha! At about 10:30, Andreas also arrived, and with Tim took over the puller bear for more clearing of tiny trees in the backyard of Overhill. Yes!
But my favorite part of this day was trying to actually catch in a photo the delicate, lacy, complex, subtle colors and layering of the mimosa blooms with their seeds. Who says “God” isn’t Nature?
Summer Solstice. The time of fullness LIGHT; the day when, in this northern hemisphere, the Sun rises farthest north in the eastern sky, climbs up to the zenith, and then sets farthest north in the western sky. Opposite Winter Solstice. The time of emptiness, DARK.
Always, we are working to integrate opposites, contrast — within ourselves, between each other, from humans to earth, earth to sky. This time when culmination is reached DOES feel significant. As creatures who, like flowers, respond to the sun, we cannot help but feel the significance of the moment of solar fullness each year.
And this year was no exception. However, and it’s a big however! What we experienced during and leading up to our Summer Solstice evening event, was change, continuous change and adjustment — especially as regards the ceremony we were going to hold, and the relationship between our ceremony and the sky gods!
It started two weeks earlier, at our regular Thursday evening Community Dinner, when Mariella, Eva, Jackie, and me (Ann) agreed to work together to devise an appropriate Summer Solstice Ceremony for our Green Acres Village podmates, neighbors and friends to be held on the day of the Solstice, which just happened to fall on the 21st, Thursday, our regular dinner night. Okay.
So then about ten days ahead of the event I emailed the other three, and we had a lively email thread as to just what would take place and the prep we would need. Eva suggested that everyone receive their own individual flower. Mariella came up with a ceremony using symbols to honor the four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. I said I’d start it out by talking a bit about the astrology of the occasion, and suggested that shamanic drumming at the end would be good, with a short meditation to invoke group energy for balance. We all agreed that in this way we would be honoring both individual energy, plus our connection to the Earth and each other as a community.
Okay! Sounds good! Eva said she’d bring the flowers. Mariella said she’d come with candles (fire), salt (symbolic of earth) and sage (to purify air). We would each hold an individual candle, and then dip one finger into first, a common bowl of water, and then a common bowl of salt. We would then bless ourselves by touching our senses — eyes, ears, nose — to ask that we see, hear and smell accurately; our mouth, so that we speak truth; our heart so that we open to the world; our gut, so that we feel things correctly; our feet, so that we walk with sacred intent upon the Earth.
After the drumming meditation, we agreed that we would finish up by continuing to sit in a circle, and whoever wanted to say something could then do so.
Sounds good, eh? Maybe a little elaborate, but I was sure we could pull it off in about half an hour, starting after dinner.
Okay, and now the fun begins . . .
The day before, Eva emailed the three of us, saying she couldn’t come, nor could her children. Some kind of family difficulty. Then, a few hours later, Jackie emailed, to say that she was feverish, and sick, and wouldn’t be able to make it.
So . . . we’re down to Mariella and me. Okay. Well, the others had been the ones to give out flowers and arrange the earth, salt, water, etc., with Mariella and I the main officiants. Okay, we can still do this, just have to bring in other people to help. Wing it.
The next day, Solstice itself, the weather looked iffy; periodic thunderstorms the 24 hours before, and more promised. Hmmm. Should we set up on the patio? — or just plan on being inside. Let’s do both. Set up for either one. Make sure this house is clean, just in case.
Okay. All will be well, either way!
The time came. People started showing up, a few, as usual, whom we’ve never met before. In all about 28 or so people were there at least part of the time.
Yay! Here comes Mariella, with all the equipment we need for the ceremony —
— plus! Pisco sours (a Peruvian specialty), for all adults who want them.
And her kids, Juakim and Asiri. Yay! They haven’t been here for months, due to some kind of sports practice.
They can meet Coby, Payton’s sweet young brother, here from South Carolina..
Here we are, after dinner, discussing something. What? Possibly the fact that it is becoming obvious that a thunderstorm is moving in?
Just about then the thunder god spoke. Somebody yelled: “Everybody get inside, and bring something with you!” I.e., don’t leave the dishes, plates, cups, and silverware outside!
Okay. Within minutes, the dishes are all in, and we are milling about in the house, just the sky darkens dramatically and releases torrential rain.
Still time for ice cream! (Four people had brought five types of ice cream.) Here is Erin, a new person and Payton’s neighbor, who will bring her kids next time.
BTW: See the man in the background, above? That’s neighbor Devon, who had told me last week that he has extra sulfur that we could have to help with chiggers when working in the gardens (powdered agricultural sulfur: you load it into a sock, and then tie the sock beat your skin with the sock — that way the sulfur inside lasts a long time). I mentioned it to him again before dinner. He ran right home and got it. YES!
Somewhere in the melee, Kate, our drummer, told me that she wasn’t feeling well, and needed to leave. Oops! Okay, well then who will drum? Rebecca agreed to do it.
Meanwhile, we had already handed out the candles outside, but then I decided no, let’s not have candles inside. Too many of us; too dangerous. So we made another adjustment. One candle, on the table, along with water and salt for the ceremony.
Oops! Yet another change: We would stand rather than sit for the ceremony, since the space inside is so crowded.
Mariella and I were making these adjustments off the cuff, as the thunder gods kept rolling outside. By this time all our “carefully laid plans” had been severely tested — and altered. But the essence of the ceremony remained. And we were showing ourselves that we can bend with sudden unpredictable changes in mood, tone, setting, and protocol while remaining true to our original intent. A good lesson in these times of high uncertainty in all areas of life!
And yes, we carried it off without a hitch.
First, the preliminaries.
In the kitchen, Mariella and Rebecca decided to light the sage and wave it around ahead of time to clear the air.
Then I asked Asiri if she would collect all the candles as she handed people a flower instead. But first, take off the rubber band!
Okay, everybody, let’s circle up with our flowers, standing!
I then talked about the flowers as symbols of fullness, of this day of full bloom, Summer Solstice, which, by the way, I mentioned, has already passed, since the actual moment of Solstice, when the Sun passed into 0°00 Cancer, was at 6:07 AM EDT. From that moment on, darkness will increase little by little until Winter Solstice, December 21.
Right as I began there was another thunder boom. A big one. The sky was talking, and we were aware, laughing and excited to be engaged in the larger drama.
Then, Mariella, who was standing at the opposite end of our circle (our oval) —
— talked about the salt, the water, the sage, and the lit candle on the table, how they represent the elements, and our capacity to sense ourselves, each other, and the Earth under our feet. She asked us to each go to the bowl of water, dip our finger in it, then dip the same finger into the salt, then bless the various parts of our body (as specified above) with that finger, before moving on. So we did that. In a big line, not exactly reverent or quiet however. We were all so stirred up by the thunderstorm and our narrow escape from it.
Dario set the tone . . .
We begin, one by one, the line around the room and into the kitchen.
After we had all paraded through, I introduced the concept of meditating as we listen to the sound of the sacred drum, called “shamanic drumming,” (and quickly instructed Rebecca how to do it, having already asked Kate before she left: Low, and slow). I asked us to close our eyes as we stood there, and invoke visions of community, whatever that means for us. Individuals joining in groups, cooperating. I asked us to remain standing in meditation, eyes closed, silent, for a few minutes.
And we did!
Finally, after about four minutes I asked us to again return to our senses, and open our eyes.
Then Mariella suggested that (instead of the planned discussion, which we had nixed beforehand, due to the fact that we were standing rather than sitting) we link arms for a minute or two, and feel grateful for each other. So we did that. And we meant it.
Just then Mariella counted the room and noticed that there were 21 people participating in the ceremony, on the 21st of June! How’s that for magic!
Afterwards, Mariella came up to me with the water bowl and said, why don’t we put the water in a jar, since it holds all of our energies. Add flower petals to it, and more water, and vodka, so that it will keep. Put it in the refrigerator, so that we can pull it out whenever we want to bless ourselves again. Good idea.
And then, we proceeded to get down to business and wash the dishes.
I’m not sure if the ceremony took even 30 minutes. But it felt good, and effective, and will be treasured forever.