After one year, Solan has itchy feet, and will now travel to visit other intentional communities, larger and more rural, for the foreseeable future. An Aquarian, he loves group life, but this tiny place just feels too small for him — at least for now! We wish him well. And here’s our farewell dinner last…
Thursday saw a beautiful morning with very mild weather. Perfect conditions for getting some food in the ground! Many of the flats we planted, if not all of them, began from seed in the greenhouse as early as January. After last week’s ‘hardening’, most are now ready for their new homes after a bit of weeding and soil turning with the broad fork.
Dan, Alex, Solan and Max visiting
Solan [above] and Justin [below] planting lettuce
Thursday was also the first work party for Rebecca since she returned from her camping trip out west. We’re elated to have her back with us, as well as Hank and Amos!
Max gets into the cat mint and stalks Hank
Dan takes seasoned bales away from the fig tree to line up near the fence. I may be experimenting with some straw bale planting, if we don’t need them for mulch.
L to R: Dan moves bales, Rebecca and Andreas prepare the bed for planting
At Overhill House, Ann begins planting gladiolas, while Shadow oversees
Some of the beautiful pansies and flora that grace the front of Overhill House.
It felt great to get our hands in the dirt and work together on a fine spring day. The breeze picked up which brought a nice cooling respite from the sun. I headed to DeKist 2 to help Solan and Dan plant beds with bush beans and lettuce while listening to some great tunes. Our early peas weren’t too happy in the raised bed, so Solan made the call: We’ll have more beets!
Photography by Gabrielle, Outreach Coordinator for Green Acres
Spring Greetings, Green Acres patrons! Before I jump in with my first post here on GA’s blog, I’d like to start by introducing myself.
My name is Gabrielle. You might recognize my writing style if you’re on our mailing list for community dinners. I’m also the Outreach Coordinator [a.k.a. media maven] among other hats that fit me well at Green Acres. I arrived last September like a leaf on a whirlwind. My journey here has been challenging, satisfying and humbling. That’s a long story for another time, and on another blog.
I’m an Indiana native who came to permaculture through peak oil study and news analysis after the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf. My late mentor, Mike Ruppert, lit a fire under my backside with his work. I dug in my heels to share information, search for communities, eventually traveling down the west coast during an Occupy media tour. Like a hawk, I was always looking for like-minded individuals and ‘some place’ that resonated with me.
As it turned out I didn’t have to look further than my own back yard. I discovered people online doing what needed to be done in Bloomington, Indiana. It had a peak oil task force, a growing permaculture community, and climate mitigation strategies not only being discussed but put into action. It was just after the first Occupiers took Zuccotti Park that I read the name, Ann Kreilkamp.
There has been a learning curve for this rookie to intentional community but thankfully it hasn’t been steep thanks to the wisdom of not just one, but two brilliant women. I feel ‘home’ singing in my bones here. I’m in love with Ann’s vision and intention as the founder of Green Acres. I’m eternally grateful for her friendship and recognizing my value here before I saw it, frankly. I also found myself guided in grounded, loving and creative energy from its garden goddess, Rebecca Ellsworth.
I’ve since been given the title, “proto-crone” which is equally humorous and humbling as I approach 52! Both of these women are straight shooting Sagittarius, but it was Ann who explained that Green Acres needed a ‘bridge’ in this inter-generational community; someone representing my age group. We both laughed. Hey, no pressure, right? But I understood on many levels what she meant.
As a Gemini, I understand communication is a bridge. It is tragic to see so many being easily burned over divisive politics. We must also work to communicate with our souls — through art, poetry, music, but also FOOD. When was the last time you saw people argue when someone announces that pie is served? With a mouthful of good food, people shut up long enough to notice the common threads that keep people and cultures healthy. This is what builds resilient spirits. And it all starts with healthy soil. That is permanent culture: permaculture.
I don’t feel pressure — I feel vital. I feel planted in the fertile soil that was the social permaculture of my ancestors. As a Taoist in practice, I asked myself, “Am I no longer the river but a bridge?” Ah ha, I’m both! Welcome to your paradigm shift, proto-crone. It’s time to get liminal — but it’s also time to get dirt under your nails again, and honor your grandmothers. Every. Single. Day.
It is my earnest intention to use my ‘gift of gab’ to sing the song of Green Acres on this blog and beyond. Today, I need to flow with the current of information, which is rapid. There’s much to share about Green Acres’ happenings from this past week, so to quote one of my favorite authors, Graham Hancock: “In writing, always strive for elegance and clarity. But if you must sacrifice one to save the other, sacrifice elegance.” Time to skip to the end!
L to R, Hugh, Annie, [me], Jim, and Dan. Hugh brings us first news of the tree planting project, community dinner night, January 24, 2019
In closing, I invite you to view my bio to learn more about me. I’ll be sharing posts from here to my blog and across networks to spread the word about my home and hamlet with my readers. I hope you all enjoy the changes for Green Acres’ web presence as much as I enjoy ‘growing community from the ground up’ with my new friends and neighbors. I am still occupying. This is my People’s Kitchen!
I always welcome comments and feedback. Thank you for reading!
I had already said what we had planned to do during our ceremony , and podmate Gabrielle had sent out a notice to the dinner list to that effect. So . . . when the time came, just about everyone had thought about the challenge, and came internally prepared. But first: photos, of the larger than usual group, over two dozen, including three adults and two kids who joined podmate Solan — unfortunately, I did not get their photo, except for this phenomenal knitted coat! —
— neighbor Mariella and her mother, visiting from New Jersey,
— and as usual, our sweet three-generation line-up, Wanda, Eva and Sophia.
The meal itself was more elaborate and scrumptuous than usual (perhaps in response to the fairly skimpy offerings of last week’s meal! unusual, for us) —
some of the diners filling the den —
others the kitchen —
— and the atmosphere was so convivial that when the time came to do ceremony, it took a bit to quiet everyone down. But that DID happen, and when Gabrielle brought out the tiny pieces of paper upon which we were to write down something that we had been working on internally over the six months of darkness, and that we choose now to let go and bury, composting to regenerate new growth over the coming six months of light, we were ready. Everybody assiduously passed the clipboard and pen and wrote down their offering. We invited anyone to speak about their process over the winter, and a number of people did. I remember especially three people, who spoke of their need to get out of their own way and allow life to happen without trying to control or predict it — and I’m remembering now as I write this, the neighbor who did not attend, but who told me, when I mentioned what we were going to do to honor the Spring Equinox — indeed, she did not just tell me, she growled, “There’s so much I would like to bury . . .”
Given her very private nature, I doubt she would have spoken up, had she attended.
Afterwards, three of us trouped outside and buried all the tiny pieces of paper in a common hole, in the garden that holds the gigantic elephant ears, soon to be arising once again, out of the miraculous soil.
Valentine’s Day dinner at 2601 DeKist (“the first DeKist house,” or DeKist 1) I took only two pics, one of them way too dark, and the other one a pic of Mariella’s kids Asiri and Juakim on their screens. They hardly noticed their surroundings, plus she had fed them earlier. Oh well! Mariella tells me that they only rarely get to spend time on their screens, so she let up on them this time.
Last Thursday’s dinner at 2615 DeKist (“the second DeKist house” “DeKist 2), was somewhat sparsely attended. All but four of the nine of us were either out of town or working. BUT: Dear Aaron, who has returned to the Bloomington fold having spent a think a year or so in Asheville North Carolina, is back, and brought a wonderful woman whom none of us have met before. Also, a friend of Mariella’s — damn, can’t remember her name right now — brought another new person, again and woman, can’t remember her name either — and a bunch of us women had a conversation at the dining table that reminded me of the olden days in the 1960s and 1970s, when we women were starting to get to know each other, in a brand new way, beyond the roles we were playing for our boyfriends and husbands. A wonderfully stimulating conversation. Thank you! Here they are:
First new woman, on left, with Gabrielle and Aaron, in background.
Second new woman, in back, on the left. Justino and Andreas in foreground.
Justin’s massive meal . . .
The likely bigger oops came in the past two days, when the temperature plunged to 5°, and our poor peas, just planted, will they survive the ordeal? Right now, early afternoon, it’s 19° and tonight’s forecast to go down to 10°. After that it’s clear sailing, for awhile anyway. Solan popped his head under the double cover that the just planted peas are under yesterday and pronounced them “alive, but stressed.”
I just took this pic. We still don’t dare uncover them, even for a few hours, in this cold.