Every day, I am blown away and grateful for the amazing life I am suddenly leading, and the wonderful people who have come into it. This was a particularly eventful weekend at Crow Forest Farm. On Saturday, we had a Pysanka (Ukrainian Egg) Painting workshop, where we wrote our intentions for Spring using ancient symbols. On Sunday, we had our first ever “Shed Talk,” hosted by Starflower O’Sullivan, regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, and a meaningful discussion about alternatives. On Sunday afternoon, we built the frame for our Rainwater Harvesting Chicken Coop Greenhouse (We’ve got to come up with a shorter name!), and had a beautiful dinner at sunset. Life is beautiful.
First, I must give thanks to Chris Piatt and Kelly Junco, who spent much of February/March leading the clean-up of our barn and building a stage for the eagerly-awaited Shed Talks. I must also give thanks to Parakh Hoon, who lent us his projector, and to Dennis Chang, who gave his input regarding lighting/orientation and shot video of our Shed Talk. (Soon to be uploaded). The pysanka workshop went well, and thanks must go out to Steven Banks, who took beautiful shots of Crow Forest Farm and the wonderful artisans who frequent it.
Starflower did a wonderful job of researching and presenting the issues and challenges surrounding the Keystone-XL pipeline. She facilitated a heartfelt discussion, where people from across the political spectrum discussed what courses of actions to take. Some advocated a middle of the road approach, allowing the pipeline to be built under the conditions that all tarsand oil be earmarked for building a green energy infrastructure. Others discussed the implications of the pipeline in light of the recent NASA study and statements from the UN regarding the imminent impact of global warming. Others discussed the virtues of developing intentional communities, where resources such as cars and computers are shared. Some asked tough questions about the reality of congressional politics, and how congress-members’ decisions to support or reject the pipeline could effect the shape of congress in the long-run. There were also discussions on how to engage with people who disagree on a personal level. The most heart-warming thing, however, was how two of our guests from the Middle East came to me afterwards, saying how grateful they were to see Americans discussing the implications of fossil fuel dependence. Over dinner later, we learned more about how US consumption of Middle Eastern oil has empowered dictatorships in the region.
After the shed talk, Maureen, Tim, and Evan planted potatoes, cabbage and onions. Meanwhile, Nouri, Parakh, Drew, Mousa and I worked on building the wall frames for our chicken coop. We are deeply grateful to Dan Warren, a barn-builder who stayed after the Shed Talk to advise us on how to attach the walls to our foundation. He was very encouraging, and his expertise saved us a lot of time and head-scratching. Just like last weekend, we accomplished more than I expected. Thank you, hard working people!
When the evening was over, we had a beautiful dinner outside the Octagon house. We had roasted Jerusalem artichokes, thanks to generosity of Elliot Crookshank and his Mom Nancy from the 3 Cow Dairy in Floyd. We ate Soujouk, a smoked Halal beef sausage, a gift to Nouri and Moussa. I contributed leftover Ukrainian food from the pysanka workshop, including kapusta, kasha, and turkey shnitzli. Finally, Tim and Maureen prepared a delicious salad of lettuce and mustard greens, freshly harvested from our cold frames. The discussion lasted long after the sun went down.
My friend Drew, an OWS “hacktivist” friend who came to help on the farm, reassured me that the life we’re cultivating here at Crow Forest Farm is not unconventional. Rather, it is “neoconventional.” That you can have a professional day job, but have a collaboratively self-sufficient community for the other 16 hours of the day. That night, I slept so soundly, grateful for the beautiful community of people that have been blossoming around this great experiment that has become my life. The universe works in mysterious ways, and while it’s not always easy, I feel grateful to the people who are helping me “grow my hands” along the way.
We’re took a break this weekend to observe the holidays. Happy Pesach, Happy Easter, and Happy Cambodian New Year! Until next time : )