<– Part 1
The morning was planned to visit the Gateway Barn where Chris built his Micro Hut and gave us lessons about Biochar. Biochar is a charcoal-like material that is produced by pyrolysis of biomass and is often used in permaculture as a soil amendment because of
its unique characteristics such as it’s water-holding capacity and is an ideal environment for bacterias to thrive and creating a soil rich in nutrients for the plants. He was explaining all this while cooking a soup on a T-Lud, an eco-friendly stove used to transform wood scrap into charcoal while cooking. He’ll use that charcoal as a fertilizer. Genius! Now just imagine that at a larger scale, you can cook, heat, and make fertilizer for the cost of nothing! Companies now offer this approach, like: Rocket Stove and Champion Stove. There is more information about this on the internet. I recommend this- Youtube channel -to learn more about biochar, and organic gardening:
We then moved to the Council Hall for a little course 101 about renewable energy/electricity with Chris. It was about technics and methods used in solar panel and water turbine system. I can’t say it wasn’t interesting, but it was technics and theories.
After dinner was a presentation about sustainability offered by Lee Warren. She gave us informations about the economy and the economic situation of Earthaven. She explains that being off-grid might be a struggle to some, depending of their financial situation. You might be free of loan and electricity bills, but you still have taxes, some may have depts or need medical services, or need repairs and external needs or luxury. However, there is no large employers within 20 miles, and local service jobs are mostly 10-15 miles away over winding mountain roads. Jobs must be available onsite nearby. Many community members offer labor to other members and neighbors or the community itself. Several members work offsite. They also have their own local money as well.
She spoke about the decision making process. At Earthaven there is no “leader”. It’s community, everyone is equal. Female and male, black or white (they use the term “Y’all” not “You guys” as equity). They all have the same privilege. The vote has to be almost the unanimity. I don’t know the exact numbers though. If there is members that vote against a decision, there will be a revote and discussions to find an agreement.
Nature connection with Kimchi. We went for a walk in the Village Terraces. A family-friendly cohousing neighborhood. She offered us some meditation time with nature to reconnect. She brought us to a great kept river and offered that we separate and find a peaceful spot to rest and meditate with the sounds that surround us. “Down by the river you may often have auditory alucinations, some say it’s the ancestors” she said. So I found my spot, dive my feet on the cold water, closed my eyes and meditated. It took only a few seconds until I found my true inner peace. like never before. I felt free.
Dinner, then free time. I decided to take it cool, talk , write and go to bed soon. I played some guitar with Dylan, one of the student and we had great conversation in a gazebo-library. And soon I was to bed.
It was my turn with two others in the group to clean up for the next three days, so I had to wake-up earlier. It was nice to participate. Then what was planned for the morning until dinner was a Garlic Harvest at the Yellow Farm with Andy. We first did a little Check-in with NikiAnne, went to the farm where we met Andy, a super nice guy. He explained the process for harvesting. Pretty simple but physical.
Then NikiAnne went back at Earthaven wishing us good luck and said that we should interact with each others while working. “Sing, talk and interact with the person close to you. It’s great to work while having fun!” she said. And so we did! It was amazing experience and we had a BIG harvest. The ole field was done in a little more than two hours. It was a hot sunny day and it was hard work, but we made it pleasant, we had conversations, jokes and signing. Then we went at the farm to prepare the garlic to dry. So basically, we take a bunch and we tie them with a rope to hang them upside down. It was a lengthy process but we did it quite fast after we found our pace.
We were hungry, but first, we had to jump on water. We needed a river, it was so hot! We found a river not that far. It was ice cold, but whatever. I jumped without a doubt. It was soo good. It felt awesome after that. Then we went for dinner. Everyone looked exhaust. I was. I relaxed a bit, as soon as I was able after cleaning-up, I just lied on a bench for 15 minutes. The day was far from done.
For the next part of the day we walked with Kimchi to Hidden Valley in the direction of the Full Circle Farm. Once there we met Leon. Leon is incredible. He has a huge land with multiple buildings. One of them was a beautiful local for meditation. Working 7 days a week and his mind never stops. So when he needs a little brake, he takes some time to meditate. He also has bees, grow mushrooms, has free goats (he doesn’t kill them) and greenhouses everywhere. One acre was used for wild plants and flowers that grow freely for the bees. We learned so much with him, he shared his uniques technics with us. I found funny when he told us what was the best fertilizer. Bee poo. Yep, I know, that’s weird, but it’s real. He dig a hole to show us how rich was the soil made with his own biochar and compost.
He believes that growing food is what we are meant to do on earth. We are a unique specie with hands, a logical mind and abilities to do so. And we are greatly rewarded by doing so. He says he often has visitor that just came back from vacancies by the beach and the only thing he has in mind, and he yells: “NOOO, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GROWING FOOOOOD!” Haha, that was funny. This visit was awesome, it was one of my favourite activity considering the fact that it opened my eyes knowing what a simple family farm can achieve and the possibilities are endless. I learned so much you have no idea.
Dinner and independent time. We had great conversations with the group, all satisfied of the day. I was also offered some amazing local mead by NikiAnne. The bottle had spiritual design with the Flower Of Life and were identified: Prosperity; Love. I opened a bottle that night and shared with everyone. It was a full moon and some of us decided to take a walk and find a cozy spot to gaze the moon and stars and tell stories. Despite the huge day. I ended up going to sleep late that night, with gratitude for the past day.