I should mention first that this conversation is going to move from WordPress to Wheedu. The place you can find it will be http://www.wheedu.com/groups/vairochana-farm#/. You can join there, and get regular updates and have conversations. Once everybody has switched, I’ll discontinue the WordPress blog. It will be better on spam and several other matters. (If you have trouble, please message me here or somehow.)
Even though the goats sort of captured my attention, there’s lots else going on. The first harvest from the garden has had me freezing, cooking, and pickling, and I’d be drying but the drying rack isn’t built yet. Pulling and whacking down weeds is more fun than building and moving fences – and they have to be moved every few days. Fixing the mower myself felt good, though I’d rather have my hands in the dirt. There’s excitement in the first tomatoes, first zucchini, and so forth. (I started really late so I still have firsts – nobody else still has peas.)
There are so many things to do – each one exciting, each one leading to many hours more than I thought. There’s a hillside by the driveway, where we first pulled out invasives and planted mulberry, hazelnuts, aronia, and a few flowers. I went back and pulled out more invasives. I want to cut down some extra trees, use downed trees and manure to turn it into a hugelkultur terraced garden, and plant a full complement of edible, nitrogen-fixing, 7-layered plants. I did water, and will come back to see when the grapes are ready. But building the goat house comes before that, and so does helping the potatoes (I did something wrong) and harvesting more nettles for the freezer. And I’d rather not use the chainsaw alone, though I do. (A chainsaw may be the best use of fossil fuels ever invented.)
I met with the architects today. The plan (just for the house, not the greenhouse/work building) will cost twice what I have. But I can afford to switch to a wood masonry stove and create a couple of extra bedrooms so people can come here. This is tricky: on the one hand, I need to be patient and take time to create what this place is, so people know what they’re coming to and we can work on that together. On the other hand, I’m paying people to do things that would naturally be done by residents – and things like cleaning the shop (and erosion control, cutting firewood, canning, most garden work, the long term design, the grant for buckthorn removal, and, and…) are just not happening. And people who were paying rent somewhere else are likely to bring some money. So I balance the two, and intend to get the house ready for more people for when the time is right.
Meanwhile, out in the world – there’s Palestine, Israel, Gaza, bombings, anguish, and over here just people shouting at each other about who’s right and what to do. There are little news items like an Ontario blockade of a pipeline, another pipeline failing for loss of investors, people being arrested for this and that, the Climate March. If I weren’t here I could be out there with them, and that thought brings a rush of nostalgia for last year when I was out there with the Compassionate Earth Walk. But it feels like my job now is to establish this space, really get it going, and maybe later there will be something else to do. Or maybe later the task will be simply to take care of whoever comes our way. I do not have confidence that there will be propane next year to heat the house. So I plan not to need it, to be one of those not thrown into panic if things fall apart, one of those available to help.
That seems like a gloomy note. I want to add that living this close to the earth is incredibly joyful, and I expect that others will find it so too when/if the time comes. And I still have trouble finding words. The sun is down and it will wake me early; good night.