I want to extend a heartfelt thank you, good luck, and fare thee well to Alex Ritchie and Amanda D. (and Nixie the ace guard dog), who were here for 1 1/2 years, and proved very helpful and fun to work(and play darts)with! It was heart warming to share your company, and see younger people devote themselves to learning and good work.
I wish you good fortune on your journeys & and trust you’ll do well.
Hello 2020! Let’s hope for the best, shall we? And prepare for the worst- or at least continue to maintain and build further resilience.
The problem with the word sustainability, i think, besides its general vagueness, is that it implies a static condition. How does that work in a world of accelerating change? What may seem sustainable today(keeping chickens for example) may seem or be less so tomorrow. What if suddenly feed supplies were interrupted or stopped? Being ready for such scenarios is what resilience is about. Which is one big reason why community is inherently more resilient than say, me running this homestead by myself. What if i break an arm, or leg, or worse? Without fellow homesteaders, or at minimum able and willing neighbors, well… down goes the ship.
I know it’s become a buzz word of sorts, but deservedly so I’d say. To me energetically building resilience means you’re paying attention to the myriad factors that are changing- like the climate-and that are on the cusp of major(& probably not good)changes, like the economy(think recession, currency fluctuations etcetc) or geopolitical relations and arrangements. Plus resilience is just common sense if self reliance is an aim. Just being fit increases resilience.
So though resilience has always been a central theme and motivator here at Motheroak, I’ll be amping it up this year. Will try to add a video(or two)about it to our utube offerings. The assumption(usually subconscious)that things will remain the same is a complacent& even dangerous one i think, and there’s plenty of evidence i could cite for that. Plus it’s late in the game on some fronts, tho climate chaos is just getting started.
Anyhow, there’s plenty to celebrate and be grateful for. Another young couple, Nick and Simon, are coming in March and committed to a year, and then who knows? Our freezers are full and the pantry& cold room well stocked, and for now the few but important machines are working. Like the chainsaws for example.
And soon we’ll order a few seeds, and begin the cycle again. All the best for now friends!♦
Another good year wraps up here at Motheroak, meaning helpful younger people, excellent crops so lots of food, healthy livestock, and lots of learning as well, with myself definitely included!
The young couple that were here for almost 1.5 years, Alex Ritchie & Amanda, headed back to Ontario in November- it was a good team and i much appreciate them. Another young couple coming in April, so it looks like we shall ride again on the market cropping road, permaculture style of course!
My studies around death & dying last year, complemented more recently with studies around trauma(both personal&collective) and trauma healing have deepened&widened my perspectives, and are a welcome integration into my permaculture understanding, and i think strengthening to it. Personal & collective resilience, along with regenerative land practices more important than ever given the chaos “out there.”
Using the boat metaphor(one of my favorites), I’d say we have an increasingly massive hole(climate change)taking in water, and a very serious fire in the engine room(economic-it’ll be a shocker), while the sails are looking increasingly tattered and our survival supplies are rough and depleting(the biosphere). And though we really can’t know what exactly will happen next, it seems a good idea to keep the lifeboats ready & the life jackets handy & your swimming fitness strong. Otherwise, to quote Jamie Wheal, you may become just another drag & liability on others. Not such cheery comments, i know, especially for the season, but hey- just calling it as honestly as i can.
There is cheer however, accessible every moment of every day, which resides & manifests in the goodness within us and between us- AS the creative and healing and abundance and mystery of nature- just drop the clouds of distraction & see it shine.
Spring! And another belated update…we are well here, everyone enjoying our moments, and being tested a bit by the cool wet weather being delivered. As the artiic continues heating and the jet stream fluxes with somewhat predictable results, north america faces more & more the consequences of an over scaled & hyperdeveloped mode of habitation on our lovely Earth, it seems. Permaculture, i would say, is more needed & relevant than ever, offering as it does alternative modes of said habitation.
And as ever, the most significant & helpful(i think) transformation needed is not in external design, but within ourselves- mind, body & spirit. And yes, it’s happening, and whether some critical mass of such transformation- a realization of our connectedness to the larger whole of nature-happens before we collectively hit a wall, fall of a cliff, sink in a swamp or incinerate the globe with nukes remains to be seen obviously. Time for each of us to do our part perhaps? Without delay?
2018 another year of flux and change, both defining and testing our resilience, it seems. Chaotic weather- a serioud late frost,livestock problems- losing our prime milk goat, crop losses- some carrots to excessive rain, cabbage to porcupines etc, relationships made and lost-some longer term live in help now, which is so helpful and vital to the flourishing of this place, and the ending of a couple partnership, sadness welcoming the early winter,and a great deal of learning. And yet all vital functions continue with apparent health, and ongoing gratitude for the many gifts and positive outcomes. My own energies and focus are redirecting(partially anyhow) to deepen my understanding of death and dying, of grief and grieving, of gaining skills for home funerals, and to exploring/ creating/ adopting new to me ceremonies and rituals in service of those.
Meanwhile the quiet time of winter is welcome, allowing time for much needed rest and reflection and semi-hibernation. I will try to be more timely with updates.
We do still have space to host singles or couples wishing to visit and explore collaborative possibilities.
A very active time…a good(tho smallish) hay crop in the barn, garlic ready to be pulled, veggies and weeds booming with some much welcomed summer rain, tree crops coming abundantly, our 3rd generation flint corn liking the intense heat, and not quite enough hands to keep up with it all as we are feeling our ages (61 & 65) more these days.
Among one of our most passionately inspired, fun, and very helpful and competent volunteers, Ashleigh and her wonderful family are, alas, moving to Ontario.
Besides leaving behind a trove of work well done, you’ve gifted us with fond memories and for me personally, a sense that the changes and permaculture advocacy we work towards here at Motheroak are worthwhile in their influence; i’m confident you’ll have a multiplier effect.. You already have!
So good bye and good luck dear Ashleigh Ann, we’ll always remember your genuine smile!
We are pleased to offer another intensive site tour– Sunday, October 22nd, from 9am to 4pm. Alex will lead through an in depth look at landscape and infrastructure, how things have evolved over the last nine years since roll out, and some of what we’ve learned. We will provide a light lunch, with plenty of time for discussion, Q&A, and wandering around. Registration is limited, so please apply early. Fee is $25. Per person, $40 for couples. Location is 1217 Belmont Rd Hants county NS.
Finally an update! Evolution/ adaptation continues here at Motheroak. We now have Shane, a former intern, moved in as a permanent resident–the beginning of community!. Though we were expecting a couple, his partner got cold feet as they say, and so it goes.
Repurposing the end of the building into a comfortable year round living space has been ongoing since January, and the bulk of the work is done(pics). I look forward to a break from construction, rewarding tho it is.
Spring was a bit colder and wetter than usual, but reasonable enough given the possibilities. Strawberries and honeyberries have come and gone, and now we’re enjoying raspberries, greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes, and the ongoing greens from the gardens. The Apple trees had a very low fruit set, tho the pears and peaches are quite abundant. This drives home the point once again that diversity is critical to food crop resilience. Our two cows and young bull are doing well on the slowly improving pastures, as are the goats. The meat and milk certainly help sustain us.
We also put up a bumper hay crop early in July, so I’m grateful for that!
The garlic harvest is the next major task coming up, meanwhile we are processing firewood and trying to keep up with the weeds, tho our scale of cultivation remains small– less than an acre.
This is the first year in since 07 that we’ve taken no interns,.and it’s good to see that the place is manageable with just three of us.
Most likely we will host a tour/ workshop in the early autumn, and internships again next year. Stay tuned.