View as Web Page Subscribe Send to a Friend

Early Autumn 2011 Newsletter

Photo of the Season


Taylor Carlson has been offering classes in basic Japanese to kids and parents of the Forest Children's Collective. Afternoon adventures also include mandala painting and plant walks.

Found by a Home

by Norm Self

I didn’t come looking for a new home. Yet suddenly last summer, I discovered that Earthaven had found me. My first visit was the summer before, and my purpose was to spend time with my beloved and esteemed Tantra teacher, Rudy Ballentine. I wanted to dig deeper into the joys and mysteries of a Tantric life-stream.


Another kind of digging showed up that surprised and pleased me. We spent two weeks literally digging in the earth! We were digging out root systems of bushes and saplings that interfere with tilling the garden terraces. It was challenging, sometimes backbreaking, and exhausting.


When I was a redneck sharecropper kid in Alabama doing work similar to this, I was “hatin’ life”—pursuing every daydream and fantasy to get me away from all this. Why, here in my mid-seventies, doing similar kinds of manual labor, was I so in love with life?


Some really important lessons are seeping into my soul, as this land makes its imprint on me, and as I come to love and be loved by this community. I am pleased to discover that even as an elder there’s still some good, hard work left in me. And I am pleased that many of the gifts and resources I have accumulated are valuable in this community. I love the exchange of energy among us—from the youngest child to the most mature elder.


So I didn’t leave San Francisco. I love that city and all my connections there. Rather, I came to Earthaven, where I have been “found” by place and a community that captivated and took me in. Last summer, on a hot afternoon as I worked out on a terrace, a beautiful brown hawk swooped down and landed not ten feet away, did a little dance and swished away. Looking down in a swale, I spotted a copperhead lazing under a plank. It was a moment when earth, sky, creatures of all species were saying “Welcome Home!”



Norm Self retired from the ordained ministry of the United Methodist Church in 1998. He came to Earthaven from in May 2010 intending to spend the summer, and has been a Provisional Member since May 2011.



in Trampoline Repair

by Tessa Hovan-Bartalos

Matthew and Liz mightily pulling the spring into place.

Recently the Village Terraces trampoline mat ripped. For some time, we all decided to jump around the hole. After a few weeks, the Village Terrace-ians decided to replace the mat so they could have their precious trampoline to its maximum bouncing potential. “Since the old mat had gotten stretched out, the new one will make the trampoline even bouncer then before.” said newly appointed V.T.-ian Matthew.


Four people, using ropes and muscles pull on a very tight spring.

So on July 3, 2011, at 5:00 p.m., all the V.T.-ians gathered by the trampoline to apply the new mat. “I thought it would only take one hour or two at the most,” said Dylan, the youngest V.T. resident.


As it pushed the second hour and they only had about half of the springs attached they realized it was a much more strenuous task then they had thought. Then they applied

Mae, Liz & Dylan happily jumping at the end of it all.

a series of ropes and risky positions pushing their strength to the limit.


To their excitement, as it approached 9 o’clock they finished their endeavor with sighs of relief. Now to everyone’s great satisfaction V.T. has a bouncier trampoline for everyone to use.






Tessa Hovan-Bartalos is a 13-year-old, part-time resident of  Earthaven. She spends summers and holiday vacations with her dad, Mihaly, and the many friends she's made over the last 11 years at Earthaven. When she's not at Earthaven, she lives in Nashville, TN with her mom Dana. In addition to writing this article, Tessa also took all the photos.

September Events

by Arjuna da Silva

It’s one thing after the other this month, and we welcome you to all these events.


September 10: Useful Plants Nursery is celebrating its tenth anniversary September 10 with a Plant Jam from 9-3. This event features free workshops with nursery founder, Chuck Marsh, and other Permaculture and plant experts, along with thousands of plants for sale, and free snacks. 


Also, that same day, the Forest Garden Learning Center will host a plant exchange starting at 1:30, with tours of the Earthaven Forest Garden at 2 and 4. Bring your extra plant starts to trade for plants for your garden and enjoy the fall evening with an Open Mic Fundraiser beginning at 7:30 pm. 


September 11: Earthaven celebrates our seventeenth anniversary with joy and optimism as the grand experiment of collective living continues! Join us for entertainment and some memory lane time. See the Earthaven website for details.


September 17: It’s the annual Village Harvest Festival, featuring local crafts and wisdom, games and fabulous food, wandering minstrels, Dances of Universal Peace and a Playback Theatre performance. See the Culture’s Edge website for details.


September 23-25: The Natural Building School is holding its “Building Naturally" (and with recycled materials) workshop. Sign up now and save on tuition! The project for beginners and those who know their tools and materials is a “clay-wattle” garden shed with a living roof and an attached cob bench. A variety of techniques will be used to inspire and instruct us in creative self-sufficiency. Ash Aymond and Mollie Curry lead the team. See the Natural Building School website for more information.


See for more information.

Chuck's Birthday

A VERY Happy Birthday to Chuck Marsh, who turned 60 on August 20.




The crowd listens intently. Present and recognizable are Suchi, Paul, Jim, Sue, Geoff, Karen, Chynna, Molly.









Goodheart stands by as Chuck (right) talks and eats his cake all at the same time. Go Chuck!











Randy, Brian, and Geoffrey are a captive audience.













Engaging conversations and drinks with Ivy and Michael.









Thanks to Arjuna for the party photos.

Wise Women of the Southeast

by Lee Walker Warren

As women in our 30’s and 40’s, we’ve grown up with the notion that women can do anything. Thanks to our foremothers, we’ve experienced much liberation. Our life paths have taken us back even further to learn the old ways: herbal medicine, home-birth, tending animals, growing food, and sitting in circle with other women. We are changing culture from the inside out.


From our first annual Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference event in 2005, we quickly discovered that women in the Southeast were ready and eager for this community of teaching and connection that we were creating at the conference. We discovered that we were filling a deep need. Our first conference drew 250 women, a high number for a start-up event. By 2010, our sixth year, over 800 women attended, during a rough economic time when event after event was collapsing.


It seems that part of the draw to the conference comes from the authenticity that we bring to it as organizers. We use the weekend to give women a taste of the way we actually live. For us, green business and sustainability aren’t just buzz words: they’re the way of life. Our office and apothecary run entirely on solar and hydro electricity, our homes and offices are built and heated by wood from our land, we grow much of our own food on our adjacent farms and gardens, we raise our children in a community context and we practice herbal medicine, natural health, and women’s cooperation in our everyday lives.


Renee, Corinna, Ema, and Lee are the organizers of the SE Women's Herbal Conference and all live at or near EH.



The Southeast Women's Herbal Conference, 'Bringing Back the Wise Woman Ways,' takes place on October 14-16, 2011 at beautiful Lake Eden in Black Mountain, NC. It's a weekend to learn, connect, and deepen into the Wise Woman Tradition: earth-based healing, local wisdom, & deep nourishment.


For more information and to register, visit

Visiting Earthaven

We offer public tours on alternating Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Tour dates remaining for 2011 are September 10 and 24; October 8 and 22; November 12 and 26, and December 10. Call 828-669-3937 to make a reservation for a tour. Please arrive 15 minutes early to register. The fee for the tour is $15 per adult and we welcome additional donations to help support our outreach efforts. The tour lasts two to three hours and is mainly outdoors, so be sure to dress for the weather. Bring your own food if you think you’ll get hungry. On Saturday afternoons, there are sometimes community work projects or in-depth tours of members’ homesites available (the morning tour guide announces afternoon work projects or tours). More information about Saturday tours.

Late  Summer Abundance

Lammas, the traditional day to celebrate the bounties of the harvest season, falls at the beginning of August. It's an appropriate time, when the earth's growth gives forth her gifts.


Medicine Wheel

Squash Flowers


  Luscious Raspberries from the V.T. Garden


Hut Hamlet Blueberries


 Echinacea seen throughout the land.


 Red-ripe Tomatoes


Elderberries came on early this year.


Red Moon Herbs Skullcap, in full flower.


Hot Peppers & Onions from the V.T. Garden.


Magnolia Tree Fruit


The ever-lovely Passionflower


All photos (except the passionflower by Lee) were taken by Eli Swiftcreek.



Eli Swiftcreek has been living at Earthaven since Spring 2008 Before moving here, Eli was a full-time baker and urban communitarian. She brings her many skills and talents to EH. She and her family reside at Village Terraces, where she enjoys a life connected to the land.



Earthaven's got a Facebook page.


Stay in touch with us and others interested in Ecovillage Living.


Find us here.

The Snake Catcher

Black snakes love eggs. Martha became a snake catcher when one-too-many a black snake coiled itself around a nest of hard-won chicken eggs at Imani Farm, where Martha manages the chicken operation.


Chicken and songbird eggs alike are safe wherever Martha may roam. Martha relocates the snakes without harming them.


 Martha with a snake as tall as she is.


 Look at the wing-span of that snake!


 Rubber gloves in case she gets bit.


 Introducing baby Oakley to a recently-caught black snake.



Lest potential visitors are scared away by visions of black snakes, never fear. Black snakes are non-venomous hunters of both rodents and poisonous snakes. We enjoy having them around....except when they eat our eggs.


Thanks to Tessa Hovan-Bartalos & Lee Warren for the photos.

About Us



Lee Warren is the editor of the Earthaven newsletter. She is an herbalist, writer, cofounder of the Village Terraces Cohousing Neighborhood, and manager of Imani Farm.




Arjuna da Silva is the assistant editor of the Earthaven newsletter and a founding member of Earthaven. She is finally taking a break from Earthaven administration and focusing on her beautiful new earth-and-straw home, "Leela House," and a long-awaited stretch of time for creative writing.




Earthaven is an aspiring ecovillage in a mountain forest setting near Asheville, North Carolina. We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living, and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.


Visit our website.

Earthaven Ecovillage • 5 Consensus Circle • Black Mountain • NC • 28711
Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Preferences | Send to a Friend | Report Spam