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Winter 2012 Newsletter

What We Did

for the Holidays

by Morgan Markowitz

Eli Swiftcreek spent most of her winter holiday time working at Imani Farm, while the other cooperative farmers were traveling. She did, however, invite the community to her home for a holiday cookie making party. This was the eighth year of the party and those who attended enjoyed home baked cookies, hot chocolate, and spiced cider.

On Christmas Eve, Gaspar Robles and his son, Travis, attended the White Elephant party at Medicine Wheel house. It was an exciting evening as gifts were traded and stolen throughout the night. “I enjoyed watching Robin and Paul stealing a leather jacket from each other throughout the evening. It was lots of fun”.

Not everyone from Earthaven stayed home during the holidays. Aura, age 8, visited his grandparents in West Jefferson, North Carolina. Christmas day "was really, really fun. I got plenty of LEGOs, a new soccer goal and I went to a big park with my grandparents."




Morgan Markowitz and his wife Meagan became neighbors of Earthaven in February 2011. He works from home most of the time through his business Earth River Productions. He and his wife are expecting their first child this spring.

Village News

by Debbie Lienhart

Earthaven Hosts Two Notable Luminaries



Matthew Fox visited Earthaven October 17, when he filmed interviews with some of our elders and young people for an upcoming video about “Youth, Elders, and Spirituality.” While visiting, he held a discussion with the community. Matthew Fox is an internationally known author, speaker and visionary who has inspired many Earthaven people. Matthew Fox Website.

Dominic Barter visited Earthaven on November 25 and led a presentation about Restorative Circles, a process he developed in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where he has lived for the last twenty years. A Restorative Circle is a community process for bringing together the three parties to a conflict—those who acted, those directly affected, and the wider community. The process ends "when all have been heard and understood, and actions have been found that bring mutual benefit." Restorative Circles Website.


Earthaven Builders Complete Projects

ArtiSun Construction, led by Brian Love, finished the Friedwald residence. According to Henderson County building inspectors, this house is the first entirely off-grid, certified residence in their jurisdiction. 




Round Mountain Builders, led by Mihaly Bartalos, completed Rudy Ballentine's house in the Middle Rosy Branch neighborhood of Earthaven. This and the ArtiSun project both feature Earthaven lumber, and innovative techniques devised by our member-builders. They also employed many Earthaven residents and neighbors.





Debbie Lienhart is co-owner and manager of Useful Plants Nursery, lives in the Village Terraces neighborhood with her husband and two fuzzy cats, and occasionally finds time to fiddle with friends in Black Mountain.

Becoming a Father

by Andy Bosley



The tasks are many, and the time is scant. The urge to fit it all in flows hard against the need to develop rhythms with the new child.


The ideal vision is just over the edge, glimpsed for moments, bringing that deep sense of place, at other times seeming so distant that it causes deep doubt and despair.


When viewing the individual pieces of my life (parenting, relationship, farming, community, job, etc.), it makes little sense that I ended up in the situation I have.


As a whole, however, it makes complete sense, and I am grateful for the way it has come to be, especially the relationship with my new son and the community of mutual support that I have built up around me.


I’ve taken out my sharp-edged sword in order to cut away the things in life that don’t “pay off,” either energetically or monetarily. In this way, things are much simpler even in the face of the brand new challenge of integrating a child into a life on a farm in an intentional community, while both of us parents work part-time jobs to pay the bills.


Fortunately, it is winter, which allows us a little bit of a break to decide where we will take our farming endeavors next growing season. It will no doubt involve more participation from other folks in the community.


After all, that’s why we chose to start our farm here.  


Andy and Forest take a much-needed nap.



Long-time member Andy Bosley and his partner Julie McMahan run Yellowroot Farm, a biodynamic and organic farm with pastured poultry and pork and a CSA. They live, farm and work at or near Earthaven.


Ode to Crabapples

by Tribal Condo Clan

This past fall, we harvested a beautiful collection of fruits and vegetables. As any harvester knows, Ma Nature produces bountiful amounts of food and there’s always enough to share.


One morning, Suchi and I were walking in the Hut Hamlet neighborhood and came upon a Crabapple tree that was dripping with fruit. . . 45 pounds, to be exact. We dashed for our buckets and harvested the tart apples, noticing that there was hardly any insect or mold/mildew rot. This tree was one of the early perennials planted at Earthaven about 12 years ago. Some folks believe that crabapples are the only wild survivors of our domestic apples.  


After 20 pounds, we decided to carry our harvest to the kitchen and find a way to preserve these “mini-apples”. We decided to make “Spiced Crabapples” by placing the cleaned fruit in a crock with apple cider vinegar, honey, and spices.  


After a few days, on a cool fall evening, we heated up the crabapple brine and packed it in 24 one-pint jars. What a fun way to warm ourselves and appreciate our fall harvest!

Here’s to your happy harvest!




Tribal Condo Clan is a co-housing exploration dedicated to simplicity and preservation of the commonwealth. Currently, Kimchi Rylander (pictured left) and Suchi Lathrop (pictured right) live there with three other resident

What Klara Learned

by Arjuna da Silva

 Klara Wengman, 25-years old and an architecture student in Copenhagen, Denmark, spent her summer as an intern with the Natural Building School at Earthaven. Working directly with Paul Caron three days a week on the Village Arts Building project, she says she went through an enormous shift in her understanding of the building process. “At my school, we focus on design. This was an amazing hands-on experience” that, she said, gave her a holistic perspective on the meaning of construction.


Her program for the summer included learning Paul’s peeled, round pole timber framing process, assisting him in designing the unique jig needed for the joinery, learning basic woodworking techniques, and (in her spare time!) thinking about how she might design one of the needed buildings for the Village Center. Klara also wound up on the core team for the Council Hall roof project, which recently planted a fourth of the lower roof in sedums and set up a drip irrigation system to see if this living roof method works.


Easy to love, work with and engage in upbeat conversation, Klara returned to Denmark following a visit to sister ecovillage Dancing Rabbit in Rutledge, Missouri, where she intended to interview a resident architect and see what more she could learn about community building design. We look forward to hearing more about that!

Don't Miss Our Blog....

Here's a snippet of our latest entry:

Doing the Forest Inventory, by Alice Henry

It’s a dance of sorts. It starts in a circle, holding

hands. There’s a break, for talking. Then there are the reels through the woods, discovering the way the forest grows. It’s also a future legend that starts like this. 



To read the rest of this article, or to see other blog entries, visit here.

2012 at Culture's Edge

The upcoming year’s offerings are rich and diverse. Here’s a quick sampling. For more info, email: classes at


Permaculture & Sustainability

with Patricia Allison

• Permaculture Fundamentals course offered over three 3-day weekends.

• Sustainability: Bring it Home!—a weekend workshop on transforming yards and gardens and setting up home systems.

• Designing Your Home System — Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning version on Earthaven Council weekends.

• Designing for Home Food Security—an after-the-tour Saturday afternoon seminar.


Herb walk & Herbal Medicine-making with Robin Allison

Natural Building School Programs

• Internships continue with the Village Arts Building project.

• Weekend Intro to Natural Building embedded in a ten-day hands-on intensive with Mollie Curry and Steve Kemble, featuring cob, compressed earth block and other natural materials.

• Earthen Plaster workshop


YET TO BE ANNOUNCED: Group Decision-Making and other Community-Sized Workshops



Holiday Parties

White Elephant

Our annual Christmas Eve White Elephant Gift Exchange draws most of the on-the-land residents. This party game, also known as Secret Santa, involves wrapped gifts, numbered giftees, and a good amount of playful competition. Most sought after gifts this year included a leather jacket and a gallon of milk.







The Mastodon

This holiday season we enjoyed a new tradition-in-the-making hosted by eli Swiftcreek: a mastodon exchange. The mastodon was like a white elephant exchange, except all the gifts were lovingly handmade. About 20 villagers exchanged handicrafts, food, and services.








Thanks to Steve Torma for all the Party Photos!


About Us



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





Arjuna da Silva is the assistant editor of the Earthaven newsletter and a founding member of Earthaven. She is now living in her earth-and-straw home, "Leela House."




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
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