Three generations of family pictured here on the day of Nicolette's 80th birthday party. Next to her stands Tanya, her daughter, and in front are her granddaughters Liefke and Luna. Both Nicolette and Tanya are Dutch-Americans.
Photo taken by Arjuna da Silva inside Leela, her naturally built house.
at Gateway Farm
by Caroline Williford
Springtime at Gateway Farm this year means our fifth lambing season is upon us! It is that magical season when you can walk into the field at dawn and find a just-born lamb, tottering up onto its delicate legs, and with great determination, stumbling towards the teat.
Our sheep are Icelandic and, true to their hardy breed, they birth on their own in the pasture and often bear twins. Fifty-nine lambs have been born at Gateway since 2008, and this year we expect that our current flock of 30 (19 adult ewes, 10 yearling ewes, and 1 yearling ram) will double.
By May, the pasture should be full of frolicking new lambs, each one a marvel of tiny hooves, budding horns and soft, curly wool. For now, we eagerly await our first birth of the season.
Caroline Williford has been a shepherd since the sheep arrived at Gateway Farm in 2008. She came to the valley in 2004, and has worked with The Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference and Red Moon Herbs at Earthaven. She is an arts administrator, videographer, choreographer and dancer, and likes to experiment in many an art form.
Keeping My Promise
to My Self
by Giles Carwyn
Last Monday there was another men’s group meeting at Earthaven. And I didn’t want to go. I wanted to hole up in my cave and indulge in one of my favorite mindless distractions. I wanted to stay safe and warm and small. But I dragged myself out into the rain and across the Village Green to the Council Hall. I did it because I promised I would. Because half of life is simply showing up.
When I got there, something began to change. A circle of men gathered. We built a container from myth and smoke and words. We went around the circle and shared our truths. We dug deep to touch the shadows that drive us to break our promises to ourselves. We guided each other into dark places where our gold is buried beneath a lifetime of fear, anger, grief, and shame. We stood witness as another man fought the inner voice that keeps him small and silent and asleep. And then we blessed our work. We honored each other in ways that I desperately need, but too seldom allow myself to give or receive.
When the circle was over, I went home to my regularly scheduled life. My to-do list, my struggles, my shortcomings had not changed. But I had changed. I was a different man, a better man because I hadn’t stayed in my cave. That is why I show up. That is why I live in community. That's why I'll be there again a week from Monday 7:30 PM at the Council Hall.
I would be honored if you would join us.
Giles Carwyn is a 41 year-old novelist/screenwriter/construction superintendent/lingerer between jobs who has been living at Earthaven off and on for the last four years. After much hard work, has managed to simplify his life to the five things that really matter: being a writer, a father, a lover, a brother and a friend.
Thank You, Earthaven!
by Jenna Payne
My mother recalls an incident when as a toddler I picked up my chair and threw it across the room. I was born this way—and now I live with a lot of folks I’ll bet threw their chairs around!
After many adventures since leaving my suburban upbringing, I’m amazed to have landed in this vibrant, life-supporting place—the closest Home I have ever experienced feeling. The learning, growth and healing opportunities are unimaginable! Earthaven is also a sort of graduate school for me, where I can pursue forgotten intelligences within heart and body through creative, intuitive, feminine means. Bolad's Kitchen, Tantra, Goddess culture, dance, plant medicine—it’s all bringing me deeper into the mysteries of intelligence.
One thing that sometimes challenges me is my inability as a “non-member” to be more politically active within Earthaven, but I’ve found purpose here in other ways: being a leader in the Hut Hamlet Kitchen, working at Imani farm, working/mentoring with Corinna [Wood], offering yoga, dance, and massage; gardening projects and loving friendships feed so many of my needs. I hope I can give back even a fraction of the gifts I’ve received here.
Jenna Rose Payne brings gifts of beauty, dance, yoga, food and friendship to her beloved Hut Hamlet neighborhood and to many members throughout the community.
Lessons in Bamboo:
Love it but Don't Leave it Alone
by Arjuna da Silva
Previous owners gifted Earthaven’s main street with a healthy stand of bamboo that’s now prolific near the Forest Garden Learning Center. Early Earthaven members added additional stands around the community.
What a beautiful and useful plant (we thought)!
Bamboo IS beautiful. AND useful. But like a beautiful and useful animal, bamboo has to be trained and maintained. Otherwise, despite one’s love for it, IT WILL TAKE OVER!
We had the naïve idea that if bamboo is planted between natural “barriers,” such as creeks and roads, you don’t have to worry about its invasiveness. Think again. Bamboo spreads, like any grass, in every direction through networks of rhizomes and root mats. Although it may be stopped by a road bed or other deep boundary it's definitely hard to control. If it gets close to a road, come heavy snow and ice, it will lean down frozen and stiff and block traffic.
Excavation to remove Bamboo from the Bellavia pond.
One year, we tried making eating bamboo shoots an incentive to control one stand, but the thrill of eating them didn’t seem to justify all the effort to prepare them. This year, encroachment on a building became too risky to ignore, and a major excavation was undertaken. It will take several years of pruning as new sprouts emerge before we can consider the job done.
Now all neighborhoods and the commons are being managed for bamboo to stop its spread. Harvests are providing material for future decorative and useful experiments.
In Praise of Inefficiency
by Kimchi Rylander
“If a house is built too well, so efficiently that it is permanent and refuses to fall apart, then people do not have a reason to come together.” (Secrets of the Talking Jaguar:by Martín Pretchel.)
Read more of Kimchi's blog entry here
If you're coming for a Saturday tour of Earthaven, consider these special events scheduled for After the Tour:
April 7/Designing for Home Food Security, with Patricia Allison;
April 21/Leela Lab - Natural Home Tour & Design-Your-Own Seminar, with Arjuna da Silva;
May 12/Consensus Overview with Patricia.
Also on other, full, Saturdays:
March 31 - Design Your Home Systems;
May 4-6 - Intro to Permaculture;
May 26 - Wild Foods & Medicines;
June 16 - The Basics of Consensus;
June 23 - Leela Lab (with Steve-o).
www.culturesedge.net for more information.
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Yes indeed. And thanks to our roving newsletter photographer, eli (who conveniently enough hosted the party), we have proof!
Thank you for the cocktail photos eli. And psst, nice dress!
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.