Living on the Edge
by Rae Jean
Living in Hawk Holler neighborhood presents its own set of challenges. With only one house and two people living here so far, the main inhabitants are the four-legged, winged ones, and creepy crawly varieties. What to do when these creatures begin to multiply and take over the gardens, threaten the chickens and ducks, leaving little to eat from our hard work?
My answer was to call on the first domesticated animal for help. Yep. The dog. A dog owner for most of my life and experienced with several working breeds, I chose the English Shepherd, also known as the Farm Collie. This breed, familiar from the 1800’s to the 1940’s, began to disappear along with small farms during the industrial farming revolution. Still a rare breed, and one that fortunately is not AKC registered, it is being re-established by some extremely savvy small farmers.
Aggie the farm dog at Hawk Holler has in her heritage hundreds of years of service including hunting, vermin eradicating, herding, and guarding the flock. A few of her chores are: keeping the deer and others out of the garden, rounding up chickens and ducks when needed, and helping with vole, mouse and rat control. She keeps critters out of the chicken house, sniffs out hidden eggs and brings them to me (yes in her mouth, whole), and brings in firewood. And her favorite: watching over the baby chicks and ducklings. She’s one smart dog who took a few years of commitment to train, but is so worth the effort.
Rae Jean has always lived on the edge one way or another. For the last seven years it has been at Earthaven. Along with raising heritage chickens, ducks, veggies and herbs she designs and creates knitting patterns.
a living systems approach to health and wellness from a generational viewpoint
by Arjuna Da Silva
The development of any plant species and its adaptation to new conditions is something many environmentalists understand. But how many of us realize that there are somewhat similar “orders” of development and sequence in human nature that show up in the generations of families and communities?
For the past two plus years, many Earthaven members and friends have been working with local facilitator Sheila Saunders in day-long workshops every few months to discover the “systemic” or ancestral roots of some of our challenges and patterns.
Physical symptoms, relationship issues, mental health problems and an amazing number of ordinary and not-so-ordinary experiences in our lives are outpictured through “constellations” set up to represent our families, or our symptoms, or the larger cultural phenomena like place and time, peace and war, famine and displacement—more common in the backgrounds of most Americans than we generally perceive.
Membership in Earthaven is not required to participate, so if you’ve got an interest and will be in the area later this Fall, let us know and we’ll save a place for you in the workshop likely to happen in December.
Aspiring to the Working Class
Excerpted from Communities Magazine (Sept. 2012)
by Lee Walker Warren
One-hundred-fifty years ago, 90 percent of people on earth were farmers. This meant that every person in every family knew how to survive. Men and women knew how to work a field, fix tools, build a house, feed themselves. They knew how to raise animals, tend a winter garden, preserve food, grind grain, bake bread, and sew.
We now live in a world where folks don’t quite know what to do when a light bulb burns out. Or where taking out the trash may be the only significant physical labor they do all day long. When we’re that disconnected from creating our built environment and our food sources, I believe it leaves us feeling helpless and full of anxiety. Our culture has come to value the intellect over physical work. Yet our animal selves know how far we are from the body knowledge that has kept us alive since time out of mind.
Some of us, living in ecovillages and other land-based situations, are on the long, steep road to figuring out how to live responsibly again—to reclaim some basic knowledge that used to be just “good, common, sense.” At Earthaven, we don’t have low-paid workers running around putting our water and waste systems in, maintaining overhead electric lines (we’re entirely off grid), or taking care of our lawns.
Part of the hope of ecovillages is to learn the skills that we’ve all lost through cultural amnesia—to regain strength in our muscles, brains, hands, and hearts to do what it takes to be responsible for our lives. And responsibility for our lives means not shipping out our waste for someone else to deal with, or importing food that someone else has grown, or being ignorant about where our water, heat, and power come from.
For the full article of the same title, see Communities Magazine's September issue or read it online.
Also in the September 2012 issue is an article by another Earthaven member:
"OFF THE GRID AND OUT OF THE TRASH CAN" by Arjuna da Silva about how Earthaven members derive sustenance, energy, interconnection, and inspiration from Earth, Wind, Sun, Water, and Fire.
A Taste of Fall at Earthaven
Photos by Bob Lienhart
We're soooo lucky to live in an area where everyone around us seems to be doing one cool thing after another.
Which Came First Farm
Which Came First Farm is a "beyond-organic," pasture-based farm near Lake Lure, and just around the corner from us (lucky us). They produce eggs, chicken, and Thanksgiving turkeys. Their animals are fed no hormones, antibiotics, or medication and they rotate their birds to fresh pasture daily where they forage for tasty bugs and grasses. Their website.
The McEntire family has lived and worked this nearby farm for five generations. They grow a large garden, corn, wheat, soy beans, and sorghum cane. The heirloom white field corn is used for grits and corn meal. The wheat and soy beans are sold to local chefs. Molasses is produced each fall from the cane during a annual fall farm day.
Yellow Sun Farm
Yellow Sun Farm is a very close neighbor with a burgeoning off-the-grid homestead, micro-farm, educational center and retreat. They are dedicating their lives to help bring illumination to the planet. They are offering Young Women's and Young Men's Mystery School programs, Dance Classes, and personal retreats, and internships. Their website.
Read more about homesteading, community living, permaculture, and local food in our ecovillage blog.
The most recent article is by Rae Jean, on Ancona Ducklings.
Check it out here.
Lee Warren is the editor of the Earthaven newsletter. She is an herbalist, writer, 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."
Archives of our newsletters can be found here.