|The rains have been torrential this Summer and early Fall. Storms lasted days, even without coastal hurricanes carrying heavy winds this far inland. The ground was soggy and remained puddled for days. The creeks were often full and galloping. One day, state roads in two out of three directions from Earthaven were closed due to landslides. (All roads to Earthaven have been repaired and are now open.) Still, ours is hardly the bioregion most slammed by climate change. |
above: closeup of the hydro spillway.
Saturday night (October 5) rained heavy and long, and the creeks couldn’t hold their contents. We lost the Forest Garden footbridge, more buffer area around the first bridge, and a ton of brush was washed downstream. Leaping waters dug huge crevices into the edge of the nearby road, rutting it up royally.
left: gouged road after the third bridge.
The next morning, circuitous footpaths to the Hut Hamlet were taken to avoid the lake that had settled between the Free Store and the playground.
There’s been nothing like it since the hurricane of ’96 that pushed the tree trunk bridge downstream, shoved two vehicles aside, and sent river rocks across the then bridgeless ford.
right: sandbags hold back over-flowing creek.
Emergency work parties, sand bag brigades, and other “call out the troops” events happened daily for a couple weeks. Huge kudos go to contributors of hours and efforts in the rain, with and without boots, and in pretty high spirits! We’re blessed that temperatures remained balmy.
below: the creek obscures the first bridge.
The Earthdelver Orbo (physical infrastructure management group) assessed damages and options for the short and long term. Ideas for rebuilding or relocating the lost footbridge and other considerably more expensive options are coming forward—ideas we’ve had the privilege of keeping in the future up until this very wet season.
We're now in the long holiday season that started with last week's Halloween/Samhain events and the annual Ancestor Feast. Next comes our community Thanksgiving, featuring the bounty of our gardens and farms. And, in the lead up to Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year’s, we'll be getting ready for the Bizarre Bazaar on December 8th (y’all come!). To ensure that everyone can get in an out of the community safely, we are double timing road and bridge repair while sharing the juiciness of community efforts to rally and rebound, becoming stronger and more connected for our trouble.
it’s turned into the most beautiful autumn ever, exuberant display of these communities of trees turning vivid with the cold, and expressing their joy at having lived among these creatures once again. They return, like Persephone, to the underworld; that is, their Spirits return there.
above: College of Charleston holds class on an Autumnal Village Green.
|Since last we wrote, several neighborhood pods have formed legal entities and received deeds to their neighborhood parcels. Most pods are incorporated as housing coops, with one non-profit ”spiritual society.” By next newsletter, all Earthaven pods should have their deeded parcels, and clarity between Homeowners Association responsibilities, pod responsibilities, and the budding Earthaven Community Association (ECA) will emerge.|
The ECA will focus on our community's social infrastructure, inviting new levels of membership and contribution. We look forward to more ways for many of our readers to participate—keep your eye on our newsletters and the Earthaven website for updates. (above, left) Pod members attend an early meeting
with the Strategic Planning Group (STG); (above,
right), Bella Via pod members circle up for a session
of neighborhood site planning.
|Learning to live together also means learning from one anothers' mistakes. Learning to build with low budgets, limited time, and few professionals has been another learning curve. Still, quite a few successes in design and construction remain praiseworthy. Last issue we focused on tiny houses; this issue we look at larger projects that are standing the test of time|
Walking down the old, sturdy stairs from the upper apartments in the Bellavia building, I admire the work, however rough and
minimal, that was put into the structure all those years ago and modestly improved upon in the ensuing years. I’ve seen the development of this useful, sustainable living and work space that has remained a viable anchor for folks to co-own or rent. Twenty years of intensive use has yielded home and comfort for several families and expansion of the building’s housing is currently underway.
Building at Earthaven has run the gamut from houses like mine (Leela), the Stones’, Julie & Andy’s, VT, the Love House, and (next door at Full Circle) the Broadheads’—all high end for this end of the state road—and salvage-and-mud huts too tiny for two suitcases. I worry about the ones that need better ventilation; anyone can put on another blanket or another log, but the moisture building materials can absorb is something we all need to pay attention to. There’s a lot to know about healthy bodies and healthy buildings, two streams of sufficiency we began traveling together 24 years ago.
As new folks transition into Full Membership and join pods, the next wave of building will occur for residential neighborhoods and the commons. Skill, materials, and time will be precious categories. What will allow folks with limited funds, whose savings might be only enough to cover move-in expenses and buy-in costs, to create healthy living space?
VT—a good example
Good things are usually the result of good timing, luck, and some bold creativity. The timing of who had reason to be involved with whom certainly played a key role in the outcome of this vibrant, successful
housing experiment. With two of the three proposed buildings completed, a duplex and a set of apartments, there is room in this pod for expansion! What are the factors most residents base their positive assessments on?
When I think about how short our community lineages have become, I feel the push to help insure that knowledge, know-how, good strategies and ideas, as well as their results are passed along in ways that are usable, not just admired.
Earthaven is a community coming into a new self-awareness with lots of room for aligned individuals, and families to connect. Culture’s Edge is a conduit for projects, programs and practices we value for building mutual support and collective strength.
Photos of "building sanity" at Earthaven: (top to bottom) an early building permit; Bellavia building stairs; the house that Chuck and the Forestry Co-op built; "Leela" house; Village Terraces Co-housing; "The Nest" at VT; the White Owl.
|Earthaven is an aspiring ecovillage dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living and demonstrating holistic, sustainable culture. Since 1995, we have grown to 55 full and associate members, from twenty-somethings to elders, plus infants, young children and teens. We hope to grow to at least 150 people. We're just 30 miles from Asheville, NC.||
|Culture’s Edge is an educational non-profit corporation that has sponsored classes, workshops, trainings and events, as well as other incubating educational projects, since 1996.
This Winter from Culture’s Edge…
with Courtney Brooke and Mana McLeod
The Deep Ecology weekend is an invitation to experience yourself as part of the living Earth, rather than separate from it. This special process supports each of us in finding our own role as a powerful protector of the planet. Through experiential exercises, personal sharing, music and poetry, we remember our true interconnectedness, and discover our personal empowerment as agents of healing change.
with Jeff Gottlieb
Saturday, November 24
Carve anything you can imagine from gourds, with Jeff’s tried-and-true guidance! There’s still time to make one-of-a-kind presents: bowls, ladles, musical instruments, toys, and much more. Materials provided.
And remember - Earthaven’s…
Annual Bizarre Bazaar
Saturday, December 8th
noon – 4 pm in the Earthaven Council Hall
Talk about local! Join Earthaven crafters, neighbors, and friends for a wildcrafted, upcycled, unexpected panorama of goods and gifts for the whole family! For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for Your Own Good Life and Death
A year-long facilitated journey
beginning December 2018
For most of us, death will be years or decades away. With life though, we know that nothing is absolute, that nothing is permanent, and that the form that we call our body will eventually die. By contemplating our own dying and death, we lessen our fears and prepare ourselves for the transition that each of us will take.
Only 4 spaces left.
Advanced Care and After Death Care Directives Workshop
An interactive workshop helping to prepare end of life documents in a casual yet supportive environment
March 30-31, 2019
Death is a journey that all must take. Establish your path before the time arrives to make that journey easier for you and your loved ones. This interactive workshop helps prepare end of life documents in a casual, yet supportive, environment.
Reaching Nature Connection Conference: Storytelling
Develop capacities for using stories as effective teaching tools for nature connection & beyond.
May 4-5, 2019
Reaching Nature Connection is an annual outdoor conference based on forest schools, wilderness awareness, and early childhood education. The conference is designed for beginners and experienced educators alike, as well as therapists, administrators, homeschool families, camp counselors, grandparents, and parents who have an interest in developmentally appropriate nature mentoring for children.
Early bird discounts available.
Home Funeral and Death Care Midwife Training
A three-day intensive on home funerals and death celebrations
with Caroline Yongue and Ruth Ostrenga
May 31- June 2, 2019
This three-day workshop provides an intensive introduction to home funerals and death celebrations. You will learn the practical, legal, and spiritual necessities for accompanying a family along the journey of death.
Earthaven Experience Week
A hands-on, skill-building immersion in sustainable and community life
June 19-24, 2019
Examine sustainability through social, ecological, economic, and eco-spiritual lenses. This learning journey weaves large-group discussions and classes together with intimate hands-on experiences in the village and farms alongside community members. SOIL instructors, together with the community at large, support participants to foster awareness for global issues, empower the self, increase connection, and develop the resources required for a responsible and meaningful daily life.
Early bird discounts available.
An immersive exploration of nonviolent communication (NVC)
August 15-18, 2019
This weekend experience is meant to foster community among the growing number of people who are passionate about living and promoting compassionate consciousness.
Also next year from Culture’ s Edge…
adventures with Jeff Gottlieb
beginning in the Spring,
including basketry, knife craft, and woodcarving, how to tune deeply into Nature, and more!
Natural Building Design with Mollie Curry and Steve Kemble of MudStrawLove, and Arjuna da Silva
Forget what you don’t know! Start with what you dream of, explore the basics as applied at Earthaven and elsewhere, and discover how close you are to designing your own home or studio. On the boards for early Spring, with practical application classes to follow. A Natural Building School presentation.
Restorative Circles "FESTIVAL"
with Dominic Barter, Alyson Ewald, John Lash, Mikhail Lyubansky, Elaine Spungin, Steve Torma, and many other invited and surprise practitioners!
July 4-7, 2019
The 3rd biannual gathering has been christened a Festival this year (it’s been called a Conference in previous years), because the spirit of people from around the world, learning, teaching, and working under the Restorative Circles banner together—turns out to be more upbeat, joyful and celebratory than the field of restorative justice might imply. An after-the-festival intensive addressing the need for restorative systems in our communities is in the works. Stay tuned!
Mission: To create a village which is a living laboratory and educational seed bank for a sustainable human future.
This issue of the Earthaven e-newsletter was put together by Arjuna da Silva with help from Debbie Lienhart and contributions from
We look forward to greeting you again with news from the front lines in a couple of months! Please send any comments and ideas for future issues to <email@example.com>.