Friday, March 13, 2015

on faithfulness

I grew up in Christianity, and Christianity is always trying to define how it is DIFFERENT; how it is unique.  The real truth is, of course, that it is not unique in any way, shape or form.  Every single one of those things is found in many other religions.  But people seem to want to be exclusive, to be special, to be different.   I'm saved but you aren't.

Personally I have found it far more enlightening to look around and see what is similar and learn from that.  What do various religions, for example, have in common, hold in common to be important.  Because whatever they have in common they more likely all have right. How do various people around the world manage to feed themselves?  What is similar, where's the overlap, what might seem different on the surface but be the same underneath? 

I have found a similar principle with growth and change.  Often the more people think they are growing and changing, the more they are staying the same.  If they are wildly vacillating in what they are doing, first one thing, then another, then another, finding meaning here then there then this other place, chances are they are really doing the exact same (wrong, or at least wrong headed) thing again and again.  I have found for me, I have a direction, which has pretty much always revolved around the same core things that are and always have been very important to me, and I'm still doing them.  I've changed, I've adjusted direction, but there are only rare hard starts and stops.  Ok, maybe only, well, maybe not even that.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

dumb decisions

"Just so y'all know I brag about him every time he does something good because I realize that at 14, he's just one dumb ass decision away from ruining his life...."

I could say some things about people who believe this (that is pretty darn close to a quote) about their children, and I would believe those things to be true but they would be speculations into motivations and frankly the behavior itself is enough to speculate about.

So listen to me.  There are decisions, lots of them, that affect your life, short term and long term.  But there isn't a decision that ruins your life.  You have the life you have.  Make the most of it.  Enjoy it.  Be brave.  Do real shit.  Sure, sometimes you have to act "as if" to get there.  Get there anyway.

And there are some things that if you don't start at 14, or at 3, you aren't going to get there.  I'm not gonna be Buck.  Maybe if I hadn't had 20 years off, but I doubt that.  Besides that's not what I thought I wanted then back then.  I wouldn't have known to have wanted that back then.

And maybe sometimes we should give thanks to the Gods for unanswered prayers.

Then there are things you do thinking (and often with everyone else thinking) they are exactly what you should be doing with your life that, it turns out, are not at all what you should be doing with your life.  Although I don't believe in coincidences or accidents, and I realize, for example, the role that college played in my life but it isn't something that was in and of itself valuable to my life.  I'm not sure what else I could have done with that time and realize that it was likely just part of my re-entry process because, yes, things do have consequences.  And life has a process. Pay attention to the process and the task will take care of itself.

But seriously, I made a decision that "ruined" my life.  Or a series that fell one into the other and exactly where that fork in the road was, well, I bet I know someone who thinks she knows where that particular fork was but I really only know the last one at which I could have stopped it.  Which was lunch.

Other people may have thought, or may think, that I ruined my life when I didn't go to college out of high school.  Because pre-vet.  (Even tho when I thought about doing that again when I was 40 I decided I didn't actually want to BE a vet which at 18 I hadn't the integration to fathom through.)

Or it could be a dozen or more other times, before and maybe even after the abyss.

Certainly a whole lot of people wouldn't be able to see the life I have here as not "ruined".  Yesterday I slept in, farted around, rolled hay (with family) in to the animals, carried wood, split wood, did dishes, fed fires, made bread, ate, wrote, wrote some more, debated whether a dress on tumblr was white or blue and researched why, discussed manatees and steller sea cows and dodo birds and Przewalski's horses and have humans caused all extinctions and did flowers kill the dinosaurs.  And other things.  Today was likewise full but different as a "work" day, a day off the farm, but still a day with a daughter, and a day full of horses, a day during which "the work" was resumed,  a day with some time spent with friends and also home before dark to eat supper and bake a birthday cake.  I live in a house my husband and I built together, up a road we know intimately from walking it, with family who are interesting and useful people, and eat food we grow a good deal (but by no means most) of.  Pretty much when I ask myself "what do I want to be doing in this moment" what I am doing is it.  I don't long to get away (except I did long a bit for February to be over).  And pretty much every day I learn some things.  There is no "arrived". 

Right now I look at a large arc of my life and see this:  that I have spent some time learning to feel honestly, that I spent more time learning to think honestly (deeply, clearly, authentically, whatever the words are).  And that I've spent the most time learning to think AND to feel, together, not one or the other.  To be honest thoughtwise and to be honest feelingwise in the same moment and in the same movement.  There is no "arrived".

It is like there is no "arrived" in homesteading.  There is trying to be a strong link in the chain and there is trying to join links and it takes both.  Give and take:  exchange-exchange.

You know very well, to each his own.  Live and let live (or live and let die).  And it harm none, do as you will.

But I do think my "dumb decision" helped to make sure I was to perfectly become a homesteading cowgirl.  And I'm pretty good with that.

Although it could all fall apart and find success something else tomorrow.  I learned that from the abyss. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Intention too.

My grandfather, the Free Will Baptist preacher who bought his first and only car in nineteen sixty-late-something with mostly one dollar bills got mostly from marrying people mostly in his backyard, said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

But intentions *do* matter.  They are magic, true, but well, anyway.  If you think that maybe intentions don't matter, I'd be interested in hearing about it . . . somewhere else.  Write away.

And I look at this cat, I hear this cat bleep because she is in heat, again, and I wonder what the intentions were of the person who dumped her in the woods.  Did they think she was a predator so it would be ok?  Did they think it was near some farms so it would be ok?  Did they think anything other than their own convenience?  Yep, I vote that they didn't think anything except what was easiest for them.  There are always things you don't know when you pick up one of these animals, things that don't make sense, like why hasn't she been pregnant given that she seems to be older than old enough and fertile enough, and why did she scream every time a human came close to her, and how in the world had she brought herself to be allowed to be picked up in the woods and brought home.  You don't know what the human's intention was, but you do know the effect and that is never, ever good.

There is a stray cat at the barn.  That is what I call him, Stray Cat.  For months no one could get within 40 feet of him, but he came daily to eat (after I put the food out for him that is).  Now we get within 4 feet or so, sometimes at least.  I assume he is a him because he has a big head (nothing personal meant by that).  Anyway, I'm sure he's the cat from the other side of the bridge actually.  See, there was this cat who had gotten old and disappeared from here some time ago, and after that I would periodically see this cat who looked like him near the bridge.  No connection between the two except in my head.  Several times I stopped to see if he'd come to me but no, not even close.  I thought about leaving food for him but he seemed pretty competent gleaning the lake leavings, avoiding the cars and people.  Then this cat showed up at the barn and it took me some time to realize that I hadn't seen the cat on the other side of the bridge in, well, some time.  And one of my lessons in the power of intention is that this cat, this wild, wary cat, was aware of my intention to feed him and he made it possible for me to feed him.  His intention, evidently, was to get fed.

We don't know where he came from.  We don't know when.  We don't know what all he's been through.  We are the other end of the dumpers.  It doesn't matter what the dumpers' intentions were; their actions sucked.  That these animals, so many of them that are with us (me and my friends), have found people who love them and care for them is not an assuage to the dumpers but an indictment.

We have a horse who is technically a "rescue" although I dislike that term.  But her people, even tho she was underfed, managed to get her a coggins and to the auction.  She had a shot at a real home.  And she got one.   Her people tried for her.  This cat's people, whatever their intentions, didn't try.  They dumped her to be a coyote's next meal or a greasy spot in the road.  That she allowed me to talk her into my arms is a testament to her.  When I got home with her, that my family just said, "She got that cat," is a testament to them.

It isn't that you have to keep an animal forever, although we tend to.  It is that it isn't lightly entered into, any relationship, nor lightly left.  Not lightly left and not wrongly left.

(referencing the previous post) Yes, you study intention at the splitting block.  Because if you fail there, your house is cold.

Monday, January 19, 2015


If you ever even have any inclination to visit *intention* as a spiritual path, the splitting block is a good place to do it.   To begin it, to continue it, to revisit what it really means without any trappings or soundtracks at all, the splitting block.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

ordinary extraordinary cold

Extraordinary cold.  We usually get it at least once during the winter, cold in the single digits, either above or below zero.  "Normal" coldest temps are usually somewhere around 40 high and 20 low but you know there is variability in that.  We can have weeks that it stays below freezing 24/7, the coldest I've ever seen it was -33F in 1985 which was truly extraordinary -- there wasn't much people could do but try to survive that.  I remember people getting their batteries out of their car and putting it in the bathtub to warm it up.  All kinds of water was frozen.  My boyfriend wondered if his guitar was going to crack.  So I guess then that this is the ordinary extraordinary cold.  You know that this is likely and hopefully you know what to do.

So, what do we do to prepare for a night near zero and several days highs only in the mid-20s?  One is wood of course.  We didn't have to do anything extraordinary this year because we'd just hauled up about 3 cords of standing dead mostly poplar, so all we have to do is saw that up into rounds and then split it and bring it in.  It isn't the dryest so we make sure the creel is full and that there is plenty of twiggery and kindling.  You might see fancy kindling in stores or catalogs but to me it is the chips left over from splitting the wood.  Sure, if I come to a nice straight grained log, I might split it smaller but if I have a nice hot fire and come to the small stuff in the creel, it will NOT get fed into the fire.  Right now most of the wood is the same species, but when we are cutting smaller limb wood, we'll also choose the species to determine the heat of the fire.

Anyway.  We make sure we have plenty of wood ready for all the stoves.  If it is going to snow, which it didn't this time, we'll also stockpile water because if the electric goes out, it is pretty much only water that we miss.  But this cold, the water system would freeze if we didn't do a few extra things for it.  We put it in so that helps.  The "well head" is tarped anyway (a spring feeds a buried cistern and a pump is in that) and as long as the water is plentiful, it takes a lot to freeze it.  Running water is that way.  But this cold we put a lantern under the tarp.  There is a narrow place where the pressure tank is in the basement and that will freeze sometimes -- we that gets checked to make sure it is covered.  There is one other spot where the pipe runs close to the surface of the ground and we'll put something over that -- a box, some leaves, anything.

When we moved up here we were wondering how deep we really had to bury the water pipe -- an important question since we were hand burying it.  So during cold nights we took short lengths of pipe and filled them with water and buried one a foot deep, one six inches, and one on the surface.  It takes a lot, for a long time, for the cold to go down.  And it isn't that it won't but that it won't often and by and large you can deal with that.  When we lived in the old old trailer, when we very first moved up here, we'd have to drain the whole water system for nights like that.  It was doable.

But that is one thing I notice -- that we are willing to put up with things and do things that other people aren't willing to do.  And also, we're not willing to put up with things other people are willing to put up with.  Like debt.  Like enslavement.  Like exploiting others or being exploited ourselves.  Like living in a place we don't like.  Little things like that.

So mostly that is it, wood (with a little coal) for fires (the coal helps to hold it over night), and water.  Hay and food (and water) for the animals are even more important in the cold.  Supplies.  But generally we have those.  Hopefully we are not out when we are getting the next.  The washing machine is outside so it gets a dose of alcohol but it gets that all winter long.  We're not gonna try to do laundry in temps like this.  We feed the fire and eat in temps like these.

Maybe first should have been STAY HOME, which of course the world could use with a lot more people staying home a lot more anyway . . .

(and then, some days later, there is preparing for the wet.  The car won't come up in the wet.  Get wood in before it gets wet -- even tho it won't be cold.  Etc.)

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Culture: the dance

Now, I'm no expert on culture, no analyst, no academic -- just a person who is of a culture, who has noticed it even when I can't define and describe it all, and who does have a preference for it.  I don't claim it is all wonderful, or should be static, or anything else.  But I like having a culture, and I prefer to interact with other people who share that culture.  I don't think I'm alone in that -- I only think I'm more honest about that.  It always feels like a relief to share the same culture.

First, anyone who says anything even remotely like "People from around here" (fill in the blank) can go to blazes, and I don't care if you are filling in that blank with something derogatory or complementary.  But there is a culture.  It moves and changes slowly as you move around the area.  The culture doesn't determine political or religious or lifestyle preference, although culture, the culture I'm talking about, is more common in older country folk.

Nope, culture is really a dance:  how we relate and talk (or don't talk) to each other about specific things, how we dance together.

Now, I know how to be very direct.  I know how to communicate to be clearly understood if I really need to although a lot of the time I will decide that it isn't worth doing so, because most of the time if you have to get really clear with someone, they get really mad, or already were mad and just not being honest about it.  But I prefer the dance.

The not being direct thing is the first thing I think about Southern Appalachian cultural communication.  I was listening to Mountain Stage one time, and I don't know who this was and it was a long time ago but he was an Irish musician who was touring the states and had been in upstate NY or somewhere and told this story about it.  He was at someone's house.  They'd asked him if he wanted a cup of tea.  He'd said "No thanks."  And he'd never been so surprised in his life that he didn't get a cup of tea!

Because, you see, the dance you do is that, in order to be polite, you say "no thanks" even if you are dying of thirst!  There might be several more steps to the dance before you get to you both having a cup of tea (or coffee) together.  And you could say "please, thank you," and that would be fine but it isn't as polite as saying "no thanks" and people would know you weren't from around here, at least not culturally.

One of the backgrounds on this cultural thing is that the north has the culture of the Anglo-Saxons, while the South has a Celtic culture.  Clashes between these cultures?  How many of them can you name?  Honestly, it is because the Anglos always think they are better and are gonna change the Celts, and no, in fact, they aren't.

Another culture example that comes to mind is the time Alecto came to see us and her yuppie machine's engine light came on and she wanted the dealership to check it out before she went back.  (I solve this problem generally by simply not driving that far away from home and not driving anything that any "dealership" would touch anyway.)  So we found the number to the dealership and she called.  "I need service," she said, and I cringed, knowing there was no way they'd get her in today for that.  In this culture, you tell your story.  You might want to try to do it succinctly, but you tell your story.  "I'm a woman, I'm a long way from home, I'm concerned, could you find it in your hearts to check this out for me?"  Minimal.  Personally I'd say, "How ya doin'?" too.  I know people who get away with not doing that stuff, but they are mostly considered rude and they don't get a lot of favors either.

And really, that is what community is; favors.  Everyone obligated to everyone else.  If it is working well, everyone tries to give everyone else a good deal and everyone feels obliged to everyone else.  What does NOT work is for someone to attempt to be the Patron, the oligarch, the Lord -- sometimes I think there may be a genetic memory of serfdom where freemen learned to trust only other freemen.

Over the years I've noticed a lot of cultural things around money.  Like in the neighborhood, if there is money to be exchanged, the bargain is driven mostly by the men, even though in at least half of households the disbursement is done by the womenfolk.  When I am handed a check or money to be paid for work I've done or am going to do, it is always handed to me face up so I can examine it.  I always fold it without examining it.  If we have formally settled on an exchange, it will be there.  If it isn't, there is some misunderstanding that is best addressed after consideration.  If we have not formally settled on an exchange, if I am in fact depending on "generosity", if the exchange is generous, I will do it again next time I am asked -- and if it is not, I will not.  But it will get done this time anyway.

Plus, in community  exchange is made equitable in many different ways.

One thing that I noticed more recently was this:  Don't push.  That would be a part of indirectness I suppose but it was more specific than that.  The specific was that my "hay guy" might well not have as much hay for me to buy as I will need, and so would this other guy let go of any of his hay to me?  But it was still December, and not much hay has been fed yet, and no one will hurt their own animals feeding yours (nor should they) and will they have enough hay themselves?  So I told him first that I might be short and I'd appreciate it if he could think of anyone who might have some extra.  A couple weeks later I asked if he knew anyone or not.  Now I know, he IS someone.  He knows he IS someone.  But the thing is, if I push it and need an answer, a commitment, now, that answer will be "No."  I think that is because a commitment is a commitment, your word is your word.

And I think this little quality here is often why it seems to people that this is the land of maƱana, of procrastination -- because in many ways it IS but it is because that works better.  Things don't always work out the way you think they will so you wait -- on commitments, on getting stuff done.  You wait.

Hay, you see, will be much easier to let go of toward the end of February than in the middle of December.  But if I push and get a "no" now, I won't get any hay in March either.  But if I leave it open, just let the need be known, I know that this person is my friend and will do his best to help me one way or the other.  So you have all these other factors in there -- vulnerability and trust and caring at the least.  Demanding a commitment, however, means that you don't leave yourself vulnerable and you don't have to trust that they care for you either.  Demanding that is business and not community.  There is a lot of overlap in business and community but there are also differences.  There are certainly people in my community who I will only do business with -- who I will not humble myself to by being vulnerable to them.  But the richness of my community is the people I will be vulnerable to, who I would hurt myself for. 

Don't push is part of the dance of culture, of how we relate.  I wouldn't say it has anything to do with how we treat each other -- people get treated relatively the same, as in 'not cheated' and the like, but you know you will go further out of your way for friends, and it is easier to be friends with people who know the same dances you do.

I will always remember our old neighbor, slave to the military-industrial complex job, Brian.  I will always remember when Delmer up the holler stopped by to talk to him, just chew the fat, and then stopped at our place to chew the fat with us.  And all Delmer said was, "What the hell is wrong with that boy?"  Brian moved on to the next job site.  Delmer died in his home up the holler last year.

We did, of course, indulge in collards and black eyed peas and a piece of pork for New Year's Day!  Hope we ALL have good years!  And dance the dances that matter well.

Friday, December 26, 2014

How to successfully homestead

There are lots of books out there, and we've found our share of inspiration in them.  Some of the favorites are of course the Nearing's whole lives but especially Living the Good Life, John Seymour's Fat of the Land, Harlan Hubbard's Payne Hollow, all of Gene Logsdon's stuff but especially The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening.  Likely more.

Then there is a whole genre unto itself of "How we failed at homesteading."  They usually call it something else, like "A Year Doing Something".  They have all sorts of reasons it wasn't their fault, or it wasn't really failure.  And maybe it wasn't really failure.  But if the goal was homesteading, it was failure.

So it occurred to me the other day after a chance e-mail interaction that I know how to succeed at homesteading.  Learn to not spend money.  Pretty much period.

Except buy your land because otherwise all your effort is for naught, abandoned on someone else's whim (or your own whim).

Now, there are times to spend money, or money spent that you won't regret.  I don't regret installing our septic or improving our road, and if I had the money now, I'd improve the road some more.  But the fact is, we can improve the road with some effort and discipline ourselves.  By "littling along" (which if I remember correctly came as a term from Harlan Hubbard). In the meantime, in the wet, we'll park in the bottom.  And walk.  And if we get use of that stone boat, or when we fix that tire on the cart, or when we fix that brake on the truck, we'll little along with some rock fixing it along.

And if I were building again, I think I'd do with a bucket toilet.  Although not having actually lived with one, I don't know for sure, and especially with young kids with poopy diapers but I'd say that could be thought around.  I just haven't done it.

The easy way is the spend money way, and it is the way of non-thinking.  There are always more options than you've thought of yet, so if you don't like (or can't afford) any of the options on the table, keep thinking, there are more you haven't thought of and one of those is better.

A lot of people think they will work and save up enough money to "go live on".  Something like that crossed our minds but we got out here before seriously trying it.  I've known some people who tried but I've never known anyone who wasn't seriously rich who didn't blow through whatever money they had. We did save up, put back, and left untouched enough to "finish" the house.  This meant a big check to the roof guys.  This meant I got the expensive kitchen sink I wanted.  But most things we tried to "buy along", as we went, out of the income we had.

A lot of people think they can make enough money off their land to pay for their land.  Again, I've never known anyone who did this -- at least not anyone who didn't sell it for development during that insane build up to 2008.  Pay for your land -- don't ask it to pay for you.  I mean, really, you owe it; it doesn't owe you.  Be a steward.

And then finally, have less, be more.  It is really all about the skills.  That last post title was a bit of hubris as there's a LOT of grace involved in that, but there always is.  Quit buying your life and make it from scratch.  That doesn't mean be an idiot about it and not allow anything not made from ingredients you also made to pass your lips, but it also means knowing the difference in making cookies and eating some store bought ones that passed through your oven.  Do stuff that is worth doing in and of itself -- not that you are doing only for some end result, only for someone else's eye.  If there is only one possible job out there that will satisfy you and you will sell your soul and all your days to attempt to get there, just go ahead and shoot yourself now.  You only control you not all those other people.

So spend less money. And do more.  You'd actually be of use to your community then.  Little along, making progress, allowing organic evolution, learning, ever changing but ever . . . not changing too.  Because the individual IS important.  The family IS important.  Because the earth IS important (thus, you know, not spewing pollutants unbridled, or eating excessive crap because the earth and your health are not separate).  Because not being exploited nor participating in the exploitation of others IS important. It remains, unchangingly, important, even as other things do change because change is the one thing that never changes.

Where ever you are, who ever you are, what ever you hope to accomplish, if you find yourself hemorrhaging money, stop.  Especially if homesteading or being even slightly kind to the earth is part of it.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


That's a drag path.  We pulled a forty foot (light) log through that narrow space.  Now I need to go split up pieces.  Ho.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

the deserving and the undeserving

Someone actually said to me today, "If there were no mine owners, there'd be no miners."  And meant it.  I said, "If there were no slave owners, there'd be no slaves."

I'd further posit that this would be a GOOD thing.

When people in the slums of Lima have MDRTB, it is in the best interest of all of us (the privileged ones) to TREAT them, heal them, before the MDRTB comes to us.  Sure, we can PAY for treatment, and we PAY for research, and we PAY for doctors but just maybe that is a ponzi scheme.  Perhaps the slum people are really fueling the go round of the world, and not the powers that be?  Perhaps the women of Africa are really the hard workers who have earned their way in the world, and not the inherently rich CEOs?

Ebola is not out to get you you asshat -- your sense of your inherent worth is.  "I don't deserve this!"  Really?  What do you "deserve"?

Perhaps you are not so special after all?

Perhaps none of us is so special after all?

Perhaps black men, even if large, even if obnoxious, should be able to walk down the street without getting shot?  Perhaps a woman should be able to get an IUD removed without worrying about how much it will cost her?  Perhaps women on tropical islands should make their own crafts for their own ends without being asked to please the Americans?  Perhaps anyone who wants to should be able to get married?  Perhaps clean water should not be a commodity?  Perhaps your sexuality is your business, and your religion, and everyone else should butt out of it, and also, you should not shove it in people's faces?  Perhaps you aren't really worth what you cost the world?

The Elizabethan Poor Laws tried to distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor.  Jesus said, "For the poor you will have with you always" (ok, on His part it really wasn't a prediction but a comparison).   But there is a huge difference in having an extra loaf of bread and being rich, and having 100,000 acres of wheat -- and *that* is a small comparison.  Let us make a comparison of the deserving and undeserving rich!

Hither world, thither world, all worlds are ONE.

So here is a new proposal:  Any business too large to be run as a proprietorship ceases to exist as a business and becomes a government activity for the good of ALL the people.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Revisit: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 -- On Modern Day Slavery

Because of statistics, I got to read this (below) again.


What I have been thinking about is that I don't know what techniques were used to convince the slaves to stay in slavery, but whatever they were then, more effective ones are being used now to keep people in slavery that they don't even question as slavery.
I was with a child, not my own, the other day, and in her chattering she said something about something not being fair. I remarked, "Fair isn't something you look for in life." To which she chattered (and you know this is just something she's heard, she does that, passes on everything she's heard, ever), "Nope, a nice house, a nice car, and a good job -- that's what you look for in life."
You can possibly imagine the horror I felt at that moment, with the meaning of life defined as a house, a car and a job.
A few minutes later the little girl said, "I'd so much rather be here than at school;" and her great-aunt said, "Yeah, I'd so much rather be here than at work;" and I said, "Yeah, I'm so glad I'm here instead of at work." The joke was, of course, that I *was* at work and so we all laughed and I launched into telling about a trailer for a new tv show about mountain men wherein one of them says, "People ask me what I do for a livin': I LIVE for a livin'." To which the aunt said, "Well, that's fine as long as I don't have to feed you."
So, evidently, I'm supposed to sell myself to the highest bidder rather than do what I want to do, and so are you, and so long as you believe that it is your work that feeds, houses, clothes and cares for others, and as long as you have a nice car and a nice house and a good job, you are in the clear.
What you are is a slave.
If you have been paying attention you know I'm not advocating dependency. What I'm identifying is a system, an entire paradigm, where the people who actually do the work are impoverished and the people who bet on that work and exploit that work and add nothing to its value live opulently. Perhaps you can see it best at the fringes, the high and low points, but it exists throughout the spectrum.
And there isn't a person in this country who doesn't live opulently and that is because this country exploits (enslaves) the rest of the world (people and environment) and living here there isn't anything at all we can do except live in that particular milieu.
What that makes you is a slave owner.
What that means is that as far as I participate in the system, I am a slave and a slave owner; I am enslaved and I enslave others.
It is not a good thing.
And as inescapable as it is, it is not a thing to ignore. Sure, you are gonna die one day but in the meantime, you're health is important and what you do does impact it. Greatly.
So, what I'm offering, and what I'm asking for, is another way of seeing; another way of being. It doesn't get us out of the milieu, but it does prepare us for the paradigm shift that is actually already underway. The balls are up in the air and they can't all be caught; the plates are spinning and some are beginning to crash down right now.

The cornfield is planted.  There are blueberries ripe already.  Cheeses are being waxed.  Greens are being parboiled (ok, really steamed) then frozen.

Of  course, this time of year it is firewood coming in mostly, to maintain a level of warm most wouldn't put up with in modern slavery times, today's slaves being accustomed to a thermostat and a sprained wrist being able to turn it up.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

same as ever, 10 years on

Speaking of totems, two flying GBH's this morning as we turned the old stud out and went to get the night turn-out field.  Flying, flying, circling, flying; and definitely interacting although I don't know enough about their habits to know if it was a pair or two of one sex having some controversy . . . but I rarely see them other than solitary.

And on the way home, wind blowing leaves.  In one place a whole pile you could have jumped in in the road just from an eddy in the currents.  The world here now has lost its paintedness and taken on its winter greyness but the brown leaves blew and blew and swirled and a solitary leaf would be all picturesque as though seeking its destination.

And I couldn't help but think of all the people and all the leaf blowers.  And here was the wind.  Leaf blower: time, money, energy.  Or wind: art, freedom.

What does it look like vs. what it is.  Always something that has been of interest to me.

We did rake leaves when I was growing up, and maybe it might have made a difference in the slightly damp and tree dense lower back yard in allowing grass to grow there.  I remember mowing on that big lowboy mower with a bikini on and my grandmother running over to tell me it looked like I was naked.  "Well, I'm not," I said, refusing to be more concerned with how it looked than with how it was.  Of course, I was almost naked in that bikini.

At home, now, this afternoon, I split wood, lots and lots of wood, because we had lots of slightly pithy wood down and if it rained on it, it would be damp through but if we got it split and in, we'd have wood for days taken care of.  And it isn't even going to be that cold (although it isn't going to be that warm either).  In the same kind of way we often hear neighbors mowing seemingly incessantly in the summer, in the winter our sound is the "shhhsssshhhh" of the saw and the whack whack of the ax.  You mow, at least if you mow more than twice a year, for appearances.  Ok, if you are really lucky you'll get three mowings for hay in but you KNOW that ain't what I'm talking about, and you know that is rather rare 'round these parts.

You cut wood, split wood, know wood, love wood, for real reasons, not because your woodpile looks good.  Although at one time, perhaps, judgments were made based on that but still, so much . . . depravity in appearances.

What's the harm? people ask.  That article about how to revive a tired bee, that's just encouraging people to be kind to bees.  What's the harm?

Well, what's the harm in believing that those four tea candles under a flower pot will heat your whole room?  What's the harm?  You'll be cold, that's what.  And that cold would be a good thing because in that you'd touch reality instead of living in delusion.  Yeah, people don't like that much.  Makes 'em mad.  But really, has anybody, ANYBODY, gotten the tea candles and the flower pot and done this?  Has it encouraged anyone to actually do, say, turn down the thermostat?  Well, duh, of course not.  Because people know when they are lying to themselves, and they get really really mad about it.

The harm, obviously, is perpetuating delusion.  The harm is that delusion prevents what might be real action, real life.  At least if you TRY the tea candle trick, the delusion will be relieved.  If you want to help bees, put a hive in your backyard and learn bees.  It is easy to appear to be kind -- it is far more challenging to actually be kind, which is why (if you think about it) the Dalia Llama  can make it his religion.

Delusion is always easier than reality but it will catch up with you.

Go back.

Grasshopper:  Is the sandpainting delusion?

Master Doh:  Do you need for it to be something that it is not? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

listening to the universe

The Universe speaks.  Or your higher self.  Or your totems.  Or maybe through your totems.  Or prayer.  Or meditation.  (Although I do always say that prayer is talking and meditation is listening so I think people who pray a lot don't actually listen much but you know, grace.)  Or maybe the car won't start and you miss a big wreck.  Or you have this feeling that you shouldn't but you do anyway and, disaster.

I got way out of line with the universe one time.  Lots of reasons.  Oh but disaster did come.  My spiritual mentor at that time (a Charismatic) used to laugh and say, "God is just so very gentle with you!"  Haha.  Where I was at that time was not a gentle place; I had been, in fact, a slapped down and slapped down hard and stayed under the jackboot for quite some time.  Because I had not really learned to listen to the universe at that point, at the points leading up to that.  But I had a lot of good info on how to do it, I almost knew how to do it somehow, but one of the main things, the main thing I think, was that I became chemically altered and I don't think you can hear the universe in that state.  And so, when I am listening better, it appears that God, the Universe, whatever, is very gentle with me.

So how I think it is that the universe speaks, yes or no or something else, is very very very quietly.  I think it is a lot like with horses, the universe doesn't actually say "yes" very often because the release, the "yes" as it were, is silence, or alignment, or just integrity (the state of being whole and undivided).  And then, when we persist because mostly we do, the universe speaks more loudly.  Etc.  It takes a l-o-n-g time for a slap down, whatever form it may take.

I appears that the universe is very gentle with me because, get this, I listen.  Yes, I think it is a thing.  Whatever the explanation, of which I'm sure this is as through a glass darkly.

Once upon a time there was this hay ring.  It came to me from the universe, free, at a time I really couldn't afford one and at a time I really wouldn't have been convinced I needed one (and I can still go through several ways to handle it without one).  And that's been five or six years ago?  As many as seven.  And it started falling apart.  Because they do.  Last year it didn't have a couple of the dividers but that didn't really matter.  This year, however, it was gone.  Gone.

The farm needed a hay ring.  Although there are other ways to handle it.  Still.  Finally I decided to buy one, and I looked around and decided which one.  And I shopped and decided where to buy it from.  And I went to order it, finally.  And the darn computer program won't allow for "negative inventory" so I couldn't pay for it when I ordered it which was exactly what I meant to do.  Ten days they said.  Ok.  I called.  It will be in tomorrow.  Day after tomorrow I went in to pay for it, as I needed to pay for it so that someone else could pick it up for me.  The one that had come in wasn't the one I had ordered after all but if I hurried they had the one I had ordered at a store in a neighboring town and I could buy it there.  Off we scurried.  And when we got there our eye got caught by a PVC feeder, and our brains got caught on the idea that we could make that, and that if we could make that for under $100, that would be a very.good.thing.

Well, we couldn't make it for $100.  We very likely couldn't make it at all.  And it was really before we were even through that little rabbit hole (which only took about 40 minutes, drive and all) that I felt like I really should have just gone ahead and bought the one I had planned on buying to begin with.  I called a neighbor with a truck and asked her if I could buy her lunch the next day and we made a date to go get it.  But something was still nagging at me.  Something.  We ate lunch and pulled into the store and parked in front of **the very type that had been delivered to the other store** and I had a good look at it all put together and I thought, that's the hay ring I need.  Heavier duty, sturdier, cheaper, easier to maintain, less likely to be busted apart. 

And I heard the universe clearly, finally.  And that is the universe's new hay ring here at Peaceable Kingdom Farm.