The Best Kind of Contagious

August 31, 2013 § 12 Comments

Carding wool with Nate

Carding wool with Nate

The little kick of pre-autumn we had a couple weeks back has departed, and another push of summer has ridden in on its wake. I love that cool weather, but the heat and humidity ain’t so bad, either, what with the chill of the pond just a few steps and one cannonball away.

I’ll tell ya what’s going on ’round here: Everything. Every-freakin’-thing. If you’ve somehow gotten the impression that my life is naught but strolling through lush, misty fields, sniffing cows and eating berries from the vine, well, I got some news for you: There’s a wee bit more to it than that. The good part of that news is that the power project is nigh unto completion (does that make any sense at all? Hell, I don’t know, but I like it…. what I’m trying to say, if it’s not clear, is that’s it’s ’bout finished). As a whole, I vastly underestimated the project and the sheer amount of toil and burden it would necessitate. But that is ok: I think that electricity should perhaps not be so damn easy, given all the devastation its production wreaks. As a quick aside, I was more than pleased to see that in our first 24 hours of metered connection, we consumed a grand total of 7 kilowatt hours, and that’s with four chest freezers and one refrigerator humming. Once we get our solar panels feeding back to the grid – next week, hopefully – we’ll get that down to zero or so.

Anyhoo. On top of it all, we’re going canoe camping for two nights, a luxury enabled only by the enormous generosity of our dear friend Dan, who will be housesitting for a three-day period early next week. And by “house-sitting,” I mean milking a cow, feeding our menagerie of creatures, and generally being on-call should one of said creatures decide to take a walk-about. We love going camping, but rarely do… there just aren’t many Dans around, and leaving this place during camping-friendly weather is a fairly unrealistic undertaking, given the sheer volume of day-to-day tasks that are part and parcel of the season. But whatever. It’s gonna be great.

On top of it all again, Penny came home from Falk’s workshop frothing at the mouth in excitement. (By-the-by, I’ve been meaning to recommend his new book. It’s a wee more technical in parts than my sorry intellect can master, but it’s real, real good nonetheless). Part of it was the sheer inspiration of his place, which is a pretty remarkable example of what can be done on a relatively inhospitable piece of land. But another part of it was the recognition that already we have made so much progress and that so much of what he’s doing is well within our reach. Every so often, we are blessed with a moment of awareness regarding just what has been accomplished on our little piece of ground. Of what is accomplished from day-to-day. I realize that may sound a little, um, self-certain, but what can I say? It’s true. The other truth is that this awareness is generally lost to the minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour passing of our lives, and this is probably a good thing, only because it doesn’t seem all that healthy to walk around being all smug about what you’ve done.

In any event, visiting Falk’s place was for Penny one of those clarifying moments, both in regards to what has been accomplished, what will be accomplished, and how we can continue to evolve our practices. I love her excitement and the sheer joy she has for this life and the work it blesses us with, and it’s impossible for me to not get caught up in it, myself. It’s the best kind of contagious.

Over and out ’til we return.


§ 12 Responses to The Best Kind of Contagious

  • Aaron says:

    Enjoy your time off and camping trip! We were lucky growing up to have a Dan nearby, too!

  • Kent says:

    YAY . . . at last you four get a cance to “catch your breath.” Canoe camping, while not “vegetating” (something you wouldn’t even know how to do anyhow) is a dramatic and important departure from your relentlessly demanding life on the farm. May this adventure be filled with rich opportunity to share being a family in new and special ways! (Thank God for Dan.)

  • Eumaeus says:

    Loved the ‘smelling cows’ line… have a good trip… god bless dan… may people of his ilk migrate to this area and befriend me.

  • Dawn says:

    It just so happens that I just got this book and started it today. Already, I can tell it will be a great addition to my permaculture library. Thanks for sharing your and Penny’s impressions of the book and the author’s work. I can only imagine how inspiring it would be to attend a course. Have a great time camping!

  • Tonya says:

    I also recently purchased his book – buying a new book is something I don’t do too often and both Mike and I are excited about what we can do on our little place. I also downloaded one of his talks – waiting to get a chance to watch it.
    Enjoy your canoe trip!
    P.S. my birthday is the 28th – close to Penny’s – I did feel a connection with her and hope to get together some time.

  • renee says:

    I hate to be a wet blanket but I can’t help but notice how many able-bodied young people he has doing the Man-well Lah-bor (except for the little back hoe. Nice to see hand labor is not being promoted exclusively.) Not every one can come up with the gig to host education seminars that actually helps you get your work done around your farm. Wish I’d thought of that! Hmmmmm.. maybe gives me an idea. I’m sure Mr Falk worked his butt off getting the whole thing off the ground and to keep it flying.

    • Ben Hewitt says:

      Wait’ll you hear about the series of “education seminars” we’re planning!

      How To Dig Really Big Holes in Really Rocky Ground

      How To Plant 100’s of Trees

      How To Split Ten Cords of Firewood

      And so onů

      Seriously, more power to him, I say. I don’t think anyone who’s attended one of his seminars/workshops has felt taken advantage of. Least, not that I’ve heard.

      • renee says:

        I was a bit afraid of leaving my comment. Afraid I would be misunderstood. But I decided to trust and let go. You made me laugh so thanks for your kindness. I guess I looked at all the “helpers” and felt kinda jealous. It’s all hard, hard work being out here. And sometimes kinda lonely. Just we two. I can’t judge. To pull a ranch or farm together and then keep it together takes stamina, devotion and faith. People have to know what they’re getting into. It looks like Falk shows them. I say more power to him, too. There’s worse and that’s a fact.

  • Dawn says:

    Renee, I know what you mean about being envious of farmers with lots of willing, able-bodied help around. My husband and I do it all ourselves, too, with “help” from our two toddlers. I have longed for a more supportive, like-minded community myself but it is not always easy to find. Fortunately, I have a new neighbor who just got bees and has asked for my help and another neighbor just offered us some help with his tractor on one of his very rare days off from his night job. So, little by little, a community is developing. It can be done and the connections are priceless. Keep the faith!

  • Dawn says:

    Here’s a great interview with Ben Falk, via Permaculture Voices.

  • renee says:

    OK I will keep the faith. Glorious internet! We get positive feedback from light years away! Anecdote: we went into town yesterday for lumber and met a couple from a nearby ranch at the little restaurant (THEY introduced themselves) and now we have a connection we didn’t have before. Yes, little by little, I hope our community is developing. In the meantime, last night after dark we listened to the lonely yips and howls of the far off coyote pack. They are a community, too. Maybe they were calling for friends and comrades!

  • renee says:

    and thanks for the link!

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