September 13, 2022 We gathered, regulars and new-comers, each joined together by our connection to Strawbale Studio.
The Emergent Theme was creating Legacy and reflection on the Future and how we can contribute to Life.
Sarah, Selena, Mike, Karen, Jim, Sooz, Jo, Co-hosts Jack & Deanne – we each shared “What’s Alive in Us”, “What is Inspiring Us”!
What’s alive in me?
What’s inspiring me?
I’m at the point in my life that I’m retired but not retired. I’m doing online physical therapy. I’m thinking about the legacy that I will leave. Deanne has shown her legacy, and it’s so admirable: it’s all of us and it’s the studio. The crochet that I will be leaving for others; I hope that others will value it because I put my heart into it. What can I leave when I’m gone.
Is science enough? I skipped to the part about what I can do as an individual. Even if we do everything right as an individual (no kids, no car, no meat, etc.), we’ll never get our carbon footprint down to zero.
I am a member of the GIT setup community for senior citizens. I do GIT setup classes 3x per day. They have become so important to me that now we want to meet in person. It was meant to be online. We’re going to set up a get together for people from all over Michigan (and even one from Chicago). It’s kind of weird. Before the pandemic, I did not even know that Zoom existed and now it’s part of my daily life. We check in on each other and check in on who’s traveling or hospitalized, etc. 100 y.o. just celebrated his birthday with us. Someone from the GIT Setup community brought over cake and balloons and more. He looks forward to it every day. Louis (the 100 y.o.) wanted to know how to clear out his iPad to have fewer files.
I live near Chattanooga Tennessee. When I lived in MI, I took many classes with Deanne. In the last year or two, I’ve been starting some projects on my little property that I can build on. I’m able to build earth ovens and other things that I learned with Deanne. I’m planning to start building some little natural houses. People can visit and stay (and help out). These projects are in northern TN bordering a national forest. I have a composting toilet and RV up there until there’s more building done. 9 acres of land: one part flat, another part slopes down into a creek. Starting to learn the local plants and start foraging. It’s peak mushroom season!
Summer class with Martha Beck author of Finding your way in a wild new world. Creative Problem solving course: talk amongst ourselves in classes. New techniques to try, and we’re trying to look at what we’ll leave as our legacy. It gives us some tools to apply to that. I’ve experimented with different designs over the years. We learn lessons with each one that we create. Horizontal feed vs. vertical feed: I haven’t done one in a few years. We have a conservation area nearby, and they were hoping to bring some chestnut trees there.
I had to laugh when Jo mentioned that something had been eaten a day before being picked: peaches by beetles and corn by raccoons. My garden feeds the animals, and that’s pretty much it. I have been looking and looking for a house to buy. There’s a real shortage now. I found one that reminded me of Lois’s: the same color blue. The inspection turned up too many difficult things. Mold and foundation troubles and missing flashing and more! It was a lesson for next time. One of the things alive in me is that I’ve really been aware of how many people (in my condo complex of over 40 units)… I’ve been learning of my own attachment styles that we develop as young children. Depending on how attuned the caregivers are, the needs met of the child will determine the trust and relationships of the child. Living in a complex like this, there are many people who have some severe early trauma problems. I would like my legacy to be helping people to be aware of their own nervous systems (Vagus nerve?), their personality (Richard Shwarts, no bad parts).
Went to bed.
Peggy Sooz Collins
I was also thinking of my legacy as a 79 year-old. My life was very predictable for decades. I’m not complaining, but it’s alive! I’m learning lots of new things. I’m grateful for lots of the decisions I made long ago that are still serving me. Life keeps offering a hand to me, and I keep taking it. And so I’m grateful. Last year, I had breast cancer, and I had such a good outcome. It doesn’t get better. I’m grateful for all the positive things. Earlier this year, I got eye surgery. I don’t like spending so much time with doctor things. I feel healthy, and I don’t want to be focusing on that stuff. The Gaia Women of Great Lakes Basin: we used to meet every month. We met for the first or second time in person last Saturday. I’m grateful for the Zooms, but there is nothing like human contact. I don’t know that I used to appreciate people so much, but I do now. Life is good, but I’m dealing with a lot of stuff. Gardening a lot: tomatoes, there’s nothing like a backyard tomato. I’ve had this rain garden on the side of my house in a ditch. Every year it’s a little different, so I’m starting to find homes for those native pollinators. I’ve had two people come now to take them to a new home. You just love to see these things that you’ve loved go to other people who will care and love them. I will try a lemon balm beer and a hissop beer when the time is right. I feel engaged with life, and that’s what’s alive.
I have my usual books that I’ve been reading. The Reindeer Chronicles by Judith D. Schwartz. Jim MacDonald knows Shaun O’Donahue. They did a workshop in Detroit some years ago. I’ve been exploring my Irish history. Every Sunday evening (he’s self-admittedly autistic), he recites ancient herbal remedies from Ireland. He knows so much about herbs that was passed down through the O’Donahue line. I got invited to this group at Oakland University. This is a new group, and I was invited after I asked them to tackle a book called Gesturing Toward Decolonial Futures. Dealing with these issues at a very deep level. I didn’t know how to explain it to everyone because it was so complicated. Sooz wanted to make something of this book that was more presentable for a more general audience.
The Forest Reminds Us Who We Are, Connecting to the Living Medicine of Wild Plants by Sean Padraig O’Donoghue
Sarah (from Thunder Mtn.) Stevenson
I just completed a long trek of physical therapy, and I’m so excited because I have discovered dancing: the country cloggers. I’ve gone three times and only messed up three dances. It’s so joyous to be in public with real people and real flesh. Dancing for joy! It’s wonderful for me because I was badly hurt in February. I was dragged by a car. Dancing seems just perfect for me. I have house problems, and dancing elevates my mood. I inherited a house just after COVID locked down. The roof leaks, and everything needs $5000 of repairs. I’m fortunate to be here, and to have a therapist through all of this. She keep me grounded and feeling almost 80 and a crazy gardener. Trying to keep house and everything together: she keeps me supported. Don’t do medical from noon to 4 every day. Be like everybody else. Do what gives me rewards and gives me a place to be. For so long I was the caregiver, and now it’s a new opening and I’m happy.
It’s tree-planting season in the city. This little neighborhood now has 43 street trees, and we’re now trying to get them to plant wildflower berms in what we call the “hellfire zone”. I have milkweed galore, and we’re trying to plant it on the highways. I have flats all over the backyard trying to grow milkweed from seed. We’re hopeful and it’s busy planting. It feels so good in being able to walk. It is an amazing that we can do, and I highly recommend it.
It’s been a busy day. I’ve been clearing trees that came down in some recent windstorms. The last couple days I’ve been out with my chainsaw and wagon. Loppers and chainsaw tied onto the lawnmower. Now, I can work on the next section of trail. My baby chicks are growing; they prefer now to be called young chickens. The younger ones still hang around with their mothers a bit. My cat and dog are doing well. I’m starting to harvest the autumn olive berries. The elderberries were almost ripe, but someone else got to them efirst. Street fair: Mohawk valley collective has a booth, but I had only one other person, so I couldn’t really wander around. The parade was close enough that I could see it. Nearly every fire truck within 30 miles sent their whole force. Acrobatic kids were flipping down the road. I make my own trail mix: goji berries, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans, currants, all kinds of different things (almost all organic). Spice jar, so I can just tip it back and eat it without my hands.
I have been amazed as I watch the baby chicks, who are mixed heritage. My chickens get along, and they don’t seem to care what color they are. I am in awe of the natural world around me and the diversity in the unique way that each plant finds its own niche. The flower of the black-eyed susan stays in bloom all the time, and the cornflower only blooms for a few hours a day. Some have thick roots, and others have small rhizomes that run and put up a new plant. It’s all interwoven. Some species will crowd out another species, but I don’t see them going to war like humans do. There’s just such diversity and beauty within the niches and characteristics that blend into a wonderful whole. I have many projects lined up. My son is going to stop by for a day as he comes up for a business trip. I’m ensuring that I have all the materials for the jobs to do with my son. I didn’t want to lose time in getting ready for Zoom. My dog came over and nudged me. I taught him to find me when the timer goes off. I just keep doing stuff and there’s so many challenges and yet there’s such peace, beauty and rewards. My life is very much in balance. There’s balance like the person on the tightrope. And then there’s balance with your feet together and hands held at your heart that is also balance. They’re both called balance, but they have a difference of meaning to us.
Jack, delighted to have a pie in the face at his school! Tonights meal came from Good & Cheap. Eat well on 4$ or Less a Day! polenta and eggs. I took a lot of joy in that. I have been thinking deeply about future….Biodynamic Farm…. I found it was troublesome to agree with everything…blending no-till agriculture with astrology. What would make my future homestead “mine”, is to have it be “not mine”….be a community project and invite in my students. Chestnuts!
I don’t have too much to say, I sent an email during our break to the American Chestnut Association that we get some seeds for our school. E. D. Hirsh, I sent an email to him, he’s 94, still chuggin’. Curriculum to the United States. In his book, “Why knowledge matters”, in France….where can I find this book, I ask him. He bought one. So I emailed him! I”m inspired to keep going, keep smilin’ and keep WALKING! 40 Critical Questions about Climate Change.
Sarah did a fabulous job with what’s alive in her. I just got back from a 3day weekend at the Great Lakes Herb Fair. How cool is that! I got invited to do a kids program. I took 6’ long sticks (some Ys), and I loaded them into my car with some golden rod, etc. THe kids 4-16 made stick forts (twig loos) out of them. The interns helped harvest the sticks. I was worried that there was not enough variety, but I was able to just sit back and everything worked out. That was a beautiful moment that went well, despite the worry. I got to go do some different things: pine pitch. Occasional hugs. Really nice to be there with all, and nature…. and in returning, I’m a little behind schedule.
Processing life, where do I want to get to? What are the important things to do and round up? Regarding aging, If we were in the village and tribe, we would not be doing this alone. We wouldn’t have to move or round it up. There might be other issues, true…and we’ve gotten to individuate and have the lives we chose. There’s a reason it’s kind of hard to figure this all out.
In the present, I really like sleeping with my kitty at night.
Mushrooms are inspiring me. Mushrooms will save the world. I learn about them and their relationship to our immune system. I’m still very motivated around some things in NVC to ask the question: what am I feeling? What am I needing? What am I longing for? What do I value? And then I imagine what someone else might be longing for. I feel a lot of inspiration when I see folks caring about both self and other… when i see human collaboration with our values woven in.
The herb conference was months and months of people collaborating for people to come together in this way. We were either outside or in our tents (mostly outside). People would walk towards me with a smile just like a long lost friend, even if we had never met. Persistence and hope. I’m inspired by The Human Energy Project –: the Noosphere video series on YouTube. Synergy at the atomic level coming together in molecular form. How much more can be held when things have a synergistic relationship!
I’ve worked in industry for many years. I’ve spoken with many engineers and managers, and I’ve always been stressed by our culture. We don’t have a good faith culture. Trying to tell people about the tech that’s coming. The data revolution: we’re going to be seeing many companies making much change in the near future. Personally, disruption is better than planned failure. It’s going to be rough getting through it. I was in a meeting with a person who wanted to equip people with the resources to prepare for these great changes. The culture is changing and people are realizing it. We’ve spent a lot of time not making progress. North American International Auto show next week. Jim is a sales engineer who sells APC. America needs to learn to play more efficiently. The discussion around the automotive industry is absolute chaos. The consumer class in Asia: car tech is showing up now in Shenzhen and Xiuzhao rather than 40 years ago. Detroit is a very proud culture. You’ll get a better introduction online than at a convention. Advising Traverse City film fest now. Home entertainment and VR. CEOs don’t have any plan for the future.
My swamp milkweed is thriving, I’ve got over a hundred stalks in my front yard, its hard to miss if you go down first street in Rochester near downtown. If anyone wants some milkweed seeds! plenty! <3
Selena Koro to Everyone (10:05 PM)
Thanks for all the info
Jubilant Jo to Everyone (10:06 PM)
Jim, I’d be interested I swamp milkweed seeds. I have lots of common milkweed here