Thursday, January 27, 2011

Building barns and community

Things are snowballing now! Richard's Biointensive gardening class for the  Canon Food Co-op was a big success, and then his local radio spot with Helene from the Co-op was also a hit, and now we are going to be featured in the local paper for the Earthbag building blitz that will take place the weekend of my birthday. What a wonderful opportunity to teach people about alternative building techniques!

I put an add out on Freecycle, looking for feed bags to be donated for the event, and got the press. Hmmm... Good. Good. We are hoping to get people in the community involved with their donations and help, kind of like an old style barn raising, but this one will be built out of Earthbags and eventually stuccoed to create a llama shelter for my boys in the new pasture. We need to move them so the goats can have the barn to birth the Spring babies.

Pregnant goat or fat goat?

Recycling the used woven polypropelene feed bags into building materials is just one example of how we can all look around and see things we might be able to use again. It will be an exciting event. Can we get a barn up in two days? Will anyone show up to help? Can we get enough feed bags, dirt, gravel and lumber for a roof? What will happen? Anticipation....

And, I've been in my crazy creative world, painting for days, working on some vision of a future utopia while thoughts float in and out of my head.

Our cats have been getting sick from the commercial cat food we bought them. This is the second time. Different food. Same manufacturer. Last time, we called the food maker and they sent us coupons for one free bag and a few bucks off two more bags. Great. We bought a different kind, choosing to stick with this brand because this is the only manufacturer whose food has not been recalled yet. But my cats are still getting sick. What's up with that? I would love to buy them organic food, but with the expense of the chicken and goat food, I can't justify buying the cats organic food too. So, what can I do? I could make food, which I may try if time allows. But this got me thinking....

As our planet evolves into a new way of living, we are going to have to rethink everything, including the food we eat and the food we feed our pets. If we can't trust the food for people to be chemical free, how can we expect our pet food to be safe? Wouldn't it be nice if someone local was making and selling an organic and safe cat food? Or dog food? Or bird food for my parrot?

I think perhaps we should all give up our fears about what the economy will look like as it all falls apart and start to think about what each of us individually can contribute. We need to relearn the old skills and discard the thinking that has gotten us into this how to extend the shelf life of foods.

I don't really have the time or interest to make cat food, but what if someone else does? There is a need for locally produced pet food, and a business waiting to be born. Other things too: a local mill where I can take my organic grains to be milled into flour. An electric car dealership and mechanic. A homestead supply store. A natural soap, shampoo and lotion maker. A candle maker. Like in the old times, pre-industrial revolution. If we are heading back into the dark ages, shouldn't we be preparing for the inevitable loss of products produced by oil? Isn't that just about everything? If my toothbrush is made from petroleum, how am I going to brush my teeth when I can't get that familiar product?

There is a whole new world waiting to be born and so many opportunities for people to contribute and be successful through clean, green, "cottage" industries. We are going to need these services as our economy continues to collapse. If we work together, we can think our way out of this mess, and maybe by not supporting the corporatocracy we can reverse the damage to our planet. What a wonderful vision.

For now, today, I'm going back to my utopia.

Don't forget the Earthbag building blitz February 19th. For more info see Green Desert Eco Farm. We need the polypropylene bags, fill dirt, gravel, lumber, shovels and extra hands. I'd love to meet my neighbors!

And the Xmas Boycott of 2011 is still on! Don't forget to boycott the shopping madness.

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