Monday, March 21, 2011

Learning more simple ways

Daffodils on the northside

I'm going to go ahead and decide that spring is here, with all of my plants waking up throughout the gardens.

We've got chives, green onions and catnip coming back along the path to the goat barn, and a lot of the trees and bushes we planted last year are budding. Won't this spring be a glorious one!


The classes this past weekend were a big success, even if we only had three folks show for the chicken class. It was still great fun, and a little more personal as we all got to know one another a little better. There was a nice couple from Pueblo and another fellow from the Greenhorn Valley who also came to the Season Extension class on Sunday with his wife. Interesting people, all of the participants. I really enjoy hearing everyone's story and why they are interested in our sustainability classes. Turns out we all have a lot in common when we think about the future of America.

On Sunday, Richard and his class got the hoop house up over the newly planted potatoes in the lower garden and possible future home of a USDA funded high tunnel.

They bent the conduit pipes for the frame on the small hoop bender Richard built.

pipe bender (hey, there's another one of those pesky pallets)

 And, with all those hands to hold that plastic, the breeze was hardly noticeable.

long hoop house

Here's a really easy and functional cold frame Richard built out of two by sixes and an old storm window from our Victorian house in the Springs.

Three pregnant goats, Cinnamon in the middle
Things don't have to be expensive or complicated to get the job done.

Cinnamon still has not given we wait...and we wait.

Gates across the driveway

One of the best parts of the weekend was getting the gates across the driveway. Finally. I've been waiting a long time for those gates that will keep people from just driving in (selling meat from a freezer?) and will keep my kids and animals from running out into the road that people drive down like a race track.

We also had dinner with some new friends this past weekend, and enjoyed ourselves immensely, talking and talking well past the kids' bedtime as they ran from one end of the house to the other. Luckily, our guests were not frightened away.

I had a moment, while trying to get the kids to nap during Richard's class, to watch a documentary on the Amish, which was fascinating. They are a people not much different from myself, minus the religion. They want to live sustainably and avoid the trappings of the mainstream society that would drag them into the chaos and lesson their quality of life. And, they'd like to protect their children from a culture that is ego based and competitive to the point of self-destruction. I'd like that too. The Amish believe in work and the enjoyment of choosing a life dedicated to family and community, living simply and giving themselves an opportunity to be close to nature and God.

With the upcoming energy crisis, I have to wonder if the Amish ways are not better ways. I find myself looking into more of the pieces of their culture and realize the rewards of abandoning the use of electricity for manual labor. I'm very interested in finding a functioning Singer Treadle sewing machine to replace my worn out electric machine. Wouldn't that put some joy into making clothes and quilts for the kids? I would find joy in learning to use and maintain an antique machine that proved itself capable of withstanding the changes of modern man, to the point where it becomes useful again. The items that we need to stock our homes with to survive the future are the things the Amish have been using all along. We could learn a thing or two.

And, Amish are about humility and fighting the Ego, something I have personally been trying to overcome in my own life. Ego is the killer. Just think of a life, a simple and sweet, natural life without that troublesome Ego messing everything up. Wonderful. I wonder if the Amish give workshops? Classes? "How to live Ego free in a mad society." "How to restore a hundred year old sewing machine." "How to teach your kids the value of life and educate them without the use of Disney characters." Sign me up!

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