Friday, October 31, 2008

Snow, Sauerkraut, and Social Justice!

This week, I'm representing on the blog as a visitor to D Acres. I've been here for just over a week, visiting D Acres resident Beth, a good friend I met my junior year at college. I arrived on the scene eight days ago at dinner time, excited to catch up with Beth and eager to see what 's involved in living on an organic farm and in a community of people mutually committed to sustainability and fostering healthy relationships with the land.

I was not at all let down by the community I found here. I've shadowed Beth from day to day, getting to do a variety of things. Though the harvest has winded down and the season's first snow flew the other day, there are still important tasks to attend to: weeding, edging, and mulching to put garden beds down for winter, feeding pigs, tending chickens and collecting eggs, slaughtering chickens, turning compost piles, harvesting greens. The daily rhythm of work has been really enjoyable.

That's not to say there hasn't been ample time to simply enjoy the community here: delicious, fresh communal dinner each evening; guitar-playing and singing; pumpkin-carving (accompanied by dramatic readings of Harry Potter); taking French lessons with Eve on Thursday evenings; storming a costume potluck in Plymouth dressed as ninjas.
There have also been two special events while I was here: a workshop on fermentation, and a presentation by the phenomenal Beehive Design Collective on their posters discussing issues of exploitation, globalization, and environment. On the subject of events, I'd better go - it's open mic night with a Halloween costume theme and the performances have started.

Anywho, it's been a pleasure to be part of such a fun, artistic, musical, globally-thinking, and locally-acting community grounded in relationships with the land. I may not miss cold nights with Beth in the shanty (too much), but I will miss almost everything else. Thanks to everyone at D Acres!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Changes and Choices

Two weeks ago, I was the slightly disgruntled resident of a wet, cold, snowy canvas tent, fixing up trails and composting privy waste somewhere in the Pemigawasset Wilderness of northern New Hampshire. Today, I am the contentedly pleased resident of the DAcres Shanty - a fixed-up toolshed that offers a new definition of "drafty" - immersed in the fall harvest, chiding at chickens. The only fixin' I'm doing is eyeing up my next pig riding session.

I first lived at DAcres this past spring, when the snow was beginning to melt and the approaching summer inspired long hours and hard work. Now it's autumn and the unknown of winter is inciting a flurry of preparation. The pace is slower, and the work different; regardless of the season, though, we are continually preparing for the next.

With temperatures brisk and daylight diminishing rapidly, no hour is to be wasted. A stone wall is soon to be completed around the silo; 212 lbs of carrots were harvested Tuesday morning alone; the basement is almost filled with winter wood; the pigs are still to be fed, the oxen walked. And, of course, potlucks and art presentations, food preservation workshops and open mics continue. This Sunday 10/26, for example, is Volunteer Day, a chance for folks to head to DAcres and dirty their hands; there's a fermentation workshop 1-3pm, and also a potluck 6-9pm with a presentation by the political arts group The Beehive Design Collective - y'all should come out for this, now. Seriously.

Winter, challenging for the cold and the snow, does, however, provide more time for play. As residents here, we're no doubt a small community of quirky yet competant characters. Life, work, and play overlap in a fairly narrow fashion. Translation: never a dull moment. From nonsensical dinner conversations to the grunts of hardwork that suffice for communication; to reading Harry Potter out loud and playing beats in the basement; to french lessons and foam-dome eco-home house warmings; we appear to have a lock-down on the entertainment sector.

All this is why I am so contentedly residing in my well-chilled Shanty. An invigorating and rewarding rhythm to life, yes it is; and a rhythm steeped in community.

But not a community so insular as to forget the issues of the larger whole with which we are connected. Which currently means: folks, we have a Presidential election on our hands! Yes, I think Obama is the best choice we have; yes, I think it's ok that our POTUS is not Joe Schmoe nor can fix the oval office plumbing. No, Obama's not the Revolution, but what's the other option? I used to be a figure skater and am not particularly impressed with Hockey Moms. My opinions aside, though, please do not be passive. Make a choice. Vote. But don't be content with that alone. Your vote is not just about one (at least 2/3 detached) chad on one November day; your vote is each choice you do and don't make, each action of your daily life.

As we learned in french class this week: courage de décider

Courage to choose.

If you're not sure where to start, try this:
Resist much. Obey little. --Walt Whitman


Sunday, October 19, 2008

From Sunrise to Moonrise

My morning walk from the woods and my treehouse, Eastside, where I've been living for the past five weeks, has changed significantly.

I arrived at D Acres on the busy weekend of the Wellness Conference, a balmy couple of days, a little bit of rain, a little bit of sun. At the end of the conference, some of us were tired and sticky enough to take a chilly swim at the swimming hole (my great idea!). On the way back, we collected some tart apples from a tree by the side of the road--the first basketful of many this Fall.

That rocky path down the hill to my fallen down "slantyhouse," as I've occasionally called Eastside, can sometimes feel like a journey. Muddy and sloshy after a full week of rain, it becomes a precarious rock-hopping adventure as I leap to avoid sinking in too deep. Earlier this week, the trip was majestic. The colorful leaves have quickly been making their seasonal fall to the ground, making a blanket of crispy shades of yellow, orange, green, and red. The swish-swish-crunch-crunch of my boots through this layer gives me a rhythm and an awkward beat to my step, and it releases that fresh seasonal smell, dry and chill.

But the mornings have changed drastically. The sun is lower and longer to greet me, and the faint "cock-a-dooodle-doo" of the roosters is no longer a 5 o'clock alarm. When I open my eyes, and see my breath vapor into the chilly air, I realize it is no longer summertime. And again, as I pull on cold pants, and slip my feet into stiff, cold boots, to take my wobbly journey up the path, looking at the ground I see the sure sign that summer has ended--frost. Edging the fallen leaves are tiny ice crystals, coating blades of grass, making the kale and cabbage heavier and sweeter, is the frosty signifier of Winter-is-on-its-way.

So the only strategies to take for these short journeys are: more layers, a snug hat, long underwear, a sure stock of kindling and fuel, and the warmth of good company to bring hearty laughter and storytelling.

My first five weeks have been full. Arriving in the fall season ensured my work here to involve readying for the Winter. We have already begun stocking the root cellar shelves and bins with jars and root crops, while the freezers are quickly filling with extra beans, greens, and fruits. We will eat as well as we do when it is fresh. If anything, we have a zingy horseradish sauce to keep us entertained with its punch in the darker days of the Winter.

For now, I'm content with the frost, making bets on when the first snow will arrive (my guess is October 27) in anticipation of the first snowball fight, and collecting kindling everyday.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Indian Summer

Yea, a great time to be in New Hampshire. We did not have much of a summer, but October is making up for the rainy part of the year. Warm days make you feel one more time at the swimmin hole is still possible. Not for me, It is just a reminder for the weather that will be back around in another six months. I am ready for the snow to be piled up high and the only thing left to do in the day is to build a fire. Untill then just be checking task off my list.
Thankyou for your time LD!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Desde Mexico!

Hola a todos en DAcres! Pues me tarde un poco en escribir porque seguía en el shock del viaje, seguia aterrizando y muy exitada con todo lo que viví por allá.

Sigo procesando mi experiencia, los frutos que me ha dado seguirán surgiendo a lo largo de mi vida y en esta nueva aventura que me espera de regreso en México, ahora que me muevo a Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, y que iniciare nuevos procesos teatrales, y un jardín a la par, lo cual me emociona mucho. Ya los tendre al tanto de todo eso.

Me preguntaron aqui en México si este viaje habia cumplido o superado mis expectativas, yo contesté que las habia superado, aunque de hecho, no tenía expectativas. Sigo celebrando el haber decidido ir a DAcres a la mitad de mi viaje, y agradeciendo el que me hayan recibido, porque es de lo que recuerdo con mas cariño. Encontré gente maravillosa, con la que me sentí como en casa, como en familia. Aprendi muchísimo, mas allá de lo que haciamos cada día, aprendí una forma de vida distinta, posible y una nueva visión que me ayudó a definir hacia donde quiero enfocar mi trabajo y mis fuerzas. Recuperé la fe en una forma distinta de vivir y hacer teatro. Me di cuenta de cómo las cosas mas sencillas me hacen muy feliz. Escarvar la tierra con las manos y sacar una papa, o compartir una fogata, hacer música, cosechar los vegetales, alimentar a los animales, cocinar, contemplar lo maravilloso que es ese lugar de grandes árboles y hermosos jardines. Respirar ese aire puro, nadar en el río. Seguire agradecida siempre. Y extraño mucho, los extraño a todos y al lugar, realmente me encariñé mucho, de pronto me da la nostalgia, y muchas ganas de estar alli otravez, bailar a la luz de la luna.

He platicado a la gente de aqui acerca de mi experiencia allá, y siempre me vienen a la mente detalles maravillosos de lo que viví. No me es suficiente expresarlo aqui en palabras, pero lo que escribo aqui, lo hago con amor de verdad y muy sinceramente. Cambió mi vida, estoy decidida a renunciar a muchas cosas que antes me importaban y ahora se que son ilusorias, he decidido enfocarme en lo real, lo sencillo, lo que me hace feliz en escencia.

Ahora estoy en Mexico, ensayando ya para una función, pero me siento distinta, disfruto mucho más mi trabajo, cada ensayo, el sabado tendre función. Despues me voy a Patzcuaro.

Espero verlos a todos otravez, regresar y que tambien puedan venir, tienen una casa en Mexico.
ahora. Les envio un enorme abrazo.

Con mucho amor.

Pd. Si! que Viva la Revolución!