Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To a New Year and new beginnings

The holidays passed quickly, if fairly quietly, here at D Acres. With most residents returning to their families for feasting and gift-giving, it was a small group that celebrated in the D Acres kitchen. It was a story of snow and shoveling, spiced up with snow plow adventures, ham cooked to perfection, and some vigorous chess playing. Now the D Acres diaspora is slowly regrouping, one by one returning to this wintry abode we call home.

I'll, however, be leaving for some wintry weather farther north and a jaunt up the Appalachian Trail come spring. Many months from now, I'll relish my return to these people, and these acres, just in time for the fall gardens - and more mulching.

A friend once asked how I felt about goodbyes. My response: that they are one more chance to tell people how much they, and our shared experiences, mean to me.

And so it is with D Acres. Like any community, I suppose, it has it's issues and struggles that never fail to emerge, but like few places it also harbors friendships, hard work, lots of learning, satisfaction, snowball fights, and laughter. For which I am grateful, and to which I will return.

I hope that in this New Year, you, too, are able to join us in our community events, our workshops, or your own efforts in local sustainability. Change begins with each of us, and when we unite in striving, so much is possible.


Thursday, December 18, 2008


This years demise has also been the demise of an unattractive way of living for me, personally. It has been extremely refreshing to live away from the hustle of an over-consumptive lifestyle for almost a year now. I have to say it was hard at first to change some habits of mine, but by seeing other people's lifestyles here at D Acres, I have been inspired to live as simply as possible. The biggest factor is to just stop buying "stuff." If I do need, and I stress "need" something, it is a lot more rewarding to seek something out in a thrift shop or to buy locally. There is so much stuff already in the world that it seems futile to continue manufacturing more stuff. The best thing to happen is when I am looking for something I really need like boots, and it just happens that somebody I know has a pair they want to get rid of. There is such a feeling of gratitude to obtain something in this way.
I can't leave out my brother Brian, when I mention how my way of thinking has changed, because he is the one that originally planted the seed. I remember shopping in the Freehold Mall with him and my girlfriend a few years ago, and my behavior then was to buy my girl as much "stuff" as she wanted. My brother mocked me for spending $50 on a smell as I purchased her perfume. The ideals in my head back then were the more stuff I could purchase the better I looked or felt about myself.
The summer here at D Acres was amazing. I slept in a hammock in the Sugar Shack for as long as I could last in my sleeping bag. Now to be sharing Edith's studio is like the luxury sweet, since I have electricity. To be in the studio has some strange energy that permeates through the walls, as this was Aunt Edith's art studio back in the day.
One question that seems to reoccur at our meetings, especially at our Projects and Goals meetings, is "why are we here." I know that I came here because I wanted to live differently. The more aware I became of how globalized and destructive we are to this planet the more depressed and agitated I became. D Acres offers something that no commune has in common and that is an educational opportunity to truly explore a way of life that will outlast our race. Living in harmony with the environment and treating it like a delicate piece of glass.
Back to the holiday greetings. This is the first year that I am not purchasing any gifts for anybody. Not that I'm not giving gifts, because I love giving gifts, it is an awarding feeling to be able to unselfishly give something to someone. This year the majority of what I am giving will be made by myself. Since I've gotten into woodworking and blacksmithing I can handcraft some Christmas presents this year. Not to mention that for the first year ever I made organic Peanut Butter Balls. My mother thought it was impossible, but I proved her wrong and I will be bringing home proof that they are just as buttery and delicious as ever.
So, this Christmas or Hanukkah, try doing something different for a change. A friend of mine once told me that to make something means a lot more, because you are giving somebody your time. It's a lot better than giving someone a gift card or an I-Pod that will self-destruct in two years. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from me and everyone at D Acres.