Monday, May 30, 2011

Planting Seeds, Processing Sadness

In the midst of all the flurry of building our garden beds, I've been processing lots of news, both local and global. It's impossible not to take in what Fukushima means, what violent weather patterns are and what fish washing up on stinking beaches signifies. We mostly choose not to look at or sit with this information since we are needing to get the wash done, or the bills paid, care for our children or commune with our friends. My nephew who just came in for a visit describes the weblinks that he sends on to friends and family as "bummer juice." I think that's a good a name as any. I've begun making work or, I should say, I am returning to the themes of nuclear nightmares, with a more defined focus. After many years of developing and exhibiting work about nightmares about nuclear war (from 1977 until 1991) and then beginning work on NUKED NOTES: Journey of a Free Radical (a series about the causes and cures of thyroid cancer), I am now revisiting this topic to explore a series about radioactive fall-out, nuclear meltdowns, misinformation, disinformation and endless distractions for an exhibit in September. It's work that needs to happen while I continue to plant seeds for EDEN REFRAMED. We are designing the gates and story hives now. And seeds are going to be planted tomorrow and later this week. It's a healing thing to do, when my heart is full of grief for the world, for the children...may those who remain asleep become activists (in whatever short time they have) for the great, great, great grandchildren. It is all we have now, other than momentary joys, such as planting and harvesting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Phase #3 almost complete

What you see in these photos is a time lapse, going backwards about a week. So the top photo is where we are now - the deer fence skeleton is up, without enhancement through community stories, and without the gates. Thankfully and amazingly every day we've worked outside, the weather has cooperated. Today it's drizzling and Shahreyar and I are working alone in our studios, designing the gates. Shahreyar will do some research by walking through our two local hardware stores, and I've done some research online. We'll come together in the next few days and make some decisions. So far our collaboration has been a real pleasure. A good marriage, as they say. Notice how he handles an auger!

And speaking of marriages, that guy with the baseball cap, who looks a little like an undercover fed (or so said my dear friend, Amy) is my significant other, who is going to celebrate with me, 22 years of companionship through the ups and downs. This Friday is our anniversary. He is kindly watering the food forest.

BTW the first green thing we planted in our garden was the apple tree, a Pink Lady - you can view that beauty on the left here. Oh so symbolic for Eden Reframed. Now we just need to get some of the healing snake energy happening and we'll be all set.

Here's an overview of our process so far:

Phase #1 - Getting site approval (and the hurdles that involved) and drawing up the final proposal

Phase #2 - Harvesting stories and developing community involvement as part of the exhibition Reframing Eden

Phase #3 - Meeting with Permaculture Design Consultants, finding volunteers, building the brush drains, transplanting and developing garden beds, and creating the skeleton of the deer fence

Phase #4 - Finding more stakeholders through an interactive community activity, speaking with VHS students, enhancing and energizing the deer fence and garden with stories, wishes and artifacts

Phase #5 - Designing and building the two gates, benches and story hive(s)

Phase #6 - Eden Reframed Celebration (hopefully late August)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Building the Bundles of Boughs as Bed Barriers

These first shots are of Deston and Shahreyar mixing the topsoil with the sandy fill above the brush drains.

Here are some shots of the cypress boughs that we hauled and bundled into bed barriers.
I'll have some better shots of the boughs in place tomorrow.

More Photos of the week

Here you can see more shots of the completion of the brush drain with the help of the Evergreen students and others. Also you can see the delivery of topsoil, a generous donation from Lewis Roggenbuck.

Finally, a moment to write and post photos

We have made so much progress in so little time that I am a bit breathless. Tomorrow we will install the posts for our deer fence and transplant the edible garden put together last year by permaculture design teacher, Emet Degirmenci. Emet will be present for the gentle process of transplanting blueberry and huckleberry bushes, strawberries, fruit trees and herbs. We hope to have a couple of volunteers to assist us as well.

Shahreyar and I have spent the week collecting boughs of conifers and binding the boughs, needles and all, into bundles. We were donated a cache of Cypress boughs (in the cedar family)from the property of Dana and Katherine. We filled the truck twice, and still need to haul more. These bundles will be used as barriers for the raised beds, and their natural curves will work splendidly with the arcs of our beds. The daily physical work of bundling, sawing, clipping and carrying has been a real test for our aging bodies, but with a massage and some chiropractic work, we are ready for more.
And S and I are having so much fun, gabbing while we work, in the shade outside his studio. We couldn't ask for a better situation in which to do the work.

I look forward to watching the beds grow with new life, as worms and mycellium discover the composting soil, and pollinators gather to enjoy the flowers. I also am excited to see what shapes the fence will create in the field.

We will announce soon a time for the community to gather and weave mementos into the fence.

I am attaching photos of the work crew laying down the bags of dry clay and brush. There are also shots of S on his tractor, Shannon discussing the bioremediation of the soil and students from Evergreen helping with the creation of the brush drain.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Moving too fast to write

So much to share about the last week of break neck speed work. Brush drain completed,top soil delivered and gifted. Evergreen students forming a chain gang to lay down the 2000 lbs of clay, and then Shahreyar on his tractor moving everything around. I've got too much to do to write right now, but I'll share some photos when I am down in Portland and sitting and listening to people speak.