Friday, December 19, 2014

Hope is an obligation

and other inspiring tidbits from the interwebs:

these days I spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling the interwebs for news and inspiration, currently things found at the intersection of food and the environment, but more recently, looking at the concept of Wilderness. Capitalized and not capitalized. What does it mean? Along this train of thought I stumbled upon: "hope is an obligation"  and other words of wisdom in an excellent Wendell Berry interview over at Earth Island Journal. Here's just a few things I love from it: 

" 'Wild' is not nearly so stable a term as “wilderness.” A “wilderness area,” I guess, can be described as “wild,” but so can a street gang. If “wild” means uncontrolled, then our present economy and “domestic life” are “wild.” So are our multiple epidemics of invasive species. So is our plague of toxic chemicals. If “wild” means “natural” then our domestic and economic life is “wild” because of its absolute dependence on nature. Your suggestion that “wildness” is a “way of being” reveals the difficulty, for the two terms are in contradiction. Ways of being, as careful observation of “wildlife” will tell you, are domestic. All species – except, temporarily, industrial humans – have to “make themselves at home.” They have to live in places to which they are well enough adapted to find food, raise young, survive winter, etc. And so I’m no longer comfortable in speaking of indigenous creatures as “wild.”

I think “wilderness areas” are necessary. But I am opposed to efforts to establish wilderness areas and parks by using eminent domain to drive out settled human populations. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s expropriation of farmers native to the Land Between the Lakes in western Kentucky in the 1960s was of a piece with our treatment of the Indians. It was an exercise in government tyranny. There is no necessary conflict between “wilderness values” and well-husbanded human home places. There is no sense in driving out people who belong to a place and replacing them with people who don’t. Better a settled human population than a population of tourists, police, “nature writers,” and “wildlife photographers.”

Given the opportunity, what life advice would you today convey to a younger Wendell of 60 years ago?

"Learn more science, especially biology, more foreign languages, more history. Be kinder."

What outstanding writing and or life lessons did your time with Wallace Stegner at Stanford grant you?

"I suppose I'm still under the influence of Mr. Stegner's devotion to the principles of responsible workmanship and responsible stewardship of the land. One's relationship to good teachers has no past tense. They stay with you.

What have you gained from your wholesale avoidance of electronic media?
I try to keep away from screens of all kinds, and I am less and less attracted to the radio. There are three advantages, or three results, that are important to me: a fairly continuous awareness of this place in which I live and of which I limitlessly desire to be aware; freedom from the talk of media people who are afraid to be quiet; and maybe enough time for reading.

"Hope is an obligation “ 

portland rainbow town

And here are a couple more links of inspiration:
Mark Bittman on inequity
And young farmers over at Farm Hack problem solving: big pieces of machinery are too expensive and too big for small farmers. So Farm Hack brings the DIY to infrastructure and technology for small farmers here

streets of portland

the beginning of a series? we shall see....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

gratitude is always found in the garden

it's a quiet sunny sunday morning. my favorite kind of sunday morning. 

full of gratitude from a day spent at a garden yesterday. it was sleepy and slow in the garden as we approach the soltice. but so full of life. there was rosemary, thyme, chives, and luciano kale towers still sharing their harvest. while some rows were tucked into their winter beds with blankets of burlap and clover. 

a community garden in a sense I haven't seen before. learning garden labs: about 12 acres of layered gardens--teaching gardens, urban apprentice gardens, school gardens, master gardener plots and family run plots, a magical summer playground for kids, a community orchard, and huge greenhouses.  Each area with it's own shape and function. Each area full of the energy of the many hands who have dug in the soil. Of stewardship.  

I got there a bit early. I was there to get a tour from a friend and help out with a wreath making workshop. The hand painted sign Orchard this way >>>> called to me. there I found espaliered apples in their full winter glory. some pruned, others not. 

orchards always call me. they bring me back to the many saturdays spent planting, pruning and caring for the orchard on that foggy hill in San Francisco. Of learning how to graft. And finding a home for my little apple creation in another garden I call home by the ocean. she has grown strong, kissed by the salt air. of walking the heirloom orchards with Gary at Seed Savers Exchange. 

These gardens, growing food, they are home to me. 

And the new faces with open hearts, so excited to call this space in Portland a piece of home, excited for the peace and pause of soltice. of exploring outside and also getting cozy with food and books and family. good people on good land.

and I wreathed. even though I've never wreathed before. and it wasn't all bad. and it's all oregon grown and dried. it dressed my bike ride home. Next year: this bike may just become a wreath of unto its own. 

here's to finding home in places of cultivation and community. and the cultivation of community.  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

giving of thanks

thanksgiving came and went so very fast and slow at the same time.  I can still say how very thankful I am. It is the holy-est of holy days for me. A meal cooked. With the ones we love. 

We had a cozy night for our Portland thanksgiving. A mezza to start with homemade hummus and tini tinis. A salad piled high: roasted beets, fried tofu, greens, carrot and a tahini drizz. Roasted root goodness (garlic, sweet potato, potato, delicata) blended into a curried soup. vegan chocolate mousse with a touch of Rasputin stout. 

so very thankful to live with the master of soups! and fried tofu....

the beers here. oh my. 

mmmmm mmmmmezza. 

beeets!!!! yo!