Monday, August 31, 2009

Let my life be an example

Let my life be an example. Of what? Of a life. Let every life be an example for a life that you could, should or will/not live.

I have $150 dollars to my name. And it feels so good. I can do whatever I want in life, and that feels good too.

I have many friends, but no partners. And it hurts me inside, feelings of loneliness. I could travel the world with an empty wallet and a full heart, sharing experiences with great people. Or I could stay in one place and build long lasting relationships, find a girl, settle down, if I want, I can marry. I'm strongly leaning towards the latter. Yes, there are many places in the world I would like to visit. But much more than that, I want to visit a feeling of being home, of sharing home, of love, babies, and puppies. People talk of planting roots, or being rooted. I share that desire, and to actually plant roots, of trees, and watch them grow and feed me for the rest of my life. Doesn't that sound beautiful?

I find myself in a difficult position in that my family has all emigrated to Israel, and I have just left, with a feeling that I might not want to settle in Israel as once thought I would. Things are complicated there, and an aura of complication taints the air of the truly holy land. There are beautiful people there, but many suffer the bitterness that unending conflict brings to their lives. My sister lives in the West Bank, you could call her a settler, though her house, and her neighborhood is more like desperate housewives or Weeds. Little boxes on the hillside. Rich American Jews, ideological, live in big houses in the West Bank. Houses which could be taken away from them at any moment by their own government. I can not in good concience invest in something like that. Though it is cheap, it's cheap for a reason.

It sure is nice being in America, the land of the free. And I know that so many Americans are not free. Whether they are in prison, in debt, sick, being denied "civil liberties". But I still feel freedom here much more than I did in Israel. And it's a good feeling.

I don't have a solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict. I'm a hippy and just want everybody to love each other. So what can i do? Let me know what you think, all eight of you that read this silly thing I call a blog.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Busking and Potluck

So it's the weekend in Ashland. What do people do with their free time? Well i'll tell you what I did. First, I went with Chuck to a Farm Auction nearby. The land and house was up for auction, along with all the farm stuff, tools and such. There were two auctioneers wearing ten gallon hats and they sure sounded like Auctioneers!

Then I went into town and played guitar at the Farmer's Market for an hour or so. I made $25, a peach, and a melon. It was really fun. Then it was off to the park to play guitar for a bunch of cute bridesmaids waiting for the bride to finish with the pictures. And finally, to a Potluck, where I met Cat, this South African who's been living in Israel the last couple of years in Shacharut, which is in the Southern Negev desert region, a really remote town which is mostly comprised of homes made from natural local materials earth, stone, etc. It's a place I've always wanted to visit since I first heard about it. Anyway, she's been travleing in america the last couple of months, wound up here in ashland with family friends. she's pretty cool and spiritual. there was also this Woman who told me how she and her husband and their 13 year old daughter WWOOFed in New Zealand for a whole year, over Forty hosts! I want to wwoof at some point in New Zealand and Australia, so it's good to connect with people who know the good places from the bad.

The Greatest WWOOF hosts in the world

Ok, maybe that is a bit presumptuous of me, considering that I've only wwoofed at a dozen places, of the thousands there are on the planet. But in my world, Chuck Burr and Karen Taylor are the best hosts I've ever had. And I commend them for it. Since I arrived in Ashland they have only been the nicest, warmest people i could hope to work with, learn from, and share good times.

I don't know the whole story, but Chuck got these 10 acres outside Ashland last year, and since then has remodeled the house and now the barn, has planted a half acre of blueberries for a U-Pick(figure it out yourself), planted the first stages of a large food forest, deer fenced the property(with one side planted with grapes that will trellis up the fence, I wished he had done the whole fence), and is now working on a bathhouse to be used in workshops and permaculture courses he plans on having on the farm. Karen has planted a beautiful vegetable garden and is propagating a bunch of perennial vegetables as well, including tons of my favorite, new zealand spinach.

I've been weeding the rows of blueberries the first three days, and today i helped chuck place the two 3000 gallen tanks that will catch all the rainwater from the house roof for irrigation. I've also plain hung out with him, karen his land partner, and chuck's two kids ages 6 and 10 who were here for the summer but left today. WWOOFing isn't like at the homestead where i put in a whole days work. there's time for other things like, swimming in the neighbors pool, and going to the lake for a barbeque with friends(who have horses!), going into town for a nice dinner at a palce that specializes in local cuisine. Tomorrow we're going to a house auction in the morning, then to town where i'll play guitar on the street for a while until i head over to a potluck dinner we're invited to. This is my life and I am so happy.

Ashland is a cool town. it's got tons of art and culture. Shakespeare festival, tons of plays and theater of all kinds, music, lots of spirituality classes and groups. It's really close to California, and it shows. But that's not a bad thing. i don't know when it happened that i came to think negatively about California. it's a combination of bad wwoofing there and a negativity which i picked up from other Oregonians. Anyway, it's a hip town, lots of tourists, lots of money being thrown around, lots of businesses for a town of 20,000, half the population of my home town of West Orange, NJ(which doesn't have a tenth of what's going on in Ashland, Oregon). It has two, count 'em, two synagogues, one reform, the other, renewal. And here I thought I was the only Jew in Oregon! There's even a Steiner/Waldorf Pre-school with jewish aspects called Gan Neveh Shalom. pretty cool, huh. And a guy who does kabbala art. And a guy who does Mayan calendar readings for free in the park. Same park, Lithia park has water with high mineral content that tastes worse than piss but which is probably really healthy. And a really big food co-op, and tons of organic farms to the west in the applegate valley where chuck and I will see when we drive out there on Sunday. Whew!

What's that you ask? What have I been eating while I am here? Well let's start with the breakfasts. Fruit shakes,blueberry pancakes, oatmeal with honey and almond milk, toast with tayberry jam and earth balance, tea.

Lunch and Dinner: Roasted zuchhini on whole wheat with tomato and lettuce. Lasagna with chard, basil, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Pizza! Gispacho.

Dessert: Zucchini cake with chocolate chips, Blackberry Sorbet.

So if you got it in your head that I've been roughing it, think again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Goodbye for now, Mountain Home, Hello to Ashland!

My last post was almost a month ago. What happened did I fall off the face of the earth or something? I was just really busy. Life at the homestead has become my life. The work, the people, the place. I can't think right now of all that happened in the last month. The last two weeks was made extra busy by the food forest/permaculture workshop we had. I had already been working with some other homesteaders to clear an area of brush and trees and blackberry and poison oak, in preperation for the landscaping, path clearing, plumbing and planting of a food forest. The workshop brought ten new people for two weeks to the homestead, to help us with the food forst work and to hear lectures and take tours about permaculture design, water and drainage, ecoforestry, landforms and access, etc.

The workshop brought some really cool people. Some wwoofers form a intentional community called east wind in missouri, some RV travelers on a search for a community themselves, an older gentleman form remote, Oregon, who was definitely out of his element in a progressive place like the homestead. A nineteen year old kid from california who after a semester of college, realized that he was wasting his time and now wants to learn all this sustainable living hooplah. A really cute girl from Reno, who makes really cool bikes for burning man in her bike co-op and just all around creative.

It was such an amazing transformation, my backyard was a jungle just a few months ago and now i'ts cleared with great paths, plumbing, stand pipes for hoses and sprinklers. I feel so confident now in the ability to do the same thing practically anywhere. What a great feeling. Mountain Home has truly empowered me in a way i've never felt before.

Socially, thigns have been so much fun. Bonfires, a free susan tudeski concert in roseburg right by the river which we swam in, a bbq yesterday in town a the home of the local boot and saddle shop owner.

There si too much fruit at the homestead right now. People in and around town, friends of the homestead keep calling to let us know that they have so much fruit they dont know what to do with it, so we come and pick their trees. apples, peaches, pears, plums. Too much. If only we weren't so busy, if only we had a little time, we'd can them, preserve them, dehydrate them. All this week I started my day with a deliscious fruit shake. It makes the day so nice.

Anyway, I left the homestead this morning and hitched to Ashland, which is further south and east, close to the california line. I'm writing this at a bookstore/cafe in town, a town which is very yuppie/yuppie hippie, gourmet this, boutique that, very californian. I'm not saying that thats a bad thing. This place has culture, more than coquille, where the homestead is. It's definitely not boondocky like coquille is, and that's what I like about coquille, real people. I'm sure the people here are real too, but, it's hard to find the words to explain. I am looking forward to seeing some art and hearing some live music, just generally having a good time for the week that i'm here. I'll be staying at the Ashland Restoration Farm, a new Permaculture farm. I'm looking forward to seeing what's going on there, as well as visit some of the other farms and communties in the ashland area.