Archive for September, 2015

SCOD Report 2015 Fall – Quest for New Cahokia

Posted in Organic Development, SCOD Status Update Reports with tags , , , , on September 28, 2015 by Drogo

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Aeyla and Drogo conducted a long-distance road-trip vacation-sabbatical from Maryland to Missouri, for the purpose of scouting various sites for case studies and potential projects. First Cahokia was visited and studied for historic perspective on environmental architecture. Then the Boe family farm at Schoen Ridge was visited to investigate potential for a medieval long-house and eco-village. Finally on the way back home, Mark Twain’s boyhood home was toured for literary, economic, and social wisdom. In Indiana, we visited Pat Long; who took us to  Traders Point Creamery: Organic Gardens and Green Architecture (see Barns & Restaurant in photo above). Many other adventures were had along the way, but those stories are for another time when a more detailed account can be recorded.

Sometimes you need to get lost to find yourself; because you can find things while being lost, or lose things when found. Found objects can be lost, and lost objects can be found. A full spectrum of lost and found. Animals have agendas like food and dominance , but are easier to handle. People are like dogs, sometimes they keep trying to bite me, regardless of how i am. Nature is not fair, but compassion is priceless.

All the most important SCOD factors are present with the Boe property. The Boe family homestead is a working farm run by the family with NO full-time paid workers; so it truly is a small family farm of apx. 80 acres and 50-70 animals (fluctuates). The largest city nearby is St. Joseph. The Boe farm is north of Savannah, south of Ravenwood (Ravensborg?), and adjacent to the village of Rosendale (whose buildings are selling for ultra low prices of $500-$1000).

Modest Proposal for Fee of Services as Architect:

We can list all our concerns over the months, and work out issues during scheduled and paid meetings, so we dont waste tons of time in endless debates. we could schedule Longhouse meetings for just before Equinoxes and Solstices, so 4x a year or when funds or needs are low only once a year. perhaps i can only charge for changes and additions, and trade the main drawings for future ability to live there for free for several months or something. Pay shows respect of commitment to a project, beyond the practical need to pay bills. paying me for each meeting, will allow client control on their budget. At $20 an hour, meetings should be reasonable to do things gradually. we can do meetings on skype, or phone, or chatting with text on facebook or email. friends that are like family, loved ones, are special clients with whom there is a trust of sharing, and options should be patiently felt out and pressure alleviated, even for final decisions when they are organically arrived at by all. my role is still the same as before the trip, i dont want to micromanage a scod project without pay or owning it, BUT i can say visiting did clarify the viability of the site and the family’s sincerity towards concept and kindness for sure. In addition, Karen’s volunteering posting in SCOD group certainly proves she believes in the concepts intellectually; but there is no funding for those of us running that social media aspect.

In the mean time; I recommend the Boe family to save money; and collect, cut, and store wood to dry on site: 2″ large flat slabs for tables and beams; 4x4s, 6x6s, 12×12″ etc at various lengths as long as possible. i think we will work things out as we have thus far, continuing to organically define our collaborative art to make everyone happy. There will always be more to do, in a world of ‘way too much’, but we can take breaks and remember to play.

Misunderstood but Beautiful – Flowers as People

Posted in Organic Gardens, Poems with tags , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2015 by Drogo
Much of the beauty and value of the natural world will be missed,
and lost, if it is constantly condemned as unimportant, and destroyed.“
– from Garden Ramblings

In a very real way, flowers are a lot like people. Fragile, they are born vulnerable, and if fortunate to receive the proper care, will thrive and bear much goodness. However, many people, like flowers, are misunderstood. Some of us are late bloomers and get cut down while struggling to grow, while others of us may express ourselves in the wrong way, or the wrong place, and are criticized.

True, it is about the world of plants and flowers that I mostly write, but the connection between humans and the natural world being what it is – ever constant and essential—it is ofttimes impossible to separate the two. Many of our greatest writers and teachers refer to nature, recognizing the wisdom that is to be gained if we but open our hearts and our minds to it. Many of these people have been misunderstood as well.

Four of my very favorite wildflowers are the lavender bergamot, rarely seen anymore due to mowing, the shy blue chicory, the wild asters of which I have 4 species on my property, and the tall rarely seen white and yellow wild sweet clovers (which look nothing like clovers, but are in that family). Both chicory and bergamot are blooming profusely right now here at my Mystic Meadows and I can never see them enough. The wild bergamot has cross pollinated with its relative the gorgeous red monarda, creating two new shades of purple and maroon. I am blown away by their beauty and their usefulness. Standing very still by each large cluster of flowers which are shoulder high, the hundreds of flowers seem literally in motion with the activity of hummingbird moths, various butterflies, and bumble bees large and small. Of course, even a hummingbird cruises by for a nip on the way to its favorite mimosa tree. Sadly, I see very few honey bees this year.

Chicory is the most tenacious wildflower I know. It tends to grow right up against the country roads people drive down in their early morning rush to work or school, gracing our journeys with their joyful blue color, brightening our moods if we but see them. Even when mowed down, they grow right back, undeterred. If permitted, they will bloom right through the summer into fall, providing nectar for bees and later, essential seeds for small birds like finch. They usually close their blue petals during the heat of the day, and so are seen as ugly by most people as they have tiny leaves and look spindly when their petals are closed. But oh, when the day is cooler and the flowers are open, behold the powdery blue profusion !

Wild asters spend the entire summer growing slowly into tall, elegant plants full of elongated leaves. There are 4 varieties which I grow throughout my gardens, and the reward for my patience is a glorious, end-of -summer show of tiny, daisy-like flowers, a final bust of white and purple beauty which goes well into the fall. These plants, besides being a welcome source of inspiration for me before the long, cold days of winter, serve as essential nectar and pollen for our bees. Without these wildflowers the bees could easily starve in their hives. Goldenrod, which I will write about in a sequel to this article, is also significant for bees, and even butterflies, to stave off starvation. It is and has been mostly misunderstood as well.

Many years ago I was enjoying the beauty of my back road where, unfortunately, the white and yellow wild sweet clovers were growing embarrassingly close to the road. They are somewhat guilty of looking gangly, like some people I know, and were very tall. I knew they would eventually be mowed, so I decided to cut them with more care by myself. So, I went home and came back laden with an arsenal of cutting tools, only to loose my resolve when I put the blade to their stalks. I thought to myself “what is more important, the flowers or the road”. I had observed very few of these particular flowers being permitted to grow anywhere, so I put down my weapons and joined the ranks of the misunderstood. After that day, they moved themselves to a safer place. They now grow, undisturbed, in various spots on my property. Plants come to me that way, and I welcome them with open arms !

I love the late bloomers and the misunderstood ones, be they human or flower. Perhaps our biggest challenge in life is to embrace these ones, to accept them as amazing creations on this miraculous planet which is full to bursting with diversity. I leave you with an ancient Indian quotation I love which reflects the awesomeness of it all…” Flowers are the footprints of the dancing steps of God.”

Now off I go to enjoy the rest of this glorious summer !!

by Christine Schoenemann (Maccabee)

Christine is a Master Naturalist in the State of MD.. She welcomes any questions and feedback at songbirdschant@gmail.org