Archive for the Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels Category

Thoughts on Collaboration

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2016 by Drogo

When cooperating with a friend on a project, if they say that they cannot do something a certain way, you can try to negotiate or take time to understand what they are talking about; or else just let them do it their way, and try to be less egotistical about it in the end. Usually most people hold resentment, as though their vision incarnate in an alternate reality would have been better than the real result.

Relations are like tests, the way they are written and graded is at least as important as the way they are taken. When taking the test we may feel we are doing well or failing, but the final grade may be the opposite of what you thought it would be. This risk does not mean the test is not worth taking. Retests may be available, but are often optional. As many times as we take a test, higher scores may not be possible.

In the dance of relations, whether business or friends, find out what will work to facilitate trade, then do it with confident trust. Those that break faith, substantially determine the length of the dance. Less will-power, less dance. Too much egotistic selfishness and the dance will end badly, it takes balance to sustain the dance and desire to dance well.

Work with people that honestly love you AND what you bring to the project. If you get the sense that you appreciate their stuff more than they appreciate yours, be very cautious as they can turn on you due to selfish egotism. Confidence is arrogance when it ultimately ignores friendship for selfish pride. If their selfishness trumps their concern and interest of you, stop working with them asap*. Despite the popular saying “do not mix business and pleasure (friendship)”, and advice that goes along with it due to bad experiences, friends (I mean the best kind of friends) are actually the best people to have partnerships with, provided things are fairly equal or at least good-will based and more pleasure is had by the exchanges, than regret. Some of us prefer to work with ones that love us, because they understand and respect our limitations and gifts; and still want to include us in their lives and projects.

On Living and Working Together – (see main article)

When part of most days are spent doing things with each-other, we should realize it is a partner relationship, and it is very important to evaluate functionality and success whether the goal is just happiness or a project. You cannot really understand who people are, unless you have serious lengthy interactions; and if you cannot spend hours with each-other, pushing, pulling, and in silence, then just realize you do not really know them well enough for major partnership decisions. Even when you have lived with another, which is even harder than long distance, there are things about them which will not make sense to you. It is only through meditation on the shared living experiences and communications, comparing and contrasting ideas and results, words and actions, good and bad feelings, can we have a real basis for knowing if who they are works with who you are sustainably enough to live happily together. This is not to say that anyone is perfectly good to themselves or others all the time, but we can only know relative to our own experiences and wisdom. Desire to do something with partners cannot be so selfish it excludes them; we succeed or fail together with group projects.

Facebook has made it clear to me, that text messages (no matter how personal), are not a true substitute for the kind of testing that must be done in person eventually. However, less challenging communication you have, the less prepared you will be to handle each-other when the hardest tests come. The best indicator that you cannot work together, is if both people harbor more resentment than love consistently.

* ps – get at least one second opinion about what you think they are being selfish about, and if you can have a long personal conversation about it with your partner… DO IT!!! If it is clear that they really do not care about your feelings or they don’t care about your well-being, then take steps as soon as possible to end the relations and cease working on anything related to them. 

ON DOGS AND OWNERS

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Legal / Laws, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 28, 2015 by Drogo

SCOD Community Theory regarding pets, owners, and justice laws.

Dogs have more simplistic brains than humans, but they can be mischievous, unpredictable, and dangerous in similar ways. There should be less dog owners, as most owners are irresponsible. If there cannot be less dog owners, than we need better owners. I am not sure that either can be achieved legally, unless new laws are made restricting the ownership of dogs in urban areas. In wild or rural settings, less civilized situations should be expected.

Problems with Bad Owners and Dogs

We must admit that there are both bad owners and bad dogs. Dog owners tend to let their dogs act however they want, and either cannot or do not control them. Bad dogs and their bad owners are a menace to society, as often one cannot be distinguished from the other. Bad dogs and owners act together in ways that put other citizens in danger of being threatened and bitten, if not severely mauled or killed. Saying that there are ‘no bad dogs, only bad owners’ is a false statement; as there most certainly are bad dogs, just as any mammal that is able to kill and eat other beings, can act more or less harmful to others in subjectively bad ways. Some ‘bad’ dogs are bad most of the time; some dogs may be good some of the time with their owners, and bad some of the time with strangers; and some dogs may be good most of the time, and bad some of the time. Animals can be ‘dicks’ just like humans. Im not sure why people think that animals are supernatural angels; when clearly dogs may attack and try to kill many other types of animals, not just humans. I think we have a desire to own a magical unicorn that will only give us unconditional love and have no other motives; but this is not the reality of Nature. Mammals one and all, have emotions and desires which motivate their behaviors; some are more loving and some are more hating, and I do not believe it is only one species that is capable of being ‘good’ or ‘bad’, that would be truly racist, since humans are considered a ‘race of species’ (the human race). there are WAY TOO MANY DOGS walking irresponsible owners around the sub-urbs, and many owners that should not have dogs in public. The problem is not a case of some of us ‘not liking dogs’, since plenty of dogs are easily loved, petted, snuggled, and played with by people that do not like bad dogs or bad owners. Also the problem is also not about dogs ‘sensing emotions’, as many people who are bitten by dogs were happy minding their own business, or calm and content before they get engaged and attacked by dogs that do not want to behave or listen to humans.

Solutions to Bad Owners and Dogs

Both bad owners and bad dogs should be held accountable for their behavior and actions. Leashes and walls are important to control dogs. When dogs are not restrained by walls or leash, and are out-of-control, anyone that witnesses them should call upon the owners by yelling “LEASH!”, to get the owners to secure the dog by body and collar, and apply the leash. Owners cannot be trusted by saying ‘my dog does not bite’, because dogs can go many years before biting, until they bite someone. Dogs, like humans, can change their behavior not just from sickness, but also threats to their security; such as a new dog or person that they feel competes for their attention from and influence over their owner.

First ‘problem incidents’ are identified; such as dogs aggressively threatening people that do not deserve it, or dogs barking or acting chaotically without civil control. Next it should be determined how severe the situations are, on a scale of 1-10; 1 being perhaps a one-time non-repeating minor annoyance, and 10 being the dog killed or mangled a person or animal that has some value (we might not call a dog bad for attacking Hitler). Then punishments should be determined for various levels of severity. 1-5 could be considered more resolvable, and requirements to make amends or fix the problems should be demanded with time limits. 5-10 could be considered less resolvable and will require the removal of either the dog or both the dog and the owner; if the problem was too harmful or clearly will continue despite efforts. Finally it is the responsibility of those in control of the SCOD community to deal with these issues, remove those that need to be removed, and follow up to ensure the safety of the shire.

Severity of Problem / Examples / Solutions

1 dog barking too much – muzzle the dog

2 dog chasing or barking – keep the dog contained

3 dog chasing, barking, or jumping on – muzzle the dog, keep the dog contained

4 dog allowed by owner to act chaotically – muzzle, keep contained, and mandate training of both

5 dog threatening to bite – muzzle, confine, and mandate training of both; countdown to eviction

6 dog nips or scratches – muzzle, confine, and mandate training of both; countdown to eviction; fine $25

7 dog bites, scratches, and barks – muzzle, confine, and mandate training of both; countdown to eviction; fine $50

8 dog maims another pet – muzzle, confine, and mandate training of both; possible eviction; fine $75

9 dog maims a human – muzzle, confine, Evict; fine $100

10 dog kills – muzzle, confine, Evict; fine $500; call police if needed

 

  • Human’s should be held to similar legal standards

New Age Hope – Sacred Sites

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Hikes with tags , , , , , , , , on July 17, 2015 by Drogo

As I chew on some home-grown Native American tobacco I was given by my new friends, I reflect on the adventure I just had to a local ancient sacred site. I met with Cherokee and Lumbee Indians who showed me an un-excavated paleolithic stone site. To respect their privacy, I will not go into details of their names or how to get there; but it was a most exciting time! We spoke about how the Age of Aquarius is indeed transitioning out of the Age of Pisces (yes the ages go backwards), and things are changing. We talked about how languages do not have to be barriers, but are important tools for ‘coming to terms’ for sharing between cultures. We found out that we agree ‘agri-culture’ is for everyone (see article in Observer May 2015), and we want to preserve nature and farm land. We recognized the problems of ethnic-biased education, and the perpetual war machine of the MIC. Then they showed me the ancient stones in the gully below their beautiful house. The stones had significant orientation to each-other, according to solar orientation. There were clearly piles, circles, a spiral, and a serpentine line of stones. The rocks were of various composition, not the typical limestone of the area. It seems very possible that in the past (I will leave the dating to the archeologists) people used the stones for rituals involving the springs and the creek. Perhaps in this ‘New Age’ people of various cultural back-grounds will continue to come together for similar reasons. My indian friends have started a regional ‘Gathering’ for agri-culture, so yes the pattern shift has begun, and we are actively making it happen.

Outdoor Festival for Nature Conservation

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2015 by Drogo

BRCES HFOF 2015

Festival of Nature Studies

This year I attended the ‘Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival’ (HFOF) at the ‘Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’ (BRCES), as I did last year; but with some important differences. This time I camped in the woods, and observed, took notes, and recorded nature while the event was happening. Rather than actively volunteering and vending a booth in the field, this year I began passively volunteering on site in the Spring to conduct nature studies over a larger area on the hundreds of acres of the property. I began camping in the woods before and during the festival in order to be more relaxed in the shade, with less possessions to worry about; yet still able to observe natural wildlife, take notes by hand in my ‘Gremlins’ note-book from the 1980s, and enjoy the country-fair type social event.

It was a dark and rainy Thor’s-day night at Demory Field. Luckily the volunteers had finished work for the day, and safety checks performed, so all was well. Time to relax with cold beer and smokey mist, rolling along the hillside. There was no lightning, but lightning-bugs lit up the fields, as summers before. It was a full-moon, but the rain clouds covered it. As I walked the dark trail through the woods, down to my camp site by Piney Run creek, I was comforted that although all was wet, from humidity and rain; at least my assistant Nacho and I had set up the tarps earlier before dark, to the best of our ability.

Darkness reminds me what it might be like to be blind. When I walk alone in the dark, I get a visual mental picture of what is ahead, then I turn my flash-light off for a short period of time that I feel confident enough to endure without sight. Even when my eyes cannot adjust to the dark, I am able to walk a ways until I begin to doubt my steps again, and I turn the light back on to see the path. It is cheating, compared to being blind, but it simulates a bit of not being able to rely on sight.

It rained all night, and the tent and tarp combination I used barely kept me dry. The temperature dropped down from 80s to 50s, so I was glad I had 2 sleeping bags and 2 sheets. Half of my gear got wet inside the tent. The ground was good for camping when it is not raining, as the clay has a continuous bed of soft clumps of abundant grasses and common wetland plants; so it was over-all level, but with bumps that allowed small puddles of water under the tent, held between the tarp, which normally works well to keep condensation from rising up from the ground when humidity drops at night. The lightning-bugs were freaky because when you are feeling alone, they can start to look like flash-lights.

Friday morning the rain stopped. I hung up my wet clothes on cord line. I started prepping a day pack to take up to the HFOF event at Demory Field. The start of festivals is always exciting, like Smurf village hustling and bustling. Down in the ‘Clearing’ light shines through the trees, like the promised land of golden-green paradise. Golden rays of sun-light shone through the trees, hinting of blissful utopian ideals; while the sounds of nature pervade the glen. Birds chirp, tweet, and sing songs. The deer were quiet, but I could hear their steps, as they crunch sticks on the ground. Insects scurried around plants, and some of the flying bugs made noises.

BRCES Site Flora

There were many common yard birds: cardinals, blue-jays, chickadees, tit-mice, sparrows, gold-finches, grackles, starlings, crows, and tiny marsh gnat catchers. Like tiny marsh sparrows in Georgia, the gnat catchers chirped like crickets or chipping sparrows. There were at least 3 types of woodpeckers; downy, red-headed, and the red-crested piliated. Owls were hooting, wild turkeys were gobbling, and thrushes were tutting like squirrel kisses. The BRCES wetlands are thriving. There were tons of long leaf 3′ tall plants; milkweed, golden rod, curled-dock (Rumex crispus), wild spinach, wild evening primrose, wheat and barley grass, jewel weed, similar looking forest floor cover that flowers like tiny pink bubblegum, razor bean vines, garlic mustard, poison ivy, virginia creeper, creeping through the clearings and the forest floor.

Willow trees have bent to survive flooding. Some willows created arches, that had good bodies and branches to tie tarps to, for shell shaped shelters. I did get a deer tick on me, which bit my arm, but did NOT give me lymes disease. The water was muddy from all the rain. The area that must have made the dam years ago, is very intriguing. I was told it was a man-made dam (earthen?) to make a pond, during the period the land was going to be developed into tract-housing. The ruins of houses and out-buildings were fun to explore around, and some of the boards had come loose on the windows. Daffodils and day-lilies grew nearby, remnants of old gardens.

The trees (20-70 years old) form woods that follow the rolling hills. Often the woods are sparse, but thorns and shrub bushes make dense thicket patches. Spiral trunks occur on one young tree per acre (apx.). Spiral trees seem to result from the influence of parasitic vines, like honey-suckle, but some trees out-live their vines. There are more young trees than old trees on the site. Although it is difficult to tell the age of a tree from the outside size, inside trunk rings are more accurate because growth rates vary. The most common trees seemed to be box-elder, oak, maple, ash, locust, poplar, sycamore, and willow. There were a few examples of great Beech trees as well.

Ideally trees provide shelter, food (fruits and nuts), and fuel for cooking and heating our fires. In turn humans should plant, care for, cultivate, and protect trees. Failure to look after each-other results in us cutting too many trees down, using poisons that hurt every-thing, and trees falling on houses and branches and sap falling on cars. Increased awareness of our trees is phenomenological respect for life. Respecting trees has a beneficial effect on our ecology. Sages know the wisdom of tree stewardship. Some trees have been alive for thousands of years. Fire-wood should be gathered mostly from dead-fall logs, branches, and twigs. Reducing dead-fall on forest floors can reduce wild fires.

Here is a list of local plant and tree types. All the families listed here are at least currently regional, if not native. Obviously not all types of vegetation are listed here, but it is a reasonable list: maples (common, red, silver), box-elder, sycamore, oaks (English, pin, black), ailanthus, mulberry, elm, willow, catalpa, princess, walnut (black), beech, sumac; fungi & plants: mosses, mushrooms, shelf-fungi, lichen, herbs, vegetables (wild leafy-greens and planted crops), blue-berries, vines, grasses, shrubs, ferns, thorns, nettles.

*

Maple: Acer; Common (Norway), Silver, Sugar, Red; leaves deciduous broad palmate 3-5 lobes toothed; bark smooth-furrows; flowers tiny hermaphro, hetero, or bisexual; fruit paired wings (samaras); used for hard wood, sap (Sugar has most 32 gallons = 1 gallon of syrup = 4.5 pounds grain sugar).

Sycamore: Platanus; Occidentalis; leaves deciduous broad 3-9 lobes toothed; bark unique smooth but peeling brown-white patches; flowers tiny hermaphro, male stamin, female pistils; fruit 4 hairy nut-balls; used for hard wood, leaves similar to Common Maple (Plantanoides) but thicker and pointier.

Oak (Acorn): Fagus Quercus; English (Robur), Red (Rubra), Black (Veluntina), White (Prinus Rock Chestnut), Live (evergreen), Pin (Palustris); leaves deciduous alternate simple most toothed or lobed; bark rough furrows or scaly; fruit acorn nuts, white acorns and wood best; hard wood, nuts crushed and strained for Indian bread, yellow dye from bark powder, druid medicine.

Beech: Fagus Grandifolia; leaves deciduous simple single point, saw-toothed edges; bark smooth light grey; flowers – male hairball, female hairy red scales; fruit beech-nuts prickly burs; beechnuts edible, Beech is Saxon German for ‘book’; Oaks are in the same family, but far more common.

Elm: Ulmus; White (American), Hackberry (Celtis); leaves deciduous elliptical pointed saw-toothed rough (Hackberry has warts); fruit flat seed key (samara), Hackberry berries are edible and can taste sweet like dates. hard wood

Willow: Salix; Weeping (Chinese), Pussy (Discolor); leaves deciduous narrow pointed, edible; Weeping Willow have long catkins; Pussy Willows have fuzzy frons; bark rough furrows, makes an aspirin; soft wood soaks up water.

Poplar: Aspen Poplar (Salix Populus), Cottonwood (Salix Populus Aigeiros), Tulip Poplar (Lirio); Aspen and Cottonwood leaves deciduous simple broad triangular to circular or (rarely) lobed, breezes cause Aspen and Cottonwood leaves to flutter, giving the whole tree a ‘shimmering’ or ‘twinkling’ look; Tulip Poplar leaves are larger wide 6”, 4 lobes, ovate (heart-shaped); Aspen Poplar flowers are catkins; Tulip Poplar flowers are big yellow-orange with cones; Aspen Poplar fruit seeds are long hair tufts that float on wind; Tulip Poplar fruits are samara carpels; Tulip Poplar hard wood is the best Poplar wood; Aspen Poplar is soft wood; Cottonwood is so soft it does not even make good fire-wood. Tulip Poplar is not in the same DNA family as the other Poplars, and it also should not be confused with Tulip Magnolias (Magnolia Lili), whose deciduous leaves and flowers resemble evergreen Magnolias.

Walnut: Juglans; Black (American), English (Persian), White (Butternut), Hickory: (Carya), Pecan (Carya); leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; bark 4 types – Black has dark rough furrows, English has gray smooth with some rough furrows, Hickory has many deep furrows, Pecan flaky; flowers tiny hermaphro; fruit Nut large round green husk over brown shell; used for oil, decorative soft wood, nuts are food, ink and dye from nut husks, herbicide. Carya nuts (drupes) are food, nut husk conveniently splits, pecan nut fruit is similar to Walnut but skinnier.

Sumac: Anacardia; Rhus (Red), Toxico (White); shrub-tree; leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; staghorn fruit (drupe) conical clusters, Red is edible, White is poisonous with allergen urushiol; related to poison ivy and cashews. Soft short narrow wood, stems have soft pith hollow for pipes. Notes: often seen growing around rock out-croppings in fields or highway exit ramps.

Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven): Asian Altissima; leaves deciduous pinnate compound pointed; bark smooth to textured; flowers pungent odor, pollen; fruit long showy green-brown; soft wood, grows fast anywhere, toxic when burned or near water.

*

HFOF 2015: Music Festivals as Wilderness Guardians

I attended the 2015 ‘Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival’ (HFOF) at the ‘Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’ (BRCES) because I believe in the concept of celebrating art and sport to preserve wild land and clean water. It is amazing to consider, during a recession based on commercial monopolies, that it is possible to support local talent and save our woods, forests, creeks, rivers, and the wild and free creatures whose lives depend on these environments. During an era where it is common for people to litter on their way to a job that pollutes natural ecology, events like HFOF are truly revolutionary and patriotic in Native American terms.

The BRCES land is beautiful; almost 1,000 acres of wilderness and a small organic farm run by a caring family. Years ago when I visited with my father, BRCES had just begun their mission on the land, and the old white house was over grown and in disrepair. Now the buildings and land are functional again, while being in harmony with the landscape. BRCES is truly a success story for environmentalists.

Volunteers run the show during HFOF. I was lucky enough last year to be a volunteer under the leadership of President Lisa Cullinane. Lisa is very friendly, kind, and smart; which by the way is my favorite kind of leader. We started preparing a few weeks before the event, and by the event I felt things were flowing well. Vendors are usually small businesses and non-profit organizations that rent spaces around the field, using tables and tents. I really enjoyed the variety of concessions, and the food and drink was good. There are always tensions and stress involved in any social production, but any problems that arose were resolved. Hundreds of people attended the festival both years I have been; although the first year my non-profit tent for ‘Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development’ (SCOD), and my fine artist partners did not get visited by many people during the event, so we did not make any earnings. For me it was ok, because music is certainly a type of art; and I was happy to be there.

Camping among trees or in fields is one of the best things in Life. The first year I slept in my tent the first night, in Demory Field behind my vendor table. At night the humidity lifted, however this created a dew which saturated my books and artwork exposed to the sky; however items in the tent and oddly enough below the table-cloth were fine. The second day my art partners arrived and set up a tent to shade us a bit; which really helped survive a day of full sun in the field. I also wore sun-block, a large hat, and sunglasses so as to not be sun-burned. Some of us rented the white house for the second night, which was very nice indeed! Staying at the house was a relief from the electric generator that was kept running all night at the main field, to keep their fridge on to preserve the food. Also the best part of the field at the crest, had become over-crowded with vehicles; which in my opinion ruined the very purpose of being in Demory Field… in other words it turned the perfect camping spot into a parking lot. Despite traffic congestion, most reveled in the mirth, and many stayed up all night with enthusiasm and excitement!! So the second year, the parking situation on the hill was better. Also in 2015 I camped down at Piney Run creek for 2 nights, and put a hammock up in the woods the 3rd night. It was still good to have the house for bath-rooms, shelter from variations in weather, and back-up beds.

Bands begin playing the first evening (Friday), and folk music continues through the night, into the next day and night. The second night, Saturday, has the most people. Famous bands are fine, but when you have personal stock invested in local bands, hearing them play has more meaning. Although most of the show revolves around the main stage, my favorite part is playing with other musicians by the grand fire pit. The field has a natural amphi-theater shape around the fire pit; which was made by Boy Scouts with impressive stone work and movable wood benches, along with a cob oven. At night the fire pit area hosts musical jam sessions, which embrace the audience, allowing anyone to play with or with-out the bands; this is musical freedom and creative collaboration at its finest!!!

Lastly in this article I want to thank everyone that helped make HFOF happen. Some of my personal high-lights were being with friends, hiking the trails, and witnessing natural phenomena such as the lightning-bug show across the fields; those tiny lights were every-where even into and above the trees!! As I observed the natural light show, I meditated on how often our Nation’s founders enjoyed wonders that surpassed the magic of their technologies back then. Even today many scientists concede that our artificial efforts fail, in comparison to the energy efficiency of the natural world. Through places and gatherings like this, we can study how plant leaves photo-synthesize, and then we can learn make technology that does that for electricity. Thank you to those that stayed and picked up all the trash! I hate picking up litter, but I do it way too often and way too many people are littering. The sheer abundance of garbage is not encouraging regarding the future of humanity or civilization. At the event there are luckily enough volunteers to pick up all trash within sight, after many hours of pick-up. I like to return to the site days later, to double-check that the clean-up was effective. Any negative issues did not stop us from having fun, nor did any problems hinder the success of the event as a whole. The end of festivals is always sad, but there is a release and some contentment knowing that the quest is complete and memories are made. I also love mulberries, and the trees were in season! I definitely want to return next year to HFOF at BCRES, and be a part of music festivals (with arts and sports) that donate to wilderness stewardship, and take place within a nature preserve. Please come join us, if you are not already with us!!!!

– Rev.  ‘Drogo’

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* Drogo’s assistant Nacho, with camp site

Boonsboro MD Green Fest 2015

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2015 by Drogo

Boonsboro MD Green Fest

May 9, 2015

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For years I had been meaning to visit my neighbors in the local area town of Boonsboro for their Green Fest, and finally through SCOD networking I was able to advertise for it and attend it. From10am-5pm dozens of tents (200 vendors) were set up all over a generous sized town park with stone bridges and a large stone gazebo and three pavilions. Merchants and groups from all around the area were vendors; artists, crafters, designers, landscapers, healers, alternative techies, stewards, farmers, and brewers. Most of the vendors had claim to some kind of ‘green’ product or service, or both. Even the infamous ‘Dan Ryan Builders’ were oddly among the list of sponsors; perhaps due to some guilt from destroying thousands of acres of farmland and wilderness, but more likely smart propaganda from social pressure to sustain profits. Greedy profits are being challenged by community based exchange when events like this increasing spread scod alternative architecture and environmental and historic preservation concepts. There was also live music and tons of play structures for children, and wine and beer for adults. Most impressively there was a huge clothing swap and recycling exchange area! My only practical criticism was that there should have been more trash cans and recycling bins along the tent paths. With 150 volunteers and thousands of visitors, the event is clearly successful.

Perhaps some year I will risk paying the vendor fee to sell my books like BOG Peeps and SCOD Thesis, however I might not sell enough books to make back the cost of the tent and space. However it does seem more artistic and intellectual than other outdoor events with emphasis on other things like outdoor athletics, music, or food / drink. or had less people. Among the many vendors I visited and spoke with were Moonshine Forge Blacksmith Shop, Windsong Healing Arts, Farm of Peace, Rose Sanders-Mendez Artisan Jewelers, DM Designs, Western MD Solar Panels, Mtv Solar Electric Cars, Branching Out UMD Woodland Stewardship program, Valley Co-op, MOMs Organic Grocery, Common Market, and Natural Fusion Hair Stylist. It was wonderful to see so many people into the ‘Green’ movement, see old acquaintances, and meet new people too! One of the most interesting strangers I spoke with was Mr. Wallace M. Yater. ‘Wally’ as he is affectionately known, is a brilliant modern philosopher that deserves an entire essay and book based on his ideas, practices, and experiences. Wally handed me his theory on the importance of mutations in biodiversity, called ‘Why Everything In Biology and Life Depends On Very Rare Random Molecular Mistakes’; but that is another story….

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Fairs as Wilderness Stewardship Sponsors

Posted in Events / Celebrations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2014 by Drogo

0607141253b

I attended the 2014 ‘Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival’ (HFOF) at the ‘Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’ (BRCES) because I believe in the concept of celebrating art and sport to preserve wild land and clean water. It is amazing to consider, during a recession based on commercial monopolies, that it is possible to support local talent and save our woods, forests, creeks, rivers, and the wild and free creatures whose lives depend on these environments. During an era where it is common for people to litter on their way to a job that pollutes natural ecology, events like HFOF are truly revolutionary and patriotic in Native American terms.

The BRCES land is beautiful; almost 1,000 acres of wilderness and a small organic farm run by a caring family. Years ago when I visited with my father, BRCES had just begun their mission on the land, and the old white house was over grown and in disrepair. Now the buildings and land are functional again, while being in harmony with the landscape. BRCES is truly a success story for environmentalists.

Volunteers run the show during HFOF. I was lucky enough to be a volunteer under the leadership of President Lisa Cullinane. Lisa is very friendly, kind, and smart; which by the way is my favorite kind of leader. We started preparing a few weeks before the event, and by the event I felt things were flowing well. Vendors are small businesses and non-profit organizations that rent spaces around the field, using tables and tents. I really enjoyed the variety of concessions, and the food and drink was good. There are always tensions and stress involved in any production, but any problems that arose were resolved. Hundreds of people attended the festival; although my non-profit tent for ‘Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development’ (SCOD), and my fine artist partners did not get visited by many people during the event, so we did not make any earnings. For me it was ok, because I believe in the concept and I was happy to be there.

Camping was easy. I slept in my tent the first night, in the field behind my table. At night the humidity lifted, however this created a dew which saturated my books and artwork exposed to the sky; however items in the tent and oddly enough below the table-cloth were fine. The second day my art partners arrived and set up a tent to shade us a bit; which really helped survive a day of full sun in the field. I also wore sun-block, a large hat, and sunglasses so as to not be sun-burned. Some of us rented the white house for the second night, which was very nice indeed! Staying at the house was a relief from the electric generator that was kept running all night at the main field, to keep their fridge on to preserve the food. Also the best part of the field at the crest, had become over-crowded with vehicles; which in my opinion ruined the very purpose of being there… in other words it turned the perfect camping spot into a parking lot. Despite traffic congestion, most reveled in the mirth, and many stayed up all night with enthusiasm and excitement!!

Bands began playing the first evening, and continued through the night into the next day and night. Some of the bands I had already worked with as friends, so it was a good treat to have them play there. I was even able to deliver my final fan cartoon print-outs to one of the band members that visited my table. Unfortunately I was not able to advertise for the bands, as I had hoped, because like I said very few people came to my booth. Although most of the show revolved around the main stage, my favorite part was the small stage by the grand fire pit. The field has a natural amphi-theater shape around the fire pit; which had just been made formal by Boy Scouts with impressive stone work and movable wood benches. At night the fire pit area hosts musical jam sessions, which embrace the audience, allowing anyone to play with the bands; this is musical freedom and creative collaboration at its finest!!!

Lastly in this article I want to thank everyone that helped make the event happen. Some of my personal high-lights were being with friends, hiking the trails, and witnessing natural phenomena such as the lightning-bug show across the fields, and even into and above the trees!! As I observed the natural light show, I meditated on how often our Nation’s founders enjoyed wonders that surpassed the magic of their technologies back then. Even today many scientists concede that our artificial efforts fail, in comparison to the energy efficiency of the natural world. Thank you also to those that stayed and picked up all the trash! I admit I was tired after the event, and disappointed to once again have to pick up after people that litter. Also the sheer abundance of garbage was not encouraging to my opinion of humanity. However I was pleased there were enough people to pick up all we could find, after many hours of pick-up. I even returned to the site days later to double check that the clean-up was as effective as I thought. Any negative issues did not stop us from having fun, nor did any problems hinder the success of the event as a whole. I definitely want to return next year to BCRES, and be a part of music festivals and sports competitions that donate to wilderness stewardship, and take place within a nature preserve. Please let us get more people to join us!!!!

Rev. Walton D. Stowell II, M.Arch.

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SCOD AWARDS

Posted in Events / Celebrations with tags , , , on September 17, 2014 by Drogo

SCOD Award

criteria: The ‘SCOD Award’ is presented to projects or people that protect natural environments, advocate educational cooperative communication, and create local organic resources or products.

candidates: alternative communities, organic farms, activist artists and musicians, environmental architects, grassroots movements, and the products of these people.

SCOD members decide the award winners among the group in anarchistic democratic fashion. SCOD will attempt to contact the winners, and announce the awards publicly regardless of whether the winners accept the award. Small scale winners can be chosen monthly and large scale winners annually.