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Fairs as Wilderness Stewardship Sponsors

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

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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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Thin Veil … A Chicken Tale …

Posted in Farming, Homesteading, Memorials / Obituaries / Epitaphs, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2014 by Drogo

THIN VEIL  …A Chicken Tale… of sorts…

There is a thin veil between yesterday and today, between our present moment and our past moments, between our experiences yesterday and those of today. Something happens in the present moment and WHAM, there we are again facing our past head-on. Something happens that we are not totally in control of, triggers a sad or a happy response, and we are suddenly reliving our past, immersed in similar / familiar sorrow, or joy.

Sometimes it is nearly impossible to distinguish between the two, between our past and our present, as they are such an integral part of the fabric of who we are. There is no way to consciously control what comes filtering through that thin veil, between then and now, and all the emotions trailing behind the memories. I guess the best we can do is acknowledge the veil, and then try to embrace it as a part of who we are, both the good and the bad. For example….

Last night I was so busy I forgot to close the chicken hatchway. My body was so tired, my knees and arm ached from the days activities, and I could not wait to fall into bed. Just as I was drifting off, I heard a chicken shriek, and I knew what had happened. Pissed at myself, I jumped out of bed, threw on my robe, and rushed down to the chickens. Golden girl had been slaughtered by a fox, and poor Red was beside herself, looking around warily and squawking. I pet her and comforted her and little Belle, my blue egg layer, even as I tried to comfort myself.

Old memories of loss of precious birds came flooding back as I kicked myself for forgetting. But I had to stroke and comfort myself, understanding that I was exhausted and overly tired from a huge day of music playing and car driving. I was consciously taking a small break last evening from all my responsibilities, watching a movie and emailing friends. I was so relaxed and spent, that I forgot to protect my chickens, one responsibility I forbid myself to forsake. I had let my guard down, just as I did the day my yurt burned to the ground last year. Yes, such things have happened before and no doubt will happen again. I will mourn the loss of my lovely gold chicken who laid huge brown eggs. Later today I will do as I have done in the past with other good birds. I will take her body to the field for the vultures to feed on her, I will bid her farewell, and I will go on with my life. Yes, there is a thin veil between yesterday and today.

What is that saying that I really did not like nor completely understand? “The more things change, they more they stay the same.” Now I understand the meaning of these words. They apply appropriately to this latest episode in my life here as a mini-homesteader. And then there is the ongoing problem with a woodchuck eating my soybean plants and broccoli…yet another difficult perennial problem to solve. Nature is consistently indifferent and does not care about me. I tire of trying. Perhaps it is time to stop. I have no help here…there is too much for me to do…so what’s new? The thin veil, the triggers, are intact, there is no denying it. Nothing has changed. Would I really expect it to ? Perhaps that is my problem… I keep trying, and all I am doing is spinning my wheels.

Pretty morbid, mournful thoughts today. Thanks for letting me vent. See me tomorrow once the garlic is harvested and the blueberries and the peas are picked ! The Indefatigable will continue to pick up the pieces, get beyond the grief, and continue on with life with even more humility than before.

Humility…human…humus…hmm… Still, darn that veil. Would it could be a high, thick, impenetrable wall, protecting us from pain and sorrow !!

But such is the stuff of stories… I suppose I should be happy they keep coming !

CSM 2

Christine Schoene Maccabee – July 3, 2014

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Tofu Lizard Memoir 04

Posted in Fictional Stories, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by Drogo

SCOD Journal of Tofu Lizard Entry  04

Walking along the Trail, I crossed the mountain known as Loudoun Heights and came to the Tri-State gas station. Across the highway traffic-light intersection there was an arch made of wood, metal, and stone. I remembered seeing a photo of it on the SCOD website; and as I approached I saw the letters embedded in the arch: S-C-O-D. This was it! This was the place! I walked through the gate and up the gravel road that was shaded by trees. A small stream ran along below on one side of the road. I passed several driveways for small woodland dwellings. At the crest of the hill I walked beside a farm field. The sun shone down on the freshly tilled soil. Along the perimeter of the field was a ring of green growth, and several dwellings connected by a fence. I remember learning from the website about how the fence and houses enclosed, protected, and tended the field. Each of the field houses and forest houses were unique in design. Each structure utilized the elements of nature in their own ways.

I waved to some people in the field, and they waved back, although they were busy in conversation. I knew I should check in at the main building, so I kept on the road. Soon I came upon a garden glen of ruins. It was a memory garden to a long gone building that had been destroyed in a fire, with tall chimneys. Now a blacksmith shop skirted one of the chimneys, and flowing gardens made terraces of the hulking foundation. I could have stayed there all day just meditating, but I pressed onward.

Finally I reached the Medieval Tavern. Otherwise known as “The Pipedream Pub”, it was the primary building. The Pub acted as town hall, barracks, bed & breakfast, inn, tavern, hotel, gift shop, stage, dance hall, bar, restaurant, residence, private club, gallery, library, tourist attraction, and visitor center. There were a few figures hanging out in the porch area, as I approached. One of them was a farmer, one was a biker, and one was in period garb.

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Organic Agriculture Pin-Up Girls

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Environmentalism, Organic Gardens, Pagan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by Drogo

Main-stream America should be more aware of just how sexy organic farming and gardening can be! The fossil-fuel industry has had the market for pin-up girls for far too long, so now it is time to advertise for alternative and renewable livelihoods.

This is a neo-pagan attempt to advocate organic gardening / farming. A series of sexy modern-feminist styles related to paper-doll, cut-and-paste, cartoon tracery of women. Working in the garden or farm field or orchard…. poses not bound to traditional pinup surface objectification… in favor of equal-rights showing strength, intelligence and skill. One idea being that people will see sexy women gardening, and want to garden and look like them; and by looking like them, they will want to garden; and vice-versa.

This is the first collection of “Organic Farm and Garden Women”, and more will be added as the art is created, expressed, and captured.

This tryptic scene is collage from Knight’s paintings and other random models.

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Girl with fruit on stone steps

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Gathering wild plants

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Two women planting a Tree with a shovel

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Four women working the soil in a garden, and composting dead-fall

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*  Sun Goddess

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Girl gardening with a hoe

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Girl watering a garden using rain-water cistern pump-hose

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Pixie Harvesting Goblin Fruit from a Tree

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Girls planting plants

Plant Weed

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Girl gardening with a rake

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Girl with Basket of Veggies

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SCOD Thesis 2000 Spiritual Phases

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2011 by Drogo

music by Shepherdstown Band:  BRUHA