My birthday month started off with another ecstatic dance. I had gotten to the point where I was comfortable with the people attending the dances and familiar with the experience, but I still was very uncomfortable actually participating in the dances myself. However, I usually enjoyed the morning after sessions for the people that stayed the night. This session was about spiritual connection with the self, and in turn, how the self interacts with others on various levels, like physical touch and emotional connection.
February 5th, was my birthday! I didn’t have anything special planned other than the community dinner that night, so it was me, myself and I for the majority of the day flying solo. I felt a little lonely on my adventures that day, even though I got free BBQ from the BBQ stand on the way into town I constantly drove by but never stopped at until my ‘free BBQ on your birthday’ day. However, Bethany and Mike took me out with their new puppy Rosie to Sweet Life Patisserie, a local sweets shop, which was really sweet of them to do! And that turned my day around, especially with my birthday dinner that night with my special request of tempeh and pasta!!
A few days later, a couple of us went over to Weston’s place again for “Potluck Tuesday”/Conscious Kegger Round 2. Some of his goats recently had kids that the girls wanted to see, and he also started implementing part of his permaculture design project. Weston showed us the tiered hugel swales he dug by hand (Crazy! But I didn’t expect anything less), and the natural fence he made from branches and tree limbs to keep the horses out because they got in and stomped across his work.
Lost Valley also received a donation earlier in the year and bought an orange tractor with a couple of attachments. (No digging swales by hand like Weston!) While getting a tractor was pretty motivating, I never got to see it in action, as it was the time of season where the ground was still muddy and any deep-digging tractor work would cause soil compaction. (I hope to see it in action one day, even if it’s just a video!)
Jess Johnston hosted her sustainable living workshop this month on nonviolent communication, and hearing her teach this subject was a nice refresher course – especially with some community tension caused by a few of the newer residents going through their probationary trial period. Jess is not only a great teacher, but also a fabulous facilitator and key community member at Lost Valley, so she had a large resident turnout!
I also got to experience my first snow at Lost Valley this month! Though it wasn’t a heavy snow, more of a light coat, it was still a beautiful sight as I walked around taking pictures.
Brian reached out to our permaculture design group later this month, and let us know that Minx and Ira received a grant to implement our design project at Moon Meadow Farms!! I was really excited and prepared to give our presentation to Tim, Brian’s dad and onsite manager, and to Minx. They both were really impressed with our design and liked the concepts we presented. We spent some extra attention explaining what would be best to start with in phase one, just to start with small steps before ramping up to the entire design if that was their desire. From my understanding, Brian and Tim would be implementing the design themselves, so there was an emphasis on greenhouses for future propagation and winter food production that they both could handle as a team.
I also kicked into high gear with my Marketing Manager responsibilities this month also, setting up tailored Facebook advertising campaigns (HUGE SUCCESS! Resulting in 2 HSS sessions for 2018) and helped Colin table a booth at the University of Oregon’s Student Sustainability Fair. (I’m not too shabby with talking to strangers either.)
One of the final projects I took on was expanding the chicken and duck pen, and clearing the nearby roadway to the RV spots for fire prevention and firetruck access. Anna and I cut back willow and trimmed up tree limbs along the driveway, which provided a clear view into the Sun Garden and more sun light too. Anna had previous experience with tree trimming both in Eugene, and with Conrad as they were given credits for expanding the Lost Valley trails for tractor access. I also wound up using some of the willow we harvested as fence posts for expanding the chicken and duck pen. (Since having cleared the Sun Garden, the chickens and ducks escaped their pen to swim in the seasonal pond and scratch up the garden beds). I was determined to fence them in, especially since they would lay eggs all across campus and have babies out of season.