HSS Week 12
The weekend before our final week, Bri and I went over the Bethany’s to make final touches to our PDC project design and PowerPoint presentation. I was very proud of our design, and really appreciated Bethany’s proactiveness and follow-through, because those weren’t common characteristics of the people living in the community.
Sylvie Lee, a resident living in the Solplex, hosted a house-warming party open to the community that weekend too! It was nice getting to see other residents in a new place on campus, because Sylvie has a nice, elegant yet simplistic design to her space. So it felt like a cocktail party with some crazy stories. And as much as I was trying to enjoy myself, I saw Ashley getting pretty handsy with Rich and it just hurt me even more to the point where I needed to remove myself.
Rich is a good guy, always encouraging others to speak their ‘truth,’ and he’s not a bad looking guy either. So I didn’t have ill-will towards him, but ever since he arrived – my connection with Ashley quickly deteriorated and I actively tried to put distance between her and myself for my sanity, finding her less and less attractive as she spent more and more time with him.
I also got a call that Sunday from my mom with updates on the family and holiday plans. She also dropped the news that when my grandpa went in to get his pace-maker checked out, his white-blood cell count was off and they ran some more tests – only to find out he has bone marrow cancer…
Coming off that stressful weekend, we presented our PDC design projects that Monday.
All of the groups did great jobs with their designs, even though some of their presentations got out of hand. I was really interested to see Weston’s Meadery/Festival space design, and they definitely maximized their space!
Our group’s design for Moon Meadow Farms was presented to Brian, as Tim, Minx and Ira couldn’t attend – which was a slight disappointment since we were under the impression they had a working budget and were interested in implementing our design. However, our approach utilized a phased-modular approach focusing on starting food production that could be scaled, planting of aesthetically-pleasing flowers for the owners and residents, and then starting on the ‘you-pick fruit tree orchard’ and then the swimming pool/tennis court animal sanctuary. Brian really liked our design, but commented on how permaculture doesn’t function best with a modular mentality. (Unfortunately, other groups cut into our time, so we didn’t get to explain the holistic view of the modular design until after the presentation.)
That Tuesday, Steve Martinson, former resident and beekeeper (Steve’s Bees), returned to Lost Valley from Portland to pick up some equipment. He invited residents who were interested in beekeeping and walked us through his previous operation and harvesting systems. Steve started beekeeping after he researched joining communities, learning its best to join a community with a skill set – which included not only beekeeping, but also honey-infused products, wax collection and candle-making. He explained to us the purpose of the equipment, how to use the candle molds, and where he kept the hives until a bear demolished them all.
Also as part of earning the PDC certification, permaculture co-found Bill Mollison, included an ‘untalented show’ as a requirement to graduate and earn the certification! Colin scheduled the untalented show for Wednesday, and several of the students went up and played instruments and sang. Avery, a resident’s child, also wanted to be a part of the festivities! She recruited Tuula and Ashley to help her with an interpretive dance about her transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly fairy. (Avery was 6 years old at the time and put this all together in under 5 minutes, I was more than impressed with her…as usual!)
That Thursday was our last Dexter Lake Club Karaoke night as part of the HSS program, so a number of students joined the usual Karaoke crew! Even Tuula and Taylor came out to celebrate with us.
Our last official class on Friday was with Brian, discussing post-PDC options, like pursuing a permaculture designer route to becoming a permaculture instructor like himself. And similar to how permaculture can be applied in any setting around the world, so too are the options of how to use our permaculture certifications.
After our final class with Brian, the community had a closing ceremony for the students and resident Sharon ‘Rose’ made us a celebration/birthday Japanese tangerine cake – as it was also “Nicholas’s” birthday on the last day of the program!
We continued the festivities and “Nicholas’s” birthday late into the night at Bethany’s house in Eugene. “Nicholas” was gifted a couple of books and had another cake waiting for him there too!
This was the last time we spent together as our student group before everyone went their separate ways. While it was sad seeing a lot of people leave over the following days, I made the decision to stay and work at Lost Valley by applying for residency to see community life from a different perspective…