The item on the top of the co-op’s winter to-do list was for the soil to sleep. Finally it can: 15 inches of snow Thursday (February 9) and another couple last night. I harvested a month’s worth of carrots just as the snow began, just in case, and because I could. We put up deer fence the day before because the ground was completely unfrozen, so we could.
I got a laugh out of a forester last week, when I said we wanted to tag some trees to cut before mud season. “It’s been mud season all winter!” he guffawed. True that. I meant March, but I’m still learning how to live according to nature-as-it-shows up vs. the Julian calendar. Add to that the vagaries of the Anthropocene and the shift is on.
With systems as unstable as these, it seems anything can happen.
So far, the core group of founders of Listening Tree Coop is made of “white” people and with that comes a legacy of colonialism, which we discuss openly and challenge in ourselves and society. We hope to be inclusive and not oppressive, and welcome challenges to our privilege and assumptions.
We are feminists and egalitarians, and welcome queer and women’s leadership and participation (one of us identifies as queer). The men renounce the privilege of their gender and appreciate the freedom for other genders and themselves created by the egalitarian structure of our decision making and ownership. The two of us with materially privileged backgrounds recognize and seek dialogue to transform the ramifications of that privilege, which made the purchase of Listening Tree feasible, while rooted in systems of domination and oppression. We are actively anti-racist, internally and in the world.
The co-op is also kid-friendly and hopes to attract and will select for an intergenerational membership because we find the peer-group segregation in this culture (as in schools and day and senior care) to be one of the unspoken structural problems in the broader community.
We are mixed-income and mixed-class, and are working to make financing available to people who want to buy shares. The shared-house-plus-individual-outbuildings design makes the community more affordable than single family, cohousing, and even multifamily units. Utilities are virtually prepaid in the form of the solar array; heat will be by wood collected from the property; food will be grown by members for members, reducing living costs. Three of us have worked in affordable housing or energy and are deeply committed to innovating affordability methods.
Yes! That’s what scientists are now describing, as Suzanne Simard does in this Ted Talk. Trees converse “in the language of carbon…in the language of nitrogen,” and through mycellium intermediaries they send help to each other and their whole community.
“When mother trees are injured or dying, they also send messages–wisdom–onto the next generation of seedlings,” Simard says.
Tom Wessels summarizes the research: “Paper birch trees that were struggling in the forest received as much as 6 percent of their energy from carbohydrates produced by surrounding Douglas fir. The extra energy was fed to the struggling birch by the mycorrhizae [mutualistic fungi]…[T]he mycorrhizae benefited the entire forest ecosystem by maintaining or increasing photosynthetic rates, nutrient retention, and species richness.”
We are all so deeply interconnected! How much we have to learn if we just listen!
Welcome to the farm, as usual, the first Saturday of the month, this time August 6. What is unusual is we’ll start at 6 pm instead of the usual 4. There will still be plenty of light and time to tour the farms and housing coop.
It will be a midsummer potluck feast! We have sooooo many luscious veggies in the garden, and the young chicken flock is just starting to lay (tiny) eggs, so we can’t wait to share with you.
Classic hippie buses full of new generations of classic hippies
Literally busloads of volunteers from the Grateful 4 Grace Revivalist Tour arrived at Listening Tree Coop last week to help shape up the farms and build out our coop infrastructure. It’s amazing how much got done in a week. They completed the composting privy, hoisted the roof deck for a new cabin, put up the rotational grazing fence for a new chicken run, (ate and) weeded weeds, chopped kindling, built a platform for a 750 gallon cistern, and trellised tomatoes. They made a new, wide gate in the homestead garden fence, and now truckloads of compost can get straight into the garden. Volunteers also helped start a hugelkultur mound in our future food forest area.
But more than all the work, the Grateful 4 Gracers’ loving energy uplifted everyone here. The trees, too, are grateful, from what we can tell!
The Grateful 4 Grace caravan travels around helping intentional communities build capacity as a way of paying forward the gratitude of their founders. We are certainly grateful for them and will pay forward to the world from the strength they lent us! Already we sent a big bag of fresh organic veggies along with them to bring to their next stop.
Thank you, thank you! To them and everyone who’s helped and touched our hearts here at Listening Tree.
Heron and Leah enjoyed the view out the herb loft window.