Flash Mob? Crop Mob!

July 24, 2011

Farming is traditionally a physical and labor intensive endeavor. In the past, community efforts were often necessary for planting, harvesting, processing, including barn-raising and house-raising. Modern day farming has become mechanized enabling  farmers to “do it alone”. A lonely career. Through resurgence of smaller farming initiatives a wonderful community spirit has emerged. People are participating in CSA’s and organic and local farmers are recognized in their communities and are well-received at local farmer’s markets.

Enter the Crop Mob movement. A group of 19 farmers, apprentices and friends in the Triangle area of North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) began to work together to harvest sweet potatoes at the Piedmont Biofarm. They have made it a tradition and out of that tradition has grown to over 50 groups throughout the US. Find your local group on the map.

From the Crop Mob website:

“Many crop mobbers are apprentices or interns on these sustainable farms. The need for community participation matches a desire for community among young people interested in getting into farming. The crop mob was conceived as a way of building the community necessary to practice this kind of agriculture and to put the power to muster this group in the hands of our future food producers.

Any crop mobber can call a crop mob to do the kind of work it takes a community to do. We work together, share a meal, play, talk, and make music. No money is exchanged. This is the stuff that communities are made of.”

For more information, please send an email to info@cropmob.org. And check them out on facebook.

 

VIA: Kay Carroll, Market Master, Litchfield Farmer’s Market

Transition Town Movement

July 21, 2011



 OR

There are communities all over the world who are coming together with optimistic and infectious energy to create vital and lasting change for the good of all under the umbrella of The Transition movement. Transition Towns is about communities around the world responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humour, and setting about rebuilding their local economies and communities. It is positive, solutions focused, viral and fun. You can find out if there is a town in action near you from the US-based website or the global website. Or, you can start your own group!

These slides are from the film: Transition 1o1. Check it out.

 

Who says that Josh Spear is the only cool hunter. I wandered into the Spotted Magpie a few weeks ago while moseying down Oxford St, heading back to Sydney. (See tall building in background? That’s Sydney..Australia. Note also the car driving on the left side of the road? Okay then.)

With a sign like this, the store could be anything.

Outside the door there are rolls and rolls of oilcloth, one more fun and fabulous than the next. And inside is a collection of whimsical, practical, deco, retro and joyful new and not-so-new decorative items for the home.

After chatting with the owner, Mary, for a minute I recognized and American twange (yep, Ohio..) behind her Aussie accent.

Great store, creative owner who is also an interior designer- well, duh!  She can decorate my house- fun, fun, fun! My friend, T, would get a real kick out of this store. Mary says:

“The idea behind Magpie is that, like a bird, we collect things here and there to create our own unique nest. We normally don’t go into it with a big master plan – we pick up things along the way, we bring back souvenirs from when we travel, we collect mementos from our lives, and are given, for better or worse, things that reflect the taste of those we love.”

I bought a little oilcloth apron as a house gift for Lela (2 years old). Too cute:

 

Gina’s New Year Advice

January 14, 2011

Gina Lazenby is a dynamic and joyful as well as wise and dear-to-me girlfriend in the UK. Here is her New Year’s advice in 7 steps:

How is your 2011 shaping up?  Do you need some help preparing for the year ahead??

I know I do.

I’ve made a very slow start to the year but that’s normal for me as I always view the real new year as starting on Feb 4th when the feng shui year begins.  That’s the actual date when the new energies come in … until then, at least for me, it’s hibernation central!!

I take January as a non-month and use the time to process the last year, tune in to what I need to let go of and make preparations for another annual cycle. And that takes quite a bit of physical and psychic energy to do.  Maybe you are struggling and feel that because a new year has started you should be feeling more bouyant, optimistic and productive. Forget it. Now is a time to simply get by and go with the flow. Here are some tips to help you (which are really helping me).

  1. Clear out excess stuff: make space for the new.  Whatever you can let go of, books, clothes jewellery, old invoices & paperwork … get rid!  (The Charity shops are crying out for gear to sell)
  2. Take as much quiet time as you can to reflect. I have really been taking things slow; I’ve  not initiated many phone calls and have kept myself under the radar. Plenty of early nights and solitary walks as well as a diet of nourishing food with raw, crispy veggies.
  3. Stay in the moment: do what you are guided to do, follow your hunches and intuition. When I spend quiet time like this I am often drawn to watch movies and whilst enjoying myself I also receive subtle guidance in the stories on the screen.
  4. Ask yourself these eleven powerful questions. They arrived in my inbox from Shiloh McCloud and I think they are brilliant: Go here to read them. Very thought-provoking. 
  5. Ask for help: I use divination cards and can while away many hours asking questions and getting extremely practical advice back from the cards, runes and stones. I already intuited that I need to live a bigger life this year and guess what Goddess card appeared as my energy for the year?  Freya – with the message to be bold. Bold I shall be.
  6. Get more help & support: sharing the goal-setting and visioning journey with others is always useful and stimulating.  This year I have been asked by Transformational Coach Gosia Gorna to speak at her one day in London nextSunday January 23rd.  For the last decade she has run a popular event calledThe Year I Would Love to Have. If you are in London then this is just one example of spending time with like-minded folk visioning a wonderful future while learning some great manifestation skills from Gosia. It would be lovely to see you there!
  7. Make sure your infrastructure works: replace the light bulbs that have gone, replenish the larder and ensure you are stockpiling essentials, charge up your batteries…. just make sure you have order around you so that when the energy speeds up and the pace of life is faster you are ready to cope. I think it is what as known as mending your fishing nets while you are not fishing!

What is “HOME”

September 13, 2010

ET wanted to go home. Dorothy wanted to go home. As my mother-in-law was dying she told  us she wanted to go home. As a child, I never wanted to leave home.

What is that universal yearning for “homeness”? Is “Home” a place where your memories and secrets and unfinished business is stored? Here is an article and a beautiful short film by Richard Levine about Home. Inspired by reading Lee Kravitz’s book, My Unfinished Business, Levine, a former commercial producer turned cross-platform media creative through his company,  Cyberia Media, uses his known medium, film, to create his personal journey into facing his emotional unfinished business. The power of naming, facing our deep emotions from the past is a powerful form of internal feng shui/clearing. Levine’s poem set of evocative music and powerful imagery is moving for me. I found myself walking, walking and exploring my childhood home and my old memories and now see many things in a new light.

Hat tip: Jackie Austin

Can Less Be More

August 17, 2010

Do we need all our stuff? How much stuff do we really need to live? What does one really need? Just received the link to interesting site via Josh. Kelly Sutton’s site where he has listed all of his possessions and is selling everything off except what he can fit into 2 boxes….

He says on his blog:

Inspired by a a book or two, I’ve decided to try to see if I can rid my life of most of the clutter. The goal? Condense my life into 2 bags and 2 boxes.

How will I do this? It seems simple to just say: get rid of everything. To realize how much junk I own, I have put myself through the misery of documenting every single possession of mind, no matter how insignificant. This gives me a solid metric to measure my progress against. I will be explaining the finer details of this in future posts.

The 2 bags and 2 boxes principle will hopefully allow me to live anywhere and move instantly. This is the Cult of Less.

“On the whole, it’s led me to cherish my few purchases more. Every possession also requires a certain amount of upkeep, and I find myself with more time and less possessional guilt. Every thing owned begs to be used constantly; every second not utilized comes a shred of buyer’s remorse. Everything I own I use at least once per month, save for my winter clothes.”

I say, all well and good if yu are young and it is feasible to live that way. Everyone in the US particularly accumulates lots of stuff. I feel burdened by the house and the contents that have attached themselves over the past 25 years. But as someone replied:

“This is a completely crap and meaningless “trend”. There’s no real sacrifice involved whatsoever, and the people involved seem to enjoy the illusion of asceticism without the actual hard work involved. If you’re happy only owning five pairs of underwear or whatever, more power to you… but to blog about it as some great emerging movement or philosophy is a waste.”

I could do without the potted plants, but they do give me oxygen and bring life into my home. I could without the art on the walls, but most of the art in my house was created by people I know and it enriches and inspires me to have it around me. Do I need 2 pianos? No, anyone want to buy one? It’s not easy to sell a piano. I also don’t need more than 1 cutting knife but I have 4 or 5. I don’t know that I will go minimalist, but I certainly could as Josh recently suggested: hire someone to help me, put up a tent in the backyard and bring it all out into the daylight and then make some choices……Perhaps it would be comforting to have a list of everything I own in one place?

iPad uPad

April 7, 2010

Everyone else is talking about it. Micah stood in line to pick his up on Saturday and is entranced by it, has downloaded dozens of free apps for it. I haven’t gotten one yet, but I know I will. I have most Apple products including a big MacPro for my music studio. Apple’s products are appealing in every way, user-friendly, intuitive, nice to hold and behold. Here is article in Gizmodo extolling the iPad’s design. It says it all.

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I recently received an envelope with the US Postal Service logo on the envelope. I didn’t look at it carefully because through the window I saw “Holiday Cards, Gift Seals and Labels” and thought, “Even the Post Office is trying to sell me something.”  Today I was sorting the mail and came across it again. On the back of the envelope was a printed note from the postmaster extending apologies for damaging the enclosed envelope while being handled by the postal service. Interesting and thoughtful. Never got one of these before. It was protecting JUNK MAIL.

The USPS handles over 202 billion pieces of mail each year. That’s alot of letters. AND how much of it is unwanted and unsolicited, paying lower rates for bulk mailing?

It’s the season of catalogs again. Here are a few ways to get off mailing lists.

CatalogChoice.org can help you reduce or opt-out of unwanted catalogs and choose how you wish to hear from brands.

Call the phone number on your catalog and speak to a human being requesting to be removed from the mailing list. Have your catalog handy, or the back page with your address and codes so you can be specific.

Contact the Direct Marketing Association and register for the Mail Preference Service. Your name will be placed in a delete file, and you should notice a decrease in junk mail about three months after you register.

Avoid sending in your warrantee cards. You are still covered. They are simply gathering your info to bombard you with more products.

EHow has extensive posts on how to get off email lists, telemarketing lists, and more.


 

 

Creating Space

September 18, 2009

flower1_1 photo by- Micah Spear

We all speak or even complain about clearing clutter, don’t we? Our homes are filled with too much and most of it we don’t love, don’t want, don’t need, yet it is difficult for many to make the move to create the separation from the things, right? Motivation, time and attachment are 3 of the things that hold us back. Fear that the project will take too long is often on people’s minds- but what I have found is that, taken one small project at a time, it won’t take as long as you think. Of course, there are those of us who have looked at the clutter so long that we don’t even see it, in which case consult a friend who will tell you the truth!

Having many belongings is not a bad thing. It is how you feel about them, and how your living space feels with all of it. There is a difference between messy, disordered and dirty, and downright cluttered. If there is a place for everything, then you might be on top of things. Ignore this post.

For those of you feeling overwhelmed in your life- sometimes doing the physical clearing will help you mentally, too. Giving objects a place where they belong, to me feels like a Bach 2-Part Invention. Those notes so belong together, and playing it or hearing them played in their precise order is very harmonizing for most people who listen.

My friend, BJ, taught me a good way to work with the “stuff”. She would take the “things” away from the place they were living and to sort them in a new location. For example, if you are sorting out your junk drawer in the kitchen, dump everything into a box and take it all to the living room. Then you have literally uprooted it vibrationally from the place it had put down roots. You will also be considering everything outside of the kitchen where you normally see it all. Then, have 4 boxes ready; one for things to throw away, one for things to keep, one for things to put back somewhere else in the house where it belongs, and one for giving away. Then DO IT. It’s sometimes easier to do with a friend. Call someone! Now, when I am clearing more space in my home, I always think of BJ- and ask, what would BJ do?

One of the chief benefits for me is that once I clear something, I don’t have the thought “OMG, I have to deal with that….” hanging over me. But another benefit I have found is that the time I spend ordering a junk drawer, or tidying the linen closet is powerful mind-clearing time, too. I experience a similar thing when I am weeding the garden. Like Karma Yoga. Taking all the emotional baggage out and sorting it is something that does not have to be done alone; speaking with a good friend, seeing a therapist, taking a course are al way to sort through emotional clutter.

I went through my closet and ruthlessly (mostly) pulled out the clothes that I have been hanging on to but never wear, that look terrible on me but I paid a lot for and don’t wear and things that simply don’t fit and probably never will, boohoo. They have gone to the local Visitng Nurse Association Thriftshop, however, I brought a few choice items to the Rebecca Christine’s consignment shop in Gaylordsville. When we create a vacuum something will fill it- and I didn’t leave empty-handed. I have brought things of beauty into my home which for me is always in process and I love the journey or change and choice. Do you?

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It’s a jungle out there. If you don’t know the ins-and-outs you could put money down on an apartment, show up to move in and find yourself with 4 other people who also put money down on the same space all waiting for a phoney broker who has since left town. This did not happen to us. But this has happened for real to others.

After messing around with Craigslist, waiting outside apartments for a broker who doesn’t show up, or who gets there and shows you an apartment that doesn’t look like the photo online, or who tells you they don’t have the keys to that apartment but do have other keys, I finally walked into a realtor’s office on 13th and Fifth Ave, threw my hands up and begged someone to show me a nice apartment for my student son. My NY Realtor friends are annoyed with me for not coming to them in the first place- but I thought they wouldn’t want to bother with my low budget for Micah’s first NYC apartment. Well, my low-budget grew and grew, the more places I saw. Teeny, tiny, have to slide in side-ways to get to the toilet in miniscule bathrooms, dirty, strange and dark hallways, weird configurations of chopped up spaces. I couldn’t bear it and upped the ante. Along with upping came the broker and the commission and the one month FREE rent, nice trade. It has not been the best experience financially, but we found a great studio right near school. We’ll save on the monthly subway pass, he’ll cook for himself, I’ll send care packages. And that will have to be that.

Now for those of you who are out there shopping. Here is a good site with helpful info about the do’s and don’ts of apartment shopping in NYC.