Thursday, December 31, 2015

can you believe posting two days in a row? 1st time ever!

12/30/15 7:42 PMw  this morning i sorted pecans, totalling a day and a half.  this afternoon i chopped (pecan) wood until it rained, then break, then i went with Alanah and gathered eggs from one coop of elder chickens, and one "chicken tractor" (a permaculture term) of younger high-producing chickens—totaling over 100 eggs a day at the moment.  it was raining really hard on our way back.  but it is still warm, and being wet is not a discomfort.  they sell their eggs at $4.00/doz, unfertile.  they eat the ones that are unsellable because they are fertile, have blood spots, or are misshapen or an odd size, which leaves plenty for the community (equally delicious and fresh) and plenty to sell, at present.  i have a dozen in my/visitors' refrigerator, and i am the only resident visitor currently, at least in Fuller House. 
         I reside in Hildegard of Bingham room, can you believe it?  i hope to get electronic file copies of each page at each door (maybe over a dozen) of the twin-single-bed rooms in this house.  they are each named after sacred Christian of a wide variety of sorts of pillars of peace and justice.  i think it is worth publishing.
         a room here, with 5 community lunches & 3 dinners a week, and free access to the ample left-overs-refrigerator all hours, appears to be $20/day donation request.  the tent site i had reserved was considerably less.  but when i saw the rain and freezing weather comin, i luxuriously requested this upgrade.  the rooms, bedding, and towels, common kitchen & several common bathrooms with showers & occasional bath; are simple, plain, new condition, unassuming, and immaculate.  i've never seen such very nice lodging so inexpensive anywhere in the US.  maybe i should have my 70th birthday here, my treat.  what think?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2-week visit to Koinonia Farm, Georgia

visiting Koinonia Farm in Georgia for two weeks amidst 68 weeks so far at The Farm in Tennessee.  i arrive before dark something after 4pm Tennessee time, which is likely something after 5pm Georgia time.  my 10-page Welcome packet is in the large Visitors Welcome mailbox in front of the office/storefront, the first structure as you enter the humble un manicured driveway entrance to the 74-year-old community.  Georgia has been very dry and/or poor soil ever since crossing the river from Alabama.  Almost arid, though swampy as well.  There is something of the deep old South more present and current than in Alabama or Tennessee.  Ever more intense around Plains GA, the childhood home of Jimmy Carter, less than 10 miles shy of Koinonia.
         there are a rim and backboard up at the edge of an elliptical concrete patch barely long enough to hold the free-throw line; and a soccer goal; each with several respective balls laying ready and a bit sunbleached; neither with cleared room for anything full court.  [i didn't notice the volleyball net & court, or the very fullest featured and extensive clotheslines! until 2 days later.]
         the earth here is sandy, almost pure sand around the houses and roads between fields.  the winter silhouette of 50-year-old pecan trees in rows are quite exact graceful mimics of young elm trees along Orrington Avenue in Evanston Illinois before we moved there in 1953.  here there are live oaks among others who keep their leaves.  and pine.  cattle, hogs, chickens.  a fresh dozen eggs in the fridge all are welcome to.
         Brandon drove the tractor in, with headlights, just at dark, as i was finishing my walk to shake out my sea-legs from the 9-hour drive, 6 of them in driving rain down the length of Alabama on I-65.  He then went to check on the noisy cattle, haven't yet asked if they're mostly dairy or not.  [next nite: since we had some for lunch, I guess not.]  A very warm hello, seems kinda the way here.  Simple quiet love.
         There are 5 or 4 adults here now who are longterm members for life.  One other here 10 years still in a status toward full membership.  Gotta get to sleep so i can get up for 7:50am chapel Morning devotions, prior to the Daily work assignments & check-in.
         small country church Virginia pastor Wyatt & Kate talked long of their life, influenced by interning some months here 2 years ago; and listened long, first, to my talk long of The Farm's spiritual origins and hard-to-find-to-a-(this)-vistor definition anymore of community.  they leave in the morning after chapel, stopping by on the way home from visiting family.
         g'nite.         12/28/15 8:08 PMmon near Americus GA
12/29/15 7:21 AMtu
about 5am it came to me i am being met in this community in a context of prayer and study.
Wyatt had said it is a demonstration community of true original Christian life & work, a demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God, to quote a revered founder of Koinonia, Clarence Jordan.
And that there are 5 practices: work, study, prayer, service, fellowship.  all at the same time.
12/29/15 7:31 PMtu
Worked the day sorting pecans in Pecan Plant 2 of 2, among 5 + other sorters.  The relatively new sorter showed me the ropes.  Then later I asked the supervisor to look over what I was doing and to explain to me what is an "amber".  She showed me again how to sort, but did not answer or even mention the question I asked.  Both demonstrators just went ahead and sorted, as if it was their task to do, quickly tossing, but not showing me the ones they threw in the "trash" nor telling me why.  This is very common also on The Farm, persons telling you what to do, but having no sense that you might not know how, and no sense to show you what they are doing, or explaining, when they demonstrate, I guess to model without modeling ....  It occurs to me that our species does not know how to teach in any socially savvy, sensitive, or gracious way.—and that I must be born to know how best to teach, and to remain frustrated as a student, kinda like a selfie "who died to make you king?" 
         anahow, it is remarkable, right off, how similar the two communities are in this.  Often when I give my name to an old time member, or even when they ask it of me; they appear very interested, saying "Hi, then Marty." and "Thank you." and it never dawns on them that I might like to know theirs.  When I do ask for it, they tell me, fresh abruptly, as if a sudden thought comes to them that oh yes, they do have a name too.  This occurs I'd say over half the time in both communities.
         I say this only as something that strikes me as odd, I have no idea what it may mean.  Except possibly how old the community is, how long the member has been a member, and how dreadfully many new people/visitors they have encountered over those years.  A kind of staid cloistered and not wanting to come out?
         the daily devotionals, morning, lunch, & dinner, are pretty simple & cursory, entirely sans pomp or circumstance.  readings from the (perhaps their (Southern dialect)) Bible, announcements, prayer.  hymns in the morning + a wee sermonic message.  besides the sermonic (male), stonefaced & dutifully carried out as if by officers (female (so far)).
g'nite.  tomorrow i'll find where i need to be to get wi-fi strong enuf for e-mail and to post this on muh blog.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

3 typical weeks in the life of Residency Status at TF

from an e-mail to my Tennessee cousins Pete & Laurie:
p.s.  mite should check in with a bit of what's been up in my life.
    went on a spur of the moment 6-day meditation retreat at the Thich Naht Hanh ashram in Batesville, Miss. called Magnolia Grove Monastery, with 2 stunning elders at The Farm (TF).  got home yesterday morning, exhausted from meditating!  silent meals, walking meditation, ... all forms of life meditation, ... and a max of 7 hrs a nite of sleep [my usual average, even with my miserable discipline, is 10 or 11].  they even the last day offered to any of us who wished, to stay up to a nother week if we liked!  i had to take a nap to even think of that one.  did, and decided i wasn't tough enough and wanted to go home and rest.  though i was really tempted!
    before that, my old friend from Saint Croix, Rita Gates, who's lived and taught in northern Georgia for the past 15 years, came to The Farm for a 24-hour weekend visit, my second overnite visitor here ever.  a big event for me, and i may visit her somewhere along here again, too—such as on a side trip from visiting my 2 other Southern cousins, in Alabama & Florida.  Rita lived on a satellite Farm in rural New York state before i met her around 1979 or so, ... the only one i ever knew with any connection to The Farm before i at last came to visit it May 2014, with your graces, Pete, from the Greyhound.  (thank you!)
    before that, i moved in to my third rental home in this year of residency status.  i am now in one end of a trailer, with 2 wee bedrooms and my own bath, plus a large common area, kitchen/living/diningroom i share with the owner/member, Ummsalaamah, an African American midwife who spends most of her time in Atlanta helping raise her two great-granddaughters with her granddaughter who works for Delta (each of whom she delivered, as midwife, at birth).  Ummsalaamah reminds me of more than one dear old friend of mine on Saint Croix. 
    and she is my first landlady that i am not warned heavily about as hard to get along and/or reason with.  plus i feel a real resonant friendship with her since we did a permaculture design for her of her home plot, trailer and all, as our "thesis" project last October at the Ecovillage Training Center (ETC), completing my apprenticeship there.  the location of her trailer is literally to the left when you go right for ETC at the Prancing Poet sign, right across Schoolhouse Road from ETC.
    i haven't even really anywhere near wholly moved in yet, since the Sept 1 move, since my last nite at the previous place i discovered and drowned 30 or 40 fleas!  i mentioned this to you at some point there.  i still have what i call my garbage bag sculpture installation (about 8 large bags) across the road from my trailer home—sealed tight, and full of all my belongings, in attempt to starve to death any remaining members of the fleas' life cycles, with no host for blood (2 or 3 weeks).  trying to avoid using poisons in any way possible.  so far so good.  no fleas at my new place.  just chiggers everywhere with long grass or low brush on The Farm ... still near drivin me crazy.
    havin a bathroom all to myself may make it easier for me to shower every night, something i've never done in my life, but the surest non-toxic deterence to both chiggers and ticks.
    well, that's a chapter on my life at The Farm, catchin you up on what you've missed out on.  maybe i should copy and post this on my marty-blog.  my June road trip to Lawrence MA and back with old friend originally from Chicago now in Santa Cruz CA, José Antonio Torres, was wonderful, including 4 day-hikes in the Shenandoah & Smokey Mts, and a week back at The Farm.
    i love having visitors, and continue looking forward to you and family maybe comin down some time, to the original cooler summer retreat area for Nashville, Summertown TN.  anahow, yer all invited, any time, in any combination.
—i extend this invitation to you, and anyone reading my blog.  with all love and blessings of the All Highest.  marty, still comin out of meditation (or still IN) bless us all!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

sorry i've been so long

still living at Thuh Farm.  driving back from a one-month roadtrip tomorrow, a day after turning 69.  writing exercise:

6/24/15 9:11 PMw
we hiked our 4th hike in 5 days averaging 9 miles each, this one a 13.4 loop, with elevation gain of over 4,000', to La Conte peak, the highest in TN (the one they call "higher" only so if you count the 150' viewing tower they put on top of it), and perhaps in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.  in 10 hours total, counting 1.5 hours at the top chatting with interesting and friendly folk.  and there i popped the conception of having my next, 70th birthday there, with all friends, family, and Merkelers invited—one year from today.  there being a lodge there that one must hike (or parachute) to, the shortest approach from any road being 5+ miles, and very steep.  so i'll look in to renting one or more of the cabins up there.  and then the conception of getting a job staffing the lodge up there.  ah me, a job i would truly love to experience.
         after all that hiking in these mountains over here, one can come to feel that the scenery is a tad repetitive.  but this hike today was so very deeply special in quite a number of spots and aspects.  a sweet rainbow falls, and following a terribly rocky creak quite a long ways, so uproarious when it rains hard that signs are posted at both the top and the bottom not to take it when the creak is full, but to take the other Bullhead trail.  which is the one we took coming down, a few tenths of a mile longer, but quite surely seemingly a less steep and gentler grade.
         i have never been fond of rhododendrons until today.  there was a certain variety in it's prime about half way up and also down.  purest white, and a close cousin with a barest pink edge to each petal.  the only pink i recall ever liking.  these are presumably indigenous and wild.  tall, huge, and lush.
         microclimates the whole way, different going up than down, different sides of different ridges.  forests entirely the whole way, but biodiversity like i've never seen.  oak, maple, buckeye, locust, hickory, pine, hemlock, spruce, and many i don't know the identity of.
         juncos, salamanders, and numerous warnings about aggressive, dangerous black bears.
         josé's tossing and turning.  i guess i should turn my light out and get to sleep myself.
6/24/15 9:52 PM  seattle time, 6/25 now here.