Hello from Celo, NC! Max's forever buddy from way back in high school, Joe, rolled into Asheville around the time Loki did (a month ago, already?!) and after a week was talking about introducing us to a family he WWOOFed for a year ago. Well, THAT turned out to be the best thing ever. Yesterday afternoon Joe rolled into the gravel lot on Patton Ave and changed out of his (studly, was the consensus) ranger uniform and said "follow me!" and Loki waved bye bye for now to Asheville. An hour or so Northwest, I woke up this morning looking out over a valley cloaked in fog, warm sunlight cutting through springtime woods, rhododendron forests all around, and a vibrant patch of green where the lower gardens are just above one of many gurgling creeks. We are staying on Jeff and Kelly (physicians) and daughters Catherine and Lilly's homestead for the next (two? three?) weeks, exchanging 12 hands for room, board, a kitchen and beautiful ingredients with which to nourish the household, and a serious education in small-scale agriculture. The projects we've heard about so far are some intense composting (the very science of it...they are serious about the pH balance and content from what I hear), turning the dying hemlocks (thanks to a new pest) into some rich mulch, growing flowers and veggies, fermenting, growing and foraging for mushrooms, raising a barn (also from the dying hemlocks) in the Amish tradition, building a yurt and a meditation platform, and making beehives and building a small apiary.
I already feel energized and focused at peace here. Woke up early, my clothes fresh in the dryer from the night before, clean from a late shower, and went upstairs to a bubbling Catherine (she was recently accepted into UC Santa Cruz!) and Lilly. Kelly and I finished a snack of bacon and coffee and went to the co-op for breakfast greens and bulk grains and beans for the week. When we returned Max and Joe and Jeff (doctor Jeff, not bus Jeff) had already been attempting to fell the first hemlock, though reported that they'd been bested. Joe's wedges were stuck in the tree still and they broke the axe. But a strong wind might finish the job. The rest of the bus crew had just made it up the road from the glass shop where Loki stayed the night and were finishing up their eggs. Kelly suggested sauteed radish greens (picked yesterday! so sweet!) with garlic and olive oil and lemon, and we ate ours with some beautiful poached eggs on top.
The whole crew is fed now and after Loki makes it down the road to her home for the next two weeks, we get the full tour of the property and details about everything that needs to be done. . Our hosts work hard during the week making people in the community feel good, so after the initial explanation it will be a self-directed education. Max and Joe are off to the tractor supply place finish a sign job for Jeff and Kelly...we haven't seen their design yet but today I heard stick welding was involved.
Pictures in the next post.
Oh! We finished our first issue of In the Belly of the Beast...Loki's cooking zine. There is a lot of original art in it, and recipes unique to each member of the crew, so we're thinking a donation of four dollars an issue to the pay pal account (under our donations section) would be fair, if you want a copy. This particular issue is for your breakfast needs...obviously the most important meal of the day! Email us if you donated so we can get your address and send you a copy!
I wish you the happiness, health and balance that found me with the spring. (OH MY GOSH THE SOUTH IN THE SPRINGTIME!)