Puppy Shadow and I walked our usual four miles early this morning, and then were stopped on a corner two blocks away from home by an open-faced man, just rolling out of the driveway to a very pristine-lawned home. He asks, do you live there, pointing to another manicured lawn.
“No, I live in the jungle up the street.”
So we started talking, along with two other neighbors, Abby and Mary, who are busy converting their place into another gorgeous jungle. Abby, who has lived in her parental home 50 years (she and Mary cared for Abby’s Mom during her final years) said to the man, “I remember your Grandma from when I was nine years old! Your face looks just like hers, so when I see you, it warms my heart.”
He replied, obviously pleased. “Yes, it was originally my grandparents home, and I want to keep it just the way it was. Though I’ve rented it this year to a very nice young couple, [BTW, I’ve met them and she is the daughter of a family who still lives across the street!], I hope to get back someday to live here myself.”
The four of us kept talking for quite a while, neighbors all, at least in our hearts.
Mary told me she’s going to have to move their gorgeous hibiscus, since it’s on the gas line.
“Oh, can we have some starts when you do it?”
She then said she wants to get started growing worms, and would I show her our operation?
“Sure. In fact, we have two worm farms; somebody gave them both to us, and we don’t need more than one. I’ll just have to check with Marita, who is in charge of the worms now.”
So there you have it. You could call it a swap, or a mutual gifting. Either way, it’s all part of the continuous swirl of currents within the flow of the transformed culture we are growing here in Green Acres Neighborhood, “from the ground up.”
When the man was about to pull away, I added “Maybe you too will live in a jungle some day!” He laughed, and drove off, back to Virginia, likely ruminating with pleasure on what’s becoming of his grandfolks’ old neighborhood.
A few weeks ago, six of us GAPV podmates helped a young couple with four young children and a very pregnant Mom up the street in their quest to turn their front yard into a permacultural garden. We used one of our twice-weekly work parties to do so. Great fun. Last night, for our work party, we sat around and began to preserve food for the winter, vacuum freezing and canning mountains of zucchini, cut up in bite size pieces, spiralled into spaghetti, and pickled. YES!
As soon as puppy Shadow and I got home early this morning I decided to take a few pictures. Here is the current state of parts of the grounds of Green Acres Permaculture Village, as depicted through two of its gardens, the patio, and two alleys.
The main garden is, truly, a jungle this year. Astonishing what nature provides.
Each house also has a personal garden this year, for the first time. It’s fascinating, to see/feel the changes in our behavior and attitude when we switch from socialism to capitalism in this arena. Competition ensues! More emotional ownership of what we’re doing, each home! And yet, since we all get along so well, and have learned how to work together, the common socialist garden thrives as well. If there’s one thing we’re doing here in this village experiment to the max, it’s learning how to continuously balance and rebalance opposites, integrate contradictions, embrace paradoxes; and that hoary dichotomy of socialism vs. capitalism is, obviously, one of the biggies.
Here’s the Overhill House garden, Dan and I proprietors, soon to be joined by Annie, an old friend of Green Acres Village, who is moving in today! (Young Camden moved out to live with his new girl friend.)
Here are the two alleys. This one leads to the Air B&B entrance with the greenhouse across from it.
And this one holds lots of tools, and leads to the main garden.
Here’s the patio, which, when I arrived in 2003, was a basketball court. In more recent history, we turned it into the patio for all three homes, and until the drat Covid plandemic, was the scene for weekly Community Dinners which drew from far and wide. So ironic, that in a year when the flowers ringing the patio —
— are truly off the charts, except for sunbathing and a private dinner once in a while, the patio sits empty, inviting, and waiting . . .
Notice the Garden Towers in the above two photos. The white one is the original Garden Tower, which did not rotate. The Garden Tower was invented right here in Green Acres when my son Colin lived here, using the old garage, now our main greenhouse, as a workshop. Not surprising given the Covid lockdown, millions of people are beginning to recognize the need for local food and Garden Tower Project orders have accelerated.
And guess what? After many years elsewhere in the community, Colin is moving back in, late August. He’ll take the Air B&B room until January or February, when Dan leaves for his farm tour (it’s his Saturn return, folks, time to move on after five wonderful years!) and Colin will then move back into the Overhill house with me and Annie and the Air B&B will again be available for those who come to Bloomington for a visit, some of whom do like to tour our bustling little Urban Farm.
It’s been twelve very full years, one entire Jupiter cycle of opportunity and expansion, since I bought the second house and decided to hold permaculture workshops on its then boring, but sunny, lawn (now the main garden). That was the beginning, folks. We weren’t even thinking of a village then, just a neighborhood garden. But guess what? Given time, and cultivation, it turns out THEY GO HAND IN HAND.
One thing about this miraculous little place: we are used to change, dramatic change. And during this year of Covid-19 and riots, and who knows what else will come down the pike, if there’s one thing everybody on this planet is learning, it’s that nothing remains the same. Everything changes. And therefore, anything is possible, anything!
So hey, why not change your suburb into a permaculture jungle? Feed yourself and others, get mutual exchanges of energy going. And above all, have fun!
Wake up, folks, it’s time!
Once again, I thank my dear deceased husband, Jeff, whose legacy made possible the ongoing materialization of a vision I and thousands of others across this vast planet have held as one template for an emergent, regenerative permanent culture that values individuality, brings us together at the heart level, and reconnects us to our Teacher and Mother, this beautiful Earth beneath our feet.
Here’s “Saint Jeff’s” altar, at the entrance to the patio . . .