Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter & Earthships

winter and earthships

Winter: it's been snowing all day, a tiny granulated snow, like white sand falling and accumulating everywhere.  For a day when no snow was predicted, three inches is quite surprising.  The garden is all covered in thick  lumpy whiteness, the railing of the deck, and the even thinner railing down the deck stairs has a tall thin line of white rising from it.  All is silent in the house, the kids are at their moms restaurant making holiday cookies, the cats are sleeping somewhere, I am assuming they are in Sage's room which is the default cat room since she is here the least of us all, everyone else is silent, and since I  and  Raven are the only ones who meditate I'm assuming that they are snugged up in their rooms reading.

Through the kitchen windows I can see the studio blanketed with snow, I want to go out there, but it would be real cold, and I have only a few hours before I must attempt to get to work so I'd rather not waste the firewood.  There is a nice bottle of wine from  Argentina gifted to me recently, but alas, there isn't time for such a Dionysian pleasure today.   Smoke is rising into a sky as white as the snow on the ground from the few chimneys I can see.   Little winter birds are hopping about in the shelter of the cedar.  A few stubborn leaves hang brownly to the tiny twiggy branches of the oak trees. 

The snow has slowed time and it is a silent, timeless space, a serene blank page for the mind to rest in.  

There are small tracks in the snow on the roof of the carriage house and stables which adjoin the studio.  Probably squirrel, possibly cat or perhaps something more magical.

I have made myself some quinoa with edamame and shitake mushrooms, added a bit of curry powder, cinnamon, thyme (it was handy and always goes well with foresty mushroomses) and several squirts of Braggs liquid aminos.   I'd sprinkle on a tablespoon of nutritional yeast but the little ceramic pot which is its usual home seems to be empty.  I think this would be good together with cauliflower and put in a pan casserole style with a good helping of cheese (well, for me, it would be Soy Sation shredded mozzarella style cheese alternative) and baked till golden.

I have been working out a few earthship designs (two primarily) which I am intending to begin Phase I of next spring.  

The first is "The Pod" in which I am trying to create the most simple and basic space to meet the most simple and basic needs. "The Pod" initial purpose will be to provide shelter and create a peaceable place away from the elements (which include coyotes, rattlesnakes and scorpions) onsite while I work on the next main earthship which will be a larger earthship.  "The Pod" will be one room, (or is it one room with a loft, or no is it one room with hookups for several hammocks . . .you see my dilema ), but round or a classic earthship "U", 10x10 or 12x12.  I am debating about a storage area for supplies, as well as a simple small room to house a composting toilet.  The debate is over whether to go extremely stripped down on "The Pod" or have a modicum of toilet privacy and storage room (perhaps some shelving would suffice.)  After serving it's purpose during the construction phase of the next larger earthship it will then become a shelter for someone else to utilize while they build their main earthship or as a guest house or as a meditation/art studio/love-nest/private get-away space.

The next is structure will be Earthship "Serenity".  Earthship "Serenity" will be larger and able to accommodate several people comfortably.  I am debating whether "Serenity" will have the full scale rain harvesting with internal hydro system for interior use or simply rain harvesting to be used in exterior landscaping and greenhouse.  In the beginning I may even simply build a structure I have named a "LifeWell" which is a separate stand-alone structure, a simple cylindrical structure housing a cistern with a rain-catchment roof and drip lines feeding into its skirt of surrounding planter cells for gardening and/or drip lines out to several miniature fruit trees. 

Part of me wants "Serenity" to be a larger structure with several rooms (living, kitchen, storage, bathroom although I personally want a bath tub in my bedroom maybe in the planter bed right by the window, an maybe a couple more bedrooms for family and guests), rain harvesting system and all the comforts of home, well, if you're a simple and mindful, spiritual liberal hippie hobbit type anyway.  One who not only  doesn't mind, but actually holds a reverence for things like solar gain combined with thermal mass, harvesting  rainwater and using it several times over throughout the houses biology (yes earthships have a, ARE a biological system), composting and growing, cooking, cleaning, creating your own whatever.  A simple life, a life from scratch . . . anyway, I digress. 

Another part of me wants it to only be one large room with living and kitchen space, a bath room, a storage room and a large loft space for bedroom space, more like what you think of when you think of someone's family cabin or A-frame cabin.

I watched a movie called 2012: The Odyssey which has some very good ways to look at the changes we are going through as individuals, as humanity, and as a planet.  It was very inspirational and has really motivated me to continue my work in earnest towards changing my mind and body and energy and lifestyle to be more in tune, in line and in alignment with nature as an advanced spiritual human.  I intend to be living a very in-tune and simple, peaceful and serene, DIY life of physical and spiritual liberation in the coming years.  I intend to be ready to live without an infrastructure, and be self-sufficient.  

I envision a life with no heating or cooling bill, no water or electricity bill, no mortgage.  I will grow much of my own produce, some in "Serenity" or its attached greenhouse front and some in fields around me.  I have been thinking about a large quinoa crop.  Quinoa is an ancient grain of the Americas and is the only known grain which is a complete protein.  So, you have an indigenous food source, a delicious and versatile complete protein to create a healthy meat-free diet with.  It can be dried and stored like any other grain.  This could be grown in organic biodynamic rotation with other food crops.  

I also envision some animals such as chickens for eggs and fertilizer high in nitrogen to compost and most likely some alpaca for their wool as well as their fertilizer.  This wool can be utilized or sold in each of its many stages;  raw, spun into thread or yarn, made into hats, mittens, scarves, coats, blankets, shawls, shirts, pants, curtains, rugs, tapestries, art, pillows and cushions . . . you get the picture.

Due to the deer and elk of the area, I sometimes even envision that some garden space could be actually contained within a tall straw bale and adobe plastered wall, with a garden gate and all.  But this wouldn't be needed for simple fields of quinoa or other crop acreage, just the juicy tasty produce, but then again most of that should be grown in the greenhouse really, for security, convenience and efficiency.         

I have toyed with the idea of continuing to build small earthship units like "The Pod" on the land as well, and create a meditational retreat type facility.  This would be a good use of the land toward creating a serene sacred space for the advancement of human consciousness expansion, peace and understanding.

Or perhaps these smaller units could house others who have like-mindedly joined in the idea of living this way and are investing their time and energy into a means by which the vision will expand and grow and achieve greater and greater forms of expression.   There are many out there who want to stop living with dead time, leave the soulless corporate world of greed and pollution, slavery and usury to engage in a path with heart where one can live a life of purpose and intention in peace and reap the benefits of their labor, of all they sow and grow rich in a true form of prosperity.


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