Ragweed at The Farm

June 28th- July 5th –

RagweedRAGWEED!!!! The yearly family reunion for The Farm! I was given the opportunity to experience this exclusive festival. I have been told many times that it is sort of a big deal for a person that has only been here for two months to be accepted into this gathering. For the most part only current/former farmys or family of these farmys are invited and the gates are close to the rest of the public. Farmys from around the nation come together for almost five days of loving life.

It all started on a Wednesday afternoon. The Farm’s newest performing troupe Moonshine Boheme was to kick of this festival with two showing of their awesome performance. I was asked to help with the event.  I was asked if I was able to operate a camera and film the acts. I of course agreed and filmed two practice runs two days before to get use to everything.

MoonshineBohemeTheir acts were original and triggers a wide range of emotions from the viewers. It was simply a work of art with a warm homey feel to it. They did a great job at being imperfectly perfect. After this the last show was done, the vibes were to be moved to the Green Dragon (the ETC’s iconic natural building that has been worked on and is continuing to be worked on by apprentices) where The Farm Brewery Co Op was to host the Moonshine Boheme after party. It was tons of fun. Good music, hard laughs, and deep intellectual conversations. I didn’t stay up to late and found myself getting some good sleep in preparation for the coming days.

I woke up well rested and began my shift that i agreed to do during the days of Ragweed for the hostel. It was simple, just general maintenance from the increased traffic flow. I polished things off at the hostel then took some time to myself until the Plenty Reception. This was a lovely potluck and viewing of a wonderful slideshow about Plenty. Founded by The Farm cooperative in 1974, Plenty International is a not-for-profit 501-c-3 organization that was created to help protect and share the world’s abundance and knowledge for the benefit of all. Plenty supports economic self-sufficiency, cultural integrity and environmental responsibility in partnership with families, community groups and other organizations in Central America, the U.S., the Caribbean, and Africa.

Ragweed6We had left just in time to catch up with everybody at the head of the roads to meet up for the beginning of the PORT-A-PARTY! There was to be around fifty golf carts following a tractor pulling a trailer/DJ Dance floor. We were all to follow this moving Dance floor and create a port-a-party at three locations around The Farm. A once silent and empty place transformed into a raging ragweed party in a matter of minutes! I really enjoyed myself. At one point i remember riding with ETC team leader and she asked me if i could take over driving so she can jump out and run over to our friends cart in front of us. I was so ready for the stunt, this is right up my alley. She leaped out and took off as I grabbed the wheel and began to work my golf cart skills. Fun stuff that was.

Ragweed4I loved seeing all the families and especially the children run around playing. It was a warm sight to see this being family orientated and the adults were still able to enjoy themselves. The port-a-party ended at the community center. Where there was a DJ that was from the farm but moved to miami and bult a pretty good reputation of himself as a DJ there. I danced for a while then retreated to my domain for my slumber.

Friday morning I payed my dues. This festival was a 40 dollar ticket for outsiders and even farmys had to pay 20 bucks for their ticket. There was also some volunteering that was available that would pay for the ticket. So the universe gave me the opportunity to be a spotter at the swimming hole to help the life guards with the increased traffic of people. All I had to do was sit there for 4 hours scanning the area.

I went back to the ETC to get ready for the night full of live music. I arrived at the community center where they were having the music just in time for the first set. I ended up going to bed early that night. I had been real tired that day.

RisingApalachiaSaturday was the big day for the main musical event where Rising Appalachia was headlining. The first band called AZA band played first. It was a the percussion member of the headline band. He was actually raised on the farm and I had a chance to meet him. A true musical genius with a heart full of light and love. Him and their African friends that they had brought on tour with another bass drum player put on a show to open things up. They use very exotic African instruments. Some they even made themselves. It was just what I needed to hear. R.A. was awesome. They are really talented, and activists as well. Using their music as their activism is what they said. A truly great thing that could reach a lot of people.

The night took a amazing turn for the better. I had started to get more comfortable with my surroundings later on and began to let loose on the dance floor. “You animal” is what one person told me, and “it looks like you were really getting in touch with spirit and releasing” is what another person told me after the fact. I danced until the sun came up. Drenched in sweat I went to grab my well earned biscuits and gravy that they were serving to all the people that managed to stay up that long.

Ragweed1Then the AZA band performer spontaneously gathered near by humans to connect in a huge circle holding hang. We shared thus space with each other for some time then AZA man started to coil up his end of the circle. Which resulted in everyone coming together in a massive group hug! We were all bilssing out absorbing all the love that was being shared. It was a surreal moment of authentic expression. I went back to my domain to shower and sleep half the day off.

Sunday was a day of recovery and relaxing. Though there was still a afterglow party that night, everyone was pooped. I chilled most if the day and with to this get together for a short time. I then went back to cook me dinner and catch up on my sleep.

Ragweed was full of connecting with this land in a much higher degree. I believe I utilized this once and a life time opportunity to its fullest. Connections were made, love was given, and memories were created.

Eyes of a Child

June 21st-27th 2016

Child11I couldn’t be more satisfied with the week that has passed by. There has been transitions taking place within the community here. The apprentices have graduated from their permaculture design course. A wonderful celebration was organized for their graduation. We were presented with a lovely slideshow of their history here followed by a potluck dinner.

The moments of time shared there that night will last forever. Shifts were definitely taking place the next day as the apprentices were preparing to depart. Love, hugs, gratitude, and contact information were exchanged before most of them left. I have decided to stay here until the weekend after the 4th of July. So I must maintain a constant positive momentum within myself in order to continue thriving here.

This family reunion (Ragweed festival) is coming up fast. In a few days there will be hundreds of people showing up to celebrate their beloved community. I can not express enough how honored i am to be invited to such a exclusive festival. We need to prepare for the increased flow of traffic here at the center. I’m doing my part in getting the space in order for the guests. I have a feeling that this gathering will serve as a great networking opportunity. I’m really looking forward to the connections I will make and the love I will share.

Child8I’m getting to spend more time working by myself. Which is well timed. The universe provided me some time by myself to reflect on many things. These next few days will be the calm before the storm. I will enjoy staying ever so present. To help guide me, I’m sharing space with a newborn creature. It is a baby chicken, and i can’t help but stop and stare every time i see the mother and chick out exploring. Such a pleasant feeling runs through my body when i am present with them. To see such a pure being discovering life around them. I believe this is the same for all other creatures including humans.

Our state of being in those stages of life are ones of purity. We have not yet been subject to any social, mental, or physical conditioning from our environment. I believe we are products of our environment. Since they have not been influenced for many years, I believe that when we are newborns and young children, we are closer to our natural state of being. Point being, I have always learned a great deal about life through the eyes of a child. Listening to them, being taught by them, treating them as if they were a adult. Ask them questions about what they think, or hows does it make them feel, how would you benefit from this situation, have deep intellectual conversations with your child. Being able to give the youth the opportunity to hold space for themselves as a teacher, is one of the greatest gifts you can give.

ReflectionsI will conclude with a quote from Marcus Acrelius that I found in one of the bus/accommodations that I was cleaning in preparation for Ragweed.

“A man’s true greatness lies in the consciousness of and honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on frequent self-examinations and a steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right, without troubling himself about what others may think or say, or whether they do or do not do that which he thinks and says or does.”

Pre-Solstice Week

Working1This weekend we had a natural building workshop. My buddy the growing fire intern got to perform his personal project, in which he took control and led us on a interactive plastering demo. I loved it. Something about troweling plaster puts me in zen mode.

Child5Early this week we had some young kids come to the ETC for KTC (kids to the country). This is a program here where kids from local areas and even bigger cities get to come to The Farm to experience what it is like here, and be able to grow a appreciation for nature. I love the idea of re-wilding our children to get them in touch with our roots. They got to play with Cobb and plaster. They came again the day after where one of the other interns got to do her personal project. She created this interactive game for the children to play. It was a delightful game where they learned the importance of bees and pollination. They made seed balls with biochar, clay, and seeds. All this was super valuable information for children their ages in my opinion.

The community here has expressed how much they appreciate me and all that I do. They have told me a couple times that they don’t want me to leave. That’s how I want my relationship with every community I go to. I want to leave a lasting positive impression and impact on everyone I come in contact with.

Later in the week I got to assist this farmy who had been here during the original days of the farm. He is a master carpenter with a awesome attitude. We got along great as I helped him prepare to frame some doorways in the Prancing Poet. After that I got a call from the sweet potato farmy. He needed some help unloading a trailer full of manure. Unfortunately a storm hit shortly after I got off the phone with him. So I waited for it to calm down then I rode my bike to his garden by the food forest.

Work3The trailer was much bigger than I expected it to be. So I put on some music and began to tear up that cow poo. It took me two hours to empty the trailer and level the pile out. I was really worn out when I came back to the center. I took a shower then immediately passed out.

The next day was very eventful. I stained some more wood with the walnut Brew for tomorrow’s door framing, then I began to help the interns install a biofilter for a grey water system that was for one of the cabins. This was one of the interns personal projects, and she was in charge of the whole thing. She is doing a great job at being in control of this project.

We had lunch then we went back to work on the biofilter. We needed small river rocks for the wetland. So me and the team leader got on some bicycles and the others got on a golf cart with buckets to go down by the swimming hole to harvest some river stones. When we got there we decided to take a dip in the swimming hole before going to collect stones. This was the hottest day on record for the year. So you could imagine the pure bliss of the water. It was just what we needed to go and embark on the stone gathering mission. We got what we needed then we headed back. We applied the stones and called it a day. I got some food in my belly and a good book by my side. Everything is flowing smoothly for me, and that’s the way I will keep it.