With your host, Category5 and guest writers, Mr. Mythos and Mrs. Logos.
I thought of calling this post, And Then It All Went To Shit, or, Experiencing Technical Difficulties- Please Stand By. We returned to a caretaker that had not caretaken… and we have been at a running pace to pull everything back together before winter hits. No use dwelling on the loss. Just fix it. No Computer. Car is in the shop. etc. At least I got the firewood in over the last week…. Only one song comes to mind.
In the mean time…
I am having two of my friends take over for a post or two. This is just an introduction. We met them a couple years back at a seed sharing event. Turns out they were also preparing for the Crash. No big deal. Lots of people are and few have a realistic plan. What makes them different is how they are doing it, what they have accomplished with very little in the way of funds… and that they just Did many things I would have recommend to people with limited funds. The first thing is the mindset necessary to ditch the society instead of just trying to recreate it in the bush, play at gentleman farmer or fantacy militia wanker. We will have to wait to show off their place since photos need to be taken and edited…which I cant do without a computer…or time.
Lots of people SAY they want to live in nature or build a survival retreat. We call these people the Talkers. Well, Mythos and Logos are DOERS. The proof is in the puddin.
They purchased a 15 thousand $, 100 acre piece of woodlot that was filled with blown down trees. Even loggers would not want this place to clearcut. Through shear determination, they just cut their way in, cleaned it up year by year and built a permaculture homestead with as much recycled material as they could drag in. Lumber was a luxury to be used sparingly. They learned how to get around permits and bylaws. That is a rather important thing. The living space they wintered in was about 12 ft by 10 ft with a homemade tiny stove built of cob. They grew from there, one shed sized out building at a time, while putting in permaculture perennial food plants and doing forest gardening… but I am getting ahead of myself. I guess the best way to introduce them is…
And now for something completely different.
….and thank you Mr.C5! Allow me to introduce myself, Mr. Mythos. Now to all you readers out there I am not a cyber voice of any kind. This rare moment of discourse is some of the only writing I have ever done online. I have used the internet since the late ’90S but never felt compelled to voice anything. Never a comment on any web site, hard to believe, but true.
However, reading Mr.C5’S chronicles, got me motivated. So with much respect and gratitude, I will gladly take the torch and run a mile..
I will begin with a short summation of my story. From day one, a journey of self discovery and my place within the cosmos. From an early age I was an outsider. I was drawn to the great mysteries of existence. My interest in history, culture, music,art, architecture all culminating in a young mind in a tumultuous world. For various reasons my perspectives were on a more esoteric level. I had and continue to have a deep interest in how we got here as people, who we are as individuals, and what makes society. That brings us to those things that also destroy society, and from that point as a young person I was in a state of trepidation. As a response to these insecurities, I was searching for what would offer solace.
The Archetypal homestead was a huge part of my psyche. Security, stability, sustainability, purpose and legacy.
As a rural youth I constructed many shelters. I was always building something in the Forest. In retrospect my rural orientation was the key to my natural design process. When the opportunity of becoming a land owner presented itself, the real natural design process began. My earlier life prepared me for the responsibility of land stewardship.
Prior to my land acquisition, I was a traveler artisan/ musician. Travels in Europe, North America and Central America in more “gypsy” fashion, prepared me again for a very hard reality that , oh wait is reality!!! Shoestring traveling, street busking, street life, hitchhiking, camping, music festivals, rainbow gatherings, and all purpose alt-culture were my foundation. Not perfect, often discredited, but mine. I owned it. Dreads and all. This brings me to the most important thing I will say about anything. That is :”transmutation”. Or my preferred term ” Alchemy “. My development as a self, was a purely Alchemical process. The next most important thing I will ever state is this: what IS your basic philosophy? And the reason is this. Not having any guiding ethic is dire, having one that isn’t even yours is worse. Real hard knocks life accelerates that process of finding out what works for you and your basic lens through which your life is seen. With regards to my rural life, knowing my self and my driving ethos I was prepared for the daunting task of rural homesteading. Thanks to my more holistic perspectives, I had a grasp on the real implication of being cold, alone, sick, injured, broke, alienated all while building your entire reality with limited resources.
This is now a great time to give credit where credit is due. Along the many trails of my life I was fortunate to encounter a very potent philosophy: Permaculture. The fantastic book and visionary work of founders Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. In the most basic sense a “holistic” philosophy. Permaculture philosophy is based on observation. Seems easy, but in today’s hyper distracted world, simple observation is becoming extinct. If you don’t slow down and observe cause and effect then you really are in danger. Well we are folks, seriously.
Observation on both the esoteric and exoteric. As the alchemical adage states; “as above, so below”. And there you go folks. Possibly the most profound concept. Yin and Yang, Zen. Now these things make the hard realities of homesteading come into perspective. From here we will begin a journey IN as much as we step out.
So, as some one who has been doing these things on the land for the last 15 years, I will with Mr. C5’S help, try and offer my best advice and methods for observing and grooving with the Boschian backdrop of the apocalypse. This is just an introduction and now I pass the torch over to my collaborator Mrs. Logos.
Oh hello, Mrs. Logos here, balancing force, muse, and grabber of the torch. Since Mr. Mythos so aptly took a dive into the realms of his past that have created his present, I will take this opportunity to share a little of my own path.
I spent my formative years traipsing through littered streets and riding mechanical snakes through subterranean tunnels, breathing the smog-laden air of one of the largest metropolises on this planet. A place where you are judged first by your shoes and then by your merit. A place where water runs at the turn of a tap and lights turn on at the flick of a switch. Where there was and still is a surprising level humanity and humility beneath all the layers of grime. It was all of this and none of this that brings me to the present moment.
I come from a tight-knit community that worked in garment factories, shined shoes, sold papers on the street, and prize-fought their way up the ladder. And what a ladder they built…three generations later, here is a stack of ladders that no one seems to know how to use. Often, when asked how someone from my background came to be in the spot I am in, my first response is that I married the axe murderer who kidnapped me, a textbook case of Stockholm; my second response is that I am of and from this place, but it is not me. I left the city for the West Coast to attend university, never thinking I would ever return. As the years passed, I had this ever-shrinking ability to cope with the city for any length of time. But, here I find myself bridging two worlds that are at once diametrically opposed to one another and yet still have much to offer one another.
A note on literature, actually a challenge: pick any great classic, ask people about it, see how many people can offer a quote or information beyond what may have been in the first 20 pages.
There is a reason behind this challenge…I am a reader. Sometimes I read fiction, but mostly I read non-fiction trying to cram useful knowledge into my mind so that I can experiment with it at a not so far off later date. Over the years I have picked up quite a few books that you might think are seminal bits on homesteading (The Good Life- Helen and Scott Nearing), Walden (Henry David Thoreau); books that I have heard mentioned time and again, that are on the bookshelves of nearly every idealistic run-to-hills and get back-to-the-land type for well over half a century by this point. I have applied my “first 20 page challenge” in many a discussion, and I have yet to figure out why the reading of books such as these, has lead to such a culture of conformity in and amongst many of my peers. Why do we all have to do the same thing…grow a market garden, drink craft beer, wear a particular set of boots. Is it because that is just how it goes, the lifestyle of it all, or is it because folks can’t get past the first chapter or so without their attention being drawn to social media and positive reinforcement. Well here is something, I got to the end of those books and have some criticism to dish out…for another time.
By now you are probably like “huh, that Mrs. Logos…more like Mrs. Tangent.”
So, back to the intro thing…I studied, learned how to learn, but never had much breathing room to just simply observe. My academic focus was in Anthropology, and the History of Art/Visual Culture; two areas that provide slim pickings in the professional world I was being groomed for. Fields that pretty much would leave me to such uplifting prospects as serving artisanal lattes or walking dogs. Both fine professions…but not so much my cup of 2nd flush reserve Darjeeling black tea, with 2 shots of almond milk, raw honey, and a dash of …well you get the point. As the reality of my future as a poop-scooping, server of bougie beverages came into view, a decision was made…turn all this education into something functional.
Back to my roots again here, one thing that has stood the test of time is the value and honor associated with the pursuit of learning. So I have taken the thirteen years since leaving academia to learn about what I had spent countless hours researching for a grade and nice set of narrative evaluations from my professors. Vernacular architecture, was my point of entry into the world of permaculture and sustainable design. The main question being: how do we live? In order to learn more, I started traveling and building everywhere I went; seeing how people made use of the materials which they had access to. How these spaces were reflective of the social, economic, and cultural realities of their locations. The home, the ultimate form of a site-specific art installation. And, so far as that hierarchy of needs….shelter was my in, but then I was pulled down the proverbial rabbit hole, food and water rapidly became the next topics of study.
With that, I leave you…for a brief introduction became quite a drawn out affair.
All the best and may you find yourself with both feet in a single canoe.
Thank you, Mythos and Logos. More from them later