GOING HOME

Our “old” place — 10 acres          Neighbor’s grazing land         School house where JD taught

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

While we were in Florida we decided to visit the “old place” — the 10 acres JD owned in San Antonio Florida.

Knowing that ‘progress’ is everywhere … reaching into the smallest of towns and changing them forever, we prepared ourselves for seeing new developments replacing open spaces and places we remembered.

However, once off the interstate and onto the little state highway, we began to feel a little hope that the town may still exist as it once did. I spoke aloud my thoughts, wondering if the charming pizza place, post office, or antique gas station I remembered as a child was still there?”

To our delight and surprise, we found that ALL were still there unchanged! It’s impossible to believe that the town hadn’t changed in 20 years. It was as if the place had frozen in time. Memories began to rush back and there were excited exclamations as those old enough to remember living here began to point out places that held a certain recollection for them. It’s amazing how the sight of something can bring up the smallest – even most pointless – memory.

Once we saw that the sleepy ol’ town was still the same, it was off to see the 10 acres. The only noticeable change was the absence of lush citrus groves. Right after we left to move to California, that part of Florida experienced some devastating frosts that destroyed the citrus industry there.  

As we got closer and closer the anticipation began to mount. Finally, we crested the little ridge of road (that was still there too!) and JC spotted the green mobile home trailer some of us called home for years. That’s when the emotion became too much.  Just to be there was sentimental enough, but when ‘home’ was there looking as it always did – wow. There is no words to describe it.

Things had changed a little bit however. Some of the lush trees were missing and it was much more open than it used to be. And JD’s lovely landscaping of beautiful azaleas and other ornamentals were all gone and the yard was no longer maintained as JD had it.

Of course, the new owners did build a modern home with an indoor pool on the acreage but left JD’s self-built honey house and our trailer alone.    We had expected things to be bulldozed and rebuilt to some extent.

The couple that originally purchased the property from us still live there and the lady was kind enough to let us wander around. She told that the neighbors we had are still there
— amazing. “Stevie,” my playmate, whose dad owned a feed store right
across the street (which is still there) lives up the road from his father, she
said.

Stevie and I used to play in the big red barn behind the feed store, climbing up the huge mountain of hay bales and jumping down from them, sometimes landing in a pile of chicken eggs that a hen had stashed away. And we always had to be on guard for the snakes that hid in the hay too.

It was a very emotional experience for all of us. To see the place unchanged was quite remarkable. This was one small town that has staved off progress so far with only a few minor changes and I hope it will remain that way for the next 20 years.


Spring Greens

GARDEN REPORT

The yard is showing signs of full production gardening again. The guys have been busy potting citrus in whiskey barrels and planting fruit trees in the ground that have outgrown their pots. The average temps are slowly warming up, meaning it’s time to plant warm weather crops. The heirloom tomatoes seedlings are up and growing – a little later than last year, considering last year was an abnormally dry winter.

The revisions in the yard are coming together quite nicely. For awhile everything looked pretty pathetic during dormancy, but the changes are slowly taking shape and it’ll be exciting to watch all the new plants fill in. After the major spring plantings, the guys are going to try to focus their efforts on unfinished parts of the yard — driveway and area around the garage.

On Friday, we experienced another sizable rain storm, this one was unusual in that the downpours came in waves. One minute the sun could be shining and the next minute, monsoonal sheets of rain swept in.

In the garden there’s starting to be smatterings of color here and there. The cheery calendulas are blooming as are the rosemary’s stunning sky blue flowers (who’s flowers are a favorite bees hangout)

Spring’s just around the corner! Gardeners all over are ordering seeds and getting prepared …. 

Happy planting everyone!

MOMENT OF SILENCE

We want to pay respects to our dead sourdough starter mix. During all the chaos and the events of life that’s been happening these last two weeks, it passed away; its life cut tragically short by neglect.

R.I.P.

Everyone, please observe a moment of silence for our dearly departed…. Alright, that’s enough.

Rachel Bruhnke speaks about Cuba

CUBA COMES TO PATH TO FREEDOM

Nearly 100 enthusiastic people attended Saturday evening’s event with special guest Rachel Bruhnke (formerly withGlobal Exchange)— it was our biggest event yet!!

We couldn’t possibly hold all the people in our small garage (max attendance capacity being about 60). But fortunately, there is a private school right across the street and we were able to rent their spacious community room.

Thanks to all who contributed their help to make this event successful and to Rachel for sharing her insightful views of the little island neighbor to the south.

THE GREEN REVOLUTION

What can we learn from this tiny island to the south that is considered by many to be a “third-world” society? Plenty! Because of their response to the dire situation imposed upon them by the Embargo, the Cubans have been praised for being the number one country in the world for their sustainable practices by the United Nations.

“With 80% of the food grown organically in or around metro areas by regional co-ops, using animals as workforce, mules and oxen, will make Cuba a virtual paradise compared to the collapse of the western agriculture after peak oil.” ~ Michael C. Ruppert, From the Wilderness ~

With global attention fixed on the looming oil crises and environmental issues, we as individuals are faced with finding new ways to deal with our ever-changing world.

Cuba has adapted for the better in the wake of the strangling US-Cuba embargo. Cut off from trade by the United States, in 1993 Cuba lost its critical oil imports from the Soviet Union almost overnight. The country had to learn to do without it, and today has lessons for the rest of the world about how it can be done.

On Saturday, March 5th, Path to Freedom will be hosting a Film Screening of ‘The Greening of Cuba’ and Open Discussion Seminar with guest speaker, Rachel Bruhnke on Cuba’s Green Revolution. Learn how this small country defied the odds and what lessons could be taken from their experience with an agrarian, low energy, cooperative lifestyle.

The Greening of Cuba’ video profiles Cuban farmers and scientists working to reinvent a sustainable agriculture, based on ecological principles and local knowledge rather than imported agricultural inputs. In their quest for self sufficiency, Cubans combine time-tested traditional methods with cutting edge bio-technology.

GUEST SPEAKER’S BACKGROUND: Rachel Bruhnke received a Masters of Science Degree in 2001 in Environmental Systems Engineering for her research on renewable energy policy in Cuba. Subsequently, she directed the Eco Cuba Exchange program at the NGO Global Exchange (www.globalexchange.org), based in San Francisco, California.

The program linked US and Cuba professionals in the areas of sustainable management of natural resources and environmental protection. Ms. Bruhnke was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras for 3 years, has studied and worked in Peru, Ecuador and Costa Rica, and has traveled extensively through Latin America. She also holds a bilingual elementary teaching credential and is the mother of a Cuban American daughter. Ms. Bruhnke is currently working toward a PhD from the University of Havana, Cuba, researching the potential for US-Cuba trade in the environmental marketplace.
 

ORGANIC STYLE

In the postal mail this week, we received a complimentary copy ofOrganic Style Magazine’s April edition which features photos of our edible front yard. The article is titled “A GRASSLESS SOCIETY” (p. 79) and features four different front yard examples: a ‘path garden’, a ‘cactus garden’, a ‘shade garden’ and ours — the ‘edible garden.’   Yep, there we are — stuck amongst the snazzy examples of yards in of Santa Monica and Los Angeles is our humble little craftsman’s home.

Emily Young, the article’s author, had contacted us back in early 2004 and came out to visit and snap a few pictures. She had been instructed by Organic Style’s editors to find examples of yards that have alternatives to lawns. Well, we were one of dozens submitted to the review of Organic Style’s editors so we were feeling rather iffy of our chances to make it into the magazine. We didn’t expect to hear from them again.

But several months later, Ms. Young contacted us to tell us that the editors were really impressed by our yard and we were the final example selected to represent the edible front yard in full, glossy color. They had the magazine photo shoot in June 2004 when the yard was at its height of beauty.

Thanks to Emily Young for her work and beautiful article and to Organic Style for bringing alternatives to lawns to attention of others.

However, we have to point out a small correction in the article. For the photo caption which reads “African Blue Basil”, it should be “Quail Grass”. Whoops!

Weather Report: Sunny and warm

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