Sunday, October 11, 2009
For those of you who have asked for an update, friends new and old, thank you for your continuing support. In 2008, it became apparent that it was time to move on. Leaving our friends and our straw bale casitas near Tucson, AZ, was hard, but being so far away from family was harder. So, the DAWN SouthWest site in Tucson was sold, with hopes it will continue to serve as a Permaculture demonstration site for sustainability in the desert. Starting a new journey in May, we headed North and West to new adventures, the intent being to spend some time on the west coast, with a family wedding in the works in California and lots of country to explore, while searching for a new home. A temporary new home on wheels (small Casita travel trailer) was picked up in N. CA and we took up a post as campground host in the Redwoods State/National Park, near Crescent City, CA. But Oregon is more central ground between family in CA and in WA. And searching for a new home in OR while living in the Redwoods on each of the "days off" from the campground meant traveling many miles and lots of gas/$$$. So after my daughter's wedding in June in northern California, the dogs and I wound our way back to the Redwoods through the fires to stay another couple of weeks; in July we started our new fulltime search, camping in many places along the Oregon coast and inland in seach of this new home. Beautiful places we found all over the western part of the state for the next few months. But, as it turned out, it was not so easy to find that elusive perfect place. (slideshow on right, click on photo to enlarge and control speed) Finally, in November 2008, with winter upon us, we chose a little house in Sweet Home, OR to begin again. Although it has barely begun, the hope is to renovate this older, conven tional little house into a very energy efficient home; hopes were for a serene space, to start the organic gardens, and to share this experience with others, and, in particular, other women and young people looking for alternatives. Perhaps this could help someone else, when the world seems too daunting and building a home may not be possible, but making an existing one liveable is indeed possible. And the small steps and sense of accomplishment in making it a joy to inhabit can and should be shared. This small site is indeed developing into an"urban homestead"/ permaculture site. All the elements will serve many functions, and each is a part of the design of the “whole site”. We continue to follow the permaculture ethics (live on the Earth with actions that take care of the Earth, and people, and can produce a surplus to share). A conscious effort is made to introduce ways of thinking about the design of an entire site, while building and gardening and conserving water and other resources in any climate. We will continue, using whole site assessment & design, and make every effort to practice sustainable living techniques. Progress has come in surprising forms, from unexpected sources. Some community and rural assistance that exists in the form of no interest loans for some homeowners is making it possible to weatherize the little house, which uses gas and electric to heat and cool for now, but we are hoping to go off the grid in the near future. See photo below of energy saving strategies already in place. Built in 1936 and most recently a rental, no real care had been taken at all in recent years, and certainly none intended to make it energy efficient. Will elaborate as to how this actually manifested itself in future posts.....to be continued. Meantime, we try to continue to work with the things we know how to do (see photos of bread oven, built by the first workshop crew, just before the rains came). Please do check with us for availability of work exchange positions and internships. The workshops are currently supported by volunteers with like interests and feature hands-on building sustainable gardens and structures with (e.g., how to create and use natural paints, plasters and finishes, use of recycled & renewable building materials (earth and straw) and other resources for building beautiful, creative, natural, low-cost extensions of the Earth. ) One of the things we have found is that it is a great way to learn about history and ancient techniques with materials that exist almost anywhere. Since some of these techniques are being lost over generations, it's really rewarding to join the worldwide community of natural builders and permaculturist in bringing bring these ideas back to life for this day and time. For more on this, see Web site: www.caneloproject.com/dawn We hosted and taught our first workshop here in Sweet Home in Oct. 09 here sponsored by the Linn Benton Community College. A dozen or so enthusiastic students helped create a bread oven for baking bread, pizza and meals to save energy and learn about natural building materials > It is hoped that this project will inspire a "round robin" of work parties in the community to create wood fired baking ovens - creating opportunity for delicious food/meals for outdoor gatherings & for those who see the practical use and beauty of building & making life more enjoyable with natural materials. email us at email@example.com for a link to a "movie" of the workshop. To find out the current offerings Click on >www.caneloproject.com/dawn/dawn%20pages/intropermaculture.pdf> Workshops and training will be offered, as well as general "how-to do-it-yourself" information and links to valuable local resources, and materials for building a real home; our efforts will begin with creating a continuing and known source of healthy, organically grown food for our table and to share with others. Special workshops can be organized in advance for groups or upon request. And so it begins again, a little off the beaten path in the beautiful foothills of the central Cascade Range. Working in the gardens, developing an urban "food forest" & projects as described above, which includes the physical work as well as links to many others who do this work on a global scale. We will also be joining in community projects, e.g., Manna Garden for feeding the hungry, Farmer's Markets and starting neighborhood gardens nearby. see blog at http://www.mannamealgarden.blogspot.com/ To contact DAWN NorthWest: Designing Alliances with Nature - Sustainable Living for a Better World J. Joyce, owner and instructor, email: firstname.lastname@example.org Photo below is of improvements to the house, as of 9/1/09 (new roof, solar screens, trellis for shade & growing food plants) Sweet Home is centrally located in Oregon, making it easy access to the metropolitan areas of the Willamette Valley, and also the communities of Eugene & University of Oregon, and Corvallis, OSU. It is less than 2-hours south of Portland, 1-hour northeast of Eugene, only 1-hour southeast of Salem. On the east-west axis, it is 2-hours northwest of Bend and 2-hours east of the Oregon Coast. It's a small town, away from the crowds, but an easy 35 minute jaunt from I-5, & . Sweet Home is at the edge one of Oregon’s most diversified agriculture valleys, allowing a wide variety of specialty crops in the river valley farms, with large networks of food-producing small farmers and growers (see: http://tenriversfoodweb.org/home/ ) For more information on the area see: http://www.co.linn.or.us/visitus/; events and points of interest in area include: Bike Tour of Covered Bridges, Oregon Jamboree and many a food festival. Easy biking/hiking access to some of the best camping, hiking and bicycling opportunities in summers and winter sports in nearby mountains, a little off the main drag and very beautiful. Sweet Home is a small town in Linn County, Oregon, United States. The population was 8,016 at the 2000 census. Sweet Home is often referred to as the Gateway to the Santiam Playground, due to its proximity to nearby lakes, rivers and the Cascade Mountains.