Woolley Mammoth: Part Two

     In Part 1 of our profile of the Woolley Mammoth community, we discussed how folks come to live in intentional communities and how the Woolley Mammoth community is evolving. We continue our discussion about individual roles and decision-making at Woolley.

PRH:  What is expected of a person to live at Woolley?

Corianne: Our main expectations are for people to be open to learning and unlearning, be honest and practice the concept of leaving a place better when you leave it than when you found it and, to be a good fit in our pretty mellow, yet sometimes busy home.
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Attracting back-yard Birds, gets you friends with benefits.

Seeding, fertilizing, pest and weed control, have you got a list of garden chores ahead of you in the coming year a mile long (and it’s still not even spring yet). If you think work’s “for the birds” well maybe you could make it just that. This year invite some songbirds into the yard and spend more time enjoying your time by getting some “friends with benefits”.

See birds are diligent workers in one way or another and different birds do different things diligently. This can sometimes be used to the gardeners advantage. For instance Continue reading

Woolley Mammoth: Part One

     In the interest of showing that there are many roads to your homesteading or farming dream, we’re profiling folks who are living the life and learning the lessons.  If we can give enough examples, maybe something will inspire or help you along.

     This time, we meet with members of Woolley Mammoth, an intentional community in Washington.

–Mike (PRH)

The McMansion is the status symbol of choice for most aspiring 1 Percenters. Monstrous homes, thrown up in a hurry with a mixture of stone, brick, cheap labor, and pine, they’ve come to encapsulate all the excess of the early 21st century. Home movie theaters, gigantic kitchens where no one cooks, bedroom suites for toddlers, swimming pools, and his/hers bathrooms and showers with an array of nozzles to hit every crevice you forgot you had. All on a quarter acre lot in a subdivision filled with more McMansions. Communities that say, “We made it. We are free (ahem),” from behind the security of an electronic gate.
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Dirt, From the Ground Up

For most of us, winter has officially taken hold of the garden.  If you are like me, you occasionally sit by the window on frosty mornings peering out at seemingly empty spaces. Thoughts and daydreams fill the mind: sprawling vines, towering sunflowers, baskets of fresh picked fruits and veggies, waves of colorful flowers enhanced by fluttering butterflies, birds and bees. You comb over seed catalogs, draft planning designs,
determined to make a showing that would leave Martha Stewart without words.  Now just for a moment, let’s put those catalogs and plans aside.  Go back to the window and look.  What do you see?  A blanket of snow?  Remaining mulch from the year that has gone by?  Or just bare dirt?  If you gaze upon the latter, this article is especially for you.

A lot of people see dirt as just that: “dirt”. In my fifteen years of working as a professional gardener, I’ve found the least understood aspect of my clients’ gardens to be the ground below their feet. The earthen ground seems benign and indestructible to many people.   If you’re looking out the window at cleanly raked, bare soil this winter, then you are likely doing the land a disservice.  If you want to make those dreams of garden grandeur come true, then this year: start from the ground up.
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“Ralph Borsodi’s Principles for Homesteaders” by Mildred J. Loomis

This piece was originally published in Land & Liberty, November-December 1978.

RALPH BORSODI (1886-1977) was the author of 13 books and 10 research studies. He was also physically active, a productive homesteader and a real doer who practiced what he preached. He experimented and implemented on many levels-from good nutrition, through building his own home and garden; weaving his clothes and furnishings; organizing experimental small communities, a School of Living for a new adult education, and developing new social institutions-the Community Land Trust and a non-inflationary currency, which he called Constants.

No one of today’s specialty-labels encompass Ralph Borsodi. I am pushed to use more general and abstract terms-decentralist, liberator and human benefactor. This article will concentrate on his efforts to implement the community-use of socially-created values in land as part of his plan to encourage people to leave cities for more rural living.
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