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Showing posts from 2007

Intention

"Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, reimagine, and reconsider." --Paul Hawken

Ethical IntentionThe three statements of ethical intention for the practice of permaculture are:We set limits to consumption by taking only what we need, and by governing our own needs so that resources are set aside for Earth and others. The ethical intention is a statement of our most significant primary relationships and in some sense, what “right” or “good” relationship can be. The ethical intention of permaculture is the conscious dream or the desired fruit of our work. We imagine the world as we would like it to be.
Underlying this deepest intention of permaculture, is a personal decision or commitment to take responsibility for our own existence and that of future generations.
This decision is profound, and by making it, we find inner resources and give ourselves permission t…

Healing

Thanks so much to all who have supported me in my grief process in whatever ways i have asked of you. There are some who expect me to be okay by now.... I'm really not, and I do not know when I will be. What I know is that healing will take more time than I could have imagined and I will never be the same as I was before. I need time and space to heal --sometimes it helps to withdraw from social events, sometimes work and activity is a balm. Grief catches me by surprise on most days.

Your kindness is a lifeline, each gesture a gift.

Thank you

Good Good Food

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In the last 24 hours, I chose meals that were locally grown--all grown almost entirely from my own farm and garden.

Yesterday, I ate "farm-grown fast food" for dinner: 2 giant freestone peaches off my peach tree, a handful of cherry tomatoes off my tomato vines, a bunch of grapes off my grape vines and a sparkling glass of mint-ice water using the mint from my herb garden.

This morning for breakfast: A scramble--a sliced zuchinni from the garden sauteed in locally-produced olive oil with two farm fresh eggs (produced by my chickens), seasoned with chives and basil.

For lunch today I am having some more grapes, and a fresh tomato salad with walnuts and an herb vinagrette. And for dessert: some of Sky Hoyt's local strawberry sorbet.

In our country, food travels, on average, 1500 miles from producer to table, requiring huge amounts of fossil fuels both to grow it and deliver it. Most of THIS food traveled less than 100 feet. And I guarantee it tastes a lot better.

Everything …

Roots of the Tree

Permaculture Root Practices:

Root practices are a way to approach design.  They are also good practice for problem-solving.
Here are the three root practices in permaculture:

(1) THOUGHTFUL AND PROTRACTED OBSERVATION

Observation that takes place over an extended period of time with thoughtful intention to our interaction with elemental forces, patterns and cycles of the natural world.

(2) START SMALL THEN EXPAND

Avoid unrecoverable regrettable major errors by testing and small scale implementation first. Implement in phases and with the understandings of your actions. being aware of scale and scope of a project. Remember that every action causes a reaction.

(3) WHOLE SYSTEMS THINKING

Everything is connected to everything else in some way, shape or form.


Credit: Above based upon a Permaculture Document compiled by Benjamin Fahrer

Natural building. continued...

We are still in the process of building a small demonstration cottage from cob (monolithic adobe) and strawbales. Here is a pictorial chronicle of the progress so far. Enjoy:

Buy Local Food

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We already know how important it is to shop locally. And by buying local food, we support our farmers and economy right where we live! So why not pledge to buy a portion of your food locally?

If you are interested in taking a local food pledge , pledging to eat at least 1 pound a week from local sources, then visit this link:



As an added incentive: by signing up, you could win a prize! For example, the top prize of $6000 worth of landscaping would plant a great garden. (If you win that prize, and don't have room for a garden, let me know and I am sure we can help you find a fledgling community group that could use the help.)

If you live in lake County, to help you meet your 1 pound a week commitment, I have posted some ideas from Lakefuture members on the LakeFuture website

Remembering Renee

The loss of Renee is profound. My grief: deeper than words... As I attempt to share a glimpse of what is in my heart at any moment, I realize that the whole of it is too much to describe. How does one sum up such all-encompassing love? Ours was an unlikely and magical and sometimes infuriating love story. We companioned each other through fourteen years of raising children, joys, devastation, transformation, heartbreaks and triumphs. We ended more in love than we began.

Now I carry on alone. I am filled with awe and gratitude for this amazing gift of Renee (renewal) in my life, mindful that her love changed me, strengthened me and is more than enough to sustain me, even now. Her final gift, saying goodbye, has set in motion a new process of transformation.

Here is a slideshow of recent photographs:

Renee is at Peace

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Renee died very peacefully this evening at 8:44pm Thanks to all for
your love and prayers as we send her on her way.

In love and gratitude,

Denise

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Below is her obituary and here is a brief clip of Renee's own thoughts on death and dying...




OBITUARY

Renee Shields

Born: March 11. 1944 Died: May 12, 2007

Renee Shields, resident and teacher in Upper Lake, CA, died on May 12, 2007 from cancer. She was 63 years old.

Renee was born Lorraine Gail Shields, in Merced, California on March 11, 1944. She entered religious life as a Sister of the Holy Family in 1963, taking the name Sister Mary Renee, and remained in religious life for 30 years. She left the convent and entered into a committed partnership with Denise Rushing in 1993 and helped raise two children: Brian Rushing, now 24, and Teresa Rushing, now 22.

Renee taught Special Education at Upper Lake High School and was a licensed family counselor. She held two Masters Degrees: One in counseling fr…

For Renee, I need....

Renee has been more than 5 days without water, just shallow breathing and no change in vital signs.... this is wearing on her body, on me and everyone near... she is so close to death, but not letting go.
So, I need your help...-------------------------
THE DREAM.
Renee visited one of our Renee-care group in a dream last night. In
the dream, a room full of people were drumming for Renee. Renee came to her and said "tell them to stop the drumming, they need to let me go, I cannot go while they keep drumming" but the drumming continued. Renee asked her to make them stop, but the dreamer was powerless to stop it.

--------------------------So, what is "the drumming?" Perhaps it represents everyone's worries and concerns about me and those she is leaving behind? Or perhaps it represents wishes and thoughts for her to regain health? (Or maybe someone is really drumming?)Here is what I need you to do: Turn your thoughts from any worrying about me, or …

Hours...

It is surreal here at this hour. Renee's breathing is shallow and changing. Her heart rate is up even more, she is still hanging on, even though she hasn't been able to drink water for more than four days.
We are present to her, here and now. Powerless to stop death, we simply work on small comforts... repositioning her body, moistening her mouth, applying lip balm, massaging her feet with lotion..... and whispering goodbye.Please know that your words and ongoing acts of love and support have been a great comfort, sustaining us even now.In gratitude,Denise

Just days...

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Renee and I have been together for fourteen years. She is so ill now that she can no longer speak and she has only a few days left to live. I, for once, am without words...

...except to say that the time seems to have passed in an instant.



Here she is in the kitchen just a few short weeks ago.

Letting Go

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During the campaign, Renee aquired a puppy. I bonded with this little dog --"Star." She could have just as easily been named "Joy" for the delight she brought to our home.

We now find Star SO energetic that we needed to give her a new home during this time. To me, letting go of this little dog carries with it a great sadness--I suppose that she represents how much letting go is happening right now. So I thought I would share a few photos...





May 2007 UPDATE:
Star came back to us. I got a call--she was found 40 miles from her new home, and she still had our license tags on her, so those that found her called ME. When I went to pick her up, she fell asleep in my arms--it was like she was trying to make her way home. I see this as a sign! The new owners say its okay--I plan to keep her after all.

Gratitude, Part 2

This past month gratitude entered with an even greater poignancy and depth for me. News arrived with a clarity and force that shook my reality: my partner and soulmate of 14 years has been diagnosed with advanced terminal cancer. Suddenly, our world has changed. Whatever our personal plans were, they have evaporated and life is now grounded in the day-to-day.

Gratitude.

I am even more mindful that each day, each hour, that passes is a gift. I am filled with gratitude for the time we have been given, for a special love, and for a life-giving friendship. I hold a deep admiration for Renee’s grace and courage, and for her astounding acceptance and trust, even as she faces the great abyss of her own death. That she has been part of my life can only be described as a grand miracle, one to which I still pause in amazement.

Many of us watch those we love face their own brave journey with this horrible disease and we all watch it play out, powerless in the face of its progress, taking our mother…