The Latest and The Land

So much of my energy this past year has been consumed by inner challenges and establishing a loving home for myself out of the partially-built, neglected remains of previous owners. But it feels like this coming year is going to hold some new energies. The big dose of truth I received in November seems to be humbling me emotionally. I spent the last two months feeling all kinds of painful emotions. And it seems that some unloving spirits around me were enjoying my long history of openness to attack—dropping one negative, attacking thought into my mind after another. I even got to where I felt that I was going completely insane—desperately lost and confused.

Its been a rough time, but I let myself feel a chunk of it, with mountains more to go. It helped to keep reminding myself of two things related to God: 1) the faith that, even though I don’t feel it much lately, God loves me deeply and is guiding me towards Love and Truth, and 2) the faith that even though my prayers are tainted by errors in my soul, God knows my underlying desire is to one day be free of errors and align fully with God.

A few weeks ago, I said to God, “Ok, so my longings for you (prayer) are filled with addiction. (Otherwise I would be feeling God’s love and truth in response to prayer). Can you show me the error?”

A flood of emotions came up around how much I desperately, obsessively want approval and care from my dad (and therefor projecting that demand onto all men). I stayed with the pain as long as I felt a genuine desire to feel it. (I have a tendency to push myself against my will, so I am learning to let myself stop when I feel the pushing begin). I will keep working on the many facets to this issue, as I feel it is a major root of the inter-gender emotions Jesus pointed out to me and one of my biggest blocks to God.

Staying focused on blocks to God, and opening to experiencing the sin in me feels really important. The feedback from Jesus and Mary has helped me to be more honest with God in this process. And honesty is essential for God to be able to show me truth about myself, so my soul can heal.

So that’s a glimps of the inner stuff. Some of the outer things are more clearly coming together, and all of it feels better as we come out of the darkness and cold of winter and back into the light and growth of Spring…

My house is becoming more supportive to my well being, and feels more like a home. I now have most of the modern amenities I have been longing for all year: a flush toilet, a hot shower, solar power, rainwater catchment, my beautiful new kitchen,

insulation, fireplace and fuel for a cosy winter, clothes washing machine, refrigeration, and I even finished sandstone floors!

So now that these wonderful, never-to-be-taken-for-granted-again modern amenities are in place, I am starting to think about the land. I have been taking many walks on the land to become more familiar with it and get a sense of what I can do to help God return its vitality. I am contemplating hosting workshops on erosion issues and holding water on the land. I had two big loads of organic matter delivered for future compost and mulch, and there will be many more to come:

And I want to bring some changes to this blog/website as well. I am thinking of creating new pages to make it more informative. (It may take me some time to learn how to do that, so bear with me.) On these pages, I can add information like videos, articles and links that I specifically find supportive to both my inner spiritual work as well as activities related to the restoration of this land and the creation of a loving, efficient, self-responsible lifestyle. A photo gallery of the current state of the land, its critters, and its plant life will be showing up eventually.

As you may have noticed my last post was simply a video that I thought had some useful information about how important deciduous trees are to restoring soil and therefor the ecology of the land. It was centered around the home garden, but really I want to bring more and more deciduous trees to this property. When I arrived here there were…none! I have since planted three—all near my Watson Wick septic system (a whole other subject in itself). There are only a few shrubs here that are deciduous either. So there is almost no leaf matter to help the soil. I would really like to see that change.

But there are steps that I need to take before planting trees can happen. The biggest one is improving the water holding capacity of this land so it can support new species of trees and plants as well as animals. That will need to be done with some earthworks like:
1. seep ponds (that only hold water for a short time),
2. swales (on-contour ditches that slow and spread the water),
3. soil sponge ladders in the gullies (straw bales arranged across gullies to slow and absorb monsoon flows and ease erosion)
4. rock dams (again to slow and spread water and ease erosion during monsoons)

Yet before all that, I want to have some kind of a plan. I want to gain clarity on what I want to do here, brainstorm how I might do it, assess the assets and issues I have, and create a basic, though flexible design to fit that future. I want to have a schematic of where I want roads, buildings and earthworks to go before I start digging trenches or planting trees.

An opportunity for that came in perfect timing. Geoff Lawton, an Australian, who I feel is one of the world’s leading teachers of land restoration and ecological systems, was offering a 20 week Permaculture design course over the internet. It started the last week of December, and I enrolled. And it is hugely informative. He is such a gold mine of knowledge about nature. I love that many of the methods he teaches about land restoration are the same kinds of things Jesus has taught over the years during ‘Environmental Days’ at the Cushni Learning Center in Australia. And even the Permaculture Foundation Principles beautifully reflect the Foundation Principles of God’s Laws that Jesus only recently spoke of at the Education in Love Series: Love and Truth, Life and Development, Economy and Function, Permanence, and Scope. Truth has a way of revealing itself—if we desire to know it.

So if I come across any videos or articles or good reminders that strike me as interesting, and are related to what I am doing here, I will put them onto a new page based on the topic like Healing the Land. Later I may separate them by more specific topics.

Along this restoration theme, just the other night I ‘scarified’ some black locust tree seeds that I collected last fall from a tree in town, and planted them in pots. Scarifying is basically helping certain hard seeds to become permeable to water and air, so the germination can begin more easily. There are several ways to do this: rub them between two pieces of sandpaper, use fingernail cutters to clip the end of the seed, but in this case, I boiled the hard seeds for about a minute until I saw some of the seed coats start to swell (the unswollen ones I will put out in the ground for nature to handle).

For those of you unfamiliar with black locust trees, they are one of the few trees that are very drought tolerant, handle freezing temps, need no irrigation once established, can thrive in alkaline soils, provide bee fodder when they flower, seeds for the critters, and Nitrogen and carbon for the soil. They are very good, generous workers. This land need lots of those.

When these locust seedlings are about a foot tall, I will plant them in three Growboxx’s which are a relatively new invention that provide little growing cocoons that you only have to fill once with water and that’s it. They were designed for deserts, and do a great job of capturing rain water and dew, and keep the area moist for the seedling to get established. After the first year, the seedling has a well rooted start, and you can remove the Growboxx and use it on another seedling. I imagine some mulch and some fish-scale swales wouldn’t hurt either.

Till next time, may God be in your thoughts and heart.