New Moon Prayer week begins on a Tuesday and I am hard pressed to find time to pray. Finally, on Friday at three o’clock in the afternoon, I find my way down to the river to pray. I find a crook in a fallen tree that is just perfect for sitting right on the shore line. A beautiful hot, hazy, day.
Of course A Farm for All is on Tuesday so there’s not time for prayer that day. A Farm for All experienced six days of power out which encompassed my mechanic who’s shop is on the same street so Twuck was in the shop for an extra week. I have never been at A Farm for All during a power outage. I am a Non-Resident Member. Everything shuts down, including water and no office work is possible. I arrive home to find power had gone out around 4:00pm. We went to bed without power, but it was back on in the morning. We have never had power out at our house. The complex is supposed to have a back up generator so I don’t know what happened. A Farm for All is a work in progress and as we find a rhythm, it clears the way for focused energy on procedures. We have an emergency checklist, but we found that it was time to edit it and add more items. Of course it is not the time during an emergency to look for items so the membership has to commit to emergency procedure periodically. Three months seems to be a good length of time. A power out drill. I have engaged in intentional community before, so I have some experience in collective effort. You couldn’t have told me I would be engaging again in my lifetime (community happens naturally), but here I am. I initially volunteered bartering for greenhouse space, but we have developed a good organization so far. It has been a great opportunity for me to learn leadership, organizing, management as well as copywriting. I am an entrepreneur after all and these skills are in that vein.
I have launched my project at Seed Song. I am heading up once a month. I started in July. Outside of teaching, I have not found the way to spend time at Seed Song, event space for Neetopk Keetopk. I have know the head farmer, Creek, for over ten years. Community! Just like Ben at A Farm for All who I have known for an equal amount of time. I believe it’s time for us to maintain our resources into retirement. Of course Susun says I should plan to do this work until eighty-five! There is a group of five of us who have been growing upstate for at least ten years - Me, Creek, Ben, Jalal and Michelle and we’ve learned how to support one another. Seed Song has plants for coroanavirus growing wild and my project is to develop the stands for the community. It is directly in line with my experimental plants - Echinacea, Elderberry and Joe Pye Weed, not to mention Pleurisy Root and Red Milkweed. Elderberry is a tree and I plan to buy bare toot form Dutchess Soil and Water next season. All the other plants I have grown from seed. Joe Pye Weed is tough, I’ve only ever gotten four plants from seed so it is exciting to see them wild. Joy Pye is the name of the Native American who cured the colonists of Typhus, hence the name. Susun Weed, as I have mentioned in past blogs, has a video on YouTube “Ward off Coronavirus,” where she talks about prevention (lacto-fermented food, Echinacea, Elderberry) and herbs to use if one gets coronavirus (Boneset and Poke). Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) is a different species from Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum), but I think it bodes well for Joe Pye Weed, not only because it was used for Typhus, but also because it is growing wild. Access is always important.
Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium purpureum, E. maculatum (Boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Hemp Agrimony, Eupatorium cannabinium), Asteraceae, Perennial, Turtle Island
Joe Pye breaks fevers, Boneset, treats flu and Hemp Agrimony stimulates the immune system. Joe Pye has been an experimental plant for me for about four years. With my medicine chest in the ground I have had the opportunity to move on to my experimental plants. I am endeavoring to develop stands for Sweet Joy Pye and make the medicine available to the people of Kingston, NY, a traditionally underserved community. I am looking forward to the adventure. At this point I believe we will be making root (rhizome) tincture. I believe I read somewhere also that flower tea is also a good use. I’ll have to research further.
Community always has been, is what we can rely on now and always will be. It is in our best interests to develop resilient communities. Empire is the struggle, we get caught up in sex and race differences, but the real fight is class. Becoming as self sufficient as we can is the journey. The modern world has given us many advantages, but what good are those advances, if they can be used against us? It’s time for a reset back to simpler times, village times, when we looked to one another for support.
Prayer Week was all about gratitude. Under the weight of coronavirus, the protests and now heat, hurricanes and fires, it takes a minute to remember the excellent joys of the season. I got a half pint of St. Johnswort oil, a quart of Skullcap tincture (which I didn’t expect). My herb garden is starting to produce. I have a lot of tea left over from 2019. I ramped up drinking water in 2019, so I didn’t drink as much tea during Winter. I am harvesting Anise Hyssop right now and there is probably still time to harvest Mints. Elecampane is so big now, I have to divide them and spread the love to other spaces. White Sage is in the ground. Lamb’s Quarter is big and beautiful, ready to be harvested for Pesto. Those Lavender that survived last Winter are also in the ground. Marc and I are updating our home office with new desks, chairs and computers. He has found his dream Twuck, a 1994 Chevy Suburban 2500, 454, 7.4 L manual transfer case, barn doors. He found it in Wisconsin who found it in Arkansas, an old church truck. CLEAN! like brand new! We still can’t believe it.
Marc is a Union Carpenter, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local 157, 135 years strong. The Establishment has sought to destroy unions from their inception even murdering union organizers early on. Unions created the middle class. The Establishment would like no the more than to have two classes - rich and poor. A corporate mode has entered every industry in recent years, laying people off and piling the work onto the few who remain and the carpenter’s union is no exception. Eight foot sheet rock boards have increased to ten, foreman (white men) kick back while everyone else (minorities) do all the work. Constant overtime, trying to maintain schedules amidst coronavirus. I’m sure the corporate sector views us as disposable. The latest apprentices (millennials) are so bad they have to be trained for a further four years, creating a new title beyond Journeyman - Certified Journeyman. As a result these apprentices will not receive full pay and benefits therefore will not pay into the retirement fund which will eventually effect Marc’s generation of carpenters. We decided that it was time for Marc to do some of the things he has always wanted to do. He went home to Martinique for the first time in twelves years last year. He has always wanted to build a computer and now Twuck! Tomorrow is promised to no one and at least he can say he a has done the things he’s always wanted to do in this life. I am a simpleton and have spent my life outside, so I am blissed out on a regular basis. Now it’s his turn.
Public unions received a major blow in 2018 with the Janus v. AFSCME ruling which overturned a forty year old ruling that non-union workers don’t have to pay union dues, even though by law unions have to represent non-dues paying union workers in negotiations. Just one example of the systematic destruction of unions. Perhaps unions should support a law that does not require them to negotiate for people who don’t pay the dues. Let the worker fend for themselves. Surely when their wages and benefits are cut negotiating their own contracts, they will see the value of the union. Republicans have one folks over by holding an anti-abortion stance among other things, which says a lot about the workers who choose to opt out of the union. In the wake of right-to-work will be a wave of women strengthening the fight for abortion rights. One can only hope. Thankfully, the people have spoken and public unions remain strong. Interestingly enough, Marc Janus quite his public service job to work as an “ambassador” for the Liberty Justice Center. Not so dedicated to public service anymore. Certainly his “fee” for bringing the Janus v. AFSCME case to court has lifted him out of the blue collar world.
We dip down into the deep dark. The days are visibly shorter now and we have experienced cooler nights for the last two weeks even though the days have continued to heat up to 90º. We head down to Autumn Equinox. Lifting off the hat of pandemic, protests, heat and hurricanes reveals the bounty and joy of the season. Another season begins to fade into memory. I am in gratitude for the gifts that Mother continues to provide for us.