Endings and Goodbyes

It is now early October and there may be one more post before we go are different ways.

The Project, as has been mentioned numerous times on this site, will be one year old on october 31, from conception to ending. In that time, the following occurred:

The Idea traveled to 30+ people, and from there to many more, giving it nourishment. A small core of people (2) began to work on making the idea into a reality– looking for land, researching local groups, coming up with crazy ideas, outreach and most importantly holding free Fermentation workshops for people in Woodstock, in public places, some of which attracted as many as 30 people. This utilized our existing skills to build a community of people who knew what we were up to and also helped people around town to meet each other. These people also formed the early core of our (e)mailing list. This wordpress site was made as we (1) moved onto the property we had stumbled across and began to work on the greenhouse. Soon seeds were started, an outhouse under construction and the old barn in the woods swept and cleaned out. An individual, and later the Collective, manages a booth at the Woodstock Farm Festival, selling Eggs, Honey, and Mushrooms grown by local growers, under the name Fertile Minds Cooperative, which also allows alot of contact with people in Woodstock and provides a space for collective members to sell their crafts, such as jewelry, herbal smoking blends, and dream catchers. By Beltane, the first additional full-time collective members moved in (+2) and it was all work and no play as we worked to build the no-till garden beds, 24 forty foot by 3 foot beds, and 6 more 40 foot by three foot tilled beds for potatoes, carrots, etc. In addition, some members began to build shelters for themselves, while the barn became gradually more livable and we transitioned from propane camping stove to simple dirt and stone cooking-crater. A shelter (made out of pallets and tarps) was built for the goats (3) and the goats were bought and picked up using a normal small car. Applications began to come in mostly from friends and friends of friends, and then applicants, and by June there were 6-7 members. A huge portion of the lower field was prepared for heritage wheat, corn, pumpkins, gourds, and later potatoes. After some early false starts and mistakes with sheet mulching, the garden recovers nicely. The outdoor kitchen roof goes up, and the home-made stone / brick / clay / sand / straw/ metal topped stove is completed. Later we complete the outdoor clay oven, which roasts ducks, chickens, breads, and cakes. More small shelters blossom and a fire place next to the beautiful swimming hole that is christened on Solstice Eve, when there are 15-20 guests to celebrate with our full-house. The collective reaches its limit of 10 members. Journeying times begin, with many members running off to the rainbow gathering and a new member returning from said. Organization and practical task momentum from the early spring is lost and the community refocusses not on work work work, but on tending to its own internal social dynamics. Times are rocky as well as wonderful. Harvests go to the foodbank, and the weekly community dinner / free pick your own veggies / skillshare is started, at its peak attracting 30 people to the duck feast and going away party of two of our longest members. Shortly after, more journeying, while skeleton crew maintains life at the homestead and all minds move toward vision quests and the personal and community search for clarity and realization. As people return, they bring intense experiences which shape the collective. The collective starts to diminish in size until 4-6 seems to be the norm. Some who have ‘left’ remain closely tied to the community, either physically or by meeting on journeys, such as traveling to DC and protesting Mountaintop Removal. Sadness at the state of the world and fulfillment from successful vision quests creates an atmosphere of beauty creativity and caring as more members leave in rapid succession and we remaining begin to ponder closing things up for the winter.

More than the physical results, the collective has left in its wake 10-15 people who passed through for long periods of time and were hugely changed, and many many more who passed through for shorter lengths and were touched by it as well. It has left a larger network of human relationships, and an image in many peoples minds of a place they had never imagined, or at least never seen, with people living with no electricity, no leaders, no insulation, no running water, etc, while cooking delicious meals of totally locally grown, free ingredients. The experience has left us all more mature and comfortable living communally, besides educating us in gardening, cooking, outdoor living, slaughtering, tanning, and many other traditional crafts and skills.

And, of course, this is only a small portion of what happened.

The end, the beginning.

Love, Fertile Minds Collective

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