(About the picture: This is where I’ve spent my visits to Clear Creek. The house in the center is Phillip’s family home, which is mentioned in this episode. On the left is the schoolhouse where we recorded the interviews.)
Today’s conversation is the second round table recorded at Clear Creek in Mid-April, 2016. As I stepped away to read to my children, an ongoing tradition of ours from whenever I’m on the road, Eric Puro, of The POOSH sat in as the guest host.
Eric in the chair lead to a conversation covering the work of the folks in and around Clear Creek: what permaculture is to them in practice. That began with a look at the history of the area by Phillip, and moved to what draws us to community, and the traditions we build as a result. During the conversation we hear from Eric; Jereme Zimmerman, author of Make Mead like a Viking; Ziggy from the Year of Mud; and many other folks who joined us for the evening, including Sam and Brooke from Louisville, lots of folks from around the community, many of whom have interned with Susana Lein, as well as two of her three current interns, Patrick and Ben.
A quick shout out to those interns. Ben, if you hear this, I swear I’m reading Saga and it’s awesome. Patrick, you and everyone else at Salamander Springs Farm are more than welcome to visit us at Seppi’s Place when you get a chance. I’d love to see you all again.
As we get started, I’d like to thank the listeners who donate to the show either by becoming recurring members at Patreon or who donate directly to the show. This podcast wouldn’t exist without you.
The sponsors, also help this work continue. Thank you to PermieKids, Inside Edge Design, Broken Ground Permaculture, The Good Seed Company, and Your Garden Solution. Be sure to visit then and find out more about the great work each of them are doing to creating the world we want to live in.
I’d like to thank all of them for joining me that day, and to to Eric Puro for allowing me to continue a tradition of my own.
Stepping away from this I’m left thinking about that piece about what it means to live and work together in community, in particular when Ziggy asked the question, “how do we maintain happiness with the people that are around us, even in times of difficulty, or even in times that are challenging to those relationships,” and how that can be the hardest part for all of us.
The challenge of doing this, and experiencing it directly, is part of why I moved into community at Seppi’s Place. Though we’ve only been here for a few months, there is an ongoing struggle to answer those questions. We are not The POOSH or Clear Creek or The Possibility Alliance, and have to work through things differently and find our own solutions. As Eric mentioned Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there is a common thread that is forming our basis for the Seppi’s Place Hierarchy of Community Needs, which are: roles, boundaries, and traditions.
As we live into this, and spend more time together, our roles are what makes life together function. These are simple things, like I am the regular dishwasher. Eric cooks. We both water and weed the garden. Seppi knows all the mechanical systems and takes care of them. We all clean, each picking up different things on different days, as a chore chart emerges to insure we cover the everyday basics. These are the foundation of our pyramid.
The next step up are boundaries that arise from filling our roles and talking about our personal and community needs. Some that have been created so far include ensuring that certain spaces are kept separate as part of our family area, useable by the household, and we ask people not to enter them when we have public gatherings. Another is making Sunday our family day, to rest and retreat from other work.
Above that are our traditions, which take a lot of time develop and live into in a natural, unforced way. That includes a Friday night dinner for household and local family, as well as another potluck on Saturday in the evening that is open to the broader community. We also have a play and learn day, a kind of informal work and skillshare day, on Saturdays as well.
Tying all of that together are occasional community and household meetings, sometimes facilitated, sometimes run by a simple agenda, to talk about what’s going on and make sure that everyone is still having their needs met. If not, then we reexamine our roles, boundaries, and traditions to see if there is something we can do to make things right.
This is what is happening here, in our community. What about those of you who are currently living in community with others? What are some of the ways you work together to take care of one another, and handle the challenges of those relationships?
If you want to live in community, what are some of the questions you have for those who live this way? What are some of your concerns about making the jump?
If you have answers to those questions, get in touch. I’d like to continue to explore these ideas of community building with you. The phone number is 717-827-6266 and you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. If digital means are not your preferred way to reach me, you can also drop something in the mail. That address is:
The Permaculture Podcast
P.O. Box 16
Dauphin, PA 17018
As we wrap up, this is the last episode before the Mid-Atlantic Permaculture Convergence, at The Riverside Project outside of Charles Town, West Virginia, and I look forward to seeing you there!
On the next episode, Dr. Talia Fletcher joins me to talk about how to choose a veterinarian with a holistic approach to animal medicine. Until then spend each day creating the world you want to live in by taking care of Earth, yourself, and each other.