At our fledgling Oasis Farm just outside Petaluma City Limits on Skillman, we joined iGrowSonomaCounty.org, Daily Acts, Petaluma Bounty and Living Mandala, Sonoma County Water Agency, GoLocal Sonoma Coop and Miguel Elliott’s Living Earth Ovens May 15-16th and together we planted or amended not just 350 – but over 600 gardens throughout Sonoma County the weekend of May 15-16th. A great stride toward local food security and humongous water savings!
Amazing; quite amazing the number of people who came out, the tonnage of water saved by mulching and amending grass water-guzzler lawns (check out Transform Your Thirsty Lawn workshops at ), and the number of tons of food planted all around us and for info on adobe ovens, benches – this weekend, a mushroom oven for George Bieler’s property through a Daily Acts workshop.
Sonoma County it’s bounty – for sure. And now we’re linked to more gardeners moving in the same direction – a network that will be well used when our 188 fruit and nut trees come into their own. Can’t even imagine all the uses we will make of these 6 apple varieties, apricots, cherries, berries, so very many blooming trees!
My partner, Wayne Morgenthaler, and I, tossed our intentions in with 350 Garden Challenge, a big deal written up not only in our PD, but Huffiington Post and more. Besides the “lovin oven” built on the hill between what will be an AG/community room on one side and our home on the other, created by us with our teacher, Miguel Elliott, () we made a scarecrow and planted a salsa garden to harvest and share with those who planted and friends who couldn’t be there.
Miguel, Micah to friends, listened to ideas for the sculptural element to rest above and around the oven as he slathered adobe onto the oven, and took action while I pondered. A heart might feel good – a Sufi heart with wings, perhaps? To look into this mystery of the name deeper, I skimmed a favorite book of many years, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, and found my closest connection to the koan (riddle) Joshu’s Dog. Joshu, a Zen master from the 13th C., poses this riddle:
Does a dog have a Buddha nature?
Answer yes or no and
You lose your own Buddha nature.
So I posed the question to Jerry Price, Ping Zhao and Wayne sitting in Wayne’s office looking out at the neighboring red barn. Is this the answer? Mu, Chinese for nothing, the nothing where you are connected to everything without attachment. Without suffering. Death would be just another state of being if you got that. So we should put nothing on the oven? But it was taking shape as we spoke.
Miguel sculpted a heart, the result beautiful and fitting. Heart and hearth. He chose bright red for its color and called it a Lovin Oven. OK. Very much enjoy Micah’s Lovin Oven YouTube – and his longer Dogon YouTube (showing this Sunday at Aqus Cafe) from his recent adobe dome installation in Mali, Africa. Requested, though, that the red more closely match the browner, more golden cinnabar of the barn and sheds – the land rests roughly midway between Cinnabar Theater and Cinnabar School.
And that red barn bigger than ours you see just as you turn left onto Skillman? A summer afternoon last year as I turned left onto Skillman
I noticed I let go of city strife when I looked at that barn.
Though cars briskly seek their destinations on the lane outside this desk window – we live now in the countryside with quail, deer, Pinion Jays, dragonflies, ladybugs, a few stubborn crows, gophers and skunks, bluebirds (!) and barn swallows. So many I missed – but what a wonder encounter these creatures after living for years in a downtown warehouse. And that full moon, bigger and brighter than I ever recall living downtown.
We’ve invited friends for our first Music party on the hill in June. Check facebook. For those many folk we’ve invited over for years for music parties, fear not! Our first Pizza Party on the hill cooking in the Living Earth oven built with Miguel Elliot, a sibling of living earth structures he built in Argentina, Africa, Hawaii – Petaluma! An adobe oven festival is in the works for the 10/10/10 events again linked to Bill McKibben. I’m sure we’ll be in touch.