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So last week I talked about dreaming big, even with some of the disappointment and challenge I had the preceding week.  I was feeling quite down on some accounts but I kept my optimism.  This week was full of activity and culminated in work on a big dream.  As usual, the week included some excitement and some disappointment.  But I guess that’s life, eh?

One of the best things that happened was that my Letter to the Editor (LTE) was published!!  http://www.echopress.com/letters/3844580-our-planet-will-not-support-life-mammals It was accompanied by another LTE by my step-dad on the same issue (http://www.echopress.com/opinion/commentaries/3844570-recognition-global-climate-change-not-new).  As it turns out, one of his friends (who also knows me) was so impressed by seeing two LTEs from people he respects, that he spent a couple hours online researching climate change, a topic to which he’d previously given little consideration.  And when he was done, he concluded that this is a major issue which needs to be addressed.  One more person on the side of Mother Earth being prioritized! It feels good to make an impact.

Another accomplishment was at my monthly Storytelling group, where I rarely have a story to share.  This week I quickly created a story about a girl named Ideal who learned to reclaim her dreams (yes, the story was based largely on the introduction to my blog last week).  And it went well.  It didn’t come out as good with the group as it had in my run through earlier in the morning and it had some changes in flow and words… but that’s a part of storytelling!  This story will evolve as I continue to tell it.  And I got to hear five wonderful stories from my fellow Storytellers, who each had a story this month!  Each one was different and each was wonderful.

Additional progress, though not so easy for this driven girl… and thus will be a challenge to maintain, was that I’ve begun dropping some of the activities I have joined since “retirement”.  Some of these activities had simply run their course and some have involved conscious decisions to walk away from unsustainable activities.  I am looking to find more time for the things I keep saying are important: meditation, reading, crafting, writing.  I’m looking at creating a slower pace again.  Wish me luck!

Along those lines, I attended the local Quilt Guild monthly meeting in town and enjoyed a highly entertaining speaker, Susan Cleveland.  She brought an array of quilts that made you want to go home and start sewing immediately.  (Another push to make sure I make time for being able to do just that as winter comes our way.)  She was brilliant with her ideas, stories and wonderful laugh!  I loved her bright colors and BIG personality.  She’s a total hoot!  And she was an electrical engineer in a previous life so another guru for me to follow.  You can check her out at https://www.piecesbewithyou.com/  Susan’s presentation was followed by Show & Tell with local members displaying a wide array of projects.  I definitely will be crafting more soon!  Though I did not join the guild, just attended this one meeting.  (Success on keeping time for me!)

Susan Cleveland 9-21-15

Dan & I had a fun evening at our local favorite cultural food stop, Mi Mexico.  Our favorite guy waited on us so I had to get a photo op with him.  He might tell you his name is Ramon, but I call him Guapo.  He hates it. 😉  Here’s our photo, and a pic of My Guapo.

Mi Mexico 9-23-15 Mi Mexico 9-23-15A

But the big anxiety of the week was preparing to head up to the Harn for our Rocket Stove build.  I was quite nervous about making the cob (which was my responsibility for the project, after going to Dancing Rabbit where I’d worked with cob a couple timeElsweyr Fall 2013 0576s).  We read plans, watched videos and did all we could to try to be prepared for this build.  It’s a big undertaking and one for which we have little experience.  Dan gave us a great foundation by getting the core for the stove built in 2013 and it’s in great shape.  This is a big part of making the stove successful but it works with the barrels, ductwork, clay slip and cob to create a Rocket Mass Heater that will bring us heat and an ability to cook and purify water at our Harn.  So the rest of the system needs to be just as good as his core.

We headed up Friday afternoon and, after meeting Winona LaDuke last week, one of the first things I noticed was the amazing color of the Maple Trees all along CR 2.  Our property, having been logged in the last couple decades, doesn’t have a lot of tapping potential yet.  I believe next weekend the color will be truly spectacular.

Our first goal was gathering clay, which turned out to be much easier than I had feared.  We had a pile of good clay pulled by excavator Darrin Lindgren when we dug the graywater pit and this stuff is gorgeous.  It is easily pulled from the hill and, with our homemade sieve, converted into granulated clay nodules.  We were able to get two buckets Friday night without too much trouble.  I believe we’ll need at least triple this amount for the whole project but that will be determined once we make some cob (clay-sand mix).

Harn 9-25-15

Saturday brought much adversity via mistakes made as this is our first time doing these things.  It took me hours to make a single batch of cob, mostly because I didn’t use enough water to get the mix to congeal.  And Dan had some cutting issues which we thought were going to stop us dead in our tracks… but Megan had an idea that allowed us to save the project!  We got some good photos thanks to Ryan and overall, the day was productive, though definitely not as productive as we’d hoped.

Harn 9-26-15

We are realizing that this project is much more labor intensive and requires much more tweaking than we imagined.  There’s a big difference between reading it in a book or watching it be done and actually figuring it out as you do in the real world.  While it was discouraging to see how much work this would be, we kept pushing onward and feel good about the progress made.  Every step closer brings more confidence and we have high hopes for continuing with good success in the next couple trips.  In order to prepare, we pulled 5-6 more buckets of clay from the hill and processed it into granules.  As I processed this material, I thought to myself, “If everyone had to work this hard to build their homes, we would think carefully about how big we built! We would strongly consider the importance of the things being built and would respect them greatly.”  I know that we are working hard today building the rocket mass heater but it will eliminate a lot more hard work in the future as more efficient heating means less wood to gather.  And I know we will respect the hard work put into making this stove which will create more understanding of it and more care for its ongoing functionality.

The week culminated with a lovely observation of the blood moon eclipse.  It was a bit of déjà vu as we’d seen one of these from our home in Noblesville.  We remembered it being quite fast back then but tonight’s eclipse was a long, slow process.  And we realized it was due to the closeness of the moon at that time and the distance we have to the moon now.  We sat on the deck with binoculars and a telescope watching the progress. We imagined how it must have been in ancient times when people were faced with an eclipse and had much less understanding of the cause and meaning than we do today.  We pondered how many astronomers took advantage of the situation… As crazy as it sounds, I heard there were actually recent predictions that the world would end with this blood moon eclipse.  But it continues.  For us, it was a peaceful and interesting way to spend this evening.

As much as we do know these days, it still baffles me how time can flow quickly and slowly.  It seems when I am enjoying each minute, whether the time passes slowly or faster than I expect, it passes with pleasure and that makes all the difference.  I am hoping the coming week is full of progress, excitement, enjoyment and pleasure… for all of us.