Thanks to the wonderful generosity of my sister’s friend, the owner of the K’anchaynuny center, I am currently living here and taking in the wonderful and healing atmosphere of this place.
With almost every member of my immediate family over 50 falling prey to cancer…let’s just say that we have looked into many alternative methods to turning back this auto-immune disease. I have discussed, learned about and listened to many of them and it’s the Gerson method that really stands out for me. It really does work; it’s simple and it makes a lot of sense.
In preperation for tomorrow’s Christmas party, I made a wreath today (table decoration only, it’s not sturdy enough to be hung!)
– branches of spruce and pine
– pinecones and some of those red-berry bunches from tree unknown (that I found around the neighbourhood)
– that fuzzy-wrapped kids wire called “chenille stems” (3$ at Walmart)
I made my arrangement and then grabbed 2 or 3 ends together and attached them with the fuzzy wire; since the colours I got were the “earthy” toned ones the green blends in perfectly with the branches and the brown perfectly with the pinecones!
It was a really enjoyable and quick project!
On a whim, about 8 weeks ago, I signed up for a “Woodshop for beginners” class in Calgary, through continuing education at Chinook College in Calgary. After wrapping up the last class last night I can now sit back and reflect on what was a fascinating, humbling and extraordinary look into the vast world of woodworking. Not to mention that it was really, really rewarding and enjoyable!
Working with wood means working very closely with trees. Trees and forests are integral to our natural world; as the kidneys (to employ the Gaia theory) they bring down the rain from the clouds and they filter our fresh water, and they are incredibly diverse and rich ecosystems for both flora and fauna in most biomes of our Earth. All ecosystems (except for deserts) if left indefinately to their own devices, want to and do eventually become forests. In Permaculture we talk non-stop about maintaining at least 30%, if not more, of our site under tree cover. Within the zoning system we have zone IV which is dedicated to productive trees, and zone II, the orchard, which is also partly wooded. From all sides I hear of the importance of wood and trees, so I turned to the one great gift of wood that I didn’t know the first thing about – woodworking.
Interesting, isn’t it, that in western society’s mindset of good-bad, useful-useless, productive vs. non-productive, Permaculture argues that there is no such thing as waste. Now www.dictionary.com offers a definition of waste as: “(something) having served or fulfilled a purpose; (and which is) no longer of use”. This feels like a very short-sited view of things, that simply because we have taken some usefulness from a product and now we are done with it, it is automatically rendered useless?
Permaculture, on the other hand, claims that waste (in the sense of seemingly useless or superfluous by-products) does not really exist. Rather, this kind of waste, and for that matter pollution as well, are indicators that you are producing too much of something in your system, that the elements are not in balance.
Let’s consider kitchen scraps, most of which end up in garbage cans and get shipped off to landfills every day. If I peel my carrots in order to cook them I am left with one main by-product – the carrot skin. In that particular moment those skins are of no immediate use to me so the life-long reflex to toss them in the trash surfaces – they’re waste, right? Not really, they just haven’t found their usefulness yet! After all, those carrot peels can be used by another animal, or their organic matter can be transformed to become very useful compost. Put things back into balance. It’s as simple as putting those carrot shavings back into the system to be transformed, either tossing them to the chickens to peck at (if you’re lucky enough to have chickens) or placing them in your compost. Carrots may seem like a banal example, but it does shed light on the false concept of waste being this useless and pesky thing that we just have to put up with. It’s not true – matter can always be of use – it just may have to be transformed through natural processes first!