Tuesday, June 17, 2008

the gift economy, the abundance of community

When the universe smiles on you, it really smiles. This has been our experience as of late. First, the gifts of time spent working from our friends Badger, Mike & Abby. Mike and Abby weeded out Kaleigh's playhouse which enabled me to replant it with scarlet runner beans and morning glories. Badger was a double digging machine, as well as a stump removal man. We now have two deeply dug garden beds, free of stumps, going all the way out to the grape arbor that borders our yard. (And yes, indeed, it is thick black loan three feet down.) I pulled up a pile of weeds for the compost pile & was able to get the rest planted in potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, beans, basil, and sage. We also got the wonderful gift of community often, kicking it, the general sharing of having fun and general enjoying of one's self and friends.

A more material gift, our futon frame was overslacked, and my friend Mary is giving us a couch. I am excited about that, because the futon mattress will soon be on our bed, and we may wake up without back aches soon.

My friend Bill dropped by tonight with this homemade bike trailer (next to the hydraulic log splitter we got from our neighbors), made by a guy named Joe Kozak. I don't know the welder, but he works at the pizza machine, and he seems like he'd be a good guy to know. The bike trailer is made out of a champagne rack, and it easily holds a 55-gallon drum. Kaleigh wants to take it on a test ride tomorrow. I'm glad Bill thought of us!

And tomorrow, my friend Mindy is dropping by a pond liner. What an incredibly useful thing to have! We're thinking about graywater modification, or having a pond, or wetland--so many possibilities. We are going to the farmers market in the morning, and then we're dropping by her house to talk about a thousand gardening questions. It'll be fun!

The gift economy works beautifully--someone's abundant surplus becomes another's need or want fulfilled, usually without money exchanging hands (and certainly no taxes paid on it!). This is the kind of wealth a functioning community generates. The great thing is that the more this kind of wealth is given away, the more abundance there is for all. Much nicer than the scarcity economy that we exist in now. We all knew this different world was out here, didn't we.

Potato flowers are surprisingly haunting. I have a thing for nightshades. Potato flowers produce highly variable seeds. So if you're wanting to experiment, and produce new and personal varieties, playing around with highly variable seeds (like potatoes and apples) is fun. Luther Burbank could tell you more. I like Michael Pollan's book The Botany of Desire. It goes into a lot of detail about four particular crops: apples, potatoes, tulips and marijuana. Great book, and full of arcane knowledge that fascinates plant geeks like myself.

And so, back to doing the dishes and hauling out graywater I go.


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