Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Radical Farming

I recently saw a post on FaceBook which pointed out that raising your own food has become a radical act.   Not only have most people in the US and Canada become dependent on supermarkets, the unprocessed foods in the supermarkets have drifted farther and farther from nature.  The GMO controversy aside, the breeds of animals and strains of fruits and vegetables are so cultivated and groomed that our ancestors would not recognize them.

Being dependent on anything is not heathen.  Being separated from our ancestors is not heathen.   These things being true, Sven’s and my intention is to grow lots of heritage variety vegetables.   Heritage vegetables are hardier in their local environment, never artificially modified, and have flavours unlike the ones you buy in the store.  They’re also living pieces of history.

Enter Native Seeds/SEARCH ( ).  While it’s possible to buy heritage seeds from any number of sources, Native Seeds/SEARCH is near us, and Sven and I have been devotedly locavore and intent on using local businesses for years now.  Native Seeds/SEARCH has a seed library where you can borrow seeds, “returning” them by keeping some seeds aside from the plants grown and bringing them to the library.   It sells collections of seeds bundled by ability to thrive in the seasons specific to our part of the desert.  Furthermore, they are seeds for foods grown by the local indigenous people, the Tohono O’ohdham.  As their “about us” page says:

“Our story began in 1983 following a profound realization. While working on a Meals for Millions project to assist the Tohono O’odham Nation with establishing gardens, NS/S co-founders Gary Nabhan and Mahina Drees presented tribal elders with broccoli and radish seeds. “What we are really looking for,” the elders replied, “are the seeds for the foods our grandparents used to grow.” This revelatory remark inspired the formation of Native Seeds/SEARCH as a collector and preserver of these endangered traditional seeds.”

Moving to a remote place in search of freedom and starting a farm there is really the Asatru activity par excellence.  Going a-viking was done for revenue in order to pay for a farm, or make money after a bad year on one.  The Norse who went to Iceland, Greenland and even further did so because they were discontent with some condition under which they had to live.  Sometimes it was a king being too heavy-handed with his power.  Sometimes it was a sentence of outlawry.  Towards the end of the Viking era it was religious persecution by Christians.  Moving out of California so that we can grow our own sustenance from non-corporate seeds, raising free-range chickens for eggs and making cheese from milk produced by our happy goats is not a hippie dream-come-true.  It’s our gods-blessed heritage.

Hail, and blessed be!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Northern Heim, Desert Clime

My heathenry vacillates between Crunchy Nature Mysticism and Free Religion for a Free and Independent People.  Sven and I are happy to say we’ve begun the process of reconciling both.

This past weekend, we took possession of a four-acre hacienda in the Arizona desert.  For the time being we have to split time between California and there.  We bought the hacienda from an older couple who were moving to Florida.  The husband openly admitted being pagan and the wife was wearing an “Orthodox Druid” t-shirt when we arrived on Saturday.  They were finishing up the cleaning.

We had a barbecue so the neighbours could say goodbye to them and meet us.   All the houses are on big plots of land; our four acres is typical.  This means we’re within eyesight of other houses, but getting to one involves some effort because all the roads are dirt.  Norse homes would have been further apart, but we still have a harsh climate to contend with to reach them.  The Norse grappled with winter and short growing seasons.  We will have to flourish in extreme heat and aridity.  As with most peoples who live in harsh climates, the neighbours are very friendly.  I’ve already been told I can get my first chickens from a family who have a large flock.

Here’s what is on the land currently.  The house has porches on four sides, including a screen-enclosed one (called an Arizona room).  There are desert climbing roses.  There’s a fountain in the back which Sven is “meh” about, but apparently the local birds adore it.  There are enormous outbuildings that only need ventilation and climate control to be breweries.  There is an olive tree, an orange tree, a grapefruit tree and a pecan tree.  D., the wife of Sven’s friend Karl, and I have many plans for those pecans.  My own eggs plus my own pecans equals the best pecan pie ever baked.

Posted because I like Soviet Realism

Besides chickens, the plan includes goats and gardens of heritage vegetables.  More on that in another column.

Our hacienda is also our temple.  We’re very keen on honouring the local nisse, and with those trees we have many.  I poured wine to all of the trees on the property and Sven introduced himself.  There is a large playhouse with a bridge leading up to it; Sven and I are in negotiations as to whether it should be a meditation room or a small hof to Odin, Thor, Frey and Loki.  The farming itself is a sacred act, and I think we are going to find ourselves invoking Frey, Thor and Sif more than we ever had.

Saturday night found several of us standing on top of an outbuilding, watching a magnificent sunset and then an uncountable number of stars and a perfect view of the new crescent moon.  It’s the best, and only going to get better, we think.  Hail, and blessed be.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Catching my breath

I've been working on a court martial that's eaten my life.  Last night I got home at 2030 (that's 8:30 pm for you civilian Americans).  I had time to check Army e-mail , shower, eat some chili Sven had made and go to bed.

In other news, I'm reading a book on keeping a small flock of chickens.