Tag Archive for 'Kauai'

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Jackson’s Journal – News From CoconutLand

Gooood Morning SuperForest!

One of the best things about this site is that with so many of us writing so much happens and there is so much to share, which for me is also one of the most challenging things about writing for this site: so much happens, and there is so much to share.

I am happy to report that all is very very well. Teetering constantly on the brink of collapse, disaster, and mind-blowing success, my life here on Kauai gropes its way forward. We have several families living on the land with us now, and during the day we are delighted at the constant sound of children laughing. The chickens and ducks and rabbit have all made their way to new pens, bringing their animal powers under control. The animals were eating all of the sprouts and seedlings in the garden, and so we built them a nice new enclosure. Now the real planting can begin.

 (photo by Joel Guy)

The land where Melissa and I live we now are calling CoconutLand, which is also the name of the “reality” show that Melissa and I are producing about our lives and the work on the land. I put reality in quotations because when the cameras are running, it’s never quite reality as I’ve known it. There is too much self-awareness to allow for the sort of warts and all life living, but it’s a vey interesting schooling in my own behaviors. I’m trying to stand up straighter, say thank you more often, and generally be a better person than the person I see on the editing computer. It’s been very interesting filming parts of my life, and a bit strange to take time away from the farm to go and edit footage of myself working on the land.

There is an amazingly well staffed and well stocked community television station here on Kauai. For a mere forty dollars and a several week course, Melissa and I are now official producers, and have access to great cameras and editing equipment. The show will be up shortly.

My pal and co-homesteader Alan pulled up to our little house one night with a dead pig in the back of his van. A friend of his had hit it with his car, and Alan had swiftly gone and retrieved the beast. It was a wild boar, between fifty (Melissa’s estimation) and eighty (my estimation) pounds. We improvised a tripod and hung the pig from it’s back legs with tie wire. Wait, wait, wait… Do I really want to go into this?

Suffice to say that one night I found myself standing in a pit in the rain, gutting a wild boar with my kitchen knife, dressed only in my nightshirt. Alan attempted to use an electric saws-all to decapitate the oinker, while I found myself laughing maniacally at the sight. From the window, my friends from the mainland who were visiting watched with a mixture of delight, awe, and horror. Melissa filmed it. It was a surreal and perfectly normal event in my life. Those two words: surreal, and normal, describe my current situation perfectly. Life feels like an amazing new hybrid. A mongrel life, a hilarious junkyard life. It’s ever so much fun, but not everyone would think so, and I thank my lucky stars that I get to live like this.

My days are filled with the day to day of running a nine acre fruit farm and interfacing with the many people and forces needed to run such a thing, while continually working to create a brand new system of living, and be the most positive and “in aloha” I possibly can be. I have so many plates spinning. The land is an amazing challenge. For instance: Melissa and I don’t have running water in our house. We haul five gallons bottles up from the spigot a short walk from the house. The bottles provide both drinking and washing up water, and the sink empties into another five gallon bucket, which I carry outside and use to water the bananas. Hauling in and out our water has given me a new appreciation for the magical gift that is running water. I haul the water out because I don’t want to cut a hole in the floor.

Things get interesting when the water stops running. Because we aren’t connected to county water lines, our water comes from a well on the land. A big pump at the base of the property pumps water up to a 2,500 gallon tank on the hill. From the tank water lines run down into the fruit orchard, and through a line of spigots near our house. But not to our house. So we don’t have plumbing. My options in this situation are: stick with the existing system, or create a new one.

Sticking with the existing system is very tempting. It works, provides great exercise, and I am very aware of the ways that Melissa and I use water. I am more connected to water than every before in my life, and my compassion levels for people who don’t have easy access to water has skyrocketed. But the ease of turning a knob and having water flow from a tap, down into a sink, and out through a pipe into a greywater system and banana patch, with no heavy lifting needed on my or Melissa’s part is very very tempting.

We arrive at Option B: create a new system.

Here is where things get interesting, because to implement something new would definitely involve effort, buying things, driving, ordering parts, assembling, collecting necessary items. To do commit to a course of action then is serious. There is much potential for waste. What to do?

1) pump water uphill from the existing tank to a new tank above the level of my house, then plumb downwards from there.
a- what kind of pump? How much do pumps cost? What powers the pump? What sort of pipe to plumb uphill? Who digs the trench for the new pipe? Do we know anyone with a digging machine?
b- what kind of water catchment tank? Where should it be sited? A big tank dug into the ground? A small rain barrel on posts near the house?
c- Where can I get all of this stuff and how cheap can I get it?
d- How much of this can I do myself? How much help can I get?

2) set up rain catchment near the house, them plumb accordingly.
a- what surface provides the rain catchment? The roof is tar paper and unfit for drinking. Reroof section of roof with metal or plastic? A tarp?
b- What container holds the water?
c- How does the water flow from the tank into the kitchen? Cut hole in screen? How does water flow out from sink?
d- Do we have the materials here to do it, or do I have to drive to town?

The options are endlessssssssssss.

The sheer number of possible solutions can be paralyzing. Back in the day I think I would have just thrown money at the problem until it was fixed. Now I tend to prototype solutions out of found materials, investigate more efficient and robust solutions, and when I feel like I’ve got a handle on the situation only then drive to town, buy the materials, and put it all together. The prototyping process allows for cheaper, more creative problem solving, and since it’s usually made out of something that someone else has thrown away, I don’t feel as bad when things break, or they don’t work and I have to tear them out. A lot of the time materials from the prototype of one thing end up being used in the next prototype.

In the case of the plumbing, I am still gathering solutions, and Prototype A (carry in and out buckets of water) is still firmly in place. I think that the cheapest and best solution is a small solar pump connected to the main tank, pumping up through half inch pipe to a 55 gallon PET barrel up on a stand made of reclaimed lumber. How long it takes me to implement Prototype B is based entirely on how much effort I feel I am devoting to the current prototype, and whether implementing option B would take more effort.

So when the water stops running entirely life gets sticky. The float switch in the tank that controls the pump is acting up, and sometimes the tank overflows, and sometimes it mysteriously empties overnight. Is it the float switch? Or is that I accidentally tagged the wiring to the float switch when I was digging a hole for a new tree? How to fix/replace either? Learning the ins and outs of the plumbing system has been amazing, but I get freaked when the water seems like it’s broken and I’m not sure how to fix it. It’s humbling coming up again and again with situations that I have no experience with, and keep my cool, and figure it out, and make it work. Luckily, I am surrounded by amazing people.

So when the pump breaks, or the tank overflows, or I go to bed still slightly sticky from the day’s sweat because I didn’t want to take a cold shower in the dark, I take it all with a grain of salt, and try to remind myself that my experience is all in my head, of my own choice and my own making, and I can make it whatever I want. When the dead pig arrives and I’m in bed I know now how to leap out the door, with my knife in my hand, and start making meat out of animal. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. Emotionally, spiritually, and certainly physically.

My time on Kauai has been an education in aloha, and how to remain in a state of constant aloha. How to grow my own food, save the world, and run a website is something I’m stumbling along at, but my development as a compassionate loving human being has been fantastic. Life here is a challenge, and I have chosen to challenge myself. This feeling of constant challenge has lead to great joy.

I hope this finds everyone well, healthy, and happy.

Love,

Jackson

 

Cookie Gives Jackson a Ride

Our friend, neighbor, mango expert and animal husband, Uncle Yossi invited us over to see his donkeys last week. Angela Faith and Tristan cruised along with us while Jackson decided it

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would be a good idea to jump on Cookie, the pregnant mama…

Happy Birthday NileCat!

Jackson’s most beautiful and lovely sister celebrated her birthday back on July 29th. We all celebrated with a lovely dinner of friends and family and the most deliciously decadent perfect yummy cake. Here is how the fluffy cakey leftovers were handled.


Love + Aloha!

The Chickens: Ginger, Eagle, Buff, Buff, Buff, Archie, Archie, and Michael

P.S. Apologies for the delay. Our delicate chicken claws make it rather difficulte to type. And Melissa kept complaining about getting poo on her computer. So we had to sneak her computer from her when she wasn’t looking.

Heather’s Journal: 2 Years of SuperForesting and Counting!

Helloooooo SuperForest!!!!!!!!!!! It was exactly 2 years ago today that I officially became “SuperForester Heather”! Yay! On September 7th, 2009 I had my first post published and began my journey on this blog with all of you. So many things have happened since then, but most of all I have expanded my community to include YOU, and I’ve undergone some pretty rad personal growth as well. I do have myself to thank because I’m creating it all, but I have to thank each and every one of you, and of course, my soul brother, SuperForester Jackson, for welcoming me with open arms :) To give you an idea of the level of personal growth I’ve undergone in the past two years, I thought I’d share this photo. Although I fully believe that I create my experiences in this life, without SuperForest and the amazing community around it, I definitely wouldn’t have found myself

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in this place, pictured below, on the beautiful island of Kauai with the very magical Fire Cat, the first cat I’ve ever loved and not been allergic to — a small miracle in itself! I am grateful to all who helped me get to that place, literally and personally.

I promise to share more thoughts and stories from my travels soon, but for now I just wanted to celebrate my 2-year SuperForest anniversary and share this photo :) Yours grateful for the past and in love with the present, SuperForester Heather

Agustin Launches Kickstarter Campaign

Gooood Morning SuperForest!

Our dear sweet brother, the famous Agustin launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to finish his long in the making album, White Ark. We’ll let him explain!

SuperForesters Connect 2!

Yayyyyy! SuperForester Heather

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is in Kauai! We’ve kidnapped her and are forcing adventure and abundance on her.

Love!

-Jackson

Kauai Kombucha Update

Hello Superforest!

Awhile ago, an awesome person named Kristal went on our forum looking for funds for her project called Kauai Kombucha – a project that brews Kombucha on Kauai using all recycled materials.

A few of us donated and helped spread the word. She raised enough money to get funded by Kickstarter.

That was some months ago and I wanted to share an update she sent out on the project.

Jackson – all of you at ZO so need to stop by and get some home brewed Kombucha! ; )

“Aloha! I recently looked the calendar and realized it’s already august! where does the time go?? my apologies for not getting an update on the project out sooner, but the good thing is the reason is most of my time has been spent on it! It’s coming along even better than i could have imagined. there’s still too much demand on the island for the amount of kombucha i’m able to produce ( hooray! ) so i’m putting all money coming in right back into more brewing vessels and equipment. It’s still just me working on it so i’m putting anywhere from 50 to 60 hours a week into working in my kitchen and delivering and other such things. that combined with my 3 other jobs and rescuing a puppy has kept me practically spinning in circles. i suppose the good thing is that all of my work whether it’s brewing, fire dancing, working with skydiving, and creating eco friendly clothes are all things i love so much it’s hard for me to even think of it as work. All I can say is right now i can’t imagine a more perfect outcome to what started in this kitchen 7 months ago.

There’s definitely been a few hard times for sure. Just recently i had to throw roughly 120 gallons of kombucha away and start my batches completely fresh. i say ‘roughly’ because after the 100th gallon i was weeping hysterically and throwing the worst tantrum to where i couldn’t count anymore. lol. things are always funnier when you get to look back at the situation. See the problem with kombucha is that there are a lot of small time home brewers who make enough for themselves and maybe their friends, and there are a lot of big brewers that make it the 150 million dollar industry it is. there are definitely few brewers that brew my amount ( around 50 gallons a week ) and even fewer who do it in the sustainable way that i do. So when there’s an issue with my batches i have absolutely no one to reference or even to ask. You can say I’m working on a lot of intuition. So my intuition says that with the summer spike in temperature and the lack of proper ventilation in my commercial kitchen on top of the addition of more vessels created an environment where the fermentation process went completely haywire ( i could go into the science behind it, but that’s essentially what happened ) now the good news is that it’s an easy fix and i have over 80 gallons of wonderfully fermenting booch starring at me right now. unfortunately, it will take another week or so before it’s ready for the shelves so i will be sold out for a little bit. but someone just reassured me that will help keep the demand up on it, so in the end i’m sure it’ll all work out.

before this little set back i had maxed out my production at 40-50 gallons a week, right around 200 wine bottles. I suppose the majority of my time is spent collecting and scrubbing the crap out of each of them to get the labels off and to resanatize them. Most of the time i feel like i’m in the dishwashing industry and not the brewing industry. But i know in the end it’s worth it. Eventually once my product is known enough i can cut out the bottling part and have it set up in more of a co-op form with lots of other products. So i suppose right now all this is mainly just a learning stage for me, and i’m very grateful to be where i’m at.

I have lots of ideas for expansion, so once the booch is all dialed in ( prolly another 6 months ) i will most likely be adding other products to help with the sustainability efforts on the island. it’s definitely a lot of work, but everytime just that one person understands and thanks me for all of what i am doing it makes every inch of it worth it. I couldn’t have done any of this without each one of you, and i sincerely hope you know that by pledging back in january you weren’t just helping me, but you were in the end helping the entire island have less waste and create a tighter community with our farmers and consumers. because of you it is all possible. so thank you all again. and hopefully within the next 3-4 months i’ll have another great update to send to you all!”

Congratulations Kristal!

Here is a link to her Kickstarter page:

http://www.kickstarter.com/profile/583547191

Jackson’s Journal – New Zero One Prawn Hunt

(image via wettropics.gov)

Goooood Morning SuperForest!

It has been five weeks now since Melissa and I left the old Zero One, (which we are now calling Prototype A) and moved over to the new Zero One. I cannot believe my good luck. Truly we have flopped out of the frying pan into a larger and much nicer frying pan.

The principal difference between Prototype A and Zero One is that at Prototype A, everything I did was a compromise of sorts. That’s because I had an outside partner to think of and consider the needs of, and also Augustin and Mea, and later a whole team of people working and living. Here there are Melissa and myself, the chickens, and that’s it. I am free to play and create and prototype my ideas. Bliss.

Since we arrived, we have weeded the majority of the gardens and cleaned out all of the buildings. We brought my old iron bathtub over from Prototype A, set it up on blocks and now we have a “hillbilly hot tub” where we can soak our cares away after another hot sweaty day. I’ve split some bamboo and hung it from the roof of our little house, creating a simple water catchment system. The bamboo is tied beneath the drip line where it funnels water down into a 55 gallon water barrel that we have set up on a big wooden wire spool. It’s perfect for washing your hands.

I’ve also installed a lovely little sink set up in our house, (which didn’t have a sink before,) so now cooking and doing dishes is much easier. We used to have to take our dishes down the hill a ways to the working faucets, and the trips back and forth became no fun rather quickly. Melissa had found a beautiful old sink at the dump, and using some 2 by 4′s as props, I mounted it good and tight to the kitchen wall. Now a 2.5 gallon tank flows down into the sink and then drains into a five gallon bucket below. I take the bucket out at night and use the water on the non-food trees. Simple, but it works.

This is certainly the most rustic life I’ve ever lead. At first we had no electricity, but that was nice in it’s own way. We went to bed early. I read “Through the Looking Glass” to Melissa by candlelight. We would do our cooking over a little propane burner and eat by candlelight. Then the power got turned back on and it was like a miracle. Lights at the flick of a switch! We could use an electric kettle to make hot water! Yay! We could have hot water for dish doing and bucket baths before bed.

Did I mention the bucket baths? lol. For bathing at ZO we have four options: cold-water outdoor shower, dip in the stream, hillbilly hot tub, or bucket bath. At the end of a long day, when I don’t feel like going out in the dark and taking a cold shower or hiking down to the stream, and I’m too tired to gather wood and light the hot tub, a nice bucket bath can make all the difference in the world before sliding into bed. Simply heat a kettle of water, pour into bucket, add dash of Dr. Bronners, then situate yourself nice and comfortable on a towel and wipe off your whole self with a wash cloth. I do face first, then neck and arms, then chest, thighs, and back, then pits, then treasures, then feet. The water in the bucket at the end is well brown, and the plants love it and cry out for sweet infusions of my diluted man-tea. Gross.

We’ve been drinking very strong coffee lately. We ran out of filters. We stopped using them. Now the coffee is so thick and deep and black. I put nothing in it. I like my coffee black and hot and fresh and chunky. Like Mo’nique in a clay mug. Mmmmmm!

The Stream And It’s Delicious Murky Denizens.

Running around an amazing 75% of the land-mass of Zero One is a gorgeous little stream. That’s because we’re on a peninsula. A minor one yes, but still. This stream is an incredible healthy and diverse little ecosystem. The stream is small, only 10-12 feet wide for the mile and a half it winds around the property, and predominantly knee-deep. There are larger pools of deep green water here and there, perfect for splashing into. In the stream live many fish, frogs, and delicious, delicious prawns. The prawns on Kauai are an amazing sort. The males can get quite large, and blue, with long ferocious claws at front. The females look more like shrimp.

One night my pal Dan asked me if I’d ever gone prawning, and I replied that I hadn’t, and he told me that it was easy and great fun, and the tool one needed was deliciously simple. What do we need? says I. Do you have a fork? said he in reply? As it turns out, a fork taped to the end of a bamboo pole is quite an effective prawning implement. I was flabbergasted. Surely it cannot be that easy?

That night, fortified by a large dinner and a splash (perhaps two) of some rotting guts booze-poison, we prawn hunters set out from the base of the stream, armed with our fork-poles, our flashlights, and our slightly dulled but still much larger that the average prawn human intellects, and we weren’t coming home empty handed. The way that one prawns hunts is to work your way slowly upstream, shining the beam of your flashlight into the water, looking for the glint of prawn eyeballs, while doing your best not to slip and fall ass over tea kettle into the water. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

The prawns, seeing the light of your hand torch, react in a myriad of ways, but you can count on one of two things happening: either the prawn will run and hide, or it will come closer to see what the big shiny thing is. The ones that run away do sneaky things like flashing around underwater at great speed, darting here and there, and then perhaps wedging themselves under a rock and staying there forever, or until the big light leaves, whichever comes first. They are jerks and losers and not fun to hunt.

The prawns that come toward you are much easier to catch. You shine your light into their eyes, which dead on has a sort of hypnotizing effect on them, skloosh slowly through the water until you’re right up close, and then jab the fork through them. You only get one shot. That is usually the way nature works and these prawns are no exception; sling an arrow or a spear at something and it usually runs away whether you’ve missed or not. The prawns have a pretty tough armor, which is good at repelling poorly-aimed fork thrusts.

Since that first night I have been out “prawning” perhaps five times? Once more with Dan, and then four times alone in the lovely, loud, dark Kauai night. I have had a few interesting misadventures and learned a lot about effective prawn hunting. Once, I spied a prawn below me in a pool and speared him. I could see his little claws sticking out from beneath the tine of my fork, and the rest was swirls of mud. Reaching down, I found that the prawn was gone, but his little arms were still there! :( I need to wiki the prawns to see if they re-grow severed limbs.

Another night I speared a prawn and could still see his tail, and reaching down found that in spearing him, I’d cut him in half! His front end was gone and I still had his tail. This is not a bad thing, as the tail is the bit that’s nicest to eat. I’ll eat the whole thing, but the tail is truly gourmet. Anyway, I’m standing on a rock admiring the large prawn tail in my hand when it gives a big twitch and jumps up, up, and out, falling right into the sparkling rapids and gone. Lost forever. I felt very badly about that one.

Melissa and I took a trip to the hardware store. On the wall: fish spear tip. Three tines. Barbed. $5.00. Heck yes, says I. At home, I unwrapped all that silly tape, (and pushed it into a soda bottle) removed the fork, and attached the new tip. A proper spear now, no more cutlery cobbled together silliness for me. Before I went out, we sat, m’lady and I, and had a proper feed of left over cheeseburgers to fill the belly and ease the mind. A quick shot of an unspecified liquid courage-tonic and off I went, new spear in hand, ready to face my destiny.

As I walk down the hill to the stream I think out to the Universe. Hello universe, I am going out hunting. Thank you for the opportunity to do so. Thank you for good health and sound limbs. Please send any prawns my way that wish to be caught. Thank you, Universe.

Last night I caught four big prawns. A personal best. I caught three with the spear and one in a trap I’d set earlier and baited with horrible smelling horseradish cheese. Three females and one big male. An hour spent alone in the sweetness of the dark woods and stream, walking upstream in silence, not singing or whistling, just listening and looking with an unblinking intensity. The moon is very full now, and it’s brightness was such that it made a glare on the water, making it hard to see. The moon was so bright in fact that I once turned quickly to see who was approaching, thinking that someone was behind me with a flashlight.

Back up the hill I walked through the bright night, where the house was lit by one small lamp, on loan from an Auntie, and that was  Melissa in bed reading. The prawns went into the fridge, where they chilled (ha!) until the morning, when I cleaned them, boiled them, shelled them, and them sauteed them in coconut oil with garlic, spicy red paprika, and sea salt. The prawn chunks sizzled in the pan over the propane stove as I beat five fresh eggs from our chicken flock.  A fine prawn omelet! A meal fit for a prince and princess! And most of it from the land, from the sweat of our brow. A beautiful breakfast.

The White Goat On the Hill

I am spending as much time engaged in activities like this. Learning, growing. Making new muscles. Making new friends. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I feel strong and healthy. I sleep like a slab of marble. Kauai is coming alive. New people come into our lives and they tell us that the world outside is changing. Some say it is good and that they are very excited. Some say that it is bad, and hopeless, and will probably end any day. I am listening to the excited ones. That is because I know how exactly how they feel!

I hunt for prawn and I feel excited. When I walk out to the chicken coop and see that the nesting box is filled with eggs, that still excites me. When our little hen that we’d raised from a speck of fluff suddenly walks across the lawn trailing nine fresh baby chicks, a miracle! The cat eats four of them the first day. Amazing! The cat eats the chicks. The cat also eats the rats. We eat the prawns. the chickens eat the prawns shells. The chickens give us eggs and give birth to new chickens. Across the valley we can see a white goat standing on a cliff. We see him every day. How this goat evades hunters is beyond me. It is bright white! Seeing the goat every day excites me.

As I climb the tree of bliss, I keep in mind that out in the world beyond the shores of my magical island home, there are others just like me. Everywhere. The world of permaculture and the new game we are all playing is coming to life. It is beyond simply living sustainably. It is all about living generatively. Abundance model mind set. 1+1+3. I know in my heart that I am not alone. That the world I treasure and cherish is coming to life. I know that there are others like me who value what I value and celebrate what I celebrate. We dreamers are coming together it seems. A dream is only a dream if it’s in one persons head. If a dream can be shared by two people then it is no longer a dream: it is a brand new world.

I am skilling up. And learning and growing. A growing body of knowledge about successfully navigating a very complex ecosystem. This knowledge is invaluable. I wish to play a part in the creation of this new world, and the more I know about myself and how to maneuver my avatar through the world, the better the chances that I’ll be able to play the game on as high a level as I would like. Life feels more like a game than ever.

In closing, I would like to send a message of love and gratitude. Thank you. I love you.

If you want to come and see Zero One, and you want to learn what I know, I will be happy to have you as a guest. If you don’t want to, then you’d better stay home! Ha ha ha! No, seriously, if you’re interested in the things I’m talking about or why I’m talking about the things I’m talking about or you just need a breath of fresh air, then get in touch with me, and we’ll make it happen. I must warn you though: I am very hard to get in touch with. The best way is to show up at Zero One with hot coffee, and donuts, and a smile and an open mind. Or facebook Melissa. That would actually work.

Much love to All. I’ve been missing you.

-Jackson

 

Jackson’s Journal – I Have Become Them

(image via flickr user haekal_muhamad)

Good Morning SuperForest!

This here picture is the female mosquito doing her thang, sucking blood out of a human being. She will use this blood to nourish the clutch of eggs she carries within her. When the eggs are ready, she deposits them into a still pool of water, where they begin their life cycle, first as underwater nymphs, then as full fledged mozzies of their own.

Why do I mention this? I’ve got a theory!

You see, many people here on Kauai have noticed that when they first arrive on the island their sensitivity to mosquito bites is high. They get bitten and red welt-like bumps appear, itching and annoying for ages. But as one settles down into an area, a definite drop in sensitivity becomes noticeable, to the point where long time residents don’t even bother with mosquito nets at night, and rarely if ever complain about getting bitten.

It stands to reason that here on Kauai different sub-species of the master mosquito species have adapted to fit into each of the islands many micro-climates. Moving from one micro-climate to another exposes one to an entirely new sub-species of mosquito, and the desensitization process must re-occur. But re-occur it does and soon after moving you settle down and soon after that the mozzies seem to stop biting.

Why is that?

My theory is this: If each mother mosquito is using your blood to nourish (i.e. grow, i.e. use as base material to create from,) her young, then you are very slightly, but definitely, related to that brood of mosquito offspring. The new brood is literally made up of your blood. Now the females of this new brood get to biting you, nourishing yet another round of you-based offspring, which grows to adult mosquito-hood and the process continues. As you are bitten, you become the base material for each successive brood of mosquito offspring, eventually rendering you invisible to them.

Eventually you are surrounded with mosquitoes made of you. The adult mosquito lives for four to eight weeks. Spend six months in one micro-climate with one master species of mosquito biting you, and soon enough the genetic difference between you and your little buzzing friends diminishes to the point where for them to bite you would be too much like a sort of cannibalistic incest, and they leave you alone. Until your next move.

Love to All!

-Jackson

Melissa’s Journal: Another Way

(via)

Hiya SuperForest! I was recently contacted on Facebook by a friend’s mother inquiring about my life here on Kauai. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this with her and with all of you. ——————— Dear Melissa: I don’t mean to pry into your life, it looks like a lot of fun. But how do you and yours support yourselves? I would love to live in Hawaii and just live off the land, but it looks harder than I think it would be. A lot of fun but that’s not how life really goes, is it?   Aloha! Thank you so much for inquiring about my life! It’s great to hear from you! One of the biggest differences here versus mainland US is that many people here see traditional capitalism; work for money, use money to live alone or with one or two others to create a sense of Independence and “make something of yourself” as an old and unsustainable way of life. Here, we have searched and found alternative ways of supporting ourselves. There are many work/trade opportunities that most mainlanders don’t know about or don’t believe is possible over there. Many people work 12-20 hrs a week on farms owned by other people in exchange for a place to live, showers, and food harvested from the land. These places to live are often just a place to put a

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tent, and most people live very minimally and simply. I don’t need much to live here. I could realistically survive with a backpack, a tent

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or hammock, two changes of clothes, and enough knowledge about the food that grows wild here. If I trust that the Universe will take care of me, then I will be taken care of with minimal effort. The traditional capitalistic model is one that thrives off of the idea of scarcity. And I now see and know that we, as Americans in a first world country live in total abundance, but only if we allow ourselves to see it, believe that we deserve it, and are willing to share our own abundance in whatever form that comes. I, for instance, am a photographer, videographer, gardener, caretaker, nanny, manager, computer technician, mediator, counselor, house cleaner, etc. And when I find I need something I don’t already have or know how to do, I am able to trade my skills for others’ skills or goods. So when my friend, a hair stylist, needs someone to take care of her kids while she and her husband go to a party, I ask for a haircut in exchange. No need for money! :) That’s not to say that I never need money. But when I do, I am able to conjure up some way to make it or have it gifted to me. It’s all in how willing I am to play this new game. The old capitalistic/scarcity paradigm is boring and old to me. The new game of figuring it out as I go along with trust that I will be taken care of is much more entertaining. I have the freedom to create my own reality, without anyone else dictating how, when, where, who, why I am going to do it. I am fully admittedly incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to explore this new way, to have people in the form of Ohana (extended family) all around me that love, support, and encourage this new way. And I want to share it with everyone that I know. There is another way. I hope you are happy and healthy and having so much fun! Love + Aloha, Melissa

Jackson’s Journal – What Is SuperForest?

(image by flickr user CubaGallery)

Gooood Morning SuperForest!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this lovely site, and the people who write for it and work on it. What is it that binds us all together? What is the common thread that embroiders our lives into this quilt of growth and inspiration?

We are SuperForesters.

But what does that mean?

We are all bound together by our shared experience of the Humanifesto, which I wrote four years ago, as a clarion call for myself and people like me to take responsibility for our own lives and thoughts and feelings. To make ourselves “the Environment.” To reclaim the word environmentalist and shift the definition away from treehuggers, and protestors, and eco-saboteurs, and re-cast it as you and me, living our lives, doing our best.

The Humanifesto states that to be happy and to succeed, I had to take full responsibility for my life, in totality, and that meant taking responsibility for EVERYTHING. Everything. Life, the Universe, and everything. All that I saw, thought, felt, said, and did. Everything.

That is a great deal to take responsibility for. Why did I write such challenging words?

I mean, how can one read the Humanifesto and continue making trash? How can you say you wish to take responsibility for the environment and still live in a world of such destruction and cruelty? Not just live in it, but actively participate in it? How can you read those words and then just go on living your normal life?

I couldn’t.

When I wrote the Humanifesto, I was living in New York. I lived on the seventh floor of a high-rise apartment building. I didn’t know my neighbors. I barely knew myself. I collected my trash and walked it down the hall to the trash chute where I dumped it into a black tube and watched it disappear from my life. I pooped in a flush toilet and watched as countless thousands of gallons of clean drinking water were used as a vehicle to flush my waste away. I walked the streets and saw empty buildings and empty lots, and on the sidewalks in front of them I saw empty people leading empty lives, homeless and hungry, standing feet away from shelter and productive land. None of this made sense to me. And yet, all of it made sense. It was the American Dream at work. The Haves protecting what they had from the Have-nots, who suffered. All suffered together in a continuous ring of suffering and isolation.

I decided to make a change in my life.

SuperForest became my training ground. My dojo. A place where I could record my journey as I set about taking full responsibility for my life. The Humanifesto lists six things that I feel should be inalienable human rights: food, shelter, water, communication, freedom from violence and oppression, and education. SuperForest would be the record of my attempt at achieving those six things for myself and then for those around me. Put on your own life-vest first, and then assist other, my thinking went.

Four years has passed since then. I went from living a rather disconnected and isolated life in a high-rise in New York city to living on a permaculture farm in Kauai, stockpiling my trash and composting my poop. I went from being rather unhappy and dissatisfied with my incredible life, to living in a state of bliss. Rapturous bliss. And it all started with my decision to take responsibility for my life.

If you have read SuperForest from the beginning, you may have noticed that the attrition rate among writers and contributors is rather high. People come into the SuperForest orbit, get enthused, start sharing their journeys, and then poof! Disappear. In my old way of thinking I would have thought that it was all my fault. That I was to blame. My antics, my explorations, my words, my ideas, these all somehow pushed my friends away. Now I know better.

You see, SuperForesting is the most challenging thing I can think of. This dance, this tightwire act, this walking meditation, is very intense, and requires much of a practicing SuperForester. If I am going to try to achieve the six freedoms in the Humanifesto, it is going to take a lot of work, and require that I give my life a thorough examination, to see what, if anything, is standing in the way of me taking full responsibility for my life, my happiness,  and the achievement of my goals.

So SuperForesting to me has become a combination of participatory journalism at its truest, combined with personal growth, permaculture, and the practice of complete engagement in each moment of my short life.

No wonder most people come sniffing around, enjoy the upbeat and personal tone of things here, get invested, realize just how much work there is to do on themselves and their environments, and then flee. It is scary and intense to engage your life on that level. Much easier is to return to the old patterns of the quest for money and material gains, formalized education, chemical dependency, sports, politics, pop culture, and all the tried and true means of distracting oneself from the gravity and perfection of each moment.

But SuperForest, the Humanifesto, and I will not let go that easily. For once you have realized that YOU ARE THE ENVIRONMENT, and that by extension, everything is you, then it is darn near impossible to get that sticky thought out of your head. You can distract and distract and hide and distract some more, but in a part of your mind, you will always know what you are doing. You are running. You are hiding. You are running and hiding from yourself.

I came to Kauai a year ago to slow down, face myself, and see what there was in me that I liked and what I wanted to shed. Here in the stillness and motion, I have been able to examine myself, my conditioning, and decide to become an active participant in this game called life, or SuperForest, or whatever you’d like to call it. I have never been so happy. Each day, Melissa and I look at each other and we say thank you to the Universe for allowing us to live like this. Each day is a meditation on bliss, and love, and aloha. Here on this small island, I can see very quickly the power of my words and actions, and how quickly my motion ripples through the fabric of existence for the sixty thousand-odd inhabitants of this wonderful aina.

You can read this and say, well, of course it’s fun and easy to live on Kauai, and be a rich kid, and have a rock star father, and not have a job, and be debt free, and spend your days in a garden. My writing this may be infuriating for some of you to read. Good. I invite you to examine that energy, look directly at it. Dance with it. Because every time I have been jealous or angry or upset with another human being, it was an opportunity for me to practice the Humanifesto and grow through my negative conditioning.

That is SuperForesting. Every single time I get upset or angry, I have to sit and think about why I am upset and what my anger says about me and the way I’m living my life. I must deal with this energy responsibly, (for it’s my energy to deal with) or risk leaking it onto the people and places around me. I have to be the one to turn the other cheek, to be the bigger man. I have to find a way to deal with my trash. I have to find a way to deal with my poop. I can no longer in good conscience simply flush it away for future generations to deal with. I have to grow my own food, and work to rebuild the health of the soil. I have to befriend my neighbors and treat them well and with respect. I have to do unto others, and give thanks for those who abuse me and my love.

Taking on this challenge has been hard, and I have made many mistakes. I don’t mean to make it sound like I am a saint, but I am very very happy, in a way that I don’t see many other people being.

Remember, one happy person is all it takes to change the world. That happy person should be you. What is standing in the way of that happiness? Is it time for a change? I believe I can help.

So SuperForesters, my challenge to you is this: Take another look at the Humanifesto. Really give it a good old read. If you read it and it rings true to you, and you wish to begin SuperForesting in earnest, then decide right here and now that you are in charge, that experience begins and ends with you. That you are the Alpha and the Omega. You are the Universe. The Universe is you. What you do with that knowledge is up to you, but if you are interested in helping me and many others build a better world as an old world crumbles, then this site will be our meeting place. This site is where we share our daily practice. This is our nexus and the germ from which a new culture will emerge. A culture of personal responsibility. Beyond good and bad, beyond judgments, beyond government, above and beyond all that you thought previously possible. Here is where the world is reborn daily.

Here is where we make our stand, together, as one, united, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Love to All,

Jackson

 

Jackson’s Journal – Moving Into One Love

This was day one, eating soursop under a tree in the fruit orchard. We could use some help eating all this food, SuperForesters. Who wants

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Love,

Jackson

Jackson’s Journal – the Magic of Not Planning

(image via laursite.com)

Goooood Morning SuperForest!

Oh, beautiful SuperForest! How glad I am this day! To wake up and know that I had secured a new Zero One and now Melissa and I had a place to put our few belongings and our precious chickens was a warm and glowing feeling to say the least.

Here’s how it happened. We did not plan. We asked the universe clearly and repeatedly for a place to live and work, and that was it. We set the intention and then trusted that the universe would take care of the rest.

This is harder work than it seems.

When Jesse told me that he no longer wanted to host the Zero One experiment on his land, admittedly I was bummed. But a huge part of me was so relieved! Whew! I no longer had to be in charge! I no longer had to think about all the endless details involved in this project, and there were lots. It felt like a huge weight had lifted.

But then I got a bit freaked. Where was I going to go? And where could I possibly go that was at least as good if not better than Zero One, where we had organic eggs and kale and food and cool ocean breezes and great neighbors? Was I going to have to get a job? Where would we put the chickens?

I’ll just get the hell out of dodge. That was my next thought. For the past year, people have been coming through Zero One and telling us stories about other intentional communities and permaculture projects that sounded amazing. Fine, thought I, I’ll travel around and see them all, see for myself how everyone else is doing things, meet the new players in this game, refresh my inspiration batteries.

But then I thought, what if I get stuck on the mainland and cannot for whatever reason return to Kauai? Fear thinking, I know, but that’s what went through my head.

A few weeks had passed by this time and I was calming down a bit. I realized that the key question in this scenario, the one the universe was waiting for me to answer was: What do I want to do?

This is a harder question to answer than most people realize, for it involves answering an equally significant question: Well, who are you?

I knew that I loved living on Kauai, and I knew that I loved permaculture, agrarian living, and community building. I knew that I loved creating new ideas and sharing them with my friends. Most importantly, I knew that I needed a space I could call my own where I could play and make decisions and be supported.

I didn’t know all these things at first. I had to calm down and listen to the trees whisper and the ocean sing, and then it was clear as day: I didn’t want to leave the island. I didn’t really care how anyone else was doing the permaculture thing. Permaculture is like gardening or parenting. There is no right way to do it. It all depends on the results you wish to achieve.

Anyway, so I waited and I listened and I got clear about my intentions, and it all added up to I want to stay on Kauai and continue the work of building permaculture healing centers, writing on my blog, making media, and stirring things up.

So I asked the universe for exactly that. Out loud. I said: Universe, I would very much like some land to live on to continue my work, and I’d like for it to be awesome. I decided to make no plans. I would simply repeat my intention and request and allow the universe to provide whatever it saw fit to help me on the next stage of evolution.

The next day, a man walked into my living room, sat down and started talking to me about his plans to create permaculture communities. This seemed an extraordinary nod by the universe to my request, and I was very pleased to listen to this friend speak and dream with him. Because I was making no plans, I let myself be directed by the universe’s seemingly random nudges here and there, always making sure to stay in Aloha, stay with the breath, keep my energy up with good food and rest.

Jesse had given us two months to clear out of ZO, so I had a few weeks at the beginning to be freaked, another two weeks to calm down, and then nearly a month to just vibrate along with the music of the universe, listening to what it was saying, going where it directed. Friends came forward and offered Melissa and I places to stay, jobs to do, projects to involve ourselves in. I stayed in the breath, listened to my heart, and waited until I got a big YES from the universe.

And yesterday, that yes came. Two days before Jesse is set to arrive. One day before our friend Angela is coming in to Zero One to deep clean. Just in time. Perfect time! Aloha time!

Our plan of making no plan and staying in the moment/love/aloha brought us stewardship of One Love Gardens, which is exactly what we had asked for and so much more. We got exactly what we wanted BECAUSE we didn’t try to go out and get it. We waited for it to come to us, which it did, with no struggle or heavy effort on our parts, because we allowed it to happen in its time. If One Love had not happened, something else would have happened and it would all have been perfect.

To sum up, the plans do not matter. They exist only in your head to be thwarted perhaps by the universe, who has plans of its own. Schedules to do not matter. They exist only to stress us out. Make plans and schedules and get stressed out when they are broken or altered. Make no plans and there is nothing but the moment and love and aloha. The intention and successfully sharing the vision is the only thing that matters.

Plans and schedules are the engines of stress and discomfort. Imagine eliminating them from your life? What would your life be like if you decided to stop making plans and simply asked yourself in each moment what would make you happiest?

Such a course of action would perhaps put you at odds with the matrix, where everyone is hustling to survive. But what if such a course of action set you free from the architecture of your incarceration, and allowed you entry into a new world of limitless love and aloha? Would it be worth it? Does it interest you to play and discover in this new land?

The universe is waiting to take care of you, if you trust it and you allow it to love you. That is what has been the hardest for me. Trusting in the universe and trusting in myself. Not easy.

But the results! La dolce vita!

Here is to the great undiscovered landscape in us all. Drink deep the universe juice and see what treasures await you.

Love and aloha,

-Jackson