Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Tonight I went to the first meeting for 2010 of the Mushroom Club of Georgia. It was my first meeting (thanks for Robert Hamilton for pointing me towards the group), and I felt at home right away. The room we were in was packed (apparently there was word that morel season is about to start and everyone wanted to know more!). I went to learn about the club and they did a nice overview presentation, with many members giving insight into what they do, including:

  • Walks: this is definitely the highlight. Wander in the woods with knowledgeable folks and collect mushrooms, identify species, etc. The first hike is on April 3, free and open to all. Most walks are members only though, so be sure to join.
  • Educational meetings: the club meets on the second Thursday of the month and has informative talks. Next month includes a biochemist talking about how medicinal mushrooms actually work.
  • Fun events: there is an annual event for southeastern groups on Oconee. Everyone who went had a hard time describing it but clearly enjoyed it massively!

I’m looking forward to my first walk and am hoping to go on April 3.

At the meeting, I found I had something to contribute so I figured that meant I should share. I’ve had some exposure to mushroom identification and collecting, thanks to some friends, and tonight I even got some further backing for what I learned about a medicinal mushroom from a health practitioner, so here goes…

Turkey Tale Tea!

Turkey Tales are an incredibly common mushroom, even in the city. It’s easy to identify, gorgeous, and medicinal.

Note that the underside of Turkey Tails are pourous (not gills) and are white.

The easiest way I know of to access the medicine of turkey tails (believed to be a general anti-viral and anti-bacterial) is by boiling. The recipe, known as Turkey Tail Tea, is easy – just throw a handfull of Turkey Tail mushrooms into a crock pot and let simmer for 48-72 hours. After that point the good medicines are released. Just get a cup and drink!

I was amazed the first time I had this – these mushrooms are very pleasant and have a mild, nutty, aromatic taste. Drink some and stay healthy!

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Saturday 23, 2010  I am out into the cold morning and off to pick up Carter.  Alon didn’t sleep well last night and I feel like I didn’t sleep at all.  No time for coffee, if this sale is anything like the Trees Atlanta sale its going to be packed when it opens at 9.  We arrive at the Food Bank and 9:10 and there are mobs of people.  Surely all these people are not here for the tree sale?  But surely the Food Bank would not schedule another event for today.  The Organizational Change Alliance has their meeting inside starting at 10 and thats enough to ask of one parking lot.

Crossing the street, it was clear that all those people were here for the tree sale.  I went straight for the persimmons and pomegranates that were my reason for coming – gone.  Sold out at 9:15. I grab a plum tree and look around raspberries – sold, blueberries- not a trace, pawpaws – gone.   I am not committing to apples or pears unless I know a lot about the variety and the root stock. I have about 1/8 of an acre for fruit trees and thats not much space if I plant full size trees.

Almost all fruit trees are made of two different trees – the root stock and the cultivar.  The root stock is chosen for its hardiness and its size.  The tree will only grow as big as the root stock allows.  Put a Macintosh apple cultivar on full size root stock you get an apple tree that will get a tree that is 20-40 feet tall.  Put the same cultivar on a semi-dwarf or dwarf root stock and you keep the tree to as small as 4-6 feet. I prefer to put in small trees and have more variety.

So I took my plum (a pollinator friend for a plum I already own) and got into the long, long line.  Waiting was no bore, because I ran into at least a dozen friends.  Even people I don’t know were coming up to me and saying hello.  ALFI wisely set up a line for ordering trees to be delivered next week.  I would have ordered 4 times more, but I am going to SOCON 10.  So I bought my plum and headed over to Cafe Campesino’s booth to get my cup of coffee.  They just opened a shop selling organic, shade-grown, fairtrade coffee in the Atlanta Curbside Market.

I spoke with Kyla after the sale.  She says that the sale was so successful ALFI will be able to hire a full time employee next year.  The difference between being an all volunteer organization and being having a single employee is a massive step for an organization.  It allows for consistancy of communication, planning, and volunteer organizing.   Orders may be up to 5 times the amount of plant material sold the day of the sale.  Amazing.

Heres what I think ALFI did right

1. Well designed invitation.  With a catchy title, neutral but attractive colors and clear information.  I saw this invite on a lot of different websites, on Facebook and in emails from several friends.

2. Fiscal sponsorship.  ALFI is not an independent organization.  It is a project with fiscal sponsorship from Georgia Organics, this means that the project operates under the umbrella of GO.  All of ALFIs money must go through GO.  GO probably takes a small percentage to cover bookkeeping and accounting expenses.  ALFI doesn’t have to set up its own legal entity.  I am a huge fan of fiscal sponsorship.  It creates synergies and helps prevent duplication of efforts.  It also slows the outrageous proliferations of nonprofit organizations occuring now.

3. Grow it Yourself.   ALFI hit the message right on.  Grow it yourself, Do it yourself, Take care of yourself. People are looking for self-reliance.  The recent turbulence in the economy and the growing instability of the globe has people seeking more control over their lives.  Whether its growing their own food, doing home improvment projects, or taking control  of their investments, people are taking charge of their lives.

4. Organization.  This event was well organized right from the start.  They had clear lists of which trees they would have.  At the event they had pre-printed order forms and booklets of information about the trees.

5. Tap into communities. ALFI got their invite and messages firmly planted into different communities. If 3 of your friends are going to the same event, you might as well go also.  They successfully tapped several functioning communities including local food fanatics, community gardeners, tree planters, and food bank supporters.

May all the baby trees be blessed with a well dug hole, regular watering, and safe passage through their first year.

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On New Year’s Eve, I supported a community gathering in deep ceremony that culminated in an act I didn’t think I could, or would, do. The day started with a sweat lodge of the Stonepeople. Afterwards, there was a medicine circle, and then, special for the new year’s (Blue Moon) lodge, a fire walk.

This event had nearly 40 people at it, and in ceremony we enter relation with the fire and asked permission to walk across the hot coals. Though the possibility was that no one walked, everyone walked, or some portion of us walked, we as a community all benefited when anyone walked across the fire.

The fire was prepared with sacred wood and when it was hot the coals were spread out. We were all in music and celebration, and then quite suddenly, we started walking.

Even the day before, it didn’t cross my mind that I was a firewalker. But the strength of community and the service and ceremony of the day inspired me to walk across the fire. Glowing red embers spread over a pathway 10 feet long. My bare feet crossed the soggy, cold ground on the path from our circle to the fire. And then, as if walking on any normal walkway, I was safely across the hot path.

So now what? Fire walking was something that didn’t seem possible…and now I know it is. Any fear that was standing between me and that challenge evaporated when my feet touched the tops of the glowing fire that night. And if I can conquer that fear, is there anything holding me back at all?

I believe that since we have proven to ourselves that we can walk on fire, we can do anything. The bigger question for me becomes, what will we do together now? What challenge is ahead of us that requires our full attention, cooperation, and focus to overcome? What does are path hold for us?

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I had some initial issues on YouTube, but now we’ve got more videos posted, including fire eating and the kirtan chanting inside (extended version)!

Fire eating with Hot Toddies Flaming Cabaret:

Kirtan with Frederick and crew (and Alon!):

If you’re interested in more chanting and meditation in town, join Frederick each Tuesday evening (see details)

Got videos or pictures from the event? Post links in the comments please!

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At the Winter Solstice Gathering 2009, our community rejoiced in our beauty and the fact that we have everything we need right here with us! In fact, we’re ready, so what are we waiting for?

Recently a participant in the event told me her favorite part of the event was when we sang together. Have a listen to the voices we raised together around the Solstice fire.

This song was inspired by the beautiful song from Sweet Honey in the Rock (click on the 3rd song, “We Are the Ones” on the mp3 player on rights side of page). Ok, so they got some amazing talent and we taught it to everyone in about 20 seconds :D.

The meaning of the evening’s event comes from more than just what Obama said on the campaign trail or even a poem older than that…it comes from an ancient legend of the Hopi tribe of what is now known as the western US. It’s a beautiful story, telling of us and our time. Here it is, as told by the elders:

You have been telling the people that this is the eleventh hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.

And there are things to be considered.

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in the right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your truth. Create your community. Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those that are afraid. They will try and hold on
to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and they will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination.

The Elders say we must let go of the shore, and push of into the river. Keep our eyes open, and our head above water. See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves. Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary. All that you do now must be done in a sacred manner
and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

We will continue the conversations of the Solstice Gathering through monthly brunches at the Nomads Lounge. If you haven’t already received an invitation and are interested to participate in this heart conversation, please leave a comment with your contact details here.

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Solstice gathering Sunday!

The time has come – the end of the sun’s year. Sunday evening is out Solstice Gathering, and we will be celebrating our community!

Here’s some vital info about tomorrow’s event to help enhance your experience. Please also see the information below the vitals about how the party will work.

1. Please plan to carpool! There will be a lot of people. You can park along our street – please be courteous of the neighbors!

2. This is an indoor/outdoor party. Wear shoes that can be outside (it’s a little soggy still), dressing in layers advised because it will be cold outside and warm inside 🙂

3. Bring lots of goodies! The party enjoys a healthy supply of food and drink throughout the night. Whether you come for the dinner or afterwards, please bring drink and food to share. Harmony’s cookin up mulled wine, so you can always pitch in the pot there.

4. Don’t drink and drive! If you drink, please consider staying. We’ll have spaces for crashing. See recommendation to carpool.

5. Preparation begins at Noon. If it pleases you, your collaboration contributes to the evening and is greatly appreciated.

6. Participate! At 8pm we have the Sacred Commerce Marketplace. If your heart goes into your work, please bring your creation to sell! Come meet our creatives in the community and support their efforts (and do your holiday shopping!). You can also bring musical instruments, fire wood, flowers, food or drink.

Come honor, respect, participate and enjoy our community! If you have any questions, please call Chris at 404-550-3880 or Tirza at 209-605-0875.

Here is more on how the party will be set up and what we ask of you as a participant:

A. Dinner (and all food and drink) will be in the back house.

B. The front house will be music, movement, and poetry. No shoes inside the house.

C. This is an inter-generationaly party! We ask that you behave in a way respectful of the kids and our elders present.

D. We ask that everyone participate in creating and maintaining the party. A $10 is suggested and much appreciated.

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Listen to the Solstice Message

The theme of this year’s Winter Solstice gathering is “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”.  It’s a message that’s been on the mind for a while and now it’s time to act. We have an amazing community, and we can do anything we want. We have all the talents needed, we have enough people (but certainly welcome more!), and what we bring is desperately needed right now. What are we waiting for?

I say there is no other time than now to embark together upon this journey of creating the world we want to live in and we want our children’s children’s children to live in. Will you join us?

Sweet Honey in The Rock has a beautiful expression of the party’s theme. You can listen to it here: http://www.sweethoney.com/home.php (use the player on the right side, and click on “We are the ones”, third one down). If you’re interested to do a round of this with us at the event, just leave a comment!

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