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Cory's Boots to Roots Journey (BRK)

 
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Hello all!

I'm finally taking some time to share my experiences here, it's been an absolutely amazing 3 weeks so far!

I began my drive from East Texas on Thursday June 16th, traveling Northeast through Amarillo, TX briefly into Oklahoma, onwards to Colorado, Wyoming and across 2 timezones. My route took me through most of Montana to arrive Sunday June 19th around 3pm.

Along my trip I was awed by the majestic Colorado Rockies and the ruggedly beautiful mountain scenery once I entered Montana. I have to say it feels refreshingly liberating to be surrounded by all this natural wonder.

My first week was shared with the attendees of the Permaculture Design Course, what an awesome group of humans. Meeting Alan Booker was a highlight. The amount of information these folks were absorbing was astounding. Such vibrant passion for learning, teaching and connecting, I was immediately made comfortable by the lively environment.

Bidding those wonderful people goodbye was just another door to be opened for my second week, made better by the arrival of the Permaculture Technology Jamboree and it's diverse mix of participants and instructors. SO MANY COOL THINGS! Rocket Kiln, Mycelium insulation, Proenneke hinge, kombucha, Water Glassed Eggs, Miso, Fire Cider, Bicycle Spinning Wheel, Hugel construction, Spring Terrace (though the site was ultimately found insufficient), solar projects, timber furniture and seriously, so much more.

This final week has me settling in to the routine and becoming more familiar with my community members, all of whom are a joy to work with. All of my fellow boots really pull together to make these awesome events and the daily life here at Wheaton Labs an efficient permaculture system.

My goal is to learn as much as possible and teach as much as I'm able. I couldn't think of anywhere more suited to those ends than here at Paul's property.

This thread will serve as a journal of sorts, documenting my day to day. I'll try to be as regular as possible. I hope you all enjoy the journey.
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The view between two Hugels
The view between two Hugels
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My little patch of paradise. Snowberry, potatoes, walking onion, rhubarb, mint, snowberry, vetch, comfrey, mullein, Glover Goldie apple tree and lots of grass that needs removal.
My little patch of paradise. Snowberry, potatoes, walking onion, rhubarb, mint, snowberry, vetch, comfrey, mullein, Glover Goldie apple tree and lots of grass that needs removal.
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Potatoes need mounding but they're so beautiful.
Potatoes need mounding but they
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Cornflower, Centaurea Cyanus.
Cornflower, Centaurea Cyanus.
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Magdalene, Christine and I made both structural and decorative improvements to the back gate. Looks cool!
Magdalene, Christine and I made both structural and decorative improvements to the back gate. Looks cool!
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Honeysuckle, Lonicera Caprifolium
Honeysuckle, Lonicera Caprifolium
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Wood! Idk, just looks neat.
Wood! Idk, just looks neat.
 
Cory Shires
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BRK-2

Hey folks!

I've never been a picture taking person, and I find building that particular habit to be quite challenging. As you can see this is only my second post in a month and a half. Honestly I cant believe I've been here even that long, time has flown, but at the same time I also feel like I've been here for years. Everyone that lives or visits here comes with such a profound respect for the earth and for community, it's super comfortable and it's easy to slip into the whole vibe of Wheaton Labs.

My time gardening has been well spent so far, I've been greeted with new seedlings almost every morning the last 2 weeks. Getting to enjoy the tangible fruits of your labor is to me, one of the most satisfying experiences in life, and you get to play in the dirt!

Some highlights from my time here so far are meeting so many awesome people, learning the systems that make all of this possible and working on the endless list of projects and improvements.

We've made some really good progress on a bunch of infrastructural type stuff. Fencing, cistern overflow trench, The Pond, water delivery for hugels, new and better valves for our outdoor showers, junkpole repair, and honestly, so much more. The amount of work that gets accomplished here in a day is astounding and motivating.

Had a new boot show up last week, Hao, awesome guy just so happy to help out. Can't wait to see how his skills develop while he's here.

Trips to the river are incredible, very grounding. I feel so at home just floating down the current and absorbing as much of it's beauty as possible. There is great joy for me there.
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Purple Kohlrabi
Purple Kohlrabi
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Kale
Kale
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Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard
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Junk Pole repair complete! Never occurred to me to snap a before before pic...
Junk Pole repair complete! Never occurred to me to snap a before before pic...
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New boot Hao doing some paneling.
New boot Hao doing some paneling.
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3ish week old smol cat.
3ish week old smol cat.
 
pollinator
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Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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dog forest garden urban cooking bike fiber arts
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I love following 'boots' through their posts, photos and videos!

I just happened to discover you, Cory, because you said goodbye to Briella, also a boot I didn't know about for long ... And now here I find the other new boot's name: Hao. I hope he shares news (and photos) too ...
 
Cory Shires
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:I love following 'boots' through their posts, photos and videos!

I just happened to discover you, Cory, because you said goodbye to Briella, also a boot I didn't know about for long ... And now here I find the other new boot's name: Hao. I hope he shares news (and photos) too ...



Thanks for reaching out Inge!! I really appreciate the support and I'll pass it along to my friends here. Hope you're well!
 
Cory Shires
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BRK-3

Hello fellow permaculture enthusiasts!

Lazy Sunday here at the lab, it reached 107 yesterday and it feels like it's on track to do it again today. My fellow boots and I spent the cooler time of the morning cleaning up the common areas and I enjoyed a nice breakfast afterwards.

I've been impatiently waiting to open this Fire Cider that Opalyn, Grey and I made this month on the 4th. I'm shooting for a month long soak so just a few days left, then I'll add the honey and it'll be ready for tasting.

Grey and I also started a ginger bug and are hoping to brew some beer in a couple weeks, it'll be my first time doing the whole process, can't wait for the final result!

Things are settling into a more comfortable routine after all 6 weeks of events. People are getting back to their individual projects but there is also more time for community, especially at meal times. I've offered to prepare a large meal for everyone on Thursdays and a light lunch on Monday. Food is one of the love languages and I resonate deeply with that. I greatly enjoy cooking for others and so far everyone has allowed me to continue so it must be going ok!

I started some fertilizer from soaking dock and comfrey in a bucket of water. The recipe I like calls for stinging nettles as well but I haven't found any around here yet. Anyone know of some others I could substitute in?

I really am trying to take more pictures, I'll get there soon me thinks. Hope everyone taking the time to read this is happy and healthy.
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First Sunflower of the year, happened to be on my little patch of life!
First Sunflower of the year, happened to be on my little patch of life!
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Mustard and Arugula are the first to pop.
Mustard and Arugula are the first to pop.
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Comfrey and Dock Jam!
Comfrey and Dock Jam!
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Fire Cider!
Fire Cider!
 
Cory Shires
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BRK-4

Hey peeps!

Busy week since my last post, much goings on. Fall and winter planting was in full swing. I planted tons of squash, zucchinis, kale, and thousands of cover crop seeds, sepp holzer grain, clovers, alfalfa, tillage and daikon radish.

I can't stress enough how much joy this place brings me. Being able to surround yourself with such like minded amazing people in this incredible setting is soul quenching. Building community is often described as difficult and don't get me wrong, there are ups and downs here, however, the downs seem so easily surmountable with the relationships we're forging. Everyone here just gets it, and they have so much to give.

I was unaware of how hot it gets here, sometimes it's quite oppressive, the only recourse being my favorite place, the river. So all in all it's acceptable I guess.

Pearl, one of the male cats here has taken a shining to me, I often find him waiting outside my tent in the early mornings, waiting for pets and scritches. Such an awesome companion, he's quickly winning me over.

Lunch hour is almost up so I'll leave you here I think. Much love and many blessings.
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Felling some pine
Felling some pine
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Creek time!
Creek time!
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Life and death, the great circle.
Life and death, the great circle.
 
Cory Shires
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On the subject of community I'd like to delve a bit into my philosophy, if you would indulge me.

Communication is of the utmost importance. Being able to effectively convey thoughts and understand others points of view greatly increases the flow of information by which trust is built on. Which brings me to another facet, trust.

Trust is a tough one. How is it earned? How is it lost? There are many wiser than myself that have pondered these questions and yet it seems to elude even the most scholarly, as most philosophical conundrums often do. Some say it's doing what you say you'll do, others think it's gained by time or exposure to a concept. I tend to agree with the former, keeping your word is tantamount to building cohesive relationships and cohesive relationships build trust by nature.

Communities are a collection of individuals, each with their own thoughts, beliefs, hopes, dreams, morals and values. Some of which you may adhere to, some you may repulse. If the population of your community is comprised of trustworthy, communicative individuals, one could surmise that it would be efficient and sustainable. I think that's not always the case. There's more to the equation in my experience.

There has to be a willing sacrifice. Scary I know but hear me out. Sacrifice doesn't have to be life or death. It can be small allowances, forgiveness that allows us to turn the other cheek, a blind eye or to empathize with our brothers and sisters. To recognize their struggle, relate and commiserate with those issues is integral to the human social experience.

I have an extensive conversation in mind for this topic, one I'll continue as I have time. A bit of a deviation from my first set of posts but I really hope for this thread to serve as a point of inspiration and insight into the do's and don'ts of intentional community on every scale.

Until next time.
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Filling in faucet trenches
Filling in faucet trenches
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Purple
Purple
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Poppies!
Poppies!
 
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Location: North Idaho. Bonner County
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Cory, thanks for "journaling". I really enjoy reading it and seeing all the pictures. I live not too far from Wheatons labs but have never been.  I first found your post about looking for community and resonated with it. So I  followed your profile here to this wonderful Journal. Thanks for sharing, and I am glad you found a place to feed your soul.  
Opal
 
Any sufficiently advanced technology will be used as a cat toy. And this tiny ad contains a very small cat:
177 hours of video: the 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/hours-video-Permaculture-Design-Technology
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