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Permaculture Blog #1

[by Lin Lin]

Here at Liberty Arising we are inspired and determined to build a sustainable community, and apply Permaculture principles to our practice when it comes to gardening and caring for the animals and the land. We believe our visions come true with pure intentions, and our aligned actions manifest our heart-desires into tangible reality. A year ago, in June 2018, we completed a Permaculture design map based on our dreams and visions, incorporated with the analysis of the key factors of the land. Metaphorically it mapped out the required steps to make our dreams come true with practical approaches. With or without all the resources we need to build this dream community, we seem to have kick started the manifestation engine and the things we need have showed up in time or have been set straight; we fixed some issues about water supply; we had help from all areas to clear the land, to prep the soil, and our community went through some reorganization to become more resilient and harmonious. Everything falls into places, right people show up at the right time, bringing in the right skill sets and passions. Our fundraising events are answered with generosity and kindness. We feel the momentum rolling in, and every day we are witnessing the magic unfolding with much gratitude and awe.

My name is Lin Lin Hu, currently a resident at Liberty Arising. I have come to Liberty for my passion for Permaculture as a way of life and sustainable community building. To be honest, I am a newbie. I don’t really know much about gardening, farming, animal handling or natural building, because up until March 2018 I spend my whole life living in a city, center or outskirt, in Taiwan or the United States.  I had not grown or owned many plants except my orchids and houseplants and I hadn't ever grown veggies from seeds before moving to Liberty.  However, here I am, writing my first Permaculture Blog for a spiritual and sustainable community. I would say Life really takes me to places that I can truly only dream of! I write this to clear the doubts for anyone who thinks this way of life is impossible or requires a lot of knowledge or skills or experiences or money to even dare to dream of it. In short, I am claiming that if I can do it, so can you. I am here to learn and apply, just as scared as you, as clueless as you, if you are like me, not experienced.  I welcome productive comments and teachings if you see something we do here isn’t the best approach! We also are honored if you find our community inspirational to your own life, and want to join us for work parties and Permaculture related community-building events! This blog is a channel for us to receive support from the world and reflect back with our genuine love for the harmony and peace that the world truly wants.  

About six or seven months ago as the “canvas” was prepped, we started to create a community garden at our Resident Village. (We also have Liberty Retreat where our Shala and other facilities are located. So from now on, I will refer in the coming blogs as Resident Village, and Retreat.) Thomas, our dear brother here at Liberty and a permanent resident, was excited about his upcoming 50th birthday in May 2019 and built the garden fences with found objects, reclaimed wood and old doors and window frames, and was determined to celebrate his birthday and his artistry with all his beloved family and friends in this dreamy garden.  Steve and Stefan who joined the Liberty family in Nov 2018, have also brought their own creativity and passions to beautify our land and facilities.  Steve pretty much built the food garden from the ground up and started to grow food from seeds! There’s a saying: “When you need to learn something, the teacher shows up.” To me that was exactly what happened. I didn’t know much about gardening but I took Permaculture Design Certificate course (PDC in short) before but without much experience. I didn’t really know what I could do to build the garden, from the constructor’s perspective. I just knew I had to do something about the soils before anything can happen. So a year ago, I sort of built a compost heap (not by knowing exactly what I need to make one but by making one anyway), by piling up chicken manure, straws, dry leaves, kitchen sink scraps, and soil (at that time it was really sandy dirt) mixing with lots of water, flipping with a shovel, then covered with a dark-colored tarp, secured by wood pallets and stones.  After another time being turned and watered, and some more time of an eyesore, that compost heap turned into a pile of beautiful dark brown organic matter and was ready to use in our newly created garden beds. You can see from the photos, that’s what our garden looked like in April 2019. 

This year we have been blessed with lots of rain! The soil is moist and rich with life force. Gaia has answered our wishes and brought lots of new life forms to our land. We have many more wild flowers, birds, new kinds of bugs and even fungi! We built a small pond with an old tractor tire inside the garden and now the desert toads have claimed it as their home. Our chickens finally went through their time in a pen and now are roaming and grazing free in the garden. Many new birds showed up this spring and took a liking to our garden greens…but we are in the process of building hoops over the garden beds with bird netting and shade cloth. Until that’s done, I will focus on growing the spicier greens and plants the birds don’t like to eat. Luckily we have wonderful neighbors at Rose Acres Organic Farm and we learn so much from just watching what they do and can produce abundantly.  They're the kind of teachers you can’t ask more for.  The warm weather recently started to kick in and our garden grows greener everyday. Steve started the seedlings in early February but we had a long winter/spring this year so it was still really cold then. Many of the seedlings started to sprout a little bit toward mid to late Feb. I left for 3 weeks in March to visit my homies in Taiwan so I really don’t know what happened during that time but when I came back to Liberty the seedlings had been transplanted into the garden beds. We planted beets, radishes, Swiss chard, kale, tomatoes, snow peas, many different kinds of peppers, spicy salad greens, mustard greens and more. We were also gifted by our friends and community many new fruit trees, to join the apple and cherry trees we already had. Since I moved to Liberty I wanted to learn more about plants but the garden was yet to be built so I volunteered at a local nursery once a week, in order to get hands-on experience and learn skills about handling plants. I have learned to prep potting mix, trim and prune trees and bushes, re-pot plants and can recognize more plants. Guatay Mountain Native Nursery gifted me many plants, mostly flowery bushes that bloom vibrantly and attract hummingbirds, and some other fruit trees that I didn't know much about such as fig, pineapple guava and quince. In March, we were gifted many more beautiful fruit trees: peach, apricot, pomegranate, plums, mandarin orange, another fig and two more apple trees.  Some other tropical fruit trees didn’t make it through the freeze, so we're hoping to grow them when we have our future greenhouses.

Thanks for reading this far and taking on the journey with us. The idea of a permaculture garden is to cultivate the harmonious relationships between human beings and Nature.  By understanding Nature, we also redefine human as we see fit. I believe the human being is capable of change and born to create. The question is “what are we changing our worlds (inside and outside) to” or “what are we creating?” If you'd like to see how we change our own worlds and create a harmonious Earth for generations to come please stay tuned. Together we learn, grow, and thrive.

All is well,

With love,

Lin Lin

Lin Lin Hu

Our Garden Project :

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