‘Tis the season for warm fires, quiet projects, reading to each other, reflecting and philosophizing!
What we’ve been reading and discussing this season:
Tales of Adam by Daniel Quinn – A collection of fables. Adam teaches his son Abel how to act in harmony with the law of life. See the video below to hear Sheefra read to you from this book.
The Ohlone Way by Malcom Margolin – An overview of the way of life of the San Francisco Bay area indigenous peoples. Click the link to hear Sheefra and Tracy discuss an excerpt.
Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead – The classic and controversial anthropological study of adolescence and sexuality. Despite the controversy over the accuracy of her report, she describes many cultural practices that we find instructive. For example, adolescent boys in Samoa join the aumaga, the band of young men who are learning how to be men. They are challenged to learn the skills they will need to be successful contributors (such as house construction, hunting and fishing, or oration/cultural record keeping and storytelling). The aumaga provides an interesting example of a cooperative approach to adolescence. Joining the other boys in a group encourages some competition as they test their abilities (the younger and less skilled want to keep up with the older and more skilled), but no one wants to seek out power and prestige through out-competing the others too much. If they excel too much and act too mature, the adult men will invite them into the circle of chiefs where they will have to take on more responsibility and far more rigorous expectations for their behavior (despite gaining more prestige and power). This prevents the boys from being competitive against each other in the pursuit of honor and recognition. Each one is supported by his culture to take time to enjoy adolescence, experiment and learn, and join the mature adult men when he is good and ready (which he usually does want to do, since the adult men are more honored and respected in the community).
Farm Projects: Soil Amending, Transplanting, Trail Work
On clear days, we’ve also been enjoying some great outdoor projects on the farm: liming the fields and transplanting (above), improving the perimeter trail around the farm and enjoying taking a morning jog on it together, butchering ducks, clipping and sorting basketry willow, and various construction and maintenance projects.
Our Family: Supporting each other to Heal
We’ve also hosted a visitor! Our friend Randy is staying with us for a while. We’ve had some great times dancing and singing at karaoke and just sharing a laugh or a story. This visit has also proved to be a fruitful exploration of treating Diabetes through diet, exercise, and cooperative living. See our interview below for more: