My husband Lee and I (Dorothy) live in Portland, Oregon. Ours is a wonderful home I named Berkana House when I purchased it 20 years ago. It is on a large lot (for a city) -- 100' by 100' -- with a grape arbor, lots of huge blueberry bushes, apple trees, rhododendrons, dogwoods, figs, a walnut, birches, and more. It is in a lovely country-like neighborhood, despite being within the city limits. The southern exposure is excellent for passive solar heating in the cool months and gardening in the growing season.
It is a wonderful place to live. But for some time now, we have wanted to be increasingly self-sufficient, and we have realized that we need more land. Our current home is not adequate for raising rabbits for meat, keeping bees, tending a garden, pursuing many other interests, and still leaving room for our deerhounds to run.
Increasing awareness and understanding of the current and coming impacts of global climate change and peaking of oil production worldwide have added urgency to our resolve to build a more sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle on a larger piece of land.
If we wanted to stay in a city while preparing for and adapting to the coming changes, we could hardly pick a better city than Portland, Oregon. It has a well-earned reputation as a "green" city, and is one of the very few governmental entities to have actually devised a plan for coping with peak oil and global climate change. And within Portland, we could hardly pick a better home for the coming changes than Berkana House.
But I was raised in the country and miss it, and we want to return to the country. Besides that, to be perfectly honest, neither of us really trust being in any city, even Portland, as the potentially harsh realities of dwindling fossil fuel supplies (in relation to demand) and global climate changes unfold. I don't think anyone really knows where and in what situation will be the best place to live out the coming hard changes, but we have decided what our strategy will be.
So, we are seeking Haven.
But there is more than that to why I have set up this blog.
I am a woman beyond my childbearing years. Menopause may have evolved in humans because there was a survival advantage to having mature women available to take care of other people's kids -- perhaps especially including adult kids. However that may be, I feel a strong call to do so now.
To be more specific, I want to be a part of shaping the future in a positive way. It is quite possible that there may be harsh realities ahead, and I am certainly determined to do what I can so that I and those I care about will survive. But I'm not inclined to race to a bunker and hunker down with a "to hell with everyone else" stance. (One reason is that I don't think that is the most effective survival stance.)
We will all have a part of shaping the future, whether we do so with conscious intent or not. I intend to do so consciously, with the purpose of helping Lee and myself and others learn the skills, habits, and attitudes necessary to shape a desirable human culture and lifestyle that is sustainable in a world characterized by energy descent.
After all, we are not the only folks making changes and preparations to cope with global climate change and the decline of fossil fuels. So why not support and help one another?
One of the important aspects of our plans for Haven is for it to be a place where we and our neighbors and interested others can learn and share useful skills for increasing our self-sufficiency and the sustainability of our lifestyles. We are planning to hold formal and informal workshops for learning such things as cobbing, building a root cellar, home generation of renewable energy, food preservation, fiber arts... and lots more. Sometimes we will share our own expertise and that of other local people; sometimes we will bring in skilled and knowledgeable folks from elsewhere.
I am eager to start this process, but we do not yet have the land for Haven. I am an Aries, and patience is sometimes hard. So why not begin the process online, here? This can be a place to share resources, experience, ideas, thoughts, and concerns, while serving as a journal of our search for Haven.
So I will be writing relevant posts. Perhaps Lee and some of our friends who are also involved in our search for Haven will post as well. If this blog should end up with some readers, I will be delighted, and your comments are welcome.