A Motorcycle Saga – Transmission 2: The Biking Viking

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom hereafter, a man’s motorcycle is an archetype to its own; the Shadow, the Nighthawk, Rebels, and Triumphs, they are named after men and legends, Norton, Indians & Harley, or weapons of militant use, the Enfields of the world, protecting borders and nations, and carrying riders from the Jungles of India, to the autobahns of Germany and backroads of America. The two wheels, frame and analog parts that come together to give its rider a means to move, can make a man King for a day. He forms a relationship with his bike, like a lover, you listen to her needs, and she replies in tow with favors and the gift of travel. There is a keen magic in the ride, a kind of science that transcends the mere classical mechanics. Nothing is done insensibly, or without meaning, a ride in the country hearkens up new adventures and a greater sense of global positioning, broadening ones territory, and exposing oneself to the forays out from his own home, simultaneously opening up new channels and pathways to the interior of the soul. For the way traveled is as much within as it is without.

I was thinking about the machine that a motorcycle is, a wonderful feat of technology, and how our ancient ancestors might have perceived it. For instance, if the Egyptians or Mayans, or Vikings were on our streets and in our cities today, what would they think about a Harley Davidson, or in my case, an ‘82 army special Honda Nighthawk? Would the builders of the pyramids, and clinker warships, be struck with awe upon seeing a V-twin engine roaring to life, and seeing the rubber they used as offerings to their Gods, used create the tires that support a mortal man to fly down a freeway at 120km/hr. What would the Vikings think about our use of iron and steel in building engines and carburetors, and mufflers, that sound like wild beasts of the North. What would Eirik the Red, that Norse Barbarian of the sea roads, drive if he had a motorcycle? Methinks the ancients would probably be as compelled by our brand of technology in the form of motorcycles and moving parts as we are of their sacred geometric pyramids, longhalls, and carved wagons.

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We ride these modern day horses of metal, manipulated by forges and machines to create strong, fast, and powerful means of getting us from one place to another. Yet the motorcycle is much more than this. Compared to a car, where you are experiencing the world through a kind of screen, your windshield, on a motorbike you are the scene, and have a lot more intimate relationship with the road. The pavement rushing beneath your feet a few inches below is real, and the buffeting winds of an eighteen-wheeler can blow you sideways as you pass by. There are a multitude of things that can spell bad news for a bike, its the unforeseen aspects of the traveled road that one needs to be aware of, the gravel in the turn, the oil in the middle of the lane, a darting deer in your path or at high speeds even a squirrel can upset ones day, that knocking sound in your engine, blind spots, black ice sheets, wet sand on forest service roads, keeping your steed steady at speed on major highways, potholes on the back-roads, roadkill; these are some elements that are more risk laden than when driving in a car. There is a lot less allowance for these obstacles and hazards.

It takes a certain kind of man to ride on two wheels, a quality of courage, and daringness. Like having a psychedelic experience with an unknown drug, starting a movement, or touring the world to foreign countries, and with the risks come bounty. It’s the pioneering spirit of seeing beyond whats in the bend in the road, or over the next mountain, and what life is like, further away from comfort. I think that riding a motorcycle is an appropriate form of travel for someone like myself, nomadic, free, and original. I relate it not only to the lifestyle I have chosen to carve out, or the romance of the biker culture, but to deeper reasons, like ancestry, and a sense of primordial instinct. To be a wanderer, a master of travel, to know that you are the rider, and not the riden. With self driving, automated cars these days, it becomes very easy to drive absent mindedly, perhaps while you are checking your text messages, or talking to passengers. With a motorbike, you must enter into a kind of zen meditation before and during your trip. There is a confidence when you cover the miles of a long journey, ranging through all kinds of weather and terrain to reach your destination, to meet a friend, a brother, kinfolk, and ultimately to come to terms with yourself, taking stock of where you are, and what you are made of, and what you have accomplished.

Some folks around the county have started calling me ‘The Biking Viking’, and I thought it an apt name for this transmission. I guess there is a dose of truth in that. The Vikings were far rangers and explorers of new land, and they moved with a fierceness behind them, but they were also craftsman and navigators, they would be our master mechanics and pack leaders of today. It is written in my genetic code, to instigate something, lead a tribe, start the world, it’s the lions nature, and my affinity with Norse paganism is worked with magic into my bike itself. :R:oad prayers before every trip, a wayfinding Taufr hanging from my bars, :RUNES: and freedom mantras painted in black camo on the side panels, and travel staves on the ammo cases. Mead mixed in the fuel tank, and a small library of motorcycle literature and poetry in my cargo. I’ve merged my DNA with the very lifeblood of this bike. Though my own mare has only been on the road shy two months, I’ve riden her almost 4,000 kilometers. For awhile I mounted a set of 10 point stag antlers to the front, until having lucid dream that the bike took offense to the horns, gender confusion issues I think, so I took them off, she is my woman after all. I rode with her to the Laurentians of Quebec and back to meet my brother in arms, cruised backroads to Kingston, and all around the townships of Bastard/Rideau Lakes, & Leeds and Grenville; Athens, Plum Hollow, Lyndhurst, Harlem, Chantry, Portland, Lombardy, Morton, The Bush, Westport, Newboro, Forfar, and my current digs at a cabin in Delta, where the Old Bastards got their start up. Soon it will be time to park her away for the riding season, and mentally, at least in this Canadian climate, I’ve given myself until Samhain to enjoy a few last rides, and languish in the autumn colors of the backroads of Ontario. Then she is going to be in good hands with a brother in the club for the winter months while she gets reworked, tuned, and built back up again, maybe even a paint job, a whole new heroine.

I’ll be parting with one lady and looking for another on a grand adventure in India for five months. Next month, I’ll take flight for the sacred lands and find myself a Royal Enfield on the streets of Mumbai in Maharasthra, then ride it to Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry, before heading North, winding my way through the vastness of India, en route to the Himalayas and the holy Yoga towns. This being said, I have no itinerary, the monsoon rains hit India off the Arabian Sea in November, and it may be more practical to find something more kin to elemental travel like a VW bus or some other alternative. I am leaving as much openness as humanly possible for the mystical, magical and unexpected to happen along the heroic journey. My travels in the Kali Yuga will be guided by intuition, ritual, and cultural sensitivity, like the Icelandic Vegvisir stave on the back of my hand does for me in a more familiar home.

There I will encounter men and women of the sorts I have never met and some I have; Sadhus, Pilgrims, Muslims, Hindoos, Peasants, Beggars, Farmers, Children, Tourists, Fellow Bikers and Nomad Travelers like myself. The myths waiting to be told, the old Gods and Goddesses to be encountered, and the wild places and spaces soon to be visited makes the blood in my heart pump faster, and an inner fire stoke hotter than before. The new year will be brought in with ceremony, awe, and wonder. They also say India is the place of Love, where one falls in Love, with oneself? with the land? with ones soul mate? Perhaps all three. Perhaps an alchemy of all things unknown. Most certainly.

A Horse of Iron and Steel: The Motorcycle Saga

IMG_20190909_164827At long last, the blackened lungs of my new horse, Freyfaxi, breathes a draught of the late summer air, and accepts the mount of a new rider on her saddle. At first a stamper, then a tolt, and before long she picks up to a full charge, riding off into the backcountry roads of marlbank, ontario, to dry lake for her first circuit, followed by a swim the the clay white waters.

She came from the praries of Manitoba, and carries a back history of previous riders, with only 36grand on her in km, she’ 37 years old but rides like 25. I’ve had women this age, and she suits me well. I found her in Belleville, waiting to picked up and with a cache of extra parts, I own her twin almost fully, making it simple to trade out as needed. Makes me think, assembling the other beast for my brother, would be a good idea. She’s not fancy or shiny, but looks like something Che Guevara or an Army vet may ride. It’s rugged, and will handle the dirt or the asphalt without complaining. She has six speeds, and holds her own on the road.

I polish the leather of my blundstones, throw on my helmet and vest, and bring the motor to roaring life, and take this girl on the ride back home to the our stable in the backwoods of Lyndhurst. I patched in with the Old Bastards Vintage M.C. this morning, and feeling riled up for some road time before the frost and snow comes makes the roads one giant ISA rune.

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After being felled down by a hard marriage, the bike comes like another lover, just like a woman, she is temperamental, beautiful, vocal, and will carry me for hopefully many years in this life.

She needs some work, and that is part of the new relationship. There will be much to learn, great work to do, hiccups along the way that remind me to stay patient, and keep the wheels turning, while we forge a new path together. A few health problems are concern; tight calipers causing me to miss out on miles, cracks in the back tire, headlamp blacked out the other day on a gravel road at night, and there is a slight rattle in the lungs. I’ll be taking care of her as I go, cause I admit I don’t know a hell of a lot about bikes. It’s the zen of riding and the art of motorcycle maintenance that I am looking for in this marriage with iron and steel. She looks pretty sitting in the shade of towering ash trees. Metal ammo carriage cases, military green paint job, harley windshield, and some Runic :Galdastafir: painted on the sides, along with some riders affirmations “Freedom is Power and Unrestrained Movement”, ATWA. It’s uniquely mine, and no one else on the road will have one the same, she turns heads in both ways, attracting and repelling.

I rode her to the vineland in Westport to put in my work, cruising on the country highways early in the morning wild cold numb hands before the sun rose. Felt lighter and invigorated from the vibrations of the engine going through my axis mundi, shifting and shaking things out of sleeps stasis. A kind of high without caffeine filled me, and I parked her near the chicken coop on the farm, to prepare myself for the day.

I look forward to taking her by the Old Bastards and getting some in motorcycle talk. I’m already thinking about and Eastern pilgrimage to the sea next spring, but for now I’ll keep her in the county and get my footing.

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Loved By the Gods

 

A man with a mission, who has a way, who can bear almost any how, holds his bow with a firm shot on his loci of attention. When it comes his day of re-birth, he traces over the constellations to find his north star. The beast in him shines in the light of the divine, and being more than mere man. And he sets himself apart from profane reality to experience a re-evaluation of values as he comes another year into his being. He becomes more of himSELF, as his lower self is given to the fire. Here I stand, at sunset, on the 29th anniversary of my birth, stringing my wyrd with new patterns and patching holes in the greater tapestry of my life. As a more complete man, the sole author of my personal saga, enacting the story deed for deed, with actions matching words. Striving for impeccability, yogic perfection, valiant primal virtue, and soundness of existence on all fronts. I think of Jack Donovan’s words of wisdom, and drink them in like deep draughts of sweet mead.

“The Noble Beast believes himself to be good, and noble and beautiful and happy, and loved by the Gods, or favored by fate – because he is mighty. And he believes that he is mighty, and beautiful and happy because he is favored by divinity. He believes that it is good to be beautiful. Morally good. Morally Right. Power and beauty are equivalent! He believes that it is good to be happy and he wants to be happier still. He wants to be better, nobler, mightier, more beautiful, happier and more favored by the Gods. The noble beast wants MORE of everything GOOD in Life”

Baldur - Norse Mythology for Smart People

I see these sentiments portrayed in the mythos of Baldr, a man who signifies rebirth, the purity of ones maturity, nobleness, goodness, beauty, and being loved. He is the archetypal power of the noble heathen, bolstered by his people to become greater than he is, and morally profound. For me, this is the year I look for Baldr’s teachings, his mythical narrative and the powerful weight of his own demise, that enforce his final legacy. Baldr as the one to lead by action, by virtus, and protected by the Gods.

These Nietzschean thoughts at dusk sum up a lot of my perspective on life in this age. Everyday I strive for more of everything GOOD in Life. Because my ancestors always wanted a better life for themselves, to thrive, to be told of in legacy, to be Loved by Their Gods, whatsoever name they were ascribed, to be held accountable and remarked in Honor, to have power within and without. To be part of something bigger, often better, ultimately the best existence attainable. To know there is more in a name, with conviction to virtus and truth, the noble beast, the savage gentleman places himself in the role of presider, leader, and creator. Who finds his way through the choking weeds of culture. Sailing his ship over roiling seas, past the breakers of a broken society, he navigates with stern focus and attention. There is nothing more than he can do than pursue this primal passion, to sometimes sacrifice an insignificant part of his dross to purify the spiritual elements of his soul. The great wheel keeps turning.

 

Starting All Over Means Starting All Over

“Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder.

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And with some of Teddy’s words, a savage gentlemen if I say so myself, I brand into my life like runes of action and cunning fire. When a man’s time to emerge from the cultivated domesticity, and tame models of cyclic life ‘style’ calls him, he must contribute to the salt of the earth and water his own wells of wyrd. With his work, with his will, with his own blood and essence if he must. Like a volcano that erupts from the dark world below, and hardens its potential, creating new land to inhabit and explore above.

I have a confession, I am in the high summer of my life, and have been dealt a hand of passion in spades without the temperance to balance it,  transcendent love of a wife without the key yoga of relationships, I have felt and earned great things but have fallen short of making any advances towards the sustainability, and longevity of a kingly life. Perhaps even these sentiments are illusions, and this last 9 month saga of my nomadic existence has only set me up for another apotheosis, and evolutionary leap. Nine is the magic of Odin, and the layers of the worlds, and the birthing ritual. I don’t take it lightly, that these times have hardened me in the forge of the dwarves creation, re-birthed me with new traits to bring to the world. So here I am, walking in the forever hallways and change, and consternation, and I’m inviting them in for tea.

I feel myself enacting and reliving the poignant lines of Kipling’s IF, as if they were a owner’s manual to my 29 years, a kind of modern english Havamal, for the right man, the true man, the good man, and the man that is good at being a man. I wonder how many I meet in my daily life have asked themselves the hard questions. I am starting all over, re-building the temple of my body, sending fractal branches out from soul-self to reach the outer and innermost places of growth. I’m starting all over, a kind of Buddhist non-attachment to one’s narrative, you just keep going, fiercely trust in yourself, and let others tell your tale, of the hero’s journey. I’ve left part of my life behind on the roadside until I can circle back and retrieve it, when my pack is lighter, or until I am stronger to carry it.

I’ve started on a new hustle, to get me to the place where I want to be. Bearing the brunt of the day’s labor as a sacrifice for more lofty gains. Putting my time in the working man’s world, though still self employed with core discipline. I find it hard to commit to one thing, one place, one experience. I feel as a lion who is exploring his territory, though he knows home as a symbolic place of safety. But I bit off more than I could chew, and the precious meat spoiled. I lost something of what was precious to me, and this catered my experience for nearly two moons. Estrangement from kin followed, and was held fast by fear and chaos. One must sometimes put their hand in the maw of the beast, or become one himself, and call on Tyr’s order, to balance out the chaos. Behind and within the chaos is paradise, as I trace it back to the script of my own soul, still emblazoned with its source convictions, undressed of its dross, unlearned of its negative conditioning, pure and vital intentions, actions matching words. No matter what happens, the operation of self growth continues; like a house animal that instinctively knows it is feral, and powerful, and claims a life for his own. The bird has flown its coop, and remembers how to fly.

Taking nothing but a tent, a military sleeping bag, a couple choice books and a armful of clothes, I’ve taken to camp life, to quiet my needs, focus on my labors, and tend to a more spartan existence, while I invest in the greater work, keeping my head in check, my inner tether tied to heart and everything I know of value. The mission continues, the day remains the same; A good day to die, and a good day to live.

A Man and His Flock

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Through five years of worldly travel, the domestic poultry have always shared the land with me, whether the incessant crowing of the Meso-American feral chickens, the wandering poultry of Morocco, hardy Icelanders in the sub-Arctic, or the small scale backyard chicken flocks of Canada and Europe. The chicken has always been a jovial companion, and a presence of the wilderness to me. The first farm animal I ever met was a chicken, my grandfathers’, and I find in their ancient nature, something deep, grounded, and self-reliant. This spring I wanted to tend to some my own, and started to collect a small flock of exotic chickens.

It started with three Ayam Cemani roosters that I picked up in Wooler, Ontario, then soon after gave them a lady. Since the Ayam Cemani Roo’s were bonded, they took to protecting her together, forming a kind of reverse harem relationship. Then came the Silkie chickens and Banteys from other flock owners in this village of Marlbank. The Silkies came to live on one side of the coop, with the Banteys and Cemani’s on the other. The former being a land race, and flightless are more gentle, and weaker than the more robust Cemani’s and the fiesty Bantey’s. The Bantey chickens are the original English fighting game bird, though I only keep two hens, and we culled the rooster for a winter stew. The birds weathered the last of the cold weather in March under heat lamps, and after about a month, I brought in three Red Sexlinks, which are a hybrid of the Rhode Island Red Rooster, and the New Hampshire hens. They are prolific egg layers, and I have had egg sustainability since they landed on the farm. Usually I can gather a dozen eggs in two days, and I tend to eat 4-6 eggs per day for a protein source.

For 7 years, I had heard of the Ayam Cemani breed with their blackened feathers, black meat, bones, comb, feet, and internal organs. They lived in myth, until I finally saw them in person. The Silkies came with much the same folkloric baggage, a strange Indonesian bird from the island of Java with five talons, black skin, feathers resembling fur, that did not fly, and wore strange plumage of white, grey, gold, or brown with tufts on their head. In the morning, I put two of the smaller silkies on my shoulders to roost, while I poured the chicken cereals into their feeding troughs. They happily perch while I would continue the morning ritual. For the first month I kept them inside their spacious coop, and would free range them a couple hours per day. Then a gift of a chicken tractor was acquired for use in having the chickens with an open bottom mobile coop. I ran this over a small patch of hay field in three day rotations with the black jungle fowl, the red layers, and the fiesty banteys, and they formed a pecking order that in my eyes accommodated every bird, without any harm or fighting. I broadcast a medley of seeds into the earth floored tractor, and moved the birds in three day rotation slots, during this time, they scratched and mowed the ground into a fine tillage, ate the grasses and bugs, and layed eggs into the small piles of clippings they made. At dusk I visit them again to lead them back to the coop, while they follow loyally for their dinner inside, and find their roosting positions for the night. I simply collect the eggs from the shaded partition at the back of the chicken tractor.

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After a couple months of small scale chicken fancying, two of the Silkies went broody, and layed a small clutch of their own. I collected a few eggs from the more rare and less broody ayam cemani, and even a couple Americauna eggs donated from a tree customer. The first hen layed on her clutch for 22 days and nothing happened, so I became concerned. With each successive night and day, still no hatching until the 27th day a full week after normal incubation rates, I decided to crack one egg and see inside. The chick was un-developed and had not fully imbibed the nutrients of the egg. Each of the eggs were in the same stage, with only the chicken fetus in the egg, but not alive. Four of the eggs in the clutch were stolen during the incubation, though I never found the predator, and two were cracked during the jostling around of the eggs by the mother hen. None of these first brood would hatch out a living breathing chick, and it was in order I think of a few frosty nights and radical temperature change during this early season that the egg humidity simply fluctuated too much, and stopped the natural processes of birth from developing, so in this case the egg came first, and not the chicken. The second Silkie hen hatched three mixed eggs, and one died as a stillbirth. I now have one left from this trio, a small black jungle bird.

After this first tragedy, I felt the fathering instinct to nurture and provide, and sought out to add to the flock from the outside. I looked on kijiji in the local area to find new life, and found a farm with African guinea fowl and a Red Golden Pheasant who needed some extra care. So I drove out to their land, in a savannah-esque canadian wilderness on a country backroad, and met their eclectic flock of Guineas, Peafowl, Silkies, Pheasants, and Emus, and ended up taking home five guinea keats, and the sorry looking male pheasant. He was badly beaten up and picked of his colorful plumage by another male, so he was now under my care, and rehabilitation. For awhile, the six birds lived and three chicks lived, in my bedroom at the foot of my bed, so they could be kept safe and closer to me at night. I tended them with all the silent attention a man can give to small fragile animals, and watched them put on weight, peck for their morning grains, and occasionally escape their confines. They now live in a specially adapted coop together, with the other birds for neighbours, and feed on millet, turkey mash, and my specially blended chicken cereal with corn, herbs and seaweed.

As of this writing, they are nesting on the wood chips soundly in their coop, and I have not yet had any real predators, only once ever seeing the silhouette of a larger mammal climbing down from a buckeye tree near the free ranging silkies, which was spooked by my presence and kept its distance. I personally sleep very close to the coop, so they are in my zone 1, and I use permaculture principles in managing the flock, and herbal and plant medicine remedies for their health and well being. I have been experimenting with carrying the Silkies onto a small island in the middle of a pond, and letting them graze for the day. The island is accessible by a boardwalk, with small caves, tall grasses, and a weeping larch tree for shade. I pour their feed on a table stone, and they are protected from day time predators like raccoons or skunks while on the island. The boardwalk can be taken up, so as a moat would surround them completely. The surrounding pond grows is water source while a layer of duckweed on the surface provides a good aquatic vegetable food. The kids that visit the farm during the tree season love the silkies, and I never need an alarm clock when the roosters crow at 5 am to hail the sun at dawn, and I wake to a new day, full of the minute special-ness of a quiet life in the country.

Usufruct

Usufruct, from Roman and Civil Law, means

“the right of enjoying all the advantages derivable from the use of something that belongs to another, as far as is compatible with the substance of the thing not being destroyed or injured.”
Stemming from two words; Usus (use) is the right to use or enjoy a thing possessed, directly and without altering it.
and Fructus (fruit, in a figurative sense) is the right to derive profit from a thing possessed: for instance, by selling crops, or annexed movables, taxing for entry, and so on.
This is a concept of lawful use that I am intrigued in. With an interest to bring it into use in the modern age. Today, it is hard for a young aspiring farmer, craftsman, or community builder to get ‘back-to-the-land’, without either going in deep debt, or through volunteering to live on someone else’s land and work for them, vis-a-vis working schemese like wwoofing or workaway. The younger generation of people tumblr_pikedcuA6q1romrx1o1_128020-35 just don’t have the money to afford their own land in the country, and it is not getting easier. This is one reason I took five years from my life to travel and see some of the world, earning my salt as I did on others farms before moving on to try something else. A constant journey of karma yoga, and endlessly starting over, until I eventually tried internships. This landed me on a farm for half a year, and grounded my nomadic nature a slight, but even this was never carved out to be sustainable, and led to me coming to a tree farm, to stay four seasons and have a deeper impact on what I started feeling comfortable calling home.
Home can take on many meanings, and I used to carry C.M.’s words with me ‘your home is here you’re happy’. This felt good enough, when for some weeks of my life I didn’t sleep in the same place twice, and tended to move with every moon, following work, and intentionally confronting a life that some would consider nomadic, or vagabond. If I was happy, then I might as well be at home with it all. Then I started to like some places more than others, and have preferences for some countries that felt more like me. Home then became, anytime I was in Scandinavian territory, and I sought out the mountains, vast forests, islands and fjords of these Viking lands that made me happy, and felt ‘homely’. Still, something else was missing, and the need to find land grabbed hold of me. I had read of the land-taking rites in the early sagas of the Icelanders, and had visions of past lives walking onto shore with fire-brands, to encircle a plot of arable land, making blot for the gods, and claiming the boundaries. That felt good, traditional and it catered to the mystical side of me, but unfortunately I could not just arrive on any given shore-bank or acreage of woods, walk around it with fire, call on the Gods and ask for the land. At least not in today’s age. So I remained with my longing for finding land. Could I buy it? Could I inherit it? How do I find a place where I resonate with, so I can start making something of it from the ground up. This is where the concept of Usufruct has come in.
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The idea is that people with the energy, investment and ability to use a land to transform it, or otherwise operate off it using its resources establish a relationship with landholders, whereby this becomes feasible. Land becomes available for others to produce, work, harvest, build etc. on it, because the owners can not do it themselves for any varying reasons; age, proximity to land, lack of community, more space than needed, interest in growth, and so on. These forms of trade are becoming more common and they seem to be a ray of hope in an age that makes it very hard for young people like me to live sane and healthy lives in the country, closer to wildness, and open opportunity for creativity.
Where I am currently farmsteading is an agreement in which this became manifested for the first time in my life. I could run a satellite business, running parallel to the main operation of the tree farm, in order to bring in alternative cash-flow that would compliment my main work. An exchange of labor, valuated at a monetary value would be given, in efforts, to offset accommodation, food, land and tool use. I chose to initiate a market garden/foraging project, and keep a small flock of exotic poultry. The gardens were built using permaculture principles, the chickens and guineas were brought on the land, seeds were bought and traded at seedy saturdays to build up a seed bank in the winter, and then sown into various production areas during the spring.
It worked for awhile, until it didn’t. When the politics of how the market garden would be operated did not cohere with everyone, personal intentions and lack of hierarchy created an unorganized effort, and without a strong mission, the horsepower was simply not available to garden at the capacity needed to maintain a market quota. Perhaps I simply worked with the wrong people, or my ideals of things were too unrealistic while working within the limitations we had. In the end, four separate spaces were created without a clear locus of operation or focalization, and I learned the lesson that democracy does not always work in the garden.
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After all the hustle put in, and the investment of time, energy, and money, I picked up the shards, and walked back into the battlefield, planted a few things more, and created a different kind of garden altogether, not for market but for soil remediation. I started to put my energy into more places than just the garden; like curating a museum of art in one of the old farm buildings, planting several species of trees in the forest nursery, cleaning an old barn and setting up an outdoor kitchen in a carriage house, planting a small orchard and landscaping with rare coniferous trees, and foraging wild edibles from the woods and ponds on the farm.
Eventually I will change out of here, maybe in a month, maybe closer to winter, tumblr_pikiv7S7gx1romrx1o1_1280these details are unknown, but the need for a project that can not only support me, but also potentially a family in coming years, or tribe. Living by the tenets of Usufruct, it could potentially be exported to another location, on a different farm for a much longer period of time. With the right people, it could grow a small company offshoot, maybe agriculture related, or something more industrial like a village complex. I have kept in mind the intention for raising Viking longhalls on a small acreage, raw land, or already partially developed. Off grid infrastructure, and alternative energy could be established, wood stoves, and saunas installed, and permaculture gardens, silviculture, and animals can function integrally into bigger systems of sustainability. These are broader brushstrokes, and plans of the future, that need a lot of effort, and people time. They may also require land outright, bought in tandem with several contributors, but the intentions remain the same. A place that does not simply become a place to live in the country, but a permanent community that passes from my generation, and becomes better and more refined with time. I have seen it done, and I know thattumblr_piki9zdYKs1romrx1o3_1280 many of my readers have the same desires in their heart, so this is a medium for transmission to get it out into the open, that I am looking to start a new world, and these things are better done by the pack.
Those men and women with fierce dedication, trade skills, an industrious nature, strong ideation, and the perspicacity to work in ways that support the greater cause over the egoic self, should make themselves known, Write here
We need to raise new halls, grow our own food, and create the life that our young will inherit. High emotional intelligence, a well earned reputation and a strong dose of the mytho-poetic spirit will go a long way into investing in the community, and this is how it all begins, let us be the new inhabitants of the land!

The Strenuous Life

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“What is happiness?” Nietzsche asked. “It is the feeling of power increasing.” You can increase your power by increasing your skillfulness, your competence, and your confidence. And you can build all these strengths through The Strenuous Life.

You can do more with your life.

But winning will never come easy…. And training yourself to do more, to be a better human, a more competent man, a more empowered woman, to get stronger, to break addictions, to accomplish more in your day, to keep a garden and take care of animals, to hold your own in a community that calls on you to serve others, to start and maintain a side business hustle, a website, and a study, to apprentice your skills, to build a healthy marriage, to hold a strong spiritual practice, to figure it out on your own, to rigorously examine the way you live each moment of every day, and to bring life to bitter seeds takes, this takes time and a surmountable amount of courage.

These are things I have failed at during different times of my life. I have let down my brothers and sisters, I have seen social politics fray my market garden project, my plants have died, and some times old vices have attracted me. My spiritual arts have been neglected for weeks for lack of the right feeling, and I’ve struggled to understand the sex feminine. Even the internal work felt like mundane and unnecessary effort at rare times in my life. Yet through all these, I have grown in tremendous capacities, in my ability to do, and be at very high levels. I have set deep roots that entwine with my brothers and sisters lives that can not be dug up, I have thick bark for skin, and my strength, creative force, will, and honor have become identifier marks of my own personal mythos. I have held a wife to embrace the ancient role of the husband, a provider, protector, and lover. Now I tend the lives diligently of not only myself but also other animals, and a garden of plenty. I offer my highest virtues to peers and my tribe and keep strong boundaries against those who wish to tear down. I live a beautiful life in the country, and for the simple pleasures that affords I am grateful. I do not carry debt, and am free from any addictions. I feel the support of my family, that had to be earned, through trust, feelty, hard work, humility and patience yoked together with a strong dose of good karma. My spiritual practice has become refined and potent, as I am informed by the yogic arts. I freely travel, and stay put. I work for what I need, savor what I want, and spend my money wisely. My body has healed and feels strong, powerful, and virile. I can perform the works of three adults and maintain this capacity all year, even if my health becomes compromised.

Before all this came sacrifice, and strenuosity. The need fire kindled for a life spent that would outlive my actual existence here. The call to live greatly, to start the world, the only one you inhabit. To live by the tenets of myth, poetry and archetypes and actually seek the person you want to be by starting where you are. It came through being tough, working hard, dealing with setback on a constant basis, breaking down illusions even if it ostracized me sometimes, navigating the murky nature of other peoples personality, not settling for anything less than the best quality of life I can attain, or letting my boundaries be invaded. My life was forged through radical self love, following instinct, determination to see a means to its end, yoking ties with other allies to mutually bolster our efforts in the world, through joining men’s clubs, community circles, traditional guilds, volunteering my time and labor in 16 countries, intensive study on all important worldly matters, teaching to people that didn’t know me, and learning from anyone I came into contact with.

So what does it all boil down to? It means living a life where you can go to sleep at night knowing you have done more than just enough, that other people have been moved by their experiences with you, to live without the constant regret and dreaming of an easier life, and the complaints of everything that is going wrong, and actually just doing the work that deals with how hard it can be. To embrace struggle as does any other animal through adaptation, cleverness, and grace. To hold within your heart for the moment a feeling a well being, and believing you are strong, standing open, and animate. There is no other feeling like living all the way alive, than making the leap through the hurdles of fear, self-loathing, intimidation, and boredom. You can have more with your life. You can see the world. You can get to that place where you are king or queen, or god of your own domain. I have figured a few potent truths out, and have seen dthe trapline, even been caught in it, but there is only one way to make it through this life, and that is with fierce joy in the face of all the goes dark. Everything you do is relevant, but don’t just think about it, act like it, and keep going!

 

Incubation

I’m here, as the soilfrost weans its way out of the ground, the budding trees are becoming ripe with potential, and soon we’ll be breathing in pine pollen, harvesting ramps and swatting at mosquitoes. This winter season did not have the lightest grip on me and mine, while my beloved and I weathered the snow, rime and sleet at 66 North, in Iceland. We volunteered almost the entirety of our winter in the service of working on sub-arctic farmsteads, and co-living with the farm animals the island is famous for; the viking sheep, the icelandic horse, and chickens. Two months in the tundra had us bound inside on some days when the climate simply would not permit travel, but in between endless games of crazy eights, icelandic coffee smorgas’ and spending time with the sheep, we made other time to hike in geothermal areas, get really cold, then get really warm, bathing naked in hot pots. I also took the oath, and got married in the Arctic, to my lovely wife Rachel. She is my songbird, garden partner, soil geek, wild lover, and best homesteading wife I could want for. We tied the knot in private, up north, and are diving in to a life filled with rich new experiences, and some weedy ones that we don’t quite understand. We both live a low impact lifestyle, semi-off grid, in southern Ontario country. We haul water, chop wood, plant trees, eat organic farmed food that we either grow ourselves or source from farmers market, and supplement that with wild foods from our ecosystem and ‘backyard’. We also keep some pretty interesting poultry, four Indonesian birds for egg laying, and a small flock of Silkie chickens, as well as a few pioneer breeds and a new addition to our homestead, the alpine nubian nanny goat, Calypso. I’m looking forward into teaching more yoga this year, while my wife pursues her coursework in soil biology. Together we have also birthed a new project, being a medium scale permaculture garden, with out good friend. Look for us at the Belleville and Tyendinaga markets. Life has actually become better and better, conditionally, since my last posting. More time in the being, while the doing also becomes absorbed more internally, with the interesting side effect of writing less and less, and actually seeing more progress towards the living dream.

If a winter vacation in Iceland taught me anything, it was to never take for granted what is always at home. The more stable community, and the hearts and character of the people we have come to know, either together or through mutual contact, has nourished a far deeper root, tapped for strength and sustainability when we find ourselves lucky to find like minds, in a collective society that is so fragmented. Reading Sapiens and Homo Deus last season, also put a few things on the table for me, and shifted many perspectives of we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. I also had to encounter some pretty weedy and thorny aspects of myself, during the long nights and short days in Iceland, alone with my wife in a country we did not speak the language, very far away from anything familiar or homely. Perhaps the seasonal metaphors of solstice and solar deprivation, made us thirst even more for the light, and the brighter aspects of living. The kind of rejuvenation that seeds know about after a harsh entombment under deep snow, to be re:birthed with a spring of flexibility, breathing room, and upward empowerment.

I feel pretty blessed, by love? by god? by nature? probably all of them and no names, but just overall goodness for the life I am leading and the places I’ve been, and this moment right here, writing to the anonymous, and finding it very comfortable to be sitting in a warm room, with a full belly, and comfortable attachments. I had not always been able to say that in all my posts, and I believe this is something I have worked for. I think this has also come from a deeper self-love, and the need for preservation.

I have not always taken the easiest path, and I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and the way I’ve done that is through strenuosity and making a lot of mistakes early. This was not the most comfortable way of getting here, and now perhaps I am allowing for a slightly less stressful and gentler existence. I’ve enter what I am referring as an incubatorship period, which may last 1-5 years, where my wife and I have come to land on a farmstead tree nursery, of which I have been settling on since October. I say settling because there are many changes of lifestyle and modality, that have had to shift to make this happen, and it is tonight that I’ve actually landed. We are ‘incubating’ here on the permission of the farm owners, who have collectively run it for 40 years, where we are in a position of introducing new routines, small business operations, animals, ideas, and effort onto the land. Now, we occupy a tiny home, built of Cascadian pine, oak, and cedar, with minimalist aesthetics, and it is centered as our zone 1 in permaculture approach. North of us is the barn/washing station for our crops and main homestead and compost outhouse, east of us lives our chickens and solitary goat, south of us is the market garden field and pasturage, and west of us is an early carriage house, all of these features being easily within our management zone, and allows a lot of range of control over the comings and goings of the farm. We are still graciously under the direction of our hosts and their tree nursery business, which we deal in like crypto-currency, is our main focus of livelihood, helping to maintain trees through four seasons and twice a year digging them for Canada wide loyal supporters.

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We aim to raise enough money for our own Mongolian style yurt, maybe this year, or the next, but ultimately a haven that allows us full privacy within the community, a safe space that we can grow as a couple, or potentially introduce a third member into our family. We both enjoy modest living and seek to go deeper into the practice, of little to no plastic use, no wifi, cooking on a woodstove, getting our water from the well, raising animals (as companions, teachers, food), and enjoy the subtleties of country lifestyle. I am also deeply coming into awareness of the finer things of life, like the life one lives in their homestead, being able to do this with your beloved and to share an existence that gets us into the garden everyday, working with virtue in our hearts and dirt on our clothes. Then we relax in our rustic setting, nothing is quite perfect but everything is alright. There are kinks in the system, and we just navigate bearing those in mind, and I am learning how to just relinquish the need to micro-manage every aspect of my life, and give over more control to others, to nature’s random forces, to the community as a whole, and especially my wife. To be more compromising without being compromised, and to honor the woman that is her and no one else. We are each other’s mirrors and can call out each others slips and ‘little schmoos’ as Ram Dass would put it, or call on each other when intimacy is most needed. The folky, hygge country lifeway would be pretty accurate to how we see things, but not too seriously.

Honor Your Woman

The farm, aptly named The Golden Bough, is the banner under which all this takes place, and Storied Seeds being an offshoot from the main branch. My wife and I have taken under wing with the market garden project, along with our neighbor, to fuel the rest of the year when the perennial trees are not high on the priority. We will be vending throughout the year at the farmers market on the Tyendinaga Mohawk territory, and the Belleville farmers market, while attempting to bridge the gaps between people and sustainable, organic food, and supplementing our farm production with wild edibles, because this is really where our food systems originate, and what sustained us long before the agrarian age. The Storied Seeds carry a message of ethical food production, non-lethal harvest, bio-diversity, and fresh offerings to those who want real food, herbs, and medicines all year. We look forward to long hot days under the sun, and evenings at clay lakes swimming in white waters, goats and chickens working alongside us while we plant and harvest crops, and getting to the right sources off the farm into a hundred homes. Meanwhile we don’t forget the practice of being here now, and never losing sight what is just with us in the moment, and that everything is being provided within our karmic returns. The bundle of time, remuneration, and satisfaction switch priorities as the yearly mood changes, and this is where it has taken us now, and gives everyone who is still reading here 7 years on a taste of what is happening.

Taking Root: Maturation from an Annual to Perennial Based Lifestyle

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Early in the year when the maple sap flowed from wounds in their bark, the grounds thawed, and animals came out of hibernation, I challenged myself to entertain a market gardener role on a productive bio-dynamic garden based on the agricultural principles of Rudolf Steiner. Fusing magic with method, technique with time based calendrical sowing and reaping. I stored aside most of what I knew about tending the soil and turned an eye to the stars to learn the bio-dynamic methods of annual crop rotation for the production of a farmers market store of fruits and vegetables. This is where I gleaned all the customer experience from those who support the organic and bio-dynamic food movements. In time, I was able to provide the finest heirloom and cleanest food from the cultivated ground, and some supplementary foods from the wild ranges surrounding my trailer home. Crops were picked on Fridays and Tuesday for the community supported agriculture programs, and then kept vital until the following day. Energies had their origin from the source but were hastily expended outwards.

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Managing a market garden means being on plant time, and this is one interesting aspect of farming, and my trans-continental permaculture journey, adapting to several different time zones, paces, and routines. In the garden, the conditions of the soil, rain, sun, and airborne nutrients (as well as social events) decide when to work, and when it is permitted to rest. Over two seasons of this recognition of yearly gardening schedule, and the greater five years of my travels, a pattern of impermanence also becomes prevalent. The annual lifestyle carries with it habits that are born, sown, cultivated, maintained, and reaped, to then lie dormant or go through a period of flux, adaptation or stasis for awhile, these annual cycles practiced in the garden, also have sway in the way I lived the rest of my life for five years. Thee annual, or oft times seasonal opportunities or experiences were also en-woven through all aspects of it, from part time farm placements, to in-temporary partners, highly mobile nomadic travel, short-lasting friendships, and overall a sense of shallow rootedness to a relationship with life and its inhabitants.

Now, I have been experiencing yet another turn of the tides, a new arrows trajectory or planetary perspective. This has seemed to happen in three to six year phases of my existence. This switch in conscious foci has enveloped me with new commitments, more adaptive cultural strategies of living on this planet, and has engendered a deeper root stratum with which to hold fast to the shifting sands of time. It is the transformation, (to use the agricultural metaphor, into one more in line with permaculture), from an annual based lifestyle to a perennial one. This means stronger and more integral relationships with others, my partner for instance, new archetypal energies of the settler, rather than the wanderer/lover/fool, which I have dance with before. Moving ever more intimately with the sacred masculine role of the provider-protector, and getting a better hold on the patterns of one place, one at a time. It can be likened to saving seeds and continuing their lineage for many years into your garden or food forest, or planting perennial crops and trees to last the bridging between generations.

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I think the metaphor of annual cycles becoming perennial has highly symbolic appliance into our personal lives, as the world scrambles to make sense of rapid change, and nuclear individualism threatens the community at large while we attempt to live long, healthy and sustainable lives, ones that I might add are in direct primacy with immediate experience while having an eye on the future of things to come. In also entails less reliance on a consumer oriented cycle of buying and selling, following yearly trends in society, and constantly halting the progress of the innate natural flow of place based living. It is like pouring grit into a well oiled machine that then needs to be taken apart, cleaned and started all over, or continually cutting down forests for gain and preventing the diversity of life to relish in its late expressions.

As I have observed my fellows who have come to the same place in life that I now look out from, and settled into a more refined, provident, and sanguine existence with their respective partners or children, it has waxed and grown in sense to me of the natural proclivity to do just that. Not to domesticate the species human, that is confine to the domicile, but to actually engender, the more lucid and genuine connections to life, love, and all that comes with it. To stay authentic in a very edited world, I have felt the need to slow down, to find myself where I stand, and work on that right where it is, using what I have within arms reach at first, and extending from the trunk to grow many branches back into the middle world, never struggling too hard for survival, preserving comfort while striving to get deeper in, more involved, and altogether a more human being.

24 months ago, this seed had not yet been planted and stratified in my mind to gestate into a full grown plan. I had been happy to simply follow loosely guided routes into the unfolding day with my own self styled navigational system, primarily one of nomadism, wanderlust, novel habits, and open ended relationships. I thought this might simply go on forever, but there was always a feeling that it could all change course, and the seas of fate would wash me onto another shore, maybe it would be accidental pregnancy of a lover, or mental breakdown, a rite of passage, or the sobering view of the worlds problems with a direct call to action for its citizens to do the work, and stop wasting time. It may have also come in the form of maturation, a rise of fathering instincts, and the realization of simple comforts that can be derived from seeing the fruit of your labor ripen before your eyes long term. The completely new habitation of mind, when yoked to the greater loom, and facing a new world, one in which you are not just yourself, the ego dissolves into another, be it your wife, tribe or child. We become cut of the greater homespun, and share a more integrated weave in the textile. Photo 2018-09-06, 3 30 57 PMThe title of ‘From Annual to Perennials is also a bit of word spinning on my behalf to describe the way I have amalgamated my experiences with earth stewardship, permaculture gardening, and long term habit forming creature comfort lifestyles, where there is less stress on the individual and a dispersal of energy and output among the pack living openly in its habitat. This openness creates space for innovation, culture forming, rest, creativity, and ritual, and serves as a free ground for spiritual exploration beyond mere survival and supplement. As we engender more room to grow, and cultivate our lives from the perennial standpoint, we see life as a more permanent place to live, and therefore treat it differently than we would if we were just passing migrants in a foreign land. When we become native to the land, and experience the subtle changes of years, these interests start to ferment and acquire even richer meaning, which eventually builds heritage, sustainability, and wisdom, which is expressed in the forms of family, legacy, and myth.