Nomad Work Transmission 1: Okanagan Fruit Picking

If you head south from Kelowna on a June eve, and drive through the Okanagan valley of Canada, there is a surefire chance of finding a few pickers along the way. Every year, a couple thousand vagabonds from the quebec province, and some far farther away like australia, and europe flock to the californian-esque wine canyons of the Okanagan to do one thing, harvest fruit.

I was one of these modern day vagabonds, though traveling from Texas instead, after treeplanting in Caribou, BC. I hoofed it down through Quesnel, Williams Lake, and a few other no namers and after being stranded on mushroom beach in Kelowna finally made it to the haven of cherry country. This year I returned to work on two haskap farms, a perennial berry with Russian and Japanese heritage.

The route starts at the border of Washington, in a small town called Osoyoos, where the first ripe cherries of the year will be red for reaping. A picker finds a camp here, humbly purchased from the local Canadian Tire if you are roughing it, or a more luxury style from MEC, some even have their own vehicles, but hitch hiking is bar standard around here. The picker will loose around town for the last few weeks of May, haggling the farmers around for a contract or three to start in June when the heat wave swelters in. Then its picking time from before the sun rises, until around high noon, realistically 1-2 when the sun is highest and hottest in the sky. The cherries picked in the morning hours before the dew condensates off the grass and the air still has a crisp chill like cider, is the ideal time for the fruit to come off the tree. You wear your regalia, a bucket that will hold a few kilos of cherries, and each one puts a fiver in your pocker. Some people do 20, 30, 40 buckets a day.

After the farms are bare of the red gems, you move north, to Oliver, and maybe take a thinning job for awhile with peaches and nectarines, or tend to grape vines, shucking, tucking, and pruning. This is the boring work, and doesn’t go by piece, so you don’t earn much, but you could have shorter days, take a siesta during the sun baking hours, and then put in some time in the evening before making camp. Soon enough the cherries will also be ready. Oliver and Osoyoos have the most wineries and cideries, and I have known some folks to get paid in wine and cash every day. Most of the wineries will only hire Mexicans that they fly up every year for labor positions, the rest are owned by East Indians and Sikhs. This can be a tricky relationship, because they and culturally a trades people, merchants for thousands of years, and the handling of money is something they are clever with. They can be hustlers if you are not careful, so a picker needs to make themselves clear and coherent if you don’t want to get taken advantage of. I have personally worked with several of these Hindoos, and while they were generous with hours, and the occasional cherry moonshine break in the shade, the money was not always what was expected. Working with the Mexicans still makes me feel a little closer to getting a fair deal, they don’t complain, but they know how to have a good time.

A picker can follow the work from mile 0, up through OK Falls, Kaleden, Penticton, Summerland, Peachland, and Kelowna with some east and west diversions in Keremeos and Cawston taking up anything from picking red and black cherries, to cutting table grapes, harvesting cider apples, making wine, or sweating it out in a greenhouse, or a tree farm. By the end of July, dependind on how much alcohol you choose to consume, you may leave a few grand saved up, then some people choose to caravan south to the festival circuits in the U.S.

Over a three year time span, the Okangan has been my home for at least two partial seasons. The Nk’mip Indian reserve and desert habitat is a great attractor, and the landscape is yield to some beautiful flowering cactus, wild sage, white tailed deer, rattlesnakes, coyotes, and songbirds. I have spent many hours with the French, around dying fires, and wandering the town, looking for a distraction or stimulation from the picking routine. They are a loud and crazy bunch, but do have the ability to be subtle and informative. They will tell you about the best places to find morels that year, and their stories from the Yukon. The lifestyle of a picker is rather a smorgaboard of different personas, but most of them are free-living hippie types who drive thrifty cars or volkwagens, and spend their time in the parks smoking chronic joints. The picking is intense for about a month, and then it’s over, unless you know how to move through the zones for different cultivars and ranges of the fruit, but you won’t be limited to fruit. Several stands are set up for vege as well, and there is potato, tomato, asparagus, and green reaping as well, but it’s not as common. I can say the work can be fairly monotonous when you are standing under a tree, always seeing the same thing, and performing the same movements over and over, but you can find the odd organic orchard, that may do things at a slightly different pace from the monoculture of cherries, peaches, and apples.

It is easy to find work for a traveler if you come with the right mindset. Just sit in a cafe and folks will tend to instigate a conversation and ask you what you are doing in the valley, tell them I sent you.

On the Question of De-horning Livestock, and Castration

The issue of goat welfare came up on the farm the other day, and raised a few contentions in my mind. It not being my own farmstead or my personal goats, I could have no control or coercement over the final situation, in the end, a decision was taken that in my mind was not conducive to goat and livestock welfare, and actually morally wrong, so I wanted to raise a flag, and see if there are any others who are alligned with the same mindset.

A male goat was to be sold to another farm in the locality, because her last goat, her only representive member, was ‘bored’, and needed an ungulate companion. Said farmer asked the owner of the farm I currently dwell on if she could buy one of her males. But she did not want any offspring, and concurently requested for the goat to be castrated and de-horned, you know, so they don’t fight or fuck, like that natural wilderness inside them impells them to, such would be a terrible thing, sarcastically speaking. Said man goat in his youth, was taken to a ‘friend’ by the farmer, and had the deed done, permanently sterile, and had his horns cut, and burned down… and then sold at a ‘fair price’.

Now, in the words of Sepp Holzer, and Austrian permaculturalist, on de-horning, he says “It is extremely painful for the animals and also has an effect on their behaviour. Acording to my observations, they act in a completely different and disturbed way. They butt each other in the stomach, which can lead to premature or stillbirths in pregnant cattle.In addition to this, I am of the opinion that dehorning cattle also affects them in other ways. I think it is possible that animals also store and dispose of harmful substances in their claws and horns. Dehorning as well as docking tails and cropping ears is nothing more than mutilation.”

Thus is can be said the same for goats, dehorning them only creates a false sense of equal rank, instead of establishing a hierarchial system that exists also in other mammals like wolves, the beta’s and submissive serve the alpha, usually female, or farm animals like the chicken pecking order, these are important natural orders that people try to manipulate and change for better keeping conditions, during the domestication process, they lose their innate behaviors and have problems with the social structure of their kin. Removing the horns is taking away their power, and possibly as Sepp Holzer notes, an external source of waste for possible pollutants, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, smog or processed and gmo chemicals and substance that enter the body, the same way humans do in their nails and hair. On the castration issue, I think this stands as obvious, that we must treat animals with consideration, and it is straight mutilation to do such a thing. Ask yourself what you think about circumsicion, or female clitoral cutting at birth, as well as that of castration, this is mutilation, a form of punishment or conditioning, a medieval torture method.

I generally go against domestication of any kind, including the human kind, and in my opinion, the ideal farm would be left partly feral, just tended to from the wilderness with space for animals to live in a natural ecosystem, not a paddock or pen. I could almost feel the pain of this unsuspecting goat, who was chosen to have its man parts removed for the sake of a quick sale. This goat is now sterile, essentially removing it’s lineage forever. It will lose its testosterone, and its meat will take a lesser quality, not to mention he may suffer from arthritis from the lack of strength in his elder years. He will be more susceptible to problems if he accidentally consumes infected grasses, poisonous mushrooms or chemicals that somehow infest its feed from the monsanto type companies that control much of the farm feed at its source. I am completely against this move, and ask others to consider what they would do with their livestock, and animals, and consider them like family.

A special note to add, only some centuries ago, our Celtic and Germanic Ancestors, of Northern Europe did not have a separate room for their cows away from the house, it was attached to the main building, and on specifically cold nights, they would sleep one or two on each side of the cow to keep warm. The cow was clean at all times, and not looked at as a kind of bestial creature, made for living in the muck. They had a name and a place. They were a valued member of the farm.

 

IF

Rudyard Kiplings words keep returning to me, mulling like wine, reminding my heart of virtue, seeing me through heartwrenching loss, keeping the crow wings straight and true. I recorded this over a year ago.
If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Cultivating a Personal Mythology, the Road Ahead

The ideas I espoused in my other diary entry for the Plan, Plant, Planet serves as a primer for this one, as will to implore further of what I see to be the road ahead, and the anchors I will choose to drop as I navigate these seas of existence as I seek those islands of the world where the radical traditionalist, a black wolf amongst bleary eyed sheep can thrive.

Wedded to the RUNA, the mysterious and obfuscated, the very unknowable transcendent paradigm that compels every good heathen to leave his comfort zones, to attain new knowledge. Deeply inspired by the journeyman tradition of Germany (auf der Walz sein), wherein a man would leave his home and his master, and often his native country, offering his time skill and labor to his host in exchange for his lodgings, usually in

Europe. This (die Walz) was traditionally done for three years and 1 day, as it soon dusks for me of this exact timing. I see the imperatives of my next leg, and continue to continue to honor these outlets and watchwords as driving forces behind the person I have become today. I seek to capatalize on 200,000 kilometers of wanderlust, and continually associate with those who have more prowess, skill, or better technique than me, because this is truly the only way we grow. My aims now divert from the strict admonition of world service, to inter-dependent tribalism, tradeskill building, self-reliance without hosting, and cultivating a prosperous lifelong relationship.

As a projection of years, I ponder of the places in the world I still may travel to seek fellowship, but they are now refined to suit the game I sit down to. The Scandinavian nation began as a fetish in my early teenager years and has grown to be a magnetic homecalling as I draw closer to closer to the ways of my ancestors. I aspire in some half a decade or so to acquire land here, and be exponentially further ahead in my acoutrements, and well being, and organic wealth by this time. To have settlement in these old stomping grounds of our folk. I want to establish some form of trading system, build off the grid cabins and outbuildings and raise many heritage breeds of livestock, and animals. I want to learn how to mush dogs and how to ride horse. I see myself continuing to travel in the next 5 years to lands familiar and far from my own; Australia, India, Ireland, Tibet, Greenland, Sweden, Finland, Alaska, France, Germany, New Zealand, and Amsterdam. None of these are final destinations, only dreams not yet manifested. I see myself in a more ancestral home, surrounded by people I love, and co-dependent only on a small few I now overwinter in a province of Kanada that has over 100 trade skills that are not offered anywhere else in the country, and I am allowing for those seeds to be blown my way, to be bissected at any step. To meet with failure and paramount challenge as gifts, and spend increased spans of time in association of those other individuals who are like mentors to me. I want to gather those out there who feel a similar calling, man and woman, to not act out of fear but courage, so that we may speak on equal terms, and may be tread the same track together, either from afar, or in real life.

Every day is a lesson in un-learning the domestications of a corrupt civilization, and re:wilding the genetic codes I have stored deep inside my nerves, bone, blood, and sinew since the pre-Christian/proto-European/pre-industrialized pages in HIS story. The dominate masculine, ego-driven governmental (fr. ment = mind), as we are yanked into this factory farm or assembly line of surreality. To burn away the further dross of mechanization, cultural loss, and apathy, and barter them for the ubermensch, ritual, consciousness, and mythology.

‘Resacralization of the world versus materialism, folk/traditional culture versus mass programming, natural social order versus an artificial hierarchy based on wealth, the tribal community versus the nation state, stewardship of the earth versus, the maximization of resources, a harmonious relationship between men and women versus the war of the sexes, handcrafts and artisannsip versus, industrial mass production’ ~TYR

The fermentation of long invested relationships will start to take form. Tribe/family, skill, and self-reliance, from the grassroots up will be the knotwork of the wyrd’s weave that becomes my tapestry. The taboos of living will be transcended further and rent from their shells so even within the stagnating pools of modern heathenism, I can not experience https://i0.wp.com/josephschneiderhaus.com/media/10080/frakture.jpgcensorship, or stifled thought patterns. I see myself having a more intact presence in the world, and continue with outreach in some forms whether it be through speech, teaching, training, or leading by local demonstration. I see love interests become more intimately involved in my identification with whatever ‘I’ am, to truly abolish this sense of self-centeredness, what is mine is shared, but only with those who deserve it. I want to fall in love again, for I have fell out many a time, and fell hard. I feel new branches grow from stunted limbs, and roots going further towards the core. The nine worlds living within and without, and the names of the Gods and Goddesses on my rune branded tongue as I work, learn, love, fight, protect, travel, trade, forge, and far on this path less taken. I feel the heroic tasks that I have been given to be honors, and my connection with the landwights, spirits, and divine archetypes grow. Ragnarok happens inside of us, we do not need to destroy the planet to start over, we only have to denounce that we are limited beings, unable to change and grow into completely mythological deities and intoxicate ourselves on the mead of living through our words, and actions.

Godspeed, and Hail!

:Runehjarta:

North, Home

I opened my eyes and the panorama of my vision could no longer see the orange lights from the houses, or the metal guardrails. A snow field extended out before me over the frozen lake, where I sat, and the blown down, gnarled forest of the boreal beyond that, as it always had been, I saw vague bodies clothed in brightly pigmented colors, a herd of reindeer running in both directions and the drumming of their hooves, I heard their indiginous chants to the animals, and others singing or playing, and the vista of my eyes saw comfort, acceptance, tradition, in my bones I felt home, family, tribe…

…then the stark halogens and electronic music of a car passed behind me on the road, and I became aware that I was down the road from my bedroom, sitting on the frozen lake, and had experienced a moment of true peace and belonging, which vanished as the dim of the car sped further down the backroad. In that moment I was free. Words called to me to find my people, find home, survive, and thrive

Yule:Mead:Hail

Wassail to all thy sisters and brothers for the support from the planet earth.

Be your hearths and hearts stoked at ye fire,

Warm bodies to hold you in thee dark nyght,

Need:ful food from the abundance of Midgard, share
Kin and ally meet and wax wiley in wise conversation,

Drink deep of the stirring mead, and sleep always in mimir’s well

and remember who you are, where you are, why you are

                                                        ⊕

Turns yule the log of winter, and the folk gather

and turn their hearts towards each other
in honor, love, and law

for twelve days does the hme and heart grow

Hail Baldur!, at midwynternights for the light god to return

:S:unShᛉnesnthyhall:

 

 

If only more Hippies were like Me

Why must we live in nostalgia of the ‘good old days’, and continually reap dead harvest from the past when we can be procreating our own idyllic reality with what we have now. Here is a question unspoken that I have carried with me 2000 miles across Mexico, in what has become a sort of spiritual pilgrimage for me, through varying communities, hippy towns, eco villages, and traveler meccas. I have in the past 6 months come to identify myself in parcel with this old hippie paradigm, but can’t bring myself to see them in the light of this 21’st century, thc brazened, techno-dependent, socially awkward, naive outcast. Instead I want to preserve the industrious, beautifully kempt, nomadic gypsy type, who can smoke a pipe full of hash, but then build a cabin out of timbers, fix a bike, and make your own jacket on top of that. Unfortunately, the instance I am meeting with who long for the bright and happy flower children to come back, don’t have the ambition to do more than surf, listen to rave music, and sleep in on weekdays. We really need more of those young in heart with the true spirit of the 60’s now, who can manifest everything they need from within, and can take the leadership needed to guide us through a new war. We did good in those times, we stopped violence, educated ourselves on medicines, held communion with all life, and actually changed the social structure of humanity forever, but we are slipping. I urge those with the natural course of fire that flows within their blood, you Leos, and Aquarius’, you astrological powerhouses, use what is within and without you to create the Real Reality you want not later, but now. Be your own religion and watch your seeds reap a million fruits, let your drug trips be journeys into the 5th dimension where you will venture into a landscape of myth and bring back memes of the highest conscious sort. Ideas of the most pressing and controversial kind, and actions of the most heroic order. Let your colors show in your flag of honor, show me what you can do with yourself, and how that affects others. Open talking circles and speech circuits, and push people outside their hazy comfort zone of halluci-nation into planes of rev(o)lution. Know how hard that beautiful flower actually fights to reproduce itself all over the country, when the going seems near impossible, remember that the toughest plants fight the hardest. We are not in a place to escape this orientation of desire, let’s use it to our benefit. You can move into your personal power, the shamanic place of influence and instant manifestation as a warrior. If you need some words of wisdom, do not ask them from me, step beyond the only ‘you’ that you, step towards the hero and heroine, the destiny will tell the rest, and you will find not only words, but your entire mythos, being written out before you.

Votan Koyote,

Folkways and Roadways

I’m writing from the Norwegian mountains, passively minding my own business from what is happening between Europe and the middle East right now. This life is a project cultivate deeper roots with a traditionalist lifestyle, one I would rather lead with the same concerns our ancestors would have had, nothing more, thus I have been staying away from all formsskogseidvatnet of media, as a mountain man does, the only other news I am hearing is coming from another old bearded fellow.

My roadways have finally taken me to Hordaland after 8 years of romantic adoration for this county of Norway, and Norway in general, I have been making my home at the Solas Gard farm, on the hills near the Hardangerfjord and not so far from the Hardanger National Park. This is becoming a sort of primer for the future work that I will be getting into in Mexico, for by the end of the month I will be leaving Europe again. Here at Solas, we are building an eco-studio, or rather, I came at the tail ends to help with the sheep wool insulation, the pine tar painting and building a turf roof, as well as the deconstruction of a traditional Sammi shelter called a Gamme, unfortunately the turf was starting to rot, the pelts inside were moth eaten, soggy, and falling into pieces, and the birch bark was becoming exposed from high winds, not to mention the annoying tick population. It once looked like this, tumblr_nmnzmneLKK1romrx1o1_1280now nothing more than a conical pyramid of shaved trees, naked in the wind. Though I wish I could have had a hand in building it, the Gamme is on my list of primitive structures I would like to live in some day. The way of the heathen has always been about working and living for the community, the Folkways of the people. For this reason, I really do not participate in any conversation about so called crisis that may be happening. These crisis only happens if we make them our crisis. Our reality is as we project it, and too our responsibilities are our own, my only opinion is perhaps the European hive mind has warranted their own “problems” for their apathy and hostility to other cultures in the past. Sometimes I even find myself more European than the Europeans, but this is not really the point of this post. It is about the tradition of the heathenist.

I want to lead by example that the most powerful form of heathenism today, is not in the literature or pseudo-pagan festivals, it is about living the way we used to. Reliant and in balance with the nature surrounding us. I was recently told by a local farmer, that his sister bought an apartment in Bergen for the same price of his entire farm which covers part of the spruce and pine forest, the cliffside, a fertile soil land, fishing and hunting rites, and a barnhouse. It is fortunate that I am also now living with other heathens, who take almost 90 percent, sometimes 100 percent of our dinner from the ground, or the ingredients are traded with other farmers, caught in the lake, lamb sacrificed on the land. To be part of this is more than just some false concept of ‘idyllic’, it is the on

ly way I know how.garden

Soon these merging paths will take me to Mexico, at the Lemurian Embassy, and it is with immense anticipation, and perhaps some anxiety that I stare out these windows into the distant forever, nothing is carved in Mayan stone, but I just might end up staying there for some time. I’m studying curanderismo and shamanism, and will be spending time learning the local languages as best I can, and am looking into an ayahuasca retreat sometime for the autumn. I am willing that I can meet the right shaman to teach me the medecina songs, for the few I remember were from a past rainbow gathering and only a few Spanish verses at that. I want to sit with peyote and the sacred salvia and learn their lessons, and really put some roots into this growing eco-village in the consciousness of Lemuria.

Re-uniting with thee Flora, Fungi & Fylgja

The W.I.S.E. islands, that is Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England, are of the most deprived of natural medicines of any place I have traveled thus far. It is shocking what an ancient Mesopotamian creature, the sheep, imported to a country once covered in medicinal and shamanic plants, and rainforest species trees can do to a culture, a people, and a land. During my explorations here, I began to grow very dull, from always observing the same type of landscape, rolling cropped grass, thistles, thorns and gorse. The culprit, the sheep of course, thousands of dirty mongrels with their heads down. Though I think the sheep can be a beautiful animal, and I would not kill one, I grew tired of seeing them quickly, and each day seemed to discover a new reason why I don’t like them. Living in Wales and Scotland, trying to forage for edibles, or medicines became almost impossible. Returning back to Northern Europe, although nothing to compare to the Amazonian vastlands, the Mexican jungles or the Australian desert in terms of available flora, I am finding a re-uniting of an old relationship with the flora, fungi, and fylgja.

Particularly, these new encounters, with the mosses and lichens of the Icelandic countryside, there are not nearly as many sheep here, and they are not confined to one area, so the grasses and flowers also have a chance to flourish. It is with particular interest, that I have also discovered that at least four of the native lichens contain psychedelic compounds or thc containing alkaloids. A walk in a national park called Heidmork yielded a foraging mission on the side. Purple moss campion, crowberries (krækiber), birch bolete, slippery jack mushroom, wild dandelion (túnfífill), and blueberry leaf(bláber), and soon the ‘flying saucer’ mushrooms, the potent Semilanceata variety will be in every graveyard, roundabout, and cowfield in Iceland. The crowberry is also used to make a black wine called Kvoldsol, and is especially sweet when picked raw. There are several other edible flowers even as far north as this. The Icelandic fylgja, as is described as animal, female spirit and geometrical shape also intrigues me, as I believe this last reference has something to do with magical staves. I see these runic shapes and fylga in all kinds of natural patterns here, in the forms of the cliff faces, and the sculptured rock especially, everything seems to have a personality. The revival of foraging in modern times is perhaps under rated, but with the popular use of psychedelic plants, living off the land, and nature tourism, I think there is some real merit in going for walks, just for the sake of seeing what you can find. The edibles here are on the smaller scale, but this just means you don’t have to have a big area to find them. There is great joy in bringing back a few plants or mushrooms and doing some research with your afternoon, rather than wasting time online with menial things, it brings a new connection to one’s land as their home, rather than some place they are visiting. The youth and kids here in Iceland are natural born collectors, in the old days, they used to collect bones and make games with them, now they seem to collect bits of trash, why not these natural foods as well? I hope to explore more of these plants, ‘shrooms and land spirits during my wanderings in Scandinavia and Iceland, and re-generate a connection to the language of edible nature.

https://i0.wp.com/thumbs.dreamstime.com/t/iceland-southeast-area-white-flowers-grass-magenta-tone-icelandic-purple-horizontal-format-41614962.jpg