Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sustainability Tour

Last week we journeyed to Stelle, IL, a small cluster of homes about 100 miles from Lafayette. A group of folks in Stelle started an effort known as Center for Sustainable Community. They teamed up with the University of Illinois to offer a one day tour of sustainable agriculture and permaculture examples. Beth is shown in front of a herd of sheep that are rotationally grazed on land that borders Stelle. We had an interesting time herding the sheep to a new grazing paddock.

Later we toured the Stelle community gardens, poutlry flock, and orchard. Shown in the second photo is a solar food dryer. The goal of CSC is to provide sustainable alternatives for living. It was good for us to view first hand some of the practices, and we realized that we can do many of these practices ourselves. Mostly it was a great day for Beth and I to be together and learn new ideas for our own Big Good!

Enjoying the Wabash River

In mid-August we joined with other NICHES landtrust members and canoed 16 miles of the Wabash River between Granville Bridge and Attica, IN. The day was beautiful. We stopped for lunch along Black Rock (picture). Prior to English settlement, Black Rock was an important strategic lookout for the Native Americans living in this area. It is now protected as part of the holding of the NICHES landtrust. After lunch we paddled down to the town of Attica. Along the way we spotted four eagles. We also marveled at the many small shacks and campers dotting the south bank of the river. Almost every spot had people camping out, fishing, or boating, and enjoying the summer and the river. Taking this canoe trip helped us realize the beauty of the river and the great natural areas that are near to us. Supporting efforts like NICHES helps to ensure that unique natural lands are protected, and made available for the public to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me.

(Did anyone else grow up watching Hee-Haw?)

If you've been following this blog at all you know that Brent & I were really hoping to be able to buy "the land" in Warren County along Independence Road. We were working with NICHES, who was going to get help from the Indiana Heritage Trust, and they were going to get the woods & creek areas & sell us the home site & barn. It was all working GREAT and looked like the deal was a-go! Until NICHES called the owners in Iowa; and found out that they had sold the land the week before. We were in a fog for a while and could hardly believe it. We really thought we had everything on our side on this one. But I guess it was not meant to be.

About the same time we killed our camera on a WONDERFUL canoe trip on the Wabash. Unfortunately we can't show you the pictures because they are still on the camera and we don't have a way to read them until we get a new camera or borrow someone's card reader.

We have been kind of glum & in recovery for the last couple of weeks. But we are trying to consider other ideas and put out more feelers about new possibilities. We went to the library and looked up the county planning officials & building inspectors in surrounding counties and Brent has been calling them. So far we've learned that the Vermillion County folks would LOVE to have someone build a strawbale house in their county and they were nearly beside themselves with joy when Brent called to ask about it. I guess they don't get a lot of inquiries about people wanting to move their direction. The White County official had concerns about fire so we would have some educating to do if we found land there.

But isn't that really the big question?! Where can we find land? We're back on the quest. If you hear of anyone who would like to sell 5-10 acres with meadow or pasture, some woods and maybe adjoining a creek, pond or river, we want to know!