From Missy

First of all, I would like to thank Keiko once again for so generously opening up her home for our meeting. Each time we meet we learn so much more about one another. I can see the creativity flowing out of each of us like beams of bright light. I am sad when I think that our time together will soon be coming to an end. I believe that there is some much more we can learn from one another. I feel that my creativity has been renewed because of these meetings.

During our meeting on November 11th, we spent some time discussing Weekend Project #2 in which we were asked to prepare a list of skills we had to offer and a list of our needs (presenting a bartering opportunity). Then we went on to discuss bartering, which is simply an exchange of goods between two parties who need something from each other. When considering today's economy, I truly believe bartering is a great idea. Neither party would have to part with the cash they are so desparately trying to hold on to. It is also a way to obtain things cheaper than if you had to purchase them with cash.

Some steps for successful bartering are:

- Only barter if the other party needs your service or item and vice versa.
- Be specific on what you have to offer and what you want.
- Be fair in sharing a fair value for the goods.
- Keep the line of communication open with the person you are bartering with.
- Maintain records of the bartering you do.

Bartering seems to be a great way to gain what you want by offering something you can spare. It can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.

Next, we viewed Keiko's powerpoint presentation on Permacuture. I was amazed at how permaculture can so easily be applied to practically every area of our lives. I am looking forward to hearing more about permaculture during Ethan Roland's lecture. Thank you again!


From Diana

I have been trying to gather my thoughts to respond to the lesson that you had at your house, and I find that since I didn’t take any notes, I really don’t have great recall on all the details. What I did take away from that night is an overview of some of the principles of permaculture and how a bartering or exchange system fits into the those principles.

The idea of bartering for goods, time and skills is not widely thought about nor practiced today. However, with the way the economy is going, it may be a practice whose time is likely to come. I was having a related conversation with my father yesterday. He was talking about growing up during the depression. We were watching c-span and they were discussing the global recession and possible depression that may be coming if something is not done. One of the problems that I have been focused on is the disruption to food accessibility. If something happens to disrupt our food delivery system, we are so far away from the origins of our food in terms of knowledge and locale that in the short term, I think people potentially could find themselves starving. During the depression, how many family farms were right down the road and how accessible was food then. Today, in many villages and towns, there are no farms that grow the staples that we depend on, at least not within shouting distance.

We may yet find that we will need to develop and hone those skills that will be in demand in the future. We need to relearn to grow our own food, and to live on what is grown locally and within season. The exercise to exchange skills has helped me to focus on what I think my skills are and how I value them. It also helped to focus me on what I think is important as far as needs are concerned. I find that my needs revolve around learning a new skill. I did not ask someone to make bread for me, I asked someone to teach me to make bread.

It was an interesting discussion, and I thank you for bringing new concepts into my world. I am learning and thinking everyday, and each time I come to class, I find that the ensuing discussion has enhanced my life and my values in ways I find hard to express. Again, thank you.
Peace, Diana

From Tasha

Last night's gathering was very special. Keiko made us a lovely meal and opened up the dialogue of new possibilities.
Collective Consciousness, Permaculture and Time Exchange were discussed.
The possibilities are vast, and staying focused is key, while the Internet is an amazing tool it can be a HUGE distraction/time hole.
Keiko stated we can redefine ourselves, anything is possible, we ourselves can model permaculture by finding our niche to grow, to expand and try to harness most of our energy into multipurpose actions, creating powerful permacultural people.
It was an uplifting evening.

From Donna:
Tasha, It's hard to add to this because you captured it. I enjoyed the community of our class in Keiko's warm and inviting home; and Linda was missed. ...I'm sorry I missed Sarah's pictures of her home and village on Tuesday, but I was glad to get to see them on Thursday, and as always there was just not enough time. Ethan was awesome and struck some new interests for me. ... Looking forward to joining all of you in bursting with creativity! Blessings and Joy ...Donna

From Penny:
I concur with Donna regarding Tasha's summation. Yes!

I, too, was struck by either the conscious or subconscious parallel being drawn between permaculture in the garden and the use of these principles to create and support our lives as intricate and multifaceted human beings. This class has been and continues to be full of learning and surprisingly, a welcome validation. It validates me and the lifestyle I have created. This past summer I embarked on seeking a college education because after graduating high school continuing education was not an option nor a particular interest at the time. (Which came first?) Life was calling and I had had it with school and the pseudo-realism it was feigning to be in practice for. Now, as I am approaching a half century of life, doubts have surfaced about what am I doing, have done and will do. In this class I am being introduced to the garden of my life. I am seeing for the first time that the colors, the annuals and perennials, the opportunities taken where ecosystems meet, and the richness of the rejections causing compost are a unique creative and diverse reflection of me, my values, my creativity, and my addressing not only the needs of my family and community, but also my needs for success, expression and celebration of my life. Now, don't get me wrong! I am not reporting this believing I have accomplished something that need no further development - on the contrary! I am saying this in gratitude and delight for what has been presented to me by you, Keiko, our guest lecturers, and of course, you all - my fellow students. I just know that I am IN and OF the garden and this gives me further confidence and energy to continue on a course that deserves honoring. There is always more...

I loved our discussion of LETS. We identified the obstacle some of us share in both listing our talents as well as asking for and accepting help against the force of our pernicious independence we have developed as powerful women. I loved hearing Sarah and Diana's exchange of discovering hidden talents and the culling out of and sought knowledge. I was interested in Tasha's account of the Woodstock exchange being (again!?) predominately populated by women. I wonder when and how I will engage in this project within our group and my little sub-group, but look forward to doing something if only to enhance the budding community we have begun. After signing off on this entry, I will be posting my list.

Again, my thanks you, Keiko for a scrumptious dinner and Tasha for that fabo 'Sheppard's pie'! Thank you for all the organization and effort that was contributed to making this happen, right down to Martin's stepping in as chaperone to the movies!

Thank you