I am new here, though I have read posts on here, and know some of you from gatherings. Thankyou to the hosts for providing this place to share!
I am introducing an ongoing apprenticeship opportunity this spring and summer at Cedar Bog Forest Farm. Cedar Bog Forest Farm is a rugged forest farm/forest garden near old-growth and clear-cut, forest, and river, garden, and the Ocean. The farm is largely a delightful Cedar bog with huckleberries, salal, blueberries, and crabapple, with extensive forests and a modest inner and extended outer gardening areas. There are a multitude of opportunities for harvesting, gardening, fishing, and earth skills. I am planting a permaculture garden featuring perennial vegetables, self seeding annuals, medicinal herbs, insectory plants, and dye plants in no-till garden beds fertilized with bio-charred hardwoods shells and bones, fertilizer, and goat and elk poo. If planting lots of wierd seeds gets you excited talk to me.
30 hours a week of gardening, crafting, diy building, and education. Cost: $200 a month. Available April/May through September/October. The focuses of this Apprentiship are:
Permaculture gardening and no-till garden bed establishment.
Perennial Vegetables and other useful persistant plants.
Setting up an earth camp where Apprentices can camp and we can practice friction fires, processing, and crafting.
Building Wig-wams if there is interest while the sap is still running in the Willows (its just about to start).
Practicing earth skills: making baskets, working on fire, tracking,
Wildcrafting: especially cascara bark, cedar bark, wild greens and herbs, and never ending huckleberries, blueberries and crab apples.
Visiting the Ocean within a few miles to fish or collect.
Producing biochar to beneficially balance out the forest soil for permaculture potential.
Time and Effort:
There is much to do on the farm, and the weather is quite chaotic so near the Ocean, the maritime breezes blowing in rain or sun in turns. The land tells us what needs to be done. Sometimes it is the time of the swift gathering up of laundry and firewood before 6 hours of drying sunlight is counteracted by rain. In the summer it will gathering herbs before the sun beats down on them. When we work toward a goal we often work hard. In many years of observing my motivations and creative impulses I see that people in an helping capacity are most motivated by what will help them to be the best person in their community, and toiling away on someone else’s goals doesn’t often do that. So I am incorporating “earth-time” and personal crafting into the apprenticeship. I ask that you dedicate most of your week to this farm, but some of the time we will be doing pleasant meditative crafting or wildcrafting, and sometimes we will be working at “getting in the harvest” speed. I count several days of the week toward this time, but will ask that we move together following the land and what it has for us in terms of harvests how “hard” we need to work. There is a line from the Fleet Foxes song “Helplessness Blues”: “If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m raw, If I had an orchard, I’d work till I’m sore.” Well its not quite my orchard, but I have been friends with the landowner for a long time, and am looking forward to harvesting this year and returning to the garden in the future to see and work with all the perennials returning. In a likewise way we hope to share with you the harvests of the land, in a way that is somewhat between “having” an orchard, and working for one.
For example, I intend for us to work together on a sizeable cedar bark harvest, but in the process I will teach harvesting and processing techniques, as well as making baskets, and you could take home cedar bark baskets or mats and a munch of materials for future projects.
So for an average maybe 2 days a week permaculture gardening/1 day a week wildcrafting/1 day a week crafting/processing/1 day a week earth building. Some of these times will be on earth-time, perhaps working meditatively on a craft, or wildcrafting, gardening or earth skills: living the skills. Some of these times will be with a goal in mind. At least a full day a week or more in hours will be in hands-on instruction.
Perennial vegetables are the ultimate anti-Monsanto. They take less time to establish than an orchard or forest garden, and can easily be planted and harvested without heavy machinery or processed with expensive tools. In fact they cant: it just doesn’t work to machine monocrop perennials. They don’t have predictable heights or harvesting times or storage. Short term genetic engineering wouldn’t work, medium term might be at the expense of the plant’s longevity (and perenniality), and long term projects just don’t happen much, especially for things that aren’t profitable. So perennial vegetables are safe from genetic engineering and monocrop growing. Their use has been mainly by indigenous societies from to Peru to India, Vietnam to Indonesia, and in village cultures in Europe of past and sometimes present. Indigenous peoples cultivated perennial vegetables in Cascadia: Camas, onions, greens, bisquit-roots, etc… Why don’t they now? The story of why don’t they know is the story of colonization, and the implimentation of Industrial Revolution European style farming. In old Europe, especially France, perennial vegetables were a popular part of cuisine, and are still used today. In Peru, 5 types of tubers can be grown together that repel the pests of eachother, but tubers are looked down on as a poor persons food. Grow perennial vegetables in solidarity and communion with our global brothers and sisters!
So I have a cooler full of perennial vegetables seeds, many that I wildcrafted, as well as scores of different seeds of plants that are applicable to permaculture gardening, and this will be an important part of our work out here.
I have taken many classes, and taught different skills for several years. I just want to do it, make stuff and live well. What we do together depends somewhat on you. Are you really interested in carving or basketry? Lets go harvesting and cure some materials. Really into animal processing: lets build a processing area and help manage the rabbits or look for other respectfully harvested animal products. Want to camp out in a tent and just geek out on plants an berries all summer? You can dry up stores of berries for yourself. Love friction fires? Lets gather different woods and try them out. If we get interest soon we can build wigwams to have a communal camp area. Love the sea? Lets go there whenever we can… I have taught forest ecology, wild edibles, wildcrafting, herbalism, aidless navigation, sensory awareness games, primitive shelters, animal tracking and cedar bark basketry to kids, teens, and adults. I have studied many more things. You have studied even more things. Together we can do whatever we intend.
The Rugged Arrangements:
We are off the grid, and this is probably the most remote place in Western Washington that is low elevation. Currently I have a dirt floor and have to walk to get water, shower, and charge stuff. There is “some” phone reception. We need people who not only have experience with this kind of living, but thrive on these edges. I for myself am so happy to hear the ocean and river as I got to sleep, that makes up for alot. We need people who are already comfortable shitting in a hole, working in the wet at times, wheelbarrowing water and firewood around, camping for extended periods, and being generally prepared for anything. The Rugged Arrangements that we have lived in have also changed us to value things differently: we use some civilized products to forge a life that is growing this forest and growing us. We sometimes have more in common with rednecks or liberal college hippies than the urban primitivist punk kid, and ask that you not judge us for eating local or sustainable-ish meat, cutting down trees sometimes, and using gas to be able to stay out here. In fact the best fit apprentices would likely have a vehicle.
Crafting as an Income Opportunity
If you like to make things, and would like to sell some things online, we could sell small crafts directly from the farm. I have an account on etsy that is hooked up through a paypal account that I can draw cash from an ATM with my paypal debit card. If you aren’t ready yet to do Etsy, or need time to get the bank stuff set up, you can sell through me as a “member of my shop”. Ostensibly we could receive notification of a purchase, and get it down to the mailbox, and then get paid in town at any ATM.
If you have read all this and resonate with where we are at and feel you would learn alot from this arrangement, contact me via e-mail and I would love to hear about your dreams and aspirations for living and working with the land.