Folks, many thanks for the kind words and thoughts about my bug; I'm one of those who is convinced kind words truly help. I'm getting around a bit; and apart from the weakness from lying dead for 3 days, recovery looks straightforward. Can't really work outside yet; tried a little and was having my vision "white out" on me just from walking up a little hill; normally a symptom of heat exhaustion for me; shouldn't have been that exhausted.
Here are some pics and comments on our first Whole Planet Picnic (we've been having a bonfire on the solstice for 15 years, but we're shifting focus); and the following Earth Lent week- the participation was a little light this first year- not as much time to get the word out as it needed, for sure; but we'll be continuing, and doing a bit more next year.
This is our normal venue- a substantial meadow, mowed so we can get around just a few days before. You can see tables with food, chairs, and off to the extreme right the bonfire pile; our big attraction.
Having to cancel because of thunderstorms did mess up things a good bit. A fair number of folks had made plans to be here on Thursday; thanfully not too many from too far away. Though we did wind up with some in the Little House until pretty late; good friends from more than 100 miles off. That was very nice, for sure; but not what anyone had planned.
Though we got folks notified about the change to Saturday- of course; the majority of folks had plans already at this point. Ah, well. Next year! Basically we've had groups of from 6 to 50 for this event; last year we had 40+; weather and timing does always make a difference.
We had a great time; watching the still evening fall. The frogs on the pond tuned up and gave a concert; we've had deafening shows once or twice, this was more modest, though the Green frogs were much more vocal this year than ever. We have a small portable "fire pit" to actually toast things on-
and a lovely half-moon. It gets dark, with no extra lights around! Hence the blurry hand held photos; flash is just yucky for things like this; I'd rather have the blur.
We've never had a problem with conversation - folks find plenty to talk about. There are several friends where this is the only time we see them, all year. An added incentive to make the trip, really. Only one kid this time; Smidgen, who had a wonderful time adventuring from one group of adults to another- all alone, in the dark. First time she's really been that adventurous; sometimes she crossed 100 feet of grass, all alone (with about 8 sets of adult eyes watching every step). Fun. good fireflies, but they didn't like the mowed area much.
We start the fire at 10 PM, full dark -
remember why we postponed? Rain? The fire pile was wet, and much harder to get going than most. Oddly, a good fire brings out the latent pyromaniacs; no trouble finding volunteers to "fix" the fire, and get it going; that's one there, to the left.
When it gets going- it's something. Remember the tables and chairs? That's them, to the left, looking tiny. Lights up the whole little valley, and throws sparks 100' into the air. Yes, we're waiting for one to get away; but it hasn't ever happened. Usually on this date you can count on VERY heavy dew, wetting everything, by 10 PM; another reason to wait. But we have a pond, and hose, in case.
Took a good half hour to start to die down. Lots of conversations. There is, indeed, something primal about a fire. Two days later, when it had thoroughly cooled, I swept up the wood ash to use as a soil amendment, fighting the constant trend of our soil to shift into the acid range. Recycle.
Folks started to leave about 11; last ones left about 12:30; sometimes it's gone until 2. Alas, our musicians were mostly not able to make the rescheduled date. But it was an excellent time.
Leading up to- Earth Lent Week. I'm not going to list all the activities here that I know about; just a few; inevitably, one smart alec friend from Minneapolis assured me he would give up snow shoveling for Earth Lent. Another good friend from Yonkers gave up something more substantial; his elevator; and he lives on the 4th floor. A great thing to try. Spice gave up plastic bags- but I'm afraid she may have lapsed. I gave up-pudding. Cigars. Lobster.
Ha. No, I don't indulge in those, anyway. Ok, you ready? I gave up- bathing. :-)
eeeew! LOL! I can SEE you squirm. Two reasons- one, it's pretty hard for me to find something to give up! Already have, lots of things. Two; we already use very little water; a 50 gallon drum pumped by the windmill usually lasts 3 people for 6 days or more, down at the house. But the shower is different; comes from a different tank. So; by way of cutting some usage- I did without (ok, except hands for dinner).
Now- as ColinakaNIM can probably tell you- but is too bashful- actually, if you're working in the outdoors at non-stressful kinds of things, you don't necessarily stink. It's pretty common for us to go 3-4 days without a full shower in cold weather (yes, if it's hot, we do more) - but it's not even offensive to anyone; and not difficult to get used to personally. Sure, if you're used to two showers a day, you'll feel yucky after skipping a couple. Fight your way through; and actually, the human integument does not really require constant bathing, like a hippo or a seal. How often do chimps go swimming? Not much. Then there's this aspect: Women prefer.....
"When they found out afterwards that one of the odours was from a chimp, there was laughter. When they realised that two out of three had preferred the chimp, there was nervous laughter."
I could, of course, claim I was continuing this groundbeaking research...
So. The truth! That's what I did. It does help keep you "mindful"; a good exercise always, and not onerous for just a week. And, I confess, I'm now back to regular showers. So you can relax.
And- if you have stories about your own Whole Planet Picnic; and/or would like to tell about your Earth Lent decisions; please put them here as comments. And let me know if you have pictures you're waiting to send; I'd love to see them, and I've got to kick a couple people to get an email address set up to accept them. I can kick harder if I've got people waiting.