The Stone Soup Institute is an international school offering courses of study which integrate traditional and contemporary practices and knowledge in the Agrarian Arts & Sciences, Crafts and Fine Arts.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Menu for Fundraiser : Sat. 29th, Harpswell Grange Hall 5:30-9 pm

Steamed mussels, served in apple wine broth
Fresh bread for dipping.

Corn and Shrimp Chowder
Smoked Chicken and Bean Soup
Squash Soup

Fresh Cornbread

Ginger Snap Ice Cream Sandwiches made with Gelato

Homemade Root Beer
Homemade Ginger Ale

Live Music! Yeehaw!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Making Soda

On Sunday, we made soda for the fundraiser at the Grange Hall in Harpswell this coming Saturday. ( For details see SSI website).
Making soda is a lot of fun, but it does require making a big mess of the kitchen, and getting water everywhere. However, that is a small price to pay to have 50 bottles of delicious homemade soda pop to share with friends at the fundraiser.
Straining the ginger ale mix

Ginger Ale is made with ginger, lemons and sugar.

The root beer swirling in the container.

Bottles cleaned and ready to go. ( Root beer goes in brown bottles, ginger ale goes in green.)

Pour, cap, and wait one week before partying with friends who want some homemade pop.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Creating The World We Envision Together

I read the other day that it is a harmless, but childish infatuation to believe that the nature of the world must be becoming more loving, more accepting and that we are becoming more aware of our shared humanity. That may or may not be true, however, I  personally think it doesn't matter. There is no choice but to act as if the world that you want to live in is possible at the time you are living, and to hold onto that hope. I think that no matter how much time passes there will always be great pain, but also things to be very hopeful about. That, as a culture we might reconnect with our past and find ourselves more satisfied and happier, is a hopeful idea, and in the midst of technology and politics, and whatever else, may seem outlandish. But there are many many people who have, despite the challenges, chosen to live out the life they believe to be right for them- one of simplicity, connection, and interdependence.
Everyone, most likely, has their own areas that are challenging, but I think one of the greatest challenges we face, together, is to depend on each other for the things that we need. We may be able to depend on ourselves, to a great extent, but if you want to devote some time each day to art, or music, reading, recreating or anything that is not directly related to basic survival, you need other people. The actual need of them is the strength of communities. Grocery stores, wal-mart, or what have you is always available to replace dependence on your neighbors, but, how much is that relationship worth? And what else is sold?
The vision of vibrant communities does ask for individuals to  depend on others in meaningful ways, not just for company or entertainment, but for basic survival, for food, or for firewood for the winter, or to keep the elders taken care of to the extent you are capable, to show respect to eachother, or to feed another when they hunger, whether their hunger be for food or for kindness, or music or art.  Each person, needing less and less money, and needing eachother more and more is a world that to us is unknown, but seems to be something worth creating.

But let there be space in your togetherness
And let the winds of heaven blow between you-
Sing and dance together and be joyous
But let each of you stand alone
Even as the strings of the lute are alone
Thought they quiver with the same music.

Kahlil Gibran

Monday, January 17, 2011


This is the biggest chicken egg I have ever seen. It is at least three times as big as all the other eggs.  Somehow, it has become special to me, and I have not been able to eat it.... not without some sort of fitting ceremony for its massive ability to nourish whom ever it gets fed to.

Zeus in a hat, ready for the cold weather. ( He's very practical.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Work and Joy

"When the sun rises, I go to work,
When the sun goes down, I take my rest
I dig the well from which I drink,
I share creation, Kings can do no more."
 Chinese Proverb- 2500 B.C

Sometimes, it seems to me that there is a basic threshold of what people need to feel fulfilled:  A warm place to live, good healthy food to eat, clean water and air, friends and community to share their life with, inspiration, and real connection with their world. ( or at least least that is what I need, and I am assuming that I am not that unusual of a person.)
I think about the drive to accumulate consumer goods to which a false emotional expectation has been attached at times, and wonder about it, how it has effected me, others and, how much energy can I spend on worrying about that kind of thing verses simply observing what brings joy into my life, then trusting that.   

For the time being, I feel secure in accepting that  a life which is full of  the actions of living; growing and gathering what you will eat, preparing it, all the various activites of firewood. These actions create a seamless world where work and leasuire all have a definative satisfaction of being something that is very necessary to the day.  Its action that clearly needed to be taken or else a undesireable situation would arise.  There is a very simple and honest satisfaction in that kind of work. It is subtle, and sneaks into the day in scattered, beautiful moments, then rushes away again as the demands of the day rush on through.  The familiarity of living within seasonal and daily rhythms has an intimacy which blossoms within it between the land and its caretaker.  Though that relationship is a hard one, its literally laboring; it is a labor which bears a special fruit in the heart of the one who does it. And is a strong, secret thing, that has the unique capability of endlessly being shared, yet never being taken away.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Small Treasures

 Getting eggs in the morning is something that I love to do. Sometimes there is one or 2 eggs already by mid-morning,  and the other three or four come in the afternoon.  When I open up the door to the hen yard, its like chicken rush hour- they all want to go out this tiny little door at the same time and there are 16 chickens ( three really big ones). Sometimes 2 or 3 try to go out at the same time and don't fit. Obviously, this is a very funny thing to see every morning and I really love it.
Chickens also love to go into places that seem to be safe. They think the safest place to be is behind the door, however it is not safe at all so I  need to get all the chickens out from behind there when I close the hen house back up. When this happens, they act as if I am a horrible attacker,  and make all kinds of squabbling noises. They are very dramatic about everything. In a chickens mind, there is no such thing as "not a big deal."  Most everything that happens in their day is given very serious attention, and some sort of action is taken. My understanding of the chickens has come a long way. Jim has pointed out that at first I expected to much from the chickens, which is a  valid  point. But as I have watched them, I see that they do their chicken activities with precision, attention, and enthusiasm, and I have really come to respect that about them.
Egg glowing from sunlight coming in through the whole in the wall.

Classic egg organizing device.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2011 Update!

 New Years Day was a great start to the year.  A wonderful group of folks got together to watch the first day break of the year and share a nice, big breakfast.  The New England winter  is time for enjoying the rewards of the hard work of the past year, reflecting on the work that has been done, planning for the year to come, and winter activities.  Recently, I went for a hike, and came across some particularly adorable housing arrangements...

Imagine my surprise to find housing for magical woodland people.

Above are some examples of the type of development one generally will see in fairy housing zones.

Treacherous icy cliffs.

These areas are not available for Fairy housing.