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We are Coming to Șomartin: The past two years have been a roller coaster ride for most if not all of the world. We have been bundled up at 60 degrees North in Leksand Sweden, biding our time and preparing for our relocation.  And of course, enjoying our bundle of joy Frida, who came into our lives in December 2019.

Adina, Frida and I are excited to be moving to Șomartin, Romania this summer. Some of our preparation the last couple of years has been accomplished by a dedicated team of builders helping us get the Saxon home in Somartin ready for us to move into. There is much to report on the progress on the home itself but in this post I would like to talk about our plans once in Șomartin, Romania.

One of the big announcements and part of the preperations is that in January of this year, Kevin earned his Ph.D. in Ecopsychology. With this Doctorate in hand we will be better able to serve the clients, customers and friends that will be visiting The Earthway Experience – Șomartin. Applied Ecopsychology will integrate with most of the other aspects planned at The Earthway Experience – Șomartin.

Cooperative of the Craftspeople

Permaculture is Permanent Agriculture and Permanent Culture. The gardens and orchards surrounding The Earthway Experience will be the defining feature of the Project. We care for the Earth and all its living and non living residents. When we care for the Earth it Cares for Us. Any excess is returned to Nature or Others.
Our culture will be as this communist era sign says – Cooperative of the Craftspeople. Our crafts will allow us to care for the earth and to eat and live well.

Overview of Project: The entire project can be summed up in the Native American philosophy of Caretaking of the Earth and looking ahead Seven Generations in our planning. The Saxon houses in Transylvania have been built with this same thought process in mind. The brick and stone are locally sourced and built by local artisans. The second house we have purchased (next door) is over 400 years old. It was located in another location for 200 years and where it sits for another 200 years. The walls of the houses are almost three feet thick (80 cm).  All roofs will be replaced with a double layer of roofing tiles. The thick walls and double roof allow the building to last for many years into the future. The second level of house and barn will be insulated and made into living areas. Guests and family will be able to stay. The permaculture gardens will supply food for us as a family as well as for guests at the restaurant. Organically grown food nourishes the body as well as cares for the earth. 

Prior to my decision to earn a Ph.D. in Ecopsychology, I had studied with a Lakota elder for many years. During this same time I became deeply interested in naturalist studies. Then started gaining more experience in Permaculture. These new experiences led me to understand the necessity of community. I deeply was drawn to small village life and the close nit community of cooperating together. Mohawk elder Jake Swamp said it would take 100 years to make community as it was centuries ago. In this small village of Șomartin I would like to contribute what ever I can to building a community that is resilient, self sufficient, healthy and happy. With the science of Ecopsychology and Permaculture maybe we can cut many decades off Jake Swamps advisement.

Courtyard View

Courtyard View – One of our early visits

Detail of the Project: The construction team has been renovating the barn as well as the house for over two years now. The barn will be home to several of our upcoming projects and programs. In the north end of the barn is a large stall that can house several horses. In 2020 the stall was renovated, the south wall completely rebuilt and the remaining walls were re-plastered with a lime-mud mix. In the next several months the area will be further renovated to house the micro brewery, butter and cheese production as well as a distillery for apple and plum brandy.

Horse stall before renovation

Horse stall before renovation

Barn Wall Renovation

Barn Wall Renovation

Moving south in the barn is a tool room that still needs renovation. The wall need re-plastering and we will put in a brick flooring. It is a narrow room where hay was lowered from the floor above. There are openings in the wall to allow feeding of the horses and to the pig/chicken room (further south). One half of this room will be for a large walk in cooler. We will be kegging the beer and the beer needs to be cold while it is being carbonated. Of course cheese, butter, eggs and produce will be stored here as well. 

The pig and chicken room will need to have the walls re-plastered and new brick floors. Much of the barn was covered in concrete and we will remove the concrete with a much more environmentally friendly covering of local mud and lime mix. The lime helps make the walls waterproof and breathable. If a small crack appears the lime will take carbon dioxide from the air around it and self-heal the crack. We have already raised three pigs and housed several chickens in this area.

In the foreground to the right side of the courtyard overview picture shows a bit of “The Ruin”. The walls of ruin will need to be fixed and we will enclose the entire structure.  The existing bake oven in the barn is over six feet across (two meters). A new wood fired “pizza” bake oven will be built and will be just over three feet across (1.2 meters). The bake oven in the barn will be used to bake bread. We have been told that 15 – 2 pound loves can be baked at one time. We will like to invite people in the village to come bake with us on a weekly or twice-weekly schedule. This will save on wood and allow others to bake fresh healthy bread. The smaller oven in “The Ruin” will be able to be fired daily if necessary. As well as being a restaurant “The Ruin” will be our summer kitchen.

The Permaculture Food Forest: The house, barn and “Ruin” are what is considered Zone 0. On the edges surrounding the “Zone 0” will be lots of herbs, flowers and plants. These flowering plants will provide food for bees and butterflies and beauty for our eye. The herbs are easily accessed for daily use and berry plants fill in spaces to allow a quick healthy snack for children and adults.

We design the zones 1-5 so the most intensive accessed areas are close to the house and living area, Zone 5 is visited less often. Zone One our intensive kitchen garden is easily visited from a gate near the barn. Salad, radish and other often used foods are located so one can pick a salad quickly. Further. out in the garden are items that grow more slowly. Zone Two is the chicken coop, compost area and our bee hives. Zone Three are the Orchards and grain growing. Zone Four would be trees grown for firewood or lumber. Zone Five is undisturbed Nature. Perhaps nuts and mushrooms are gathered here. Zone Five is a buffer zone for deer, rabbit and other wildlife.   

We Welcome Visitors: As we move forward in our renovation of the Ruin and Barn we will be open for guests to come and visit our restaurant and gardens. 

We look forward to your visit!

The Earthway Experience – Șomartin

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We are Coming to Șomartin: The past two years have been a roller coaster ride for most if not all of the world. We have been bundled up at 60 degrees North in Leksand Sweden, biding our time and preparing for our relocation.  And of course, enjoying our bundle of joy Frida, who came into our lives in December 2019.

Adina, Frida and I are excited to be moving to Șomartin, Romania this summer. Some of our preparation the last couple of years has been accomplished by a dedicated team of builders helping us get the Saxon home in Somartin ready for us to move into. There is much to report on the progress on the home itself but in this post I would like to talk about our plans once in Șomartin, Romania.

One of the big announcements and part of the preperations is that in January of this year, Kevin earned his Ph.D. in Ecopsychology. With this Doctorate in hand we will be better able to serve the clients, customers and friends that will be visiting The Earthway Experience – Șomartin. Applied Ecopsychology will integrate with most of the other aspects planned at The Earthway Experience – Șomartin.

Cooperative of the Craftspeople

Permaculture is Permanent Agriculture and Permanent Culture. The gardens and orchards surrounding The Earthway Experience will be the defining feature of the Project. We care for the Earth and all its living and non living residents. When we care for the Earth it Cares for Us. Any excess is returned to Nature or Others.
Our culture will be as this communist era sign says – Cooperative of the Craftspeople. Our crafts will allow us to care for the earth and to eat and live well.

Overview of Project: The entire project can be summed up in the Native American philosophy of Caretaking of the Earth and looking ahead Seven Generations in our planning. The Saxon houses in Transylvania have been built with this same thought process in mind. The brick and stone are locally sourced and built by local artisans. The second house we have purchased (next door) is over 400 years old. It was located in another location for 200 years and where it sits for another 200 years. The walls of the houses are almost three feet thick (80 cm).  All roofs will be replaced with a double layer of roofing tiles. The thick walls and double roof allow the building to last for many years into the future. The second level of house and barn will be insulated and made into living areas. Guests and family will be able to stay. The permaculture gardens will supply food for us as a family as well as for guests at the restaurant. Organically grown food nourishes the body as well as cares for the earth. 

Prior to my decision to earn a Ph.D. in Ecopsychology, I had studied with a Lakota elder for many years. During this same time I became deeply interested in naturalist studies. Then started gaining more experience in Permaculture. These new experiences led me to understand the necessity of community. I deeply was drawn to small village life and the close nit community of cooperating together. Mohawk elder Jake Swamp said it would take 100 years to make community as it was centuries ago. In this small village of Șomartin I would like to contribute what ever I can to building a community that is resilient, self sufficient, healthy and happy. With the science of Ecopsychology and Permaculture maybe we can cut many decades off Jake Swamps advisement.

Courtyard View

Courtyard View – One of our early visits

Detail of the Project: The construction team has been renovating the barn as well as the house for over two years now. The barn will be home to several of our upcoming projects and programs. In the north end of the barn is a large stall that can house several horses. In 2020 the stall was renovated, the south wall completely rebuilt and the remaining walls were re-plastered with a lime-mud mix. In the next several months the area will be further renovated to house the micro brewery, butter and cheese production as well as a distillery for apple and plum brandy.

Horse stall before renovation

Horse stall before renovation

Barn Wall Renovation

Barn Wall Renovation

Moving south in the barn is a tool room that still needs renovation. The wall need re-plastering and we will put in a brick flooring. It is a narrow room where hay was lowered from the floor above. There are openings in the wall to allow feeding of the horses and to the pig/chicken room (further south). One half of this room will be for a large walk in cooler. We will be kegging the beer and the beer needs to be cold while it is being carbonated. Of course cheese, butter, eggs and produce will be stored here as well. 

The pig and chicken room will need to have the walls re-plastered and new brick floors. Much of the barn was covered in concrete and we will remove the concrete with a much more environmentally friendly covering of local mud and lime mix. The lime helps make the walls waterproof and breathable. If a small crack appears the lime will take carbon dioxide from the air around it and self-heal the crack. We have already raised three pigs and housed several chickens in this area.

In the foreground to the right side of the courtyard overview picture shows a bit of “The Ruin”. The walls of ruin will need to be fixed and we will enclose the entire structure.  The existing bake oven in the barn is over six feet across (two meters). A new wood fired “pizza” bake oven will be built and will be just over three feet across (1.2 meters). The bake oven in the barn will be used to bake bread. We have been told that 15 – 2 pound loves can be baked at one time. We will like to invite people in the village to come bake with us on a weekly or twice-weekly schedule. This will save on wood and allow others to bake fresh healthy bread. The smaller oven in “The Ruin” will be able to be fired daily if necessary. As well as being a restaurant “The Ruin” will be our summer kitchen.

The Permaculture Food Forest: The house, barn and “Ruin” are what is considered Zone 0. On the edges surrounding the “Zone 0” will be lots of herbs, flowers and plants. These flowering plants will provide food for bees and butterflies and beauty for our eye. The herbs are easily accessed for daily use and berry plants fill in spaces to allow a quick healthy snack for children and adults.

We design the zones 1-5 so the most intensive accessed areas are close to the house and living area, Zone 5 is visited less often. Zone One our intensive kitchen garden is easily visited from a gate near the barn. Salad, radish and other often used foods are located so one can pick a salad quickly. Further. out in the garden are items that grow more slowly. Zone Two is the chicken coop, compost area and our bee hives. Zone Three are the Orchards and grain growing. Zone Four would be trees grown for firewood or lumber. Zone Five is undisturbed Nature. Perhaps nuts and mushrooms are gathered here. Zone Five is a buffer zone for deer, rabbit and other wildlife.   

We Welcome Visitors: As we move forward in our renovation of the Ruin and Barn we will be open for guests to come and visit our restaurant and gardens. 

We look forward to your visit!

The Earthway Experience – Șomartin

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