The start of an endless summer?

In terms of seasonal progression, the first day of summer is still about two weeks away but you wouldn’t know it by the weather in Central Texas! It’s hot and getting hotter and the reality of this endless summer is beginning to sink in.

Just as the high temperatures here in Austin start to wane, I’ll be headed to the southern hemisphere. If the Australian Spring is anything like the Springtime weather we get here in Texas than my summer will likely continue unabated.

From there, the hot summer winds seem to be blowing me in the direction of Thailand. I’ve already bought a ticket, and, to satisfy the terms of my ETA (similar to a visa) I have to leave Australia by mid-February… Just when things will surely begin cooling down… on to the heat of Southeast Asia!

Who planned this trip anyway? Endless summer… what was I thinking?!

I was probably thinking, “Opportunity of a lifetime. See the world. Practice permaculture. Share abundance.” The logistical details of seasonal relief had obviously escaped me. Or, the excitement of these unbelievable opportunities overrode my sense for climate comfort.

Thanks to the amazing support of friends and family, I have the feeling all this summer heat is going to feel like a nice cool breeze. The generous folks at Eagles Nest Outfitters, for example, have set me up with some great gear to help me weather the elements. What better way to spend a year of summer than hanging out in a sweet hammock? How about hanging out in a sweet hammock with a rainfly and mosquito net?

In addition, I want to again thank all the people in my life who have contributed, in one form or another, to this epic adventure. Because of your love and support I’m seeing a whole world of opportunities opening up in front of me, the abundances of which I have every intention of sharing with you all!

My deepest thanks!

Plans beginning to take shape

Time is compressing down on this long awaited adventure. Only a matter of mere months now. It’s challenging to even relate all the little details. So many moving pieces, so many beautiful new connections, so many inspiring new inspirations. With all that’s happening, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain focus on all the ducks that I’m trying to corral into neat little rows.

Over the course of the next three and a half months I’ll be handing my role as Stocking Supervisor at Wheatsville Co-op over to a new set of hands. With any luck, this new person will be able to take the position (and the co-op) to places I’ve not even considered. Already the position is rapidly evolving into one that will be much more effective for my predecessor. I’ve taken a lot of pride in my work there and it’s important for me to continue to see it progress and improve, even when I’m not at the helm. 
Even as I’m planning an effective exit strategy at Wheatsville, I’m working to insure Community Cultivators has a solid foundation and leadership to continue growing and making a difference. The variables involved in those two things alone are enough to take up all my energy and then some. Somehow, I’ve still managed to make time to enjoy my life. In fact, I think I enjoy it now more than ever!
I’m not sure how exactly I’ve found the time to maintain two blogs in the midst of all this, either. One thing I do know is that I’ve hardly seen my house in weeks!! It’s mostly a place were I go to sleep at night and brush my teeth in the morning. why I’m spending so much money on something I could get at a free camp site I’ll never know.
Once the next three and a half months are up, I’ll have only a month and a half to get my stuff together before I embark on this crazy adventure. During that final month and a half there are several things that still need to happen. A trip to Douglas, Texas to visit my folks and store the few personal affects I’d like to retain is not least among them. A tour through Dallas and Houston will surely also be in the works for that short time.
On September 14th, two short days before my 31st birthday, I will board a plane to Honolulu, Hawaii. While there, I will spend much valuable time catching up with my cousin and aunt who I’ve not seen in several years. This is where I hope this blog will really start to take shape. The plan is to travel across the islands meeting new people and exploring the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. 
Oahu, Molokai, and the big island are all definite destinations for this leg of my journey. My aunt lives on the big island, in Kailua-Kona. I’m looking forward to checking out the lava fields and other sites I’ve been hearing about there. In Oahu, my cousin has a beautiful home (I’ve only seen in pictures) in Honolulu. The surf calls to me and, with any luck, you’ll see a picture or two of me riding the waves and climbing the mountains of Oahu.
My adventures in Hawaii will conclude, most appropriately, with a trip to the island of Molokai where I hope to meet up with Malia Akutagawa who heads up the Sust`aina ble Molokai network. Recently, Sust`aina ble Molokai Partnered with Permaculture Research Institute USA to develop a Molokai Permaculture Education Initiative. Check out this video that came out as a result of their hard work:
It’s a highly inspirational piece that I’m very excited to get the opportunity to visit first hand. I’ll do my best to document the progress their work has made on the landscape and share that with you here. 
Of course, there are plenty of things I’d like to get to do while I’m in Hawaii, and I’m sure there will be plenty of adventures of the spontaneous variety, but my time will be limited and the things I’ve listed here are about the only things important enough to me to have scripted.
After almost 20 days of island fun I start the grueling 22 hour flight that will take me to Brisbane, Australia. From there, I travel 3 hours inland to start my internship on Zaytuna Farm with the esteemed Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. 
The internship is a 10 week intensive that traverses five weeks of course work interspersed between five weeks of hands-on application. After completion of the internship, the real fun begins… and this is where I begin to show what your generous donations can do. 
After the internship I will venture into unknown territory. Although I am trying to establish some idea of where I’ll end up… I’m also hoping to leave this end of my trip somewhat open-ended. I’m sure opportunities will arise while I’m in Australia that are too appealing to pass up. The book is open and the pages yet to be written. Your generosity will help to carry me into unexplored lands. And, through this blog, you’ll have the opportunity to see the powerful influence a small donation can have on the lives of people who have very little.
Imagine, you could provide generations worth of food security to a whole community abroad with very little effort of your own accord. In return, I’ll show you techniques and methods to achieve the same thing in your own back yard!
Thanks to all those who have donated already. It’s been very inspiring to witness the generosity of my family and friends!
My deepest appreciations,
Theron

the sound of a distant train

As I shift things around in my house my mind drifts to all the new adventures I’ve yet to encounter. On the floor of my living room I’m building three piles of all the things I’ve accumulated over the past several years. 

One pile contains all the things I want to come back to, a collection of soft and comforting thoughts to welcome me home.  
Another, the largest of the three piles, is built of all the things that no longer serve me. Everything I’ve collected and, for one reason or another, found no particular reason to continue hanging onto. 
Last and, in this case, also least, is the small collection of things I will be taking with me. Purely utility, this pile includes mostly hiking and camping gear, a few books and a small collection of outdoor attire. The most recent addition to this area of my living room floor is a pair of durable, waterproof, italian leather hiking boots which will double as a sturdy work boot for my permaculture practice. 
Each of these piles represents a totally different frame of mind. Basically, my headspace, much like the physical space I occupy, is divided into three distinct piles.
I have, in this lobe, between these folds of gray matter, the thoughts of all the people, places and the various “works in process” that I hope will be here to welcome me back. With all the great friendships that have developed for me and all the projects I’m starting to see grow and progress, I feel that I’ll find it difficult to say goodbye. And so, like the pile on my floor, I put these things in a place that I can come back to with the hope that I will one day again have the opportunity to appreciate their fine qualities.
Then there is the large load of karmic accumulations that I will leave behind entirely. In the physical world… this is the largest of the three piles. In my figurative headspace, this is pile is actually quite small and mostly made up of intangibles. Things like a 50+ hour a week job, rent on my little North Hydepark cottage, and other stresses and obligations that go along with such vestiges of my “modern” lifestyle.
lastly, and conversely NOT least, is the space that I store all the dreams, goals and aspirations of what’s to come. Between almost every thought and idea there is a whisper of the adventures ahead. Like the sound of a distant train, these thoughts are increasing in size and volume, not far now from permeating the entire landscape that is my mind. As the steady hum of this approaching train draws nearer, I realize its becoming more and more difficult to focus on all things still hanging out in the other two piles. Drowning out many of the less significant things I would normally occupy my time with, the only things that really seem capable of still capturing my attention are the ones that are starting to shout at me through the recognition that I’m clearly not paying them nearly as much heed as I once had (ahem… utility bills, for example, have a good way of reminding me I need to maintain focus for just a little while longer).
And so, for a little while longer at least, I realign my focus and anchor my resolve so that the sound of this approaching train does not uproot me before I’m all aboard!

15 hours and $400 later…

Well ok, I didn’t raise $400 in 15 hours. But, thanks to all the generosity you’ve all demonstrated, I have raised over $400! I know, the progress bar on my ChipIn widget only says $355… but that’s because it’s not counting the cash donations I’ve received. I tried to find a way for it to include that but apparently they want to charge me service fees for that little transaction, so… I’ll just keep it where it’s at!

In exchange for that four hundred plus dollars, I’ve racked myself up a healthy bit of consultation hours. I’m excited about the prospects of this little experiment. This is a great opportunity for me to put my current permaculture knowledge to good use, expand my experience a bit, and really get myself thinking critically about various topics related to my upcoming ventures. Not only is it a good chance to test the proverbial waters of permaculture consultation, it’s a good way for me to dip my toes in the models and systems I’ll be completely immersed in before too long.

In the meantime, I’ve been continuing my work with Community Cultivators and ape99 at the Permaculture Park (aka Deadend Homestead and Farm) on the East Side of town. Every Sunday at around noon we break into whatever new or unfinished project that still needs doing… and believe me, there’s never a shortage of projects to work on! After the work is done, there’s great potluck food (almost always fresh and local) and occasionally some live music and/or campfire to help fuel a great community spirit.

The past few weeks it’s we’ve been finishing up a natural building project for the future greenhouse. If you haven’t had the opportunity yet, check out the video and write-up I did on that project as published on the Permaculture Research Institute’s website here!

In addition, I’m currently working on a story about the happenings of the Co-op Think Tank project as well as a more complete video documentation of the Permaculture Park. You can check out the Community Cultivators blog to follow those projects and various others that might crop up over the course of the next few months.

An outdoor shower made from woven bamboo…
one of many projects we’re working on at the
Deadend Homestead and Farm

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in checking out any of these projects first hand. We’re always happy to have extra hands helping out but we don’t expected it of anyone. Everyone has their own priorities and we just want to share what we’re learning and hopefully inspire others to start their own projects (we’re more than happy to lend a hand with those as well!!)

If, for some reason, Sunday afternoons don’t work well for you but you’re interested and want to get involved, just drop me a line! We’re normally putting on potlucks and other events throughout the week and we’re always interested in new peoples and new ideas!

Thanks again to those who’ve contributed to my fundraiser! It really is amazing to see generosity of the world in action. I’m looking forward to the adventures and opportunities your contributions will open up for me… and I’m looking forward to sharing your kindness and generosity with the world at large!

If you haven’t contributed yet, you haven’t missed your opportunity. For only $50 you get two hours with me talking your ear off about whatever permaculture subjects are of most interest to you. I promise, I’ll make it worth you’re hard earned investment!

In addition to getting some quality permaculture time with yours truly, you’ll also get to see your contribution go to good use as you follow along with my adventures through this blog. The $405 I’ve collected so far are currently resting safely in a savings account. With this blog, I plan to detail what each dollar donated goes toward. Forget the Red Cross, I intend to spend each and every penny on real aid work! On top of that, I intend to show where and how each of those pennies is being spent so that you’ll know your contributions have made a real impact on the lives of those in need.

If you’ve already contributed and are waiting to collect those consultation hours, you should have seen an email from me explaining how you can collect. If you haven’t seen an email, not to worry, it’s really easy. Just shoot an email my way! I’m happy to make myself available to you and work with whatever areas are of the most interest to you. If you happen to have a curiosity about a particular permaculture technique or field of practice for which I am not experienced I’m happy to spend some time researching for you so that I might be better equipped to provide you the best possible knowledge and advice on the subject. Besides, it helps to fulfill my goal of becoming more versed in permaculture theory and application prior to my excursion down under.

Thank you so much for your interest in sharing this experience with me and for all your support, be it monetary or motivational… I honestly couldn’t do it without you!

Raising aid…

For those of you that know me well, you know that it has long been my dream to be the most effective contributer to the cultivation of abundant livelihoods as I can be… If you didn’t know this about me, welcome to my vision! In pursuit of this dream, I have plotted a course that will take me to the other side of the world to engage and learn from some of the most accomplished experts on the subject. But my journey only begins there. Through my participation in the Permaculture Research Institute’s internship program at Zaytuna Farm in Australia this October, I’m looking to immerse myself in an established and proven system of “regenerative” design. And, although I see this model to be far beyond the simple idea of “sustainability”, it is only a single milestone in a long journey toward the realization of my vision.

Something you may also know about me is that I’m not really big on asking for handouts. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised but I think we each have a responsibility to earn our own way in life. In the same vein, I also recognize that, without the generous help of friends and family, I would hardly be where I am today!

It’s in this context that I ask for your help. And, as far as I can tell, there is truly no better reason to ask for help then to ask so that I might be better equipped in my mission to help others. Here’s what it’s about…

What it’s about:
I’ve set aside enough money for my modest living expenses and course fees while I’m in Australia. The plane tickets and transportation expenses are already paid for and I’m putting $2,000 in savings to cover my return trip as well as any emergencies I might encounter.

All these things are taken care of, all I’m missing is an opportunity to take my experience to the field… I mean, the real field! After a 10 week intensive permaculture internship, I want to take my new found permaculture skills to the people most in need (wherever they happen to be)!

…And that’s where you come in!

I’m officially starting a fundraiser on this site to ask for your help so that I might be better equipped to help others!

What it’s for:
The money raised through this site will allow me to spend at least 6 months after completing the internship doing permaculture aid work in one of several countries in need. To cover travel and living expenses for 6 months, I’m looking to raise at least $1,000, anything over that amount will go toward extending my aid work or reinvested into the community here, upon my return!

How it works:
Because I love you, I want to give back to you in the best way I can!

So, for every contribution over $50
I’m offering 2 hours of permaculture consultation.

Give $100 or more and get 5 hours on-site consultation!

All you have to do is click the ChipIn button bellow or at the right hand side of the page.

If you like, you can also contribute in a variety of other ways:
Send Cash or Cheque to
Theron Beaudreau
4605 1/2 Evans Ave
Austin Texas 78751

I will also be arranging a fundraising event that includes a yard sale, bake sale, and silent auction sometime this summer.

If you’d like to contribute but funds are tight, you can lovingly donate art, crafts or other items to the silent auction.

It is my personal promise to you that all proceeds received through this fundraiser will go directly toward supporting the vision stated above. If you have any questions or are interested in donating to the silent auction please contact me at theron AT communitycultivators DOT org

Your love and support is deeply appreciated ~!

Developments…

…you know, besides the blog’s new facelift!

So I hope you like the new look. I figured it would inspire me to write more, well… inspired? Yeah, so far so good, right?

I suppose I could tell you about all the things that have transpired since my last post. I’d like to tell you that I got all my little ducks lined up and everything is ready to go for my adventure down under. Well, the truth is, I haven’t really made much advances in that direction. Don’t get me wrong, everything is still go… I’ve just been too wrapped up in other things to make any headway on this particular aspect of my life.

If you’re following this blog and find my lack of updates boring… I hate to break it to you, my activity will probably only decline once I actually leave. I know, I’m not exactly inspiring readership here. I suppose I could fill you full of false hopes and promises of how committed I am to this blog and how I’ll be updating every evening to share the play-by-play of my daily activities and fill this whole thing with such valuable and riveting content you wont be able to pull yourself away… naw, you’d see right through that.

Truth is, there really IS a lot happening in my life right now. In the midst of working long hours to package up my position at Wheatsville Co-op for a smooth transfer and continuing to be a committed board member I’m also working on several garden projects; helping to build and establish a sizable aquaponics system; working to establish Community Cultivators as an effective organization that will continue to develop in my future absence; working on several permaculture projects including, most recently, an adventure in natural building; video editing, blogging, and somehow managing to get listed as a assistant/apprentice teacher on the Austin Permaculture Guild website.  In case you’re wondering… I’m not planning on doing a whole lot of teaching before my travel plans kick in. And now to contradict that statement, I will be giving a short talk on Permaculture to Wheatsville staff at our monthly communication meeting.

Whew… it didn’t feel nearly as daunting until I wrote it all out. What am I doing here blogging? It’s spring (in Austin)! There’s a million other things I could/should be doing right now!

Well, the honest truth is that I love you people and I want to keep you engaged and hope that my experiences, related through this weblog, will educate and inspire you to follow your own dreams!

Ok, don’t want to get too sappy too soon. I’m sure it wont take me long to gush all over this blog about how home sick I am and how I miss everybody and… blah, blah blaaaaaaa….

For now, You’ll find I’m probably going to be putting more attention to the Community Cultivators blog space. Practically speaking, it’s not going to be easy to keep up with both. So, going forward… I’ll only be updating this blog when I have something really valuable to share about my travel plans and arrangements.

In that respect, be expecting an update in the not too distant future about the “Yard Sale, Bake Sale, Silent Auction, Potluck, Party, Fundraiser, Fun Time Extravaganza!”

And yea, I’d explain more, but that would take away all the fun and suspense and leave you with little reason to return.

As promised…

I’ve set up this blog site to capture the ebb and flow of my upcoming adventures in Australia and beyond. As of Monday, Valentines Day, I will be a mere 7 months from embarking on my expedition to discover the Art of Cultivation. With any luck, around this time next year I will be leaving Australia for further adventures. I hope to use this blog to journal my journey although there are likely to be challenges to that aspiration.

Challenge #1 – I’m not exactly the most literary person. I would rather absorb the environment around me than record it for posterity’s, or any other’s, sake.
Challenge #2 – My internet connectablity is expected to be limited at best while in Australia. Those limitations might only increase as I travel to so called “underdeveloped” parts of the world to preform aid work.
Challenge #3 – Given challenges 1 & 2… I may decide I’d enjoy my experiences more if I stopped putting effort into documenting and just enjoyed the world around me, sans technology.

In any regard, don’t expect me to take this blog too seriously. Doing so would surely cause me to loose interest long before Challenge 3 even had opportunity to manifest.

So now that the ground rules are established (really… this is like a terms of use agreement for me!) Let us talk about the adventures I’ve already begun to encounter as I plan for this trip.

Today I spent my morning looking into visa requirements for US Citizens traveling to Australia… easy. They have a 3 month Electronic Transportation Authority document that is similar to a visa. So, rather than having to apply for a visa and get all personal about the nature of my travels, all I need is $20, a passport and a brain enough to input information on a website. Done.
The advantage of doing the ETA over a visa are all about price and convenience. Of course, I may run into trouble when they ask me for “onward travel arrangements”… meaning they want me to prove that I will be leaving their pretty continent prior to the expiration of my ETA. I’m hoping to leave that leg of my journey open-ended with the intent that I don’t really know what my “onward travels” will take me. Well, I guess I can cross that bridge when I get there?

What ‘eve, in the mean time I’ve got to prepare myself financially. Be on the look out for future updates detailing my attempts to raise funds for the aid work leg of my journey after the PRI internship.

Stay tuned…