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O’k CSA Fat-Pie and Art-Farming News…in seven parts

Kids and 36 pounds of fresh, hand-picked cherries

I’m happy to say that today I’m back at it. After a wonderful and brief visit from BOTH of my children, for the first time all summer, I’ve just baked two, very lovely pies. Yes, I still have 36 pounds of freshly gleaned, Ballantine cherries washed and ready to pit in my neighbors’refrigerator.

After Zach and Allison’s departure last night, the wind is blowing strong across Lake Michigan. I’ve just finished a good cup of Higher Grounds’ coffee with real cream, and, a warm, cherry tart. I’m feeling like this is going to be a good day, as long as I stick to the plan of baking pies in-between my other “bizness” work. All will be fine.

Art-Farming in Traverse City, woods wandering in Cedar…

It’s been a busy Art-Farm growing season along with the continued planning meetings/organizational focus of the Barns Property management team (Little Artshram, SEEDS, The Botanic Garden and the Rec. Authority, aka BUG). Other than getting a little bugged by the many BUG gatherings, I’ve had few opportunities to have “indoor” office/studio time since the end of May. Also been living in a lovely little cabin in a Cedar Woods, off the grid without internet connections handy. So by circumstance, I have not been communicating as steadily as when I’m hooked into that system. Honestly, for this particular and blessed summer of my life, I’m realigning with the wonderful and basic inconvenience of my non-fixed nature of: moving at a slower pace. Through these simpler, summer living experiences I’m thankful for the reminder that my slow pace is more in tune with the off the grid life, than the hooked-up one. Sometimes I suffer. But not much.

On the other hand, there was a Buzzin’ Beehive of activity…

Our last Beehive Art-Farm Camp of the summer ended this past Friday, and although a rainy weekend foiled our plans to hold our Women’s and Girls camping retreat at the Eco-Learning Center, it was a great finale to a full summer of art-making, storytelling, singing, gardening, wild-crafting, map-making, dilly-bean canning, creek-jumping and woods wandering. Thanks to one of our Photo Philanthropist friends, Tracy Grant, you can catch a slew of new summer program photos on our website: Likewise you can visit our blog on the website for a re-cap of activity and announcements, as well as a few other snapshots of our programs.

I must say that we had an unbelievably, awesome group of little Beehivers, as well as Youth-Market Gardeners in our programs this summer. There were SO many beautiful, blessed, loving special encounters with these children, youth and their families. Mari, Casey, Nic, Mackenzie, Chelsea, Julia, Holly and myself felt so gifted with the shared magic and kid-energy. We all feel a sense of great satisfaction and expansion as teachers and mentors in training. Wow!

A piece of the big, pie in the sky plan and grateful thanks…

Today, without fully departing from the world of Art-Farm adventures, I give some of my attention and intention to beginning the sorting of administrative/office stuff, digesting of insights, and the challenging and positive outcomes of our urban art-farming and permaculture education programs. There is a whole bunch to look at, and I’ll do it in parts, between pie-baking and cherry pitting…going back to last winter/early spring.

And that begins with our annual Earth Day Parade and Workshops, the Art-Farm Teacher and Apprentice Training with Jayson Spaulding and Nic Welty (based on some of my experiences in a Permaculture Teacher Training Course), the Beehive camps, Youth-Market Garden program with Casey Voss and Mackenzie Vance, blending Nature Awareness and Mentoring skills with co-teacher Mari von Walthausen. Now we are looking ahead and forward to working with Paul Raphael of Two-Tracking Adventures, and the upcoming eco-design process for our 4.3 acre home-base on the Barns Property, including the Community Gardens that we sponsor and share with 32 other Traverse City garden families.

Maybe the greatest Little a winter work for me will be to stay steady on our goals of fine-tuning our piloted Art-Farm curriculum, providing the place and space for nature-based, fun and creative educational programs. I’m also looking forward to functionally interconnecting with partner projects and policies that focus on creativity, urban art-farming and gardening while immersing ourselves, listening and taking advice from the natural world.

There is much thoughtful, observational weaving of the co-creative, movements of Permaculture, Nature Awareness, and Transition Town Initiatives in our Little a work. And, we are looking forward to cultivating deeper mentoring and partnership relationships, and stepping back to check out what is emerging locally on the Barns Property.

We are very, very thankful to continue this work and for the support of our Grand Traverse area community who supports our mission and vision, as well as our individual programs…they are folks, businesses and like-minded organizations from here and there including, but not limited to this group: Oryana Community Grant Program, all of our 2009 Youth-Market Garden mentors, sponsors and weekly Village Farmers Market customers, Porterhouse Productions, The Minervini Group, Northsky Non-Profit Network, Community Legal Resources, and our BUG partners, SEEDS and the Botanic Gardens, as well as the Recreational Authority.

Speaking of thanks and transitions…please read these words…

One of my mentors, Carol Laughing Waters (herself a weaver) shared a well-written article about the Transition Initiative,“weaving some ideas back into culture”…We both like a part of the article that speaks to mending, tending and restoring….here’s a bit and you can read more by going to the July/August 2009 issue of Orion magazine…

Author Jay Griffiths says…”In both the U.K. and USA, the shadow of the Depression years now looms uncomfortably close, encouraging an attitude of mending rather than buying new; tending one’s own garden; restoring the old. To mend, to tend, and to restore all expand beautifully from textiles, vegetables, and furniture into those most quiet of qualities; to restore is restorative, to tend involves tenderness, to mend hints at amends. There is restitution here of community itself.”

Another piece of the pie in my eye and in my heart…

For me personally as I wander into the cooler months ahead, I’ll be my tending, mending and restoring my skills as an artist, student and teacher by traveling to both the east and west coast for more permaculture studies, forest garden design, and gypsy art-work. As I prepare for the end of the outdoor gardening season, as an Art-Farmer in Michigan, In addition to my traveling boots tapping their heels and toes, I hear the call of the kitchen counter and oven…a return to my rolling pin and the promise of goodness in pies.

And, so, the time has come to share an announcement about another season of offerings from O’k CSA…

Like members of other CSAs, the friends of O’k CSA are asked to invest money and a little of their creative energy in exchange for artistic services, products and events. This is a CSA for an Art-Farmer…and the Art-Farmer is O’k, also known as Penny Krebiehl. The inspiration for O’k CSA came not only from my need to seek support for my “non-profit addiction” such as covering my basic living expenses, like shelter with a kitchen and a good oven…But also for my sincere love of pie-baking, and the creation and sharing of a Mid-western version of the Chinese New Year Calendar (2010 is the Year of the Cat, which will be available Oct. 23rd).

Please consider renewing your O’k CSA Membership, or, becoming a new member, and to celebrate by joining us for our second annual, Fat Pie Social…We will be unveiling the seventh in a series of twelve “Year of Calendars” featuring an illustrated version of the “Northern Michigan New Year Story”… plus other mysterious, artistic surprises….with a sneak preview paintings from the upcoming Cat Calendar….

There will be both Cherry Pie and Cow Pie…

Fat Pie Social and O’k Art on Tuesday, Sept. 22 (with a rain-date of Sept. 29th)
“In Honor of Pie as Art”

It’s a party in the Cedar Woods, with local music provided by our friend and partner, “Nature” also known as the trees, the creek, squirrels, crows, a few beavers,
Rosa the Cat, Marley the dog, the
wind, ferns and the talented human, Pat Ivory!

Bring plates and forks and plates, and if you have an itch to make a pie to share,
go ahead…the more the merrier!

At the Cedar Basket Studio and Fairy Hut
7776 Stachnik Rd.,
Cedar, MI 49664

RSVP, 231-510-3491

Please park on Sullivan Woods/Stachnik Rd. and walk in the drive. Follow the Cow-Pie signs and keep moooo-ving to the west, deeper towards the Cedar Woods. Please enter quietly, and respectfully, as the Fairies in these magic woods don’t care for a whole lot of human-made ruckus, or large herds of bovines.

Fairies + Fat Pie + Art = Good