Thursday, December 17, 2009


I'm not sure this post is going to be especially spectacular, but it is the post-domini, so it needs umph, I suppose.

This has been a tremendous learning experience, the entire process of this project.

From the earliest stages of planning to these last few weeks of crunch time, I have observed every step from my own perspective and and watched myself grow simultaneously in response to difficulties I faced in making decisions and planning.

Nah, this isn't going to be my last blog. It is enough of my product that I'm going to keep updating it until presentation day, hopefully more frequently than I have been able to recently.

1. I won't have steady internet, but I will be able to get online, so I need to make sure I get my second draft finished and sent to Mr. Schade [before] Christmas.
2. Reflection/ Research: Omnivore's dilemma??
3. Refer to various rubrics throughout drafting and research process this week.
4. time now for the thoroughest reflection.

Friday, December 11, 2009

paper genesis

As time goes on, I discover new parallels to the evolution of the project... In science, we're covering early life on earth, and its evolution into more complex organisms over time. These days I have really been feeling like the archetype of an Ross student who appreciates the integration of studies and subjects, but I don't know whether I'm just predisposed to noticing the correlation between my own experiences historical or scientific phenomena as a kind of microcosm/macrocosm relationship.
And I am rethinking things I had assumed were pretty valid when I first thought of them...

For example: the idea of shedding excess stuff as the month progressed, with the analogy of the hiker carrying loads of fancy equipment.
Contrary to my previous argument, I am now relating that analogy back to present day, where people born into lives full of stuff have a harder time moving towards a simpler life. The idea of a possession-free world will only phase those who must then give up their own possessions.

What we MIGHT have done is start with very, very minimal materials (stuff), and then, mimicking the process of natural selection, acquire only those things that benefit us, analyzing the benefit/detriment balance to progress to a more advanced state. HOWEVER, in kind with the process of natural selection, this would take long periods of time. Within the time frame we allotted for ourselves, perhaps the appropriate system was to understand what we really fundamentally needed before adding life-complicating technology to assist.

Anyway- fresh material is always helpful.
1. Go through corrections.
2. Continue: add third and last segments; figure out citations and spacing for them.
3. Get outside consultant input when draft is more developed.

Friday, December 4, 2009

According to the contract, I have completed the outline for the first draft of my paper, which is like this...
I. Context
II. Fieldwork
III. Analysis
IV. Conclusion

I am using my college essay as an (abridged) outline for the fieldwork portion of the paper, but only as an outline. I will need to be much more specific and episodic in my paper, drawing from my blog posts from August. Now comes the first draft, which is due this Monday, so I will need to do a substantial amount of writing this weekend.

(The third faculty member to grade my project will be Ms. Costello)

I have to focus on synthesis now...

Friday, November 20, 2009

It is so bizarre to sit in my room alone, around 6 o'clock, doing my homework, with heat pumping in from the vent and my lamp lighting up my books on my desk... It gets dark and I feel tired, but I know I have work to do and expectations to meet within the system of my life, the way we all do. I just wish there were different demands.

I hate to belabor this...
The latest suggestion from my mentor is to narrow my product rubric to include simply the paper, so I can put all the effort and time I need to to make that a distinguished piece of work.
THEN, once that's finished, I will have the freedom to make a creation to complement that for the purposes of my presentation.

"From structure comes creativity," says Mr. Schade.
All the pictures I have included in this blog symbolize community... (Except for the first one, which is an AMAZING phenomenon I discovered with Hannah (shown holding a cabbage) earlier this week... That is the goat pen, untouched since august... and the shoots in there are NORMAL GRASS, not more than 2 or 3 inches high in any of the surround grass, or anywhere in the field. The grass we found in the pen (shown) is about 2 1/2 ft high. I am planning to use these (at the least) to accompany my paper in the opening.
(the last photo was taken in Santa Fe-- my whole family took on the task od moving about 800 stones for my cousin's wedding on a valley up in the New Mexican mountains.

1. part one of contract: due november 30 (finish readings + outline)

2. make another to do list

Friday, November 13, 2009


I have decided, though my rubric still needs tweaking, to still write a paper, but to give it context with a rolling slide show of photographs and a scale model of the area to present at the opening. Every person I have proposed this idea to has said they think it would greatly enhance their understanding of the project, especially if they had never gotten the chance to visit.

The model I will make won't be literally a miniature--I mean it won't be a simple scale model--I am planning to make it interesting with little blurbs and figures and maybe even collage to give it a stimulating appearance. It would be great if I could figure out a way to incorporate the things we learned throughout the process INTO the model (e.g., we should have planted more watermelon, or we should plant an herb spiral, or this is where we'd put a composting toilet). I could include where we would put an enclosure for the goats next time around, factoring in the natural flora, etc. I think the more location-specific and detailed it is, the more comprehensive the viewer's understanding will be.

PRODUCT RUBRIC OUTCOMES (preliminary since domain change--to discuss with Mr. Schade)
40% English: Paper
40% Visual Art: Creative Component (lower percentage?)
20% Science: Planning and Natural Capital details? (higher percentage?)

1. Finalize rubric!!
3. Watch Biosphere II film
4. Begin location research and model planning (next week)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ah! So much inner conflict... Do I make an actual/ideal scale model of my farm and present it in the gallery space? With pictures? With a rolling video?

This sounds, easily, the most exciting and ambitious. BUT, as I keep finding when I begin to articulate the intricacies and minute details of what spurred me into doing this project in the first place, I find that I am almost not as clear as I'd like to be.

Of course, the moment I think of something ideal, it becomes the only option in my mind that could possibly be a true success. A paper is fine, but a dynamic!! People will really remember that!! I can keep it around the school for years to come!
But I also need to consider the reality... can I really create something I will be truly proud of if I start it this late in the game? With so much else on my plate?
I think I need to tone it down a notch... and also know that in writing a paper on my experience that I have already had (which, in addition will not eclipse all my work in August, and rather illuminate it) will provide me with a deeper, stronger foundation and understanding of the work I have done--of the things I have learned. If I am to build an ideal sustainable system on the land we worked this summer, that is something I will absolutely need, and I definitely cannot neglect.

1. finish rubric for paper
2. contact Bennett Konesni
3. get in touch with blogger permaculturist!
4. decide on most effective layout for paper?

Friday, October 23, 2009

350 PPM

OK, firstly, I want to rephrase what I said in my last post about my family community being "transient." That sounds like they're not always there for me, or something, which is totally untrue. I have an exceptionally supportive family and I am very lucky. Just wanted to set that straight.

Secondly... It feels like I haven't been making a tremendous amount of headway in the past week. But, I have done everything on the to do list I published last week: organize an event for this Saturday, process folio work... not the time machine, but I guess that can wait. And I am going to have an event on Saturday, (currently 6 confirmed guests on fb, and hopefully everyone in the environmental club will show up.) Our plan is to meet at my house to make posters and signs and then walk into Bridgehampton town to stand at the monument and hold them up on route 27. We also want to do some more active stuff, like picking up litter and going on a nature walk, we'll just have to see what happens.

At this point, Mr. Schade wants me to keep up with my reading so I can keep enriching my experiences, especially in terms of writing a strong paper. I am really enjoying my readings so far, and I know there are a few other assignments to come, so I need to allot some more time to this task.

This weekend, my tent and garden will be a stop on the Hamptons garden tour as it snakes around the East End (on bikes, and Hopefully the weather will be good, but our tent blew over in a wind storm about a week ago (OUR FAULT--- and the tent is fine, just DON'T LEAVE THE WALLS OPEN DURING WINDSTORMS!!), and since the animals aren't around anymore, it's going to be relatively strange to see. At least the club will be there doing rally work, so, other things will be going on.

To do this week:
1. Finish Deep Economy, continue reading Ancient Futures
2. Make sure tomorrow's rally is the best it can be, try to extend the invitation as much as possible.
3. What seasonal produce is the best to take advantage of now? Apple butter, making preserves, squash, crabapples? (There is harvesting to do yet in the garden!)