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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sweet Beginnings

The maple sap will soon be flowing and we are getting ready.  This year we have formed a maple syrup cooperative with friends Scott DiLoreto and Kate Anton.  We have a brand new evaporator and maple arch, which will be set up this weekend.  Tapping will take place at the end of February. The plan is to collect sap during the week and boil on weekends.  We welcome your company in the sugar shack.  Contact Kelle at if interested in helping and having a sweet time with us. Check out more pictures of last year's maple operation at Ahimsa.

Is Alcohol the Fuel of the Future?

A few of us on the land trust were very impressed by what David Blume had to say about alcohol used as a fuel for machinery.  Henry Ford was a big advocate of alcohol fuel.  The first cars were all run on alcohol.  Apparently it was the fuel of choice in America before Standard Oil played dirty and pushed gasoline to the forefront.  Blume's vision actually sees alcohol as a byproduct of a thriving permaculture-based organic farming system.  He has a lot of provocative ideas.  His book and video are available for loan from Ahimsa Village.

Check out this short video of David Blume:

Bald Eagle Energy Co-op

A group of local people are now meeting at the Ahimsa farmhouse to talk about local energy solutions.  The group has met twice.  The goal is to form an energy co-op with the idea to of producing energy locally to benefit local people.   Possible projects include a mini-biodiesel production facility, solar, wind, and energy efficiency projects. The group is still in its formative stages and is open to new people joining. Please contact Bob Flatley at if you are interested in participating.

Friday Night Meetings

Winter is a great time for meeting by the fireside.  Ahimsa has hosted 3 Friday Night Sustainability Talks this winter and they continue to be a success in terms of interest and attendance.  The November program featured Bill Torretti, a local homeopath, giving an introduction to homeopathic medicine.  Bill discussed the history and principles of homeopathy and the how it works. There was a discussion on the use of remedies and how to use homeopathic remedies for the treatment of acute illnesses such as colds, coughs and the flu. Homeopathic treatment of chronic illnesses will also be discussed. In December, Jason Grottinni, an environmental scientist at Matson & Associates and founder of EarthW.O.R.M. International, did a great talk and presentation on sustainable landscaping.  His talk focused on simple things people can do to create a "greener" landscape in their own yard.  Topics included promoting the landscape as a system to be used in conjunction with the home, rainwater collection, xeriscaping, greywater recycling, composting, and vegetative roofs as part of the garden.  our January program featured Scott DiLoreto of the Penn State School of Forestry talking about nut trees in PA. Scott talked about basic nut tree biology, reviewed nut trees suitable for cultivation in PA, wild harvesting, grafting,orchard establishment, cultivation, and sustainable management. The American chestnut blight and restoration attempts through breeding was also discussed.

We have a great programs scheduled for February.  Feb's program will feature Laura Piraino of the Sierra Club.  Laura will provide an overview of energy efficiency in Pennsylvania, including
an update of recent energy legislation, the Cool Cities Project, and community efficiency
best practices. Then learn how you can use no cost/low cost energy efficiency practices
and products to save money and make a difference in your own home.  Click here for complete details and flyer.