By Nisargo Tro
Hello to all from a bustling, budding, greening, blooming Heartwood in full swing!
In anticipation of the approaching spring, Heartwood was ready at the end of March for a big work party after the winter. Beds were cleared of leaves, dead brush material burned to reduce the fire danger, wood gathered for fires in the fire pit on the common house porch for our weekly outdoor Happy Hours, compost turned, and the greenhouse attended to. It was a beautiful day and many hands made it fun and a lot got accomplished.
With spring in full swing, the “Garden Gaggle” with old timers from last year’s very successful growing season in the high tunnel and new members joining in, met at the end of April to plan and start the new crop for this summer. The first seeds are sprouting, tiny plants are poking their heads out, most of the beds are planted, being tended and watched over in anticipation of another year of an abundance of fresh lettuce mix, arugula, kale, chard, beets, squashes, peas, beans, kohlrabis, onions, and eventually those beautiful big and small tomatoes. We will be able to enjoy, once again, our free farmers market on the common house terrace, with donations and the overflow of veggies not utilized by members going to Pine River Shares, our local community program for those in need. The automatic watering system, which is fed by the irrigation ditch, has been turned on by now and is supplying us with ample water coming down from the mountains to keep the gardens well fed.
Also in the past month, Heartwood was blessed with receiving a huge grant for fire mitigation. Living amidst junipers, pine forests, and gamble oaks makes us vulnerable to wildfires. Heartwood members have been working diligently throughout the years around the housing cluster to reduce this danger by thinning and cutting back the highly flammable materials and growing gardens and planting deciduous trees instead. But beyond our housing cluster, we own over 350 acres of beautiful, mostly forested land, which needs fire mitigation work to create a defensible buffer around our homes. With the grant, our forests are now receiving a huge new round of mitigation work. This past week the crew, consisting of young men who sooner or later will be called to fight wildfires as well, began in the first area along Heartwood Lane. It looks amazing. The crew is selectively thinning to create safety, but are always mindful of forest health and aesthetics. It will make Heartwood so much safer once it is all done.
One family in particular is in anticipation of a very special kind. Here is what Alana Madrano wrote about her family’s journey:
As a family, we have been working tirelessly every day of the week for a couple of months to prepare our house for sale in anticipation of our move to Heartwood. While this work has been exhausting, each night as we lay our kids down to bed ,we spend time talking with them about the things we are looking forward to in our next home and community. We talk of the shared meals, the effort together in the gardens and greenhouse, the friendships we will make, the opportunity to be of service, to grow our own food, and to exist in a place of quiet peace. We talk of the stars, nighttime dips in the hot tub, and what it will mean for our family to join the Heartwood community. We talk about the greater La Plata County area and about the opportunities to adventure and see places for the first time. And as a family, we also talk about our shared belief that happiness is a choice, not a destination or situation. We don't move to Heartwood in search of our happiness, but rather to bring our happiness into a community where it can be shared and multiplied. We are very honored to be joining the Heartwood community and we live in daily anticipation of the day we move into our new home and community.
And last but not least, this past week, Southwest Colorado has been graced by beautiful continuous rains lasting for two straight days. So unusual here and so much appreciated! Now the Colorado sun is helping everything explode!
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