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Spring 2005 Anathoth Community Farm Newsletter

Spring 2005 Anathoth Community Farm Newsletter

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Published by: Leadership Conference of Women Religious on Jun 17, 2010
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Spring 2005
Farm News
 By Bonnie Urfer 
Bird watcher John Heid (John H.)reports good warbler migration. We hadone Great Gray owl in the trees and skyaround us and an abundance in the area.I’m reporting unpredictable weather. Look,it’s snowing … it’s 70. To bad it hasn’trained. I wish it would stop raining or atleast get warm. It’s spring at the AnathothCommunity Farm and a year of weirdclimate change has passed since youreceived the last newsletter.With enough clothes and hot fires, wekeep warm. It’s the garden that sufferswith such unfavorable weather. It’s nearlyJune, the ground is soaked, the air isturning cool again. Last year’s corn seedsrotted in the ground without sprouting insimilar conditions.A frost last August wiped out some of our crop — peppers, basil and other warmweather plants. Our garlic didn’t lastthrough storage because of heavy rainfallat harvest time. Nevertheless, we hadplenty of onions and potatoes to lastthrough the winter; we’re eating them still.Last spring’s syruping produced thesecond highest yield ever. This springwas the second worst for our maple syrupproduction and that of others in the area.John H. and Mike Miles canned our 9gallons rather than the normal 40. Sorry,no sales this year.On a cosmic level, this winter we sawspectacular northern lights. One particularevening, sky gazers saw a red glow aboveus and moving/floating colors coveringthe north and far over the horizon.A little closer to home we weresurprised and delighted with the closingof Project ELF. We celebrated the closurewith a party at Northland College inAshland on May 7. Molly Mechtenberg-Berrigan, John LaForge (John L.) Mike,Barb Kass, and Joel Kilgour from Loavesand Fishes in Duluth were the primarymovers and shakers for the amazing,delightful and historical event. JeanneLarson, one of the speakers, turned out tobe the longtime campaign historian. Sherecounted the invaluable story of earlyELF campaiging and protest.Singer/song writer Sara Thomsen andRachel Kilgour, both from Duluth, Minn.played music. Relative Minor, the Milesand Kass family band from the farm(sometimes called “Command Zulu”) isback together again and also performed.As their number one groupie, I’m happyfor the reunion. Call (715) 472-8721 tohave them in your town soon.Anathoth members have been a partof the campaign to close ELF for a long,long time.On the date slated for the shut-off, agroup of happy people gathered at thesite to confirm it. Mike brought a gaussmeter that registered no current. John L.visited the ELF site in March to seedismantledantenna wirecollected inspools.Be warnedthat warrantsmay still beforthcomingfor previousresistance atthe now de-funded sub-marine warfaresignal system.AshlandCounty Courtclerks spor-adically find unpaid fines. Ten-year-old warrants have been issued,including one, shortly before the ELFshut-down party, to keynote speakerKathy Kelly.
ELF trespass casesconcluded with no fines levied in court inMadison.The closing of ELF allows time forother adventures. Relative Minor does avariety of music and besides the GoodbyeELF party, another major appearance wasthe Fighting Bob Fest in Sauk City lastSeptember.Jane Hosking loves gardening. Shedevotes hours every season to ordering avariety of seeds, planting, recording,watering, transplanting and directseeding, successive seeding, obsessiveseeding, compost maintenance, tendingand harvesting and putting food by. Mikecultivates the garden plot with the oldFord 4000 which helps keep the bugs andweeds down. Asparagus is up. Thegreenhouse and Tall House living roomare filled with vegetable and flowerseedlings in flats. John H., Kelly Lundeenand I planted garlic last November and it’scoming up just fine.We’ve been lucky to have hundredsof visitors and volunteers throughout theyear. Two interns, Patrick Corey and JustinGleicher generously helped Anathoth lastsummer. Patrick helped organizeNukewatch’s25
birthdayparty hosted byAnathoth inAugust. Justinbecame ourrovingtroubleshooter.Father BobKoszarek fromEagle River,Wisc. lived withus for a fewweeks last falland poured his heart into fixing up the extrahouse trailer. Our friend and formercommunity mem-ber Yvonne Mills visitedNorth Carolina. Matt Stewart and XongXiong from LaCrosse volunteered with usthis spring and Arianne Peterson is oursummer intern at Nukewatch.We hosted student groups from St.Thomas Univ., St. Johns, St. Ben’s, in
Standing room only at the ‘Goodbye to ELF’ party
Minn., the U. of Illinois in Urbana/ Champaign, and Vanderbilt U. inNashville, Tenn., and a youth group fromSt. Thomas U. did an overnight retreat inMay. We hosted the annual 2nd gradefield trip from Luck Elementary School.(The scariest day of the year in my book.)The kids go out collecting sap, check outthe sap cooking and eat pancakes andsyrup. They grind wheat berries into flour,shake cream into butter and make“terrariums-to-go” with flower seedsplanted inside. Mike’s and Jane’s energymatches that of the 2nd graders so thewhole program moves smoothly andswings.On the other end of the age spectrum,some of us know exactly how old we areby the increasing number of aches andpains. John L said he gained 5 pounds,(well, not in one year
but in the last 3anyway). Some of us help and visit ouraging parents and grandparents often.Barb Kass visits with her mother andfather every week, sometimes twice in oneweek and for more than one day. Both of her parents turned 80 within the past year.In January, Jane and John H. took the trainto Florida and visited Jane’s family. BarbKatt often visits her grandmother HelenFlader. Barb and her mother Ann hiked theGrand Canyon last winter! I’ll be travelingto Montana with my father and sister inJune for a nephew’s wedding. Three of John H.’s uncles passed awaylast year. We’re all glad for thetime we have available forfamily whenever we want it orneed it.Jane and John H. are closefinishing the new straw bale,solar-powered meditationcenter. John H. estimates thatabout 100 people have helpedwith the center’s constructionsince the project started. Thisis our first experience with thisstyle of building so many of uslearned how to do it as itmoved along. Dave Hall fromWashburn, who built a strawbale house himself, helped usget started. Kris Schmid from Frederic,Wisc. installed the solar system. Thecenter is a popular attraction for visitorsand an invaluable educational display forstudents and environmentalists lookingfor an alternative to standardconstruction. The cost of building thestraw bale structure comes to about$8,000. The second floor has beautifulreused pine flooring. The walls’ cement/ stucco covering forms to the organiccurves of the bales. Thanks to everyonewho helped.Molly and Jerry Mechtenberg-Berrigan’s son Amos had his first birthdayin March. The party took place inMinneapolis at the annual CatholicWorker resistance gathering. In his firstyear, Amos traveled from coast to coast. Thefamily visited Los Angeles, Baltimore,Florida, Vermont, the Sugar Creek CatholicWorker gathering in Iowa, Uncle Jerry andAunt Carol in Syracuse and Uncle Dan inNew York.Liz McAlister, Kate and Frida Berriganand Mary , Tom and Michael Mechtenberghave been here to visit. Amos’ baptism lastfall brought his relatives for the specialceremony and the last perfect day of summer. Mary and Tom came for the ELFshutdown party as well. We all agree thathaving a baby around brings out the best ineverybody. I love this little boy.Amos has fun playing with neighborAnn Boland, who was born last June toKristin and Chris. She just celebrated herfirst birthday. They are both toddlingaround, sharing toys (or not), babbling andthoroughly enjoying each other’s company!Nonviolence is a constant study foreveryone here. Mike, Barb Kass, Barb Kattand John H. attended draft counselingtraining. John H., Barb Katt and I facilitateda training in nonviolence and line-crossingin Des Moines on election day in November.He received a citation for which he agreed todo community service. Luckily, it was withthe Progressive Foundation. As a result, Ihad coffee served to me every morning.It’s not unusual to find communitymembers vigiling on local street corners. Thehomemade signs get better all the time
Molly is a natural at graphic design.No matter the weather, many people in ourbroader community have remained vigilantwith streetside messages throughout thecurrent war. A new vigil in the area started.People are meeting on Friday afternoonson the bridge between St. Croix Falls andTaylors Falls in Minn. As a reporter on thescene at one vigil, I can attest to thepositive horn blowing and hand signs forpeace. A passerby even joined us at the“2-years-of-war” anniversary.Everyone has been fine and workinghis or her regular job. Molly and John Lcontinue to keep Nukewatch active andvibrant, with John doing a lot of outreachand Molly doing research and managingthe office. I’m retiring little by little – it’snot something I can do all at once. Jerryand Barb Katt, and sometimes Mike, work seasonally for Edmund’s & Company LogRestoration. Barb Kass continues tocoordinate the Luck Community Educationprogram. Jane and John H. paint housesinside and out. Last year their favorite jobwas with our friends Tess and Bob Koenigat Lake Vermillion in northern Minnesota.John H. says, “It was a gem.”Just in case you think life is a boringroutine around here, following is a shortlist of extracurricular activities communitymembers engaged in:Mike ran for congress against DaveObey. He did well, getting the highestpercentage of Green votes out of allnationwide Green candidates. Sep. 6.Barb Kass and Mike cooked their waythrough the year. They provided excellentfood for visiting student groups, the annualdance camp, Nukewatch’s 25
birthdayparty, the Midwest Catholic Worker retreatand the West Denmark church near Luck.With the last of the Kass/Miles children off to college, Mike and Barb have taken toproviding hospitality big time. We miss Ollie,Emma and Philip (and Jessica, Sarah andMicah too!) and it’s a happy occasion whenthey come home to visit.Twice in the past year Barb Katt hikedto the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Shewent off to mush dogs, to sea kayak, andhas been volunteering at a Dharma center inNew Mexico. Barb and Jane are studyingnonviolence with Lama Shenpen Dolma, andBarb hosted a buddhist peace training here.In a sad event, Barb’s friend Sky Oldshieldwas seriously hurt in a car accident. Shespent many days, week after week, visitinghim and supporting him and his mother,Paula Horn.Molly continues to coach cross-country for the Luck High School team.When Jane wasn’t working on the newmeditation center, painting houses, dog andhouse sitting or knitting, she browsed thenet for a year looking for a diesel Volks-wagen Jetta. All of her hours on the webfinally paid off in April when she found onein Minnesota. That car will at some pointturn into a “grease car” that runs on a fuelmade from waste fryer grease.The “Wheels of Justice” bus is parkedonce more in the Anathoth driveway after
I traveled to Turtle Island Preserve in N.C. withLinda Urfer and Deanna Neff to visit with formerAnathoth Community member Yvonne Mills.
being on tour around the country. It waspainted by community members and a fewvolunteers from elsewhere. Pam Johnsonsent along the design that we used. When itcomes to painted symbols, the peace bussesare “larger than they appear.”John L got Temporary Observer Statuscertification for Nukewatch at the UN, so hecould speak to a small group at the recentNuclear Nonproliferation Treaty ReviewConference in New York City. Last winter hedid a 7-city speaking tour in southernWisconsin and recently spoke in Chicago,Ill. and Ashland, Wisconsin Dells, andSeeley, Wisc. as part of the internationalcampaign to expose and eliminate“depleted” uranium weapons. He’s notalways working and spent some vacationtime with friends in Mexico and the SylvaniaWilderness in Michigan.Another construction creation isunderway. The art studio is getting anaddition. I’ve spent a couple of years in oneroom and look forward to having anotherroom for storage, a composting toilet roomand closet. With my decision to retire fromNukewatch I’m devoting much more time toart. Let me take this opportunity to advertisemy note cards. Write to me for a brochure.Most recently, Rachel Ries and AnaisMitchell performed a fundraising concert forthe Farm at Cafe Wren in Luck.For our Nukewatch work, John L and Iwere gifted a four-night stay in a Las Vegashotel. I can’t even remember how manytimes I got lost in that casino trying to makemy way to the room. We didn’t gamble, buttalked with activists about Yucca Mountainand the Nevada Test Site.The Anathoth Community is alive withvisitors, meetings, organizing, gardening,building and work for peace … check us out.And if you’re really brave, volunteer for nextyear’s second grade field trip.
 By Barb Katt 
For almost 3 years now, although JohnLaForge and I have both been living at thefarm, we have not been living together, andhave been open to other relationships.After 22 years as a couple, it is a bigchange and it has been difficult for every-one. And as far as changes go, it’s been lesslike “turn on the air conditioner” for cool airand more like “massive cold front collideswith warm front and spawns thunderstorms.” We are both still here though,hoping to have weathered the worst of thestorms.My efforts to remain steady havebrought me face to face with the difficulty of the practice of nonviolence in thought, wordand deed. Whatever my future holds, I amcertain that such hard-earned lessons willultimately be of benefit to myself and others.So for now I stay and look for the joyeach day in my newly configured life. I justwant to add that I write this out of respectfor all of you, near and far, who are touchedin some way by this news, and I thank youfor your kind thoughts.
 By John Heid 
“I admit that in Iraq there was the fearof being killed, but there was also the fear of killing innocent people, the fear of puttingmyself in a position where to survive meansto kill; there was the fear of losing my soulin the process of saving my body…. I wasafraid of waking up one morning to realizemy humanity had abandoned me…. Byputting my weapon down I chose toreassert my self as a human being.”
Camilo Mejia, Staff Sergeant, FloridaNational Guard (serving one year forrefusing to return to fight in Iraq)“The Supreme Court characterizedsome who qualify as conscientiousobjectors as people “whose consciences,spurred by deeply held moral and ethicalbeliefs will give them no rest or peace if they allowed themselves to become anypart of an instrument of war.”
Welsh v. U.S
., 1970“On the question of conscientiousobjection, I would like to say I think it is asign of maturity when people manage toaccept another form of service that is notmilitary service.”
Pope John Paul II, February 13, 1984They’re rolling out the guns again …but they’ll never take our sons again. No,they’ll never take our sons again. Yes,Johnny, I’m swearing to you.”
“Johnny I Hardly Knew You,” Tradi-tional Irish tuneWar anywhere is a threat to youtheverywhere. War any time endangers youthevery time.Draft talk punctuates conversationsfrom coffee bars to Congress. Wall Street toMain Street. Many adolescents do not giveconscription a second though. Many do… The draft issue is bipartisan withprogressives and conservativesshoulder to shoulder on both sides of the fence.Meanwhile a
de facto
“povertydraft” lures the economicallymarginalized sector of our country withthe carrot of educational opportunities, job skills and a pay check.Recruitment tactics ape thepredatory character of U.S. foreignpolicy. The school Recruiting Handbook directs military personnel to “own” theschools. War abroad creates battles athome. War makes at-risk youth auniversal reality.So…what of conscientiousobjection (CO) to the fatally flawedinstrument of war?The tradition of CO is as NorthAmerican as
pardon the adage
apple pie. Objection to conscriptionbased on conscience predates the U.S.Constitution.In its current form CO is defined inthe Military Selective Service Act as:“Nothing contained in this title shall beconstrued to require any person to besubject to combatant training andservice in the armed forces of the UnitedStates who, by reason of religioustraining and belief, is conscientiouslyopposed to participation in war in anyform….”At present there is no draft
beyond the unofficial economic(poverty) draft. There is howevercompulsory registration for SelectiveService for all males 18 – 26. While noone has been prosecuted since 1985 forfailure to register, individual states havepenalized non compliance by: 1)revocation of driving privileges; 2)refusal of admission to state collegesand 3) denial of state employment. Themost widely publicized penalty forfailure to file is denial of college financialaid.Meanwhile
in recent months theArmy and Marines have failed to meettheir recruitment quotas with the Armyrunning as much as 40% short.ROTC’s are shrinking.The Pentagon estimates 5,500 U.S.military personnel have deserted sincethe start of the current war. (This is aconservative figure.)The G.I Rights Hotline (800-394-9544) call-ins have nearly doubled
from 17,000 in 2001 to 33,000 in 2004.The designers of U.S. foreign policygive no indication of curtailing theirexpansionist agenda. As Afghanistan

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