Be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
(Hebrews 13:5)

Be Content

Dear Friends,

      Greetings. As we approach Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, the world and its institutions are anything but at peace. We long for the day of a simpler uncomplicated life. Well, that is coming.

     Back in 1974 it was written, “God's government is going to be based on the small village plan, each one circular with radial streets like the spokes of a wheel centering at the hub of God's local administration. The villagers of this world will till the surrounding land, grow their own crops, harvest their own food, make what few necessities they need, clothing, housing, implements, tools, etc., right there in their own little villages!

      Each village will be virtually completely self contained, self-controlled unto itself, like one big happy family or local tribe, just the way God started man out in the beginning, His ideal economy, society and government based on his own created productive land for man's simple necessities!

      We are going to go back to those days with only the beautiful creation of God around us and the wonderful creatures of God to help us plow and power and transport what little we have to do to supply our meagre needs, even as the poor of the world still do to this very day in the most remote parts of the earth!” ..David Berg

      Our final article, “Peace, Love, and Social Security: Baby Boomers Retire to the Commune” talks about some people who attempted this life style more than forty years ago, and surprisingly are still doing so today.

      We hope you find the music this week an inspiration. We have also had to include some news articles, though somewhat disturbing. These events are happening and we feel they could effect many of us.

     As long as we hold on to Jesus there is no need to fear the future.



Yahoo News

Iran will close Hormuz if attacked..........?

An Iranian lawmaker (who heads Iran Majlis (parliament) Internal Security Subcommittee) says if the enemy tries to carry out its threats against the Islamic Republic, Iran will use all its capacities including the Strait of Hormuz to defend itself.

"We cannot remain the face of threats. If the enemies want to carry out their threats we will also use our capacities [to fight them]... the Strait of Hormuz will definitely be one of our capacities."

He went on to say that it is the absolute right of a country to use its natural and marine capacities within its territorial limits.

He further added that Iran has been an advocate of peace and stability in the region and the world since the victory of the Islamic Revolution 32 years ago.

"However, if [other] countries, especially the [global] hegemonic system, intend to make Iran insecure, this insecurity will spread to the whole region".

The lawmaker emphasized that if the Strait of Hormuz becomes unsafe for Iran, the country may close the strait in line with international regulations.

Pointing to recent military threats against Iran, he said stability should exist for all countries because the Iran does not believe in the theory of stability for one country and instability for all others.



UPDATE 1-Iran army declines comment on MP's Hormuz exercise remarks

Dec 12, 2011

TEHRAN Dec 12 (Reuters) - A member of the Iranian parliament's National Security Committee said on Monday that the military was set to practise its ability to close the Gulf to shipping at the narrow Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil transit channel in the world, but there was no official confirmation.

The legislator, Parviz Sarvari, told the student news agency ISNA: "Soon we will hold a military manoeuvre on how to close the Strait of Hormuz. If the world wants to make the region insecure, we will make the world insecure."

Contacted by Reuters, a spokesman for the Iranian military declined to comment.

Iran's energy minister told Al Jazeera television last month that Tehran could use oil as a political tool in the event of any future conflict over its nuclear programme.

Tension over the programme has increased since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on Nov. 8 that Tehran appears to have worked on designing a nuclear bomb and may still be pursuing research to that end. Iran strongly denies this and says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Iran has warned it will respond to any attack by hitting Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf and analysts say one way to retaliate would be to close the Strait of Hormuz.

About a third of all sea-borne shipped oil passed through the Strait in 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and U.S. warships patrol the area to ensure safe passage.

Most of the crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq - together with nearly all the liquefied natural gas from lead exporter Qatar - must slip through a 4-mile (6.4 km) wide shipping channel between Oman and Iran. (Reporting by Parisa Hafezi, writing by Mark Trevelyan; editing by David Stamp)


Nuclear knowhow, S-300 are Iran's price for Russian, Chinese access to US drone

Dec 11, 2011

Iran is driving a hard bargain for granting access to the US stealth drone RQ-170 it captured undamaged last week, as Russian and Chinese military intelligence teams arriving in Tehran for a look at the secret aircraft soon found. debkafile's Moscow sources disclose that the price set by Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Ali Jaafari includes advanced nuclear and missile technology, especially systems using solid fuel, the last word on centrifuges for enriching uranium and the S-300PMU-1 air defense system, which Moscow has consistently refused to sell Tehran.

This super-weapon is effective against stealth warplanes and cruise missiles and therefore capable of seriously impairing any large-scale US or Israeli air or missile attacks on Iran's nuclear sites.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent Russian-speaking Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Moscow on Dec. 7 to try and dissuade Prime Minister Vladimir Putin from letting Iran have the S-300 batteries as payment for access to the captured US drone.

Sources in Washington report that before sending Lieberman to Moscow, Netanyahu first checked with the White House at the highest levels.

Although he had his hands full with stormy demonstrations in Moscow protesting alleged election fraud, Putin received Lieberman at the Kremlin. But the interview was short. The Russian prime minister refused to discuss the episode with his Israeli guest or even confirm that Moscow was engaged in any deal with Tehran.

In answer to reporters' questions, Lieberman commented: "Russia's positions on the Middle East were not helpful." American efforts to reach President Dmitry Medvedev and Putin on the drone deal through other channels were likewise rebuffed.

debkafile's sources report that the Israeli prime minister's decision to send Lieberman post-haste to Moscow to intercede with Putin followed intelligence tips which indicated to Washington and Jerusalem that the Russians may have played a major role in Iran's capture of the RQ-170 on Dec. 4. They are suspected of even supplying Iran with the electronic bag of tricks for downing the US stealth drone undamaged.

If that is so, it would mean Moscow is deeply involved in helping Iran repel the next and most critical stage of the cyber war that was to have been launched on the day the US UAV was brought down.

Our exclusive intelligence sources add that that the RQ-170 was the first US drone of this type to enter Iranian skies. Its mission was specific.

Iran's success in determining the moment of the unmanned vehicle's entry and its success in transferring command of the drone's movements from US to Iranian control systems is an exceptional intelligence and technological feat in terms of modern electronic warfare.

Western intelligence watchers keeping track of the Russian and Chinese teams in Tehran have not discovered where the negotiations stand at this time or whether the Iranians have taken on both teams at once or are bargaining with each separately to raise the bidding.

Saturday, Dec. 10, the Revolutionary Guards Deputy Commander Gen. Hossein Salami, said Iran would not  hand the captured drone back to the United States. He boasted: "The gap between us and the US or the Zionist regime and other developed countries is not so wide."

He sounded as though the bargaining with the two visiting teams was going well.


Open publication - Free publishing


The American Dream (The original article

is five pages long explaining the reasons for the problems.)

Financial Panic Sweeps Europe As The Head Of The IMF Warns Of A “1930s Depression”

December 17, 2011

Are we on the verge of another Great Depression?  Christian Lagarde, the head of the IMF, said this week that if dramatic action is not taken immediately we could actually see conditions “reminiscent of the 1930s depression” and that no country on earth “will be immune to the crisis”.



House Lawmakers Pass Defense Bill

December 14th,

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $662-billion defense bill that contains a provision regarding the handling of certain terror suspects.

By a margin of 283 to 136, lawmakers Wednesday approved the measure after the White House dropped a veto threat over the provision. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and then go to President Barack Obama for his signature. Lawmakers had said revisions were made to the detainee provision in an effort to avoid the threatened veto.

The bill authorizes funding for the Defense Department and national security programs of the Energy Department. It also provides money for military personnel, weapons systems as well as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year that began October 1.

The measure requires military detention, subject to a presidential waiver, for foreign al-Qaida terrorists who are captured when plotting to attack the United States. A change to the detainee provision exempts U.S. citizens, but it does not guarantee suspected terrorists, even U.S. citizens, a trial, and leaves open the possibility of indefinite detention.

The legislation would place a freeze on some aid to Pakistan until Islamabad gives assurances that it is helping fight the spread of homemade bombs, known as improvised explosive devises, or IEDs. The measure also expands sanctions in Iran.

Separately, the bill prohibits the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees to or within the United States and prohibits the use of funds to house Guantanamo detainees in the U.S.

The White House had previously warned of a veto for any bill that challenges or constrains the president's authority to collect intelligence, incapacitate terrorists and protect the nation. The Obama administration argues that the military, law enforcement officials and intelligence agents need flexibility to act on a case-by-case basis in dealing with terror suspects.


The Guardian

Americans face Guantánamo detention after Obama climbdown

Defence funding bill allows American citizens to be arrested as terrorists on home soil and held indefinitely without trial

14 December 2011

Americans can be arrested on home soil and taken to Guantánamo Bay under a provision inserted into the bill that funds the US military. Photograph: John Moore/Getty

Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay.

Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of "a war that appears to have no end".

The law, contained in the defence authorisation bill that funds the US military, effectively extends the battlefield in the "war on terror" to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.

The legislation's supporters in Congress say it simply codifies existing practice, such as the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists at Guantánamo Bay. But the law's critics describe it as a draconian piece of legislation that extends the reach of detention without trial to include US citizens arrested in their own country.

"It's something so radical that it would have been considered crazy had it been pushed by the Bush administration," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "It establishes precisely the kind of system that the United States has consistently urged other countries not to adopt. At a time when the United States is urging Egypt, for example, to scrap its emergency law and military courts, this is not consistent."

There was heated debate in both houses of Congress on the legislation, requiring that suspects with links to Islamist foreign terrorist organisations arrested in the US, who were previously held by the FBI or other civilian law enforcement agencies, now be handed to the military and held indefinitely without trial.

The law applies to anyone "who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaida, the Taliban or associated forces".

Senator Lindsey Graham said the extraordinary measures were necessary because terrorism suspects were wholly different to regular criminals.

"We're facing an enemy, not a common criminal organisation, who will do anything and everything possible to destroy our way of life," he said. "When you join al-Qaida you haven't joined the mafia, you haven't joined a gang. You've joined people who are bent on our destruction and who are a military threat."

Other senators supported the new powers on the grounds that al-Qaida was fighting a war inside the US and that its followers should be treated as combatants, not civilians with constitutional protections.

But another conservative senator, Rand Paul, a strong libertarian, has said "detaining citizens without a court trial is not American" and that if the law passes "the terrorists have won".

"We're talking about American citizens who can be taken from the United States and sent to a camp at Guantánamo Bay and held indefinitely. It puts every single citizen American at risk," he said. "Really, what security does this indefinite detention of Americans give us? The first and flawed premise, both here and in the badly named Patriot Act, is that our pre-9/11 police powers were insufficient to stop terrorism. This is simply not borne out by the facts."

Paul was backed by Senator Dianne Feinstein.

"Congress is essentially authorising the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge," she said. "We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge."

Paul said there were already strong laws against support for terrorist groups. He noted that the definition of a terrorism suspect under existing legislation was so broad that millions of Americans could fall within it.

"There are laws on the books now that characterise who might be a terrorist: someone missing fingers on their hands is a suspect according to the department of justice. Someone who has guns, someone who has ammunition that is weatherproofed, someone who has more than seven days of food in their house can be considered a potential terrorist," Paul said. "If you are suspected because of these activities, do you want the government to have the ability to send you to Guantánamo Bay for indefinite detention?"

Under the legislation suspects can be held without trial "until the end of hostilities". They will have the right to appear once a year before a committee that will decide if the detention will continue.

The Senate is expected to give final approval to the bill before the end of the week. It will then go to the president, who previously said he would block the legislation not on moral grounds but because it would "cause confusion" in the intelligence community and encroached on his own powers.

But on Wednesday the White House said Obama had lifted the threat of a veto after changes to the law giving the president greater discretion to prevent individuals from being handed to the military.

Critics accused the president of caving in again to pressure from some Republicans on a counter-terrorism issue for fear of being painted in next year's election campaign as weak and of failing to defend America.

Human Rights Watch said that by signing the bill Obama would go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.

"The paradigm of the war on terror has advanced so far in people's minds that this has to appear more normal than it actually is," Malinowski said. "It wasn't asked for by any of the agencies on the frontlines in the fight against terrorism in the United States. It breaks with over 200 years of tradition in America against using the military in domestic affairs."

In fact, the heads of several security agencies, including the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general objected to the legislation. The Pentagon also said it was against the bill.

The FBI director, Robert Mueller, said he feared the law could compromise the bureau's ability to investigate terrorism because it would be more complicated to win co-operation from suspects held by the military.

"The possibility looms that we will lose opportunities to obtain co-operation from the persons in the past that we've been fairly successful in gaining," he told Congress.

Civil liberties groups say the FBI and federal courts have dealt with more than 400 alleged terrorism cases, including the successful prosecutions of Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber", Umar Farouk, the "underwear bomber", and Faisal Shahzad, the "Times Square bomber".

Elements of the law are so legally confusing, as well as being constitutionally questionable, that any detentions are almost certain to be challenged all the way to the supreme court.

Malinowski said "vague language" was deliberately included in the bill in order to get it passed. "The very lack of clarity is itself a problem. If people are confused about what it means, if people disagree about what it means, that in and of itself makes it bad law," he said.


Fukushima - Could it Have a China Syndrome? from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.



'Fountains' of methane 1,000m across erupt from Arctic ice - a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide

'Methane fields on a scale not seen before' - researcher

More than 100 fountains, but could be 'thousands'

Could cause rapid climate change

13th December 2011

 The Russian research vessel Academician Lavrentiev conducted a survey of 10,000 square miles of sea off the coast of eastern Siberia.

They made a terrifying discovery - huge plumes of methane bubbles rising to the surface from the seabed.

'We found more than 100 fountains, some more than a kilometre across,' said Dr Igor Semiletov, 'These are methane fields on a scale not seen before. The emissions went directly into the atmosphere.'

Far East Siberia: The melting of 'permafrost' under the sea has led to huge releases of methane - far more abrupt and intense than anything on land

Earlier research conducted by Semiletov's team had concluded that the amount of methane currently coming out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is comparable to the amount coming out of the entire world's oceans.

Now Semiletov thinks that could be an underestimate.

The melting of the arctic shelf is melting 'permafrost' under the sea, which is releasing methane stored  in the seabed as methane gas.

These releases can be larger and more abrupt than any land-based release. The East Siberian Arctic Shelf is a methane-rich area that encompasses more than 2 million square kilometers of seafloor in the Arctic Ocean.

Methane bubbles trapped in ice: Normally, bubbles from the seabed turn into carbon dioxide before reaching the surface, but the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is so shallow the methane travels directly into the atmosphere

'This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing.'

'Earlier we found torch or fountain-like structures like this,' Semiletov told the Independent. 'This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing.'

'Over a relatively small area, we found more than 100, but over a wider area, there should be thousands of them.'

Semiletov's team used seismic and acoustic monitors to detect methane bubbles rising to the surface.

Scientists estimate that the methane trapped under the ice shelf could lead to extremely rapid climate change.

Current average methane concentrations in the Arctic average about 1.85 parts per million, the highest in 400,000 years. Concentrations above the East Siberian Arctic Shelf are even higher. - - The shelf is shallow, 50 meters or less in depth, which means it has been alternately submerged or above water, depending on sea levels throughout Earth's history.

During Earth's coldest periods, it is a frozen arctic coastal plain, and does not release methane.

As the planet warms and sea levels rise, it is inundated with seawater, which is 12-15 degrees warmer than the average air temperature. - - In deep water, methane gas oxidizes into carbon dioxide before it reaches the surface. In the shallows of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, methane simply doesn't have enough time to oxidize, which means more of it escapes into the atmosphere.

That, combined with the sheer amount of methane in the region, could add a previously uncalculated variable to climate models.


The Atlantic

Peace, Love, and Social Security: Baby Boomers Retire to the Commune


NOV 21 2011

As they simplify their lives in middle age, former hippies find themselves returning to the land

David Frohman/Douglas Stevenson

When she first found the place that would one day become her retirement home, Kathy Connors was 16 years old and seven months pregnant. She left the Chicago suburbs and hitched a ride with a trucker she knew to a commune in south-central Tennessee. The commune, called the Farm, had about a dozen midwives who would deliver any woman's baby for free. Kathy had arranged to have her child there.

In late June of this year, Kathy, now 50, and her 62-year-old husband Bob drove with their 28-year-old daughter Joyce from Charlotte, North Carolina, to the Farm. Kathy visits about three times a year, but this was a special visit. It was the Farm's 40th reunion, but it was also, more importantly, the visit when Kathy would finalize plans to build the home where she and Bob planned to spend the rest of their lives.

On the drive down, Kathy's phone buzzed with texts and updates from the Farm Facebook group. Friends were posting photos and status updates. It was a big party and Kathy couldn't wait to get there.

Crossing the Tennessee border, Bob, usually a quiet man, shouted, "Welcome to Tennessee!" The family cheered. Kathy's stomach fluttered and her heart beat faster. She sent a text to an acquaintance, "the closer I get to my true home, the better I always feel."

The Atlantic


Children at The Farm walk through a field in 1972

Kathy and Bob Connors are among a handful of former Farm members who are moving back in middle age. This choice reflects that of a growing number of Baby Boomers who are choosing to retire to intentional communities, an umbrella term for living situations organized around a common value structure or vision.

Although hard figures are impossible to determine, Laird Schaub, the executive secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, estimates that the United States has about 4,000 intentional communities with a combined population of about 100,000. The number and population of intentional communities grew most dramatically between 1965 and 1975. Some were artists' collectives, religious communes, or self-help oriented communes, says Timothy Miller, a professor of religion at the University of Kansas, in his book The 60s Communes: Hippies and Beyond. Others were born out of a broader idealism that aimed to rebuild the world from the ground up.

In his book The Hippies and American Values, Timothy Miller,writes:

They questioned the very rationality upon which Western culture has been built. To the counterculturists, reason had run its course; now it was time to return to the mystical and intuitional. The products of centuries of reason-dominated cultures were thrown into question as well: the hippies rejected the industrial for the agrarian, the plastic for the natural, the synthetic for the organic. Finally they challenged the formidable Western tradition of seeing the individual on a pedestal; for the hippies, communal values stood over the rights and privileges of individual persons.

The Farm's recruitment book, Hey Beatnik!, published in 1974, largely reflected Miller's observations. It referred to America's economy as being on a "speed trip," criticized overconsumption, meat-eating, organized religion, higher education and politics, and rejected individualism:

We say that we're like a mental nudist colony, and you have to take off your head clothes. We just don't believe in that level of privacy, because we'd rather be sane than be highly individualistic.

Communes began dropping off in the 1980s, although why that happened is hard to say, said Schaub.

"It doesn't really match up with recessions or boom cycles in the economy or which party controls the White House or whether the Berlin Wall was standing or falling," he said.

The individual communes' fates were as unique as their births, according to Timothy Miller. "Some communes went out with a bang, some with a whimper, and some are still going--robustly or feebly, publicly or privately, with the same leadership and ideals they had two or three decades ago or heading in some new direction," he wrote in The 60s Communes.

Douglas Stevenson, a 57-year-old former Farm manager and unofficial spokesman for the community, said that for many, communal living was a youthful experiment rather than a lifelong commitment. Because so many young adults joined communes in the 1960s and 1970s, it followed that they left en masse in the 1980s when they grew older.

"There were people who were in it for the long haul and those that weren't," said Stevenson. " It's like hair. There were the people who grew out their hair and it became their life and the people who had long hair then they had curly hair then they had short hair and it wasn't a whole lifestyle change."

What kept the Farm around at all when so many other communities disappeared, he said, was that its sheer numbers helped it weather the changeover from commune to coop. During the 1980s, the community created a new government structure, and over time members paid off the debt on the land.

"If you only had 15 to 20 people," he said, "and you had a breakdown among the members the whole thing crashed. We were large enough that we could absorb a lot of crises."

Intentional Communities have been going through another surge in popularity since 2005, according to the Fellowship for Intentional Community. Young adults in their 20s and 30s originally drove their growth, said Schaub. But this time, something different is happening.

"That group is still there, and in addition there are a lot of people over 50 trying it for the first time," said Schaub. "That's really different from what we had before."

Take Helen Spector, a 65-year-old organization development consultant. Along with her husband, also a consultant, she moved this year from California to join a cohousing community in Oregon.

"We both spend a lot of time teaching people how to work together," she said, and yet they were living in relative isolation from neighbors in their 2800-square-foot house.

Now that they are living in a cohousing development in Oregon, where private homes are small and common spaces and many appliances are shared with dozens of people, they are exploring the concept of interdependence.

"What does it mean to live in a way that we actually do and are willing to depend on others and support others?" she asked. It's a daily challenge, she said, but one that they feel compelled to take on.

Over the years, Kathy returned to the Farm for visits, taking her daughters down for a week that would extend into two. Two weeks would become three, three a month. They grew close to a family named the Skinners and would stay with them. When the Connors' daughter Barbara Ann finished high school and did not know what she wanted to do next, her parents sent her down to the Farm to live with the Skinners and paid $100 a month for her food. And more than 10 years later, now that Kathy and Bob are ready to move back, they are taking over the site the Skinners' daughter is leaving to move in with her boyfriend a few roads down.

Sitting in her friend's house on the Farm, relaxed on the couch in a tie-dyed night shirt, she explains. "Where I live in New Paltz, it's a nice place, a nice neighborhood," she said. "I have several neighbors around me that would watch out for me. They would let me know if there's a strange car in the driveway or maybe check something out. I'm pretty sure that if I was in my yard screaming 'Help!' somebody would come and help me."

Pretty sure?

"Yeah, if they were home and if they could hear me, I'm pretty sure. I'd be damn sure somebody would show up here," she said, eyes big with emphasis.

She saw this firsthand at the end of January 2009, when she got a call she'd been dreading: Stephen Skinner had died of cancer. She hopped on a plane the next day with an open-ended ticket and moved right in with the family. The community's support for the Skinners was overwhelming. Dozens of people were helping in whatever way they could--whether it was running errands in town or dropping off hot meals. Kathy became part of the small inner circle that took care of the house. They never knocked.

"Those people who were there day-to-day who were allowed to come over -- the people who could slip in unnoticed and clean the bathroom and they knew where the scrub brush was and the disinfectant was so they didn't have to bother them," said Kathy. Kathy stayed for about a month, to care for the family as she herself grieved.

"It was really helpful for me just to have days and nights where I could be with these people and, you know, we could just shake our heads and cry or just look at each other and know," she said.

While it's hardly uncommon for aging populations to worry about who will care for them as they grow older, many Farm residents expect that they will be cared for. They are accustomed to living as a closely-knit group of people acting like family. When a resident's elderly mother-in-law moves in, friends and neighbors immediately take to checking in on her.

Many expect this will continue as the group ages together, facing illness and frailty in greater numbers. The Farm's population is a steady 200. About 70 percent of those are in the founding generation, about 25 percent are second generation adults under the age of 40, and five percent are children.

Asked about what will happen when age and illness takes more of the population, very few on the Farm seem worried.

"We started off communally," said Stevenson, "and we'll probably go back to more communal living with people who are in better shape taking care of people in less better shape."

The outpouring of care and support for Skinner through his illness made Kathy feel secure about aging at the Farm. "It made me feel like this is a community I would like to grow old in," she said.

Bob is less certain about the safety net she sees.

"I think the big thing for the Farm now is figuring out how to pass it on to the next generation of people because otherwise it's a hippie nursing home and it's gonna be like the Shakers were, who were celibate," he said, drawing a comparison that another Farm retiree made independently.

Bob and Kathy will move to the Farm in three years, when Bob turns 65. The couple will live off of his Social Security and 401K. Kathy says she may not have health insurance and while she may work part-time as a massage therapist, "there will be a 10-year span where our budget will be something like a third or a quarter of what we've gotten used to." While the lifestyle on the Farm is cheaper than their life in New York, or what they would pay to move into a traditional retirement community, building a home on the Farm is a gamble.

Since the property is held in a land trust, the Connors will not have a deed to the house they build. Should they need more care than the community could provide and if they had to leave, they could not sell their house on the market. They would need another approved Farm member to pay them for their investment in the land. But as the population ages, the question is whether a younger generation will take the reins.

But Kathy is not worried. She has friends of all ages, and one young couple just asked her to be their baby's goddess-mother. Would they do that, she asked, and then not care for her if she were sick?

On the Farm in early July, Kathy was sunburned and smiling. A bit of sunscreen melted from her forehead in the afternoon heat. The weeklong reunion party called Ragweed had ended the day before, and her voice was hoarse from late nights and all-day parties. While her daughter and husband had already left, Kathy still had two and a half weeks to stay at the place she calls her true home. Outside of New Paltz, she had once again picked up the Tennessee twang of the Farm.

She drove a rented golf cart down the small and often bumpy roads. She stopped to chat with some people or just called out in passing: "Did you know we're moving back? Yep, we're provisional members."

Driving down the roads, every landmark was layered with stories.

That's where the midwife who delivered Barbara Ann lives. This is the meadow where we'd have Sunday services and women's meetings. This is the blueberry patch I told you about that I helped save from that fire. That place with the shades drawn? That woman's a great artist. She taught Barbara Ann. It's like they have the same DNA.

As Kathy stood at the side of the empty road by the grazing horses, a pickup truck drove down the long stretch of road and pulled over.

A man with short brown hair and a beard rolled down the window and smiled. "You got tomatoes where you're staying?" - - Kathy said no.

"Here," he said. He grabbed six from the passenger seat and gave them to her. They chatted for a few minutes before he drove away.



Until next week...

Almondtree Productions

Hate not laborious work, neither husbandry, which the most High hath ordained.”
(Sirach 7:15 Apocrypha)