skill shares: chicken tractors, forging, maintaining knives, bikes and chainsaws, gardening...
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We're all rural, independent and capable people learning to live cooperatively with one another and with our natural surroundings while recreating our lost village economic network.  This is our newsletter.  If live in and around the Samish Watershed please submit positive stories, information, volunteer opportunities, and events at

September: Celebrating People Who "Do Stuff"

By Sarai Stevens
September 7, 2013

September is the month we celebrate “people who do stuff.”  On the way to creating more resilient community it is important that we share skills and celebrate each other’s unique talents and interests.  Rob Hopkins, the brain behind the now world wide Transition Movement, which started in England, recently wrote a book titled, The Power of Just Doing Stuff.  He is quoted in an interview by Sami Grover for the Mother Nature Network on the movement and his new book as saying, "I think Transition also is about not waiting for, or demanding, anyone's permission to get on and create the kind of world we want to see. It's about doing stuff, here and now."  So we of the Chuckanut Transition Initiating Group raise a glass of homemade raspberry wine to all who DO STUFF!

Luckily, with a community like ours, we don’t have to be experts in everything.  As we connect and learn with others, we realize the vast wealth of skills that our rural community has and how our common interests and goals can weave together, compliment, and strengthen.

August 18th, Chuckanut Transition co-sponsored our 2nd Annual Sustainable Samish Garden Tour, “where local economy and conservation meet.”

These backyard enthusiasts shared tips on establishing and maintaining vegetable gardens, growing fruit and planting a productive orchard, taking your blooms and produce to market, inspiring and establishing a community garden patch, raising and caring for chickens, creating a backyard sanctuary for wildlife and people, and other tips on how you can live more sustainably (including ideas for generating electricity without the use of fossil fuels).  Special thanks to Keith and Anetter Witter, the Samish Island Community Garden Club, Ginny Wolf, Chris Solar, Wendy Pare, and Barry Christianson for sharing their gardens and skills! We received all positive favorite: “Very interesting mix of garden types.  Really appreciate the gardeners taking the time to show us everything.  Very much a bunch of can-do sorts of people.”

Also special thanks to all volunteers, Friday Creek Habitat Stewards, and the Skagit Conservation District who collaborated to make such a special event.

Harmony Fields

Harmony Fields in Bow to host Farming the Arts: Poetry and Letterpress with Paul Hunter Sept. 14 & 15

Speaking of people who do stuff, Jessica Gigot, professor, musician, farmer, radio co-host for Skagit By Hand, and owner of Harmony Fields would like to get the word out about this unique opportunity for discussion, poetry and art.  Paul Hunter writes, "I would like to lead a discussion concerning a new kind of farming art more conscious of its real relationships with nature, where the easy images are seen for what they are—sentimental, romantic, and ultimately false."
Sign-up for this one or two day workshop on-line.

DIY Radio -
Skagit By Hand, Thursdays at 5:00 on KSVR 91.7 FM

9/5 A Day at the Lucky Dumpster
9/12 Garage Sales
9/19 Live at the Kneading Conference NW
9/26 Food Preservation

2nd Annual Skill Share Faire
September 21-22, 2013

Hovander Homestead Park, Ferndale, WA
10am-11pm Saturday, 10am-6pm Sunday
Harmony Fields
We have a right to know what is in our food.  The campaign against I-522 is funded by massive amounts of corporate money.  It is up to grassroots activism to make sure that we don't let corporations decide what we think is right for our bodies and our farms.
Go to our blog to read a myth busting fact sheet.

Here are two other articles on the GMO front:
American Farmers Appeal To US Supreme Court to Seek Protection from GE Crops In this article it explains how farmers are looking at fighting GMO's through patent law.

Messing with nature seems to have no boundaries: Thousands of Genetically Modified Insect Set to Release
Allen Berry demonstrating one of his hand carved drop spindles he carves out of lilac wood.
Allen Berry demonstrating his handmade drop spindle.

This season’s Bow Little Market has been and will continue to be a showcase of craftsmanship and our rural “can-do” spirit.

Fiber Day, August 22nd, included people who demonstrated every step of the fiber making process, from raising livestock, processing raw fiber by spinning wheel and drop spindle, and then weaving it together using different techniques like crochet, loom work, and knitting.  However, my personal favorite was Donna and Tom of Schoonover Farm teaching kids how to braid recycled baling twine into rope!  Go to their blog to see more pictures of the event.
We are still accepting vendor applications for Holiday Market at Beau Lodge. contact Patty at 724-3333 or apply on-line.  This is a juried event.
Allen Berry demonstrating his handmade drop spindle.

Learn About Chicken Tractors September 12th all day at the Bow Little Market

Joan DeVries, small livestock expert for WSU county extension, will be talking with folks about how to build and maintain chicken tractors, like her easy to move, predator-proof tractor design.

Go to our events blog to learn more about Joan's Livestock Advisor Training - a 10 week WSU ext. program modeled after the master gardener program


Also Sept.12th all day at the Bow Little Market

Gene Elsing III will be demonstrating his blacksmith skills on a small, portable forge repurposing old railroad spikes into hooks and knives.


September 26th is Mushroom Day at the Bow Little Market! 

Get into the rhythm and beauty of fall with a day of mushroom fun.  Bring specimens from your yard to have identified and have your questions answered by our local experts and members of Northwest Mushrooms Association.  Mushrooms are a fascinating and ecologically important part of nature, come find out more.  For more info contact Kathi at 360-724-3237 or Chuck at 360-724-3781.

Mushrooms Can Save the World?

According to an article in the Economist, Bioremediation: Bottom Feeders, scientists are successfully growing edible oyster mushrooms on sterilized, used, disposable diapers to help rot them completely in under four months as apposed to the hundreds of years they would take sitting in a landfill.  Paul Stamets, world renowned mushroom expert, claims  in a TED Talk there are Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World.  From cleaning up oil spills, to making an ecologically sound fuel, mushrooms have tremendous potential. 

September 14th Skill Share at the Alger Community Hall “Fun”raiser.

Chuckanut Transition will be hosting a skill-share tent where you can learn about chainsaw and bike maintenance, and knife/chisel sharpening.  Bring your chainsaw, bike and/or knives/chisels for a FREE hands-on learning experience!
Chainsaw Maintenance: 11am -12 pm
Knife/Chisel Sharpening:1-2 pm
Bike Maintenance: 2:30-4 pm

from 10-4pm.
Members of the Alger Improvement Club have put together a real special event this year.  Kulshan Brewery has donated kegs for the Beer Garden (organized by the Alger Bar & Grill).  Music and performers from the Bellingham Circus Guild and Lookout Arts Center will provide free entertainment all day.  Hot dogs, corn dogs, nachos, popcorn, cotton candy, and bake sale.  Free bouncy house, treasure hunt, and other kid's activities and prizes!  VendorsRaffle winners will be announced at end of day.  

Besides maintenance projects, money raised goes towards an outside, covered barbeque area.

alger work party

Work Party Scheduled at the Alger Community Hall Saturday, Sept. 28th for 9am - 3pm. 

Butterfly and Native Demonstration Garden Project at the Alger Community Hall:  Friday Creek Habitat Stewards applied and received a grant from the Rose Foundation to establish garden beds and pathways at the Alger Community Hall to help restore our creek side habitat.  This mostly native garden invites butterflies and other wildlife to pause and enjoy restored native plantings that provide food, shelter, and breeding grounds that were once just lawn and weedy shrubs.  Paths, seating, and signage will invite folks to experience and learn more about healthy native habitats and what we can do to conserve them.

If you plan on helping email Sue Mitchell at or Kristi Carpenter at or just show up with shovel and gloves!  Food, music, and refreshments will be provided.

October 5th, 10-4pm, 4th Annual Harvest Market, Food Swap & Cider Pressing

On the same weekend as the Festival of Family Farms, we will cap off the market season with our 4th Annual Harvest Market, Food Swap & Cider Pressing. 
During the Food Swap, from 2-4pm, you can share your self-reliance skills by swapping your surplus canned, dried, smoked, frozen or fresh produce, meat, eggs, seed, etc. with your neighbors.  Have too much jam, winter squash, or fingerling potatoes?  This is a great opportunity to diversify your pantry and root cellar.
All day Tom and Donna of Schoonover Farm will be pressing cider for $5 a press.  Bring your own apples or buy them at the market.  FYI, Tom is one heck of a hard cider brewer and a wealth of knowledge.

Copyright © 2013 Chuckanut Transition, All rights reserved.

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