Monday, May 21, 2012

Paradigm Shift

I lead off with a tragic note. Our friend, James, lost his footing rock climbing and fell to his death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Martha. I bring this to your attention because he never had the blessing I have received from being stricken down with cancer. I have had the opportunity to reflect on what is important. To know that I have no sorrows or regrets to carry over to the next day because that day may not be there. One learns the importance of family and friends, the gift of being loved and being able to love in return. Farewell James. Hang tough, Martha. Know that you are loved.

John and Juju helping plant the community garden plot.
The Paradigm Shift is a major change in perspective brought about by our change in circumstance. As my health deteriorated it became increasingly clear we could not carry on with our dream called Earth Echo Farm. We put the farm up for sale and were very fortunate to find a cash buyer within a few months. We moved to California to be closer to two of our sons and to take advantage of medical services, the likes of which do not exist in New Mexico. We ended up in an apartment with no place to put our hands in the soil. Our initial application for a space in the Community Garden was rejected. We persisted though and finally obtained a senior plot. It is a magnificent 49 square feet.

A reduction from 23 acres down to 49 square feet certainly qualifies as a Paradigm Shift. We will be setting out several varieties of tomato, one Russian Mammoth Sunflower, Sweet Genovese Basil, Cilantro, a small bed of Encore Salad Mix and an assortment of eggplants and peppers. You could characterize the change in perspective from a bird’s eye view to a worm’s eye view.

Regarding my health: my oncologist has had me go through a treatment of Revlimid, followed by Brentuximab Vedotin and am now starting a regime of Rituximab. I had a bout of high calcium brought on by my cancer and was in the hospital for one week and am now back in a wheelchair. Now, with the calcium down, my strength should return fairly quickly. We live for the next day in hopes that it will be there. Valorie has been my Guardian Angel, but the continual pressure of it all is testing Valorie’s faith and endurance. Pray for her.

In writing Field Notes from the Farm, I always tried to bring insight and understanding to one aspect or another of how to live a healthy life in a complex, industrialized society. The big topic this year is not organic; it is political. I had a delicious, naughty thought the other day. After the Republican Convention, Ron Paul declares as an Independent. Can you imagine the fun he could cause in the Presidential Debates by asking the other candidates about our spending hundreds of billions or more (perhaps even over a TRILLION) each year, which we don’t have, to make Afghanistan into a democratically run country, which it never has been and most likely never will be. Oh, in addition, how about pulling US troops out of the other 150+ nations where the heavy boot of American Imperialism is defeating the very ideals we profess to believe in. We are becoming a fascist state.

David and Valorie Hutt
The Dream of Earth Echo Farm still lives
Sierra Madre, California

“If we heal the land;
The land will heal us”


  1. David, I am so glad that you and Valerie are continuing your "Field Notes". I send you all of my best wishes during these hard times.

    I hope you are right that we are "becoming" fascist, since I had already reached the conclusion that we were already there.

    I was surprised that you sold your farm, wish I had known, it would have been an incredible demonstration site for permaculture. Yes, I am still trudging down that path since I don't know anything that I could do that would be more effective in bringing on the paradigm shift that we all dream about.

    More and more young and old students looking for some kind of salvation are showing up in my classes. I will be a Lama for the forth year next week and am looking forward to it. It is such a tranquil place and one of the better accomplishments of the 60's.

    I am happy for your new gardening space and wish you both the best.

    Fond regards,

    Scott Pittman

  2. I meant to say "at" Lama, not "a" Lama. I'll teach the permaculture design course with 2 sixteen years old and one 17 year old students in a class of 25.

    1. Hi Valorie and David!
      So glad you have your hands in the soil again. That is probably more healing than all the meds!
      I just got back from Florida and Maine, visiting my new GREAT grandchild and my 93 yr old mother! Talk about a generation stretch!!
      Santa Fe might have "bottomed out" so we are busy and trying to fill up the retirement coffers again.
      Enjoy the summer on your 49 sq ft Earth Echo West Farm!!

      xx Suzanne Kelly

  3. Wow, this is great news! So good to see you writing again and that you are feeling better. I hope Valorie will be doing better soon. I wrote you a reply but guess it didn't get to you. It was so much better than this one is going to be. You never know when you will realize that things worked out - even though you've have had a giant setback. I'm still here in GA with my kids - Tom is planting a nice garden and Candis is doing the full time work and school thing. She will do 20 hours in 8 weeks online this summer then finish her RN in December - whew. I'm busy waving at gnats and mosquitoes and watching the dogs plus we bought another house to remodel - it's across the street so our monopoly game now has 3 houses and two barns and 5 1/2 acres that needs mowing continuously. It isn't "park status" yet. A vine was attacking my window last week growing a foot a day. Candis finally got time to reroute it. Don't know if you ever heard from Jim or not? Please let me know if you have. It seems that he married Mary Beth Doane and they live in San Diego. She rescued him from Duke University Med Ctr and took him back too CA where he seems to be well. I'm happy for them and wish them the best. Finally the star crossed lovers from teen years got to realize togetherness. Anyway, great to hear from you. Have you checked into tower gardens? - I have been looking at them. We live about 10 miles from the Abraham Baldwin Campus of GA State Univ where they are experimenting with aquaponics. Interesting. Madi

  4. My Joy is less focus on the politics and more on teaching the children about gardening - yes, the children - since I can't change what the 'big boys' are doing round the globe. I've only got enough energy for one child care center at a time, which is a local Day Care where the aging garden club (that I recently joined) still professes a mission to engage the children in gardening.

    It's not a big effort - only 2 or 3 people at at time - as most knees can't handle the stress anymore. However, of the few that stay engaged, the rewards are great! One of us will read to the children, usually a book about bugs, or animals or plants. Another will be showing how to plant - usually me - from seeds, to Iris, to tomato plants - while another snaps the photos which become our proof that 'one picture is worth a thousand words'! Just like the photo on this issue of Notes - which I suspect is David and Val's grand-daughter with their son showing her how to plant. It's just that simple and it's the children and their engagement with the soil and the plants, and the nature spirits, that will heal - as we are creating an alternative reality - in gentle and loving opposition to the drums of war. I choose to focus on the children and let nature mentor them.

    Just last week, I was showing the children how to plant a tomato. I finished and was patting the soil, when a 4-year-old screamed out "I love you!" just inches from my face. The other twenty children immediately chimed (in perfect harmony) to mimic her outburst. I chuckled to myself, realizing that she was talking to the tomato plant, and NOT me, and remembering my teaching from last year: We'd planted sunflower seeds, and when finished, I instructed them to pat the soil and say 'I love you' to the seeds. They did and it apparently the lesson stuck with this little girl.

    Yes, I received a chorus of I Love You's, and even if the tomato plant was the intended recipient, I don't mind a bit receiving second-hand-love. Love will heal the planet: one child at a time, one plant at a time, and one I Love You at a time!

    Blessings, Melanie Deason - Roswell, New Mexico

  5. Thanks so much for your kind words about James's passing, David. I am praying for you every day - return of your strength from your recent set-back and complete remission from your cancer. Of course, you know how I love Val and send her big hugs and smooches. Lots of love to you both, Martha Woodworth

  6. Dear Valorie and David,

    I was so sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your friend James. Your comments reflecting upon this demonstrate the sensitivity that I first saw in you more than 60 years ago. It was so gratifying to have the chance to talk with you again this month at our 60th Class Anniversary dinner at Polytechnic School. You both are remarkable, and Jeannie and I look forward to continuing the dialog we started at the reunion. I showed her the draft Table of Contents for the book you are planning, and she was most interested in the chapters you propose. Let us know how we can help.

    Enjoy those few square feet of Mother Earth!

    David and Jeannie Young - Newport, Oregon

  7. Dear Family and Friends,

    I have never received so many responses to one of my Field Notes.

    I feel humbled and overwhelmed at the same time. Yes, the words
    grateful and intimidated, also come to mind. One kind reader said:
    "You have found your voice again!"

    Yes, I have found my voice again. The spirit is strong and willing,
    but the now three year struggle with my cancer continues with the
    outcome uncertain.

    Valorie, my intrepid defender, stands by me, supports me and
    nourishes me, both in the body and the spirit.

    Our little plot in the Community Garden, all 49 square feet, is spouting
    like crazy. Cilantro is up next to our tomatoes to create our Salsa Row.
    Our very dense plantings of Walla Walla type onions and Chantenay
    carrots raised the soil along the whole row. The final spacing will be
    3 to 4 inches for the onions and 1 to 2 inches for the carrots. Meanwhile
    the thinings from the onions make wonderful bunching onions. The
    thinings from the carrots are small, but wonderfully sweet and delicious.

    The support from all of you is very precious to me.

    Love, David

    "If we heal the land;
    The land will heal us."

    1. David and Val,
      It is so good to hear from you, even when the news is bittersweet. We hold you both in Light. You may want to look into an author named John Boik re: natural compounds. I have learned of something else, too, that you may find useful. Let me know if you'd like more explanation.
      Thank you for your wisdom and for growing good things no matter where on the planet you are perched.
      So much love, 10,000 Blessings,
      Mary S.