Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Post from Paul Mays, our 612 Director of Permaculture (Written 12/29/15)

Ice on the ground, I look over the frozen garden from Sixtwelve’s second floor and realize how much we accomplished in a little over a year. In August 2014 there was nothing more than compacted clay. After a few hundred hours of volunteer labor, aproximately 15,000 pounds of horse poop and compost, 50 bales of straw, lots of plants and trees and some water we have a pretty nice garden. We now boast a 30x30ft main garden that fed quite a few people, including kids from summer camps and pre-k. Our pre-k kids even assisted with harvesting 250 lbs of sweet potatoes, some as large as the kids heads. Twelve fruit trees, donated by Transition OKC, were planted in February with the assistance of more volunteers, the fruit trees will eventually host our Forever Food Forest, a perennial food ecosystem. A Rain Garden workshop was held, and now provides us a large water catchment area as well as providing homes and food for local pollinators. We had workshops on composting and seed saving, planting container gardens, making seed bombs and a great mycology workshop. We had another great seed exchange, and a community outdoor movie night focused around the local food movement here and across the nation.

This is a time of the year when I start really thinking of possibilities for next years garden. Now that I am part time at SixTwelve I am looking at workshop possibilities, planning gardens and camps, I am so excited of the opportunities. We are going to change the garden over to a CSA, with 5 members each paying $250 up front for a weekly produce pickup, let me know if you are interested. We have some great workshops coming up including Compost 101, I Have Worms; Kids Wormbin, Oyster Mushroom Bucket, Garden Like the Forrest, Knife and Tool Sharpening, Kombucha and Fermenting, Spirulina, plus more. We will have an Earth Day Dance Party to be followed the next day by our annual Friendship Plant and Seed Exchange. It looks to be an awesome year and I hope that you can join us in creating a better community.

Monday, January 4, 2016


Happy New Year 2016! I'm sitting in the Charlotte, NC airport, on my way home from Savannah. I've had another great visit there and although I'm returning to a ton of work, I'm happy to get back to OKC. I'm lucky to have all of my friends and family in both places and now I can't imagine my life without either home. I always love that my friends in Savannah and OKC say "welcome home" when I arrive. It definitely feels that way.

2015 was not without its challenges and I certainly grew stronger and more confident in myself because I was forced to, but I'm not complaining. I worked through a LOT of fear and found that I had everything I could ever want or hope for in a support system. How did I get so lucky/blessed/fortunate? I won the birth lottery with my family and can't take any credit for that, but I'd like to think that same family raised me to be the kind of friend I would want and that's the reason for the non-blood-related family that I have in my friends. I thank God and this universe for every kindness and generosity.

I've had almost a week in Savannah and although my time was filled to the brim with studio visits, meetings, advice given and received, dinners, parties, work and very little sleep, I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle what is coming in the new year. I'm sure that I will encounter challenges and I'm sure there will be more heartache. That's just life...every day and every year. But I have a feeling that the more I get the hang of running 612 and the more that I find the ability to let time flow without trying to hang on too tightly to everyone and everything that is meant to pass through, the more gracious and happy I'll be. So here are a couple of lists that I think are keys to my happiness in this new journey around the sun.

Things I'm grateful for:

1. My family. (This will always be my #1.)
2. My true friends who love and inspire me.
3. SixTwelve
4. This life that allows me to live in Oklahoma and Savannah.
5. My dog, Willie.
6. A sound, creative mind.
7. Physical health.
8. Inspiring people that I don't even know!
9. A loving heart.
10. Enough to have and share.

Things I hope to do in 2016:

1. Sustain and enlarge the PreK program at 612.
2. Sustain and enlarge the 612 residency program in OKC and Savannah.
3. Gain even more confidence and peace.
4. Find friends who will go camping with me.
5. Take better care of my body. (This includes sleeping and resting more, not just losing weight.)
6. Take more time to reflect, ponder and create. I love watercolor painting and thanks to our 612 class, I learned that I love to needlepoint.
7. Blog more.
8. Love more (Yes, this includes opening my heart to dating again. If the amount of flirting I did with men in Savannah is any indication, I don't think this will be a problem. Ha!)
9. Organize my house and 612 in more efficient ways.
10. Be even more open to all the goodness coming my way. I believe in it.