what's up with social work?

Perhaps I'm a rotten social worker. No, more accurately I'm a rotten traditional social worker. The underlying principles and aims I sunk my teeth into during school are dead on. The problem comes up for me when I get my quarterly BC Association of Social Worker's newsletter and I read the titles of the articles and seminars. Makes my skin crawl. Not that the issues aren't important or that it's poorly done, it just that most of it doesn't interest me personally, AT ALL. (Minor disclaimer, there was one article on adoption in this issue that is technically of interest to me, as I work in that field). There seems to be precious little content that doesn't directly pertain to a government position in family/correctional services or private counselling practice. Most of it is individual oriented and that is obviously not my area of interest. I think we should be out there making stuff happen at the group and community levels. Am I out there? I think that things like getting involved in the Summerland Citizen's Association and supporting their new link with Smart Growth BC counts as social work. There's a municipal election coming up with some very opposing views, I'm looking forward to that showdown.

Maybe I should write my own article for this little newsletter and see if it flies. That's an exciting challenge I think I may take up.

fall catch up

So about all that soul searching I was going to do about whether or not to keep blogging...didn't get to it because summer was so good. Jeremy and I decided to make his Headspace J sight an official family affair so if I have more family-ish stuff to say I'll post it there. If I have other things I want to record or share they'll go here, as I've been doing sporadically lately but hopefully more frequently now again.

My summer reading mostly consisted of gardens, plants and permaculture. It's something I discovered as a holistic concept back in March and it's really stuck with me. I have reached a point with my reading that is unfamiliar to me - some sort of overload paralysis. I walked into the library one night with the usual anticipation and as I browsed my favorite sections I got more and more agitated. I'm so sick of reading exciting things and then not doing them. I feel like I have enough knowledge and ideas for a lifetime of experimenting but lack the time, money, energy or just plain grit to get into it. Maybe all four or maybe only the last, after all it is much easier to talk about the dream than do it and I have a very well developed fear of failure.

In an effort not to beat myself up too badly I'd better note that I have done some small things. I'm committed to only growing plants that have at least two purposes (possible purposes include: edible, beautiful, medicinal, insect attracting, hedge, windbreak etc.). Aside from a section of select edibles they must all be drought tolerant. My dad helped us clear out a section of mostly dead and ugly junipers in June and we finally got around to putting some plants in despite the strata president's desire to turn everything everywhere into lawn. While we're on the topic of lawn, my opinion of it is that it's generally useless, water hungry and high maintenance. A small patch of high use and more drought tolerant grass for actual living and playing is great. Ornamental strips that are a pain to mow and nobody uses are an abombination.

Back to my little patch - we put in a native vine maple, saskatoon, blueberry and lavender. I transplanted some very hardy chrysanthemums in there as well and we'll see how they do. Once we get the extra topsoil/compost/mulch thing going on I'll put in some bulbs and echinacea and hopefully get a picture. Hmm, the bubs and chrysanthemums are apparently only for beauty and don't meet my criteria. They were cheap and plentiful in my own garden, maybe that should be another factor! It's a far cry from the "guilds" I read about in Gaia's Garden ( I love almost everything that Chelsea Green has published, as an aside) but it's a lot better than more lawn.

Underlying all this planning for plants and more ecologically sound living is general angst about committing to living in this spot. I simultaneously want to literally put down roots and stick around to see them mature at the same time as dreaming of a more "ideal" place to do it (um, could there be a more ideal place that where I actually am?) or more exciting would be to travel to various places to learn more and help others do it. I'm making it a goal to have visited the Kootenay Permaculture Institute by the end of next summer to get a sense of what that scene is like.