Erazim Kohák

Darkness Rising

In the evening just before night, the darkness begins to rise up from the forest floor.

Here is what it looks like to the North of Tiny House Ontario.

Please excuse the annoying sound of allergies in my voice.

Categories: Erazim Kohák, Forest, Magical, Nature, Ontario, Time, Tiny House Ontario | 1 Comment

The Neighbouring Pacifist

Near Tiny House Ontario lives a survivor.  She witnessed, and survived unspeakable things during WWII in what is now the Czech Republic.  The experiences have left her with haunting stories that she often shares… her stories make me shudder.

These experiences have left her with what I believe is PTSD.  She is both a pacifist and vegetarian, and very unusual.  She walks around in rags for clothes, rarely bathes, and keeps as many animals as can fit in her home.

She is somewhat famous in the community for keeping her animals in her home with her.  Close to 30 cats, goats, chickens, dogs and she also feeds the wild life.  Last year she lost some trees near her house and the racoon family who lived there had to relocate.  She asked everyone to keep their eyes open for the lost racoons who we would know, because of the mask they wear.  I found this totally hilarious.  She is always looking for missing cats too.  Even those that have been “missing” for years.

At first, I have to admit, I could not get away from her quick enough.  She smells a lot like cat urine and makes my allergies go crazy, plus she is always looking for missing critters.  The truth is that you cannot get away from her when she starts to talk, no matter how busy you are or whatever, she comes across as quite a weirdo.  She is known in the neighbourhood and avoided.

This year, my thoughts on her have shifted greatly. I am busy at Tiny House Ontario, but not insanely so.  I have a little time to stop and say hello and to listen to her and this shift in myself also forced me to change my opinion about her.    I learned that she saw Louis Armstrong play live in Belgium, that she has traveled the world, that she is smart and interesting and passive and beautiful.  I think she is lonely and isolated.  I think she just wants to live and love and laugh.  I think she is working to forget, but finds this very hard to do.

A few days ago, she was upset.  Very, very distraught really, because one of her hens got out and was in the forest, and she was so concerned that a mink or a fisher would catch her.  I helped her look and tried to shoo the chicken to her own land and I brought my camera because I hoped that I would catch a photo for this blog.

The pacifist walked the woods for two days clapping gently and singing soft words in a language that I do not know.  She spent day and night trying to urge the chicken to come home.  Finally, last evening, the chicken found its way into her gentle hands.

Beautiful isn’t she?

Categories: Erazim Kohák, Forest, Friendship, Nature, Off Grid, Ontario, Simple living, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario | Leave a comment

A Little Flooring

This is the entry way at Tiny House Ontario.  When I built the stairs with my husband last year I was in a terrible hurry, so I built a square box out of plywood and never bothered getting back to it.  Too many other things needed doing!

This year my husband and I removed it, custom fitted it from the door to the stairs and we got some flooring from Gananoque Home Hardware to put in there.  Nothing fancy!  .49 cents a sheet – 8 sheets cost $4.  plus tax.  The trim was $20… so the foyer was redone in an hour or two and cost about $25.  It wipes up easily too which is great.  While I hate to produce garbage, I don’t think of this as my forever floor, rather as something to protect the 5/8ths of plywood and the 2×10 base..  Still, even though it is not my forever floor, I would be happy if it lasted until all the landscaping and so forth is done.

I do have a plan for good floors to go in.  Matter of fact, I plan to use that big hickory tree that is dying at the front of my land as the floor for Tiny House Ontario, but I don’t want to mill this until it is totally dead.  I expect that the big hickory will do the whole house, easily, but I don’t want to put it in until the very last because I don’t want it to be damaged by the coming and going of construction.

The grubby cement floor and bamboo mat will have to do us this year, in the rest of the house.  Perhaps longer, since I want to hand hew those boards after they are quarter sawn at the local mill.

Anyone ever hand hew a hickory floor?

Categories: Environmentalism, Erazim Kohák, Materialism, Simple living, Tiny House Ontario | Leave a comment

Waiting and Going Green

It has been 15 days since I arrived at Tiny House Ontario.  The forest changes so much every single day; I can’t capture it’s move from brown to green.  A slow motion camera would be fantastic  – or even a shot of photos taken three times a day, every day would have been great too.  Next year, perhaps I will remember to do this?

Now the canopy covers me and Tiny House Ontario disappears into deep forest.

Here is Leo packing up after the build a few days ago… see how green?

These days, the trees are so dense that the dogs hear people arriving before I can see them coming down the half kilometre lane.  Still, they keep me aware of what is going on.  This is Minnie standing guard.

It is so warm now that these plants that I initially had in my window are moved outside.

I start the little 10×10 raised garden too.  At dusk… another day until the soil arrives to the rock.

Categories: Dogs, Erazim Kohák, Forest, Nature, Ontario, Open your eyes, Simple living, Tiny House Ontario | Leave a comment

Little Nut Struggles to Survive.

Hickory Dickory Dock

The mouse ran up the clock

The cluck struck one

Down he’d come

Hickory Dickory Dock…

Every big nut tree starts from one little nut hitting the ground and surviving.  On my little slice of ancestral land, there are plenty of hickory trees.  Both the edible shag bark (sweet nuts) and the in edible (but horrible tasting) bitter nut trees are plentiful.

I mentioned before that the biggest shag bark hickory I ever saw is there.  I imagine that when she was a nut that my Lenape ancestors were still hunting there with bows and arrows.  I can only imagine what she has survived.  Drought, occupation, war, floods, the great depression, countless ice and wind storms and the axes of builders.  Still even a nut knows when life is ending and I too knew she was at the end of her life-cycle over the past couple of years.  With only a few branches remaining, and some animals have taken up living in her scars, she has been looking weak.  This spring when I came I found that her only two remaining large branches have left her and are sadly laying on the ground next to her.  Since the biggest one is her top branch, this loss reduced her height by half.  Just like human beings, she shrinks with age.

She looks small, feeble, fragile now.   Even so, she hangs on to her life with tenacity because seems to be budding out on her remaining little branches.  I believe what I see here is her last remaining spring hoorah before she becomes an apartment for the forest creatures.  Still, remember that perhaps 200 years ago she was just a little nut, she has lived a long life, witnessed much!

Hickory dickory dock.

Here is creation story which shows the importance of trees.

Lenapé Kishelamàwa’kàn

(The Lenape Creation Story)

Here is how the creation myth was explained by a Lenape patriarch when a Dutchman asked him where the Indians came from: He was silent for a little while, either as if unable to climb up at once so high with his thoughts, or to express them without help, and then took a piece of coal out of the fire where he sat, and began to write upon the floor.  He first drew a circle, a little oval, to which he made four paws or feet, a head and a tail. “This,” he said, “is a tortoise, lying in the water around it,” and he moved his hand round the figure continuing. “This was or is all water, and so at first was the world or the earth, when the tortoise gradually raised its round back up high, and the water ran off of it, and thus the earth became dry.

“He then took a little straw and placed it on end in the middle of the figure and proceeded, “The earth was now dry, and there grew a tree in the middle of the earth, and the root of this tree sent forth a sprout beside it, and there grew upon it a man, who was the first male. This man was then alone, and would have remained alone; but the tree bent over until its top touched the earth, and there shot therein another root, from which came forth another sprout, and there grew upon it the woman, and from these two are all men produced.”

*Jaspar Dankers & Peter Sluyter, Journal Of A Voyage To New York In 1679-80.

Categories: Environmentalism, Erazim Kohák, Forest, Kingston, Nature, Ontario, Open your eyes, Tiny House Ontario | Leave a comment