Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Our current situation - December 2015

As you can see from the most recent post below (November 2014) it has been a long time since we've updated this site. We seem to be in a new phase and wish to clarify what this is, in case you are visiting this site looking for a community to join.

We're actually questioning if it's our calling to try to expand our community numbers at this time. This house and land where the universe has placed us is not ideally suited to larger #'s of people (one bathroom, very intimate living quarters so not easy to gradually integrate and merge). The truth is that, without a lot of "trying", the Sharing Gardens (our ministry/community-service) has become a full time focus for the two of us community-founders (Chris and Llyn) and we need to have a fair amount of solitude and stillness to balance out the intense activity that the Sharing Gardens requires. Aside from the requirements of managing a 3 1/2 acre garden/orchard, we have grown to become a significant local resource for mentoring other "sharing" type gardens (growing food for the needy). We continue to manage an educational website (we're getting, on average, 6,500 visits a month from all around the world) The gardens have become a valued local resource for two different university classes to send groups of their students each term for "service-learning" projects. We seem to be moving more into an educational role rather than expanding as a residential community.

All this is not to say that our numbers will never grow. We hosted an intern for 10 weeks this summer who came out for a day and a half per week to participate in our project. This worked well as it gave us time to recharge our batteries between visits. If you read through our site and are drawn to what you read, perhaps you could find a living situation nearby so we can explore community together in a more gradual manner. We wish you well on your journey, Chris and Llyn - Full Circle Family

Chris and Llyn - leading a discussion group with students in the greenhouse.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Our Current Situation - November 2014

This is a spiritual community for generous people who enjoy gardening, heating with wood, cooking and storing simple, delicious vegetarian food and living lightly on the land. We live with a sense of familial cooperation which provides us with opportunities to feel the joy of being in service. We are integrated into the "main stream" in order to serve as a visible, living model of how “sharing” creates prosperity, health and a sense of meaning and purpose.
The Full Circle Family Community/Church is established as a religious charity but is not your typical, institutional form of Church. We base our lives on Jesus’ teachings found in ‘A Course in Miracles’ and the New Testament. We share housing, vehicles and all “things” in common (Acts 4:32-35). The daily actions of growing, storing and preparing food, and all the other simple practices of living are how we demonstrate the highest spiritual teachings of love, through serving those in need. We do our best to live lightly on the Earth, in harmony with all of Creation.

As of this writing, November 1, 2014, we are living in our renovated 1875 farmhouse (LINK) on the edge of rural Monroe, Oregon (population 680). The farmhouse is on 3.5 acres of fertile land that The Full Circle Family purchased in March, 2014. The land has been home to the Sharing Gardens since February 2010 but we have only recently relocated to live on the property.

Currently we are a strong and capable community of two. We would like to share this beautiful situation with others like us. Presently we have room for one or two more people. We would prefer to find a younger, committed couple without children; people interested in living in a manner congruent with Jesus' teachings.

Our way of life demonstrates how 'sharing' creates abundance, peace and health. 

Sharing Gardens - 2012
The Sharing Garden is an award-winning project that demonstrates how “sharing” creates abundance. Founders Chris and Llyn direct volunteers in basic organic gardening practices to grow large volumes of food that is shared amongst participants . The significant excess from the garden is donated to people in need through local charities. (over 6,200 pounds in 2012 -- the last year we counted). No one is ever charged money for the food that is grown. We save almost 100% of our own seed and grow all our own "starts", at least half of which are distributed to other community gardens and people in our surrounding community. Our Sharing Gardens website provides practical, innovative information on organic gardening and is visited by people from all over the world (over 130,000 visits as of this writing). (Sharing Gardens site)

In the summer of 2013, the Sharing Gardens land was made available to us at an affordable price. Aside from the 3-bedroom farmhouse, there are two good-sized outbuildings and two greenhouses (with plans for a third already forming). We are so excited to finally be living on the same land as the gardens! The land has a deep, strong well that produces over 40-gallons/minute of delicious water. We've already planted 40 fruit trees (apples, plums and pears) and about the same number of blueberry bushes. We're also going to plant figs, grapes and hazelnuts. Our capacity to grow nutritious and delicious organic produce for ourselves, and to share with others, will be greatly increased.

We are feeling excited about how things are unfolding. As the economy has stalled and many people are faced with few prospects for meeting their most basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, the Full Circle Family's vision for sharing 'all things', being in service to each other and the larger community while living more lightly on the planet seem more relevant than ever.
Are you ready to plug in to a project and community that truly align with Natural Laws and a Universal/Spiritual form of economy that delivers Health and Prosperity, Abundance and Inner Peace? Can you imagine living with others who ‘Give’ without any need for accounting, without any concern for a personal reward? Do you realize how much this “me first” world hungers for a model that demonstrates the healing power of Generosity? If you do, then maybe you are ready to join with us in laying the foundation for this emerging world!
If you feel inspired by what you read here, please take the time to follow the side-bar links (right-hand side of the site), especially:

Who we want to live with
FAQ and
Wanna Join?

You'll also want to spend some time on our other sites:

Full Circle Family Church
Sharing Gardens
All Things Sharing

If, after familiarizing yourself with our sites you feel resonant with our vision, please send us an email telling us about yourself  (email address to your right, in sidebar). Let us know the ways that you feel resonant with our lifestyle and vision, tell us about the skills and attitudes you'd bring with you (why would we want to live with you?) and ask any questions that still need answering. We are excited about growing our community to the next level. Chris Burns and Llyn Peabody

Less consumption,
more abundance - 
through sharing.

Come join us in the garden!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Forever Farm - Our "Pheonix Farmhouse"

We love our yellow farmhouse!
The Oregon autumn rains have finally begun. Our gardens have (mostly) been retired from summer production and we have time to turn our attention to indoor projects (like catching up on our five-month hiatus of posting to this blog-site :-). The purchase of the Sharing Gardens land is complete! We spent the nine months from Oct 2013 until early July renovating the 1875 farmhouse that came with the land. The house was considered a "tear-down"; more of a liability than an asset. It had not been occupied in over seven years and in that time all windows and doors had been busted; there were gaping holes in the floor that looked straight down to the ground below and vandals had marred the interior walls with spray paint and sledge hammers. Originally we pictured ourselves fixing it up just enough to use as a work-shop and materials-storage but as we progressed in the renovations it became clear that the house was basically solid and that we had the skills to bring it back to a fully habitable dwelling.

This is the house after considerable work had already been done; doors and windows installed; tangles of blackberries and other overgrown weeds removed. January 2014

Same view, September 2014

Our living room in the early stages.

Now, isn't that cozy!
Dining room: We put rigid foam insulation on the insides of all the walls, and then paneling over that.
Because of the insulation, the house stays cool in the summer and is quick and easy to heat in the winter.

We did most of the renovations ourselves - both inside and outside.

View from the rear. September 2014.
CLICK HERE to see a more extensive gallery ('before' and 'after' pics) of what we've come to call the Phoenix Farmhouse.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Putting Down Roots--We now have a Permanent Home!

Chervena Chuska sweet peppers
Exciting news! We're buying the land we've been gardening on for the past four years in Monroe! The property is about three and half acres (we've been growing food on about 2/3 of an acre up till now). It has two existing sheds and a farmhouse built in 1875 (it's the second oldest house in Monroe). There's a deep, strong well that produces delicious abundant water and an artesian spring that brings water right to the surface. The farmhouse is two-stories high and will need a lot of work (it's been unoccupied for about seven years and heavily vandalized.) But it's "bones" are solid and it's got great soul. We've already begun renovations and it's going to be a sweet place to live.

The 1875 farmhouse.
Back side of farmhouse
The majority of the land has been pasture/grass. Now that we know we can stay, we're preparing ground to put in fruit and nut trees and berry bushes. Our local friend and supporter, David Crosby (not the rock star!) has been helping us find nursery stock to get us going. Eugene Wholesale Nursery is providing us with 33 trees, 6' to 8' tall (apples, pears and plums) at three dollars apiece! They're the "seconds" so some may be shaped a little funny till we get them pruned up right. David has also helped us connect with Fall Creek Nursery who specializes in blueberries. These folks have made an outright donation of three dozen bushes, specially selected for our growing conditions (that will be three, fifty-foot rows). We also want to plant figs and seedless grapes and several folks have already come forth with offers to let us take cuttings. We're rooting lots of extras so there'll be a bunch to share. (Please see our complete wish list to see how your cast-offs can become Sharing Gardens treasures.)

Most of the original square nails are still holding the farmhouse together!
Some of the plans for the land are still developing... There's a low part of the land that might be perfect to grow cane-willow (for basket weaving) and bamboo (for various purposes). Our neighbor has been encouraging the native Camus lily to re-establish itself on his wetlands and we too want to encourage native species to regain a foothold. We've started a hedgerow of Rosa Rugosa - which will provide giant rosehips for both humans and wildlife and we've managed to establish five American chestnuts (endangered on the East coast). Chestnuts also provide food for people and our animal friends.

Tree planting--a sign of hope.
We are very grateful to the Crowson family (the previous owners of the land). Chester (the patriarch of the clan) was the one we first approached about using the land for free. He really loved our project and gave us his full support--even paying to have a new pump installed in the well and paying the power-bill to keep the pump running for these past four seasons. When he passed away in the winter of 2012 we were a bit anxious about whether we would be allowed to stay but his grown children were happy to carry on with the original agreement. We always knew that the land was for sale and that, if it ever sold that we would have to leave at the end of that year's growing season. That's why we never planted fruit trees or invested much in permanent improvements to the land or buildings.

At first, when oldest son, Jerry Crowson told us that the family had to get serious about selling the land, our hearts just fell. The original asking price was way beyond anything we could afford. But then he told us that they were dropping it by about 2/3 and it suddenly was within our means! Much thanks too to Llyn's Dad, Bob Peabody who made the finances available for us to make the purchase outright so we'll have no mortgage to cover.

Sunny days in the bean patch
Now we can really put down roots and expand our rural arts school--offering hands on, practical experience in growing food organically, canning and other forms of food preservation, vegetarian cooking, basket-weaving and all the other aspects of our Mission Statement. The Sharing Gardens will continue to thrive and grow providing a common-ground gathering place dedicated to the cultivation of generosity.

A great year for carrots...and kids!