Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

To Build a Village 2

This is the second part of the series I posted on Yemeni Journey. I am posting it here to bring you all up to date so you can see how their project progresses.

Things are moving along well with the children’s “Build a Village” project. Sukhailah and Hudhaifah, being the oldest, have put the most into their efforts. Hudhaifah has been reading up on alternative energy sources and various methods of water catchment and storage, as well as designing his own earthship house. He actually got it mostly built once, but it was wiped out by the big Eid flood.

Hudhaifah's foundation, pre-flood

Sukhailah has been studying earthbag architecture and, after reading Gaia’s Garden, a wonderful home Permaculture manual, has begun to plan out her planting zones and what will go in them.

Juwairiyah, my thirteen year old daughter, is the least excited about the whole project. She has begun planning and building her own house, but turns up her nose about some of her siblings’ “green” ideas, such as compost toilets. “If you’re going to have those,” she says, “I’ll make my own sewage treatment plant and hook my toilets up to it!” She says that Permaculture is “too complicated”- but I am hoping to wear her down on that one, as I explain how at its simplest it is observing patterns in nature and mimicking them in our own growing systems.

Nusaybah, my little cat girl, has gotten excited about animals. She has been reading up on chickens and has chosen which breeds she thinks will do best in the village’s environment (they decided to locate it a few miles away from Boulder, CO). Being ten, of course, she is also influenced by how cute the chickens are, but that could be considered important in its own way as well. As for other animals in the village, she wants goats, horses, and, of course, a cat in every house.

Mu'aadh and Maryam's Brick Factory

Mu’aadh and Maryam do what they like to do best- they draw. They have designed their houses already, and are beginning to plan their gardens. They decorate pages in the project book and offer to color in what other people have already done. They have also figured out a way to make a little money off of their older siblings- the last few days they have been out in the yard making mud bricks of a couple of different sizes for the children’s model houses. At 200 riyaals for a hundred bricks, they have a lot of motivation to keep on working!

So far the project is advancing nicely. I find the most difficult part is to leave them to do the thinking and planning for themselves, yet be here to guide them and offer advice when they need it. In fact, I just may have to start planning my own house and gardens in their village- just to help them out of course, not because I think it would be a lot of fun. Well, okay, just because I think it would be a lot of fun, but also because so many people study different things and can talk about them for hours, but have never actually acted upon what they have learned. Just like with what I learn about Islaam, I want to implement what I am learning about living in a conscientious, healthy, sustainable way.

Click here to read the first installment in this series.

As always, I welcome any comments and suggestions. I will pass them directly on to the village architects themselves!

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  1. Wow, looking good! Those dogs are a bit worrisome though. I hope the owners aren’t terrorists like their pets. Jeez. Have you met any other neighbors and how do they feel about that? Fingers crossed that gets handled before you move in with your little ones. Snow might be melted enough for me to plant over the weekend! I too am grateful for the moisture – it could be manifesting in different form though, as far as I’m concerned. Not quite so white. LOL.

    1. I know it. They scare the kids too. We are going to try to connect the bits of fence that are on either side of the house to the house itself, so they can’t get in the backyard. They aren’t mean, but they are really, really friendly and rambunctious and wild. We haven’t met the neighbors yet. With all this mess over the bombings we will have to be very pro-active in that, making sure we make solid connections with them. They are used to Muslims though, and we are right next to the school and the masjid and many of the houses nearby are Muslims, so that is comforting. I saw you were getting snow! The rain here is cooooooold, but it could be worse (like white LOL)

  2. You mean grape VINE? (SMILE)

    Yes, the rain is such a blessing. Maashaa Allah, all those beautiful plants and potential nourishment and apothecary! I feel healthier just looking at it all, maashaa Allah.

    In the past four years, I have forgotten what it is like to have a garden. When I consider what constitutes “drought” there, I guess we must be super sub sub sub drought here. Somehow, three date palms and a few henna bushes don’t fill the green gap. Al hamdul’Illah, at least we have green dates on the tree.

    May Allah bless your efforts and grow your garden in abdundance – ameen!

    1. Oh VINE!! Well, you see, it doesn’t LOOK like a vine right now, it looks like a stick with some green things on it LOL!
      Northern Yemen was beautiful, mash’Allaah, green and lush and moist, but when we were in the South it was like you say. Dry dry dry and sunny almost all the time. Tough on my little Wisconsin girl self, mash’Allaah! I missed the green as well, and was so happy about whatever would sprout up!

  3. As salaamu alaykum wa rahmatulah,

    It looks great, masha’allah!

    I have started some seedlings including lettuce, tomatoes, onion and cucumber. This is our first venture into gardening, and we are very excited by the growth sprouting forth so far.

    Since we do not have much outdoor space, we will be repotting into bigger pots when the time is right.

    It really is all very exciting…

    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
      YES! mash’Allaah, I am always always so happy and grateful and amazed when the little seeds we plant turn into plants that give so much beauty to our lives, alhamdulillah.
      Someday take some pictures and share with me, insh’Allaah.

        1. Well, you could write a guest blog post, send them to me, and I can publish them, or put them up elsewhere and post a link to them, insh’Allaah. Technical things are so not my forte, mash’Allaah.

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