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Lighten Your Burden

March 17, 2011

We left off with the formation of the beginning of you new neighborhood community so we will pick up there.  Once the nucleus of the community is formed, about 2/3’s of the people will remain active.  You will find it a pretty full time job keeping things together, so the more dedicated members you have the better.

Form committees in the same form as a small town, elect a mayor and council of at least 6 people, but be sure to give everyone an active roll.  

Form Committees

You will find enough work for everyone.  

The following is a “Quick List” of things that would be good to have.

 

Safety Committee:

to observe, patrol, and alert the neighborhood of possible danger, or safety issues.

Community Garden Committee:

locate a place for a community garden for those who don’t have available space. 

Establish Safe Houses:

several houses scattered around the neighborhood where kids or people can gather if needed in and emergency or unusual circumstances.

Community Water Committee

to create and maintain a good source of clean water.  (An independent community water-well would be a very good idea.)

Emergency Food

organize food storage for emergencies.

There are other committees you can come up with, but aside from these, develop the talents of the residence of the neighborhood;  a mechanic, plumber, electrician, baker, barber, health care, teachers, tinkerer, entertainer, dress or clothing maker, and many more talents found in your community will amaze you.

It’s not being suggested people give their service free, except in a situation of emergency.  What is being suggested is that each person exchanges their talents for those of someone else.  This in itself can reduce the cost of living for the entire community by a great deal.

The next person to consider is a guy found in every neighborhood, the one many of you have been trying to get rid of for years.  He is the guy that sees every piece of junk as treasure, and probably has a future use planned for every piece of it.  It will absolutely amaze you what this guy can do with an old bicycle, a car alternator, or a discarded old car battery.  I the case of a Hurricane Katrina, or the Japanese type disaster this person could be the most important person in the neighborhood.

REMEMBER

The key to any successful organization or group is…

COMMUNICATION!

Neighborhood Gardening

March 11, 2011

A neighborhood garden is a great idea.  With a traditional garden, it takes about one acre to support a family of four 100%.  Those who can’t afford to contribute to the cost can contribute some labor.  Lots of weeds in a large garden, if you have ever tended a large garden, you will remember how quickly they grow. 

There are now alternative ways to garden.  You can grow vertically, teaching vining plants such as cucumbers climb.  I have even grown pumpkins vertically. 

Square foot gardening is traditionally raised in beds.  There is less weeding in square food gardening. 

Another option would be straw bale gardening.  You actually plant in the straw.  This is great if you have clay soil or even place the bales on the patio.

With careful planning, you will find you will be able to plant more in the space you do have.  You will also find more places you can plant.  Plant veggies in your flower beds.  Plant hanging baskets of strawberries.  Let your mind wander.  Then research.  Experiment.

NOTES:

Neighborhood canning equipment, a neighbor dehydrator, and a secure place to store the products are just a few items to consider.  These are all great assets.  Regardless of what the future brings, the greatest asset is you are now neighbors as neighbors were meant to be.  Welcome back to the future of this great land.

Your Neighborhood Mini Government

March 10, 2011

Set up a neighborhood mini government and hold monthly meetings.  Never hold closed meetings, make every one welcome and a part.  Organize a neighborhood watch.  Organizing a neighborhood guard group is not a bad idea, after all you are now a community.

There are a multitude of ways you can do this.  If creating time for a meeting is difficult, try having a pot luck dinner.  We all need to eat.  Food brings people together and creates a setting for being “neighborly”.

Discuss the current needs in your neighborhood.  Consider the ongoing problems and come up with viable solutions to reverse the situation.   Keep it small.

Your neighbors may feel the need to set up some type of structured government.  Remember, government was intended to be run from the bottom up, not the top down.  This is what you will be establishing in  your neighborhood.

Feel free to contact the local Sheriff.  He or she is the ultimate law of the land.  Let him know what you are doing.  He may also be able to provide you with suggestions.

My thoughts on bringing in the Sheriff  are positive but I would highly suggest you present him with a book written by Sheriff  Richard Mack, America’s Last Hope.  Not only will this be an educational tool for him, but you will be presenting him with a gift showing your appreciation.

Note:  You can find America’s Last Hope at http://www.sheriffmack.com/index.php/books-by-richard-mack

Becoming a Self Sustaining Neighborhood

March 9, 2011

Don’t expect to have total involvement from all the folks in your neighborhood, but as time passes, and things tighten up more and more people will come into the neighborhood group.  More people mean more diverse talents, and a larger pool of neighborhood equipment.  You will have more equipment and talent at the disposal to the community.

Organize monthly trade days and advertise to the rest of the city or town.  Bake sales, yard sales or any other event you can think of and enjoy doing, are other events to utilize and advertise. 

Use the money your neighborhood has raised or a portion of those funds as a community fund to purchase equipment or for repairs to equipment you already have. Other items to consider adding to  your neighborhood center is emergency gear and water filters.  Are you supplied with city water?

If so consider a community well.  It would be a good idea to include the style  of water pump that includes the hand pump handle to go with it.

Hoping and praying for the best is a great attitude to have but, only the Creator knows what tomorrow will bring.  Prepare for the worst and pray for the best.

The Art of Meeting Neighbors

March 1, 2011

For many, the art of meeting neighbors has fallen by the way-side.  Sure, we may wave as we are driving down the street, but this is not the art of being neighborly.

Choose the neighbors on each side of your home and two across the street.  Of course, you will start with only one but repeat the process until you have met all four of your neighbors.

Start with just one neighbor and one special gift from you.  Homemade gifts are the greatest!  Walk out your front door and head straight for the neighbor you are not well acquainted with.  You want to be sure to select a convenient time to introduce yourself.  (People bearing gifts are usually welcome, at least to some degree).   Engage in normal small talk conversation.  Now and then as a slightly veiled question you will want to learn a little more.  You could say something like “Wow!  What do you think of the economy?”   You could be even more subtle with “My cousin Patty was laid off work last week, after 18 years at the factory.”
 
With this kind of gentle friendly conversation you will soon know some of the important information about your new friend; their politics, their hopes, and their fears.  By the end of this visit you will most likely have three neighbors instead of two.  The fourth neighbor is most important because you now have two groups of neighbors working on the same cause and you can now grow geometrically.  You no longer have a pair of neighbors but a group, and a variety of talents and value to offer each other.
 
Once the group is formed you are now part of what Neighbor By Neighbor is all about.

For more information on becoming neighborly Cindy and Michael have collaborated on an article at Sassy Condiments, click here.  

Fun Food Challenge

February 28, 2011

Along the way, we will from time to time have fun challenges.

This is a food challenge.

Honestly, this is something I cannot take credit for, it’s an idea from my son.  At least I know he has turned into a well-rounded young man.

You may choose the number of neighbors, friends or family to participate in this challenge.  Also, use your talent for this one!

For the sake of this example we will use 5 people

1.  Andy – has more fresh eggs than he can use

2.  Patty – remember Patty?  she loves to bake pies

3.  Jeff – bakes the most beautiful and delicious bread you have ever eaten

4.  Ginny – makes potato chips that melt in your mouth

5.  You – what is your specialty?  what is your talent?  (Rely on something you have a passion for making or baking)

Once a week, Andy presents everyone with 1 dozen eggs, Patty brings an offering of a delicious pie, Jeff has a loaf a freshly baked bread for each, etc.  You get the idea.

Now!  You spent your time preparing something you love baking or cooking.  It was a joy for you. It’s a joy to share your talents.  It’s a blessing to receive the talents of others. 

For your efforts of giving, you will receive eggs, pie, bread, potato chips and we hope you did not forget to make an extra of your special talent for you and your family.

Stop!

Think about it

Can you really think of a better scenario?

Neighbor By Neighbor

A Note from Michael

February 27, 2011

Friends and Neighbors,

I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Michael.

Together, Cindy and I have decided to share the days when neighbor helped neighbor.  We have already covered a basic idea here but I would like to share a little more.  We just covered the tip of the ice berg, there is so much more that will develop over time.  Our aim is to recapture the way of life that our parents knew when they were young.

We all know the condition and economy of our beloved country, regardless of what country you live in.  We are all experiencing difficult times.  Many know how to cope with hard times.  Many have never known difficulties.  A person really has to live it to “know it”.

Remember, no matter how alone you feel, you are never alone.

Over time, we hope to share many ideas and thoughts.    

Rule #1.  You are never helpless!

We all have something of value to share.  It may be gold or silver, but it also nay be knowledge or experience- which may be more valuable than any precious metal.

I had the joy of growing up in a tiny town of 655 people in Iowa.  It was in the 1950s, the Leave it to Beaver days.  I feel sorrow for those who missed out on that era.

We can recapture that way of life, neighbor by neighbor, street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood by simply sharing the gift each of us has to offer.