Sunday, December 2, 2012

November Update

November News!  Happy Thanksgiving!! View this email in your browser
That is Silver Falls, it's gorgeous!!!  I am keeping busy in Salem, and it's been a great month.  Below are more specifics, but I've learned a lot of useful things, as well as had the privilege of getting to visit Denver for a few days of catching up and staying invested in the people whom I did life with for the past 8 years.  As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thinking about how faithful God has been in my life, and how in only six months he has taken me from having no idea in what direction to go, to having more doors opening for me than I can possibly go through.  It is so important to be able to stand on the shoulders of people who have been pushing things through before you came along, and I feel like I have some very good shoulders to stand on as I am "apprenticed" by a couple who have been traveling and training for quite a while.  To everyone who made and is making this year of training possible, my sincerest of thanks.  May the Lord bless you!


Producing food in a small space

The fact is that many families, whether they are in Kenya, India, or right here in the USA, struggle to put enough nutritional food on the table.  Having a resource that helps encourage people to work together to produce what they lack is a big step toward seeing people get involved in each others' lives and experience what it is like when we love our neighbor.

Aquaponics is an innovative solution to this problem that arose in the 70's.  There are inherent problems with growing fish intensively, and just as many with growing plants in a nutrient solution.  When you take these two production methods (aquaculture + hydroponics) you get.... AQUAPONICS!!  In nature, there is something called the nitrogen cycle which turns harmful waste into plant food.  This achievement belongs to the hard work and determination of millions and millions of bacteria in every sqaure inch of whatever surface they can cling to where they can get Oxygen.

Aquaponics mimics that natural cycle to lessen the maintenance, input, and failure rate of needing to produce food in a limited space.  The system you see in the picture should be able to produce enough vegetable nutrition for a family of four (though realistically, not an American family, we eat a lot)

In life God rarely forgets the experience we have and the things that bring us life and will often use them to bless others.  I grew up taking care of my aquarium and learning all about how to keep it healthy.  I then got a job building koi ponds and learned all about keeping that larger, more expensive system healthy and functioning well.  Now that I have actually done a hands on build and put all of the theory I have been researching well before I ever came to Salem, I am ready to start going and building these with people and training them how it works.  It looks like California in January will be my first trip.  Stay tuned for details.

Denver Trip

There's no place like home

Once you've been somewhere for 8 years where you had a huge number of momentous things happen in your life, that place becomes like a second home.  I can't really describe how good it felt to be able to go back to Denver for a few days this past week and do a whirlwind trip catching up with old friends, seeing a bunch of the students that went with me to Thailand earlier this year and the ways they are walking out the growth that happened in their lives.  I also got to grab my camping gear from my old house.

It was great to see everyone again!


They grow up so fast

Did you know that a chick is ready to be introduced to live in the regular coop with the adult chickens at only 8 weeks?  It will begin to lay eggs at 6 months.  

I have been learning a lot about caring for these very useful birds in my time here.  I was amazed to find out how quickly they grow up.  

Learning about caring for these birds is an important skillset to be able to take to places that maybe already have chickens, but don't know how to get the most out of them.  This is not to say we get the most out of livestock by forcing them to just produce and not worry about their quality of life, but that a mutually beneficial relationship forms when we as humans care for the animals that produce food for us in a way that is good for the animals as well as for us.

Winter in the Northwest

It's a whole different ballgame

Everybody knows that it rains a lot in the Northwest.  While this is not my favorite, I am increasingly impressed by the useful things that having so much warmth come in off the ocean does for a garden.

Up until now, it has maybe dipped down to freezing once or twice, which is awesome (it was a shock when I woke up in the morning in Denver and it was 19 degrees!).  Because of that fact, it is possible to grow cold crops later and more easily than other places.  We will have to cover them to protect them from frost still, but they will grow and produce throughout the winter.

The most interesting thing I take away from it is learning to look at drawbacks as advantages.  Many places that have widespread poverty have not been taught to recognize the advantages to their local area and cooperate with the way it is there.  Learning to work along with the established systems is part of learning how to live together, bring the kingdom of God, and experience community in our lives.

Contact Info

Mailing Address:   Michael Brewer
                         7085 Battle Creek Road
                                 Salem, OR 97317

Phone: 303-552-6832

I am so thankful for the prayers, encouragement, and donations which keep me on the road and moving towards being able to work with the poorest of the poor.  Happy Thanksgivng, I pray it is a wonderful time for you with family and friends.

Many blessings,
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