1 February 2016 Newsletter Vol. 1 Ed. 1                                                                                   Return Inquiries & Submissions To:  newsletterCOS@gmail.com


                                                        The current OCTOBER EDITION is on Newsletter menu option. 

"Muad'Dib's teachings have become the playground of scholastics, of the superstitious and the corrupt. He taught a balanced way of life, a philosophy with which a human can meet problems arising from an ever-changing universe. He said humankind is still evolving - in a process which will never end. He said this evolution moves on changing principles which are known only to eternity. How can corrupted reasoning play with such an essence?"

                                                   - Words of the Mentat Duncan Idaho from Frank Herbert's Dune

                                                                                                                        Painting:  Carlos Orduna

                                            Biochar First! Or was that EM ... ?

Biochar innoculated with Effective Microorganisms may become the norm at City of the Sun. Bill Knauss is very enthusiastic about further developments with biochar and bokashi and another workshop may gel around soil building. This is largely dependent on shaking Bill and Sheila (Bjeletich) loose from their projects.

The method of using biochar and EM has been around for awhile.  The first link (below) gives good explanation for using the combination.  The second link is an account of a large scale and long term project in Costa Rica - approximately 20 years to date.

Why Inoculate Biochar With EM?

"The inoculant in our product stimulates the growth of microorganisms in the soil and their job is to transfer nutrients into a form the plants can uptake.  The charcoal in our product creates a stable environment for the microbes and a porous structure for greater infiltration of water, oxygen, and minerals.

Animal manures are no longer as effective as they were in the past to introduce, or inoculate microbial life into the soil.  The microbes in manure have been disrupted by:  “the wholesale use of antibiotics, growth hormones, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, genetically engineered Franken-feeds, salt fertilizers, and no-till.” - Dr. Arden Andersen, soil scientist/physician. Not only have the microbial populations in manures been disrupted, but also in the soil as well, where essentially one or more links in the chain of a living soil have been broken.  A living soil is one that should be teeming with microbial life."


20 years of biochar in Costa Rica:


                                                    You’ve Heard By Now?

Pegasus Global Holding is building a "fake town" in the desert and the site will be located between Deming and Las Cruces.  There are many questions to be asked about the project and it is worthwhile to consider that the fake town is fake because it will not be cost effective to allow people to live there during any of the research and construction phases. One can begin to imagine what the impact will be if it should be occupied after a time. It has been projected that it could be operational within five years though CNN reports that "the city could be operational as early as 2018." Time frames are something to work with and not necessarily reliable.  However, if one could take five years, put a billion dollars (perhaps more if the project completes) into a metropolitan area with all of the energy requirements, build up suburbs, make an outer agricultural area, fill in all of the usual businesses, malls, churches, schools, transportation, communications, etc., etc. conducive to an estimated population on a roughly 18 square mile parcel of land, what would happen if 35,000-40,000 people were invited to come to live and work there? What would happen if nobody ever lived there? What would happen if infrastructures were left incomplete after a significant number of researchers didn't follow through? This is outside of what what one might consider ordinary, organic or self-regulating growth.  (The population of Deming is in the ballpark of 15,000 and Las Cruces at about 100,000.)

Here’s how PGH describes their plan:

“The facility will be designed to allow new technologies to integrate into the nation’s urban, suburban and rural “legacy infrastructure,” and provide detailed, measurable results on their impact to the economy and its many sectors, e.g., energy, transportation, telecommunications, security, and agriculture.

CITE will consist of a fully integrated physical facility modeled on a medium-sized American city, including its urban, suburban, and rural areas, built with standard roads, buildings, power, water, telecommunications and operating systems. Representative of today’s modern cities, CITE will allow clients to test the benefits and costs of their proposed next-generation innovations and technologies, hardware and software.”  - NM Political Report



Interesting read in Wired on "fake town":


"The idea of 'testing' complex socio-technical systems without the people is bound to yield misleading results because real people frequently interact with materials and devices in ways that are not anticipated by the designer." 


Pegasus Global Holdings & Partners - Google them.

                                              Many Thanks to Linda Werner

Many thanks to Linda Werner for submitting Erica Elliott's blog entry (below) on co-housing. It is refreshing and well written.  (The part about going home to find something to eat and no dishes to wash is very stimulating!)  

Huge thanks also go to Linda for the help and advice she has extended so that our newsletter (and upcoming website) could be published.  There is no end to what she has done for Luna County, City of the Sun and the Village of Columbus.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk, beloved by many, said:

“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community—a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth."

Erica Elliott, a practicing physician, has lived in one of Santa Fe's three co-housing communities for 25 years, The Commons on the Alameda, and has written about some of her experiences and the sheer enthusiasm she has for co-housing which you will find in the link below.


Photo :  Entrance to the Commons

There are Mallards staying on the lagoon and the Sandhills have left not too long ago. It seemed there were significantly less Sandhill Cranes this year. Did you notice the same? Maya, who has been keeping her eye on the Mallards, said that there are two males and three females on the lagoon. There should be enough shrub around in the desert, otherwise your garden or shed might be a good nesting place for them. If they would have to go too far, they would abandon the lagoon.

                                                                                                      - From John James Audubon's Birds of America

Maya writes:

Who thinks about wastewater treatment?  (I sure didn’t, even growing up on an isolated farm in the Pacific Northwest and with our awful (and cold in winter) outhouse. 

Sewage treatment is not a hot-button political issue, yet much of the world has no wastewater treatment at all, with raw sewage in the streets.  Rose George, British investigative journalist, wrote a book called The Big Necessity.  She investigated waste disposal treatment systems (and the lack of them all over the world).  The Japanese, according to George, have some of the most effective toilets, while other countries have no system at all.  After the earthquake in Haiti, a group called S.O.I.L. (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) began systematically collecting and heat-treating wastes to use in soil-building and a tree planting program.

At City of the Sun, we have designated alternative sites for solar energy and Sun-Mar composting toilets.  We are losing topsoil worldwide at an alarming rate, and it takes a long time naturally to rebuild soil - unless we help.  In the book 1492, “terra preta” (Black Earth) was discovered in Brazil where people had actually built soil up to six feet deep and indicates that prior to first contact, there were large populated areas along the Amazon where terra preta sites were. (You can see this online and get more information about soil building.)

When I became involved with the City of the Sun’s wastewater lagoon, I was impressed by how the use of Effective Microorganisms (emamerica.com) acted as a digestive agent for sludge, helped kill pathogens, and eliminated odor. Our lagoon is designed to serve 50 families, but an evaporative lagoon in the desert with diminishing water supplies just doesn’t seem logical.  It is a tiresome task to occasionally empty the Sun-Mar chamber, bury the resultant compost, and plant some native grasses or shrubs on the area, but it helps build soil, and that is a serious consideration in today’s world of diminishing resources.

July McClure will present a 20 minute video which she made more than a decade back of the construction of the medicine wheel.  Potluck with and dessert after - invite a friend. Sunday, February 14th, 1 p.m.

                                                    Village of Gardens

Some may recall that City of the Sun Foundation sponsored and set up the workshop in 2006 presented by the State of New Mexico Farmers Market Association from which the community and school gardens arose. The workshop was held in the Village of Columbus community center and was very well attended. The thrust was around farmers markets but it was acknowledged that without backyard, school or community gardens along with reeducation, there would be difficulties in establishing a market and providing produce to sell.  For the most part, the surrounding farms have no use for farmers markets.  These types of growers generally work with contracts and ship throughout the country.  They also provide products that have been chemically fertilized while treated with pesticides which was/is counter-productive to the interests of the workshop participants as well as the State representatives for NMFMA.

The community garden was first established on the grounds of the Promotoria and had a challenging go of it. However, the school program, spearheaded by Helena Myers and later and to this day managed by COS Member Grace Jones, was always ongoing. It was difficult in the beginning to convince administrators for the need to make gardens a priority. That has changed significantly all over the country though somewhat sluggish here on the border.

The Village school in recent years has received funding to further the program which students, parents and teachers participate in, though families and educators could step it up a bit with involvement. Still, awareness of the benefits of locally grown, organic and no-GMO produce has increased and an economic factor remains significant. There may also be a significant factor around a culture of farm labor in the area and the grueling, economically disadvantaged lifestyle associated with it. It is possible that one generation prevents the complete support that school and backyard gardens and growers may need to really blossom; to become established in a more wholesome and progressive generation. 

When the new school was built, not only were productive and attractive raised beds installed in the courtyard of the school, a large parcel of land was designated for horticulture behind the school and close to the playground area.  It was fenced and professionally installed irrigation was put into place. This was useful beyond expression considering the amount of work it takes to lay lines in such an area. Volunteer help is at times very difficult to come by. (Water catchment was not yet a discussion in early days of the project.) Today the garden beds have increased as well as the number of trees.

Hopefully, we will be able to get an update in more detail from Grace regarding the status of the school program.                                   

Primrose bed at the Village school:                                                

                                                                                                                                       Photo:  Helena Myers

(Leigh Garrison's greenhouse)  The images are of seed beds and bedding plants for the Village library fundraiser a few years back ... "A Village of Gardens" vision.                        

                                                                                                  Photos:  Helena Myers

                       Corey Anton:  Self-Esteem & Reality Confidence (On Calibration)                                                             https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77NEcgh-qrk

                                                  Cabalgata 12 March 2016

Raid Days and the Cabalgata are on for Saturday, 12th of March.
 Riders will be coming up to the border days before the event to celebrate in Palomas, MX and then will join riders entering Columbus, NM from Deming and other areas on the morning of the celebration. The event will take place on the Village Plaza. 

The Cabalgata this year will mark the 100th anniversary of an invasion on US territory. Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus, NM is hyped as the only invasion on US soil other than Twin Towers. 

City of the Sun Foundation will set up on the Plaza early morning to provide/sell burritos to workers, riders and visitors.  Grace is setting up a petting zoo on the Plaza and she is sure to have some of the baby goats there. Anybody at all at COS is welcome to pitch in and volunteers will be needed early Saturday morning to set up and return things to COS later in the day. Get with Grace to help her with animals, fencing, watering, etc. Perhaps a photographer is needed for children's photos with Elvis. Looks like he is good to go for a kiss.

                                                                                                                               Photo:  Gracie Jones

Sylvia Brenner writes:

"Is it possible to let COS members know that if they are NM residents & low-income seniors, they are entitled to a Property Tax Refund from the state? Even if they owe NO income tax, this refund is available."

(Forms may be available online or in the Village library - ed.)

http://www.tax.newmexico.gov/Government/property-tax- rebates.aspx

            Alex Mueller left for Sri Lanka where he expects to be in retreat for several months.

                                                                                                                                       Cartoon:  Tim Corbel

Best welcome to the newest Member at COS, Shirley Garber, an IT specialist from Colorado.  She is expecting to be down in March to settle in and everybody is looking forward to her arrival.  Did you know she visited COS years back?  She got onto the paper crete building and came down to check it out. The desert must have captured something of her.

Have you seen this clip yet (link below)?  It is fanatastic! BBC doesn't say if it is affiliated with Cornell Lab of Ornithology but it seems similar to their work around the Birds of Paradise of New Guinea.  


                                                                                                       Photo:  Tim Laman

Worlds largest natural sounds archive developed by Cornell University:


Sound of the Common Loon:


                                          "Tantum possumus, quantum scimus”                                                                                                     (We can do as much as we know.) 

                                                                 - The City of the Sun                                                                                                                                                                    

Below is a pdf link for The City of the Sun by Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639) for those who have not read it. It is a work that is often juxtaposed with the Utopian works of Francis Bacon's The New Atlantis and Thomas More's Utopia

A brief 26 pages:


Below is an image of the first edition of Civitas Solis/City of the Sun.

The University of California, Riverside has acquired a rare first edition.  The work was published in Frankfurt am Main by Egenoff Emmel for Gottfried Tambach in 1623. Funding for Civitas Solis was granted by the B.H. Breslauer Foundation.


COS bylaws workshops are ongoing and the January bylaw meeting will reconvene at the next regular Membership meeting on Sunday, 21 February 2016 at 10 a.m.

Yoga sessions will continue on Thursdays at 2 p.m. (during cold months) while Alex is gone. It is very generous of Alex to dedicate himself to teaching the classes.  It was a year in January that he began them.

Linda Werner writes:

 "Alex will be greatly missed by his yoga students, as he is an excellent instructor with many years of teaching experience.  Participants plan to carry on until his return.  As there will be no formal instructor, students will follow along with instructional videos and/or audio programs.  It won't be as fun without Alex, so his students eagerly look forward to his return."

"Working diligently day and night, never wavering for a second, just extinguish the stirring mind, do not extinguish the shining mind; just stabilize the open mind, do not stabilize the dwelling mind. Do not rest on anything, yet have the mind always present."  

                                                                         - Zhang San Feng                                                                                                               Vitality, Energy, Spirit p. 201;                                                                                                                       

(The Peculiar) Goshawk                                                                       Photo:  Jim Rogers