First Cob of the Season

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There’s nothing quite like sinking your toes into cob for the first time in the summer (or the first time in your life!).

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There’s something about cob that draws people to it like insects to glowing lamp lights.  We hover around it, watch it with amazement, and can’t help ourselves but to dive right in. Continue reading

Ban Busy / Savor Slow

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Recently, I signed up for The Abundant Mama’s #BanBusyChallenge.

ban busyIt has been a good reminder for me to reaffirm what I know to be true — deliberate, intentional, and slow living allow us to savor and enjoy life instead of rushing through it.  As the Abundant Mama reminds us, we are often obsessed with “busyness” because we are afraid of failing.  We want to prove ourselves over and over again by filling our time with more, more, more.

When we slow down someone might see us as lazy, we might have to face our own imperfections, and we feel that we might miss something.  Ironically, we miss out on life’s sweet moments by becoming overly busy.  And also, we are our own worst critics – no one else is judging us as harshly as we judge ourselves for what we are or are not doing. Continue reading

Homestead Update – The Beginning

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We’re still in the process of getting our house move-in ready, but it’s always a treat to go visit the land we’ll soon be living with.

Without any input at all there are many strawberry blossoms!

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Our New Homestead!

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After at least 10 years of dreaming, 2 years looking at properties, and 7 months working on closing on this particular piece of land, we finally have our permaculture homestead.  These 23 acres are the land that will sustain us into the future, where we hope our dreams will blossom into fruition, and where we will grow together as a family and into our community.

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Back to the Garden (+ the Littlest Permaculturist)

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Today was the first day I really dug my hands into the soil for quite some time.  I’ve been putting it off for a few reasons — mostly because of the weather, but also because I’ve felt conflicted about whether or not I should invest the time when we will hopefully be moving in the next couple of months.

However, the soil still calls asking me to dip my hands in, refresh my immune system, and connect with the Earthly energies.  I couldn’t resist.

A lot of today was just clean-up.  I was very pregnant last fall and didn’t get the beds taken care of the way that I should have.

There were also little surprise tasks like baby garlic plants ready to be separated and begin life anew.  Hopefully somebody will be able to harvest these culinary delights in the fall!

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Permaculture for Urban Homes and Small Spaces

Image source: permaculturesunshinecoast.com

One of the best things about blogging is discovering a new community of people with shared interests and goals.  One such kindred spirit is Mari of the blog Gather and Grow.  She is a fellow lover of permaculture and has graciously shared some great tips and inspiration for many of us who are interested in being more self-sufficient but feel limited by the space constraints of the urban environment.

Whether you live in an urban environment, or on many acres of land – I think you’ll find something useful here!

Permaculture Strategies for Urban Homes and Small Spaces

Permaculture designers love challenges. After all, permaculture is not just a set of organic gardening techniques, but a toolkit, a decision-making process, for designing sustainable human settlements. And one of its fundamental principles is: “The problem is the solution.”

What if we apply this principle to a challenge that many of us are all too familiar with: living in small urban spaces with little or no access to actual soil on which to grow food? Permaculture and gardening books present pictures of lovely, lush farm landscapes and large suburban lots overflowing with greenery, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens, perhaps even with small livestock. But what do you do if you live in an apartment, or have only a postage-stamp-sized bit of yard by your front door?

The permaculture answer: you can still do a lot. In this case, seeing the problem as the solution means turning the seeming constraints of an urban environment – the density of buildings, people, and resources – to your advantage, and doing things like intensive planting, vertical growing, and maximizing solar exposure in- and outdoors. Here I present ideas and strategies first for the apartment dweller, and then for those who do have yard space but it’s limited. Continue reading

Forest Farming, Inoculating Mushroom Logs, and a Surprise

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Recently I attended a weekend workshop focused on forest farming.

I can hear you ask, “What’s forest farming?”

Well, it’s the process of growing non-timber forest crops beneath the canopy of an established forest. In this way, forest farming is a form of “productive conservation” – you’re reaping benefits of crops grown in the forest while protecting the land from destruction. Examples of non-timber forest farmed products include: maple syrup, medicinal plants, mushrooms, nuts, ornamental woodland species, and fruit. (Learn more here.)

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Simple Summer Living

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Summer is in full swing.

My breakfasts are full of local berries,

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and my little urban yard brings a plethora of goodies. It’s pretty amazing what can fit in a small space when you fill it to the brim!   It’s certainly not a garden of perfect little rows, but it is producing a lot and no space is lost.

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Where do your strawberries come from? Plus: How to Freeze

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So now that you’ve made a delicious strawberry crumble from your fresh berries, what will you do with all the rest?

Make ‘em last the year!

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Why is it important to do this?  There are a couple of reasons… Continue reading

deliberateLIFE – eMagazine Review

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Recently, I received a request to take a look at a new virtual magazine called deliberateLIFE.  I wasn’t sure whether I should accept or not as I already have plenty on my plate at the moment, but when I went to the website and found their manifesto, I decided it was worth a try.

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