It’s International Permaculture Day!

Happy, happy International Permaculture Day! !

Have you been doing anything to celebrate (maybe even if you didn’t know it was today)? Continue reading

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Adventures in Natural Building: Strawbale Studio

Walking into Deanne Bednar’s Strawbale Studio in Oxford, Michigan is like walking into the future…or maybe the past.  Either way, it is at the same time homelike as it is ethereal and dreamy.  It is a wonderful, welcoming space in which to find oneself.

Here, you are immediately immersed in a more nature-based state of living: jars of herbs, kombucha, and kefir line the counters, whittling projects lie about the room, and natural trinkets like spiraling wood, herb bundles, and dried flowers can be found in every corner and adorning the walls.

What is more unique to those unfamiliar with natural building techniques are the wonderful Earthen plasters that soften edges, relax the eyes, and bring the outdoors into the home.  Continue reading

An Avian Visitor + Wormville Update

Nearly every day for the past week, I will suddenly hear raucous alarm calls coming from the flock of sparrows that hang out in the backyard.

It appears that we have attracted a regular visitor who showed up on two separate occasions today. An adorable, killing machine – a Cooper’s hawk. Continue reading

Clean it Green: Laundry Detergent

We recently went to a Sustainability Symposium at the Botanical Gardens. It was a day filled with a variety of lectures related to the impacts of climate change in Northeast Ohio, gardening, and green living.

One of the lectures discussed green cleaning products.  At one point, the presenter showed a picture of what it looks like in the cupboards underneath the sink in a “green” home — lots of cloth rags, vinegar, baking soda, and maybe some borax or washing soda.  She then asked, “How many of you have cupboards that look like this?”

I was one of very few people that raised a hand.  Hmm…I guess there’s still a lot of educational work to be done!  Continue reading

Tips for a Greener Valentine’s Day

To be honest, I haven’t liked Valentine’s day much since middle school.  It was all fun and games with our shoe boxes and egalitarian distribution of Care Bears cards in elementary school, but then came the carnation sale.  Rather than a friendly gesture to celebrate a holiday, the carnation sale was really more of a contest between the three prettiest girls to see who would receive the most flowers.

While most of us sent one or two flowers to friends these girls were walking around with their 47 carnations leaving the rest of us awkward 12-year-olds with bruised egos.  The remainder of us “normal” girls sat at our desks, heads lifted eagerly each time one of the carnation messengers entered the room with the goods.  Nope, it’s for her yet again. Great.

And then when I was 13, my boyfriend gave me a box of chocolates (which really isn’t my favorite thing anyway) wrapped in paper made up of 2 inch scraps of all the letters and cards I had written to him.  I spent a lot of time on those notes – why in the world would he cut them into pieces as a gift??

Despite my less-than-perfect relationship with middle school Valentine’s days, the holiday continues on, and now I’m more concerned by the amount of waste and needless spending that the holiday promotes.  Why can’t we just be kind and giving to our loved ones on a regular basis?

However, I had an interesting request from a lovely reader recently asking what would make a good Valentine’s Day gift for someone who is interested in sustainability and reducing their consumption. Really, it’s a great question that more people should be discussing!

Here are my recommendations. Continue reading

Sprout It Out

The weather remains snowy and cold, but there are fresh things growing indoors!

Sprouts are a wonderful way to introduce a fresh, healthy food to your winter diet.  And certainly, if you are aiming to eat a low-carbon diet that incorporates lots of local foods, sprouts are an ideal way to continue eating fresh through the winter months.

They’re also really good for you! The most common types of sprouting seeds (mixes of radish, alfalfa, clover, broccoli, legumes) are rich in nutrition containing:

  • Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K
  • Minerals such as phosphorus, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and calcium
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Folate
  • Protein
  • Antioxidants
  • Chlorophyll Continue reading

Permintic Health and Wellness

What does permanent, integrative, and holistic wellness for a sustainable world look like?

There aren’t too many models at the moment, but Permintic Health and Wellness is leading the way with a new vision of what healthcare could be.

Permintic Health and Wellness is one of the next steps in the path that my partner and I are following to foster the change to a sustainable, equitable, and exciting new world that works with the Earth for the benefit of people and planet.

Here is some selected text from the Philosophy page that Michael has written: Continue reading

We Must Be the Change

As I observe people around me, I’ve been noticing a trend –most everybody, in theory, wants to save the Earth.   The problem, however, is that far too few people are willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to ensure a livable future.  The appeal of constant financial progress, of fast food and perfectly temperature-controlled rooms is too great.  The ease of processed foods, disposable diapers, and commuting by car to work is too alluring.  The abundance of cheap clothes, out-of-season foods, electronics, and toxic beauty products is too pervasive to pass by.  We have become perpetual children – looking to others to easily assuage our hunger, temperature, and state of mood.  We expect governmental regulations or some technological breakthrough to fix global warming and the ecosystem issues we fear.  We are unwilling to take the risk that moving toward a new way of living requires.  Continue reading

Experimental Earthen Painting

I don’t know anything that draws as many people from different backgrounds, generations, and skill sets as permaculture.  People from all walks of life are waking up to realize that our current culture is destructive and unsustainable.  It’s wonderful to be in presence of people who are interested in and excited about creating the alternatives!

Yesterday, I had another opportunity to be in a group of peraculture-type people as we met to play around with Earth-based painting techniques.  We were working in a gorgeous old apartment building built in the early 1900s.  Through years of wear and tear, some of the units are in better shape than others, and we were practicing in one that is being completely redone.

So why were we playing around with Earth-based painting?  Continue reading

Simply Homemade: Broth Powder and Face Wash

Last weekend, I was at the Chicago Bioneers conference.  It was extremely empowering to be in the presence of so many inspirational figures who are leading the way toward a new future  — one that is less dependent on oil, better at following the patterns found in nature, and is resilient to the inevitable fluctuations that happen in life. (My favorite presenters included Vandana Shiva, Richard Heinberg, and Starhawk.)

One of the themes that continually appeared was the need to focus on creating community and living simpler, more regionally-based lives.  However, people often asked, “How? What can I do to help us transition?”

I believe one of the primary answers is, in fact, embarrassingly simple: we need to consume less and produce more.  This cuts our carbon footprint, decreases our exposure to toxic chemicals, reduces the need to extract far away resources, supports local (and often home-based) economies, gives us meaning and purpose, reduces costs, produces less pollution, and on and on….

And so in case you haven’t noticed, that is one of the main things that I am attempting to do with this blog — get you excited about these simple-living changes!  It’s one of the easiest ways to walk the talk of being environmentally friendly, socially just, and a participant in a new Earth-centered way of life.

Today, I’m sharing two new homemade products that I’ve been meaning to write about (although on different ends of the homemade spectrum) — broth powder and face wash. I know…totally unrelated to one another, but they are both about producing more ourselves and consuming less!   Continue reading