New to permaculture? Start here.

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What’s it like to fairly take care of people and the earth? It’s a concept called permaculture, and it can provide a guiding spirit to the creation and tending of your landscape.

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Revolution Review

It’s rare to find a documentary that appeals to both my interest in learning about the human condition as we live on an Earth with limited resources, and my interest in animal biology and ecosystem health.

Coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef has declined by 36% over the last 25 years. That’s an enormous loss. Photo © Rob Stewart. From the documentary film Revolution.

Revolution did just that with an appealing storyline, gorgeous cinematography, and an important message to share with viewers.

Through a mix of personal history, interviews, and travels to various sites around the world, Rob Stewart, who previously released the award-winning film Sharkwater, shares a compelling call to action.  Our Earth is full of wondrous, magnificent places and beings and we are rapidly destroying much of it.  Not only is this a tragedy because of what we are losing in biodiversity, but we do this much to our own detriment.  To use resources the way that we do in the Western world, we would need SIX Earths to sustain us.

Obviously, we do not have six Earths, but we do have a lot of people who are waking up to our circumstances and are demanding people and politicians to also open their eyes and act accordingly.

Rainforest, Brazil. Photo © Brennan Grange. From the documentary film Revolution.

Expanding from filmmaker Rob Stewart’s background investigating the large scale slaughter of sharks, the film explores the interplay between ocean and terrestrial ecosystem health, why many ecosystems are in trouble, how this impacts us as humans, and what we must do to change the current course of events.

This complex subject is shared in an easily accessible and engrossing format that will leave you ready to make change in the world as well.

The movie is available to watch by following this link.  I hope that you find it valuable and visually exciting as well.

Rob accepting the “Fossil of the Day” award on behalf of Canada – for doing the most to disrupt the climate negotiations at the UN Climate Conference UN CLIMATE CONFERENCE, 16TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP 16), in Cancun Mexico. Photo © Tristan Bayer http://www.earthnative.com From the documentary film Revolution.

FTC DISCLOSURE: As a way to support my blogging and related activities, I may receive monetary or other compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services within this article. However, it is my promise to you that I am sharing my honest opinion and that I only recommend products or services that I have personally used or recommend and are in alignment with Light Footsteps ideals.

Prevent Colds & Flu with DIY Elderberry Syrup

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There are so many great ways to support your winter health with herbs.  Starting with simple dietary additions (like garlic!) and ending with soothing choices to make your cold or flu more tolerable and shorter, herbs are my go-to for prevention and treatment.

One of the tastiest herbal allies, however, is the elderberry.

This shrubby perennial plant has been used as medicine for centuries to support health and well-being.  I often see it growing naturally in moist soils, but it has also historically been planted at the edge of gardens as the protector of the garden.  Even its name, Elder, speaks to its wise and respected role in our collective medicine chest.

Elder’s lacy, delicate flowers, and bright purplish-black berries can both be used for their medicinal properties.  The flowers are diaphoretic meaning that they help to lower fevers by inducing sweating.  It is a common ingredient in many cold-care tea formulas.

The berries are rich in vitamins C & A, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, beta-carotene, iron, potassium, and phytosterols.  They are often used in prevention and treatment of colds because of their ability to boost the immune system.  As an antiviral, they are helpful in treating upper respiratory viruses including colds and flu, but have also been used in treatments for other viruses such as herpes and shingles.  Elderberry’s effectiveness is not just an “herban” legend, but its ability to reduce the duration of the flu and to fight viruses has been published in a number of scientific articles (links to abstracts in the resources below).

As a food, elderberry can be consumed as a jam, wine, or in pies, but it’s easiest to use as preventative medicine or for treating cold and flu when made into a tasty syrup.  Luckily, it’s really pretty easy to do, too!  I even made a handy graphic . . .

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Lately

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I think we’re finally getting close to having a rhythm again.  We are settling in to this as our home.

As everything around us blossoms and comes into fullness, so do we.

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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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The Flooded Forest and Unkempt Garden

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Yesterday was a wonderful spring day to enjoy nature.  We took a walk along Big Creek and you can tell from all the leaves, trees, and random children’s playground equipment scattered throughout the forest that last week’s rains caused the creek to swell quite a few feet above the banks.      IMG_0067 Continue reading

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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Monday’s Walk

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We’re still following the rule that we must go out for a walk as long as it’s over 20 degrees.  Today we actually saw temperatures in the 30s and the sun shone at times making it a lovely day for a walk.

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6 Ways to Stay Happy Until Spring

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It’s the time of year when people start counting down the days until spring.  I begin hearing a lot of complaining about the cold, the snow, and winter in general.

I understand. It definitely will be nice to feel warmth, wear sandals, and get into the car without scraping off ice.

However, we’re doing ourselves a disservice to wish away the rest of this season.  Despite how it might feel, winter will end, and there are even ways to enjoy the rest of it.  Continue reading