Simple. Fresh. Local

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." JRR Tolken

Month: August, 2009

The Wisdom of Design

Design genious William McDonough

Where the Wild Things Are

Thank you Joel for reminding me this was coming out.

Food is the Prettiest Art

Maine was so special. The most beautiful pictures I have are the ones in my head.
One day I was paddle boarding up river, where the lake was a perfect reflection of the sky. It was so perfect you could look at the sky just by looking down at the water, the exquisite detail of the clouds wasn’t skewed by one ripple in the water, except for the trail I was making. I paddled past beaver dams and inhaled the sweetest smelling flowers and right before I had to turn around, where the water gets too shallow and the current too strong, I looked up. There was a bald eagle about 20 feet over my head. Just staring at me. It was huge and there was this raven squawking at it. Unperturbed, it watched me for a long time, so close. Finally it spread its massive wings and flew off barely fitting between the branches and the raven took flew after it, still making a racket.
blueberries+blackberries+raspberries=amys breakfast

blueberries+blackberries+raspberries=amys breakfast

Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

endless blueberries

endless blueberries

the ever necessary fire pit

One of the many spectacular views from our property in Maine

One of the many spectacular views from our property in Maine

The market and smells coming from Chase’s Daily were out of this world amazing:

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Love for Permaculture

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Permaculture was by far one of my favorite subjects we learned about in Canada. I loved it because it makes the idea of growing food, despite your situation, completely feasible; and not only does permaculture give us food, it provides the opportunity for us to create a productive and absolutely beautiful, healthy space that we want to be in. Just look at some of these gardens:

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The word permaculture first came from perminent + agriculture and perminent +culture which  became permaculture. Permaculture is infinitely scaleable, and integrates both social justice and design science.

So what is this concept that I am so enthralled with?! Well, I struggle to put all that permaculture entails into words, but I’ll give it a shot and come at it from a few different angles. Permaculture was developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as a way to work with, instead of against, nature in the effort to build more self sufficient human settlements. Essentially permaculture creates landscapes that mimic the ecology of nature; and with human influence permaculturists manipulate their plots to produce more food, increase soil health, and increase beneficial species.

Just look at the potential:

This is singularly one of the most inspiring concepts for humanity. The combination of growing food and ethics is a much needed shift.

Core permaculture ethics and principles, basic truths, codes of conduct:

  • whole system design
  • works with, rather than against, nature
  • sustainable system produces and captures the energy required to build and maintain itself over time
  • the problem is the solution. Ex: too many pests means a deficiency in predators, not a deficiency in chemicals
  • make the least change for the greatest possible effect
  • the yield of the system is theoretically unlimited
  • everything has an effect on its environment
  • everything works both ways
  • each element or component performs many functions
  • each important function is supported by many elements
  • design to accelerate succession and evolution
  • help make people self reliant
  • increase interactive diversity, thereby increasing stability

The word sustainable has been tossed around and defined in many different ways. The way we defined it in Canada was the simplest and most straightforward ways I have come across yet. If you are wondering if something is sustainable ask yourself one question: Does it build soil health? Now answering this question can take research sometimes, but it does simplify the question and tends to root out those green-washed products trying to claim their environmental sainthood,while really practicing the worst degradation. It is easy to see that permaculture, based off of the previous definition, is one of the most rational and sustainable systems we can implement, anywhere.

Becoming a permaculture consultant takes more time than we had in Canada, so we did something of a crash course. We set about to design a very small polyculture childrens garden. Designing a space requires taking a site assessment including:

  • climate
  • landform
  • water
  • legal issues
  • acces and circulation
  • vegetation and wildlife
  • microclimates
  • buildings
  • infrastructure
  • zones of use
  • soil
  • aesthetics
  • prepare for worst disasters: cold wind, water/flooding, sun

So knowing that a polyculture includes as diverse assembly of plants including annuals and perrenials, we set about discovering what would grow well and be mutually supportive in our climate.

Our Children’s Garden Vision:

  • Sand box
  • snap pea t-pee
  • wind chimes
  • swing set
  • rock circle
  • hiding places
  • fence/outer boundaries
  • herb spiral

Species (excluding those already existing)

  • sugar maple
  • butternut
  • nut pine
  • plums
  • hazelnut
  • cherry
  • gooseberry
  • raspberry
  • elderberry
  • arrow broom
  • wintergreen
  • groundnut

Many of these element were changed, replaced, or integrated differently than we pictured but going through a comprehensive design process together helped us to all share the same vision and feel like we were working towards the same goal.

Drawing and planning our space

Drawing and planning our space

Our design on paper

Our design on paper

The space we had to work with

The space we had to work with

Andrew Jones, Jam Jam Jessica and I shoveling manure, all day.

Andrew Jones, Jam Jam Jessica and I shoveling manure, all day.

The BEAUTIFUL herb spiral we built

The BEAUTIFUL herb spiral we built

Putting herbs in the spiral

Putting herbs in the spiral

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Creating my keyhole to  the garden bed

Creating my keyhole to the garden bed

Unfortunately we were all working so hard not many pictures were taken. But I am hoping to receive some pictures soon that show our work, I failed miserably at taking pictures.

I suggest checking out this website: Permaculture Research Institute and somehow, one way or another getting your hands on Establishing a Food Forest. I literally sat there with my eyes wide and huge smile on my face the entire time I watched this amazing, incredible, and inspiration video.

Don't forget to eat plenty of simply pure fruit ice creams and play games to keep energized and sharp

Don't forget to eat plenty of simply pure fruit ice creams and play games to keep energized and sharp

yes we played some games

yes we played some games

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Protein Art

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I forgot that I created this on my paint illustrator while we were all just hanging around in Canada. It is not totally complete, but gives a little heads up about protein

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Check out Adbusters magazine for more accurate and honest advertising, like the new GM commercial:

This documentary is amazing, reality can be really sad, it made me cry, then managed to inspire me. Click on the picture to watch the movie...

This documentary is amazing, reality can be really sad, it made me cry, then managed to inspire me. Click on the picture to watch the movie...

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