Nourishing life, community, family, home.

Love and the springtime

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Appreciate the people in your life and first stirrings of spring.

As we prepare to get hit by winter weather, I recognize the lengthening of the day, the calls of birds, the play of squirrels in the maple tree, and the restlessness of everyone in the house.

Beginning of spring, CC-Takashi .M on flickr

Beginning of spring, CC-Takashi .M on flickr


A fun day to share FUNgi

Since I began my permaculture training in 2005, I have been hearing of Paul Stamets’ work with fungi. In this presentation to the Bioneers, published in November 2014, he shares not only some of his latest work, but connects key pieces of how our world works. He raises a vital point, which I’ll paraphrase as: If the language of nature is complex, nuanced, and beautiful, but we can’t understand it; then we have a responsibility to learn it–to understand it rather than destroy it.

In kindred spirit, I can echo his question–if you knew that how you washed your dishes or bought your electricity or cared for your lawn or shopped for food would make a huge difference for not just the world today, but for the ability of children and bees and trees and others going into the future, wouldn’t you make that change–and more? What change can you make today? Tomorrow?


More birthday thoughts…


40 is fantastic and I completely feel like I’ve earned it–the ups and the downs.

Here are two of my friends at a party to celebrate…

Friends at my 40th

…where we all agreed that we much prefer 40 to 30 or 20. The pressures are different. We don’t worry about the petty things we worried about at 20. It’s easier to speak our truths from a place of integrity–or to say nothing.



To kick off a new year, I wanted to share something by my favorite poet…and muse on the joy and trust of these two friends.

“You must not ever stop being whimsical.

And you must not,


give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”
― Mary OliverWild Geese

Spring-ing quickly…

What a spring! At the beginning of March winter was still thoroughly enmeshed in my life and travel. Peter Bane and I travelled to a weekend course with The Resiliency Institute in Naperville, IL. It was a wonderful course–graduating 13 fantastic students with vision, heart, and some serious skills.

"Reading the Landscape" at the 2014 TRI permaculture design course in March.

“Reading the Landscape” at the 2014 TRI permaculture design course in March.

In mid-April we ventured to Terre Haute and Indiana State University to table at the Earth Day celebration and meet some wonderful people connected with the community there. Food forest on campus?

Rhonda and Caden tabling at the ISU Earth Day

Rhonda and Caden tabling at the 2014 ISU Earth Day event

Now, with nearly 80 degree days, thunderstorms, and a sudden burst of flowers in the garden, we are rushing to catch up with spring garden tasks…Life is full and good. There are several permaculture designers a few decades after Mollison uttered the words “the designer becomes the recliner” wondering when that day comes. I think they also realize that, though the garden, teaching, and designing is a busy life, it is also immensely rewarding.

Caden's "photo harvest" from the garden....that one might go in the salad.

Caden’s “photo harvest” from the garden….that one might go in the salad.

I was greeted to the day with this post on Phillip Carr-Gomm’s blog (a blog I enjoy tremendously).

The beauty of this short film is only surpassed by the poignancy of the message Stephen Jenkins is sharing. I thought of the many endeavors of my friends and the questions with which they dance as they consider how to live a sane and beautiful life in this culture and these times. Ann Kreilkamp with her wonderful blog, Exopermaculture–wherein she addresses big questions about creating permanent culture, the changes of our times, and how to approach death and dying in our culture. I thought of Kevin and Monique, Mark Morey and the 8 Shields Institute, and Maya’s efforts to go to Coyote Camp. There are so many rich and wonderful responses here–and I know there are many more.


Sugarin’ Time…

Well, Happy Valentine’s Day!

And, I find myself preparing this year to tap trees for syrup–at least the trees I’ve got access to. I’ve thought about it for years and always missed the timing or hesitated. Not this year!

We try not to use refined cane sugar in our household, but we do use a lot of honey and maple syrup. So why not become more resilient and build a deeper connection to the trees and season by including this practice in our lives? A perfect way to “tap into abundance.”

There are, of course, excellent videos and sources about when and how to tap your trees and then use that gift of nature to make syrup.  Tap My Trees is one of the clearest sites I’ve seen. It even talks a bit about the benefits of drinking the sap straight–pointing out that this is a regular practice in South Korea. I am reminded of how important the maple syrup was to indigenous people the world over). And, hint: there are other species of tree that make excellent syrups.

Which trees might you be able to tap? Is there a “sugar shack” in your future?

So, here’s to –sweets for the sweet