Knoxville Permaculture Guild

resize_colorWell, we have finally done it and took the big step towards non-profit status with the Knoxville Permaculture Guild.

Chad and I started the guild in 2008 with the help of our friend Brad Wilson.  At the time, Chad hoped that by creating the guild and a network of people interested in the guild that the practice of permaculture would take root.  It did to a certain extent, but there were still many gaps.  This summer past, we decided that we either need to stop the guild entirely or take it to the next level.  Since practicing permaculture is completely ingrained in our lives, we couldn’t throw away 7 years of work, and so, here we are.

You can read all about the changes including our mission, vision, and strategy at our new website  If you would like to receive our email newsletter announcing work days, events, and potlucks visit our Contact Us page and let us know!

Hope to see you there.


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An Edible Forest; Four and Half Years Later

Members of the Knoxville Permaculture Guild install an edible landscape on November 22, 2008.

Members of the Knoxville Permaculture Guild install an edible forest on November 22, 2008.  The Pine tree is in the background.

Way back in November of 2008, the Knoxville Permaculture Guild held a work party at a guild member’s home in west Knoxville where we planted an edible forest.  Some of the bushes and trees seemed so little an fragile, and we wondered how any of it would survive the winter.  This was Chad’s first permaculture design experiment as well as the homeowners were not experienced gardeners in any way.  We didn’t know if the forest would be a success or a failure.  It was one of those things where only time would reveal the result.

After four and a half years, I had the pleasure of visiting the edible forest today (June 13, 2013), and I’m ready to report the outcome.

Members of the Knoxville Permaculture Guild install an edible landscape on November 22, 2008.

Members of the Knoxville Permaculture Guild install an edible forest on November 22, 2008.  Some plants were tiny sticks with roots.

Chad designed the forest around an established pine tree planning several canopy layers.  I don’t remember the entire design plan, but the upper canopy consisted of the pine tree and a Heartnut tree, which we planted.  The next canopy included trees like Nanking Cherry, Goumi berry,  Plumcot, Pear, and Plum.  The third layer consisted of bushes like Gooseberry and Blueberry as well as Kiwi (vine) along the back using the chain link fence as support and asparagus.  The homeowners really wanted a peach tree, and that was added to the planting, too.  We planted the stuff, laid cardboard boxes around plants to suppress weed growth, and left instructions for the novice gardener homeowners to mulch as soon as possible.  Chad also left a list of ground covers that could be planted in the future to assist with weed suppression and assist with keeping the soil healthy.

And that’s how we left it.  I heard last summer that the peach tree produced a ridiculously large harvest and received some peach jam from the harvest, but other than that, I had not seen or heard about the forest…until today.  I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos.  All I had on me was my cell phone.

Edible forest June 2013. The pine tree is in the background.

Edible forest June 2013. The pine tree is in the far background.  Pear tree is in the very front.  Next is the Goumi berry bush, and behind that is the purple plum.

Edible Forest 2013. Pear tree in forefront and Heartnut tree in background.

Edible Forest 2013. Pear tree in forefront and Heartnut tree in background.  Thought healthy, neither tree has produced yet.

Plum Tree 2013

Plum Tree 2013.  The homeowner says that the birds usually find the plums before she is able to pick them.

But we did find one plum that the birds missed!

But we did find one plum that the birds missed!

The Plumcot tree 2013 with the pine tree in the background.

The Plumcot tree 2013 with the pine tree in the background.

Plenty of Plumcots, but not quite ready to harvest.

Plenty of Plumcots, but not quite ready to harvest.

I learned today that Gummi Berries have more Lycopene than the tomato.

I learned today that Goumi Berries have more Lycopene than the tomato.

Only one of three blueberry bushes that survived. It's in need of more sun.

Only one of three blueberry bushes that survived.  It is healthy, but no where near the size that it should be.  With a bit more sun, it should do fine.

A gooseberry growing. Both bushes planted are doing well, but only producing for the first time this year that the homeowner knows.

A gooseberry growing. Both bushes planted are doing well, but only producing for the first time this year that the homeowner knows.

The peach tree June 2013.

The peach tree June 2013.  The homeowner laid a weed barrier fabric to suppress weeds and applied mulch to keep in  moisture.

Plenty of peaches again this year!

Plenty of peaches again this year!

I was so completely surprised at the health an size of the forest.  The forest itself isn’t in a huge area an would easily fit onto half a city lot.  Most everything survived.  They lost two of the three blueberries and two of the three kiwis.  The homeowner didn’t think that any of the asparagus survived, but we found one shoot today.  Overall, the homeowner is very pleased with the forest, which is also quite important.

I am happy to say that the work we did back in November of 2008 is alive and thriving!  It’s good to see permaculture in action.

Posted in community, farming, food, fruit bushes, fruit trees, Gardening, landscape design, orchard, Permaculture | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in the KuNtRy

Many of my personal friends (about 450 of you on Facebook) know and may follow with amusement my KuNtRy sagas with burning. For those of you who don’t know, allow me to briefly bring you up to date…

People in the KuNtRy like to burn anything, everything, and all the time.  They like to burn everything from a few fallen twigs to gigantic trees to stumps out of the ground to large piles of rotten wood to grass clippings to leaves.  Sometimes, they chop down a tree simply so they can burn it.


How to get past Air Quality codes…

Knox County does have an air quality code and requires a permit for open burning of brush, but I suspect that no one follows the code.  Or if they know the code, they find a way around it.  This is why the guy to the east of me has built a lovely cinderblock “fireplace” so he can burn burn burn without a permit.  (It is stated that burning in a chimney is legal because in theory the air draw creates better combustion and therefore less smoke.)

In the winter, there is also a lot of poor burning habits from people’s inside fireplaces.  Not only do they burn green wet wood, but they also pile it in the wood burning stove, damper it down, and allow it to smolder all day.  There is also a visible emissions code, which I must confess, not even I knew about until I began this research.  Knox County code states, “…no person shall cause, suffer, allow, or permit discharge from any single source visible emissions of an opacity in excess of 20 percent for a six (6) minute average…”


See? Less Smoke!

The State of Tennessee has air quality codes, too.

It’s been a long smokey winter.  My lungs and sinuses hurt.  I thought with the warm weather that I may find some relief…until…SPRING burning!

It began a few days ago when the guy that lives to the west of us decided to venture out of his cave and burn a 10 foot long decayed fallen tree.  No, he didn’t cut it up into manageable pieces.  He simply set the entire thing on fire.  Chad and I went for a walk with the dog leaving the windows open knowing that we would be gone about 15 minutes.  By the time we got to the end of the street (.6 miles) and turned around, I could smell smoke.  I said, “Well I guess [the people who live to the east of us] decided to burn that big pile that is stacked up down in the woods…,” but it wasn’t.  By the time we came into view, we exclaimed, “What the f*** is that?  The windows are open!  My kid is outside playing!”  By the time we returned home (the entire walk was 15 minutes), smoke smell permeated the house.  Two days later, the fire was still smoldering and despite nice temperatures, we couldn’t open the windows.  My son and I are having sinus and breathing problems.


Nothing like a nice warm fire on a cold day…oh, wait, they weren’t even home when this was going on.

Then yesterday, I learned that these same people are getting ready to exit the cave again and burn a 2 year old 25’x20′ slash pile that sits about 40 feet from my home. It has everything from thick green tree branches to construction materials to grass clippings to god knows whatever else in it.  How did I hear of this since it is obvious that NO ONE around here has the courtesy to at least tell their neighbors when they are going to burn?

I went over to talk with the young  new tenant, who has lived next door for about a week and a half, to clear the air for getting on him about riding an ATV all around the yard (I asked if he had permission to ride the ATV in circles around the small yard and that he may want to make sure from the owners that it was ok because they seem to care about their yard…not my style…but it is clean and maintained.)  In chatting he let it be known, “We are going to have a big bonfire with that pile real soon…”

"We're having a big bonfire!"

“We’re having a big bonfire!”

I didn’t know who “we” was so I took him a copy of the Air Quality code and asked that “we” follow code.  I let him know that there was vinyl siding and construction materials in the pile and that if he needed assistance taking some of the stuff to the dump, that we would be happy to assist.

I know, some of you are shaking your head and thinking that I should mind my own business because that how stuff is done in the KuNtRy.  Well, how many of you have live downwind from a huge slash pile that contains plastic and is about to go up in flames?  How many of you are suffering breathing problems due the negligent burning going on around you?


OFFENDER! Before the big burn…

Just because that’s the way ‘things are done’ doesn’t mean that it is right, or that I should put up with it, or that I should shut my mouth…I bet some people think that Rosa Parks should have stayed in the back of the bus, too.

So what I got was the landlady knocking on my door and screaming in my face on my back deck that if I had a problem, I needed to talk with her since she is now managing the property for her ill and elderly parents. (Who knew any of that since in the two years that I have lived here they haven’t so much as waved hello when they are outside mowing their lawn, which is the only time they are outside.) I was informed that “all this” with a sweep of her hand was her property (KGIS records beg to differ) and that I had no right to tell her tenant to stop riding his ATV and that he can ride it wherever he wants on her land!  (I informed her that I merely suggested that he make sure that he had permission…honestly, they are such sticklers about the yard, I was very surprised that she would allow someone to ride an ATV through it???)


Day two of the burn…

I was told that it was her burn pile and I had no right to tell her tenant about the codes and that if I had a problem that I come to her (Yes, all jumbled together in one breath…still going…) and that her dad has blah blah blah and her mom is blah blah and that she can’t handle anymore and it’s all her land and her family has been burning for generations and the guy who lived here before me (It was a woman, not a man, but I didn’t correct her) told someone not to ride the ATV around the back yard and…well honestly I kind of forget after that.

Now, I was focused on her the entire time, and when I turned my head, I noticed the tenant and “The Nephew” standing at the property line.  I don’t even know who “the Nephew” is.  He doesn’t have any ownership in this, and/or he may live with his grandparents (or parents) a few houses up the street.  He is simply a part of the clan, and the tenant is a friend of his.  “The Nephew” is moving around in place…he is antsy to say something to me.

What came out of the confrontation:

1.  She stated that she would get a permit and follow the code, and when I offered our services to assist (since she was very stressed right now with all the blah blah blahs), she retorted in an angry fashion, “I don’t need your help!”  I said, “Okay.”

2. As she walked down my steps, she told me again that they can ride their ATVs wherever they want.  It was her property.  I said, “Okay.  I’m glad it’s okay and (this is where I fucked up) that it wasn’t good for property values (but honestly, I was really good the entire time she yelled at me.  I wasn’t sassy or anything.  I swear!  Chad is my witness.  He said that I was actually rather compassionate.)  Anyway, after the one snide remark, that’s when her eyes bulged out of her head and “The Nephew” got to yell at me…


“When I mow behind your woodpile, all the bugs come running out!

3. She screams, “Property values?  I don’t like chickens!  Or that tall grass (Chad’s wheat crop).  Or that wood pile!  When I mow behind your woodpile, all the bugs come running out!”  Yes, I swear that she said that, and her tractor is too big to get behind the wood pile. I mow over there.

4.  And “The Nephew” ~finally~ gets to speak, “I don’t like chickens!  There are bugs in this wood pile!  This (sweeping motion of the hands) is the LINE, and what we do over here is our business like what you do over there is your business!  This is our property!  You just stay over there!”   (I’m thinking, “Get ready for a rude awakening, dude…when those old people die, you ain’t gettin’ none of this.”)  If Chad had not come out on to the deck and stood behind me, I don’t think he would have stopped yelling at me.



I didn’t have time to tell them how people come from all over to our homestead to see and learn about permaculture practices, but something tells me that they wouldn’t have cared.

With hindsight, I probably could have handled it differently.  Like when the tenant said, “We…”  I probably should have asked, “Who is ‘we’?”  Cliche time…hindsight is 20/20 and shoulda, woulda, coulda.

I refuse to live my life in fear even though it tears at my gut, I feel like I want to throw up, and I can’t eat.  I somehow have to summon the courage to walk outside each day with my head held high with principles in tact even though no one around here will talk to me, which may actually suit me fine since I don’t really like most of these people anyway…at least I don’t have to be a fake.  It hurts, and it is hard.  It’s fucking hard, but I know that somewhere, there is support…even if the only person standing behind me is my spouse whose got my back during most my crazy antics.  That is what gets me through.

Ahh, the adventures of the KuNtRy…next stop…pigs for the old homestead. HAH!  Just kidding.

Posted in cancer, chickens, Earth, environment, Local Issues, Nature, Permaculture, perspective, Urban Farming | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Little Farm in the Ghetto

Little Farm in the Ghetto. Original artwork by Antoinette Juhl.

When people visit my gardens, I feel a sense of joy when I hear, “This inspires me.  I want to to do this!”  Each time I visit fellow gardener and friend, Antoinette Juhl, on her Little Farm in the Ghetto, I feel inspired to return home and do more in my own yard.

Tucked away in the Northeast pocket of Parkridge at the top of the hill, the Juhls have turned their historic home and double lot into an unexpected urban homestead.  Purchased in February 2008, their family of six is a model in efficient living.  Antoinette’s husband, Jens, an accomplished carpenter, has retro-fitted their 930 square foot home into an amazing example of smart living.  The creative spirit of the entire family resonates through-out both the interior and exterior of their home and there is always a new project in the making.  Located only a few miles from Center City, when I visit the Juhl’s homestead,  I feel that I have walked through a portal and emerged into a quirky secret garden far far from the confines of the city.

Bean poles at The Outpost inspired by Antoinette Juhl and her Little Farm in the Ghetto.

Antoinette, a full-time college student, mother of four, and caretaker of their urban homestead, pleasantly took some time from her busy schedule to chat with me about their lifestyle.

A.U. In general, what got you into this…gardening and producing your own food?

A.J.  Having kids.  When I think back to 1999, we weren’t very health conscious.  We purchased run-of-the-mill store brands with no concept of local or organic.  In 2002, when we lived in Klamath Falls, Oregon, we got chicks and had a 10×10 garden.  We did great on eggs, but the vegetable gardens failed.  By 2003, we began incorporating more fresh vegetables and healthy quality foods.  In New Hampshire (2007), we lived on 4 acres.  Two friends, who Jens met at the hardware store, taught us how to process meat birds that we raised from chicks.  We processed about 50 birds for our own consumption that year.  In the past nine years, we have gone from buying generic mac and cheese, canned beans, and cheap white bread to raising poultry, growing our food…or buying local at the Farmers’ Market or organic from the co-op…to making our own bread; we also do some canning and preserving.

The bean pole that inspired me. What inspired me about Antoinette’s bean pole over others that I have seen is that she put it between two walkways so she could walk under and through it making bean harvesting a lot easier.

In the past four years since living here,  we have 10-12 active [vegetable] beds, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries, and figs.  We add a little each year.  My goal is to create the perfect food yard: herbs; annual and perennial food gardens; and fruit producing trees and bushes.

It’s a lot of work.  It’s not always easy.  When I feel frustrated I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?  Why don’t we just buy from the grocery store?”  But now, I am conscious of quality, and it is worth my time and energy to know what is going into my family’s tummies.

A.U. That leads me to my next question.  What is the inspiration to live the way you do?

A.J.  Inspiration?  I didn’t learn this from my family.  Jens and I both had very city lives.

There are frustrations and a lot of fails.  It’s hard trying to do it on a budget and on our own, but when I see my children’s relationship with food compared to others- that they understand where food comes from, that the cellophane chicken breast at the store was once alive and choose not to buy it because it was raised in horrible conditions and a toxic environment and that they don’t want to put that toxic food into their mouths- I know that I’m doing the right thing.

Little Farm in the Ghetto. Photo by T. L. Hellwinckel

A.U. How do you find this alternative lifestyle to benefit you and your family as opposed to the more traditional/mainstream way of living?

Living in a small home isn’t always easy.  Yes, I would like a little more space for the six of us- around 1500 square feet, a second bathroom would be nice- but two people living in 2500 square feet is not necessary.  Sometimes I feel the pull to get a ‘normal’ house on a normal sized lot that is simple to mow or to move out to the country, but now, I couldn’t imagine doing that.  I really like the city.  It’s more ‘green’ because everything is more accessible…within a few miles of home.  The only reason I would move to the country is to expand food production and have livestock, but we have such an investment here.  I feel a strong connection to southern country life as opposed to other places in the ‘country’ that I have lived.  It feels more old fashioned here…Appalachian.

Scarecrow at the Little Farm in the Ghetto.

Sometimes the kids get frustrated because their friends have this or that, but I think they appreciate it.  (She turns to two of kids who are listening in and raises a inquisitive eyebrow at them.  They nod in approval.)  Their friends come over here and they say, “You have a tree house, and rope swing, and a loft, and a pond, and ducks, and…!”  Their friends think it’s cool.  It’s different.

By living the way we do, we take the time to care about our food.  Many people don’t stop to think or think that it even matters where food comes from or how it is produced.  We have more awareness about these issues, and the more awareness you have, the harder it is not to care.  In many ways, ignorance does equal bliss.  It’s easier not to know- to buy large quantities of food from [names a big box store] or to buy what’s on sale.  Knowing what I know, it’s hard to go back.  I prefer beans and rice to conventional food.  There is nothing simple about the simple life.  It takes a lot of time and research.  Appalachia has generations of knowledge passed down.  It’s underrated or devalued, but ‘country people’ have more knowledge than city folk. They tend to fix things and reuse things instead of buying something new when the old something breaks.

Little Farm in the Ghetto. Photo by T. L. Hellwinckel

I feel joy when I learn something and pass along the information to others.  This lifestyle creates community because we need to ask questions of each other and share information.  It creates a support circle.

A.U. Do you have a gardening philosophy?  If so, what is it?

A.J. I try to keep it simple.  I’m not into real complex systems.  I don’t fit  into one box or one label like “permaculturist”.  My perimeters are my own ethics.  My goal is to grow food as maintenance free as possible- to create a yard that sustains us without a huge amount of labor.  I want paths through the yard, herbs, and one small patch of grass.  There is a lot of labor up front, and the reward comes later in life.  Balance is important…I’m back in school.  I’ve got the gardens and four kids…so I try to balance city life with homesteading.

Little Farm in the Ghetto. Photo by T. L. Hellwinckel

I’m looking for simple answers not huge philosophy.  There are more like minded people here [Knoxville] than anywhere that I have lived.  There is a growing movement here…a “grow your own food because it is good for you.”

A.U. Do you have words of encouragement or advice for folks who are contemplating this kind of lifestyle?

A.J. Don’t let your first failure deter you.  It’s normal to fail lots of times.  Try to learn from failure…it’s not really failure, it’s a learning experience.

Find your own way or method that works for you.  Work with what you have and use common sense.  People have more common sense than they know…they simply lack the confidence to trust their common sense.

Antoinette Juhl; Mother, Student, Gardener, Homesteader, Artist…Friend.

I have the same philosophy towards growing food that I do with cooking or child rearing; You don’t have to follow instructions word for word.  It’s okay to improvise.  Be inspired by others, then do your own thing.

Posted in Earth, environment, ethical eating, food, Gardening, gardening philosophy, inspiration, local food, Local Issues, neighborhoods, perspective, Regenerative Gardening, Tribe, Urban Farming | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Target Campaign-Heinz and Frito

On 27 February 2012, we Occupied our Food Supply.  For the action, I discussed targeting major food manufacturers about the ingredients in their food that come from GMO sources.  I wanted to write letters to these companies, not in a mean or threatening way, but in a simple, humble, and respectful manor.  I thought, “Why don’t I simply begin by targeting one company and asking them nicely to stop using products that originate from GMO sources?”

I didn’t see how I could conquer this huge task alone.  I know that one person can make a difference, and as life continued around me, I quickly lost focus…until I read Mom-Turned-Activist Launches National Movement to Boycott GMOs on the Organics Consumer’s Association website.

I joined the facebook group GMO Free USA and posted my idea.  I began to receive a great response, so in an effort not to have the idea lost in the stream, I expanded my original thoughts on matter and which companies I thought would be best to begin a targeting action.  The following is the document that I posted at GMO Free USA.  In an effort to rally a national action for this, I am posting here, on my blog, my original ideas for this movement:

I combed through the Foods known to contain GMO and Genetically Engineered (GE) ingredients (**not a complete list**)  list, and came up with a two companies: Heinz and/or Frito Lay. My rationale is as follows:

I wanted to start with companies that had a relatively ‘small’ quantity of GMO ingredients in their foods, but were still BIG companies…a company, that if they eliminated GMO could put out good PR on it with relative ease and start a domino effect with companies who have more GMO products but are competition.

My first choice is Frito Lay simply because there is a lot of competition in the junk food world. Frito Layi has 12 known products that contain GMO ingredients. Frito also comments the following: *Frito has informed its corn and potato suppliers that the company wishes to avoid GE crops, but acknowledges that canola or other oils and ingredients in its products may be from GE sources.

Since Frito seems to be relatively aware, I thought it would be a good place to begin.

My second choice is Heinz for two reasons. 1) It is the one major brand/manufacturer of food that is producing an organic food: Heinz Organic Ketchup. They also have a BIG foothold in the ‘natural foods’ market behaving a strategic alliance with Hain Celestial who produces about 23 ‘natural’ food products. Since Heinz puts so much effort into having a few things that are ‘safe’ to eat, why not convert the the 27 items at the big box grocer, too?

Also, US Senator John Kerry is married to Teresa Heinz.

I also thought that in the letter writing campaign, that one ‘form’ letter is produced that people can cut and paste as well as modify to their needs. Letters need to be US postal service mailed and not e-mailed. Much more effective. Also, I thought it would be a good idea to send letters directly to the Board of Directors of companies…maybe with a cc to the USDA?

That’s my point of view. This document is now open for comments/a draft letter/etc.

After I draft a letter, I will post it here…then we will take it to the next level.

Posted in ethical eating, events, food, Food Actions, Food Justice, Food Safety, GMO, industrial food, National Issues, Occupy Food, Occupy Gardens, Occupy Our Food Supply, Occupy Wall Street | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pea Perspective

Photo by Tracie L. Hellwinckel

Picking peas taught me a valuable lesson; usually a fresh perspective will result in finding a pea.  Often, I stand at the bush searching this way and that for peas to no avail, but then I walk to the other side of the plant.  Immediately I spot a dangling pea pod right where I was so diligently searching just a moment before, and I feel the momentum to continue pea hunting.

Gardening is a constant experiment that may either result in success or failure.  In the Spring, momentum is high as new life buds and blossoms all around.  The days are cool.  It’s easy to work outside, and after a winter of dirt free fingernails, the anticipation to turn the soil overwhelms the spirit.  Sometimes though, after a few years, or when the weather turns hot, it is easy to loose momentum and inspiration.

Photo by Tracie L. Hellwinckel

When this happens, I find that by changing my perspective and visiting fellow gardeners and other gardens inspires me to try new things.  By physically visiting other gardeners and gardens- not just perusing pictures online or reading gardening blogs in the comforts of air conditioning (though I do appreciate your reading mine!)- I feel renewed, which gives me momentum to push onward.  I often find a new perspective.

A thing that I find important is acknowledgement and commendation.  When I pick flowers for medicinal purposes or for a bouquet, I thank the plant for its gift.  I chat with the plant, “You’re flowers are very beautiful.  Thank you for such lovely flowers.  I’m going to clip them.  Your flowers will (give the flower purpose).  Thank you so much.”  When I pick the peas, I may say to the plant,”You have made so many peas this year.  Thank you so much.  You are so amazing.  Thank you.”  Over and over and over, I talk to the plants acknowledging and commending them.  If the plant is not producing or having a tough time, I touch it softly and ask, “What is wrong?  What can I do to help you?”  Gardening reflects life.

It’s important to give thanks and acknowledgement to those who inspire, support in times of need, or who advocate on your behalf.  Inspiration, support, and advocacy are like the fruits of the plant.  You could look at the plant and say, “Well, I did the work,” and simply take all the credit for the harvest.  Though you prepare the soil, plant the seed, and nourish the plant till fruition, the plant rewards you with a gift.  I am thankful for this.  It’s a cyclical process of giving and receiving.

Photo by Tracie L. Hellwinckel

I am grateful for the gardeners in my life.  As an act of thanks, through out this summer and fall as I highlight aspects of my gardens, I look forward to honoring the gardener who inspired or taught me.  I plan to visit many other gardens that I have seen pop-up around town and find the inspiration behind those gardens as well.  I have highlighted and advocated for gardens in the past, I choose to  change my perspective.  Though advocating for others is not my cause anymore, I can honor those folks who guide, inspire, teach, and advocate for others.  Very rarely do we truly accomplish anything alone.  It’s time to walk around the pea bush and look through it to acknowledge and commend those who often go unnoticed like the pea.

Posted in community, Gardening, gardening philosophy, inspiration, Nature, perspective | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pond Regenerated

About a month ago I shared our pond restoration experiment in Putting Things Back; Regenerating the Pond and Woods. Yesterday morning, Easter Sunday, we finished the project by closing/filling in the berm and opening (what we think to be) the original drainage pipe. The pond quickly filled, and by sunset, was full. We see a few low places in the berm that we are concerned will overflow if the drainage pipe doesn’t do it’s job quick enough. We will watch during the next rainstorm and see how that goes. We may need to build the berm higher, but otherwise, all is working well. In creating the pond and with it draining, the area below the pond, which was already soggy, is now a wetland. We’ll see what plants survive the higher water, and hopefully, we’ll be able to locate some native wetland plants to create a truly healthy ecosystem. Here are photos of the finished project. Enjoy.

Filling in the berm where the former owners of the property originally drained the pond. Chad re-opened it to fully drain the pond so we could dig it out more.

Chad diverted the creek at the lowest point in the land. We are pretty sure this is where the creek originally flowed.

The drain to accommodate for overflow . We found a pipe buried in the berm. It was clogged with dirt, and Chad simply stuck a shovel handle through it to unclog it. It sits pretty high…the may need to be adjusted. The next rainstorm will let us know.

April 8, 2012…the pond filling with water.

April 9, 2012…the pond full of water!

April 9, 2012…from the bridge over the creek toward the full pond.

March 2011…it was almost impossible to walk through the bottom of the land because it was so marshy and nothing defined.

April 9, 2012…and now, clear lines, pasture, walking trail.  Standing up on the trail looking down at the pond.

Posted in Earth, Regenerative Gardening | Tagged | 1 Comment