Appropriate tools & technology: The plant nursery on our ten acre forest garden farm is active, robust, and as low tech as they come. Early in the season I’ll start propagating in a small unheated hoop house, but for the bulk of the year all the action happens in sprawling, shady area under an old maple tree with a few wooden pallets and raised bed boxes.Read More
Friday flashback to a few weeks ago when fruit harvesting at the farm was in full swing! Each season, in what feels like a matter of moments (though it could be a couple weeks), elderberry, beach plum, seaberry, blackberry, and aronia all come into ripeness at once. At that point a flurry of activity commences as us and the birds race to liberate the ripe from fruit from its branches!Read More
There is a shift in the air today, and I can feel the sun is beginning to set on another summer... Soon the landscape will change color and shape again.
Dynamics systems require dynamic response. Participating in a long term relationship with the natural world, means one must evolve in tandem.Read More
New interview with Dina Costa of Nurture Your Nature Podcast! Lots of terrain covered in this one - and the waters wade deep! Dina is a charming and thoughtful host, and I highly recommend checking out this relatively new offering of hers… Nurture Your Nature Podcast available on iTunesRead More
From a permaculture perspective, late season snow presents a wonderful opportunity to read patterns in the landscape. By observing snow melt, we can easily identify where water naturally moves across the landscape, and this gives us insight into ways we might harness water flow, interrupt or redirect it, or choose select species that thrive in seasonal inundation…Read More
Permaculture is full of colorful tropes, but perhaps none so intriguing as the oft repeated paradox, “the problem is the solution.”
Each year at our Introduction to Permaculture course a prodding of this question comes up in earnest; what exactly does that mean, and how do we translate it into action?
We’re not much for resolutions (after all, what’s resolute in a universe propelled by perpetual change?), but we’re big on goal articulation. Goal articulation involves a synthesis of the what and the why informing your vision for the future. As we teach in permaculture, it’s not a singular process. Good design of landscapes and our lives involves beginning with, and returning to often, goal articulation to help understand what motivations guide us in the light of day, or shift in the shadows of our unconscious…Read More
Celebrating milestones at Fields Without Fences! This season marks Johann’s 15th year of farming. For those of you who don’t know Johann, he is one half of Fields Without Fences, an organic farmer, educator, permaculture designer, ecological consultant, plant lover, and herb enthusiast. For those of you that do know Johann, you’ve probably seen him standing in a field with a laser level, planting trees, or showing up at your potluck with seasonal microbrews…Read More
For the first few years when anyone would ask what we grow on our farm, I would crack a smile and quip, “we mostly cultivate patience.” It’s like that with perennials. A tiny herb, a bare root whip, a scattering of seeds cast out into the landscape like a wish that might one day blossom and fruit into the vision so easily teleported to within the mind’s eye. But time travel otherwise trudges on at a reliable pace; minutes becoming hours, becoming seasons, becoming years. In the meantime you will curse the nursery woman who sold you the poorly grafted pawpaws, then you’ll curse yourself for buying more…Read More
Sharing this rather sweeping interview with our friend Alex Marcoulides for his Youtube channel called Green Revolution. Alex stopped by Fields Without Fences for a broad conversation with us about forest gardening, permaculture, successionally managed farm ecosystems, and elderberries, and we go pretty damn deep. This interview is from last season (2017), and listening back to it, I am completely impressed with Alex's ability to listen, synthesize, and offer careful reflection at a nearly rapid fire pace! Alex's energy is purely electric and plugged in.Read More
Someone chopped down a tree and began the task of making firewood. That task was abandoned in favor of a more pressing task, and a forgotten round of tree trunk began to dry, then wet in the rain, then dry again. One day someone pulled it into the shade of the old crabapple to sit on for a sunny afternoon, until it was forgotten and left to decay once again…Read More
Each still image I capture in the garden represents a particular passing expression of the plant world in seasonal succession. And the static nature of the photo belies the true nature of the emergent forest garden which is in a state of perennial movement, forever shifting as plants come into blossom, maturity, death, and rebirth. I’m beginning an ongoing series where I’ll explore dynamic evolving interactions within the polyculture understory of our forest garden farm. If you enjoy it, please let me know and pass it on!Read More
Back in early April I had the pleasure of speaking to Diego Footer during an interview for his Farm Small Farm Smart Podcast. Diego initially reached out to talk to about medicinal herbs and our herbal CSA, but the conversation organically expanded into more nuanced topics including plant medicine for the earth; site specific design; breaking free from traditional modalities of cultivation; plant autonomy and sovereignty; and understanding the driving force that is propelling and defining your interaction with the land…Read More