Tag Archives: permaculture

A permanent culture; welcome to Permaculture

Day 91

photo by Wilson Alvarez

photo by Wilson Alvarez

As we move away from the culture of destruction, we must move towards something else.

A new culture based on sound ecological principles, regenerative land practices, and care for the earth.

Many people, including myself, believe permaculture can provide us with the blueprint we need to create a  new earth-connected culture.

Based on indigenous knowledge, natural systems and native science, the design methodology is made up of 3 ethics and 12 principles. When these tenets are applied to the world around us it is possible to design landscapes, ecosystems, towns, cities, communities, and whole cultures in a way that is harmonious with nature, people, and life itself.

I am challenging myself to work with these principles over the next several months.

I want to study them, play with them, experiment with them, apply them.

Critique them, connect to them, learn them by heart.

And I’d like to invite you to learn along with me.

Below are the 3 ethics, and the 12 principles.

Let’s throw our selves into them with great abandon,

Learn from experts, each other, books, online, and in the field,

And see if we can use permaculture as a jumping off point to build a new world.

And as usual, we’ll start small, and do it together.

Welcome to the permaculture principles.


Here we go.


The Ethics:

  • Care for the earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
  • Care for the people: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
  • Fair share: Setting limits and redistributing surplus. 

Here are the twelve Permaculture design principles articulated by David Holmgren in his Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability:[9]

  1. Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
  2. Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
  3. Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
  6. Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
  7. Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
  8. Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
  9. Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
  10. Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
  11. Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
  12. Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.


Thank you for listening,




A walk with owls

Day 22

photo by Michelle J.

photo by Michelle J.

A couple of nights ago, Wil, Revel, and I went out for our usual dusk doggie walk, to our usual doggie walk park.

It’s about 15 acres, a peninsula, bordered all around except for a thin land bridge on one side.

The forest is filled with box elder, maple, black walnut, slippery elm, hackberry, mullberry, basswood, and ailanthus trees.

There are honeysuckles, many varieties, vine, and shrub, privet, and Elderberry!, hard to find around these parts. When the multiflora roses bloom, it smells like heaven.

Nettles, jewelweed, honewort, bishop’s weed, violet, gill over ground and garlic mustard cover the ground, with a little St. John’s Wort, lobelia, skunk cabbage, and garden escapees thrown in.

We’ve seen Robins, and chickadees, crows, brown creepers, nuthatches, kinglets, cardinals, and hawks. Hairy and Downy, and Pileated woodpeckers. Yellow shafted flickers, sparrows, house finches, grackles and more. Once we found a mortally injured wood thrush which we held and sat quietly with, and loved until it passed away. I still remember the soft brush of it’s wings, the liquid black of it’s eyes.

We’ve seen a beaver and heard the splash of it’s tail slapping the surface of the water. We’ve seen a mink with it’s glossy black fur, and a pair of foxes, singly, together, and with their pups.

There are deer, raccoon, possum, squirrel, and rabbit aplenty, their tracks and trails criss-cross the postage stamp of land.

And we’ve gone swimming there, countless times, alone, together, with friends, with family, in the morning, in the afternoon, at dusk. And once, under a full moon, at midnight, mostly naked, with a number of other earth lovers (you know who you are).

We’ve picknicked and partied there, gone running and walking, practiced shooting atl-atl, throwing sticks, rocks, and shooting bow and arrow. We’ve gathered nettles for food and medicine and cordage, eaten basswood leaves straight from the trees and captured crayfish for feasting.

Our dogs remember that they are animals when they walk there.

WE remember we are animals when we walk there too.

So, the other night we were taking the dogs for a walk when we heard the resident pair of great horned owls hooting. Hoo hoo hoo HOO.  Hoo, hoo,hoo HOO. The male with the deeper voice, the female’s slightly higher. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Call and repeat.

After awhile Wil starts in too. Hoo hoo hoo HOO. hoo. hoo. hoo. HOO. And the owls call back. Hoo hoo hoo HOO, Hoo hoo hoo HOO.

I don’t want to be left out so I take some turns. Hoo, hoo, hoo HOO. Hoo, hoo,hoo, HOO. Back and forth, back and forth, me, Wil and the owls.

And then little Revel, he hears what we’re doing and HE starts in, with his little baby voice. Hoo HOO. Hoo HOO. He waves his arms around and smiles.

And all the time, we’re walking towards the owls, and the owls are moving through the treetops towards us.

Hoo hoo hoo HOO, hoo hoo hoo HOO, hoo hoo hoo HOO.

Until suddenly, we’re right under them, and we all just fall silent, looking at and listening to one another, even little Revel, up on his Daddy’s shoulders. Even the owls, high in the trees.

And my heart got all full, and the homesick feeling I have inside, like something is missing but I don’t know what it is, went away, and time just stood still and everything felt just right.


This patch of loved land is just a park. With a playground on one end, and suburban neighborhood on all sides.

Yet it is just this type of semi-wild land that is so important to us as we rewild and undomesticate ourselves and remember what it means to be human.

These are the places we will be reconnecting to, and regenerating, and rebelling for.

The land of the landless, the spaces that belong to all of us, regardless of income level, age, or race.

So tonight’s guest post is actually a podcast  of an interview with Wil and our brilliant friend Ben, and the link to their kickstarter campaign which is an attempt to jump start their new project.

Listen as they talk about the value of these wildlands and waste places, and their vision for creating a new kind of landbased culture.

Many of the ideas are concepts Wil and I have discussed and practiced over the years, others are just Wil’s, or Ben’s personal philosophies and experiences.

If some of the terms are unfamiliar, I urge you to look them up, or ask questions, here, on the facebook page, via e-mail, or on the links. We’ll answer them as well as we can.

I love both of these guys very much. The ideas are revolutionary. Please support them in their work if you can, even if it’s just by leaving a comment, a kind word,  asking a question, or sharing this with friends.

The future is in the wildlands.

Our  future is with the owls.

Thank you for listening,



Thank you Wilson and Ben W. for your brilliant ideas and work. Love you both.

Here is the link to the podcast:


And here is the link to the kickstarter campaign: