of wild grapes

Trying a new grape in the back. It’s called Roger’s Red. It’s a hybrid between California wild grape (Vitis californica) and our everyday grape of commerce (Vitis vinifera).

I have already planted the wonderful Mojave wild grape (Vitis girdiana). It has lovely woolly gray-green leaves and the fruit is a small black grape. Any plant with wooly leaves like this is well-adapted to conserving moisture.

desert wild grape

desert wild grape

Foliage of the Roger’s Red is supposed to turn red in the fall. Also may not be the best eating grape since the skin is supposedly bitter.

Still, I imagine the ground squirrels and birds should love it…

And I will find something to do with the fruit.

Roger's red grape.

Roger’s red grape.

I have begun to see RSF as an experiential station as much as an educational center. The workshops are for drylands growing and for all kinds of re-skilling presentations. It’s all practical work.

The experimental stuff is my passion. Talking and writing about it brings me some joy.

I have experimented in the garden since I was nine years old in Ohio.

It’s in my blood.

High desert gardening has become more challenging over the years.

Is it because I’m getting older? Maybe, but I don’t think that’s all of it.

I’ve blogged a lot about climate change. I think that’s what’s happening. Remember the wind? I talk about the wind a lot. It’s a big factor out here.

One thing the wind does is dry out the plants.  And in the high desert, drier plants are not happier plants.

I used to count the plants and fruiting trees that died from our unpredictable hard freezes. I still have to do that. And now I have to count the wind-desiccated plants as well.

I’ve lost two young manzanitas this last year from either/or wind and cold. I’ve had to replace a fig due to the cold. A few other fruit trees in the orchard have been replaced.

I tried propagating trees from branches. You cut a smallish branch and peel back the bark. Then you coat it in rooting hormone and stick it into a pot with soil and vermiculite or peat moss. After several weeks little rootlets should begin to grow. Eventually you can plant these very young saplings in your orchard. I planned to give mine a good start and keep them in that structure I lovingly call a greenhouse (it’s not but that doesn’t stop me from calling it that).

This. Is. My. Greenhouse.

This. Is. My. Greenhouse.

Sadly the wind tore my plastic cover to ribbons over the winter and early spring. That can be fixed.

Sadder yet, ground squirrels ate every single one of my tree starts. See them poking up there in the background before they were devoured?  Apples and apricots and peaches.

One of my friends is a local rancher. She said her success rate with tree starts was about 50%. I felt happy to have a 60% rate of sprouting. Freakin’ ground squirrels took me down a notch. I’ll do it again in a month or so. Meanwhile I’m trying it with manzanita right now.

I’d like to try using our local desert wild almond, Prunus fasciculata as a rootstock for cultivated Prunus species, saving water in this dry climate.

Local desert wild almond.

Local desert wild almond.

RSF apricots.

RSF apricots.

Can you see these grafted?

I’ve heard there’s a wild plum in the Sierras that might work as a rootstock also. Maybe someday, that.

Meanwhile these desert and California grapes. If they flourish, I will incorporate them into a living windbreak for the patio.  Even if they appear to be doing marginally, I will plant some in to my patio windbreak. It’s a different microclimate and the soil is somewhat different. It will be worth a try.

Here’s the plan.

On the south and southeast sides, I want a cover/arbor with grapes and wisteria. I have plenty of commercial grapes and now the local grapes. I have multiple wisteria vines and they transplant very well.

One idea:  4X4s sunk into cement with lattice.

The other idea: use what’s on hand: t-posts woven with creosote branches to support grape and wisteria vines. This I could begin immediately and it would cost less.

Designing and building it will be very therapeutic…Not sure what I want do with the top but I’ll think of something.

This whole production could be turned into an art installation with plants.

Right here. This is the start of the green windbreak.

Right here. This is the start of the green windbreak.

What’s been growing in your world?

Posted in agroecology, climate change, Nature, sustainable agriculture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

skateboard learning

Check this out.

Everything you need to know, you can learn from skateboarding.

I have worked on my farm with skateboarders. My son-in-law and some of his friends are skateboarders.  Skateboarders are amazing, creative, and bright people.

I once interviewed two teenage skateboarders about environmental issues. I interviewed them as part of my dissertation research. They had worked alongside me at Rainshadow Farm when we began establishing the learning center here. They were two intelligent, lively, and very creative and motivated young people. I learned so much from them.

I found their views of skateboarding phenomenological and deeply environmental.

They both talked about the profound connection they feel to the natural world as they skateboard.

They mentioned things like the texture of the pavement and ground changing under their feet, “the qualities of sand, pebble, rock, cement,” and the ground’s curvature as the feel of it traveled up from their feet through their bodies.

They spoke of how “there is only the board and wheels between your body and the earth.”

Isn't he amazing?

Isn’t he amazing?

Both of them spent a lot of time outdoors and were both very aware of weather patterns on an hourly basis and qualities of light and dark.

They talked about moment by moment feeling the air on your skin.

One of these young people  mentioned that “it is too hard to be indoors too long,” and that he “needs to feel his body in the sun, the wind, and the rain to feel good.”

One of these young people said that as he skated through the high desert, he would feel  distinct pain when he saw trash dumping in the high desert – to him, to love the land was “like taking care of your own body.”

Both young skateboarders had a finely honed sense of place, a love of the landscape, and a definite land ethic which they had developed as skateboarders.

Someone I know told me that he knew surfers with the same approach to their environment.

Whenever I used to do field archaeology, I felt the same way. I had a place to be and a sense of caring about that place. Since most of my work has been in the high desert, and I’ve travelled all around the bounds of this high desert, I’ve developed a sense of place here that rivals the sense of place I learned growing up in northwestern Ohio, which was substantial. I was a child outdoors back then, in all season, in all weather, in all variations of environment. Walking and biking and playing and sitting.

Outdoor sports and outdoor sciences are a way to learn how to develop and foster a variety of intelligences about the natural world and human impact upon it.

Their words essentially described a phenomenology of skateboarding. One of these young people mentioned that she always felt  “deeply connected to the land – whatever land I find myself in.”

I got to know the teens I’ve mentioned when they were in one of my college classes and they expressed an interest in learning about organic gardening.

Perhaps this is one reason that they are both attracted to gardening: gardening holds the same phenomenological attractions.

Two hearty farm day women, one who grew up here and one who skateboards.

Two hearty farm day women, one who grew up here and one who skateboards.

They are both older now. I’ve stayed in touch. They are married to each other and preparing, both, to graduate with university degrees in mathematics. They want to teach high school math eventually, both of them. This is wonderful because the more teachers out there with a deeply phenomenological sense of place, the better for environmental learning.

They build a new garden at their place.

They build a new garden at their place.

These two young people still love nature and they are masterful gardeners.

And they still skate.

Posted in community, education, Nature, socioecological intelligence, sustainability education, sustainable agriculture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

current plan #1190

I’ve spent my days off between 2014 Spring semester and the upcoming (Monday) accelerated summer session letting my mind go untaxed. Untaxed to the best of my ability. That’s saying something since I’ve been in a state of free-floating and fluctuating anxiety recently.

Best part of my time off was a day at the beach with the younger kids. Next best part was rearranging some orchard trees and developing a planting plan for my crazy summer schedule.



Worst part was something that I’m not getting settled with my college’s payroll department.  Waiting, waiting.

It’s another one of those “adjuncts will do it for free” stories. Maybe I’ll talk about it later.

Another worst part is imperious treatment at the hand of someone who ought to know better and does but doesn’t give a shit. I can play resistant back. I can accelerate to passive aggressive if needed. But ugh. Just ugh. (and no it’s not the ex)

I think I may look for ways to spend the rest of my life gardening/farming, continuing to teach (currently where I am, open to future possibilities), writing, and becoming far more activist.

You might say, isn’t that what she’s doing?

Well, yeah, but I have more peace about this now.

I’ve let go of the desperation to acquire a full time job, let alone tenure track. I’ve discovered that too many fellow adjuncts who have taken on year-long temporary, full time jobs (yes, that’s still contingent labor, it’s the pinnacle of contingent labor) have been let go recently and grad students have been hired to take their classes.

This is horrible on so many levels and exploitive beyond what my fevered brain could even conjure up. I’ll have to enlarge on this later. It’s important.

And I’ve seen too many colleagues not achieve tenure for dubious reasons.

And too many inside hires that too many of us put ourselves out for and are disappointed time and again.

I’m too old for this shit.

I am going to find a different way.

So. Back to the current dream.

I have to expand on the activism. And I have to get serious about the writing.

I’m not saying where I’m going to do all of this because I don’t know. I do know I’m here now. And I’m doing it.

The farm, well, the farm and the land will lead me where I need to go. That I’m certain of. There are already some tentative plans in the works if the high desert doesn’t relinquish its hold on me.

If those plans come to fruition I’ll be writing about them.

That’s all.

P.S. Someone has told me I’m basically damaged goods as an archaeologist because of my heart. Someone else has told me that I can still work, don’t worry, be happy, be safe. My cardiologist thinks they’re (we’re) all nuts. So. That. I’m not sure where that will work in to my downscaled, but hopefully functional, life plan.

Posted in Adjuncting, education, Life changes, resilience, sustainability education, sustainable agriculture | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

zero tolerance

A friend and I were talking about zero tolerance in serious relationships. Zero tolerance for deception, anything that comes close to gaslighting, lack of respect, deal breaking, manipulation, all of that sort of stuff.

She’s married; I’m single. We’ve both had our share of marital crap. We’ve both been divorced.

I said “How about a three strikes rule” and immediately caught myself. This is the sort of letting someone repeatedly re-draw my personal line in the sand that landed me where I am today.

“Wait, no make that two strikes. One for a mistake. One a second chance.”

“I dunno,” she said, “that I’m not inclined to give the second chance; the first is really the second chance.”

She was right.

I’ve thought about it a bit.

I believe in second chances for people. In principle, I believe in numerous chances. Even so, I’m not going to allow for any more bullshit in my close relationships.

I’ve got to a point in my life where I’m using up precious time when I try to deal with people who believe manipulation, deceit, disrespect, and dishonorable or unethical behavior are normal. Oh and misrepresentation. And gaslighting. Expecting me to bury my feelings.  Did I say lies?

I spend a lot of time talking about new normals in ecological and social terms.

My new normal for any serious relationship is zero tolerance for the above-mentioned behaviors. There’s nothing to lose.


Posted in Life changes, resilience, spiritual ecologies | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

“composing a life”

I’ve begun to write about applying permaculture design principles not only to gardenspaces, but also to the lives we lead outside of our gardens. The first thing that occurred to me was that people do this all of the time.

Mary Catherine Bateson has spent a good part of her life writing about this: “composing a life” she has called it. Composing a permaculture garden. Composing a life. They go together for me.

In her stories of real people, she tells of those who have moved through different stages of life with trepidation and wonder, with reverence, often in community and interdependence, with compassion and deep observation, creatively composing their lives. She tells her own story too.

That’s a tough act for a woman like me to follow, lost and wandering working class kid, although I certainly understand the duo of trepidation and wonder.

I didn’t so much compose a life as bounce around in a life seeking moments of contentment.

I was born into chaos and spent years trying to understand how to manage it.

I know now you don’t manage chaos. Somehow you flow through it.

Don’t ask me today how that’s done. Maybe it’s one of those things that’s known only in the doing.

Somehow, early in my life I made a choice to navigate in tandem. I suspect I always thought my chances of survival were better that way.

I ended my relationship with my college studies in tandem. I fled Ohio for the West Coast directly after that in tandem.

I searched out a partner after each young breakup, one quite involved and painful. Common law marriage of five years my dad called it. Live-ins we called it.

It would be too simple to say I couldn’t face living alone. It would, believe me.

I did live alone at times but never for long.

I traveled back to Ohio alone and back out to Hermosa Beach in tandem.

Hermosa Beach Pier_Nov2013

I made babies in tandem. And I do not know how that marriage lasted as long as it did. I’m stubborn. Persistent. And willing to live in denial. Was willing to live in denial. Was.

It’s a tiny fraction of my adult life I spent single. And I don’t always feel single, since I live harmoniously enough with any number of my offspring at any given time. But I’m no longer part of a couple the way I have been, in one form or another, since my teens.

Four years ago my personal chaos began to hit a peak. And it all accelerated three years ago.

Sometime in the intervening years, I floated through some kind of narrow strait in the flow and arrived at a spot where I don’t feel the chaos as much as observe it.

Sometimes I know that’s because I’m numb. Sometimes I know it’s because I’m moving along into something new. It’s both. It’s each one at different turns. Your guess is as good as mine.

I’m one of those people who escaped the pain of a difficult divorce through work. Work in the classroom, work on my dissertation (did I ever mention feeling a bit lost after the graduation?), working on research, working in my orchard and gardens, working on writing. Working on figuring out what comes next. Working.

When I begin to ruminate, two things help. Working and vacating. Short vacations with my younger kids are my go-to these days. At least then I can stop working. I call that balance. And for me, you have to trust me here, this is balance. I suppose those are the yin and yang of my life: working the active, driving force and vacating, the quiet, dark moonlit rest.

Over the weekend I began to write about how permaculture principles, for some of us, begin to apply to all of life and not only our gardenspaces when we practice them.

Here they are again:
Observe and interact; catch and store energy; obtain a yield; apply self-regulation and accept feedback; use and value renewable resources and services; produce no wastes; design from patterns to details; integrate rather than segregate; use small and slow solutions; use and value diversity; use edges and value the marginal; creatively use and respond to change.

It got complicated.

I began looking at the origins of agriculture.

I began to do mind maps on spiritual ecology.

And I felt pain.

I began to re-live some parts of my divorce that I’m not sure I want to post here.

I’ve already written them down, so they’re exorcised. Again. That’s a demon that keeps coming around. Begone. For good.

Maybe I’ll rework those thoughts and post them. They connect with permaculture principle #4. We can “apply self-regulation and accept feedback” when we have problem in relationships. We can chose not to do so. You can see where this might go.

You might want to try these:
Bateson, Mary Catherine. (1989). Composing a life. New York: Grove Press.
Bateson, Mary Catherine. (2010). Composing a further life. New York: Knopf.

Posted in agroecology, Life changes, Nature, spiritual ecologies, sustainable agriculture | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

leaning toward permaculture ideals

Modern permaculture was inspired by Chinese-derived wet-rice and tree-crop systems employed in Southeast Asia, which remain reasonable models of sustainability. Southern China, on the whole, has done less ecological damage in 8,000 years of agricultural history than Western practices have done in the last 200 years to the Great Plains of North America and in California’s central valley.

Stereoagriculture in Wuhua County, Guangdong Province. (Photo from Luo Shiming, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 1991) from http://southchinaenvir.com/degraded-lands-south-chinas-untapped-resource/

Stereoagriculture in Wuhua County, Guangdong Province. (Photo from Luo Shiming, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 1991) from http://southchinaenvir.com/degraded-lands-south-chinas-untapped-resource/

The Chinese were aware early on that people drawing sustenance from the natural world must be proactive in employing protective management of natural resources. They valued groves nearby their villages and temples. The necessity of maintaining clean water, of not over-fishing and over-hunting, of not over-using the land in planting, all of these principles have been traditionally woven into the patterns of life in south China. Their traditional views of environmental management may have helped bring them to the current day with less ecological damage than the region would have sustained otherwise. Contemporary China has ended up with a less ideal situation, however. Development projects including large scale damming of big rivers, over-fishing, soil erosion, and deforestation have contributed to China’s ecological breakdown. Perhaps it would have been worse without their early cultural warnings against abuse of the natural world.

There are regions in northern Europe where the land has not been ruined as quickly as the prime agricultural regions of north America. It may also be that some of these regions stretching from eastern Europe to Ireland, including farming villages in the Alps, leaned toward small scale and localized food production until the steamroller of modern industrialized agriculture passed over their lands. Wendell Berry talks personally and in detail about the benefits of small scale traditional sorts of agriculture in Ireland. He compares some of the practices to his own small scale farming practices in Kentucky.

The Great Plains are eroded, denuded of helpful native vegetation, and the soil is in terrible condition.

Wes Jackson’s call for a new farming approach and agricultural economy is based on revitalizing the Great Plains and the prairie lands of the heartlands of North America. He starts with an ideal of biomimicry of the prairie ecosystem and place-based, sustainable agricultural practices.

He’s asking for nothing less than a massive salvage operation. We could use that kind of action in California too.

So we have industrialized agriculture with erosion; salinization (much worse in regions that require irrigation); petrochemicals made into pesticides, herbicides, fungicides; immense agricultural machines running across the land; pollution of water resources by land erosion and by agricultural chemical runoff; pesticides and herbicides that are killing farmworkers and destroying our pollinators; devastating loss of aquifers and over-consumption of all precious water resources. And that’s only the beginning.

California’s central valley is succumbing to desertification and the water shortages in the region are deeply affecting current farming. Water shortages and current unsustainable land-use practices will have a serious impact on future growing in California’s historical 400-mile long bread basket. Over the last century, this agricultural valley has been producing one-quarter of the fruits, vegetables, nuts, rice, and soy products eaten in the United States. Whether the central valley should have ever become an agricultural monolith is another question.

Dust Bowl. California. Now.

Dust Bowl. California. Now.

Agricultural practices that ignore the landscape and the ecology of their region, trying to force human will upon the landscape, will never succeed over the long haul.

Cultures with sustainable land practices and social ethics have tended to be the ones that survive the longest.

As far as I can see, agriculture must be done in the context of community, with an ecological paradigm, on a small, human-sized scale. That’s all. That’s if we all want to keep eating food and not Cargill’s (or some other huge food supplier’s) food-from-a-vat. I’m serious.

I often wonder if I should pack it in and move myself out of this high desert valley. We have accumulated too many people in the region to ever create anything vaguely resembling a sustainable food system. Maybe the best thing I can do for this endangered ecosystem is to leave it. I could make the same argument for leaving California. And then what? The planet?

So for now, I’m here. And I’m dealing.

I may leave the high desert but not until I know that I need to be somewhere else.

And, yes, a job somewhere else that could support me would be an indicator that my time to leave had come. While I’m concerned with how we are destroying the land, I need to survive too. More on that later.


I said permaculture, way up at the top of this post.

I agree with generally stated permaculture values, ethics, and practices. I have never been able to afford to take any kind of certified permaculture course but these are modern practices most closely allied to what I do.

With regard to a parcel of land like RSF, one of my biggest revelations has been the use of edges and the “value of the marginal” (Holmgren, 2002).

Observing and valuing the marginal has been simultaneously one of my greatest difficulties and one of the biggest benefits of growing food here.

The edge effect in ecology shows that when two plant communities collide, there is likely to be more biotic diversity in that intersection than there is in either plant community alone. If one of these plant communities is a sustainable agroecosystem, emergent diversity helps produce more abundance than expected from a marginal situation.

Here at RSF I’ve learned about edge effects from volunteer plants, those that come up unexpectedly in places where they hadn’t been planted. I’ve seen corn, tomatoes, barley and a variety of herbs spring up from wind-blown or bird-dropped seeds.


volunteers (sunflower, yarrow, mint, oregano) in front of irises.

volunteers (sunflower, yarrow, mint, oregano) in front of irises.

Here at Rainshadow, it is possible to make use of the edge effect through shrub, tree, and crop selection. Raspberries and blackberries do not thrive in the desert but along the outside edges of the orchard area, they do and they spread.

Between the main orchard and the wilder desert zone that surrounds the farm, we’ve seen marked increase in wildlife since we moved on this land in 2006.

Quail family.

Quail family.

For maximizing biodiversity and agrobiodiversity, I’ll be looking to the edges in coming seasons.

On a micro-farm like RSF, the edges are numerous. Edges here blend into what some gardeners call micro-climates. And microclimates make use of every part of a garden/small farm. For instance the ecological concept of “nurse plants” can help conserve water as well as promote growth in a layered, natural pattern. I plant herbs and some vegetables under the shade of my orchard trees (see Nabhan, 2013, for ideas in arid lands).

I also plant flowers for beauty. It’s good to put them where water already goes.


This year all the fruit tree basins had flowers, herbs, and/or vegetables. Some survived and some were eaten by desert critters.



The daffodils are supposed to repel invading ground squirrels. I think our adopted barn cat may do a better job of that.


Sheltering overstories of plants (like the orchard trees to the herbs and vegetables) allow some plants to grow outside of typical, expected ranges.

lilacs at RSF

Twelve permaculture design principles:

Observe and interact; catch and store energy; obtain a yield; apply self-regulation and accept feedback; use and value renewable resources and services; produce no wastes; design from patterns to details; integrate rather than segregate; use small and slow solutions; use and value diversity; use edges and value the marginal; creatively use and respond to change.

These might be applied to any sustainable food-growing situation. Maybe I’ll do a blog post about each at Rainshadow Farm.

These principles seem particularly useful in a situation where conditions are normally thought of as unproductive, difficult, and marginal.

Hmm. That sounds like my life as well as my farm.

Sounds like a writing prompt and a way to think about how to approach making my life more sustainable.

Coming soon.

You might want to read:

Anderson, E.N. (2010). The pursuit of Ecotopia: Lessons from indigenous and traditional societies for the human ecology of our modern world. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
(Dr. Anderson is one of my mentors and a friend. This book studies the complex relationships between ideologies, resource management, and cultural representations of the environment.)

Berry, Wendell. (1982). The gift of good land: Further essays cultural and agricultural. New York: North Point Press.

Holmgren, David. (2002). Permaculture: Principles and pathways beyond sustainability. Hepburn, Australia: Holmgren Design Services.

Jackson, Wes. (1996). Becoming native to this place. New York: Counterpoint.

Nabhan, Gary Paul. (2013). Growing food in a hotter, drier land: Lessons from desert farmers on adapting to climate uncertainty. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Peña, Devon. (2005). Mexican Americans and the environment. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
(He tells the true story of the human cost of industrialized agriculture)

Posted in agroecology, community, ethnobotany, Nature, resilience, socioecological intelligence, sustainability education, sustainable agriculture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ideal world

In an ideal world I’d teach part time and also run this farm learning center, develop a native plant nursery, and expand the whole deal.

In a more than ideal world, one of the colleges I’ve been working for would want to embrace our workshops as a part of one of their programs. That isn’t going to happen. It might happen for a golden girl or boy tenured professor. It isn’t happening for me.

How do I know if I haven’t asked, someone is bound to ask. Okay, I have asked.

Denied. Lines have been drawn. Oh, have they ever.

Will I keep asking? Of course. Learning to grow food in a hotter, drier climate* is not only currently trendy. It’s increasingly necessary. I believe in it.

I’ll continue to believe in it and the practices even if I move elsewhere.

arrastre creek lower

Back to that ideal world. In it, I’d have real job security at the college and adequate health insurance. Including dental. And mental health. Oh yes.

I’d have a retirement package.

I’ve got none of those.

For four decades I didn’t think it was necessary. I was content to build a certain skill set and rely on the perceived solidity of my then-marriage.

When I was raising my kids, I learned how to do drylands farming, more or less. I say more or less because that’s kind of how it is. It’s always in process, never quite done. It’s always small victories, never real success. Or maybe when we do work on the margins like this, we redefine success.

desert wild grape

desert wild grape

I learned a little about teaching through raising and home educating a houseful of children.


I learned a little about writing by doing it. A few friends had home education publications and they usually needed someone to write. I had stories to tell and I wrote.

When the mortgage for my first farm went into the shitter (that’s a long story, but it’s for another time), I had to make a choice. I could work my way back toward grad school and maybe teach or I could write for an income.

I decided not to write. I never stopped writing for myself, but decided I didn’t have what it took to write for a living. I enjoyed writing for my friends’ small publications but just couldn’t imagine selling my work the way you have to in the commercial world.

I ended up getting sidetracked. I decided to learn all I could about human interactions with the natural world and then teach.

I was detoured by archaeologists. It was a happy enough detour. I found a place to land after a bankruptcy, after a foreclosure, and quite a bit before a divorce.

archaeology, just not the

archaeology, just not the usual

this comes from that, above

this comes from that, above

Archaeology consumed one whole era of my life.

It was a beautiful thing. I could study the land, the plants, the people. I could spend time outside and in a lab. I could write reports. It was a nice little plus, there, being able to earn money writing. And, eventually, I could teach.

Some archaeologists don’t like writing site reports. I do. They are like a Zen practice for me. There’s a form and no form at the same time. It’s like a meditation.

Mostly, archaeology is out of the question for me right now. I lost my main job due to health issues.

It’s hard for me to accept that I may not do it again. Because it’s hard, I tend to tell myself “maybe.” Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. Maybe I can do it in a different way. Maybe in another lifetime.


So I teach and run a farm learning center and think about ways to do archaeology when the door is open just a tiny crack.

I teach part time. I’ve gone on about the ups and downs of contingent teaching on this blog. I don’t want to do that again right now.

I don’t know where this farm is going. I’ve reached a point where I cannot continue to spend money developing the learning center. It isn’t self-supporting. I support it.

I’ve spent some time talking with farm day “regulars” about how we can carry this work into the future. Some of the ideas may work.

I’ve had different kinds of discussions with my kids about the same thing. They help sustain me. They sustain the sustainability educator. That’s important. I’m grateful.

I’m not terribly worried about it. It will work out one way or another.

It always does. One way or another.

In an ideal world I would do the work I do for a net gain of wealth. That seems fair doesn’t it? Even in a world that’s not ideal?

When it’s not an ideal world, how do we continue to compose the stories of our lives?

desert almond 1_best

*Nabhan, Gary Paul. (2013). Growing food in a hotter, drier land. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Posted in Adjuncting, agroecology, Anthropology, education, ethnobotany, gratitude, Life changes, sustainability education, unschooling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment