Archives from November 2012

The Reality of Eating Animals

One of the largest subdivisions in the state of New Mexico, Eldorado, just went through an electoral fight by which it was determined that residents CAN own chickens!!! Here's my current "Permaculture in Practice" column about the issue.

11/27/2012 | Children | Community | Ecology | Edibles | Energy Savings | Outdoor Living | (0) Comments

Colorado River to Flow to Pacific

Major changes have just been made to a 1944 water deal between the U.S. and Mexico. The good news is that the mighty Colorado now stands a chance of making it to its age-old resting place at the upper edge of the Gulf of California, but lately the river has been dying out 60 miles from her delta. Predictably, the bad news is for Mexico: During dry times, our neighbor to the south gets cut off. 

Here's the NYT's take s-and-mexico-sign-deal-on-managing-colorado-river.html?_r=0


11/25/2012 | (0) Comments

Tincture Time!

As I mentioned in my last post, making hawthorn-berry tincture is simple:

1) Fill a jar halfway with vodka. 2) Put hawthorn berries in the jar.

3) Close jar tightly. 4) Wait six months. 5) Strain out berries.


6) Put tincture in dropper bottles.

7) Use as directed. (See below).


11/14/2012 | Ecology | Outdoor Living | (0) Comments

Dine by Nature

When Maggie Macnab, the author of Design by Nature, invited us over for dinner, Melissa and I were honored but we weren't sure what to expect. 

We knew Maggie mostly from her wonderful book and from her work as a professor at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the Insitute of American Indian Arts. She'd invited me to guest lecture for her classes on a number of occassions, and I'd always been impressed by her commitment to the power of natural patterns. 

Fortunately, we discovered that she and her partner, Mark, we not only into permaculture-style patterning, but they were way into local food and lively conversation, too!

The meal started with an exquisite local-squash soup and moved right into a fresh and zingly salad from their cold frames located just outside the kitchen door.

Next up was a course of Hatch green chile stew and a traditional carne adovada--both of which rocked the house!

The meal was topped off with an apple pie filled with fruit from a nearby house that was (sadly) going through forclosure. 




11/12/2012 | (0) Comments

On the Road to Telluride

It's always nice when we hear how quickly our clients sell their homes. A beautiful, comfortable, and productive landscape will inspire certain buyers not only with curb appeal but also with an evelope of well-nourished and good-natured landscape. These SFP clients were living up the hill from Upper Canyon Road when they decided to move up to Telluride. We were sad to see them go becuase they had become our friends too, but we were happy when they went under contract after only 40 some-odd days on the high-end market (which has been known for the last several years for its abundant "units" of inventory in the million-$-and-up category). Thankfully, this weekend, the Sembrats asked that PermaDesign come help them with their new place. Looking forward to checking out another awesome Sembrat home in one of America's greatest hamlets. Photo by Charles Mann.

11/07/2012 | (0) Comments

Hawthorn Berry Harvest

We have a hawthorn "tree" (Really, it's a large bush.) out in front of our design studio. Most of its yellow leaves have fallen off in this picture at right (the orange is gro-low sumac), but you can still see







the red berries. These pics were taken after we harvested the cupful below.

11/06/2012 | Edibles | Shade | (0) Comments

Koi Pond Pondering

Today, I had the pleasure of working with Santa Fe Water Gardens on a fish pond design/installation. Ponds need to intergrate nicely with their surrounding seating areas, paths, beds, trees, and cistern pipes, so it was good that I was there. The flat rock in the center of this shot protrudes from a steep rock bank and provides a hiding place for koi from attacking racoons. It's also well over four-feet deep to make it hard for bears to jump in for dinner. With those steep rock banks the pond itself becomes a kind of beautiful fortress.

11/05/2012 | (3) Comments

Credit Union Flies Coop Lands on Bank

Friends, clients, permaculturalists!

Please note that the Permaculture Credit Union has moved! It's still in Santa Fe and its still going strong, and you can still become a member online (You don't even have to live in New Mexico) at You can also read all about it in my October 2012 column in the Santa Fe New Mexican's real estate magazine. See below.



11/04/2012 | Community | Ecology | Events | (0) Comments

Garlic Tea

Here's the low down on growing big garlic. I'm not sure if size matters when it comes to garlic. Large or small, it's probably the most medicinal plant I know. Going into cold and flu season, always make sure you have at least a few cloves on hand. If anyone starts complaining of the first signs of a soar throat, congestion, unexplained achiness, or the gamut of cold-and-flu symptoms, we suggest a simple "garlic tea."

11/03/2012 | Edibles | Events | (0) Comments

Time to Plant…Garlic

As Nate read during my father's memorial service, there's a time to plant and a time to reap. In permaculture, these often come one right after the other. We think of fall as harvest time, and it certainly is, but it's also time to plant peas, garlic, and starts under insulation blankets, cold frames, and greenhouses.

As you can see, we've gotten our starts going, and below you'll see our peas, but it's time to get a decent patch of garlic planted.

11/02/2012 | Edibles | (0) Comments