Category: Ecology

Colorado River Basin Under Threat

Saw a version of this in the New Mexican a couple of weeks ago but passing it on via Keith D Johnson who publishes the ever-awesome Permaculture Activist Magazine. As we look to broaden and diversify our water portfolios, we need to look to the sky, too, especially since we seem to be drying up what's under our feet.

08/09/2014 | Climate | Ecology | Water Harvesting | (0) Comments

It’s Lovely Weather for a Hoop House

Here's a shot of our hoop houses under this afternoon's fresh blanket of snow. Inside, we've got lots of lettuces, kale, chard, cabbage, beats, peas, and any number of herbs. I hope to have a greenhouse someday but for now these cold frames are working well.


The hoops are made of 1/2" diameter PVC (a terrible product if you live downstream from an irresponsible manufacturer) pipe which is a light, strong, flexible, rigid, inexpensive and basically perfect material for making low arches in between rebar stakes. Three hoops and pairs of stakes are set within a 4' x 8' rectangle of 2-by lumber. The hoops are covered in a

12/10/2012 | Climate | Companion Plantings | Ecology | Edibles | Energy Savings | Outdoor Living | (0) Comments

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

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

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

The Meaning of a Cyclone

That 70's margarine ad almost got it right, but "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature," really boils down to "It's not smart to try to take advantage of Mother Nature and then ignore her at your big party."  Is Cyclone Sandy trying to tell us this? In four presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate, the term "climate change" was brought up in only one: the third-party debate moderated by Larry King. 

10/30/2012 | Climate | Ecology | Energy Savings | Water Harvesting | (0) Comments

Plant Your Cistern!

Here's a precipitation-collection tank, or cistern, that's patially burried and hidden by a raised planter bed and a combination of beautiful and edible plants. The easiest way to see where the cistern is in this photo is to look for a brown downspout that elbows from the right post of the portal. That goes into a 650 gallon cistern from which water is pumped and distributed through the backyard with a hose. I took this shot at our a client's residence around this time of year several years ago. One of the reasons to go this route when installing a cistern is to save money on exacavation, but don't forget to figure in the cost of the wood and labor involved in the screening  with the  landscape timbers that make up the raised bed. You will also be limited to plants that sprawl and cover ground even with root systems that get shrunk by the tank which is only 4" to 12" below the ground.

10/26/2012 | Companion Plantings | Ecology | Energy Savings | Lawns | Outdoor Living | Shade | Water Harvesting | (0) Comments

Paint Your Cistern!

Some people are so proud of their cisterns that they like to show them off, but most people prefer to screen their rainwater tanks from view. You can hide them with trees and shrubs. You can erect a fence and then train vines up the fence. If you are Plants of the Southwest (one of my favorite plant nurseries in the world), you get a local artist to paint a lovely vignette of wild ruminants in a Hopi-painting style that celebrates the act of water harvesting.

10/24/2012 | Ecology | Erosion Control | Grading and Drainage | Water Harvesting | (0) Comments

Bioneers Day 3: Not as a God, but as a God Might Be*

On the third day (a wonderfully wet Sunday Morning), the Lafayette Bookstore (the bookstore at the conference) graciously let me sign books. One might think a 100-person line at a signing would be impossible for a new author like me, but in fact it actually happened! The catch was that the line was made up of early birds waiting for Jane Goodall.

Oddly, it wasn’t at all surreal to have one of the environmental movement’s founding mothers scheduled to sign books right after me. All of us in the movement seem to be doing the best we can do given our lots and talents. Sure, she’s borderline godhead, but so are YOU! (And she’d probably be the first to admit this.) Plus, when all was said and done, I noticed stacks of Goodall books that were NOT purchased, whereas we came a mere two books shy of selling out of Harvest the Rain.

*from “Sunday Morning” by Wallace Stevens

10/14/2010 | Books | Ecology | Events | Water Harvesting | (0) Comments

Bioneers Day 2.1: Green Jobs? Toxicologists Wanted.

(The Sad Tales & Real Promise of a Green Scientist)

A longtime Polaroid employee addressing thousands of cutting-edge environmentalists? Sounds like a concoction for conflict, but it turned out to be a fabulously successful experiment yesterday. John Warner told his story about becoming the founding father of Green Chemistry with one part optimism, two parts tale of innocent death, three parts useful information, and four parts humor (ranging from deadpan to verbalized slapstick).

10/13/2010 | Ecology | Events | (0) Comments