Having farmed, traveled, and lived in the Mediterranean climate on four different continents, this summer felt oddly familiar. It was hot and dry. After meeting our yearly rainfall of 43 inches by mid june this year everyone was begging for the rain to stop. And stop it did. It dried out and because of that it was a stress on the ecosystem for sure. We were lucky enough to get some tropical rains a couple of times this summer, but it indeed was hot and dry lasting all the way into the first week of October.
On the heels of moving into the tiny house in June, it has been great to have a new zone zero space and create different rythmns of living here at Treasure Lake. It gave me time to further connect to a splendid space once reserved for campers, campsite 1 evolved into tiny stead 1. While some campers were neat and tidy and conscious, many weren’t which caused that income stream to be shut down and transformed. Still campers enjoy the other sites but only close friends and for events.
Education and Events
Once more in late August myself and Abby Artemisia convened here on the land to educate others on the fusion of permaculture and foraging. We were met with a big group of 30 students as one of the topics, paw paw paradise propagation, brought in quite a reach with about a 1/4 of the class traveling over 2 hours to reach us. It was a beautiful sign because the goal of becoming a bioregional education center took its next steps. Thus we delivered, Abby on advanced foraging, and myself on the culmination of nearly 20 years of work with paw paws here at the lake. Never one steady flow, always interrupted by my travels, but obvious feedback loops present due to this protracted and thoughtful work and observation. I teach those garnered insights through the lense of my active forest enhancement program. We went through so many different realms of paw paw, from propagation to advanced management techniques. And now that I am here full time, the paw paw mission kicks into a higher gear. We do have another exciting class coming up in late November, the 30th, entitled Rooted in Gratitude where we delve into the root layer of growing and foraging.
One of our students and dear friends Allison Kemphaus decided treasure lake would be the host site of her womans gathering/ yoga festival called Into the Deep Soul. This event is the exact direction of event rental/ hosting side of Treasure Lake that we are taking now. The woman who gathered here loved it here and the network grows, which is a true blessing. And most importantly the women who gathered here raised the vibration of the land through the plethora of practices of conciousness growing and health and welness that Allison and Maer and crew so clearly curated. This connection has also allowed me to start a new collaboration and has me now fusing permaculture with yoga once more. The first event can be seen below
While I might not be producing lots of annual veg these days, I am always on the search for our abundant wild foods. It did get slowed down by the drought but the paw paws did come in by the buckets. It wasn’t as great of a harvest as last year, but it was processed and eaten and most importantly seeds saved for our nursery. Also we got some good harvests of wild mushrooms with oysters on hickory and chicken of the woods on old oaks. That mission of active forest enhancement produces these yields along with nature and the walks it induces are always magical here at Treasure Lake. Paw Paw are a big part of my life and my upcoming online Paw Paw course is sure to hook you and create abundant harvests as well.
As always at the lake when you live in such countryside and manage for wildlife, well the wildlife brings such a sense of awe and reverence. Sometimes people ask don’t you feel lonely out there? First I am only 30 minutes from one of the largest cities in the region and two if you open your eyes and heart you will connect to so much life. So no, I am not lonely. The murmuration, thanks Allison for teaching me that word, that I witnessed for the first time this year produced almost nightly boat tours. In the non native phragmites patch, a wetlands grass, came red wing back birds by the 1000’s. The sight and sound was incredible and makes me chuckle on the inside when people say why don’t you get rid of that non native grass. Well nature put it there and if we respect natures choices we may see why. And believe me I look forward to cutting all that material this winter and using it as mulch because can you imagine how much bird manure is laden there!
Tree Planting (#letsplantsometreesyo)
Moreover, once proper fall came it transitioned into full on tree planting season. As I said before, I am fully anchored at the tiny house, which necessitates the development of the space around for this new zone 0 area. Thus many a tree crop have been planted already and more to come with the lists below:
• 32 paw paw seedlings
• 4 chestnuts
• 5 more hazelnuts
• 4 nectarine
• 4 blackberry
• 2 elderberry
• 1 mulberry to compliment a nearby one
• 2 carolina all spice
• 2 witch hazel
• 2 vernal witch hazel
• 2 goumi
3 Russian hawthorn
Still to go is the following:
• 3 peach
• 4 pear
• 4 elderberry
• 4 jujube
14 paw paw
The three maps below show what has been done starting with the base map from December 2018. The second map shows starting in May with Hazelnuts and Catalpa and one Paw Paw orchard in late August as well as all the recent tree planting in October/ November 2019. Then the third map shows the projected planting.
Each is getting individual tree planting terraces with massive mulch rings. Some are on extended terraces built with log reinforcements. Each were selected to compliment the light regimes since we have towerings oaks and majestic maples already present on the slopes; true food forest style. Uncle Bill would be proud I feel and it feels great to positively affect climate change and help increase community food resilience. Indeed these hillsides and valleys near the tiny house have been transformed forever and you can plant more on with us on Sunday November 17th if you are around. I am really grateful for Griffin and Allison who have helped so much and also the passerby help of folks like Rachel and Robert.
And now onwards into the depths of winter. We give thanks, express gratitude for our abundance, and let energy flow in this season of darkness ahead. But its time to work more on active forest enhancement, pump out more articles, and go further with my online educational platforms. Thanks for the abundance of food and the people who come through. Those are the real memories!