Tag Archives
"permaculture"

The Hidden Connections

I was in the kitchen at home this weekend, with a stained and well-loved cookbook balancing precariously on the edge of my counter, a bit of smoke in the air from a stove burner making an acrid plea for cleaning. I didn’t mind: the weekends are when I have the time to be more flamboyant …

A Foraged Feast

I’m yawning and watching the door as faces from the neighbourhood drift in for morning coffee at the Spiral Café in Vic West. It’s Monday, sunny, and the colours outside hint at spring – although my windows were faintly frost-touched when I left the house earlier. A couple of my classmates arrive, smiling through the …

Towards an Honourable Harvest

This is my hope, anyway: that to sit and observe, as we are encouraged to do in permaculture, can yield in time a kind of intuitive grasp of the landscape. Of its patterns and natural boundaries, its shifting moods; glimpses of its rhythms and of the personality that animates it. That to meditate on a …

Permaculture and City Repair

It was a few weeks ago that we spent a day in the city together as a class, exploring sites of urban permaculture around Victoria. Things feel quieter here in the winter, green and tranquil, and much of the life at these places we visited had the sense not of dormancy but of holding firm …

Perennial Spirit

This week, while spring started nudging colours up from the ground, and as cherry and plum blossoms unfurled overhead and sounded the timid first notes of what will grow to be a symphony of pinks and whites in the city, we sat down at the farm to learn about perennial plants. Solara, our instructor for …

The Truffle Hound

When I was a few years younger – well, when I was in elementary school – I would draw blueprints of the houses I planned on living in when I grew up. Some looked like your garden variety mansions, opulent and symmetrical, towering Versailles gingerbread houses that now make me wince a bit. Others were …

Mulching and Meaning

Over lunch this week, the watercooler talk turned to leaf mulch. I promise, it was more interesting than it sounds. But let me give you some background: that morning, we’d been staking out ground at Tiny Tree Herb Farm for a new garden plot in a rough and sunny corner by the barn, thick with …

Urban Permaculture

Pedalling through the Saanich Peninsula, to the north of Victoria, can sometimes bring the feeling one’s been pitched into a verdant dream. Now in its wet winter, lazy rolling slopes are transformed into blankets of fern; trees bowing overhead possess an air of the ancients, lichen dripping from their boughs; protruding rock faces are moss-kissed …

Beginner’s Mind

Here I am: hunched over the classroom table, squinting intently through a hand lens like some rubber-booted horologist. Feeling vaguely aristocratic with this new implement, I test my eye muscles to see whether I can hold the lens hands-free, like a monocle. In my imagination, I wear both personas at once: an aristocrat watchmaker, an …

On Becoming a Permaculturist

I often think about all the things I don’t know. Or maybe it’s better to say, I often think about not knowing, envisioning a kind of huge space next to whatever I call “what I know”. And then, sometimes, I try to stretch it out and make it a collective thing – all that we …