Category: Land

Like turtles, we’re sure to win with steady progress!

It was FREEZING out there! I’m drinking “pudding cocoa” which is chocolate pudding melted into almond milk.

Our friend Jacob looks over a map of Washington County with Ryan before we all head out to search for land.

Despite a never-ending upper respiratory infection and recovering from surgery, I’ve been putting time into searching for land for Ripples.  Check out what it’s like to look for land for sustainability purposes in the latest Making Ripples in The Free Weekly!  This column was a rare rant for me; I don’t like to be so negative about describing a process, but it certainly has been a challenge to even find an acre for sale.  Hopefully, as with most things in our life, when we’re ready and it’s the right time, land will become available. :)

Check out this week’s issue of The Free Weekly for a concept design of one acre for Making Ripples!

Ryan & I have been thinking hard since August 2011 about how to make the most ripples on a small piece of land.  There are so many wonders to be created on just one acre for Ripples, if it’s healthy, protected and sustainable: native pollinators, trees, and wildlife; rainwater harvesting systems; technology that makes a difference globally; alternative power sources like solar panels; fresh organic vegetables and herbs; healing pathways through the forest, and much more!  These are just ideas, but some of them are already alive and well: technology help for non-profits, our blog and column, a rain barrel, bicycles, and more.  But we can’t make a more tangible difference in Northwest Arkansas without the land.  Have you seen this acre?  If so, let us know by emailing

Thanks! :)

On Wednesday night, I made my first rain barrel for our future homestead and garden!

I got four decent photos before my camera battery died.  But I’ll be painting our barrel in the coming year and taking photos of it’s progress into it’s new home once we’ve built the earthbag house and started a new garden.  How exciting to be building towards this dream, no matter what!  Every week brings something new to Ripples, whether it’s a full-length mirror for our handmade bathroom, an old stool to be decoupaged with animal photos (more on that later!) or from this week, a rain barrel!  Next week might even contain a bathroom sink, we’ll see :) View full article »

Grass Almighty

Admiring and fearing one of the hardiest plants on earth.

I’d love to provide more scientific points on grass, since it’s very interesting, but for today I just wanted to share our two experiences with grass this week.  For me, grass is beautiful but in my way at the moment, as I try to hoe it out of the garden bed. A neighbor might help me in exchange for COOKIES! I love bartering with cookies, since I love receiving them but also giving them to trade for things I just can’t do alone, like sewing. And ripping up waist-high grass.

In Ryan’s experience, grass is the fearful thing that harbors ticks and chiggers, enabling them to feast upon his flesh.  Like some Hitchcock film, ticks can sense Ryan and go after him with accuracy.  We played a game on the ticks today: whenever we saw one of the big ones, we’d place our feet on either side of the tick and see which person’s foot the tick crawled towards.  It was Ryan’s! If he moved away, it changed direction and followed him!  He found about half a dozen ticks on his socks today.  I got none.  :)

Today we decided to build a type of entryway into our home design to allow for a precaution against bringing too many ticks into the house.  In this small doorway space, we can leave our socks & shoes etc. and even use a box that can heat up like a car trunk for getting rid of pests in the case of being covered with them.

Uncovering rocks in the garden’s former pathway is like an archaeological dig!

Yesterday was my first day in the garden.  After a passionate Dig In! festival Saturday to inspire me to grow, I wanted to get started right away and hopefully plant some peas. View full article »

Come check out an excellent festival on healthy local food!

Ripples will have a table all day Saturday, March 3rd, at the UA Global Campus Center on the downtown square.  You’ll have the opportunity to attend movie showings, classes, a seed swap, and of course, sample food donated from several local restaurants.  To learn more, click here and check out the Dig In! festival schedule and details.  The reception and movie showings begin Friday night.

Get a Coupon!

On Saturday, if you stop by Ripples’ table you’ll get a $1 off coupon for your next sustainable cookie order! Hope to see everyone there!  But if I’m not at the table, it’s likely because I’m attending the classes on Beginner Gardening & Composting, Good Bugs Bad Bugs, Basic Canning and No-Till Farming.  There’s a lot to see and learn, so come check it out!

The first step to buying land is knowing what you want.

Winter Views

But when everything seems great and you’re just trying to live sustainably, it’s a bit harder to be picky.  “Sure, I guess that tree is good for protecting,” “Yeah I suppose this big empty lot would need protection,” “Oh, of course, we could protect this rocky  hillside.”  And yes, we dream of having a spring on the land, but I worry it will cost half a million dollars for such land.  And a view? Priceless.

Did you notice the birdhouse? I can’t wait to be able to put up birdhouses and nest boxes and hummingbird feeders!

But lately, despite looking at properties online, I am just home-hugging. Today I sat on the windowseat in our apartment, enjoying our last week here.  Drinking some fair trade tea, I reflected on just how “city girl” I was.  Yep, I like cushions and comforts.  It’s never made me deeply happy, but I’m accustomed to pavement and sidewalk, to bridges, restaurants and book shops.  Moving will be a huge experience for me because our location will be closer to trees than sushi. I will miss being one block away from a delicious burrito, and being able to easily walk through the rain or snow to get a hot chocolate and watch the birds at Nightbird Books.

I’m going to try and be away from the computer as much as possible this last week in the apartment, so I can soak up this location, the nice weather,  and the privacy we have in our little space.  Eventually, I’ll come to realize that the noise of cars is not worth the proximity to french fries.  When we’re settled into our new home, and I get to see a fox or owl for the first time outside of a book or movie, I will hunger for being indoors much less.

Here is a photo of the box I found for storing cool things I find in nature! :)

Nature Treasure Box

Have you ever had a chicken eat out of your hand?

I now aspire to become a chicken whisperer and make effective chicken noises.  I love the sound; it’s almost like the cats’ snoring.  Ahhh…to hear chickens every day!  When we visited Quinn’s friends Ron & Lisa, they introduced us to their chickens and let me feed them by hand!!  It was an intense experience – I have never been that close to a chicken or felt anything peck food from the palm of my hand before.  At first, I thought Dang! This is about to hurt, I wonder how much? View full article »

A field trip to Madison County, Arkansas introduces us to new faces!

Slowly, we’re learning to put the puzzle pieces together and create a homestead.  Last Monday, our friend Quinn took us out to Madison County to introduce us to her friends and show us around.  Yay field trip! View full article »

First in a series of nature sketches on recycled paper.

I drew this while thinking of the squirrels and the brightly colored fall maple trees.  Hopefully we will have maple trees on our land someday.  It’s hard to envision exactly what it will look like, and I guess I’m afraid to do so because what if nothing like that exists?  I’m open to all types of land, both old wilderness and newer forests.  But I do hope for nice trees and a little brook or stream running through it.  Even rocky soil would be a blessing, because it looks beautiful and we’re prepared to nurture the topsoil in a small patch of land for a vegetable garden, as well as grow food in a greenhouse or indoors in pots.

Imaginary Autumn Tree