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 MakeSomeRipples@Gmail.com
Enjoying winter greens in a smoothie is a tasty way to keep colds away.
I love our green smoothies, and this week in The Free Weekly, our favorite recipe is included so you can try them too! (It doesn’t appear online this week, but you can pick up a copy around Fayetteville and find the recipe inside.) If you have a winter garden, green smoothies are a good way to use up any kind of green you might be growing this month, especially if they’re slightly bitter. The fruit juices make greens taste sweeter, and the avocado turns an “applesauce” texture into “ice cream”! We use a high-speed Vitamix blender, though, and green smoothies are less feasible with standard blenders. It was well worth the investment, and we use our Vitamix several times a week. Blending fruits and veggies in this manner supposedly makes the nutrients more accessible to our bodies, since we don’t chew as much as our ancestors did and can’t break down the cell walls as effectively. Good nutrition, and in particular the nutrients that come from dark leafy greens, is an excellent protection against all those colds circulating in your office or school. Stay healthy!
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 »
The Great Grey Slug, or “Leopard Slug,” likes to visit our front door!
My buddy the great grey slug, beautiful creatures that are willing to eat cracked corn!
I love slugs. I like snails too, with their spiral shells reminiscent of galaxies and concepts much larger than themselves. But snails are pretty hard for me to find – I only have one snail shell sitting on my bathroom sink in the soap dish – whereas slugs come calling every night. They love the entrance to our “burrow” (the nickname for our apartment) and lately I’ve discovered that the only animals to eat my corn are the groundhogs and the slugs. They are gorgeous, with a pattern resembling a leopard, and they’re one of the largest land slugs in the world, introduced from Europe. Even their eggs are beautiful, like crystal marbles (at least the images on Wikipedia look great).
Even though slugs frustrate gardeners everywhere, for me they fall into the category of “awesome” despite my gardener aspirations. I’ll be the kind of gardener that loves garden-eating animals, like the hound dog loving the fox. And it’s helpful that they eat cracked corn when none of the birds since April have touched it. This explains to me the meaning behind that song I don’t understand, Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care, because nobody cares about cracked corn except our slugs. It makes me feel good knowing these little cuties get to eat something that won’t bother any gardeners. When this bag of cracked corn runs out I can go buy birdseed the birds will eat, like black sunflower seeds.
A gluten-free vegan meal that anyone can enjoy!
Fresh Basil & Walnut Pesto
I love meals that have a story, with ingredients that seem to walk around telling their history. The cherry tomatoes came from St. Louis, grown in the backyard of Ryan’s parents and given to us while we were visiting last week. Ryan’s mom excitedly picked them out of her garden and put them in a brown bag to ripen. The basil, fresh and fragrant as I carried it around the library and downtown, came from the Farmer’s Market here in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The walnuts were bought in the bulk aisle at Ozark Natural Foods, during their spectacular Owner Appreciation Weekend. With a lot of olive oil and excitement, Ryan & I combined the ingredients and added this pesto to brown rice spaghetti from Field Day Organics.
This little sunflower demonstrates true resilience in the natural world.
I noticed it while sweeping the deck of a former pool in the yard outside our door. This tiny plant was determined to grow even without any ground. It sprouted from the leaf litter which had sat for quite some time in the bottom of the pool, decomposing. I watched it grow for several weeks, applauding it, even though I knew it couldn’t hear me. Somebody has to take notice of the unseen resilience in our world, and spread word that far-fetched ideas, even if proven unsuccessful, are not worthless. This sunflower eventually died and decomposes along with the leaves, but of all the sunflowers I’ve seen in my life, I’ll never forget this one for standing out so vividly. Its power lies not so much in the sunflower’s growth, as what it grew inside the people who saw it: astonishment, hope, admiration, joy, courage…
My hope for Ripples is that someday we can be like this sunflower and inspire others to live more sustainably, despite the seeming impossibility of a lifestyle that goes against the grain. There are countless examples of resilience in nature. What’s your favorite? Please share in the comments below.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are now feeding in Ripples’ garden!
While I attempt to generate some photographic evidence of this, I couldn’t wait to tell you that we now have beautiful, zippy hummingbirds thanks to the HummZinger High View feeder! Every morning, I go out to my garden rock under a small tree in which the feeder hangs, and soak up the sound of the male’s chirps and buzzing wings. Our cilantro is abundant, the basil doing well, and the tomato plant is shooting up tall, with little yellow flowers emerging. But the best part is the hummingbirds, flitting from the honeysuckle on the wall behind the garden and my feeder.
Mornings just got a whole lot better for me
Update: Fresh pictures of our Ruby-throated male!
Ruby-throated male at the feeder!
Somehow, taking photos of an incredibly tiny, lightning-quick bird is not easy, LOL. I’ll continue trying to get better pics of hummingbirds, but for now, enjoy these two photos of our visitor. My day is incomplete if I don’t see him at least once, which is easy to do since hummingbirds need to feed very frequently. Stay tuned for another post on hummingbirds, with more details about their behaviors and which plants they prefer.
Ripples is growing strawberries!
Along with cilantro, peas, and lavender, we now have strawberries after over a year of waiting! View full article »