Love from Ripples

An update on the earthbag house, land, and our lives.

Hi everyone! Sorry we haven’t posted an update for awhile. We’ve both been busy acquiring skills (photography, naturalist studies, technology, business, art) to help us bring Ripples to life on the ground. Speaking of ground, we may not have land or an earthbag house yet, but we’re not giving up! As you may have noticed, we’ve been at this lifestyle transition for years and have no intention of quitting.

In order to dedicate our lives to doing Ripples work, it’s helpful to have many different sources of income and to be able to work from home as much as possible. Working onsite at our future earthbag house will let us tend to the land and home as needed, limit our emissions from commuting, and allow us to welcome visitors for occasional tours. Since much of what Ripples “is” will continue to be online (the educational center), the website maintenance will require having a home office to upload new DIY videos, posts, photos, and more. This is a long transition and takes a lot of planning, but so far it’s going well!

We not only think about “the money” but also “the method” – how are we earning it and what are the effects of those endeavors?

From Amanda:

"A Cupful of Bunnies" Pencil and ink. 2015 Now available with matching envelope sticker seals!

“A Cupful of Bunnies” Pencil and ink. 2015 Now available with matching envelope sticker seal!

My greeting card business began last October, as a way to raise money for Ripples through my art. Printed on sustainably sourced paper, I’m now working on a wildlife conservation educational card line. In just four months, we sold 456 cards accounting for $856 in sales for a total profit of $182 towards Ripples, after our initial investment of $673 on the first printings of cards. This is only the beginning, and because of our stock, we hope 2015 will raise a lot more money for Ripples. Ripples cards are available online through me, or for sale in Fayetteville at Ozark Natural Foods, Nightbird Books, Himalayan Mountain Shop, Center St. Mercantile, or the Curious Bookshoppe on Block – all of these partnerships were set up in these first months, and our educational center will (someday) house resources for how to approach businesses. We’re sharing this because seeing the process and not just the end result may prove useful to you if you want to work from home as an artist or craftsperson and focus your time on making a difference in an area you care about. So when I learn something, I try to make it available for others’ benefit. Now that I have experience doing this, I’d like to create a guide on seeking out and attending craft shows and holiday festivals, or selling at your local Farmer’s Market, to help people who are just starting out on their green job journeys.

Besides art, my writing through the Making Ripples column is a dream come true job for me, with over 125 columns written to date. The archive for these columns is free to access and includes information on natural building, ethical eating, DIY ideas for crafts, gardening, recycling, water conservation, and a lot more. I hope you find them useful and I’m thrilled to be able to do this to help people transition to a sustainable, justice-filled lifestyle that hopefully brings them joy and health.

Red-shouldered Hawk in our backyard 2014.

Red-shouldered Hawk in our backyard 2014.

Most of the fall semester (2014) was spent learning digital photography. I used part of my scholarship from my service in AmeriCorps*VISTA (celebrating their 50th Anniversary this February 25th!) to take a great class at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Why? Because an online educational center absolutely needs good photos, video, and digital media to illustrate our message. With these skills, I can more capably show you the habitat we’ll be revitalizing, post pictures of those baby animals emerging in the spring, post videos of our earthbag house being built, etc. My apologies for not updating Ripples blog recently – I had my focus on the camera. 🙂

From Ryan:

I spend a lot more time behind the scenes, slowly mastering the tools that will enable us to pull off the lofty, but we hope doable, goals Amanda described above.  Our “backend” areas of focus currently include:

  • Planning a wholesale website upgrade, which will involve a new look/experience, an online store for selling Amanda’s greeting cards and other artwork she may choose to market, and a format more capable of presenting the Educational Center (or “Making a Difference Demonstration site;” we’re still playing with what to call it).
  • Crafting a budget that hopefully will grant us comprehensive insight into this project, whose complexity and extensiveness has so thoroughly humbled, and excited, us.
  • Finding Land!  What a journey this has been so far.  Good land near good people situated in a critical conservation area where we fit in is (probably not surprisingly) difficult to track down.  But we shall persevere!  We don’t have much in the way of financial resources, but hopefully things will start falling into place once the inevitable cascade of craziness (find, survey, frequently visit land; accumulate stuff to put on it; bring people out to help build; source materials; etc.) picks up in earnest.

Besides those things, I work with local non-profits to help them stabilize and strengthen their web presence, and spend my working days at Ozark Natural Foods being the best Network Admin I know how to be (a journey offering daily opportunities and insights).  I’m also highly intrigued by the photography training Amanda has had, and will no doubt lend a hand with the actual taking of photos, though I already do much of the computer-oriented photographic work.

Thanks for reading and following our journey!



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