Tag Archive: Nature


While I continue to recover my health, please enjoy these baby hummingbirds!

Thanks to Care2.com

Stream videos at Ustream

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

Thanks! :)

Bringing you fuzzy tidings on colorful wings and wet noses this holiday season!

Yes, the bluejay is as big as the raccoon because it’s a baby raccoon named Pancake, the son of Waffles. Amanda drew this with the cheapest markers and black ink, using a mechanical pencil for the first sketch, then inking and coloring it in.  This drawing is the first in Ripples’ 2013 art, using circles and themes from our blog posts to illustrate the importance of sustainability and social justice.

Making Christmas magic for wildlife this year.

A bit of trivia from Science 2.0: the first artificial trees were basically really tall toilet brushes, manufactured by a toilet brush company!  Read what I’ve learned about artificial and real Christmas trees, the pros and the cons of each, in the latest column of Making Ripples in The Free Weekly that came out yesterday when I was so busy working on concept art for Ripples 2013 that I totally forgot to post a link!  Sorry folks.  But the art is coming along, and next week there will be a holiday surprise from Ripples to all of you!  Check out The Free Weekly online to learn about how you can recycle your live trees in Bella Vista this year to help little fishies have lake habitat.

Ryan & I are decorating our wildlife “tree” soon and will be posting photos here next week once we do.  Cross your fingers that we get a deer or some cute squirrels!

Celebrating the Harvest in Community

Yesterday, I participated in my fellowship’s tradition of Bread Communion, when everyone brings a loaf of bread to pass around in baskets during the service.  Each person takes a piece of bread, and together the congregation reflects on gratitude for each other and nature’s gifts. View full article »

Drawing a dream into reality.

Window to Nature (black & white)

This sketch is done in pencil – just a quick representation of the scenes I want to elaborate on from my imagination.  The window seat is set into an earthbag wall, with salvaged glass firmly meeting the plaster so the home is energy-efficient (I hope).  There is ivy growing around the edge of the window, but honestly I’m not sure this invasive plant is native to Arkansas or not.  Ever since reading Ivy Cottage when I was a child, I’ve known that my house would have ivy growing on at least part of the house, kept in check so as not to destroy the building.  The entire scene is one I hope to live someday during fall 2014, if we’re lucky enough to complete the construction of our earthbag home by Christmas 2013 (we have not begun building and are still looking every once in awhile for the right spot to nurture Ripples’ values).  I can’t wait to cozy up with a good book and know that the very best gift, besides having a safe, free place to live, is what is outside the window: nature.

Window to Nature (color)

The latest Ripples’ column in The Free Weekly is about my favorite subject…wildlife! View full article »

Saturday, October 6th, I ate my very first chestnut.

It was a transformative experience which food often brings about, changing the world from ordinary, familiar and full of obligation into a place of adventure and celebration of the mundane moments dearest to our hearts.  Eating a little piece of chocolate while doing the laundry, for instance, might not be a holiday event but it’s sure to make those fluffy, fragrant towels more enjoyable.  So when it’s a dreary Saturday morning in the 50’s and quite chilly for an October farmer’s market in the Ozarks, the scent of roasting nuts overpowered me.  As I was striding quickly towards the alpaca farmer to buy a warm woven headband to protect my ears from the wind, I noticed a vendor that I’d overlooked on all my previous trips to the market.  He was the type of old which I find very appealing, the sort of elder full of wisdom to learn from.  And the lesson he had for me was in a little chestnutView 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.

Dry Erase Board Feather

I drew this feather on our dry erase board because I wanted to experiment with a new medium.  Feathers are a spiritual symbol for me, the way they look so imperfectly perfect.  Using a dry erase board was less challenging than I anticipated it would be, and I value its impermanence.  It’s smooth, like gliding over the surface of water.  As I try to express what we’re doing at Ripples through art, (like this autumn tree sketch) it’s always these drawings that aren’t really explanatory but just suggestive that stand out and make me want to share.  I have plenty of sketches of how our furniture will fit into the ground floor of the earthbag home, but, this feather is the sketch I shared.  It feels more meaningful than a floor plan.