Our Philosophy

Festina lente
-make haste...slowly

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Such a simple title for such a complicated endeavor. Especially when you're moving 2500 miles with a pregnant wife and a 2 year old, and taking your garden with you. Add to that the constant churning feeling in your stomach, arising from the knowledge that what awaits you at the other end is a sorry excuse for a "house" in a neighborhood that's questionably safe at best. There's no wiring, no plumbing fixtures, no kitchen, no bathroom, no air conditioning (in middle Georgia with summer bearing down), the walls were destroyed when the wiring was stolen, and firewood litters the floor, reminding you that someone else will lose their home when you assume ownership. Hopefully peacefully.

On the other hand the place only cost $3000 and has 1/4 acre of decent garden soil around it, and potentially a LOT more next door and across the street. I say "decent" only from a permacultural perspective, knowing that the heavy clay and weeds framing "the manor" under my care will give way to deep, humus-rich earth, teeming with beneficial soil microbes over the next couple of seasons. And since we're going there to be urban farmers, this is of the utmost importance.

If our intent was to buy a house that supported a job or two requiring new clothes and new colleagues, this one just wouldn't do. But that's pretty much the opposite of our intent, and so we sign, with some natural trepidation, a new contract with Nature.

Before we get to the new stuff though, there is transition work to be done. Enter our neighbor Joe, an avid hunting and fishing guide, and gardener extraordinaire. Joe will be taking the reins of year two in our front-yard garden here in Spokane, and I wish him all the best. Late-summer I should receive a package from Joe containing half of the garlic and shallots that I set last fall. A dozen varieties of garlic, from Music to Asian Tempest to Early Portuguese, and two Dutch shallot varieties, yellow and red, will arrive to invigorate the palette in the middle of the steamy, oppressive heat of my daughter's first Georgia summer. Joe has a good idea about what's in store for Americans over the next decade, and is rapidly building a local food community around himself in this Depression-era inner suburb just north of downtown.
All of my vegetative friends are packed and ready to roll. Probably wondering what's taking so long! We've got several blueberries, red, black, and purple raspberries, an apricot, a nectarine, and all kinds of herbs. The beginnings of a fine garden! Let's do it!
Twenty boxes of books - good leather-bound books, college textbooks, permaculture books - and artifacts - fossils, pottery, sculpture - packed and ready to relocate to the 'hood.
Almost forgot my crop of Jerusalem artichokes! What a prolific perennial vegetable! Taste pretty good too. Since they don't keep very well once harvested, I'm dividing this crop up between several friends, leaving plenty for us to eat and replant of course. "Sunchokes" are a good source of inulin, which recent research has discovered can significantly increase the body's ability to absorb calcium, making sunchokes a hot new "nutraceutical" food. (Not that that's the appeal to me necessarily.) They are also one of those crops that no one would ever know was there...
And now a brief introduction to the cast of characters:
The munchkin, Ella, enjoying some roasted pumpkin for lunch. She'll be two in May, just before her little brother arrives this summer.
My beloved wife, and fellow permaculteur, Jessica.
Yours truly, Tripp.
See you next time…