Methods of working with natural materials of the earth have been around for centuries.

An arid desert southwest made for some especially interesting challenges in designing an . The best architects of their time (the 1100's) were anything but primitive in their intelligent use of precious desert water.

Most of this data I have been gathering for years (extensive research for a fictional book that was to be rooted in actual historical context). The research part of novel writing is sometimes arduous, and can itself take decades and yield many surprises along the way.

shinrin-yoku ~ ๆฃฎๆž—ๆตด ~
forest bathing: "A short trip into a forest or natural space to experience the restorative effects of spending time in the stillness of nature."

Haven't been to the Portland Japanese Garden since it was redone last year, but I did visit it when gathering the original inspiration idea for the yard... something like a hybrid rain garden and a Japanese tea is what I'm going to go for in the back yard of the

A revived forest floor can sprout fortuitous friendships ... the has found more than a few for new non-clonal firs.

Aeration, condensation, drainage all important.

-building, IRL. More back story on the re-construction (Part Two):

Nevada Barr, an author known for US National Park ranger Anna Pigeon mystery books (which come highly recommended!), put out a memoir of sorts a few years ago. The book is called _Seeking Enlightenment Hat by Hat_. Lots of autobiographical random snippets, mostly, but one that stuck out to me was her lamenting (briefly) about heeding a builder who told her during her own house remodel that she "didn't need an architect."

"I should have hired an architect," she wrote.

Since many of my limited undergrad dollars went to feed her, her agent and publisher, I figured that was some sage advice. So my first call-out on this project was to find an architect. That was over 2 months ago...

Fast-forward to now. And, as it turns out, hiring an architect is basically a pointless endeavor unless you are also prepared to hire a structural engineer! Heed the layers of wisdom writers who communicate across time and space dole out, kiddos.

I guess it makes sense though; different people wearing different hats. And at the end of the day, sometimes you've just gotta trust the experts. ๐Ÿคท

Anyway. the has many good and a few not-so-great things about it. The good definitely outweigh the bad though.

The defunct laundry / mudroom we tore off wasn't added until at least the 70's (rough guess; don't take that for fact). I'm guessing that the beautiful red Acer Palmatum (AKA Japanese Maple), pictured below was probably planted afterward, in the 80's, as you can see how it filled in only on one side. These trees tend to grow fairly slowly.

Background is of covered work tent and wood waiting to be refinished and re-used in parts of the remodel.

-building, IRL: Preface

The was built in 1948 and is currently about ~740 square feet of house. When I first walked around the outside of the property a few years ago, I "heard" some cries of the suffering plants being choked out by weedy and invasive ivy, disgustingly snaky bindweed, reed canary grass, caterpillar grass.

It had once had a well-planned yard design, but the existence of a lawn and child's playground toys meant it had been neglected for a long time.

My decision, at the time, to mortgage myself to this little stead was not that hard. My heart had always yearned for some "filthy" dirt on which to compost my kitchen scraps instead of piling them into the trash (which you kind of have to do when you're an apartment dweller), or shoving them down the noisy garbage disposal with grinding-gear machinery that imitates the greedy gears of evil and extortionate landlords.

My mother was also literally born in 1948, so I took this, too, as somewhat of a nudge from the Great Mystery that perhaps this would be a good idea.

The house, as many of these old houses were apt to be, was built out gradually a room or two at at a time. The most recent addition was a laundry / mud room on the back of the house. I came to learn, after an electrician informed me that the power main and inside breaker boxes would both need replaced, that hey this part of your house was never permitted properly. So here's a massive expense.

Anyway... I've saved and scrapped these last few years and did the tear-down of the add-on over the summer.

Finally ready to re-do the addition the "right way": with permits and paid professionals and plans.

Here's progress so far (before & after teardown) ...

Another day at the

These are so sweet. There is at least one Jay family who lives in the neighborhood; this one I'm pretty sure is a juvenile and really likes the on a hot day.

Fallout from my whim to "rip out lawn and plant flowers", year three, with a wink at our bees friends, many of which meander at the .

Jewel colors in a bouquet of echinacea, yarrow, agastache, coreopsis and rudebeckia.

A bumblebee on some "smartie" dahlias.

Super close-up of intricate ipomopsis, AKA "standing cypress", grown from seed. It didn't flower last year and I transplanted it to a sunnier spot. This year it and one other grew over 7 feet tall and ended up bending sideways. This is a flower that hummingbirds love because their beaks alone are long enough to get the nectar.

All the moar .

๐Ÿก :ecostead: ๐Ÿฆ‹ ๐Ÿ

This is a thread about berries (cont'd):

... Lingonberries Huckleberries Nannyberry Boysenberry Cloudberry Dewberry Hackberry Thimbleberry Cranberries Cherry Mulberry Wolfberry Tayberry Loganberry Crowberries

Many fruits not commonly known as berries include grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, bananas, and chili peppers. A plant bearing berries is said to be bacciferous or baccate. Yesterday's list was off the top of my head, but apparently I was wrong to initially include strawberries, raspberries and blackberries on my list; Wikipedia tells me these are not actually berries, but "aggregate fruits".

So why are berries on the brain? Yesterday I acquired two small Bunchberry plants, AKA _Cornus Canadensis_ for groundcover in some of the 's more sloped and shady areas. These are considered "threatened" in some of the more central areas of their native habitat, but not so much in the . Gorgeous and happy little plants they are; I am looking forward to seeing how wildlife takes to them.

Here's a photo. Photos of the new plants on the ecostead coming later

Image source:


Decolonize your thinking! Ecosteader is a network for sharing better ideas around designing, building, and innovating eco-friendly spaces on our shared soil. We collaborate and amplify the voices of all indigeneous peoples with "Traditional Ecological Knowledge" (TEK) as we seek to build and participate in a better form of Ecological Democracy. Design lean, build green: compost for wildlife-friendly gardens, micro-homesteads, living walls not border walls, off-grid communities, recycled materials as artwork, and more. We are anti-Realtors, anti-landlords, and against corrupt RepubliKKKan politicians!