Garbage Warrior Screening Sunday, March 27

This Sunday, High Plains Permaculture will be screening the documentary “Garbage Warrior” at the Bismarck Public Library meeting room C – 2-4pm. This is a story of Michael Reynolds, designer of the Earthship, and his efforts to get the design into use. I’ve been enthralled with earth-sheltered housing for a while now, and this is a particularly wonderful DIY option that rescues material from landfills while providing thermal mass for heat regulation, and greenhouse space. I hope you’ll join us!


Bismarck Spinning Group

Hello Internet Searchers: Just so you know, Bismarck does have a spinning group which meets the 3rd Saturday of every month at Impact Gallery on 4th and Broadway – 10 -12:30ish. September’s meeting is postponed to the 25th due to the downtown street fair on our usual day. We’re a small, welcoming group – bring your wheel or spindle and chat with us! If you’re on Ravelry, we do have a discussion group there – North Dakota Spinners.


Ouch, the last post was in December? Eep!

Well, some updates:

  • The next High Plains Permaculture meeting is Thursday, 4 March, at 7pm in the Barnes and Noble cafe area (the library’s semiannual book sale is tying up their meeting rooms). This will be a planning sort of meeting – what sort of things would you like to see done, this year? Bring your ideas and chat with us Thursday night. While we cannot bring outside food and drink into the building, there will likely be a surreptitious tasting of my home-canned elderberry juice in the parking lot afterwards. If it’s not blizzarding.
  • Most of this month’s blog inactivity can be traced to the priority of preparing for my Feb 20 talk at the 2nd state Local Foods Summit, in Jamestown. I’ll be doing an Intro to Permaculture focusing strongly on examples from the small farm level, especially Mark Shepard’s Wisconsin work on a staple food perennial polyculture of chestnuts and hazelnuts.

The December-January inactivity is due to an abrupt change in workschedule from 4 days, 37 hours per week to 5 -12 days, 57 hours per week. Unfortunately I’ll soon be getting the time off I’ve been wishing for in the form of a layoff at the end of February.

So, some hard questions. Do I find another office job to pay the bills and continue to work with North Dakota permaculture on the side? Or is there a way I can turn this extra-curricular interest (which I enjoy a whole heck of a lot more) into some sort of income-generating arrangement? It’s hard, because there aren’t really any existing jobs in this brand-new field  in ND. We have interest in our group in town here, and some small farmers up in Grand Forks and Fargo and Beach are exploring adding in fruiting areas to their existing plantings, but I’m one of the only people in the state doing permaculture education. (There’s a lovely guy in South Dakota hitting the NPSAS circuit this year, and a good whack of people in Minnesota, but not yet ND.)  How much education would I need to add to swing an environmental/landscape planner with an engineering firm? 🙂

In the short term, my decisions are primarily whether to attend the Advanced Permaculture Teacher Training in MN in March, and the Badgersett Woody Ag Short Course in April – oh yeah! – but I’m really looking forward to the end of the 60-hour weeks in order to do some thinking. Maybe with some time off I can become one of those people with bread, yogurt and cream cheese incubating in the fridge, and vinegar and worm compost working in the basement… and finally start the first project on my 36″ floor loom, that I had just finished fixing all the misthreadings on when my teammates quit in November. That will be nice.

Political calls

Wow, these push polls are getting less subtle every day.

Today’s example:

“Your senator, Earl Pomeroy, did a bad thing. He voted for Pelosi’s health care bill. Would you like to chastise him?”


What, are we two-year-olds now?

I hate that I always think of good replies after they’ve hung up. “Who wrote that script? Is it the same for every state, or do they just think North Dakotans won’t understand words longer than one syllable?”

Or the classic, “Do you actually believe this or are you just being paid to say it?”

I don’t know which one would be less depressing.

Wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment if political calls were only allowed to be made from inside the affected state, by people living in the affected state, who actually believed in the thing they were calling about?

I’m sure there would be lots of unintended consequences for my people too, people who believe that exchanging $1200 per month in health care premiums for a $300 increase in taxes would be a net savings… but I betcha the frequency of calls would decrease!

Starting an ND Permaculture Group?

I think we’ve finally hit that magic threshold of people interested in starting a permaculture group in Bismarck/Mandan, North Dakota. To that end, an organizational meeting will be held Tuesday 14 April at 7pm in the Bismarck Public Library’s meeting room B.

If you’re interested, come and chat with us! Let’s all decide what we’d like this group to be.

Some questions to consider before coming to the meeting, so we can arrive ready to get started:

  • What is your background?
  • Why are you interested in this?
  • Do you have any experience with permaculture, gardening, doing things sustainably, etc?
  • What do you hope to get out of this group? Plant variety suggestions? Things you can do to make your property more sustainable, even if it’s an apartment? Discussions with like-minded people to help increase your understanding of the subject? Working through a course together? Tours of permacultured settings? Speakers? Or something else entirely that we haven’t thought of yet (which is the entire point of starting a group!)?