About the Author

Diane Cynthia Kennedy (nee Cywar)

I’ve been writing off and on since I was 11, and publishing since 1987.  I studied English and writing at University, then going about things backwards in my usual way, I studied plants and bugs at college.  With this education and a retail and restaurant background, I logically became a Park Ranger and Peace Officer Third Class and specialized in nature and local history walks and talks.  After ten years I left the service and I became a middle school librarian in Bonsall, a tiny town next to Fallbrook, the avocado capital of the world and my home.  Eight years later I changed again and was a seasonal tour guide for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  Then I discovered permaculture and now I own and operate Finch Frolic Garden, a permaculture habitat, and have devoted myself to passing on methods of sustainable living and gardening without chemicals.

My two adult children mean everything to me, and if I can make the world even a little better for them, then whatever I do is worth the effort.

Resume:

FORMAL EDUCATION:

Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Soil Microbiology Class, 2014

Permaculture Design Course: San Diego Sustainable Institute, 2011

POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training), SD Community College, 1989

Nursery and Landscape Technology: Mesa College, San Diego, 1984 – 1986

English Lit./ Creative Writing: University of California, Berkeley 1981- 1983

Journalism/ Play writing: University of California, San Diego, 1979 – 1981

PUBLISHING HISTORY:

Vegetariat.com;  May 2010 – present

*Food for Thought, Edible San Diego magazine, Spring, 2009 edition.

*This Edible Life: The Maciel Family Farm, Edible San Diego magazine, Winter 2008 ed.

*Tipping the Scoville Scale, Edible San Diego magazine, Fall 2008  edition. 

*Secret Dances: The Flavor of Honey. Edible San Diego magazine, Summer 2008 edition. 

*Community Service Directors and Volunteer Coordinators. American Careers, High School          Edition, Winter, 2004.

*Collar your Holiday Sales. Pet Product News, Sept., 2003. 

*Taking Tea with Aunt Kate. Story published in Cricket Magazine, June 2003 edition.

*Sky Watching. Story in Splash magazine, Fall, 2003. 

*Infosites: Finding the Best in Web Sites for Children’s Writers. Monthly column for the             SCBWI San Diego newsletter from 2001 – 2005.

*Book Review for Journal of San Diego History on Encinitas: History and Heritage, 1999.

*Publicity for the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation, including fliers,         press releases, brochures, newspaper and magazine articles, educational materials, docent newsletters, lesson plans, tour guides, lectures on history, nature and careers for schools and organizations, 1989 – 2000. 

*Selective Weeding. Organic Gardening magazine,  February 1989.

*A Tubful Of Paradise: Create Your Own Herbal Bath.  The Herb Companion magazine,               June/July 1989.

CURRENT AFFILIATIONS:

Fallbrook Land Conservancy, Friends of the Fallbrook Library, Rancho Guajome Adobe Docent Program, Founder, North County Historical Committee.

EXPERIENCE:

2011 – Present: permaculturalist; owner Finch Frolic Gardens; lecturer and consultant.

1987 – Present: Freelance writer

2001- 2009: Library Media Specialist, Norman L. Sullivan Middle School, Bonsall, CA.

1989 –  2000: County of San Diego Senior Park Ranger.

1988 – 1989: Section manager for Nurseryland, Del Mar, CA.

1984 – 1987: Customer Service Representative for four McDonald’s Restaurants.

1983 – 1984: B. Dalton Bookseller, Oceanside, CA.

1981 – 1983: Crown Books, Berkeley, CA.

1979 – 1981: Production manager for UCSD’s The Daily Guardian.

 

AWARDS:

*School and District Classified Employee of the Year, Bonsall Union School District, 2007.

*Directors of Volunteers in Agencies and the Volunteer Center’s Dee Warford-Kutch Award, 2000 for highest principles and ethics in volunteer administration.

*Environmental Educator of the Year, 1994, San Diego County Parks Department.

*Various citations and honorable mentions for educational effort with County Parks.

INTERESTS:

Writing, reading, education, research, animal rescue, heirloom and native plants, organic gardening, vegetarian cooking, beekeeping, folklore and mythology, travel, nature walks, birding, music, swing (and other) dancing, film, art and all of the sciences. 

13 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Hi Christine, thanks for writing. Having a large old Live Oak is such a blessing! Oaks are home to over 300 species of native wildlife, so there isn’t a better investment for the ecosystem. I’m concerned about the amount of leaves that the tree is dropping. Does it always drop this many, or has this just begun this year? I’m asking because an unusual leaf drop would mean issues with the tree’s health. If there are cars being parked on its roots, the compaction may be affecting the tree. If this is a normal occurrence, then that’s great. Oak leaves are high in tannins, so some things don’t grow so well in them, but many plants do, such as understory CA. native plants like toyon. Leaf drop serves several purposes. First, it allows space for new leaves to grow, secondly, the leaves carpet the earth to protect the roots from compaction due to hard rain or anything walking (parking!) on them, thirdly as they decompose they produce humic acid which purifies water as it passes through, and fourthly (but perhaps not lastly) the leaves protect and feed the mycorrhizael fungus and microbes that unlock the nutrients in the soil so that the tree can feed. Without leaf cover, the tree will be stressed, use a lot of water, and gradually die. Leaves under the oak should stay under the oak and be allowed to rot. Vehicles should be parked outside of the drip line at least, which will not only stop compaction but prevent possible fire (and stop vehicular fluids from dripping down into the oak roots). Excess leaves can be taken out of planters and pots. Leaves shouldn’t be heaped against the trunk, though, to prevent rot, but spread a couple of inches from the trunk to the dripline of the tree. If there are still too many leaves (and they will begin to rot and create leaf loam and therefore reduce in number while building soil) then use them elsewhere on the property around plants, or compost them with kitchen scraps (the ratio for a compost bin is 3 to 4 parts ‘brown’ to 1 part ‘green’). Leaves are the best possible fertilizer, especially the leaves spent by that same tree as they have everything the tree needs to build the right kind of soil to feed and protect itself. With protected loamy soil around the roots, the tree very well may stop dropping so many leaves because it will be healthier. Actually, I’m envious of all of those leaves! Thanks again! Diane

  2. My mother and sister recently sent me an article about not raking leaves, from your website. My mother’s front yard consists of a huge California Live oak. It drops about 6large trash bags of leaves a month. The leaves fill the garden beds, the pots with plants and cover the sidewalk and porch. For quite a while my sister raked them under the tree and piled them around the trunk about 2 feet deep and 3 feet wide. We began having the gardener pick them up once a month. However they are now convinced we should let them all lie where they land. I have no doubt after a few months they will completely cover everything. There is nothing planted in the yard under the tree, infact it is used as a parking area. What do you recommend in this case?

  3. Hi Harry, this is Diane Kennedy, author of vegetariat.com. Jacob Hatch is a friend who constructed our ponds here at Finch Frolic Garden. I don’t know the names of his parents, but I’ll ask him and get back to you. Thanks for reading, Diane

  4. Hi Randy, what a wonderful comment! Thank you! I write the way I speak, but without the “ummms”. And with the help of Spellcheck and a dictionary. And probably much more coherently. I like the blog posts on yeppet.com. Good niche for dog lovers with practical information. Nice job! Thanks again,
    Diane

  5. Hi Diane,
    Read your article on epsom salt and sugar. Just wanted to say I love the way you write! I want to write like that for my blog but just go…blank after a couple hundred words! What is your secret and would you write a blog article for me! Lol
    Anyway, just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your article.
    Randy

  6. Hi Dr. Goscienski,
    thank you for reading my blog, and for contacting me. I will pass on your offer about the pump to two permaculture pond experts that I know, to see if they have a need for it or know someone who does. Thank you for the offer, Diane.

  7. Dear Ms. Kennedy,
    I learned about you and Vegetariat from a Fallbrook resident who attended a lecture that I gave a couple of weeks ago at the library. She mentioned that you have a well on your property. In May I won a writing contest at Survivalblog.com (topic:breastfeeding) in which one of the prizes was a Flojak Code Red emergency well pump with a 100-ft. hose. As a suburban resident of Oceanside I have no need of the pump, which has a retail value of $499. Neither do I know of anyone who has a well. If you or someone you know has a use for it I will take the best offer. It is in the original unopened carton.
    Thank you for considering this matter.
    Phil Goscienski 760-732-1414

    BTW – I have a daughter in Petaluma who owns a landscaping company and who raises chickens. I thought that your article on fowl was interesting, especially how you handle food pantry leftovers. I will refer her to your site.

  8. Hello Diane,

    I attended one of your permaculture tours a few years ago & learned so much. I am starting a blog on Fallbrook & would like to include you & Finch Frolic Garden as one of my posts. If ok, I’d like to schedule a time to do an interview with you. It will take approximately 30 minutes.

    Thank you!

    Leslie

  9. I received the notice about your upcoming seminar, but I will be out of town. Will you be having other classes on the same subject? Please let me know. You can email me at jim@organicag.com.
    Thanks,
    Jim

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