After twelve years of working full time and part time, raising two children on my own, rescuing animals, living vegetarian and as organic as I could afford, I reached a point in my life last year where everything changed. I quit my job, came to terms with living alone for the first time, and tried to find out what the last quarter of my life would embrace. Just as in nature, the answer was close by. It was my property, a watershed filled with Washingtonia palm trees (unsellable and fire hazards). Every year here in San Diego county, the rains come and all the neighborhood water funnels through my property down to a shallow stream below. Tons of water pass by my house. The rest of the year we bake and dry out, and I pay for irrigation water. In researching how to keep that precious rainwater, I discovered permaculture. Although I’d heard the term permaculture, I only vaguely knew what it meant. Have you ever discovered something that makes so much sense and makes your life so much better that you are amazed that you lived so long without discovering it? Yep, me too. That’s what happened this time. Permaculture is a wholistic means of living naturally where you no longer live in competition with nature, but as a part of it. By creating swales, rain catchment ponds and spongy rain-absorbing loam water is retained in your property. Creating plant guilds, edible forest gardens (even the term makes my foodie soul sing!), and natural greywater filtration, can all be done by everyone wherever they live without a great deal of expense. The term permaculture was coined by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the 1970’s. It incorporates many of the practices I’ve already done in my life: organic veggies, the slow-food movement, raising chickens (for eggs and manure), beekeeping, planting bird and butterfly attracting plants, and no-till gardening. So I said to myself, “Duh!” (envision me smacking my head with my open palm). I can do this, I have the resources, and what better healthy, exciting path could I choose for myself? I asked a friend, landscape architect and activist Roger Boddaert to help me on this project, and together we’ve started down this exciting path of learning and creating. Roger is an overflowing well of information, inspiration and ideas, and envisions turning this adventure outwards to educate everyone we can about permaculture. This part of my blog is the progress on my land as we get the basics down. Thanks for walking the path with us!