Resilience Design

Hello! I’ve moved my landscape design pages over to Resilience Come visit me there. I’ll continue to post here about art making, homesteading and botany adventures.


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Edible Plant Sale

Resilience Design is holding an edible plant sale this spring to benefit the education programs of Sustainable Overlook.

Pre-order: February 21 through March 31. Order forms are now available at Resilience You can pay for your order there too or send a check.

Plant Pick up: Saturday, April 18th, 10 am to 4 pm at the Sustainable Overlook Spring Gardening Fair at New American, 2103 N. Killingsworth Ave. 

Create an abundant food forest in your yard or just add a few fun fruit and berry bushes to your landscape. Sustainable Overlook is holding a pre-order plant sale with pick-up at a natural gardening info fair. Order from a selection of hardy fruit trees, berry bushes and fruiting vines, plus veggie and herb starts and seeds. Offerings will include apples, persimmons, blueberries, rhubarb, kiwi and much more. All the plants are locally grown and are organic and/or Salmon Safe Certified. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Sustainable Overlook’s neighborhood outreach projects.

Order forms are available now. Pick up your plant order on Saturday, April 18th and check out Sustainable Overlook’s Spring Gardening Fair with natural gardening resources from Metro, co-sponsor North Portland Food Not Lawns, Mason bee info and more. 


Organic apples in Overlook neighborhood

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Overlook Neighborhood Sustainability Summit

My neighborhood is holding its first Sustainability Summit to discuss issues of ecology, economy and equity at the local scale. We’re bringing neighbors and others together to share about current efforts and ask how we can collaborate more on sustainability and livability. There are fantastic speakers coming including some friends and folks whose work I really admire.

I will be moderating a panel on our local ecology with panelists from Neighbors for Clean Air, Backyard Habitat Certification Program and Friends of Overlook Bluff. I will talk a bit about Sustainable Overlook’s Pesticide Free Neighborhood project, then I’d like to draw connections between what regional organizations are doing to protect and restore our green spaces and ensure clean air and water, what local grassroots groups are doing and what we can do as individuals on a daily basis that makes a difference.

One goal of the day will be to become aware of what initiatives are underway, how we can work together more synergistically and where they may be gaps to address.

There will be some ‘Transition Initiative’ components to the day, such as sticky-note brainstorming to kick off the networking session and ‘open space’ style group discussion.

I’m excited to share, listen and learn – when we work together, things get better. Everyone is welcome, whether you live in North Portland or want to bring back inspiration to your neighborhood elsewhere. Join us!


February 21, 11:30 to 4 pm. $10 donation Registration is open now.

PS. Lunch will be served at 11:30 am – catered by our  wonderful new neighbors The New American cafe…do not miss it!

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Acorn Woman


A sketch for a painting. Pencil on graph paper. 8.5 x 11″

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Storytelling and Permaculture in the Siskiyous

If you are in Southern Oregon or would like an adventure, here are upcoming offerings from the Siskiyou Permaculture Institute. If you can’t make the trip, you can hear some of Hazel’s stories on the Siskiyou Permaculture website.

Every year Tom Ward aka Tomi Hazel gives a free talk for the community, sharing stories and visions of the future of our bioregion. These inspiring events have been cherished by many in our community. The annual storytelling is coming up next Saturday. Please spread the word.

Siskiyou Permaculture’s annual storytelling event with Tomi Hazel aka Tom Ward
Saturday, December 6th, 7:00 pm, Jackson Wellsprings
by donation, no one turned away for lack of funds

Acorn Woman is the guardian spirit of the White Oak tree, an ecologically key species of the forest in our region, especially in the oak pine savannah. The White Oak has a high degree of connectivity in ecosystems, which is called implication, a poetic word in the English language with lots of different implications. White Oak, Acorn Woman, the Triple Goddess, the White Goddess, Diana the huntress, all of these are associated with the white oak in different cultures, in different places, showing us the central ecological importance of the White Oak tree. Because she’s such a strong woman, she has many consorts, the spirit animal plant guild of the White Oak. We;re going to meet her friends and talk about their relationships to her and to each other, and learn about our relationships to this place.

We also hope you will join us for one of our courses coming up in early 2015. Your early registration is greatly appreciated.


Advanced Permaculture Course with Tom Ward
Wolf Gulch Farm, Little Applegate
February 2-7, 2015

This course will explore reconnecting with forests through ecological knowledge, use of hand tools and woodscrafts, seasonal festivals, work cycles, stories and stewardship covenants. Learn ecologial assessment, carbon sequestration methods, restoration forestry and the crafts and products that can be enjoyed while re-establishing our heart space and wonder in the woods. Please register early. Course fee before January 2, 2015 is $475. Open to all with a working knowledge of permaculture. Lots of information, reviews and logistics can be found on the Siskiyou Permaculture website.

6 Weekends beginning February 21st
Jackson Wellsprings, Ashland, OR

This is the permaculture certificate course offered around the world with lots of local flavor included. Southern Oregon is lucky to have lead instructor Tom Ward, a senior permaculturist with decades of experience, teaching along with Melanie Mindlin and Karen Taylor plus special guests. The course is held at the Jackson Wellsprings spacious classroom every other weekend ending May 3rd. Still for the low price of $675, early registration by January 21st only $600. Please register early. Lots of information on the course can be seen at

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A Native Living Roof

Visiting Permaculture teacher and consultant Tom Ward/Tomi Hazel’s  house was a highlight of the Optical Surveying course. Here I’m checking out the living roof, planted with Siskiyou native succulents. These stonecrop (Sedum) species are those evolved alongside native pollinators and birds and are fire resistant. Grasses are excluded from this living roof for safety in this region where periodic fire is a natural part of the ecology.

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New Tools


Rods, English and Metric


Antique transit


Surveyor’s accoutrements.


Observing the observer. Staking out a 1:100 keyline on a slope to be farmed.

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Optical Surveying

I spent last week in the Siskiyous with a small band of designers, builders and farmers learning how to read the landscape with analog tool, improved vision and ecological awareness. Here are a few images from the course.





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Go oaks!

My last few weeks have been focused on Oregon white oak, Quercus garryana. Did you know that much of the Willamette Valley, including Portland, and the Columbia River Gorge were once home to oak savannah and oak woodland? These incredibly beautiful, long-lived trees were an important part of the ecosystem for people and animals and had their own unique understory plant communities. They have been under threat for the last 200 years from logging, development, fire suppression, invasive species and now climate change. I’ve been learning as much as I can about them to help protect and rebuild these habitats. My next few posts will be about the projects and oak adventures I’ve been involved in.

Here are opportunities to learn about white oak and get involved in restoration:

October Free Skills Share: Acorn Processing Workshop with Rewild Portland
Tomorrow, Saturday October 25. Learn about oak ecology and get hands-on experience processing acorns into flour.

Friends of Overlook Bluff: Get involved to help preserve a heritage oak and create a nature trail along the Willamette Bluff in North Portland.

Friends of Baltimore Woods: Further North, this group is also working to restore and connect oak fragments along the bluff.

Backyard Habitat Certification Program: Boost the efforts of conservation and restoration groups by creating habitat in your own yard. It’s easy to get started!

Thinking about creating an urban or rural meadow or oak planting? I can help with design, planning and plant/seed sourcing. Contact Resilience Design. 


White oak at the Atlan Center near White Salmon, WA


A managed oak savannah near The Dalles, OR


The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, a place to learn about oak ecology and see oaks and their plant associates.


Sarah of Rewild Portland at the Managing Oak Woodlands workshop in The Dalles, WA this week.

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Farming with Friends

A couple years ago I helped my friends Kjell and Kim get started gardening in their back yard in Northeast Portland. They were enthusiastic and had a great first year, but life intervened the next season and it got away from them. Surveying the jungle this spring, Kjell had the idea of getting friends together to get the garden up and running again and making it an excuse to come together for a meal every week or so. Thus the garden would get the attention it deserved and we could spend time together regularly… Mallory Farm was born.


Every Monday night this season we’ve planted, weeded, watered and harvested with a rotating group of families and neighbors. The garden has undergone an amazing transformation, lots of new skills have been learned by doing and many great meals (spearheaded by Kim, thank you!) have been eaten at the picnic table. We’ve pickled beets, dried tomatoes and had cocktails made with garden produce. The season will start to wind down soon but the garden is getting prepared for winter with cold weather crops like cabbage, kale and brussels sprouts. We’re planting mustard greens, cilantro, spinach and fall lettuce varieties. Maybe in the next few weeks we’ll make some simple cloches for greens.

There has been fine tuning along the way, as there always is with organic processes like building community and growing vegetables. We’re created a little more structure (rsvp, please!), jimmied with the drip irrigation, called a few crops a loss and tried a lot of new recipes.


We’re had some unexpected successes too, like an excellent carrot patch and a bumper crop of large heirloom tomatoes (it’s a pretty rare year in Portland when that happens!) The French pumpkin start I impulsively purchased in June has become a monster vine with several huge, gorgeous fruits ripening on it.

Over the course of the last few months the little kids involved have participated in all sorts of ways, tasting, weeding, planting. Last night my toddler used a little clipper for the first time to help cut down the mint patch. It was a little nerve wracking for me but he was so proud of himself. We garden at home most days but there is something special about gardening with friends. Sometimes I get caught up in the list of things to do and making sure everyone has a job. The kids help me remember to enjoy the process.IMG_4744.JPG

Tbird made bloody marys with tomato juice and pickled beets from the garden.

The kids planting garlic and checking the pumpkins.

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