Ok, let’s get this permaculture train back on track. First hike of the year took us to Crab Creek

hey look there’s our house!

Next up: set the dry erase board for 2018. Look different? Should. (I said should) – it’s missing the headliner from last year: “projects delayed due to the Tiny House and Wild Chickens”

Wild chickens? Fixed it! , Tiny House? Err, well, that’s for another time…

It’s a new year, with renewed intentions, plenty of realistic exuberance and grounded optimism , which is good, because nobody needs another bright idea that’s disconnected from reality.  Dang have I learned A LOT in the last six years!

Here’s some pics for how I used to feel about my life, having exited “said” culture. Actually it was more like being kicked in the ass and landing on the moon with no way to get back.








Here’s an excerpt from January 3rd.

‘Even the ice crunch of the covered snow exhilarates me as I move tree to tree checking the rabbit and vole damage. No Big Deal. I cut and cage each foot high tree behind layers of chicken wire – a privilege and luxury here in the Wasteful Western culture of high capitalism, chaos, and control, but out here, in the lonely intermountain west I feel freedom to my bones.’

Back on Track…

First of all, no more free range chickens in a semi-arid environment http://theelliotthomestead.com/2015/04/building-a-chicken-run/.

What was I thinking? And by the time I realized what was happening, it was a mess.

Besides…we got a little sidetracked…Will had other words for “getting sidetracked” the other night (which I won’t repeat).

While he finishes up the high falutin technologies for the Tiny House in the root cellar where the batteries are stored,

I’m mulching 3 acres by hand, making Kombucha, Kombucha Fire Cider, more vinegar, feeding chickens, he’s also stacking wood in the silo, drawing up passive solar designs, watering plants in the Green House nursery, designing how we’ll build out the shop, feeding cats, and we’re both chopping wood & hauling wood, gathering the tools & technologies we’ll need to hand fabricate metal gutters and downspouts for water collection, and on our ‘time off’ we watch Adventure Motorcyclist Walter Colebatch ride across Russia. We own a number of bikes and would love to get the shop done so we can go ride…but that’s for another post.


The root cellar roof is low tech art in all it’s beauty. Here are the links to show how he rebuilt the roof structure.



Rule #1 in a Semi-arid Climate: Chop & Drop during Rain Events, then mulch. When I get done with mulching I’ll feel like this

This place is no longer a wasteland.

It is a refuge.


14 Acres of shrub steppe are to be left undisturbed. I’ll post a link to our gallery of Native Shrub Steppe Wild Flowers soon…

7 Acres are being placed into zones that surround the multiple outbuildings.

Ahhh those were the days…Haboobs, El Derechos, my personal 2008 fallout financial train wreck…

Running for the house


70 mph El Derecho sweeps in and takes down a 45′ Austrian Pine in 2 minutes in 2012…and is gone 20 minutes later..

Six years ago we did not know if this would be possible; restore the property using the principles of permaculture on one income. Society tells us you’re supposed to reenter the job market and increase your household income, not elect to withdraw from it. With visions of sugar plum financially independent women dancing in my head, the whole idea seemed crazy and terrifying. We had more questions than answers and more cognitive dissonance push back to untangle with each tentative move. That is the truth.

We had a lot of help and support along the way from an odd sort of perspective. The more we researched our present day economic system, the more we understood how it works. Add declining resources and the picture gets clearer. As the resource pie shrinks, regulations on the individual ratchets up, corporate regulation goes down, overall debt increases (personal, household, public etc.), and asset bubbles accelerate – which eventually leads to a pop(!) in the bubble – and assets are sold off for pennies on the dollar to increasingly wealthier people, leaving everyone else with another round of less.

Fuck it. I’d rather mulch.

Mulching as a way to build soil

We were all told that wealth is cumulative – but which wealth and for whom? The wealth of a Nation that is piggy-backed on Economic Hitmen, Grift, Lobbying, Speculative Bubbles, War, Special Interests, Extraction, and Debting their populace to death is not wealth. It’s an illusion.

Mike Reynolds gave us a hint “want what no one else does, and don’t want what everyone else does” and that may be a trail to success.

The accumulation of wealth redefined builds all the right ingredients for a peaceful self-reliant existence.

I put in the self-effort, and let’s face it – the saying “they can’t take away your birthday” is true. Whoever “they” are, they can’t take away my hard earned education in Natural Resources, Native American philosophy, Wildlife Biology, my PDC (2013), my brains, or my life experiences either.

That’s why I put up this website four years ago, because if I can figure a way up and out, maybe my experiences can benefit another person.

Organize Systems

Self-direct your own Health

Cultivate Peace of Mind

Work within the Laws of Physics

Work within the Laws of Nature





Direct Action

Critical thinking


Building new skills

Appropriate use of technology





Self-response – not consumerist reaction based upon unrealistic expectations

Well I’ll be damned ten years after (one man alone in the wilderness) purchased this place, and five + years one anarchist woman joined him…here’s what we’ve been able to pull off.

  • No pesticides, herbicides, fungicides of any kind have touched this earth.
  • Water waste is zero.
  • Food waste is zero.
  • 600 trees have joined us
  • 100’s of perennial native plants have joined us
  • 14 acres of shrub steppe have not been disturbed
  • Glass waste is Zero.
  • Paper & Cardboard waste is Zero.
  • Plastic waste reduced by 25%. (This is the biggest nemesis)
  • We have added 40 ton of biomass; straw, coffee grounds   http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?p=5602 , and landscape materials from town http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?p=5882
  • Our worms are thriving – both earth worms and red worms
  • We are home to white tail deer, mulies, yellow belly marmot, rabbits, northern pocket gopher, native mice, voles, pheasant, quail, northern quail, flickers, hummingbirds, owls, hawks, gopher snakes, native amphibians, migratory birds, native pollinators, native insect predators, crickets, grasshoppers, transiting porcupines and coyotes.
  • Every system we set up is based upon the criteria of energy reduction and closing loops to return as much energy back to the system as possible while creating the least amount of pollution, waste and energy loss.
  • We have dropped our electrical dependency on the grid by 95%.
  • Our dependence upon Market water (public water)for drinking, gray & black water disposal is Zero.
  • We have reduced our garbage load on landfills to ¾ of a pound per person per day and have a Zero goal in 24 months from now (without piling it up here) to produce No Garbage.
  • Clothing and textiles waste Zero. Repairs and upcycling by needle work, or peddle sewing machine. The rest of the textiles are moved into re-use systems until they turn themselves back into thread.
  • 95% reduction of salts in household cleaning & personal care products. Salts are unwelcome in an arid environment – especially in gray water systems.
  • We buy no eggs, we have our own
  • We buy no chicken, we have our own (we don’t eat beef, goat, lamb or duck).
  • We no longer buy bread, pizza dough or flour based products – we make our own with bulk organic flour.
  • We make our own vinegars, cider, and syrups.

Not bad.


























At each turn we’ve been able to see what the next step might be, the next thing to take on and which one to let go, and in turn; by peering into the big view ahead – choose our direction and our technologies, wisely.