As I sit here writing this, snowflakes gently fall outside my window, a warm fire is roaring in the fireplace, and the smell of chili simmering on the stove wafts through the house. Though cold and gray outside the house is warm and cozy. Winter can easily stretch into May and sometimes June when you live at 8500 feet, my mind is slowly wandering to the warmer days of spring. I've become somewhat obsessed with permaculture a design process that is based on a whole systems approach to farming and gardening. Instead of just digging up the earth to add a garden one looks at the patterns in nature and tries to replicate them. Working with the land not against it to heal and improve it.
I survey my meager four acres through new eyes. I examine the areas of water runoff and wonder how to allow the water to slowly seep into the soil to improve the health of the plants and trees. Walking through the forest I examine the untouched areas to see what plants are growing nearby and in what conditions. How can I mirror the natural woods around my home to improve the woods within my property boundaries?
Permaculture teaches me to observe every aspect of nature from the track the sun takes every year to harnessing the rain we get for extended use to what plants will work well together to produce food and shade to using livestock to enhance and support my little ecosystem. As the sky darkens outside my window and cold sets in, I cuddle up with my collection of books planning and dreaming of warmer days.