"I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position & calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth...no occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, & no culture comparable to that of the garden."
Thomas Jefferson, Aug. 20, 1811
At the confluence of the sagebrush shrub steppe and the mountain foothills, there is a narrow valley that winds up into the hills. Winter snow melt flows down to water the fields, and summer sun warms the soil. This is--at times--a land of extremes, from single digits with feet of snow to scorching heat without a drop of rain. And yet, it is also a land of great beauty, filled with plants and animals that are designed for resilience. This place is our home.
Pioneers carved out lives in this valley, making it fruitful long before they had machinery or modern irrigation to aid them. Their determination inspires us. On our homestead, we are using permaculture strategies to make the systems on our farm work together and work with the land. By incorporating techniques like deep mulch, microclimates, and plant guilds, we are striving to make our little piece of this valley thrive with limited external inputs.
Creation is designed to make sense, to work in rhythms and patterns without anything being wasted. In our small way we are working to imitate that design, as we also strive to imitate the Great Designer.
It is my desire that you would see the beauty of this homestead as I see it, and perhaps hone your skills in the"culture of the earth," as Jefferson said. If you are informed, encouraged, or inspired even a little by what you see and read here, it will have been a success.
Emily is a homestead farmer, photographer, writer, and educator in the Pacific Northwest. She and her family live on a homestead of arable land and wilderness where they are learning to work in partnership with the land using permaculture strategies and old-time skills. Emily is passionate about sharing those skills and the lessons she's learned with others, as well as using her camera to capture the beauty of the mountain foothills in which they live.