“Farming the Woods” by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel

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Hey Everyone!

Go to your local library now (or click the image to go to Amazon) and do yourself a favor, BUY THIS BOOK. I’m only into chapter 3 and I can’t put it down. This is by far the best book I have ever read about forest farming and agroforestry. I’m really enjoying it so far and I’ve learned a ton! It’s also about 100x less complicated than permaculture, but with the same ideas.

The reason I bring this up is because I have been thinking about that big patch of abandoned grass on the property we want to buy. It’s not set in stone yet that it’s ours, but I can almost guarantee I will be returning it to woodland. I keep thinking about the amount of crops we can grow and how I would like everything to be all sectioned out and separate, but that’s just not natural. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I’m really inundated with modern agricultural ideals, i.e. straight rows and fences. There is nothing wrong with keeping rows in your garden or even in your orchard, but to plant our entire 3 acres, eventually, in crops is just not something I will enjoy. The forest idea will also play host to some of my favorite wild foods, create a windbreak for our house, provide a constant source of mulch, and fulfill that part of my soul that loves the woods. As wonderful as it is to make everything functional, why can’t it be more about fulfillment than functionality? Of course the forest I plan to create will have some fruit/nut trees and I will be growing others to improve the soil quickly, but I think it’s going to be more for my peace of mind.

Recently I’ve been having a lot of dreams where my subconscious is making my problems very obvious. I’m constantly pressuring Justin and myself into not doing anything unless it’s worth something. What ends up happening is we do nothing and we both feel like crap. Since I do not bring an income into this family I have made it my sworn duty to never take more than absolutely necessary. I even cut down the amount of food I eat around the house because I feel so bad about it. That, coupled with the intense financial situations of the past, have had adverse effects on what I do and think. I don’t purchase, eat, use, or even look at anything that is not completely necessary. So far all I have succeeded in doing is cutting our spending, murdered my fun side, and have turned myself into the world’s best couch potato.

For example, this past summer I took up biking. It cost me nothing, I got out of the house, I enjoyed it and I even lost 20lbs because of it. Then, in one day, I slipped while riding, flipped and tore myself up really bad. So bad that I went to the doctor and cost us our grocery money for a month an a half to get bandaged up and told my knee wasn’t broken. Since then I have not left the house unless necessary or ridden that bike. I’m not scared of the bike, I’m worried I’ll be a burden again. I have tried looking for jobs, I’ll look again once we move, but I don’t understand why I can’t get an interview, or when I do, why I don’t get the job. I’ve been passed over for people vastly less qualified and less educated than me many times. At this point, I don’t even try anymore. I feel like my only hope is to do something extraordinary, start my own business (don’t know how I’ll get the start-up), or become educated in another area.

ANYWAY, that whole side-tracked-ness over, the reason I say it is because I need to find something to bring myself some peace of mind. When I was doing the bike-riding thing, I was happier, more active and I felt good mentally. I think trying to create my own useful forest could be a great way to get some peace of mind, stay active, and feel better about what I’m doing.

Sorry for the tangent.

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