Spending so much time on this land and in this place this year has made us realize it is really perfect for us. We could use a few more acres, but the place, the view, the air, the trees, the animals, the privacy, the dead end road - it has really made this pandemic tolerable even in our lockdown.
We all are grateful that we have this space, and, our original pre-COVID plan was to also use this for Herbalists Without Borders based education and events. Of course this property is still used for Herbalists Without Borders - over 1,000 square feet of this house is a dedicated donation storage and community apothecary space. Throughout the entire pandemic I have been intaking donations here, and then packing up donations and shipping to free clinics and for community outreach throughout the entire US and Puerto Rico. I have shipped something like $85,000 of donation value from my house in the past 3 months. Pretty amazing. But, we have had to do all this alone. The long-term goal is having training days and farm work days, planting days, plant walks, and distill hydrosols and all of that ... with people. The other part of the goal is to create other opportunities for my teens to work with other teens learning about plant conservation, habitats, natives, and how there is food and medicine all around us if you just know where to look.
This is the time of year where the plan means looking to the next growing season. This year we didn't have the ability to expand as much as we hoped due to covid, but we did add the greenhouse and then enforce it all summer and insulate for winter. We expanded the orchard, the fruit canes, the perennial medicinals, and ground fruit. We added more mushroom logs (both blue oyster and turkey tail), woodland bushes, woodland medicinals, and started the native plant nursery for trees and medicinals that will take up to 2 years before they can be planted out.
For 2021, we have a lot of goals, Including expanding on some flat areas, adding a forest permaculture format into the existing greenhouse, expanding around the greenhouse to have integrated plantings, create a seating area with a firepit in the greenhouse area, and then continue to expand the woodland and shade medicinals.
One plan I didn't get to try this year was the bog garden using native Wisconsin tamarack bog plants, so I have seeds and will be growing plants from seed for that fun project. I completed an environmental and garden education program to get some more ideas for bringing kids into the mix, and have an open source plant walk app/wiki/platform in progress, so that is all great.
We are also looking at significantly expanding our seed saving and seed grants. I manage a large seed library and seed grant program with Herbalists Without Borders where we share seeds out to communities to get gardens growing. By growing more seeds to save and sharing them out, we can increase the use of native plants and the use of plant medicine that is from our bioregion, and, that grow in this climate.
So we are working on sketching out, planning, plotting, outlining, expanding and listing. I will be sharing the 2021 plan here soon, but until then, I wanted to share the photos of our beautiful view, the night sky, and this land we call home.
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, permaculture designer, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two young adults in south central Wisconsin.
©2007-23 Denise Cusack, all photos and text. Feel free to share my posts on FB or Twitter or online media or pin on Pinterest (thank you!), but please keep the links back to my website intact (meaning please do not take or copy my images off of this website and share them unattributed or without linking back here or use them without permission). Thank you! :)
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