My professional background is in editing and writing (copy editor for 20+ years, with copywriting and magazine writing experience). I also lived for six years at Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance (a farm/school/herbal remedies business located off-grid in the Superstition Wilderness of Arizona), where, as co-director and operations manager, I discovered that when I give my heart and soul to something, that thing can blossom and thrive. I left Reevis recently and am now living on forty acres of beautiful, degraded grazing land in NE Arizona, where I intend to experiment with revitalizing the soil; build with strawbale, adobe, and cob; and eventually establish a food forest (if you'd like to see please go to Fringed Sage).
For income, my heart's desire is to combine writing and permaculture. I feel I have lots to offer the permaculture movement: I'm smart and sensible and industrious; I'm especially good at pulling information together, including technical or scientific text, and recasting it so that it's clear and accessible; I'm determined and persistent .... and I'm crazy about permaculture.
There must be some niche where I can serve and assist in the work of this movement, in some way facilitate others' efforts, and earn a modest living at the same time. I observe that loads of information is coming available in the form of blog posts, forum comments, and youtubes, and I wonder if there's some useful work to be done in organizing/compiling/synthesizing that material.
I'm doing my own spadework by exploring what other people and organizations are up to, but I would enormously appreciate suggestions and advice. Where can I help?
I enjoyed reading some of your blog, and know that area fairly well having been across many time in my life (and youth.) It is very beautiful (and harsh at times.) I believe I am not out of place by saying that we wish you all the luck in the world while pursuing your "permaculture ambitions," at "Fringe Sage." Please keep us updated with your photos, and other progress notes here on your OP. There are many fine and talented folks that are members, and most are willing to give at least there ¢2 on any question you may have. The cattle have ravaged that land harshly, and you desires would seem to be a good thing for the land. I did read about the cattle still ranging there and would strongly suggest that that come to a very rapid end if you are to be successful. I have seen, all to often, many months (years?) of work destroyed overnight by a marauding heard of wayward bovine (and sheep as well) if they are not well managed, and guided.
I truly enjoyed your idea of starting with the "Ollas." I think you may find this thread usefull on Bikooh or Walipini gardening enclosures...especially in the wind swept area of your plans. This would be most germane just to get your own food crops growing. May I also suggest that $35 for an Ollas is rather expensive (yet perhaps a fare Artisans price) and that if you locate a local potter you can fashion many of these yourself in know time. Terracotta (red clays) is where I start many of my students that want to learn traditional ceramics. They fire at very low "cone" temps and can be fired traditionally in a pit kiln...several in your area...Maybe seek assistance from one of the Native potters of the region?
As for writing and making a living at about permaculture...hmmm...I believe that could be a challenge, in and of itself...unless you have at least a couple decades doing it in some fashion (if you do have that's...great! ) if not, it will be a hard path to follow until you do. Perhaps editorial (again as you have experience there of a good length) and work for a publisher or mag like "Mother Earth," would be a good place to start.
Jay - Thank you so much. I tend to expect people to think I'm crazy, which is okay - but it's so nice to receive support. Looks like I came to the right place. Yes, walipini! That is on my list. A funny story: My land is at the end of the road, 23 miles off pavement. I never see ANYBODY. But when I signed the papers to buy it, the very next morning I hear an engine coming up the ranch road. I climb out of my tent wondering who it could be, and what is it but a loader with a backhoe! It was from the neighboring ranch, and when the guy offered to help if I ever needed anything, you can imagine what was going through my mind.
I've never worked with clay so hadn't considered making my own ollas. I will look into it! Though I enjoy supporting Dripping Springs Ollas - the only source I know for ollas.
Jennifer! Yes, we did meet! And hope to again - you're doing such awesome things. I was just on your website earlier this morning. I'm looking at writing for Geoff Lawton's site, and I think that will be part of the mix. I'd like to find a single ongoing project that could bring me something like $1000 per month - but possibly it will turn out to be more piecemeal.
I'll post soon about my place, over in the southwest forum.