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Rachel Lindsay

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since Jan 22, 2021
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I came to Permaculture a few years ago by way of a book of essays on Distributism. I fell in love with the way Earth Care was joined to People Care, and observing both being essential to the Permaculture framework.
Currently a housewife and mother, I have had life-long interests in languages, literature, history, people-watching (personality/temperaments), and, of course, ethics/philosophy.
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Recent posts by Rachel Lindsay

Jenny Nazak wrote:Rachel, I love that you brought up the concept of "using money less". In my first Permaculture class, one of the things we learned early on that stuck with me was "Reduce your need to earn." I realized that that was what I had been doing for years, and it's very powerful; gives a person a lot of flexibility and freedom.

By the way, thank you Rachel for your lovely review of our book! 💚

Also thanks for the reference to Hemenway's _Permaculture City_; I haven't yet read that but you reminded me it needs to be on my list!

"I bring this up often, but it's because I love the idea: in Hemenway's Permaculture City, he discusses how people are used to thinking of being thrifty as "using less money" which is good, but it's even better to "use money less"

You're welcome and thank you, too! :)

Yes, read it, read it, read it--I have several times, it's soooooooo good!
19 hours ago
Welcome Michael and Laura! Fantastic book. I'm a fangirl now!
1 day ago

Christopher Shepherd wrote:

Working extra jobs without a way to hide the income. Tax brackets are real.  
Solution! Work less for small companies and more on the homestead.  Pay more attention to the line where I no longer make money for working more hours.

I bring this up often, but it's because I love the idea: in Hemenway's Permaculture City, he discusses how people are used to thinking of being thrifty as "using less money" which is good, but it's even better to "use money less" which is exactly what you are trying to do here. Source more of your needs without using money to do so, providing for them off your own land if possible. Without exchanging money for things, you avoid two taxes: the tax on earning it as well as the tax on spending it. This is brilliant!
1 day ago
I have found this to be true in my life; the older I get, the more the harvests come in from small things I have done long ago:

The everyday human gesture is always a heartbeat away from the miraculous.

Remember that ultimately we make things happen through our actions, way beyond our understanding or intention; that our seemingly small ordinary human acts have untold consequences; that what we do in this world means something; that we are not nothing; and that our most quotidian human actions by their nature burst the seams of our intent and spill meaningfully and radically through time and space, changing everything.

Our deeds, no matter how insignificant they may feel, are replete with meaning, and of vast consequence, and that they constantly impact upon the unfolding story of the world, whether we know it or not."

Source: 3-2-1 Thursday Newsletter by James Clear, quoting Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files, Issue #216 (lightly edited for clarity)
2 days ago
I started buying organics  8 years ago because I hate toxic gick, and the destruction of healthy soil. (What an incredible GIFT soil is, I have learned in my Permie years!)  But as I continued to purchase organic products, it was also because I wanted to do it to shift my dollars away from monolithic food corporations.

But these corporations really want control over me and my dollars, so they are buying the organic businesses (like Annie's and Cascadian Farms, for example). I still don't want to support them, even by buying their organic line.  Why? Because I am pretty sure they are getting the USG to change the definition of and requirements for organics, bringing it ever backwards to the artificial and toxic ways I was fleeing in the first place.

So local Permaculture is, as always, one of the best ways to give us other options of healthy food.  I am getting more committed to spreading the word and encouraging growers in my town. Don't know how yet, but I feel it is imperative for the sake of humanity to understand food rightly, and I want to help people!
2 days ago
Thanks for never quitting on your projects, no matter what happens!
Beautiful images, wonderful garden, truly inspiring work. Thank you for sharing all of this! Best wishes as you keep up the good work.

I know your thread is entitled "When there are no solutions..." but I think you are a person who generates a tornado of solutions. I truly think you have the gifts of creative thinking and making the most out of what you have--which is even better than having, perhaps many opportunities, but not even recognizing what can be done with them. You have proved that you are the kind of person who works outward and upward. You will find ways to do more and be more with a mental skill set like that!

Again, thank you for sharing your treasures here!
1 week ago
Yes, the prospects before you sound discouraging, I agree. I am sorry! But--you are a Permaculturist! You have mental tools that give you an advantage over many, many people. You will design better situations than you are in now.

  • I'm curious, what is the core of your Permaculture dream? Most of your personal/family income coming from a market garden? Having several cultivated acres and a cow for your own subsistence needs? Travelling all over the country as an advisor/speaker? (I'm just throwing out ideas here!)

  • When you can find the core of your aspiration, you can start to design action plans that incorporate it to some degree. Maybe what you work on today will look nothing like the complete, beautiful vision you see in your mind, but--you are moving in that direction, preparing yourself ever more for a time when you may be able to "level-up."

    The core of my Permaculture dream is a small homestead or subsistence-farm for my family. Sadly, no "three acres and a cow" seem to be remotely in my future, alas. But can I design something towards that dream? Yes...I saved lots of money on organic green bell peppers this summer by growing ALL of ours this year in pots on the driveway. I didn't buy a single one at the grocery store, where they are more than $3 each! That felt SO so good. And in the summer, we put up a short fishing-line fence to keep the deer out of our front yard sunny patch, which worked perfectly, and although I didn't do much with it this year, because the soil is miserable hard clay, under huge oak trees. But, I did grow at least six different kinds of crops there that did pretty well with tiny patches of bought soil. Happily, my folks live on a street with wonderful neighbors that will let us haul away their horses' (composted) manure, and so I am going to build raised rows in the front yard garden with that manure in 2024, and I believe I can provide more than 10-20% of our produce needs next year, if I plant wisely and keep an eye on everything. That will be very exciting indeed.

    Speaking from the heart here: I find it very easy to stay stuck in discouragement, and not try for better in my situation because what I see before me doesn't match the grand vision I have in my head. But, when I can remember to not let myself get distracted by the bad feelings, then I get to work, and make things happen, and that changes things. It changes me, it changes how I see myself, and it changes how other people see me. I can keep the "bad guys" (or bad circumstances) from winning if I don't let them win in my life--if I don't quit building brick-by-brick in my life towards my dreams.
    3 weeks ago

    Jeff Steez wrote:  I’m not really sure what to do at this point. Feels like I’m saving my money for absolutely nothing. What a bleak outlook for this country. A total lack of a middle class and wages that are magnitudes behind inflation.

    P.S. I will say again that I am very glad that you are saving--this will only give you freedoms and increase your options and possibilities-- and am also glad that economic circumstances are giving you some extra time to think about future investments, such as a mortgage.

    I have a mortgage, as I said, and I was trying to be grateful for it today, as it definitely keeps landlords from pricing me out of my dwelling,'s still something that binds us to a specific income level, and thereby takes away some of our freedom. Each month I pay more in 1) escrow for taxes/insurance and in 2) interest payments than I do for the capital loan repayment. That doesn't feel right, to put it mildly.

    This is all a way to introduce my recommendation that you look into all the possibilities there may be to homestead without getting a mortgage. I wish I had known about Permaculture before we bought our house. I wish I had learned to think outside the box about finance, economics, and lifestyle options before we started our family. I hope you will take this chance to dive deep, talk to wise and resilient Permie-types, and keep trying good things and saving money. You will have adventures, live according to your values, and leave a good mark upon this world. Best wishes!
    3 weeks ago
    Me again, because I resonate in many ways with your story, and what you talk about here is always much on my mind.

    My family has a mortgage, but only because we bought in a certain place at a certain time (8 years ago, right before the country discovered our charming little city, in a rural, overlooked county far from the big cities). Since then, our property value has more than doubled, and we could not afford this house now or probably ever. That makes me so sad for all people like we were/are and you are. Locals are totally priced out of their homes here, as wealthy retirees from NY, FL, and CA are descending on our town.

    So add to that, that I now want acreage in my county. I would like to have chickens and goats. But since we couldn't even afford this urban 1/4-acre again, how would ever get 3-5 acres in the country? Developers are building spec-homes and subdivisions on former Tennessee farms like you wouldn't believe, and those of us that would like to farm that beautiful land, can't because we can't afford to get it.

    Or can't we? Permaculture won't let me accept "can't" as my only answer.

    So...what are my options?
  • Near the top of our list is waiting for my dear MiL to sell her subdivision property when she is too old to manage the maintenance on her own (which will probably be in the next five years or so).  Then with her money and our money combined, we will be able to afford something large enough for two small dwellings as well as a small homestead situation.
  • There's also waiting until my daughter is a teenager (only 5 more years) and then I go to work part-time and save my wages until we have a down-payment for a couple undeveloped acres, and do what we can to steward that into becoming a homestead someday.
  • My parents have 20 acres in the woods 10 minutes away, and I could work harder to create a market garden scenario over there.

  • I am certain there are many more options than these few, depending of course on how far I am willing to move from where we now live, how bare-bones we are willing to live day-to-day at least at first, and how "handy" we teach ourselves to be.

    So I am totally with you that the opportunities available for most people today are quite different than the ones our parents and grandparents had available to them, and I am not cheerful about that, but I must make the most of what I've got. In these times--and in all times, truly!--partnering with others in families and communities seems to be the best way to make the most out of the least.
    3 weeks ago