Category: Vendor Interviews

HSCO Featured Vendor | Meet “Mountain Jewel”.

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Hello again from @SenorCoconut,

This week, we’re going to ask a few questions to reflect the ethics and ideologies of one vendor at HSCO: Mountain Jewel. (@mountainjewel on steemit)!

Building a community is about clear communication and the willingness to support one another. As Homesteaders Co-op (HSCO) grows, we must keep in mind that the complexity and diversity of its moving parts may also expand, so here we are helping this free market stay running smooth together.

We found it essential for the good of everyone to highlight the vendors of the HSCO market place. Wouldn’t be nice to know the individuals and families offering their goods and services a little more?

Every week vendors are featured on the web site. As a community, we thought that every week, we should feature these vendors here on the Steem blockchain (@HomesteadersCoop) to give everyone that much more exposure.


It takes a village to raise a child, because when people help eachother life is easier for everyone involved.


Without further ado, here are a few question I’ve conjured up… let’s meet Mountain Jewel:

SenorCoconut: I have followed your journey on the steem blockchain since the beginning, and you’ve both been such an inspiration to me in terms of homesteading, self-reliance, and permaculture. Can you talk about what brought you to create Mountain Jewel?

Mouintain Jewel: First of all, thanks for having us on this interview! We love Homesteader’s Co-op and the community that is forming around it.

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Ini smiling with flowers of our favorite native, Paw Paw.

We created Mountain Jewel out of the inspiration of the abundance of the Earth – and how so many things of the earth like fruit, flowers, mushrooms and the interactions between all of the creatures really are jewel-like and should be honored and treasured as such. We want to highlight this in our increasingly earth-disconnected society. We’ve both been so touched by the Earth, we wanted to create a haven for this to be demonstrated so we could enjoy it and others can experience it. It’s also important to create sanctuaries for wildlife habitat and Mountain Jewel is this, too. It’s our goal to create perennial edible systems of abundance and diversity that really knock people’s socks off and which conjur up as Rumi says, that there are a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground! We’ve written quite a few articles on this topic and here are a few if people want to read further:
Our Journey to Becoming Homesteaders
Why We Homestead: Through Thick & Thin
Vision & Dreams Behind Mountain Jewel

SenorCoconut: I was just looking through your website, first of all, congratulations on your upcoming strawbale house build, I’m sure it will be tons of fun!!! Secondly, thank you for the mountain of free educational material on your blog. In relation to your natural medicines and plants found on HSCO’s marketplace, can you walk us through your thinking process and what kind of intentions you’ve set for these products? Feel free to talk about any other product or service you may be thinking of selling in the future.

Mountain Jewel: Thank you!! We are really excited about the build and it’s currently getting into full swing with the foundation of our straw bale home!

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Ini standing at the new house site on a ladder dreaming of the possibilities

With our homestead offerings, we again are showcasing and spreading the abundance of the Earth. All of our products are grown from the earth upon which we walk every day and many of them are self-replicating species that are naturally making more of themselves every year.

They are high vitality, nutritionally rich and easy to grow species (like berries, jerusalem artichokes & nettles) which we believe anyone can put in their backyard!

As our homestead expands and matures, so will our offerings. In fact, next weekend we’ll be vending at the Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival and selling berries galore (all of which naturally replicated themselves on our homestead), compost worms (again, reproducing like mad), among others. There is a theme here and it is that we do not live in a naturally scarce world, but we modern humans take part in an economy based upon scarcity. I believe it’s very healing to associate with things of the Earth that show us that this was not always the way and indeed isn’t the only way we must live upon this earth. Our products enable other people to grow these plants and enjoy and witness this abundance themselves.

SenorCoconut: I think we’ve agreed before that the pollution and destruction humanity creates, has put us on a dangerous path that seems to lead to human extinction, if we don’t change our ways “yesterday”. You guys obviously do a lot having an off grid homestead. If you don’t mind talking about it, Could you give us a couple examples of how you reduce your carbon footprint?

Mountain Jewel: You’re so right, we are not steering society in the right direction. This is a harsh reality that we have come to unerstand through study and experience and this has motivated us to be more concious in the ways we live out our lives.

We are ever mindful of the role that trees play in sequestering carbon, and about 15 acres of our land is and will continue to be woodland. This is important for more than just carbon cycles as it promotes and attracts a diversity of wildlife. In an area where it’s all too common to “slick off” (bulldoze) forests to create pastures that require inputs to maintain, preserving and tending a woodland is a powerful act.

We produce 100% renewable energy with solar panels. We didn’t want power companies making decisions for us, nor did we want to run generators so for the first 2 years we simply went without. Many of or tools (including a small chainsaw and strimmer) use battery power which allows us to manage and work on our proprety without petroluem inputs.

A major step we are actively taking is focusing on perennial agriculture. This means less soil distrubance, more carbon stored in the soil and more biomass sequestering carbon every year. Focusing on hardy adaptable species means less work for us and more ecosystem services that our land offers to the bioregion.

We seek to build with local, durable, and salvaged material whenever possibe to reduce the footproint our structures create in the production, transport, upkeep and disposal of these materials. In our upcoming house build, more that 90% of the wood is locally sourced from less than 20 miles away. This is in opposition to lumberyard wood that is grown in Canadian plantations and is dependent on chemicals and a large amount of fossil fuels that get it to consumers.

Our straw bales are grown locally (sequestering more carbon) and we will be protected by a combination of local subsoil (clay) and lime. Our building strategy is to build a stable, well insulated home with high thermal mass that won’t need much inputs in years to come. Build it once and build it right. We will also be harvesting and storing thousands of gallon of rain water harvested from the roof.

Obviously we are growing as much food as we can and eat almost 100% local meat from animals we’ve raised, bartered for or hunted. Our food purchaing choices are based on what is available locally, but we do certainly import organic staples.

Lastly is our effort to share our experiences, skills and knowledge with others so that more may live in alignement with Earth. We need all hands on deck here and the more information that is out there, the more opportunities we all have to create a better tomorrow.

SenorCoconut: Most I’ve talked with or heard speak of permaculture have their own “specialty”, something they like to practice more, something they’re better at. What do you think your favorite permaculture principles are and why?

Mountain Jewel: I agree, permaculture is such a broad ecosystem and most have a niche they fulfil. What comes up for me is always considering how one element can serve multiple funtions. When we plant or encourage “helper” plants like nitrogen fixers or dynamic accumulators, our choices are heavily influenced on how many functions each plant has. Take for instance the permaculture superstar comfrey. Not only does it accumulade a wide range of mineral in its leaves and stems, but it also is a great pollinator, invaluable medicince (for wounds, strains, bruises and broken bones), offers edible green for humans and animals and makes a great fertilizer. We are always finding ways to get as many uses out of the actions we take or elements we add into our systems.

We talk a lot about the principle of using small and slow solutions. Being an almost 100% human powered homestead, there are a lot of ways to appreciate this principle. No machines to dig for us, no tractors to plow, often no trucks to move loads of materials. We are thinking long term so we start small and set succession in motion, we (and others) will reap the rewards for years to come. A few clover seeds scattered before spring rains ripples into a much greater effect of improving soil, attracting pollinators and creating a permanent living mulch. Taking our tasks bit by bit make the mammoth task we are undertaking possible.

SenorCoconut: You have a wonderful internship program, giving people the opportunity to learn to care for a place like the one you’ve built. You’ve said that your homestead is dedicated to living in alignment with natural rhythms, calling it a Center for Earth Connection, can you please tell us more about what this means to you?

Mountain Jewel: What a great question! Yes! I brought this up a bit in the earlier questions and that is the notion of Remembering Abundance. There have been moments of pure joy when I am around the sheer abundance of the earth- think of a plant at maturity giving off thousands of seeds. Before that it was a beautiful flower in bloom and bees and other pollinators enjoyed it, and we did, too! When we align with these natural rhythms we can remember this for ourselves and embody it, sharing it with others and healing the wounds of scarcity – the fact that many humans work all of their lifeblood energy into making money to simply live upon this earth.

With increasing disconnection and basically “living on top of the earth” with the green “backdrop” of unknown plants, modern humans do well to learn the language of the earth once more. Through learning plants and differentiating that green backdrop a species at a time, through picking and eating a fresh fruit warmed by the sun, sleeping with the sounds of coyotes howling, frogs sounding, waking up to birdsong, breathing and drinking pure air and water, these are all connective activities and they balance out and heal our disconnection from the earth. We want to provide a space for people to do these things and remember what a delight it is to connect with the earth and how healing it is in its simplicity. That’s our Center for Earth Connection. Along with all of that, we practically teach the skills associated with Permaculture (how to live in connection with the earth; what patterns and activities are beneficial), Natural Building, Gardening, Perennial Agriculture, Wildcrafting and Foraging, Herbalism and more. We, as a species, once were very connected with the earth and these are tools to be connected once more. It’s an empowering lifelong process – one that brings much joy!

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Wren in the woods connecting with nature in New Mexico, one of our favorite places.

With the internship we are hoping on sharing some of the wonderul ways we can work with the Earth. We have both learned a lot from others and we believe there is no substitute for hands-on learning. The skills mentioned above are absolutely necessary for a sustainable society and more people need to embody them. As the homestead evolves, there will be more and more for folks to see, touch, taste and experiece and the goal is to feed souls through inspiration and empower through education.


I want to thank you for taking precious time out of your day to answer these questions, you make me dream… what I mean is that you confirm that my vision of creating a sustainability education center is possible (and not completely crazy 😲).

Education and empowerment are both really great aspects of your work on your homesteading journey. Lately I have been on a trip to reconnect with the earth and it’s been very eye opening, so I really love that you’re on that path and teaching others about it.

Thank you @Mountainjewel, for letting us have a peak into your life, your answers were more than inspiring to me 😁, the best of luck with everything you do and enjoy the strawbale house build!


For those of you who would like to look at her shop at HSCO here a quick link: Mountain Jewel!


Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for next week’s featured vendor… Same time, same place!

@SenorCoconut

PS: Special thanks to @Riverflows for the graphics on that first image at the top of the post 💚 and of course @Homesteaderscoop for being an awesome community!

HSCO Featured Vendor of the Week | Meet “Elamental Earth”.

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Hello, it’s @SenorCoconut once again,

Today, we’re asking a few questions to reflect the ethics and ideologies of one vendor at HSCO: Elamental Earth (@ElAmental on steemit)!

Building a community is about clear communication and the willingness to support one another. As Homesteaders Co-op grows, we must keep in mind that the complexity and diversity of its moving parts may also expand, so here we are helping this free market stay running smooth together.

We found it essential for the good of everyone to highlight the vendors of the HSCO market place. Wouldn’t be nice to know the individuals and families offering their goods and services a little more?

Every week vendors are featured on the web site. As a community, we thought that every week, we should feature these vendors here on the Steem blockchain (@HomesteadersCoop) to give everyone that much more exposure.


It takes a village to raise a child, because when people help eachother life is easier for everyone involved.


This interview a bit differently as it is in video format.. yeah DTube!!!! But for those of you who aren’t into watching videos I have highlighted and paraphrased @ElAmental‘s answers below.

Without further ado, here are a few question I’ve conjured up… let’s meet Elamental Earth: Click pic or link below to play

▶️ DTube

Question 1 (0:30 sec):
Tribe, Music, Earth Deeds, Gardening and I see a lot of art coming from you too. Can you tell us what drives you to create so much?

Tapping into esoteric realm for ispiration, I have been creative since a young age… once it’s time to create, it’s time to cteate!

Question 2 (4:30 min):
Looking through your steemit blog one can see you care tremendously for our planet. In your store bio at homesteaders co-op, there’s mention of your products being created using the most eco-friendly processes available, can you explain to the audience why this is important to you please?

We use organic unbleached cotton… and soon we’ll use hemp. We must know the importance of herbal dyes because we are transdermal creatures.

Leading by example, creating in ways that aren’t damaging to the planet, the community or the people that are interacting with the products.

I want there to be nothing but positive energy influence and substance into all my creations.

Question 3 (7:20 min):
I would like to talk a little bit about Earth deeds. It seems to be an initiative that can influence a lot of people to be more eco-friendly. Could you tell us about what “Earth Deeds” is to you? How did it come to fruition and perhaps what were your intentions when it all started?

The idea of #Earthdeeds started when I was fixing a flat tire, using a plug. The point was to avoid the “trickle down domino effect” of the factory fabricating a new tire when this one can be fixed instead of being discarded.

Posting about the things we do to help the environment influences others to report on what they do to save the earth.

The ultimate goal for #Earthdeeds is to increase the planet healing effect of what you’re already doing for Earth.

Question 4 (11:20 min):
I’ve seen some wonderful “how to” videos on growing cannabis, you make it look easy. As the world is slowly getting out of thinking this topic is taboo, can you please inform us on how cannabis (under its many different forms) can change our world? What kind of environmental impact could it have?

Growing cannabis is more difficult than it seems, there’s a lot to know and it is recommended to apprentice under a “Master Grower”.

“Backyard Cannabis” is a series that was started recently and it is a sort of a “growing for dummies” video guide.

Hemp to reverse the green house effect and save the wolrd by Jack Hairer, explains the whole idea behind hemp and how it could benefit the planet.

In short hemp/cannabis can save the world.

Question 5 (19:20 min):
You’ve used the term “eco-conscious practitioner“, can you tell us what that is and how it reflects to your everyday life?

It’s about living a life and having daily actions that are allined with environmental activism.

I don’t litter and sometimes I intentionally go out to pick up trash, I recycle.

Money from returned bottles goes into a water tree to have a reverse osmosis 9 stage remineralised water.

Being an eco practitioner simply means living your life in the best way possible that helps the earth. Being aware of how your everyday life effects the environmen, improving the effects and decreasing your carbon foot print.


We don’t have to change the whole world, start with our own world…. once a lot of people’s world change they wil connect and we will change the whole world!

@ElAmental


I may have buchered that last thing you said in the video a little but that’s what I got out of it and I do believe it is true, the most important change starts right at home!!!

Thank you for taking this inteview, it was great to have a peak into your life. You are definitely a Eco Warrior… I know a lot of people talk the talk, but judging from your blog and everything you do with Erth Tribe and Erth Deeds we can also see that you walk the walk too!!!

Keep up the good fight…


Please do have a look at what @ElAmental is doing, through his blog and if you like to have eco-concious items in your wardrobe do have a look at his HSCO Shop

Thank you for reading and/or watching, I sincerely hope you found some inspiration for sustainability 💚. Have a good day and untill next time…

HSCO Featured Vendor | Meet “Crescendo Of Peace”

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Hello again from @SenorCoconut,

Today, we’re going to ask a few questions to reflect the ethics and ideologies of one vendor at HSCO. Crescendo Of Peace. (@creascendoofpeace on steemit)!

Building a community is about clear communication and the willingness to support one another. As Homesteaders Co-op grows, we must keep in mind that the complexity and diversity of its moving parts may also expand, so here we are helping this free market stay running smooth together.

We found it essential for the good of everyone to highlight the vendors of the HSCO market place. Wouldn’t be nice to know the individuals and families offering their goods and services a little more?

Every week vendors are featured on the web site. As a community, we thought that every week, we should feature these vendors here on the Steem blockchain (@HomesteadersCoop) to give everyone that much more exposure.


It takes a village to raise a child, because when people help eachother life is easier for everyone involved.


Without further ado, here are a few question I’ve conjured up… let’s meet Crescendo Of Peace:

SenorCoconut: In the description of your online shop with HSCO, you’ve explain how your Art, Food and Medicine products are made, can you tell us about your thinking process and what kind of intentions you put into your creations? Feel free to talk about any other things you will be selling in the near future.

Crescendo of Peace: For the most part, as odd as it may sound, I like to let the work define itself. What I mean by that is that I don’t always plan out my creations, but allow my intuition, or my muse if you will, to choose the direction I take, and the materials or ingredients I use.

This has served me well throughout my life, in cooking as well as making art, and a lot of things I’ve learned to do simply by trying to see if they would work. And, more often than not, they have, though there have also been a share of projects I’ve had to seriously tweak before they came out as I wanted. It’s an evolutionary process, as is life.

One example is my shagbark hickory syrup. When our forester first mentioned it to me, I had never heard of it, and it took some searching online to find a recipe, which I then used as my starting point.

Over the years, however, I’ve gone with my intuition and altered the original recipe substantially, so that the syrup I make today is nothing like the first batches I made, and it keeps getting better and better. And it bears little resemblance to the commercial hickory syrups with which I am familiar. It is much deeper, richer, and more complex.

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As far as intentions are concerned, my intentions in art, cooking, natural medicine, writing, and pretty much everything else are similar: I endeavor at all times, and in all ways, to be a part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem. I don’t always succeed, as I’m a fallible human, but I succeed a lot more often than I would if I didn’t try.

Another intention that goes along with that is to create in such a way that is not harmful to the environment. Again using hickory syrup as an example, I collect all the bark here on my place, so I know for a fact that nothing has been sprayed on or near these trees for at least nine years.

I prefer collecting fallen bark, which is usually plentiful after a storm or high winds, and when I do collect directly from the tree, I collect only bark that has naturally separated from the trunk, and is ready to come off on its own. In that way I am not harming the mother tree, nor opening wounds that might lead to infection or infestation, thus shortening its’ natural lifespan.

Similarly, when collecting herbs, vegetables or fruit, I take care not to harm the plant in the process, to take only what I need, and if needed, to do any pruning that the plant needs to grow better.

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I go by the rule taught to me by my grandmother, when collecting from plants in the wild; always leave some for the birds and animals, some for the next forager, and some for the plant to remain healthy and strong. Unless there is a life or death emergency, never take it all, as that is disrespectful to the plant, to the othrcreatures in its environment, and to nature.

SenorCoconut: This next one may go hand in hand with “intentions” but I would love to hear about the desired outcome you’re looking for in selling handmade or hand-picked product. How are you looking to connect with your customer base?

Crescendo of Peace: I look to connect with people human to human, soul to soul. What else is there?

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My overall desire is that people learn more about plants and grow them, that they learn more about health in order to grow healthier themselves, and that they expose themselves to more art, literature and music to feed their souls and become happier.

And time in nature is always time well spent.

When I owned my art and framing studio in Florida, several of my customers liked to just come hang out, as they liked my vibes and the vibes of my place, which was filled not only with art, but also with plants and animals.

I’m basically a friendly person, I like people and generally steer clear of drama, so I’ve been called a calming influence, and some came by just to chill. My personality type is that of a peacemaker, and has been since childhood. Ideally my customers will become friends over time.

Additionally, I consider myself to be accidentally in the position of educator, just because I’m interested in a lot of different things, and I’ve amassed a fair amount of knowledge over the years. I was also blessed with parents who nurtured and encourged that part of me, so I try to do that for others, where I am able, and to give them any information I think is important for them to know about what they are purchasing in that moment.

As an example, if there is a story behind how I got started making a particular item, I often share that, if I think it will interest them. If the materials or ingredients are rare or uncommon, I share that information, and often a lively conversation begins from there.

Or, more obviously, if they are purchasing heirloom seeds or a kombucha kit, I give the needed instructions for them to succeed with them the first time, and every time.

SenorCoconut: Looking through your blog on steemit and your shop description on HSCO, you strike me as someone who really loves life, but also someone who is well aware of the damage we (humans) are creating to our planet. I think we can agree that through all that pollution and destruction, we’ve put ourselves on a dangerous path that could lead to human extinction if we don’t change our ways. Without getting political, can you tell us your stance on “carbon footprint”? And if you don’t mind talking about what you do to help reduce human impact.

Crescendo of Peace: I went to college to become a marine biologist, and part of why I did not continue on that path is that, as an empath, what I was seeing happen to my beloved marine environment and her inhabitants was breaking my heart. Most of my charitable giving goes to environmental causes, and has since I was a teen.

I grew up in coastal California, and spent much of my adult life in Tampa Bay, Florida, both of which are squarely on the environmental front lines. And in both states, despite glib talk by those in power, building permits are still being granted for sites with delicate and irreplaceable habitats, against scientific recommendations and plain common sense. Housing developments are being built in the Everglades, which is a travesty, and more and more water-hungry lawns keep popping up all over the desert Southwest.

Individual humans can be incredibly intelligent. Governments, large and small, are generally not.

As for reducing my own human impact, despite loving children, I chose against having children of my own. It seemed the kindest course of action overall, to them, and to the planet. I am sorry for depriving my parents of grandchildren.

So my children have fur, feathers, fins and scales, and lots and lots of needles and leaves. I’ve planted well over a hundred fruit and nut trees and bushes, so far, along with numerous perennial and self-seeding herbs and vegetables, and I’m getting ready to start several patches of culinary and medicinal mushrooms. And I’m just getting started.

Increasing the diversity on our place has always been one of my primary goals, as the more diverse the species being grown, the less likely that there will ever be a catastrophic crop failure . . . in any climactic situation, something is bound to do well, or at least adequately.

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The massive monocropping that’s been going on for the past hundred years or so is nothing more or less than idiocy in action, even without the toxic GE crops and chemicals. Any decent gardener knows that if you grow a whole bunch of any one thing, without a break, you’re setting yourself up for a constant battle against the pests that like that crop, while providing zero habitat for beneficial insects and birds that would prey on those pests and keep them in check.

In Florida, for example, over sixty precent of the agricultural land was planted in citrus, with predictable results. Yes, there is still a lot of citrus in Florida, though nowhere near as much as there once was. Most of the large groves are being hit with citrus greening, which is a fungal disease that is threatening the entire industry, which took hold because there were so very many susceptible trees being grown in close quarters.

But I saw a video a few days ago by a man who was filming in Brooksville, Florida, about an hour north of Tampa, showing dozens and dozens of vibrant, healthy citrus trees, mostly tangerines, that were completely unaffected by citrus greening.

They were growing wild. These were bird-planted trees, growing as understory in the dappled shade beneath much-larger oaks, with lots of other species all around, and they were thriving on neglect, with absolutely no input from humans of any kind.

So. Acre after acre of citrus trees are being chopped down and bulldozed due to citrus greening, when the real answer isn’t monocropping, chemical and antifungal sprays, but intercropping with lots of other species, allowing nature to be nature, and allowing life in all her glorious abundance to thrive. And the cirtus trees can thrive along with them.

This is the beauty of permaculture and forest farming.

Earth and all of nature has amazing and humbling regenerative abilities. We fallible humans simply need to get the heck out of the way and allow it to take place. Now.

SenorCoconut: You mentioned that you are regenerating the native plant population and restoring your woods. Could you please go into details on how your products reflect the overall health and balance you wish the environment to have?

Crescendo of Peace: Among the products I will ultimately have in my store are living plants and seeds, fresh and dried herbs, herbal tea blends, tinctures and extracts, and more, none of which would be possible without a healthy and balanced environment in place.

My little corner of the southern Appalachians is second growth forest, as the old growth forest was chestnut-oak-hickory, which was changed forever when the American chestnut was wiped out by chestnut blight, a fungal disease introduced by planting ornamental chestnut trees from China and Japan.

Yet another example of idiocy in action: we wiped out the foundation tree of the Appalachian forests, as literally one in every four trees was an Americn chestnut; along with generations, communities and entire lifestyles, all for the love of a foreign ornamental chestnut from China. That worked out well.

The loss of the American chestnut may have also been the final nail that sealed the fate of the passenger pigeon, as chestnuts constituted the majority of their diet. Wholesale and unrestricted hunting didn’t help either.

So one of the goals closest to my heart is to bring back the American chestnut on my place, to bring back the chinkapin and hazelnut, also affected by introduced blight, to repopulate the understory plants, herbs and fungi that were here prior to European settlement, and to establish my place as a living seed bank for the Calfkiller River ecosystem, and the larger Caney Fork floodplain into which it drains.

Thus far I’ve planted three Dunstan chestnut trees near the road, as Dunstan is a hybrid of roughly 7/8 American and 1/8 Chinese chestnut, reputed to be immune to the blight. One of them died back almost immediately after leafing out the first spring, and never resprouted. The second did fine that year, but died back the following year, but did resprout from the roots. The third has never died back.

Oddly, though all three trees had remnants of blossoms when I bought them, none have bloomed here in the three years since planting. They are just now beginning to leaf out.

As an experiment, and in hopes that it may help to confer some immunity to the blight, which may well be why these trees are failing to thrive, I will be planting horseradish around their base, as horseradish is antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal. I have two varieties of horseradish, and will be planting three of one variety around chestnut two, and three of the second variety around chestnut three. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, I’ve ordered 24 germinated Dunstan chestnut seeds, along with five seedling American hazelnut trees, which tyically grew in close proximity to the native chestnuts. I am hoping that we can introduce these chestnuts at the edges of our woods, in areas where we take out trash trees, and along the river, which if successful will provide a lot of food for wildlife, as well as us, and be a step toward reclaiming our woods for native species.

A further goal is to establish a series of medicinal gardens devoted to worldwide systems of care, such as an Ayurvedic garden, a Traditonal Chinese Medicine garden, a Native American medicine wheel garden, and so on, with the most important food plants as part of each medicinal garden. These will be situated in what is currently our front pasture area, near the road.

I would ultimately like to reclaim some additional land that has been clear cut, strip mined or otherwise environmentally trashed, and bring it back into productivity with an intelligent succession of native plants, with the ultimate goal of establishing highly productive mixed chestnut woods that will act as additional living seed banks for the surrounding areas.

This could be a real and highly effective way of ameliorating the horrific practice of so-called mountain top removal, which has destroyed so many previously pristine areas in the Appalachians.

And, ultimately, I plan to record and document everythign I’m doing as it is being done, to discuss what is working well and what needs to change, and to leave guidelines for others who follow to be able to follow in our path, and to create similar systems wherever they find themselves.

The final goal is to leave a charitabe foundation in the hands of a capable board willing to continue the work long after I am gone.

SenorCoconut: It seems you have chosen a more “earth friendly” path than most, and I’m sure it shows on your mini farm, I would like to know how you encourage and influence your neighbors to lead a more environmentally responsible life?

Crescendo of Peace: I live in a farming community, and most of my neighbors are fairly responsible already from an environmental standpoint, as they live close to the land.

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That said, I readily share what I know, the unusual plants and techniques in which I think they may have an interest, and they already know that I garden organically, that I recycle like a madwoman, and that we generate very little actual garbage as compared with most households.

I have tried to educate a few on the dangers of Round-up and glyphosate, with mixed results, as not everyone is open to new information. So I do what I can, but I don’t shove my own beliefs down anyone’s throat, as all that does is alienate the very people with whom I am trying to build a cooperative alliance.

I do do my best to share those practices not requiring chemicals as an alternative to the Round-up. Hopefully some listen.

I’m a big believer in sharing and giving to others, and most of my immediate neighbors have received gifts from me over the years ranging from wine jelly to hickory syrup, hot soup, fresh eggs, heirloom seeds, and even seedling apple trees. And several neighbors have returned the favor, including one neighbor who has given me several plants I absolutely love, including heirloom hydrangeas and a couple of gorgeous blooming cacti.

I had the great good fortune to buy land surrounded by great neighbors, and I do my best to be a good neighbor in return, whether that takes the form of watching someone’s animals when they are away, helping them learn how to better use their computer, or simply bringing my dog inside when he starts barking at night.

And my neighbors have let me know that they have my back, keeping an eye on my place when I’m away, or when they know I am here alone, and they have helped to make me feel very welcome and at home.

Bottom line, being a good citizen really does come down to the Golden Rule, treating others as we want to be treated ourselves, and that’s how I try to live my life, albeit imperfectly. And it’s a great life overall.


I want to thank you for taking precious time out of your day to answer these questions, and what an inspiration you are! I am truly impressed with your answers, I have learned quite a few things…for example shagbark hickory sirop and the dunstan chestnut tree, a hybrid reputed to be immune to the blight, are things I had never heard of. You are a wealth of knowledge!

I wish everyone could take another look at the golden rule and perhaps apply it to their way of life.

Once again, thank you @crescendoofpeace for letting us have a peak into your life, it was a pleasure to read 😁 and good luck with all your projects!


For those of you who would like to look at her shop at HSCO here a quick link: Crescendo Of Peace!


Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for next week’s featured vendor… Same time, same place!

@SenorCoconut

PS: Special thanks to @Riverflows for the graphics on that first image at the top of the post 💚 and of course @Homesteaderscoop for being an awesome community!

HSCO Featured Vendor | Meet “B & G Handmade”.

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Hello again from @SenorCoconut,

Here it is at last… THE VENDOR FEATURE OF THE WEEK!!!!

Today, we’re going to ask a few questions to reflect the ethics and ideologies of one vendor at HSCO, B & G Handmade. You can also find them on steemit @bghandmade!

Building a community is about clear communication and the willingness to support one another. As Homesteaders Co-op grows, we must keep in mind that the complexity and diversity of its moving parts may also expand, so here we are helping this free market stay running smooth together.

We found it essential for the good of everyone to highlight the vendors of the HSCO market place. Wouldn’t be nice to know the individuals and families offering their goods and services a little more?

Every week vendors are featured on the web site. As a community, we thought that every week, we should feature these vendors here on the Steem blockchain (@HomesteadersCoop) to give everyone that much more exposure.


It takes a village to raise a child, because when people help eachother life is easier for everyone involved.


Without further ado, here are a few question I’ve conjured up… let’s meet b & g handmade:

SC: Looking at your website and the photos of your paper products, it looks like you really enjoy creating it all. Can you tell us about your thinking process and what kind of intentions do you put into it while you create? Feel free to talk about your seed product or any other things you are selling alongside those awesome paper goods, by the way.

B&G: That’s a very broad question 🙂 Probably the answer is going to cover the second question as well! For our handmade paper, our initial intention was to find a creative outlet for all the paper scrap we produce in the daily job (a small self-owned ad agency, specializing in printed media). Yearly we deliver to factory recycling over a metric ton of paper scraps, but some are just too good to dump down the processing line.

So we thought, what could be made to not just recycle this junk paper, but add value as well, upcycle as the term goes. And stuff like papier mache and collages really are not our type of work, what we like is getting down to the basics and creating a simple product from scratch.

We really wanted to underline the message of turning scrap into something useful and beautiful at the same time. We make great effort to educate our prospective clients, as well as try to set an example with our daily life and work. Yes, our product costs more than conventional printed materials, but it’s also “open source” and everyone can try and do it himself if so inclined. There’s no secret process, no secret ingredient, all the steps are described on our website and we also do regular workshops and demos – the kids love those, by the way! So if there are any homeschoolers out there or just partens on the lookout for a creative project for the kids, try handmade paper!

That was 10+ years ago and in this period there have been changes to our process and thinking, as well as general perception of the handmade paper craft. What started as a free time experiment turned into a medium volume paying hobby that allows Geri to continue to be a “stay at home working mom” and take care of the kids as well as doing most of the actual work on the handmade paper project. Bobby is managing the orders, customers, design, shipping and provides the business point of view. Most of our orders are local, from Bulgaria. We don’t have an exact number, but we usually do about 5-10 international orders per year, while we have several dozens of local ones.

Working mostly locally has the great benefit of being able to see and talk to your customers before the actual order is made. This allows a better expression of our passion for handmade and natural things and often a live meeting is the decisive factor in placing the order. Another nice side-effect of working a niche market is that most of our potential customers are already at least partially “tuned” to that natural vibe and it’s easier to find a common ground and language.

Oh and a few words about the seeds we’re selling on the HSCO. We’ve never sold seeds before! It was actually our acceptance to the platform and seeing what great diversity others are offering that inspired us and gave us courage to offer a few humble seed products from our otherwise extensive collection! We hope in time to offer more seeds – all are grown by us in our small family garden! We really like the idea of exchanging a virtual currency, something “non-existent” for a real, living thing like a seed that can heal you, feed you, bring you joy. Our first customer in the shop, @captainklaus – purchased exactly seeds, our black and white chickpea mix so that was very exciting!

SC: This next one may go hand in hand with “intentions” but I would love to hear about the desired outcome you’re looking for in selling handmade or hand-picked product. How are you looking to connect with your customer base?

B&G: We feel that has already been answered in the previous question, so probably you could bundle both together or paraphrase them before posting?

SC: You defenitely have answered this in the first question and thank you for that. Let’s just move on. I think we can all agree that through all the pollution and destruction we create, we’ve put ourselves on a dangerous path that could lead to human extinction if we don’t change our current situation. Without getting political, can you tell us your stance on “carbon footprint”? And if you don’t mind talking about what you do to help reduce human impact, that would be well .

B&G: This one is going to be hard to answer without getting political 😉 In our opinion, short of some cataclysm to shake people awake from their delusional existence, human population in general will just continue the current cycle of self destruction.

That does not mean we should just collectively despair and do nothing. But we’re not fans of the line of thought that “if everybody did their part we’ll be living in the garden of Eden”. People are also a part of nature and as such, they operate with a massive inertia and also by seeking the path of least resistance. You cannot just make people compost if that’s an inconvenience to them. You have to make them want to compost as the compost is something they will need… for their garden! Suddenly compost is not an inconvenience, it’s a money saving scheme!

So what we’re doing is trying to lead by example. We grow a part of our food and most of our medicine. We spend as much time outdoors as possible. We eat mainly home cooked food. Of course we compost and drive a small old car, wear second hand, try to buy as few packaged goods as possible, separate trash, we even collect kitchen scraps from friends who live in the city and use those in the compost as well. Sure that won’t make a planetary impact. But it makes us happy, does not inconvenience us in the slightest and kids grow to be healthy in body eating straight from the garden, as well as in spirit, as they learn to marvel at Nature and respect and take care of her.

SC: You’ve mentioned before that at your day jobs, you end up with lots of paper and that’s why the paper you make is 100% recycled. Could you please go into details on how your work may be harmoniously in balance with your environment?

B&G: We got a bit into that in question #1. When working with printed media, off-cuts are a constant waste stream. And while we send the majority of it to a paper recycling plant, we keep the most interesting pieces for our handmade paper work.

We’re not really sure if there will ever be a way for any modern “job” to be in balance with the environment… We’ll have to go back 10-15000 years back, back to our hunter-gatherer days and “roving horticulturist” ways for that to happen. Still it’s our intention to lower the impact we’re making, even if it’s a minute amount, compared to the whole of humanity.

A small example is convincing a client to choose a factory recycled media for printing this promotional flyer. Or if he insists on specialty paper, propose a FSC certified one. Then use the off-cuts for making handmade paper business cards. This way we not only complete the order in a more environmentally friendly way, but we also use the by-product for additional income.

SC: I am curious to know how Bulgaria generally regards those who chose a more “earth friendly” responsible path like it seems you have chosen. But more importantly, I would like to know what are your feelings on encouraging and influencing neighbors to lead a more environmentally friendly life?

B&G: We’ll have to give some background and context first! In general, the land that Bulgaria as a country sits on was a rural country and most of the population lived in small villages, spread like a large network of communities. That lasted for at least a few thousand years… So the people were in most regards self-sufficient homesteaders, resilient, eco-conscious, organic, call them whatever modern term you’d like 🙂

That changed in mid-20th century with the coming of the Communist regime after the Second World War. A massive process of urbanisation began. In those 60 years, living in a village became an slight insult, similar to how “redneck” is perceived in the States. People flocked to the towns and cities, to the factories of the regime and the industry.

After the end of the regime in the 90’s, the population’s general attitude was split – some, especially the old timers, born before the regime, bemoaned the destruction of the social fabric of the old time villages and small resilient communities. Others, especially younger people, just fled the country and did not look back. Those that remained were generally sceptical or ignorant about the “earth friendly” ways as you call them, because most struggle with daily life and making ends meet.

However, compared to the western world and especially the States, life here is much less wasteful and much more frugal. A few examples. Eating out here is a privilege for the upper middle class and above. Most of the families cook and eat homemade food with produce from our alternative to a “farmers market”. Canning food is something most families also do, even if they don’t have personal garden – they just buy the produce and can everything, as there’s little trust in the industrial food processes.

Many families have a “village home”, an old house usually inhabited by retired grandparents taking care of a small garden, orchard, a flock of birds, a pig or two, maybe a few goats or sheep, sometimes a cow or a donkey. On weekends and school holidays families gather for communal work in the family “ranch”.

Very few things get thrown away, most stuff gets repurposed or reused. After all those years of YouTube videos we continue to marvel at what things you guys in the States can find in a local dump! Only a very wealthy nation can produce so much high quality “garbage” that it’s not really garbage at all!

So to get back to the question, what we’re trying to do is lead by example. Get in touch with the younger part of our social circle and let them know what we’re doing and the life we’re trying to live. Help them experience Nature more fully by introducing them to different plants, especially medicinal so suddenly a picnic in the forest becomes a field lesson.

We also try to influence middle aged neighbours and friends and relatives, who effectively spent almost their entire life under the regime and have no knowledge or trust in the Old Ways. It’s a bit weird to teach a granny how and more importantly why should she save seeds, but that’s something we do nevertheless 🙂 We help with planning the gardens, making compost, seed saving, we give plants and seeds as gifts, we show how mulching works and we even introduced red wigglers to the manure pile of a sheep farmer!

SC: You guys are just amazing. We are building a sustainability education center (a sort of community based on permaculture, natural building and low cost living), and what you do is truly inspiring to me. There is in deed so much to re-learn from our old ways in terms of waste and re-using… the west sure has become a single-use culture and I think the one and only real way to change that is to lead by example.

I want to express my gratitude to you for having spent a serious amount of thought and time into your answers. I can honestly say that I would like to meet you face to face one day.

Once again, thank you for taking that precious time out of your day to answer my crazy questions 😁!


As a gentle reminder to check them out, here’s the link to their shop on HSCO: B & G Handmade!


Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for next week’s featured vendor… Same time, same place!

@SenorCoconut

PS: Special thanks to @Riverflows for the graphics on that first image at the top of the post 💚 and of course @Homesteaderscoop for being an awesome community!!!