Meet Bob’s Dragon

Reducing waste, increasing diversity, and developing resilient, regenerative systems are goals we have for StellaLou Farm. With these goals in mind, educational opportunities tend to pop up on my radar.

This one is, certainly, relevant: The Whys and Wherefore of Biogas Systems: Natural Gas without Fracking.” The presentation begins at 7:00 on January 28, 2014 in Breinigsville, PA. It is being presented by Bob Hamburg and hosted by The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA). Bob studies, designs, and installs “dragons” for the production of renewable energy through the process of anaerobic bio-digestion.  His work, inherently and enthusiastically, incorporates education and the promotion of whole system regenerative design in small and large-scale agriculture. 

Bob does not ever describe bio-gas production as a linear process. He builds one’s understanding of bio-digestion through examples of integrated cycles and processes. The real potential of bio-digestion is discovered in sustainable symbiotic relationships established between agricultural elements such as farm animals, fish, plants, ponds, greenhouses, homes, people and, of course, dragons!

Here is a quote from Bob’s website: “I suggest that dragon husbandry offers a sustainable means for management of the semi-cycle of return so as to develop an increasing spiral of biomass and diversity.”

(The following event description comes straight from the MAREA website.)

For details regarding location please follow this link.


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Quarterly Meeting

This past weekend, we hosted the School of Living quarterly meeting and memorial event to celebrate Artie Yeatman’s life. It was nearly a year ago when Artie left this earth. He was a core member of School of Living and a true steward of this land, the land on which StellaLou Farm begins its life. He called his homestead, Birthright. He donated this land to the School of Living community land trust program and we, now, hold that land in trust with the School of Living. J and I, often, remark to each other how fortunate we are to have the support and friendship of the wonderful people in this organization.

During the quarterly gathering, there is time for committees and the board to meet, for old and new friends to talk, and for preparing and sharing food and ideas. The event and the meetings are open to all that wish to participate or would like to learn more about the organization. Personally, I enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with others about permaculture, seeds, nut and fruit trees, bees, gardening, and holistic management.  I received insightful feedback and lots of new ideas that I will explore.

A couple of weeks before this event, members of the School of Living joined me to help prepare. We cleared out the barn and made plans for seating for the memorial. When the day came, there didn’t seem a whole lot to do: a little tidying and, with extra hands, we were able to move a couple of the heavier items out of the way. People started arriving, people who shared life with and loved Artie. The sound of voices greeting each other, telling stories, and catching up was rich and heartwarming. Some of us knew Artie little, or not at all, but were helped to feel connected through listening to expressions of love and memories. We came into the barn to sit on benches, chairs and haystacks…maybe some 30 or so of us. Ginny guided us in the service and, generously, shared her feelings and her experiences.  Karen recognized the people who helped to care for this land and she shared a video of Artie and June, about their life in Russelville and about their gardens.

Here is the link to the interview with Artie and June.

After the video, people spoke as they were moved to speak. It was inspiring to hear how Artie touched the lives of so many, both young and old. Yes, he was a good gardener but there was something about his spirit and integrity that drew people to him and he touched their lives. We shook hands in the Quaker style and went out to plant a tree on the land in Artie’s memory, a healthy young fringe tree. We took advantage of the gorgeous fall day and strolled the gardens and pasture. We walked through the woods and to the pond. It was a lovely moment when a great blue heron graced us with its presence just after I had spoken about the lively beauty of the pond environment. We visited the bees and gathered for a delicious potluck meal.

The Saturday night event was a presentation by Mike Curtis. He teaches about the ideas and application of Henry George’s ideas upon which the School of Living community land trusts are based. I will let you follow the links instead of my trying to describe this to you. Though I am a participant in the land trust program, my grasp of the Henry George ideas is not strong. Mike’s talk and follow-up conversations (which continue) are strengthening that grasp. I have started to read “Progress and Poverty” by Henry George. Another useful resource with regard to Henry George and his work is


Though the weekend is over, I’m excited for the connections that I’ve made and for new projects with School of Living that will begin.

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Foraged Feast

Sarah Murray led two very wonderful wild food workshops at StellaLou this past weekend.

We spent the days enjoying the outdoors, observing the wonders of nature, engaging in hands-on learning, and nourishing our bodies with delicious food. If you want to be inspired and develop skills so that you can forage and prepare your own wild food, Sarah’s class schedule is posted here. The following photos were taken on Sunday. Sunday’s workshop focused on continued instruction in the identification and utilization of culinary and medicinal plants as well as harvesting those plants and creating a feast from our harvest. I have to admit my surprise with regard to the meal preparation that occurred on Sunday.  I was, fully, expecting a “Yes, this tastes like it would be good for you” kind of dining experience.  No way! This was a legitimate gourmet meal and truly inspirational event.

Here we are starting the day!

We learned about wild plants: how to identify them, about their medicinal, nutritional, and culinary properties; and about harvesting techniques.

We worked together to harvest plants for our meal from the fields, gardens, orchards, and edges.

Sarah helped us to navigate the kitchen as well as the field. What a wonderful way to explore the wild abundance all around us!

We finished the day with the gratitude and satisfaction that comes from a fabulous home spun meal and spending time with wonderful people!

Good resource page for “Wild Foodies:”

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