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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Wild Food Event

I had the opportunity to spend a wonderful morning strolling through StellaLou’s pastures, garden areas, woodlot, and orchard; tasting the odd leaf and flower bud, and picking wild berries all whilst getting to know Sarah Murray. Sarah, from Pure Healing Insight, is an ethno-botanist and healer. Among other services, she teaches people how to identify and utilize wild plants for food and medicine. She was interested to see if StellaLou may be one possible site for her workshops. I was interested in hosting an educational event that was consistent with StellaLou’s vision and School of Living’s mission.  


Sisymbrium officinale, (Brassicaceae family) – a medicinal which is used for hoarseness. The French name, “Herbe aux Chantres” means “Singer’s herb.” (notes from Sarah)

After walking a bit, I asked Sarah if she could, actually, create a meal from what she found here. She looked at me and then out at the lush field. “Are you kidding?! There is SO much food here!” My eyes were opened wide to the abundance at StellaLou. I look forward to understanding, more deeply, what is right here in front of my eyes and my feet.


Galinsoga parviflora (Asteraceae family) – very tasty leaves!

So, Sarah and I seem to have found a match! Sarah has scheduled workshops at StellaLou on July 6th and 7th, 2013. The Saturday workshop will include a walk on the land with an introduction to wild plants. Instruction will include identification and utilization of the plants. Harvesting and preparing a meal from the wild plants is scheduled for Sunday. If these workshops interest you, go to this link for further information as well as for Sarah’s contact information.  I encourage you to look through her website to learn more about Sarah’s background, her services, and her workshop schedule.

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