witch hazel designs and education

Winter Homestead Tasks: Mend, gather, sleep and feast...and sleep!


Some years ago during my apprenticeship with the master permaculturalist Zev Friedman (here and here), I was exposed to this rich document named, "The Forest Gardener's Year" - it was a season-by-season task list for any land-based dweller, gardener, farmer or permie. Adapted from his own learnings, Zev collaborated on this document with another bad-ass, Natalie Bogwalker, who has become a priestess leader in the original skills world and natural building community. You can find her work here.  This is from Natalie's organization, Wild Abundance, most recent post:

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If you're interested in more of these types of updates, you can sign up for their newsletter here.

When you receive a permaculture design from us here at Witch Hazel, we typically include an edited version for our PNW climate - aptly called "The Oregon Forest Gardener's Year". 

For Life,


Goat Butchering


This past weekend I had the pleasure of joining my dear friend Adam, from GeerCrest Farm, in one of their many seasonal goat harvests.

In Hawaiian, I'm told, a kumu is a teacher - Adam is my (and others) kumu; A patient, wise and goofy brother who, when he was younger, was a devout vegetarian. Through a wild incident of accidentally killing a rabbit with an oversized cucumber, Adam embarked on a path of reconnecting to his omnivorous side. Through a meat processing center, being a farmer, and working as a massage therapist, Adam has now gained a termendous amount of experience (and reverence) for raising and harvesting his own meat. 

The kill was well tended and fast - Adam with a quick draw of the knife around the neck after the goat (hazel) had succumbed to his pressure of being on the ground. We hung her by the Achilles heel, removed the hooves, and skinned her gorgeous hide. Once removed, Adam walked us through a gorgeous anatomy lesson from mussel to organ and from fascia to bones - step by step, meticulously paying tribute and honoring every single inch of hazel's body. 


For those of us who've not spent a significant amount of time around harvesting our own meat, these experiences can be life changing - it was for me - and although butchering has been part of my past, you can learn something new every time. More info on goat butchering here.