Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Dance with the Trees

Photos courtesy of Troy Nuttall

Yesterday, I finished a few last minute pruning jobs. As I did so, I thought of some of the tree trimmers I've worked with in the past. Each of those climbers have their own style and rhythm. 

Ryan roots himself to the ground so that no matter how high up he is, it looks like he is strolling through a spring day. Kevin hot dogs around the trees on his ropes, swinging from branch to branch like Tarzan. If he still doesn't have his adrenaline rush he takes his glasses off and lowers himself out of the tree upside down, like a spider. Max takes a calm, long term approach. I've seen him ride a tree to the ground after the roots gave out and walk away with nothing more than a calm smile.

Me? I'm not in the same athletic class as my friends, so my style depends a great deal on how my limbs connect with the tree's. Foot work is vital to me. Often times my feet point in opposite directions. They balance on bumps that don't exist and get wedged into angles that must be too tight for a guy wearing a wide shoe.

My arms are not left out. They move intricately around and through branches to hold myself in the tree, but still let me get a clean cut. My wife compares it to dancing, though I can't quite see the comparison. Each step is a tentative shifting affair, relying on an individual branch to tell me if it can handle what I am asking it to do.

There is a distinct rhythm as well. Not one that can be defined as something so simple as a three-quarter time or a standard category like a waltz. No, the rhythms I move to are deeply connected to the trees and to the earth itself. Deep, long, intricate rhythms.

Yes, I dance with the trees.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Growing Perennial Fruits (berries and fruit trees)

Wasatch Community Gardens presents the basics of fruits and berries with Alex Grover for Utah Sustainable Gardening.

The workshop will be located at Day-Riverside Library - Tree Utah's Eco Garden on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 2:00pm until 4:00pm.

Please pre-register at:

There will be a $10.00 donation to Wasatch Community Gardens.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Backcountry radio segment

Last Thursday (March 15th) I was interviewed on the Backcountry radio network. It was a great chance to talk about permaculture, gardening and the classes I will be teaching in Salt Lake City in a couple of weeks. The segment will rebroadcast Sunday on KALL 700 in the Salt Lake Area in addition to Stations in Price and Moab or you can download and save at your convenience. Drivetime segments will air in the Salt Lake area locally on 1370 KSOP next week.

Sunday Edition
KCYN 97.1 FM in Moab 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.
KALL 700 AM in Salt Lake City 9:00-10:00 a.m.
KOAL 750 AM in Price 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Drivetime Editions
KCYN 97.1 FM in Moab 8:40 a.m. and 4:50 p.m.
KOAL 750 AM in Price 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
KTMP 1340 AM in Heber 7:55 a.m. and 3:55 p.m.
KSOP 1370 AM in Salt Lake City 9 a.m and 3 p.m hours
KCPX 1490 AM in Spanish Valley 7:40 a.m and 4:40 pm

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Occupy My Own Life

The Occupy Salt Lake City encampment, before they
were cleared out by the city.

I have a great deal of sympathy for the Occupy Movement, but I could never be involved.  The reason is I have things that are more important for me. I have a daughter that will gain an entire life by me being home and teaching her how to live so that she cares about others in a personal way. 

In addition, my wife was being treated for cancer at the height of the Occupy Movement. My greater responsibility was to support her and give her the help she needed to get through alive.

But even without the worries of my family, I couldn't be involved because I have something better to give than days and weeks at a time demanding change from people who don't care. I have a skill that I can teach that can change people's lives.

Each time I work with a new client on a design, I teach them how to make life better for themselves by giving them the choice to be involved in growing their own food. I give them a chance to see how they effect their neighbors by how they care for their lawn. And, how they can change that by taking out the lawn altogether.

I also work with several non-profit agencies giving low cost classes and seminars. I can't say I've truly helped more than a handful of people, but I know I am moving in the right direction. 

Now, I have begun to wonder, what if just a few of those protesters with specialized skills were to join me to teach others. I am sure there must have been a few folks with legal and financial skills that could have stepped out of the protest ranks, for a least a little while, to teach classes on how to improve local financial situations.

I can't give you details on these systems because I don't understand them well. I've read about them, but they seem to be ignored by the larger world of big government and big capitalism. 

Unfortunately, real solutions are rarely found by just protesting. They are found by people who take the next step and actively find new solutions which can be implemented from the bottom up. That is my job. Now that things are less active in the protest arena, I hope a few others will join me. Maybe with a lot of hard work and time we will make some real changes together.