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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Even the Rhrong Words Seem to Rhyme

Can Permaculture stem radical extremism?

Something sparked my interest recently in a "new perspective" sort of way.  On the face of it, I'll admit this, at first, sounds a bit too far afield to be worth even a moment to consider.  After all- The problems are complicated, violent, and getting much worse.  Why?  Is it God, or Allah,who has the influence on  the desperate, deprived, and dying among us?  Or is it really and simply; food and water?

 Current Human Extremist Hotspots - Middle East / South Asia

Current Desertification of the Land- Middle East / South Asia

 The coincidence of inabilities of populations to be able to wake up everyday and have the possibility of making a better life for themselves and their families is a problem.  Food and water predicates education.  It is the foundation which everything good is built on.  These boys in Afghanistan were orphaned and are under the care of an organization which combines permaculture practice and education alongside attempting to provide the most basic requirements to sustain life. 
boys eating apples
Unfortunately, there are gods.  Christian, Muslim, etc., etc. They are still alive and still creating a mess all around the world.  Such an old and tired story.  Alive? Of course, right?  Gods are immortal and do not die. Not true, they expire when no one believes any longer.  There are hundreds of them.  Take a look at just the Greek funeral procession.  What happened to the Roman Gods?  The Romans increasingly became under the spell of some borrowed God who sounded like particularly bad news.  Worse, this Semantic deity was reputed to be jealous, vindictive, and altogether foul tempered.  If you didn't serve the nasty fellow, the Romans would burn your house down.  If you did serve him, you were called Christians and got to burn other people's houses down.  From Apollo to Vortumnus, the Roman Gods expired.  What would it take to banish today's frat house of Gods?  Maybe the answer is still having the ability to grab an apple off of a tree and bite into it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A letter about Seaberry Plants 8.21.2014


I am in northern Wisconsin.  I had two plants but they struggle to make it.   Do you know what the growing conditions are also where can I but a number of plants for a reasonable cost? male and female?

Hi Paul,
Sorry it took a few days to get back to you.   If the plants you are having the trouble with are ones which were purchased as rooted cuttings, this is a common problem.  The upside is that they are specific varieties and you know the sex of the plant from the start.  The downside is that they are much more prone to death in the first few years.  
I sell bare root plants in the spring and seeds all year long.  Seeds work well and aren't difficult to grow if you take basic care of them.  The time between planting and fruit production is 3-5 years from seed.  Bareroot plants cut that time frame by at least 2 years, maybe more.  The plants I sell are not sexed, meaning you will not know if you have a male or female until they blossom and/or bear fruit.  I suggest when buying these type of plants, you buy a few so the chances of having both sexes is very good.  Prices:  The varietal/sexed plants available from retail nurseries are $20-28.00 each while bare root plants are much less expensive.  I was able to obtain and sell about 1000 plants like this last spring and hope to have a similar amount this coming spring.  Very soon I will be setting up a way for people to pre-order, so keep checking the blog, sign up for email updates so you will known when that is available.  
Thanks for your email and question.  --Tom

Oh, the growing conditions.  The climate in Wisconsin is perfect.  Soil conditions are not much of a concern as long as it is not waterlogged. Treat bare root or other transplanted seabuckthorn plants as you would any other.  Water is important until they become established.  Fertilize sparingly and not at all after they are established.  A product like Azomite for micro-nutrients is a good idea especially if other things you have planted have struggled in that spot.  Nothing is better that a good soil test to determine exactly what you might need, but I realize most people do not go to that trouble.  Good Luck!

Some posts here related to this topic:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back on Top

Here I Stand

Yes, here I stand in front of one of the original 500 Seaberry plants in Seboeis Plantation Maine.  It has been in this ground for 14 months.  The passage of time has been favorable.  Most of the plants are very healthy. There are a few casualties and those mainly are the result of mice chewing and girdling the bark on the plants under the 7-10 feet of snow which covered the ground over the winter.  I could tell you I don't like those mice and that would be true.  Even so this article in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (click), makes me think and smile a bit thinking about those mice.  Sea Buckthorn bark contains a significant amount of serotonin, sort of a happy chemical.  More specifically a mood balancing brain chemical which, when deficient could lead to depression.
Mother nature can be brutal.  We know that.  Sometimes she does the strangest things and even fewer times she surprises.  Those mice had a good winter.   So did some of the other plants here at Foxgreen Farms.  
These are Egyptian Onions or Walking Onions.  They are extremely hardy and prolific.  They have the unusual ability to produce bulblets at the top of the stalk and when the little bulbs increase in weight, the stalk bends to the ground and the new bulb takes root.  
This is a nice stand of Yarrow, another super hardy plant.  Yarrow is a long stemmed member of, believe it or not, the sunflower family.  It grows wild throughout the Northern Hemisphere.  Native Americans used a ton of it.  The Micmac tribe chewed or stewed the stalk to induce sweating to break fevers and colds.  They also pounded it into a pulp and applied to bruises, sprains and swelling.  I am a decedent of this tribe.  It originated not far from here in Seboeis.  As the story goes, there was a great, great, great, great grandfather or something close to that (I'll call him Hugh) who was alone with his fellow exploring companions for one hundred and five days.  The Micmac woman watched secretly and decided to approach my ancestor. Honestly I don't know how they did that back then without the internet and texting but it happened anyway.  

Greek myth tells of Achilles painting himself with a tincture of yarrow to make himself invulnerable to arrows. It worked but he missed a spot.  You guessed it, his heel.

Today it often is prepared as a tea and in addition to the Indian uses is said to be beneficial as a relaxant and helps with dry skin. 

 Shrimp with Yarrow and Baked Lemon

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 lemons
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh yarrow leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
24 large shrimp–shelled, deveined and cut almost in half lengthwise down the back
Cayenne pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450° and light the grill, if you”re using one. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and garlic. 2. Cut the pointed ends from the lemons so they will sit flat, then halve them crosswise. Set them flesh side up in a glass or ceramic baking dish and spoon 1 tablespoon of the sugar on each half. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sugar is melted and the pulp is soft. Preheat the broiler, if using.

2. Sprinkle the chopped yarrow inside the shrimp and pinch closed. Brush the shrimp with the garlic oil and season with salt and cayenne. Grill or broil the shrimp 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque. Squeeze some of the lemon juice over the shrimp and garnish with the yarrow sprigs. Serve at once with the baked lemons.



Admitted Daily Happiness Double-Play -   Sometimes lots to do and not enough time is a catalyst to success. I've been working way too much at my ordinary job and double-time at the passions which fill the best parts of every day.  That pretty much describes Craig too.  Coffee sales an seed sales have been going well. Forest farm seed sales are good too.  Sea Buckthorn is, still, by far the most popular.  We have a collection of seeds available at a great value price. See -  And don't forget to have some fun visiting  We haven't put together a 3 pound combo-collection yet at a special price, but if you want to choose 3 different or the same variety, I'll take care of the shipping costs for you.  Just go to the contact page - and let us know which 3 types you want (1lb bags each) and we will send you an online invoice for $45.00 (shipping included).  Craig is still very much missed while he is in Afghanistan.  (By the way, Fartbox Coffee is a huge hit with the soldiers)

If you have read this far along in this post, close your eyes for a moment and wish him well.  There are a lot of people over there trying their best in a dangerous place.  They all deserve your good thoughts.

jiovi Agro-Ecology
Food Forest Seed Collection!  See collection contents below-------
Why Grow an Edible Forest Garden?
While each forest gardener will have unique design goals, forest gardening in general has three primary practical intentions:

  • High yields of diverse products such as food, fuel, fiber, fodder, fertilizer, 'farmaceuticals' and fun;
  • A largely self-maintaining garden and;
  • A healthy ecosystem.
These three goals are mutually reinforcing. For example, diverse crops make it easier to design a healthy, self-maintaining ecosystem, and a healthy garden ecosystem should have reduced maintenance requirements. However, forest gardening also has higher aims.

As Masanobu Fukuoka once said, "The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings." How we garden reflects our worldview. The ultimate goal of forest gardening is not only the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of new ways of seeing, of thinking, and of acting in the world. Forest gardening gives us a visceral experience of ecology in action, teaching us how the planet works and changing our self-perceptions. Forest gardening helps us take our rightful place as part of nature doing nature's work, rather than as separate entities intervening in and dominating the natural world.
Contains - 
  1. Rose Hips - (Dog Rose- Rosa Canina) 50+ extra seeds 
  2. Yellowhorn Shrub (Xanthoceras sorbifolia) - 5 seeds
  3. Siberian Pea Shrub (Caragana arborescens)- 50+ extra seeds
  4. Rocky Mountain Elderberry *Rare*(Sambucus melancarpa)- 100+ extra seeds
  5. Red Ederberry (Sambucus racemosa) - 100+ extra seeds
  6. Blue Elderberry (Sabucus caerulea) - 100+ extra seeds
  7. Bearberry Seeds (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) - 50+ extra seeds
  8. Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamniodes) - 40+ extra seeds

Price if purchased individually including shipping is over $42.00.  Collection Price $29.50!  Save over 25%

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Reason to Live and a Reason To Grow

To Trust.  

Life happens and it's good.  Updating you all on what has been going on.There has been a lot on my mind and I am finally writing some things down to you. 
First, to recap a bit.  Craig was back home from working in Afghanistan and we took some time for a vacation. The end of the vacation we went to Maine.  Staying in the woods at Foxgreen Farm was too short and just as much fun as ever.

To Hope.

The Sea Buckthorn field was mowed releasing the plants from the overgrown grass. They are doing very well.  After one year, nearly every one of them is growing.  The ones I mistakenly cut with the sickle bar mower are growing from their base, as I predicted.  The other plants- serviceberry, plum, apple, pear, peach, cherry, elderberry, and hazelnut are all doing well too!  All of these plants were planted last year and, like the old saying goes, first year they sleep, second year they creep, and third year they leap. That seems to be what is happening.  The plants are healthy and the growth is strong but not leaping quite yet.  The plants are smiling at us and we are smiling right back at them!

To Care.

Craig has gone back to Afghanistan.  Every night after he left and every day since I am so glad we had the time together and with our families.  I know we'll always be what is in our heart.  Stay safe buddy!  

We recently received a letter and I would like to share.  The Seaberry experiment is gradually expanding and the letters and response is a good way to show you the ways it is moving. (edited)

Hello Craig, 
Boy am I happy to discover this little green gem in Maine! I love your attitude and ideas man! I'd like to come out for the remainder of warm season at the very least, I just have some questions for you.. First off my name is Al, I'm 34, single male. Been living the suburban life in southern California for the last 20 years and I am just itching to get out of here and into a rural Eco village setting where so can live true to my inherent values (earth care, people care, fair share) in harmony with nature and like minded neighbors. I am not religious, maybe spiritual.. Deep thinker, writer, musician, artist.. And I just love permaculture more than anything. 

So please get in touch with me to discuss moving me out to your Eco village. I know I will be a great asset to the group. I don't know how I feel about the winters there, but perhaps I'll "warm up" to the idea ha 

Hi Al,
Tom here. Craig is back in Afghanistan.  I try my best to convince him to stay home each time he is back in the States, but so far, no luck :(,  That is selfish on my part, he does some great work over there and certainly there are many people who have a better life because of him.  I know he saw your post but I don't think he has responded to you, so I will try.
First, you are right, it is a gem.  So much potential and the permaculture experience is very attractive and definitely trending upward.  There are so many good reasons and they range from just living more economically, to providing local food for the local population, to a very real and essential component of national security.  What's that last one, you might say?  We have seen all over the world both man-made and natural events which have disrupted normal supply lines.  We believe this country, in particular, is very vulnerable to those supply disruptions since so much of our food is centralized and factory farmed.  Kinda scary that as little as a three day disruption in the supply chain would result in empty supermarket shelves.   Then what?  Could be an ugly scenario.  
So where are we now?  Well we are still working hard to get thing rolling faster and faster.  There are so many t's to cross and i's to dot.  Insurance, community buildings, etc and these things take some time and money.  Honestly between the two of us the investment has been well over six figures and that's a good thing. There is still more to do to get the basics or foundation of the project solid.  For example, after 14 years of paying insurance premiums and never filing a claim, the insurance company has declined to renew.  We are working on getting another one and we will.  The first community building is getting a roof soon and that is going to be a huge boost to the project.  If you haven't read through a bunch of posts on the blog, I encourage you to do so.  At minimum, you'll get a better sense of what's there and our focus on what we call Agro-Ecology and Seabuckthorn farming.  By no means is the intent to box in the future possibilities to what has been worked on so far.  The sky is the limit and a dynamic, integrated, and diverse farm and especially community of friends, of farming, and of fun.  
Thanks Al and the very best to you. ---Tom

Thursday, July 3, 2014

When I'm Dreaming Yes I know I'm Gonna Dream

The sailing adventure is over for now.  We had the time to enjoy nature, family and each other all while having some of the best adventures we could not have anticipated or planned.
This weekend I will be able to get back to the farm in Maine and I will update you all on the progress of the sea buckthorn orchard out there in the wilderness.   Hopefully soon we will be able to focus more intently and share even more.

In the meantime I have found a few articles which may be of interest.  Most are rather scientific but I encourage you to skim them and see what some of the scientists around the world have been interested in.  Research into the minutia of every aspect of Hippophae rhamoides is widespread and growing.  If you are reading this blog that must not surprise you.  Photos and updates of the orchard to be posted very soon.  Thanks for reading.

Click the titles below for the full text of the articles.........

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Update to the Sailing Adventure of Fartbox and Sea Buckthorn Sailing

An update to everyone here at Foxgreen Farms. The sailing trip was cut a bit short but we are still on the water. Sailing from Block Island to the Cape Cod canal we lost the rudder while the wind was at our back under full sail. Some quick action bringing the sails down to prevent the boat from being blown over (no steering) and we were safe. Even so we were dead in the water. Engine worked but useless without steerage. With life vests on and help from the Coast Guard and Safe Sea we were towed about 7 miles back into shore and are now moored back in Newport RI. Luckily we have some wonderful friends there to help and the sailing will continue local to Newport over the next week. This has been the best time of my life even with the setbacks. The #1 great thing is being with my best buddy during these experiences and his children will be joining us shortly. For those of you who might be expecting updates on Agro-Ecology and Sea Buckthorn, they will resume shortly


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Seabuckthorn and the Seven Seas -

A short note to followers of the blog.  Craig and I are embarking on a dream-come-true adventure and will be sailing a 30 foot sailboat for the next few weeks.  So for a short time any seed orders will be filled in the first week of July.
Craig at the helm
Also I am going to post, hopefully some interesting photos etc of our trip in the Atlantic waters of New England.
Jametown Bay Rhode Island

About Us

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Craig and Tom have become soul-mates of sorts and will be engaged for a long time connecting the wilderness, ourselves, and others in a new pre-oil agroecology. We promise, as we build this newer way of living, to experiment and explore, share and invite, smile and embrace, and support each other, the land, and we invite you to come along with us. Good people, gardens, nature, wilderness, exploration, sailing and art are all #1 with us. "If you want to sing out, sing out. If you want to be free, be free." Learn something new everyday and life is good.