frameworks for the future

what frameworks support us in getting from here to the future we want to live in? here are the current favourites at appleturnover:

integrate. what are you doing separately that could be integrated instead? examples. lifelearning so that tending your garden or making your clothing is the curriculum. creating a business from what you already do. the small farm workout. the cleaning meditation, the harvesting party, the dinner-cooking date. weeding-therapy/soil-microbe aromatherapy. apprentice-helpers (yes! stay tuned for this at appleturnover.) walking meetings. slow foraging bicycle commutes. bicycle-milling high intensity training. watching the live entertainment that is weeder geese, slug-catching ducks, bug-chasing hens, bramble-eating goats.

stack functions. what else can you do while you do the thing? examples. while the wood stove is heating our home we can also boil water for tea, hot water bottle, washing up, we can dry laundry, make toast, bake inside it, warm yogurt nearby, dry fruit, cook english muffins, make a stock, boil kitchen linens, make wood ash and biochar, warm up leftovers and cups of tea.

downshift. if you need fossil fuels to run a tool, can you swap it for electric? say, a chainsaw. if you need electric to run a tool can you swap it for solar? say, a pump, a hot water heater. can you use mechanics that draw on human-power? say, wind-up radio flashlight or a bicycle mill. can you swap exercising for the sake of exercise, for labouring for exercise, say scything grasses, or barrowing haybales, or digging compost. if it needs water (toilets) can you swap it for waterless (compost toilets). if it is waste, can you find where it is a yield? (pee, greywater, wood ash, prunings, cleaning rags, eggshells, vinegar, mulch, wood-chip, compost.)

sometimes friendly connected problem-solving and thinking together in dialogue is such a catalyst for the change we long to make in our own lives, that can reverberate out into all of life. if that’s what you need, you might like the member-directed appleturnover farm and farmhouse tour or the appleturnover mentorship messages.

what frameworks are you working with to move toward the future you want to see?

an integration pattern

there’s a pattern that allows us to simplify and manage a great deal more than we might otherwise. it’s a pattern of integration.

between homeschooling, homesteading, working from home, here, we turn to this pattern to sustain us.

homeschooling here is almost indistinguishable from living, life-learning. while our children grew up relating to the world by reading a good deal, it’s in making with their hands, writing, image-making and living that they test and integrate. this isn’t often felt as hard graft, unabashedly so, in that way a party springs up when many hands make light work on the farm. projects in learning can be inherently projects in living.

our youngest is eerily my likeness in being wholly project-based. we’d never dream of assigning her the tasks she’s crafted, say, to tell the ducks a story every single night (after feeding them and locking them safely in the duckhouse she helped design and build) never mind sustaining this creative writing project for six solid years. this is the power of integration.

so too my work in filming, writing, supporting folks through farm tours and mentorships to grow more resilient, collaborative, regenerative, ready for uncertain futures, is also how i help us to become so. this work is almost indistinguishable from tending to the farm and farmhouse. we like choices that meet multiple needs, stacking functions. work done once can feed us and our community many times over.

the principle of integration repeats. we see it as we free-range geese in the orchards, food forest, ponds, creek and silvopasture, to protect ducks and chickens from predators, and so too, trim the grasses, convert them into microbially rich compost distributed effortlessly across the farm. the flocks pick up every windfall apple, plum or pear, tidying and nourishing at once, setting carbon as the grasses root-prune and feed a microbial underground that feed trees that feed flocks and people.

immersed in these multiple languages, connected to the needs of the ecosystem that we support and that supports us, we can find a rhythm to simplify how we learn, live and work.

get on the appleturnover ‘postcards’ list below for new films, farm tours or mentorships.

an introduction

so, this is appleturnover, 1½ acres of heritage orchard-turned-smallholding over half a century ago, planted densely with an astonishing number of fruit, nut, and coppice trees around a farmhouse built by the old grandparents who made the studio, root cellar, gardens, added to with great care by a carpenter and shepherd, made vivid by a painter and now tended by our little family of artists, filmmakers, writers, life-learners.

my sweetheart and i unschooled our two all the way to college, from my city to his, striking out into the countryside in sussex then to the lakes of vancouver island and for the last seven years, right here on this tiny island in the salish sea, salt spring, part of the important traditional lands of the hul’qumi’num and SENĆOTEN speaking peoples.

i came to farming by way of art, following a fascination with traditional skills and learning to make what we need. i came to it too, by way of attachment parenting. it didn’t take long to find these threads tied to the land, to languages almost lost to me, though my mother’s people in finland were farmers and my father’s people in germany kept the village shop stocked from their gardens and delivered the milk by horse and cart.

like many of you that lineage grew very thin and my work has been to knit it back together, preparing a strong tether to help our children to weather whatever storms may come. in this orchard-turned-smallholding-turned-food forest, art is now inextricable from living, living from tending the land, just as learning is now synonymous with it.

not long after we moved here and added goats, ducks and geese to our flock of chickens and very important cat, i began to write, though i never was a writer, as if all the life here is writing through me.

one day my sweetheart suggested i make films, and being a filmmaker he taught all of us how. now i make films for anyone who might like to grow a little more connected to how we might live in ways that create the conditions for all life to thrive. you can find my work here and community on patreon.

i’m elisa rathje and i’m so pleased to meet you. i’m looking forward to spending some time together. get on the ‘postcards’ list below to hear about new films, new podcasts, new conversations and events.