What to do when you don’t hit your goals…

The short answer: re-observe them, re-orient towards them, re-decide to accomplish (or give up),  and then redouble your efforts to get them done – act. OODA loop, bam.

I started this website with an explicit set of goals. Here they are:

1-Capture and report quality insights from where leadership, permaculture, technology, and wellness intersect

2-Provide a unique perspective, examining concepts and ideas from my multiple viewpoints (leader, father, entrepreneur, intelligence analyst, military, suburbanite, occasional maniac)

3-Report lessons learned and real-time updates on what is working and what isn’t

4-Explain how to those wanting to do some of the things I do

5-Encourage others to act for the betterment of this world, and the world our children will inhabit

6-Connect with both like-minded and contrary individuals

7-Entertain, especially if you like slapstick and/or how chickens are really little dinosaurs

8-Post weekly

I don’t think I’m hitting them, especially the last (most measurable) one. I have definitely not posted weekly. I have all sorts of reasons/excuses for that, but the first thing I learned about excuses in the Air Force is that there are no. No excuse, blog. So, what do you do when you fail to reach your goals, besides not make excuses for yourself?

It’s time to adjust techniques to re-enable myself to reach these goals, because after reviewing them, I still think they’re SMART and useful.

1- I think this is going OK. I’m not going to drastically change anything here.

2- I’m going to include a paragraph about which role, or roles, I feel I’m filling as I write in each journal, unless it’s obvious.

3- Even if my notes are incomplete, I’m going to post them. You can make sense of them as you choose, but I’ll highlight more refined entries. 

4- Instructional posts require me to have a decent idea what I’m doing. I will do more to explain my thought processes here.

5- If you’re reading this, it’s working.

6- No idea how to measure this, or what it actually means. It could be time to write some invectives.

7- Chicken gifs coming soon. For now: DUCKS, YES, DUCKS! …. //giphy.com/embed/BRRe7NQGhuKAM<p><a href=”http://giphy.com/gifs/BRRe7NQGhuKAM”>via GIPHY</a></p>

8- This goes back to the need to open the floodgates to even my less polished thoughts. I’ll do it.

I’m looking at this from both an analyst and entrepreneurial standpoint. Failing fast, forward, and frequently is an approach that resonates with me, because I think I’ve learned much from my mistakes in the past. Testing assumptions is the only way to gather data, and put together new insights. Insights come from examining novel phenomenon, and connecting them. The map isn’t the territory, but I think of failure as getting out onto new parts of that map – even if I don’t examine it closely, I’ll have an idea if I want to come back for further investigation in the future. 

I’ll share my failures so you don’t have to follow in my footsteps down the wrong paths – you can find new ways to get it wrong (and eventually right!)

To re-engage on here, I’ll be posting every day this week as I readjust to living with my family again.

See you tomorrow, folks. I’ll find the chickens.

How to Start a Community Garden in 5 Steps that Sound More Complicated Than They Are

A few weekends ago, on the 17th of October, around 50 students from the course I teach descended on two community gardens that previous classes helped build and prepared them for winter. I’ll explain what that means in a bit. First, the Carver Culinary Arts Garden is the better part of an acre in size and is located just outside the recently renovated state-of-the-art industrial kitchen built onto Carver High School. The Smiley Court Garden is about a quarter acre located at the Smiley Court Housing Office, a central building which houses administrative functions for the surrounding Government Project Housing. These gardens are purpose built, which brings us to the first step in garden building

1- Identify the need for a garden. Being a bit of a plant nut, I frequently find myself believing that everywhere I look needs gardens (I think I can make a pretty good case for this) but, for now, let’s assume that we need to, for whatever reason, enumerate WHY we might want a garden. Needs and desires will drive creation of the vision. Here are a few of the reasons Carver Garden was conceived… 

Food. The culinary arts program lacked good access to very fresh produce, for various funding and logistical reasons, and an on-site garden could produce right at the doorstep. Smiley Court housing is located in a food desert, or a place where grocery store produce access is challenging, for a number of reasons (intermittent public transportation, lack of access to vehicles, grocery store beyond walking distance). Both gardens will provide those around them access to food – virtually for free! Also, the gardens will provide an opportunity for…

Education. A garden is a site for multi-disciplinary learning and teaching. Calculating the length of irrigation hose needed is a math problem, and calculating flow rate through the drip tubing is physics. Analyzing the soil is chemistry, and determining the types of soil life is biology. Not to mention, bringing students out of the classroom is a great way to get them engaged and jolted out of any schoolroom doldrums that a daily schedule grind creates.  At Smiley Court, Government provided landscaping does not provide for garden space – so how would the children of the neighborhood even learn what a garden looks like? This isn’t a subject taught these days in most public schools (although we are trying to change that with Carver). The only elementary schools I know of teaching gardening currently are Montessori schools, which are far out of the economic reach of Smiley Court families, by the very nature of the housing project. Parents with incomes large enough to send their kids to education programs like these, some of which are based right on farms, where children can see and play with the stimulating things to be found in gardens environments, do not qualify for Government subsidized housing. So how else can kids get the exposure, and inviting outdoor environment found only in gardens and on farms? Should kids be forced to play in concrete jungles? No, I say, all children deserve to experience an ourdoor sense of…

Beauty. I am not sure I can describe what food gardens bring in the way of beauty, especially in the South, unless you have seen an okra blossom for yourself. Until then, you’ll have to trust me. Or visit a permaculture, biodynamic, or integrated farm yourself. You should probably visit, if for no other reason than to experience the…

Community. Remember all those school subjects I mentioned a moment ago? Each has its own educational community, which do not often cross-pollinate in our modern educational system  which seeks to break systems down to their basic elements and achieve understanding through analysis of each individual segment. A garden provides a perfect place to reintegrate much of what has been segregated – this creates multiple invested parties, and where people settle their interests, community arises. Thus, the gardens are multi-functional, as are many plants in the garden. Not only do they provide their caretakers food, but they serve as a rallying point for well-intentioned people, and create an atmosphere of curiosity and enthusiasm for those who see them. Getting all these people together, and picking their brain is a great way to get started with the next step in the process, too.

2- Develop a gardening strategy. Yes, there is such a thing. You have many options when it comes to getting a garden going. Will you go all Permaculture? Till up your earth and fertilize it? Raised beds? No till? The options are nearly limitless. In my opinion, each has its benefits, and drawbacks. For this garden, we wanted to minimize maintenance, maximize fertility, and ensure there was no risk of contamination of edibles by pesticides, especially because of the garden’s close proximity to children. We chose to do a sheet mulch/raised beds technique, irrigated with (somewhat costly) drip tape and soaker hose, for ease of care. When you have your strategy defined, it’s time to…

3- Plan your work schedule. Who is doing what? When? How will that affect other efforts? For Carver and Smiley Gardens, we decided to bring all the compost we wanted to use as our primary effort, knowing we could pile it into berms if need be, then run irrigation, then plant seeds. Building raised beds was a secondary effort because we didn’t have enough construction materials (pallets in this case) to hold all the size of the entire garden we had envisioned. Our work flow ensured that if we had to stop for any reason, another team could come in and pick up where we had left off. 

4- Execute! Start to finish, turning just under an acre of desiccated field into a patch of fertility with a few raised beds and fruit trees to diversify our effort and make the site more oasis-like took less than 4 hours. We had about 35 people contribute their efforts and skills.

5-Maintain. This is what happened last weekend. The garden was originally installed in May 2015, and this fall we had to weed. We prepared the soil for the fall by mulching heavily with rescued pizza boxes and pine mulch. This will hold in moisture all winter and give the soil fertility web a leg-up come spring, when it is time to plant again. Hopefully, we’ll be putting in more perennials in both places, because they require even less work than annuals, and will result in larger harvests in the long run.

(Bonus Step 6- Iterate/Review. Run your ideas past a few people external to the garden, and make sure that it makes sense to them. I call this optional, because, let’s face it, you’re going to make this garden no matter what if you’ve already put in the work to plan it this far.)

There you have it. Now that it’s Fall, it’s a great time to get ahead of the curve and start making plans for Spring, especially if you want to involve more people. After all, many hands make the work light.

Original article covering the construction here:


Trip Report

Yes, my PDC is one of the few, if any, which have been funded by the US Air Force. When we go TDY, it’s not acceptable to go galavanting about on taxpayer money, so the government wants to know what they’ve gotten by sending you. Here’s the official trip report I wrote about my trip, sans formatting.


1 Oct 2015



SUBJECT: Permaculture Design Certification Trip Report

1. PURPOSE: I attended this certification to attain a Permaculture Design Certification and acquire basic sustainability skills to be used in pursuit of Air University’s stated goal: innovation.

2. TRAVELER: Capt Scott Church, Intelligence Officer and Flight Commander 33 STUS.

3. ITINERARY: From 18 September – 30 September I attended class and workshops from 0900 to approximately 2200 at Spiral Ridge Permaculture, and had lodging at The Ecovillage at The Farm in Summertown, Tenn. The primary instructors were Cliff Davis and Jennifer Albanese, a pair of off-the-grid homesteaders who have spent most of the past two decades travelling the world to see and work on Permaculturally designed sites in various stages of development.

4. DISCUSSION: I came away from the course as a certified Permaculture Designer and with a good understanding of what the methodology makes possible, enabled by techniques that I observed and performed throughout the course. I learned that the overall goal of a permaculturist is to create or capture necessities for life, and to that end we practiced how to first recognize, then harness, and then enhance natural resources present in any given environment. We discussed Permaculture’s principles and structure, and the way that it centers humans, animals, and plants as clients in the system, and therefore seeks techniques that increase abundance of basic needs. The homestead where the class was held is an example of how, with strategic thought, basic technology, and minimal investment, a barren landscape can become productive for the people who live there. We studied sites throughout the world, which showed such efforts can be undertaken throughout a huge range of climates, and scaled anywhere from a yard to a city, or even a bioregion (a geographically related area defined by relevant natural boundaries, like mountains and rivers).

To achieve the natural abundance that Permaculture prescribes, we reviewed basic ecology, soil science, low tech surveying techniques, natural engineering, environmental planning, and relevant leadership techniques. Within the group, we had a great deal of expertise ranging from Investment Banking experience to Environmental Engineering, and my own Air Force experiences. We had engaging discussions on the interplay of environmental degradation and food security through the lenses of both decreasing poverty and decreasing radicalization in those regions. I was able to bring a unique perspective on the importance of organizing effective and well-resourced teams to first analyze what an area needs, and then bringing the full brunt of national apparatus to achieve political, food, and economic stability.

There were some techniques and theories that seemed to particularly well suited for military use because of their ability to clean up contamination, deal with large amounts of runoff, as off a tarmac or runway, or provide both earth sheltered security and temperature regulation. Mycoremediation is the use of fungus to clean contaminated soil of fuels, heavy metals, and other toxins. This technique is not widely known, although it seems to be gaining a foothold within the Federal Government, as they use it to clean up superfund sites. It would probably decrease costs at fuel depots and other hazardous waste storage areas. The creation of swales is a technique for slowing runoff and preventing erosion. This has the added benefit of creating space for beneficial tree plantings in areas that would otherwise be desert, which in turn cool the surrounding area and could provide local populations with important food, fuel, or fodder. Finally, earth building techniques, such as the creation of wallipinis, which are sunken greenhouses, provide not only powerful protection from incoming projectiles and bombardment, but use the mass of the earth and buried pipes to regulate temperature inside living or growing space. It seemed way better than a Hesco barrier to me.

5. RECOMMENDATIONS: Permaculture, as a discipline, should be a tool at the disposal of any expeditionary-minded commander. This is not to say that every Air Force Officer should receive Permaculture Design training, but simply being aware of the impact that Permacultural knowledge could have alleviate the pressure on logistics trains and build better relations with local nationals would be enough. The combination of the long-term thought that goes into Permaculture designs and low cost of many solutions will act as a force multiplier for any further expeditions into austere environments. Both low and large footprint forces could benefit significantly from utilizing permacultural techniques, and, unlike conventional methods, the larger the footprint, the lower the cost per Airman, because of increased access to areas that can be cultivated or utilized. It would probably make the most sense to send Civil Engineering personnel to practical Permaculture courses, but any Airman or Commander could benefit from the way the design methodology encourages practitioners to think strategically, stretch their minds in to the future, and value otherwise overlooked resources.

A Permaculturist’s Pledge

I, (Scott David Church)*, do hereby solemnly (and playfully) promise myself, and any others present, that I will care for the Earth, care for people, and take no more than my fair share for personal use. I understand my personal use, in fact, as working to to regenerate life in the land, in my communities, and in myself (my spirit, my soul, being, my Oneness). I will honor the efforts of my fellow Permaculturists in any form I find them. I will examine both intent and effect in my observation. I will give feedback lovingly, and accept the burden of working on myself. My network gives me strength, and I give back to it what I can, knowing that the stronger my network, the stronger I am. I take this obligation freely. I pledge to discharge these sacred duties faithfully, so help me (God/Goddess/me/nature/FSM). 

*Parentheses and words/other words intended to accommodate the  wide range of beliefs present  in my particular course. If you want to use this pledge, feel free to modify words as necessary.

I took an Oath of Office when I commissioned into the Air Force. I’ve always considered it a powerful statement, and it still gives me goosebumps when I hear people pledge themselves to a purpose. As I was about to receive my Permaculture Design Certificate last week, I realized there was no such pledge I’d be making in this capacity, although I consider the work just as (if not more) important. So, I wrote myself the above Promise. After showing off my clapping skills as a member of The Pink Flamincos of Colombia (Tennessee), I read it at our final group activity, the renowned PDC talent show.

It felt good to re-read that and transcribe it onto the Internet. It’s been a week since our last day at Spiral Ridge, and I am still having frequent revelations about how the world needs Permaculture, and seeing places that might have nice soil for gardens, with pleasant microclimates for experimental polycultures. I want to plant seeds everywhere, make compost, catch solar energy, dig holes… the whole shebang, but I am realizing that in addition to making my own yard a veritable paradise of edibles and medicinal herbs, I can have a bigger effect if I apply myself to social permaculture. This means helping to create systems that perpetuate the useful knowledge and and best practices that I just learned.

For now, I’m going to dry some molokhia that I can send to my wife. She’ll like that, and she’ll probably cook it for somebody. It grows really well in Alabama. 

I am still observing, though, and recording many thoughts on the best places to put my energy. Throughout my reflection, I have been feeling like I can have the greatest impact through practicing social permaculture. This means engaging more people around me, and helping them get on board with at least a few of the solutions that raise awareness, enhance personal wellness, and connect people to each other and the earth.

Permaculture, in my own words

Our final activity at the Spiral Ridge Fall Permaculture Design Course was to define Permaculture for ourselves. My thoughts: What is Permaculture? At it’s most basic, it’s a way to provide for your needs. When you get into it, though, it turns out to me much more.
It is a way of thinking, designing, and creating abundance that encompasses the sum total of responsible and regenerative farming, cradle-to-cradle living, and ethical decision making. It incorporates old school knowledge and cutting edge techniques to feed, shelter, and care for people. When people are talking about how to fix the world, permaculture is the solution that most people have never heard of.

5 Related goals:

1. Plan to facitste a PDC in 2016.
2. Write more instructional posts from here out.
3. Improve/create network with reliable and organized Permaculturists.
4. Experiment/implement key line design (more on this later)
5. Create full on designs for every property I can affect.

A quick thought before bed

Being a better man starts with seeing yourself as you are. Sometimes that means seeing yourself lying in a dirt road laughing your ass off at the night sky during a blood moon lunar eclipse, because of the absurdity of it all. See, you stayed up even though you were exhausted to see this once in 32 years event, and now it’s completely cloudy and dark, and you haven’t set up camp. This is a silly place to start, but it’s as good a starting place as any.

The habits you have make up your character. Fortunately, this is not something you do too often, else people might think you were too much of a maniac to be near. The habits that make you less effective become clear from an external perspective. Touching the fat on your belly, your are reminded to eat healthy things, generally in moderation. A general malaise and lack of energy is impetus to get more exercise, and keep your body free of junk or toxins. Feeling cold and alone, you are reminded of those who make you feel comfort, so you call your wife and child, who badly need your support, especially because you must be away at the moment. Living your life apart no longer seems simply inconvenient, it seems unnatural. You should live with your family. This is the right way to love, and to nurture them, which is what wives and children (and anybody) generally need the most.

This makes sense. Now you have to make it work. You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.

You are grateful to have a borrowed hammock, and moreover, friends and family who care for you as you go to sleep. Good night.

Blood moon breaking through
Blood moon breaking through

This Is What Happens When You Do a Permaculture Design Course…*

A notional design for Spiral Ridge Swales, walipini, and arterial paths.
A notional design for Spiral Ridge Swales, walipini, and arterial paths running through a new food forest. 

I’m writing this from Spiral Ridge, a sustainable, permaculture homestead outside of Summertown, Tennessee. I’m here for 12 days to get a Permaculture Design Certification. The folks who are teaching it are a married couple who have been here for six years. When they arrived, they had almost nothing, except a lifetime of knowledge and useful skill building. They built a cabin, powered by 400W of solar panels, heated by passive solar, and supplied water from a well. They transformed the landscape from a barren, just logged hilltop to a lush and densely packed edible forest and food production hub, while raising four children. Pretty awesome and dedicated people.

What is Permaculture? Everybody who practices it gets asked this question at some point, and there are plenty of different answers. The word is often interpreted to be a mashup of “permanent agriculture.” That’s only one aspect, though. At its core, Permaculture is a discipline to care for the Earth and to care for people, in a responsible and fair way. Permaculturists interact with and support their local ecosystems, strengthening the productivity of landscapes with care create more value than they will harvest, thus improving the land. They build great empires of biodiversity using small and slow solutions, which eventually produce yields which are magnitudes of order above that of “traditional” farming. I get to experience this first hand because the Air Force has seen fit to pay for and send me out here for this class. It may be surprising, but this is where my Intelligence career has led me.

In the style of so many other listicles, here are 10 things that happen when you go to a PDC.

  1. You realize that you are not alone in trying to save the world for future generations with your neurotic recycling and composting habits. Actually, you are falling short.
  2. You share your intimate life goals with strangers. These strangers share their life goals with you. These strangers become your friends.
  3. You make friends with skills. Like, real skills that are useful. Building skills, bow hunting skills, tracking skills, planting skills, negotiation skills, food preservation skills…
  4. Because of all those skills, you suddenly feel like you have a pretty good chance to survive any impending apocalypse, including the arrival of zombies.
  5. You realize how much you don’t know, and you become intensely curious about matters of microbial soil life, what pigs like to eat, how to sculpt turtles from clay, and where water goes when it lands on the ground after a rain.
  6. You get excited when your new friends can answer your questions.
  7. You develop the ability to design lifescapes, where land and life intersect in a way that is beneficial to both. This feels awesome.
  8. You feel so awesome, you believe you can do things that you have no business doing what-so-ever, like DJing karaoke in a country bar (maybe called “The Rebel.”) You do it, and it actually works.
  9. You spontaneously burst into dance/clapping fits/chanting “nematode”/laughter, because you trust the people around you like you trust your childhood friends.
  10. You develop the urge to share this experience with other people, and you form your own plans to host a permaculture design course, so that others can experience what you have just gone through, and enjoyed so much.

PS. There are still 3 more days of this course to go…

*Results typical under specific circumstances.

Taking Stock/Mindfulness Meditation

A slice of my life in time.
A slice of my life in time.

Warning: I reread this today before posting. Only read this if you want an exposure to the patterned chaos in my mind that creates my reality and spurs my life choices. You’ve been cautioned.

Before starting any project, design, life change, whatever – it is a good idea to take stock of what is around. You need to know where you are and what you have if you want to have any success improving your situation. You also have to know where you want to go – more on that later. The the military teaches SWOT analysis to budding strategic thinkers. This methodology asks planners to think through their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Permaculture teaches an “observe, then interact” methodology. A close friend of mine recently shared some of his company’s risk assessment techniques with me as we mulled over a joint project. There plenty of ways to think through projects and take stock of resources, so I probably don’t need to be creating a new one. But I have decided to riff on what I’ve learned, and experiment with an orienting tool that mirrors some of the mindfulness meditations I’ve been doing lately. By the end of this exercise, I believe I’ll have improved situational and self awareness, as well as some nascent options for what to do and what directions I might move.

This methodology will address three realms to help me think about my life:

  1. My physical situation (what things are around me that I notice, what can I use, what access I have right now)
  2. Mental state (how am I currently thinking about the world)
  3. Activities (where I am applying myself and expending energy on a regular basis)

I’m going to go through these in stream of consciousness style, listing what comes to mind, acknowledging it, and moving along. With no further ado:

Physical (nouns in my life that catch my attention)

  • A solar powered rain collecting greenhouse supporting utility trailer that I currently live in, and all systems associated with it. Right now my charge controller is broken. I should really get that fixed.
  • 40 foot diesel former school bus. Currently rented. Now thinking about vehicles.
  • Small car. In wife’s care. Not readily accessible to me, because I live across the country (for now).
  • Big Truck. Good for moving stuff.
  • Dog. She does not like to ride in the truck. Strange dog, but she is nice to my chickens now.
  • 20-60 chickens. Mostly for the eggs they lay. Some of them are geographically separated too. Going to focus on what is immediately around.
  • Unknown number of ducks. Also for eggs, and slug control.
  • Rest of the flock: guinea fowl, goose
  • Left over fencing
  • Plenty of lumber left over from various projects. Not so relevant right now. New direction.
  • Machete
  • 25 shovels. Should make a garden party a real possibility.
  • Wheelbarrows. Assorted other garden tools including vicious looking tiller. I’m more interested in no-till methods but I’ll happily experiment with tilling this spring.
  • Jewelry case/organizer full of heirloom seeds. I need to check germination rates.
  • Fermented foods in the fridge. I need to get some now. I’m hungry.
  • … and back
  • Smart watch. More useful than I thought it’d be. Keeps me on track. Probably the only reason I’m focused enough to do this journal entry now.
  • Computer. Very powerful tool. Very potent distractions abound from this devise as well.
  • Baby toys. Manufactured distractions meant to facilitate learning and separate parents from money. I will keep them around in anticipation of more babies wanting to use them.
  • Berkey Ceramic Water Filter. Just as shiny as baby toys, but probably way more useful. People of all ages need clean water.
  • Lots of  sweat pants. Good for doing work.
  • Collection of used diapers. Humanure experiment. I need to check on this and maybe turn it (stir it up to help the decomposition) soon.
  • 10,000 worms in various bins. I should make sure they have enough cardboard to eat, and pour water through my expermental worm tea making bin.
  • Inflatable swimming pool with gold fish. I haven’t fed them anything but they have grown. I also have no mosquito larva in the swimming pool, so this particular experiment is working. Grow bed is working OK.
  • Plants in pots. When will I need to put them in the Greencave?
  • Plastic sheeting. I should probably replace some of the Greencave’s roof with the sheeting.
  • Some houses. Very useful for people who want regular shelter. Easier to rent than the school bus.
  • Stuff that I need to ferment. I’d like to make kombucha again. I wonder if my cabbage has recovered from the cabbage moth larva that decimated it earlier this summer. The kale is coming back nicely.
  • Jambox. Time to listen to some music.

Now the gears are really turning. That list got me thinking about the multitude of stuff I need to do to maintain this… stuff, and I probably could have continued to list objects around me for practically ever.. Now, however, it is time to shift those gears: how am I thinking about the rest of the world, and how I fit into it? What thoughts, if any, seem to recur to me?


  • What should I be doing with my time right now? What is the best way for me to be most effective? How will this behavior benefit my family?
  • Is this a valuable way to spend my time? What is this gaining me? Money? Enjoyment? Learning?
  • Where are my keys? Phone? Wallet? Wits?
  • Am I remembering to fully breathe?
  • Why did I just read ____ on wikipedia for an extended period of time?
  • Am I missing something important that is happening in the world? I should check the News/Facebook/my email/the time/my calendar/the window
  • What’s the weather going to be like? Do I need to water my plants?
  • I like this song. I’d like to hear it again (currently, Kelis – Fourth of July Calvin Harris Remix.)
  • Don’t clench you jaw.
  • Did I get enough exercise today? This one is easy to answer- I have it outsourced to an app on my phone.
  • How can I stack the function of whatever I am thinking of doing next?
  • Is it too early to drink beer right now?

It seems a few things are missing from this list. I would have liked to have the thought “How is my wife doing?” be more on my mind. I am going to be sure to include that going forward in my life.


Apart from the energy spent responding to my endless mental dialogue, I am usually acutely aware of the ebb and flow of my daily energy levels, and where the energy goes. Here’s the list of things that consume me, or my time, on a nearly daily basis:

  • I respond to the challenges of my paid job, as a Flight Commander in the Air Force. This means preparing for lessons, grading papers, receiving and giving training to ensure a positive, and relatively seamless experience for my students. This is draining.
  • I communicate with my loved ones. It is not always easy to tear myself away from other pressing issues to sit and have a truly focused conversation, but it is essential to maintaining stability and happiness, upon which the rest of my life is and can be built. Depending on how the conversation goes, which is usually a rehash of whatever is going on in our respective lives, I leave these conversations either with more energy or less.
  • Daydreaming. Brainstorming ways to solve the myriad problems or issues I allow into my life with the various experiments I have going. I come away from the time I spend doing this usually rejuvenated.
  • I accomplish small tasks physical tasks. I feed the chickens, I water the plants, I do laundry (but I do not fold it). I clean stuff. I prepare meals. Accomplishing these maintenance activities makes me feel better about myself and give me satisfaction. I space these things out so I can feel a small bit of psychological reward whenever I am frustrated with something else. Sometimes these tasks also directly create value. I prefer tasks that incorporate
  • I address issues that have cropped up in my administrative role as landlord and/or human resources manger at Farmpound (an experimental, intentional community/homestead… more on that later). This means paying bills, reiterating expectations to people, checking in on project progress, or dealing with catastrophes of a domestic nature. This is the most sapping part of my daily life. I am working to reframe some of these activities as the most opportune learning points/practice points. This is where real leadership is needed, and it’s hard.
  • I work out. Yes, I do lift, bro. For the last 20 years of my life, I have been trying to get into running. I still haven’t, but I make myself do it anyway.


Preliminarily, this feels like a beneficial exercise. I feel much more at peace, as I often do after mindfulness sessions. I also have the advantage of being able to revisit this in a week, possibly do the same thing, and track any changes. I’m not sure I should let my wife read this, but I doubt she has time to do it anyway. I’ll put it in an email to her and sneak it in to get feedback. I’m not really sure I should post this, either, but I’m going to because I do try to get outside my comfort zone on a daily basis. With the restored mental clarity and recognition of many things around me (which seem to be incredibly varied and random), I’m feeling like I can tackle just about anything.

A few things I’m feeling like I’ll do this year now:

-Learn how to pour concrete better this year.

-Find and propagate pawpaw trees

-Sell something using the internet (eggs?)


More goals next time.

Final note:

I tagged Leadership, Permaculture, Tech, and Wellness in this one because most of the stuff in this torrent of consciousness pertains to at least one, if not more of those. I’m pretty nervous to post this up.

Why Resilient Sustainability?

I tell all my students to write down their goals. This simple act is powerful – it puts a thought into the world in a way that can be observed, contemplated, and revisited later. I write goals because it makes me more likely to achieve them. The activity serves as a form of introspection and metacognition, allowing me to think through my planning process, and examine my beliefs motivating my action. I believe ensuring that goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-oriented) helps  So, I’ll enumerate some of my own goals for this site here.

I will…

-Capture and report quality insights from where leadership, permaculture, technology, and wellness intersect

-Provide a unique perspective, examining concepts and ideas from my multiple viewpoints (leader, father, entrepreneur, intelligence analyst, military, suburbanite, occasional maniac)

-Report lessons learned and real-time updates on what is working and what isn’t

-Explain how to those wanting to do some of the things I do

-Encourage others to act for the betterment of this world, and the world our children will inhabit

-Connect with both like-minded and contrary individuals

-Entertain, especially if you like slapstick and/or how chickens are really little dinosaurs

-Post weekly

Flower Tunnel of Love
Flower Tunnel of Love

OK. That’ll do it for now.