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Calamity Jane
  • 46, Female
  • Cordova, AK
  • United States
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Calamity Jane

Profile Information

What kind of HOMEGROWN are you?
Earth Mama
A bit about me:
I'm a self-proclaimed punk housewife and revolutionary mama, making a home and backyard homestead in a tiny, coastal Alaskan town. I grow food, harvest wild stuff, cook anything I can get my hands on, and run a vaguely DIY household in the few spare moments afforded me by my two vivacious little spitfires.
Read about my adventures and catastrophes, and find out what the hell a punk housewife is anyway, at
Check out my backyard permaculture "Rainfarm" at
Latest greatest meal cooked at home:
Home raised duck (slurp!) roasted with all the trimmings.
Currently reading:
Mycelium Running, O Pioneers
Currently listening to:
Nina Simone, Eileen Jewel, Eva Cassidy, Rolling Stones
My latest DIY project:
Silver salmon in the smokehouse as I write.
How did you find HOMEGROWN.org?
so long ago, I don't remember
Web site I recommend:

The Latest From Apron Strings

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Calamity Jane's Blog

DIY Study Group: Botany 101

Hello all,

A few years back, I organized a DIY permaculture study group, for serious students who couldn't afford an official course. It was great fun, we all learned a lot, and I enjoyed the way that leading the group challenged me in my own studies. Now I am interested in doing the same thing for botany!

I am an avid learner, and a total plant geek. I didn't go to college, so all of my education has been at home-- with good books, web resources, and self-made homework,… Continue

Posted on June 7, 2015 at 7:12pm

Is Your Sustainable Life Sustainable?

I have been thinking a lot about sustainable living, and the so-called simple life lately. Dixiebelle wrote a self-flagellating post recently about her wicked fall into a fast food lunch, and in general about falling short of one's ideals.

Oh sweetheart.

I'm not particularly old (33) but I came to this "green consciousness" early, I think.…


Posted on February 22, 2011 at 11:27pm — 6 Comments

Someone Has to Wear the Apron

[This is my first blog post here at Homegrown. Actually I didn't realize it was this easy. Is it this easy? Is this how I'm 'sposed to do this thing-a-majigger? Anyway, here's a go. This is a recent from my blog, Apron Strings: Diary of a Revolutionary (Housewife). And just so's you all know, I…


Posted on January 12, 2011 at 8:28pm — 3 Comments

New Blog for Homemakin' Mamas (papas allowed too)

Is it okay to plug my own blog on here?
It's called
Apron Strings: Revolution Starts at Home!
Check it out!
See you in cyberspace,

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 10:02am — 1 Comment

Comment Wall (11 comments)

At 2:03am on January 12, 2009, Rig said…
Haines has been real cold, pretty much. Evan is home from Fairbanks and will be going to New Zealand soon for WWOOF. Jennie is back in public school after a nice long vacation called "homeschooling". Susie still has a hurt knee from falling down blueberry picking and then going snowshoeing up Mt. Ripinski two weeks later. I've been building and fixing up things around here and keeping us in firewood. Miss you lots.
At 6:29pm on January 20, 2009, Willi said…
Hey! Thanks for the tip!
At 11:29am on January 13, 2011, Cornelia said…
You dun blogged on HOMEGROWN just right - thanks for sharing!!
At 9:17am on October 24, 2012, Jennifer said…

Oh. My. Goodness. The Perma-Curious study group idea is AMAZING. I have goosebumps just thinking about it. I just made it today's "Daily Bite" at the top of the homepage and tweeted about it (I'm Cornelia's helper, Jennifer, by the way!), and I'm sure Cornelia and I both will be looking for more ways to spread the word. But holy flora. THIS IS RAD. And GENIUS.

At 9:53pm on November 1, 2012, Jannine Cabossel said…

Calamity Jane- Where is the introduction section for 'permacurious' on Homegrown?

I can't seem to find it!

At 11:49pm on November 11, 2012, Bryce Ruddock said…

Mollison book does get a bit technical but it is the best book on permaculture bar none. Some teachers have gone to using Rosemary Morrow's book Earth Users Guide to Permaculture. Its an okay book but just seems somewhat abridged to me. I did talk about this topic with 2 other teachers a week ago and both of them like the Mollison text for teaching better than any other. Problem is that  the book keeps selling out and Tagari Press the publisher has trouble keeping up with demand.

   I haven't read Whitefield's book yet but reviewers do like it. It's one shortcoming though is that it does not cover invisible structures or the human social constructs. Mollison does cover those in the final chapter of the Designer's Manual but then only briefly.

   A good intro to Permaculture is Ross Mars' book The Basics of Permaculture Design. Toby Hemenways' book Gaia's Garden covers much of the design process from a suburban context and is a good source of plant guild information as is Dave Jacke's 2 volume Edible Forest Gardening. A new book I had some hope for as a North American permaculture teaching text is The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country by Peter Bane but it falls short and does not offer much new in ideas.

   Is it  the General Core Model that the Manual explains that seems the most difficult? Picture the Earth and its wind patterns specifically the Coriolus Force or winds that circle the planet in opposite directions based on where one is standing , in the the Northern Hemisphere or in the Southern. That is probably the simplest example of atmospheric patterning. The rest of it just the use of geometry to define what is observable in nature. A slow reading of the chapter on patterning is the best way through it. At first read its like trying to read Dr Zhivago. After a couple times over it one begins to get to the heart of the chapter.

    Its important to realize that Mollison never intended that graduates of design courses would have full understanding of Permaculture after just 2 weeks at it. Follow up classes and study groups are offered and advance courses get to the deeper stuff from the book. But what Mollison did do is to write the definitive text on Permaculture that can be used by all students beginner or advanced. Another way to handle difficult spots in the pattern portions are to go to a few other sources too. Here is a series of short videos on patterning.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXIMUkSXXo  My students found that it helped a little with pattern understanding.

   Another issue with Mollison's Manual is that he is an Australian and wrote the book that way. Words like chook and yabbie are in there as well as tree species like tagaste that most Americans have never heard of. After a while everybody just subs chickens for chooks and fish for yabbies and locust as asub for tagaste.

At 9:40pm on January 24, 2013, Kurt Hick said…

Sorry to hear that, but thats ok, ones you start over again led me know.Guess I just start reading myself.Have a great time.

At 5:39am on January 30, 2013, Marianne Smith said…

Thanks Calamity!  I'll follow along with the comments and pick up the book when I get a chance. 

At 7:16am on February 8, 2013, Bev Laing said…
Thanks Jane! I hope to get over to the land in the morning (it's late Friday night here is Aus) to start surveying for the assessment. I've read your blog post and been chewing on others, assessments too, thanks for posting them.v
At 2:11am on April 5, 2013, Ron Armstrong said…

Wow, thank you so much for the quick response. I'm new to this and learning the site. I've been on here for like 2 days and have already learned a lot! I get about 2 hours a nite for reading so I will definitely be reading up on it. Thanks again! 

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