Lightening Our Footprint Blog Feed

Working daily to reduce our environmental footprint while striving for self sufficiency on our small-scale family farm in South Eastern Ontario, Canada.

  • Every day is a learning experience . . .

    October 20, 2019 by

    October 20, 2019 by Bea Heissler In 2006, I took early retirement from a position in outdoor education to start a native plant nursery in Frankford, Ontario. For those who recognize the importance of biodiversity and wanted to turn their yards into havens for wildlife, it was hard to find plants native to this general… Read more

  • From Human-imposed Order to Natural Order

    January 8, 2023 by

    Most of us have been instilled with a sense of order. We naturally look for patterns to help us make sense of our surroundings. Chaos shakes us up and makes us uncomfortable. I grew up on a farm where plants were seeded or planted in straight lines set apart at a consistent distance. It made… Read more

  • Gardening Naturally – Taking our Cues from Nature

    January 24, 2022 by

    Declining biodiversity is one of the most serious issues today.  With the growing demands of the human population, species in all parts of the world are being stressed due to climate change, habitat loss, and pollution.  We are seeing unprecedented rates of extinction.   As landowners and gardeners, we need to recognize our role in providing… Read more

  • Out of this moment…

    January 31, 2021 by

    One thing that is very important to me is the ability to provide for self and family, not so much in terms of bringing in a pay cheque, but more in being able to grow and process one’s own food, live in harmony with the natural environment and demonstrate that, given a small piece of… Read more

  • Looking back on 2020

    December 31, 2020 by

    As 2020 draws to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the past year. The social, economic, physical and emotional impacts of the pandemic is staggering. So many lives have been lost and so many other lives have been seriously disrupted. This has been a collective journey into uncharted waters. We’re all… Read more

  • Little Children: Our Teachers

    December 7, 2020 by

    Back in University, I enjoyed my studies in the sciences and I continue to read and watch documentaries in this field. But one learns so much more by being and doing in the outdoors where the holistic teaching never stops. It is quiet and subtle. It embraces you and doesn’t expect anything of you except… Read more

  • Dealing with the Effects of Climate Change

    November 26, 2020 by

    In a world that is going through dramatic changes because of global warming, it is important for us to be aware of the changes that impact our spaces, fellow species and ourselves. With awareness comes greater adaptability and a commitment to do what we can to mitigate these long-term effects. I often look back to… Read more

  • Gardening in the Fall and Preparing for Winter

    November 9, 2020 by

    As our hemisphere tilts away from the sun during this part of earth’s orbit around it, the shorter days and longer nights bring on the cold.  All around us change is dramatic with trees now bare, birds heading south, chipmunks and squirrels gathering food for the long cold winter ahead, all accompanied by frosts and the first snow falls.  … Read more

  • A Tribute to my Parents, Paul and Maria Heissler

    October 26, 2020 by

    In 2008, my husband Dan and I purchased part of the farm on which I spent most of my childhood. We built our “retirement” home and moved there in 2011. For me, it was a home coming. Though many of my memories of the farm were of seemingly endless work and struggle associated with building… Read more

  • One year later…

    October 19, 2020 by

    A year ago, I started writing this blog to encourage readers to see their yards and spaces as sites to connect with the natural world. Rather than visit a park to experience Nature, we can experience Nature at our fingertips. With this connection comes the understanding that we are Nature. Once we let go of… Read more

  • Gardening with Least Effort

    July 22, 2020 by

    In every endeavour, it is best to expend the least amount of effort to attain one’s goal. The old maxim of hard work ensures success is one we need to unlearn. Hard work tends to stress the natural environment and those around us while compromising our own well-being. As gardeners, the picture perfect, well-tended garden… Read more

  • The Importance of Local Markets

    June 23, 2020 by

    June 23, 2020 Markets have been important meeting places for thousands of years. It is part of the human experience to assume a role within a larger group of people. From primitive life to modern, there have always been those who took on roles of hunting, gathering, and gardening while others took on different roles… Read more

  • Catching the Vibe

    May 7, 2020 by

    May 6, 2020 We look for meaning in everything by reading books, watching videos, searching the internet and when we don’t have a pandemic, listening to speakers at gatherings. We search for gurus to provide that key to success in every possible field and aspect of our lives. Gardeners follow the guidelines like everyone else… Read more

  • Back to the Garden

    April 28, 2020 by

    April 28, 2020 The unusually cold weather of the past couple of weeks has made it difficult for our early crops to achieve much growth. This happened last year as well making one wonder if this is a new weather pattern for this time of year in our part of the world. In any case,… Read more

  • Nature, the Great Leveler

    April 20, 2020 by

    April 19, 2020 Society is based on a hierarchy in which individuals are generally made to feel greater or lesser than others based on political power, wealth, education, religious order, fame, or race. As we are finding out, worldwide, an unseen organism can level out the playing field. It strikes equally without consideration of status.… Read more

  • A Backyard Pollinator Garden

    April 12, 2020 by

    April 12, 2020 It is hard to imagine a world without flowers. They bring joy during times of celebration and solace during times of sadness or grief. Though the beauty of their form, colour and fragrance is so appealing to us, their true purpose is to attract the little creatures who act as couriers between… Read more

  • Lessons from the Forest

    March 29, 2020 by

    March 29, 2020 This past week we took off the final runs of sap from the maple trees. Most of the tap holes have dried up and the trees have begun the long process of healing.  We are grateful for the bountiful harvest of more than one litre of syrup per tap and how this… Read more

  • Getting started in the garden

    March 22, 2020 by

    March 22, 2020 This year’s arrival of spring presents a unique experience for all of us. Circumstances have strongly encouraged or mandated us to retreat into our own spaces as winter draws to an end and the world deals with a pandemic.  Perhaps there is a silver lining.  Once we set panic aside and make… Read more

  • Using our yards to extend a helping hand

    March 15, 2020 by

    March 15, 2020 If we had the opportunity to go back in time for a glimpse of the landscape and people who occupied this area a few hundred years ago, we wouldn’t recognize the place or the way of living. There are still areas relatively untouched, but even these pristine areas show modern human influence.… Read more

  • Changing our Mindset

    March 9, 2020 by

    March 8, 2020 Nature is all around and within us. Perhaps the best definition of naturalization is what happens when we finally let go. That’s not so easy as we have been programmed by our society to have to appear to be in control at all times. Let’s not kid ourselves. We are never really… Read more

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