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

  • 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

  • Our Local Sugar Harvest

    March 2, 2020 by

    March 1, 2020 With three weeks to the spring equinox, late winter days are typically just above freezing and the nights a few degrees below freezing. Ground water is absorbed by trees, their stored starch is converted to sugar and the pressure inside the trunks of Sugar Maples increases. This is the ideal time to… Read more

  • Get an early start on spring

    February 23, 2020 by

    February 23, 2020 A planter of soil, a pack of mesclun seed mix, and a sunny location or grow lights can get you a fresh salad in about 4 weeks.  Then, the cropped plants can produce again in another couple of weeks.  This can become the kick off to fresh greens from the garden in… Read more

  • Choosing our own path forward

    February 16, 2020 by

    I believe that it’s good to be aware of what’s happening in the world, but it’s best to focus one’s efforts and resources on building a sustainable life style while ensuring the health of the small part of the planet one inhabits. However, it’s difficult to stand by quietly as our democratically elected leaders attempt… Read more

  • Our mixed greens

    February 9, 2020 by

    February 9, 2020 The story behind our mixed greens begins in 2008 when we started up market gardening after our move to the farm. Among a host of other vegetables, we put out lettuce to grow into large heads for sale at our stand near Frankford. We soon discovered that growing things organically meant that… Read more

  • Edible and Nourishing “Weeds”

    January 26, 2020 by

    January 26, 2020 “Weed” is a term we use for any plant that assumes a place in our garden without being invited or appreciated.  To most gardeners, they are just plain aggravating.  These unwelcome plants are constantly challenging us with their resilience, quick growth and dominance.  Gardeners expend considerable time and energy trying to keep… Read more

  • In memory of my mother

    January 19, 2020 by

    January 19, 2020 We are strongly influenced by those who raised us.  Whether we take on different beliefs or not, what we learned in our early years set the foundation for our lives.  As unique entities, each of my parents’ children has taken a different perspective.  It just means the influence they had on their… Read more

  • Thoughts on food security and embracing challenges

    January 12, 2020 by

    January 12, 2020  Last summer and fall, when there was so much coming off the gardens, we would take the time to process tomatoes into juice, cucumbers into pickles, and peppers into hot sauces.  But much of the extra produce just went directly into the freezer for processing when we’d have the time during the winter. Beans, peas, eggplants, and zucchini are… Read more

  • Looking Ahead to 2020

    December 29, 2019 by

    December 29, 2019 With the holiday season almost behind us, we look to the new year to reach new goals or finally accomplish what we had planned to do in 2019. Ironically, we set these goals without any knowledge of the twists and turns that we will encounter through the next twelve months. It makes… Read more

  • The Winter Solstice

    December 21, 2019 by

    December 21, 2019 One of the advantages of retirement, apart from not having to rush off to work in the morning, is the opportunity to take the time to witness dawn each day from the same location. In the early morning hours one can feel like a conscious participant in the counterclockwise spin of the… Read more

  • Winter Down Time

    December 15, 2019 by

    December 15, 2019  In aboriginal cultures of the northern hemisphere, winter was traditionally the time for storytelling.  There was usually plenty of food stored from hunting and gathering throughout the summer and fall, ideally enough to see the community through the winter.   The closer you work with the Earth, the closer you continue this traditional life style.  With freezers full, herbs… Read more

  • Our Yards and Gardens in Late Fall and Winter

    December 8, 2019 by

    December 8, 2019 I’m a big fan of the scientific approach as it involves letting go of preconceived ideas and becoming fully aware of our surroundings or subject of study through unbiased observation. A scientific mind is less likely to say, “I love this and hate that.” Society has taught us the so-called good and… Read more

  • Our Venture into Raising Chickens

    December 1, 2019 by

    December 1,2019 For as many years as we’ve had the greenhouses, I have thought of options to throwing weeds and spent produce on the compost pile. I would imagine feeding these nutritious greens to hens we didn’t have and collecting eggs in return. We use a fair number of eggs and I could feed hens… Read more

  • There is so much and so many possibilities

    November 23, 2019 by

    November 24, 2019 Energy is all around us. Forests, meadows, and wetlands need only solar energy to drive their complex ecosystems. Energy from the sun drives the water cycle as well as air and water currents all over the world. Inside the earth is a cauldron of hot molten rock, so powerful that it spews… Read more

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