Ear to the ground:

“I’m having a bad hair decade.”
– Recent explanation for keeping a hat on during pictures from a follicularly challenged individual

Harmonic convergence

Have you always wanted to know what a “walipini” was but were afraid to ask? Fortunately, next weekend, July 16-17, this as well as all those other burning farm-related questions will be answered at the second annual Four Corners Permaculture Convergence.

The two-day event will be hosted by the Thunderbird Ranch, located in the scenic Cherry Creek valley east of Mancos. The ranch is owned by Gary and Debby Fourstar, big proponents of the permaculture lifestyle, holistic practices and a “back-to-the-garden” lifestyle.

According to the Fourstars, permaculture uses already established ecosystems to grow plants and host livestock in a complimentary way.

“This is a coming together of many experts who are willing to share their knowledge to help create a strong community and good relationships with the natural world,” the Fourstars said in a press release.

The weekend will include various lectures and workshops from area professionals, including: creating a permaculture lifestyle; gray water retention; mycology; beekeeping; organic pest control; composting and vermiculture; wild and medicinal plants; and more.

In addition, Kathy and Grant Curry, permaculture design experts and hosts of last year’s convergence, will discuss the “berm-swale” stormwater irrigation system at the Thunderbird Ranch. Swales are a key point in permaculture design, especially in the arid high desert, because they help create a micro-climate conducive to growing plants and trees. “Permaculture farming can bump up the usual 12 inches of precipitation per year to the equivalent of 18 inches per year,” Grant Curry said. “Especially in Colorado, erosion mitigation is the most important thing. If you want to stop erosion, you’ve got to slow water down, and swales can do that.”

In addition to the swale system, the 83-acre solar-powered ranch is completely off the grid and includes a Growing Spaces Dome, hoop house, bees, llamas and a gray-water system for watering its heritage apple orchard.

But perhaps the best part about imparting oneself with all this knowledge? It comes at the bargain prices of $50 (in advance) for both days. Primitive camping is also available.

As an added bonus, Katrina Blair, of Turtle Lake Refuge, will offer a wild weed dinner on Saturday night, which will be followed by a traditional trade blanket (so be sure to bring something to trade with others.) In addition, Art’s Horse Drawn Carriage, based in Mancos, will be transporting people from the parking and camping area to the front gate. 

For a complete schedule of events or to purchase tickets, go to tickets go to www.manyhorses.org. Tickets can also be bought at www.eventbrite.com; the Spruce Tree Espresso House in Cortez or Fahrenheit Coffee in Mancos. 

Oh, and a walipini? To find out, guess you’ll just have to show up.