• Living in the (Mountain Lion) Zone

    Permaculture divides landscapes into five or six activity zones. I think it’s closer to a eleven or twelve. Zone 0 is your self: body, spirit, life force. Zone 1 is your home, including your close personal relationships. Zone 2 is the area from which, on an almost-daily basis, we harvest products or provide inputs. It includes the arable outdoor space closest to the kitchen door, the homeowner’s primary entrance (often not the front door), and any other immediately visible and/or accessible places on the property, such as a patio, porch, or well-used ramada. For Melissa, the kids, and me here at the Backyard Institute, this translates into our compost pile, chicken coop, rabbit hutch, cold frames, and herb garden. Zone 3 is the area visited on a less-than weekly basis such as the annual vegetable garden and the tool shed. Zone 4 is the area that gets maintained on an approximately monthly basis: the irrigation clock, beehive, perennial beds, parts of the orchard. Zone 5 constitutes places that are visited seasonally. In our case, this is the remainder of our orchard and garden, the cistern, and a couple of irrigation valves. Zone 6 provides an annual product, like the firewood pile, or requires a yearly check-up, such as our cistern’s sediment filter. Zone 7 is a place that you might go every few years, such as the solar water-heating panels up on the roof. Zone 8 is a place you can go, but you take nothing but information back with you. Sometimes this zone is hard to find on your property, but a bird’s nest on a tree branch or your tax-paid sliver of space and time in a national park are both perfect examples. Zone 9 is a place where we let nature be—without any human intrusion. These places are difficult to find, but they exist. Zone 10 and 11 make up the work one does (in our neighborhoods and communities) ecologically and socio-politically.


    Yesterday, it was reported that a large mountain lion had been spotted less than two blocks away from our walled backyard. The 150 pound animal escaped the Fish and Game’s tranquilizer guns by climbing along garden walls. He or she seemed to know its way around town, they said, and the thing’ll eat pretty much anything smaller than it. Evidently, its favorite menu item is deer. As much as I would like to let that poor feline visitor be, I have to say when it comes to protecting my kids from being cat food, I’m all for placing big carnivorous animals that run along my garden walls in that peaceful, tranquilized temporary state, known to some as zone 12. Afterwards, such beasts can be relocated to zone 8 or 9. The tough part is that such relocations are often unsuccessful and therefore spell doom for the wild life in question.


  1. Anonymous says:

    No to Keenan Kitty Kibbles or Liam Lion Lunch!
    I think there must be a lion recession and they're coming to town for the jobs.

  1. Anonymous says:

    save the chickens!

  1. Corinna See says:

    They captured it this morning around 10am near Santa Fe High. Relocated it to the forest somewhere. Yay.

  1. nate downey says:

    They said it was a good candidate for relocation. Oddly, the authorities added that the beast seemed very well fed. I hope deer in the wild are as easy to catch as domestic kitties and pups or our friendly neighborhood cougar could be back!

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The final frontier.

These are the musings of an engaging enterprise.
Its thirty-year mission:

To create a greener planet.

To seek a better life in our lumbering civilization, and

to slowly go where we are all are headed anyway.


Is an unproven system for generating wide-spread sustainability.

it asks for 10 minutes a day for a year. At the end of the year, it asks for 10 more.

So in the second year, you spend just 20 minutes a day, in the third year, 30 minutes.

If you keep up this pattern, 27 years later you spend over 4 hours per day being extremely green.

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Describe your attempts At a sustainable life.