Earthworks are the Canvas, Plants are the Paints.

  

 

The Gardens and Waterways here at the Place of Gathering are one of a kind.  They are the result of addressing the needs of the landscape in a way that provides for the humans who steward them. 

 

We use heavy machinery to create a canvas, and we bring in plants to paint on it.  This canvas teems with edible plants and medicines.  The plants we grow for food and medicine are the same plants that work to revitalize the landscape.  

 

Through innovative design and management we have been able to blend aesthetics and function, wild and cultivated, work and play, ecology and economy... all of it has been done by "working with nature, and not against her".  Through focused observation we identify the ecological needs of the land and respond to them in a way that benefits the land and stewards.

 


2a Alpha from Dead Plum Bay looking North

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                     This is the pond we call Alpha.  It features a deep zone of 20 feet that helps to regulate pond temperature.  That deep zone is filled with stones and logs for as fish habitat, where they are comfortable year round.  Nestled within the waters is a sanctuary for water fowl, an island planted with foods and featuring a shelter made of sticks and reeds.  

           You can see how well the plants have established on the banks.  This is without any external irrigation.  These plants are helping to build the soil and provide habitat.  On top of that, every cover crop we have planted has multiple uses, ecologically and for the humans who steward them.

 


    

       A common response to this kind of work is that it is invasive, messy, and drastic.  These are all true.  But that is what is required to reharmonize such dilapitated landscapes.  As Sepp Holzer says "We used heavy machinery to straighten rivers, you can not use a shovel to make them meander again."  

       By coming in once and making inspiring and dramatic changes you can create ecologic pathways that will last for generations, passively regenerating landscapes all the while.  As long as we take a big picture view and are willing to work with nature's timetable, this kind of work can bring about unimaginable positive changes.

 


 

       Working with the Water Household is the key to establishing a vital Earthworks system.  Water holds the key to life, without it the doorway remains locked.  By bringing water into the landscape, and providing it with opportunities to soak into the surrounding soil, we can generate self perpetuating ecosystems and provide for wildlife and humans alike.

 


 

 

It all comes down to opportunity.  The disposition of Nature is to thrive.  By creating pockets and microclimates, diverse habitat is made, providing countless invitations to life's many forms.

 

 

This patina of plants, insects, animals, and microbes comes together to form self supporting diversity.  Life begets life.  By offering the landscape suggestions, rather than demands, we allow nature to carry the work forward.

 


 

The role of observation, subtle awareness, is paramount for coming to understand our environment.  By using the "zoom function" of our eye, to notice the subtle whispers, the landscape begins to speak with us.  It shows us its wants.  Thereby if we provide for it, it provides for us.

If we can see that the honeybee wants poppies, give the honeybee a poppy.

   Ladybugs? How about some Wild Lettuce.                    Bumblebee?  Here is a bull thistle.

If we see where the ants like to lay there eggs, we can give them a place to lay there eggs.   In return, they offer us access to quality food for the fish.  If we pay attention to Nature's subtlies, and help along where we can, we find that all of a sudden we are surrounded by bounty.  We are beckoned to play our role.

 


 

We, as humans, are not seperate from our environment.  There is no such thing as scenery, for the threads that hold the world we see together are bound to us as well.  We are a "keystone species". We have a pivitol role in how the world around us looks and behaves.  

 This responsibility is a blessing of a curse, it demands our attentive participation and utmost respect.  In return, we gain provisions able to support people for generations to come.  It's the kind of thinking that makes you plant a Walnut tree, even if you won't be around to eat from it.

 

 The potential of a single seed is immeasurable, we have a pointer finger and a thumb capable of sewing millions of them.  Gardening is an on going process.  A timeless exchange between steward and stewarded.  That process develops everyday.  Communally, we are doing what we do in the garden.  We are creating spaces for somthing to happen in.  We are bringing together different Roots and giving them a place to intertwine amongst the fertile grounds, filled with the life of water.  We are helping to build communities, in the garden and in the world around us... and we invite you to join.

  


 

 

If you're interested about Internships, Education Opportunites, Volunteering, Farm Products, Farm tours, or Investing in our Waterways and Gardens... 

 

 

Contact our Lead Site Steward:  Michael Billington

                                                                   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">(406)-274-0691

 

 

 


 

 

 

A little about the history, the roots of how these waterways and gardens came to be.

The Adventure Begins

 

 

 

Shortly after I moved to the land in Dayton I noticed that the wetland in front of my window was practically a dead zone. The water was sluggish and brown and nothing not even the knapweed wanted to grow there. The feeling that the energy needed to be unblocked in that area became stronger and stronger. I did not want to mess it up and I did not feel I had the “know how” in what to do, so I asked for help. I contacted Sepp Holzer, an Austrian farmer,  whom had been recommended by a dear friend. I teach in Austria, so I stopped by his place, the Kramerterhof. In the 60 years Sepp has lived at the Kramerterhof, which lies in the "Siberia of Austria",  he has turned it into a place of harmony. I told him that my place was part of the Flathead Reservation and he immediately agreed to come and help. Little did I know what that agreement would unleash.

 

In short, he came in May 2012, and without having ever looked at the land nor engaged in preparation, he began to transform the land.

 

 

Before he came people heard through the grapevine about him coming. I had no awareness when I contacted him that he was the “Dalai Lama” of Permaculture, but people from everywhere wanted to learn from him. One hundred people came together to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime event and create a Sepp Holzer installation, the largest in North America, as it turns out. Not only did he create the installation in the moment, but he also taught 100 people imprompto during the process.

 

 

The other preparation that took place was the communication with the Kootenai People. I felt very strongly about respecting the heritage of the land. I love this land. It nurtures me and anyone that steps on it, and I feel very protective about it. The blessing of the original inhabitants was crucial to the process, so I met with the elders and asked for their blessing. I am very grateful that before we moved the first speck of dirt, the spiritual leader of the Kootenai came and gave a blessing for all of us. He blessed us; the land did not need it .......of course.

 

 

The next two weeks Sepp went to work. I had some ideas of what I thought would turn the energy blockage around but Sepp thought a “tad” bigger than me. I feel like I asked for a lollipop and he gave me the candy store. He created the foundation of an entire system that will feed and support itself in time, nurturing itself as it grows. It is our task now to care and learn from it. Only a couple of weeks later we began to see the transformation in the clarity and vitality of the water.

 

 

 

 

The sentence that Sepp repeats over and over whenever someone talks to him is:

 

 

“The most important thing is to listen”

 

 

A lost art, to be sure.  I am here to tell you, Sepp, we are learning to listen, all of us.

 

 

Words don’t seem to express my thanks to Sepp and to everyone who was part of this amazing, live changing process. You gave us your energy and resources and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

In love and gratitude always,

Katharina

 

 

 

aerial photo

The Waterways and Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-Sunflower Visiter800-Pollination 

Pollination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 800-Flowergardens

Flower Gardens

 

 

 

waterplants 2

Waterplants

 

 

 

 

800-aug 2013 017 Turtle Nursery

 

 

 

In the Beginning -The Huglebeds from Above

 

 

 

800-Pond 1 Hugel Diverstiy

Hugelbed Diversity One Year Later

 

 

800-From the porch winter

Hugels in the Winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-Big Pond Looking east

The Big Pond Looking East

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-Aligators in DaytonAlligators in Dayton????

 

 

 

 

 

 

 800-Magic Places  Magic Places

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-dayton may 2013 b 082   Lilacs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-Laughing Buddah   800-Garden fairy   

 Friends







800-Poppies with YurtPoppies with Meditation Yurt

 

 

 

 

800-Quan Yin    800-Garden-Buddah

More Friends

 

 

 

 

800-dayton may 2013 014 Mature Apple Trees

 

 

 

 

800-dayton may 2013 b 011 Mushroom Forrest

 

 

 

 

       800-Over Looking Pond 2

Beta Pond at Creation                                     After One Year

 

The Lake and Spillway

               800-In the Big Pond Spill Way

In the Beginning -                                               One Year Later

 

 

 

800-dayton may 2013 b 050

The Lake with Flathead Lake in the Background

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-dayton may 2013 b 092     800-Parsnip Yarrow B. Buttons

                                                             Fertility

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 800-Next generation Trees

The Next Generation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-P1060282

Sunset with Full Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800-full moon             The End