Long Journey Home

I am back in Minnesota! My lovely mother flew up to assist with the drive home. It was a very fun trip despite some very long driving days! I am absolutely in love with the Fall colors across North America, right now. I had the realization that I haven’t been in this part of the…

Belated Whitewater Rafting Photos

Here are my favorite photos from the whitewater rafting excursion from my family’s  vacation in Jasper last month. Our trip was on the Sunwapta river. You can tell from our faces in the photos we didn’t have a good time at all. Nope, no fun for the Brainard girls. Of course that was sarcasm at…

Permies Converge in NORTHERN Alberta!

We did it! Our team at ACIL pulled off the Northern Alberta Permaculture Convergence. See photos below. At our busiest, I would estimate we had about 75 attendees. This convergence demonstrated the diversity in the Albertan permaculture movement by having a very distinct vibe from the convergence that happened in the South earlier this year….

One Last Farm Weekend in Alberta

I had an awesome weekend. Really really awesome. At first it looked like last weekend might have been a flop. A trip to a garlic festival in BC was canceled last minute, leaving me very disappointed that I had no fun plans for my last free weekend in Alberta. But then I remembered another event…

NAPC Schedule and a Case for Learning Close to Home

First things first! The final Northern Alberta Permaculture Convergence schedule is live and can be seen below at the bottom of this post!  I’m really excited for our lineup of workshops. One of the many things that make this Convergence special is our line-up of social permaculture workshops. Social permaculture is a more recent, and…

The Brainard Girls’ Vacation in Jasper

Last week my mom, sister, and aunt flew out for a vacation in beautiful Jasper National Park. Here’s more photos than you wanted to see from our trip. Not pictured here is our super awesome whitewater rafting trip on the Sunwapta River. It was super awesome. Mom, Celesta, and Weezie, thank you so much for…

That’s It! (Well, not quite)

August 31st was not only Jupiter’s “got-me” day, it was also technically the end of my Fulbright research term. With the beginning of the 2016 school year and the end of the 2015 fiscal calendar, I am now a Fulbright alumni. The University of Alberta will be shutting down my UAlberta email and no more…

One Year of Dog Ownership

Today is Jupiter’s first “got-me” day! I have officially been a dog owner (dog stealer? dog picker-off-the-streeter?) for one year. It has been quite the journey and I look forward to many more happy years, new adventures, and improved dog training and raising skills as I slowly figure out what I’m doing. It’s been quite…

Meaningful and Immersive Travel Experiences

There are a lot of problems with traveling: Social problems of escaping your own culture and exploiting others. Environmental problems of using carbon intense means of travel and putting pressure on wild landscapes for our recreational benefit. Financial problems of it being just so darn expensive and unsustainable. But if you really want to travel…

Alberta Open Farm Days: YYC Growers Tour

This weekend is Open Farm Days in Alberta, where farmers welcome anyone interested into their farms to see how food is grown locally. I was enlisted by one of my research farms, Leaf & Lyre, to help out with the YYC Growers and Distributors tour. It was a hoot! Not worry, I live tweeted and…

Upside-down Tomato Update: Meh

(For all of my email followers, apologies for the premature posting of this update.) Nearly two months ago I posted this post about the crazy tomatoes I planted at the homestead. So far I’ve only lost one tomato plant early in the experiment. Everything is alive and there are tomatoes ripening on the plants, but…