First off, the pair of mallards came back for a visit (read: they came back for more mulberries) How exciting!
Many of you local readers know me as the chicken lady, as I'm the person who has been teaching the majority of classes on raising backyard chickens in the Phoenix area for the past several years. For those that don't know, I've been lucky enough to teach the "regular" chicken classes for the Valley Permaculture Alliance (formerly known as the Phoenix Permaculture Guild) and also the animal part of the Permaculture Design Course. It's always a blast to teach people who are so interested in becoming active participants in a positive and more complete relationship with their environment. This year I had the privilege of teaching at the VPA's newest version of the Permaculture Design Course being headed by Toby Hemenway (author of Gaia's Garden), that felt like kind of a big deal. I followed Toby and after my presentation was an amazing talk about seed saving by Bill McDorman, formerly of Seeds Trust, now the Director of Native Seeds/SEARCH in Tucson. Also teaching, though not on the day I taught, was Brad Lancaster (of water harvesting fame). All of these people are accomplished and well-respected in this field, and I realized that they all live in Arizona. With all of the crazy press AZ gets over our often idiotic state government amongst other things, it's really inspiring that we have such vibrant permaculture, sustainability and service-oriented communities. I won't bore you with long lists of local groups and their accomplishments, but the list is long and the membership in these communities is in the tens of thousands. It makes me want to try even harder to learn, experiment and share more with my community. Maybe someday the headlines about Crazy AZ will take a backseat to the eco/forward-thinking powerhouse we could become? We have a little ways to go to catch up to parts of the Pacific Northwest for example... but the solar cooking's better out here. ;)