Self-portrait with Jared and hoop house, Pohatcong, NJ, January 15, 2019

Self-portrait with Jared and hoop house, Pohatcong, NJ, January 15, 2019

One thing that makes me tick, and tick hard, is being scrappy and resourceful. Give me a chicken carcass, and I will gleefully make pot pie, clear broth, and bone broth. The person that baking soda markets their 100 uses to — that’s me. Down with appliance with just one use! Up with tiny homes!

I am fist pumping for upcycling. Better yet, double fist pumping for doing without.


Today, we clad our hoop houses in plastic film. We do that every winter after the plants go fully dormant. That took longer this year. It was so warm. Our houses are unheated. They are scrappy. We reuse our film as many times as possible.

“This plastic really smells,” Jared and I agreed. Cat p/ss. This mountain is covered in feral barn cats. But, dang it, this place is scrappy. Let’s get this stinky plastic up! Better than taking it to the dump!

Our discarded film has found second homes with people smothering vegetation - in one case, a lawn to meadow project, and in another a friend’s organic farm, Morganics Family Farm (their rolled oats are the best). It’s also covering firewood piles in a couple counties and served as packing material when we ship our plants.

Why do we wait so long to cover the houses? These plants are tough, and we let them go dormant naturally. In the wild, natives are adapted to New Jersey's climate. They have to be!

We grow our plants in as close to the natural conditions that they'll experience once they hit your restoration or pollinator garden. So, no heated green houses. That makes our carbon footprint smaller. In the spring, we'll remove the plastic film, store it away, and reuse it next winter. Another year of cat p/ss and all.