Keyhole Gardens

When I volunteered at Transfarm #1 in North Austin, I was assigned to cleanup the keyhole garden. I had no idea of the construction methodology or thought behind the design, so I was curious. The name explained the shape of the garden, but not the construction. I wondered why there was exposed cardboard and a compost pile in the middle. Everything was overgrown and the topsoil needed replenishing. So we pulled the weeds, drastically trimmed the bush on the far right, and shovel by shovel, filled in the soil around the plants that were left. All discarded plant material went into the compost pile, to the far left. The garden was now ready for more plantings.


I found a great article with illustrations and instructions in the February 2012 issue of Texas Co-op Power Magazine, entitled Keyhole Gardening: unlocking the secrets of drought-hardy gardens. It mentions that this method of gardening was developed in Africa, in an exceptionally harsh and dry environment. So imagine each one is a self-contained ecosystem, using low-cost and readily available materials, and yet done right, can yield enough to feed a large family year-round. How valuable and life-sustaining is that? Made my level of appreciation and pride at revitalizing this garden go up!

Note: I will create a series of posts, each one explaining in more detail a TransFarming component, and update all the links as I go.


I have had an interest for years in alternative energy (solar, wind, water), earth shelters, emergency preparedness and hydroponics…as I say, I am a child of the 1970s…when we had the energy crisis and oil embargoes. I remember only being able to go to gas pumps on even or odd days to fill up and conserving energy was the name of the game. But these have been dormant as I focused on attaining my education and building a corporate career. As I have embraced a more holistic mindset for health reasons…and a new career…I find myself circling back around to explore these important interests.


Sticker from a Project Independence materials kit (1974) urging Americans to reduce energy use.

Recently, I attended my first meeting of the local Texas Aquaponics and TransFarming group and enjoyed it tremendously. I am updating as I learn what is current and what people are involved in now. TransFarming is defined as “ordinary backyards that have been transformed into personal farms” which develop and use many different methods of producing clean, healthy food in a backyard setting. There is a focus on backup and redundancy to ensure there is sufficient food production in case of unexpected problems.

A possible backyard scenario may include plant cuttings (waste) from an organic garden being used to feed a rabbit. The rabbit’s slightly acidic and enriched litter goes to the berry bushes and gardens as highly fertilized mulch. What the bunny does not eat goes to the egg-laying chickens. The chickens do their business on hay, which produces “highly-fertilized hay” used for ground cover in the garden. What neither of them eats is destined for the composter, where mulch is created for the fruit trees and planting beds. Bottom line: nothing is wasted on a Transfarmed yard!

tf-guide2Some primary components may include Aquaponics, Wicking beds, HugelKultures, Tank gardens, Keyhole gardens, as well as, conventional Raised Bed gardens. Other supporting components may include composting, water capture, vermiculture (worms), and as mentioned, chickens and rabbits.

There is one factor that is paramount to all this…water.

At the core of all food production is water. Without it, nothing prospers. TransFarming is about “re-thinking” traditional gardening methods to address regional and environmental challenges such as droughts, water restrictions and disruptions, while keeping in mind viable techniques for food production and water conservation.

Note: I will create a series of posts, each one explaining in more detail a TransFarming component, and update the links as I go.

Quote of the Day – Servant Leadership

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

cropped-servegrowlead“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“

—Robert K. Greenleaf

Word of the Day – Miracle

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

mountain-sunrise“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In the miracle of mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

My testimony to you is that miracles do happen!  They are happening on the earth today, and they will continue to happen, particularly to those who believe and have great faith.  Miracles occur frequently in the lives of humble, fine people who have the faith to make them possible.  My feeling is that the greatest of all miracles is the one that happens in the life of a person who really learns how to pray, who exercises faith to repent, and who lives the gospel in a simple and obedient way. – Glen L. Rudd


Healing Blend – Part 1

I did a Zyto Compass scan on myself a couple of days ago…and sat down this morning to figure out what to do with the results. I recently completed a candida treatment and now on PB Assist+ (doTERRA brand probiotic), so I felt inspired to create what I am now calling a “Healing Blend” to carry around with me. I will apply this blend throughout the next few weeks or so, then do another scan.


Based on other blends I have concocted, I use an informal, but hopefully intuitive, method to translate my healing need into drops and here is what I did:

–Immortelle (substituted as I have all single oils but Rose):
15 drops Frankincense
15 drops Sandalwood
15 drops Helichrysum
15 drops Lavender
15 drops Myrrh

added additional 10 drops
10 drops
8 drops
–Clary Sage
4 drops
–Fennel (substituted with DigestZen)
4 drops

All oils drops went into a 10 ml roll-on bottle (as shown) with the rest filled using doTERRA Fractionated Coconut Oil.

How to Purchase

You can buy any of these oils or products through my doTERRA retail store or to receive a 25% discount on all oil purchases, contact me directly.