November 2018

2018 another year of flux and change, both defining and testing our resilience, it seems. Chaotic weather- a serioud late frost,livestock problems- losing our prime milk goat, crop losses- some carrots to excessive rain, cabbage to porcupines etc, relationships made and lost-some longer term live in help now, which is so helpful and vital to the flourishing of this place, and the ending of a couple partnership, sadness welcoming the early winter,and a great deal of learning. And yet all vital functions continue with apparent health, and ongoing gratitude for the many gifts and positive outcomes. My own energies and focus are redirecting(partially anyhow) to deepen my understanding of death and dying, of grief and grieving, of gaining skills for home funerals, and to exploring/ creating/ adopting new to me ceremonies and rituals in service of those.

Meanwhile the quiet time of winter is welcome, allowing time for much needed rest and reflection and semi-hibernation. I will try to be more timely with updates.

We do still have space to host singles or couples wishing to visit and explore collaborative possibilities.

A very active time…a good(tho smallish) hay crop in the barn, garlic ready to be pulled, veggies and weeds booming with some much welcomed summer rain, tree crops coming abundantly, our 3rd generation flint corn liking the intense heat, and not quite enough hands to keep up with it all as we are feeling our ages (61 & 65) more these days.

Our beautiful Mother Oak.



Fare thee well AshleighAnn!

IMG_20171104_080547188IMG_20171123_152233928Among one of our most passionately inspired, fun, and very helpful and competent volunteers, Ashleigh and her wonderful family are, alas, moving to Ontario.

Besides leaving behind a trove of work well done, you’ve gifted us with fond memories and for me personally, a sense that the changes and permaculture advocacy we work towards here at Motheroak are worthwhile in their influence; i’m confident you’ll have a multiplier effect.. You already have!

So good bye and good luck dear Ashleigh Ann, we’ll always remember your genuine smile!

Motheroak site tour–Oct 22, 2017

We are pleased to offer another intensive site tour– Sunday, October 22nd, from 9am to 4pm. Alex will lead through an in depth look at landscape and infrastructure, how things have evolved over the last nine years since roll out, and some of what we’ve learned. We will provide a light lunch, with plenty of time for discussion, Q&A, and wandering around. Registration is limited, so please apply early. Fee is $25. Per person, $40 for couples. Location is 1217 Belmont Rd Hants county NS.

RSVP alexdenicola(at) hotmail.comIMG_20150917_172351505

July 2017

Finally an update! Evolution/ adaptation continues here at Motheroak. We now have Shane, a former intern, moved in as a permanent resident–the beginning of community!. Though we were expecting a couple, his partner got cold feet as they say, and so it goes.

Repurposing the end of the building into a comfortable year round living space has been ongoing since January, and the bulk of the work is done(pics). I look forward to a break from construction, rewarding tho it is.

Spring was a bit colder and wetter than usual, but reasonable enough given the possibilities. Strawberries and honeyberries have come and gone, and now we’re enjoying raspberries, greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes, and the ongoing greens from the gardens. The Apple trees had a very low fruit set, tho the pears and peaches are quite abundant. This drives home the point once again that diversity is critical to food crop resilience. Our two cows and young bull are doing well on the slowly improving pastures, as are the goats. The meat and milk certainly help sustain us.

We also put up a bumper hay crop early in July, so I’m grateful for that!
The garlic harvest is the next major task coming up, meanwhile we are processing firewood and trying to keep up with the weeds, tho our scale of cultivation remains small– less than an acre.

This is the first year in since 07 that we’ve taken no interns,.and it’s good to see that the place is manageable with just three of us.

Most likely we will host a tour/ workshop in the early autumn, and internships again next year. Stay tuned.IMG_20170614_164426139IMG_20170312_102515337IMG_20170610_153049073


February 2017 Update– Seeking one intern

Much has happened here at Motheroak since the last posting, and I’m pleased to report that along with my partner Katarina and a fun and productive PDC internship program that culminated in our new bath house addition, we have a young couple who will be joining us in living here later in the spring. The beginning of community– long awaited– very timely, and good news indeed! Welcome Shane and Emilia!

Due to the construction project and other evolutionary type changes here this year, we will not be offering the two month PDC internship this summer, though we do have an opening for one cheerful, committed, and willing worker interested in learning permaculture through osmosis and hands on work. Please contact Alex ASAP if this interests you.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting photos of our renovation/ repurposing of the building to accommodate our new community members, and much more as well. Please stay tuned!

Bath house


Finally back online!

As you may have noticed, this site has been inaccessible for at least a couple of months. Thanks to our Dreamhost web hosts, our infection is cleared up(for now). The June/ July PDC internship program is full (5 sign ups) and we are looking forward to another growing season. While we were down i actually created another site at, though for now it is mostly just photographs.

I will in early summer be posting an update on how we’ve faired thru the winter, and hopefully before long a new page detailing our own permaculture design roll out, and how we’ve seen the regeneration arising from that. pond3north


We are once again offering the two month internship course over June and July 2016, with a strong emphasis on application–in other words, hands on learning. Please see MOP internships on the page at right for details. This year  the fee is $200. plus work/ trade of course, with a $100. upfront deposit to hold your space. We are limiting this to

four participants, so please sign up early! Send cover letter and work experience to alexdenicola(at)

september2014 004new2015 095

October 2015 update

Finally, an update! The spring/summer PDC went well, and everyone it seems learned a lot, including me. Besides our studies and a good dose of garden work, the interns designed and constructed a shed for further hay and/ or cow needs. This was done mostly with hand tools and poles from our woodlot, which everyone enjoyed. We will be offering another two month PDC over next June/ July, so watch for that.

We’ve had another full and abundant growing season — still ongoing, and you might find a little report on how some things did interesting: After two years of not very successful attempts at growing grain corn (mostly due to rodents), this year came in pretty well with “Painted Mountain,” an heritage flint corn– destined to become tortillas and/or areppas in the ongoing quest to close the grain gap here. The seaberries, grapes, peaches, figs, nectarines, pears, apples, northern kiwis, garlic and most veggies all did well, and the first nuts are appearing on our walnuts and hazelnuts planted 2009, which is a delight to see. The blueberries we moved last fall from a location they suffered in (too much heavy, wet clay) responded amazingly well with plump, delicious berries. We also raised four turkeys(bought as month old), who took to foraging immediately, and ranged far and wide on their way to the freezer, except the one grabbed by a coyote– talk about yield! Our two milk goats produced two kids each, and we’re still getting lots milk. Of our two heifers, one remains as yet unbred, while the other should calve later this month–a big event. The potato and squash harvest were rather poor, mostly due to rain and poor location choices on our part. I will just emphasize here that the Pc folks who claim astounding abundance with little or no work are exagerating– it takes a lot, and fertility on a farm doesn’t come that easy either, so please don’t kid yourselves.

Well, as the US empire, with its horrendous and stupid foreign policy (feeding the war machine) continues its inevitable decline, and a globally contracting economy mystifies most mainstream onlookers, and climate chaos continues to build, the urgency to establish regenerative, resilient, and  productive homesteads remains. No one, including all the ET prophets and or conspiracy theorists, really knows how this will all turn out, but

new2015 137

what we do know isnew2015 095that our thoughts and actions can maknew2015 141e a big difference in how certain outcomes will affects us. Perhaps have a read of our “Hopi declaration,” and best of luck to you!