How we use the wisdom of the Stoics to embrace the unknown, and go with the flow


When we embarked on this journey at Raven’s Perch we had a somewhat different image of how it would be. We had pictured a community of tiny homes on the lower area of the property along with a farm. Up top a few more dwellings including our home and the vacation rental. Some of these things came to fruition and some began to take shape but then evaporated into the ether due to arising circumstances.

Through the creation of our vision for this property and how we want to build our life in this small mountain community, we have remained relatively steadfast and continue to move forward despite the obstacles that come our way. When things become cloudy or when the path takes a sudden turn we seem to always return to stoicism for inspiration and strength to keep going.

Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will. Then your life will flow well.

The Epictetus quote above reminds us to guard against having rigid expectations or desires for everything to go exactly as you want. It acknowledges that life is unpredictable, and trying to force things to conform to our wishes can lead to disappointment and frustration.

Instead of imposing our desires onto reality, this quote encourages us to cultivate a mindset of acceptance and openness. It means embracing the circumstances, events, and outcomes as they naturally occur, without resistance or attachment to specific outcomes.

By adopting this perspective, the statement suggests that we will experience a sense of ease and harmony in life. When you let go of excessive control and surrender to the natural flow of life, you may find greater peace, contentment, and resilience in the face of challenges. In summary, this quote encourages a more flexible and accepting approach to life. By aligning your wishes with the unfolding reality, rather than trying to mould reality to fit your wishes, you may find greater peace and well-being.

So, while that dream of building a tiny home community is no longer a reality, we are watching an amazing permaculture farm take form. Emerald Grove is evolving beautifully under Ryan’s very capable hands. To watch the once empty field turn into a productive 1/2 acre working farm is incredible. The farm is Ryan’s blank canvas and he is the artist! Every day we are grateful for his presence and excited to see it all unfolds.

What has evolved is even better than what we had expected or intended. It’s been a great learning experience on many levels and as we continue to evolve our future plans it’s a quote that I’ll make sure to keep close at hand as a reminder.

Is there something in your life at the moment that you are trying to control or direct? How would it be if you would surrender to the flow and allow it to be what it needs to be. Could you accept an outcome other than what you’ve created in your mind? Just a thought to consider, to contemplate. Imagine that “thing” as a leaf on a flowing river and let it go without any expectation. You may be very pleased and surprised at the outcome!

Manifest Your Dreams

When we purchased our property we knew that we wanted to share the land with a farmer. We had no idea how we would make that happen but we put that intention out, talked to people in the area and ultimately found The Young Agrarians and their land matching program. Our land matching facilitator for the area was amazing and over a period of a few months we met several potential farmers. For one reason or another none were the right fit. Many months went by and just as we thought that we wouldn’t find someone, along came Ryan!

From the start Steve and I had a great feeling about Ryan and his partner Aparna. We are so excited that they chose to join us here at Raven’s Perch and to share in the development of this sweet little property! It was all hands on deck starting early spring and it is only now that we can all take a breather and get this post published.

And, so, without further ado, this is Ryan!

My name is Ryan Morin and I was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. I moved across Canada to British Columbia in 2019. That was when I was 23 years old, and I had just discovered a passion for growing and getting back to the land. Before then I was stumbling along life’s path aimlessly enjoying myself for the most part.

Being a university drop out was a confusing place to be as a young adult, so naturally I just left it all behind me and went to Australia. Traveling abroad provided the space I needed to figure things out, and refine what I really wanted to do. Along the way I met my partner Aparna who agreed to come traveling around New Zealand with me. After surviving van life together for 6 months she came back to Canada with me to build a life together.

I learnt of Young Agrarians (YA) and their land matching program in 2020 at my first farming job. I scanned their “U-Map” looking at all the opportunities across Canada. I set my sights on Nelson, BC for the 2021 season, and was working with Hailey from YA to seek out suitable land matches in the area. Upon being introduced to Martha and Steve I thought they were cool and really supportive. The land has only 1 acre of arable land, but this fit the needs of the small permaculture farm I had planned. I thought this opportunity could work for me, and so I started to build a relationship with them before committing to anything. After inoculating some logs, sharing food, and getting to know each other for that year I was feeling really good about building my farm and home on their land here in Winlaw.

That winter at the start of 2022, Aparna and I purchased our Yurt. We took the leap of faith to build our home, and my farm here. We definitely bit off more than we could chew, because this year ended up being the most challenging of our life so far. We worked extremely hard, taking no days off all summer. We worked full-time, and then every weekend commuted out to Winlaw from our previous place in Blewett (35 minutes drive). We had to do this in order to build the yurt, as well I was fulfilling the overzealous goal of growing a ¼ garden plot. The garden was a great success and was definitely worth the extra effort. I got a great yield, and provided food for our family, Martha and Steve, and many people in the community. Emerald Grove’s first season was a great success!

Now when I write this, the snow is on the ground, and my life is changing with the season. Things are slowing down, and I am taking time to regenerate. This winter I will plan for the future of the farm, and be ready next spring to do it all again, but bigger. Looking ahead my plans for Emerald Grove are to first build up the market garden. I would like to have the best ½ acre of land converted into beds for growing organic vegetables to be sold. The other ½ acre of land I will convert into a food forest that surrounds the market gardens peripherals. This will be accomplished over time by sheet mulching, and then planting different perennials trees, shrubs, herbs, flowers, and self seeding annuals as well. Eventually my hope is that the whole area of the farm is a contiguous growing space chock full of captivating diversity, and abundance. This will ultimately be an expression of my growing philosophy, which seeks to balance the ideals of permaculture with the practicality of market farming.

Some of the challenges present on the land are limited space, and limited light. I named the farm Emerald Grove, because we are located on the edge of a forest. It is not a typical agricultural site. The main field has good sun exposure, because we cut down a stand of tall cedar trees, but lots of areas get less than 8 hours of sun. The soils range from a deep fertile sandy loam to rocky gravel. Another challenge is water conservation, because of the continuously dry conditions that occur here in the summer. Building up mulch layers in the food forest will be critical to minimize irrigation needs. As well it will be necessary to store water during wet seasons of the year, and use these reserves in the summer. This will prevent over using the water available in the ground, and pumping the well dry. The ideal water system would include a solar water pump that moves water to a large cistern that is uphill of the garden. This would allow us to use gravity fed irrigation, and increase available pressure.

Next spring will mark the first year of farming on my own, and as my sole source of income. It is very exciting, and also a little frightening. Financial challenges are the greatest limiting factor at the moment. I still require a cold storage, wash and pack station, and a delivery vehicle to operate commercially next year. That will be the first order of business when the snow melts. For now it is back to the drawing board to design, crop plan, order seeds, and get educated. I am grateful for all the blessings I had in 2022. I conclude this chapter by the wood stove feeling cozy for the winter.

Gardening by Moon Cycles

I’ve been thinking and talking about gardening and farming a lot these days with pretty much anyone I meet and I have learned so much already through these conversations! My mind is actively mulling over the potentials and opportunities that this farming project has to offer.

I find it interesting how, when we put our mind to something or begin to think in a certain way, all of a sudden it is like the answers appear! What we need to know is revealed to us in many different ways, sometimes subtle and sometimes not. Over the last week I have received an incredible amount of information that is helping me to understand the whole process of farming from many new (to me) angles and perspectives.

Yesterday I was chatting with one of my neighbours. After meeting her cat who was shyly circling me at an appropriate distance the conversation turned to chickens… we want to get chickens but are concerned with the local critters big and small (bears, eagles, ravens, wolves, and coyotes) that might want to eat them. We then started talking about gardening and she told me she was just about to transplant a rose bush because the moon was moving into Pisces. To this my ears pricked up … what is this you say? What do transplanting a rose bush and the astrological sign Pisces have in common? When I asked her to explain she proceeded to tell me about the moon cycles and how they influence gardening activities – when to plant, harvest and even build or mend fences!

When I got home I checked it out on the Farmers Almanac site and sure enough, there it was – information about Gardening by the Moon. So exciting!!! I love this stuff.

As I went down that rabbit hole it took me to a site about Biodynamic gardening, a philosophy that “works in rhythm with earth and cosmos” and how farmers that follow this holistic method understand the “subtle ways that the environment and wider cosmos influence the growth and development of plants and animals.” In 1924, the philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner offered lectures to farmers that “opened a new way to integrate scientific understanding with a recognition of spirit in nature.” More to study and absorb!

In the past few days I have heard through various unrelated people and conversations about the organization called WWOOF World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. In their mission statement they explain that this organization is part of a “worldwide movement linking visitors with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange thereby helping to build a sustainable global community.” Perhaps this is something that we will be a part of in the future once our farm has been up and running for a few years and the infrastructure is in place.

Spring is a time of growth and transformation. We see it in nature with the trees, flowers, birds and animals coming to life. In early spring we can feel on one hand ready for action but on the other still awakening from the quiet time of winter… It is common for people to feel as though a pressure is building up within but they do not yet know how it will manifest – only to be revealed for example once the tight fern frond has fully opened to it’s ultimate form and shape by mid-spring. I for one tend to feel an underlying sensation of impatience at this time of year.

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself.”

Matsuo Bashō

And so for now, I will enjoy the process of doing little and absorbing much. The field in it’s current state is such a lovely place to walk and to be. Watching it change with the seasons offers much information that we will need when we start planting and growing.

The Farm… at Raven’s Perch

The plan for the farm is evolving and after a really amazing site visit with Hailey Troock from Young Agrarians we decided it would be a good idea to take it slow (opposite to my… let’s just do it NOW default way of thinking)… We are in the final stages of our building process and there is still a lot of time, effort and money required on that front so it doesn’t make sense to spread ourselves too thin by tackling this part of the project at this time. Therefore, this summer we will take the time to connect with those who have expressed interest in being apart of this opportunity, and if that is YOU please contact Hailey (info in her blog post linked below). Once fall arrives we will focus on getting the soil prepped and plant a winter rye crop to help build the soil up. By next April we’ll start getting things ready for the growing season!! Then the real fun begins, can’t wait to get my hands dirty!

Of course a lot will happen between fall and spring. We will need to meet up with those who are going to be living on the land and working the farm with us so that we can do some brainstorming and planning on design as well as discuss all the details involved with co-existing on the property as a healthy and happy community of like-minded people.

Over the winter I personally plan on spending a lot amount of time studying permaculture (I’ve had a book on my wish list for a long time that I’ll pick up soon called Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway). I will also be sifting through the abundance of the amazing farming and business resources provided on the Young Agrarians site.

Hailey’s blog post explains our opportunity very well, and includes her contact information if you are interested in applying… check it out!

There seems to be a real wave of interest directed towards farming right now. There is a greater interest in taking control of one’s own food source and I think it is one positive outcome of this very strange and bizarre situation that we find ourselves in in 2020. Here’s a challenge for you, whether you have acreage, a front and/or back yard, access to a local allotment garden or even a balcony – see what you can grow this summer!