This blog is rooted in the Driftless Area that my husband and I fell in love  with on our first date – a bike ride heading west from Madison in 1977.  We bought 44 acres near Ridgeway WI in 2003.

Denise’s yin (master’s degree in environmental journalism and a voracious curiosity) and Doug’s yang (a PhD-trained sense of ecological connectedness and scientific inquiry) and are the wellspring of this blog (and our lives).

Buying land catapulted us into a crash course on identifying and protecting its complex ecosystems, figuring out how to fit ourselves in with the smallest possible footprint while exploring how to  contribute to the local food supply.

This blog unearths our research, hands-on experience and musings including:

  • Prairie restoration
  • Green architecture
  • Gardening
  • Small scale sustainable farming
  • Vegetarian and locavore lifestyle
  • Understanding and responding to climate change
  • Citizen Science

We started by building a timber frame barn from which to stage future projects. DSCN0436

Since January 2013, we have been living in Underhill House. Designed by Della Hansmann, our daughter, an architect who was then working with  Whole Trees – Architecture and Construction, you may have seen written up in the New York Times .

The house incorporates:

  • unmilled, branching timber frame
  • straw bale walls and living roof
  • passive solar design
  • solar hot water infloor  heat
  • slipform local-stone knee walls
  • photovoltaic solar electric panels

We broke ground April 2012  and moved in January 2013.



The Driftless is rich in individuals and organizations working passionately to protect this ecosystem, and keeping in mind the adage, Think Globally – Act Locally, we have added an online Ecological Action and Resource Calendar (EcoARC) for the greater Iowa County Area. This calendar consolidates information about activities, events and services that support environmental resiliency and makes it easier for area residents to stay informed and get involved.


Dear Reader,


Leave your footprint in these online sands.

Also  subscribe to the RSS Feed so that you don’t miss any updates.