Passive Solar Greenhouse Pecha Kucha Video

November 12, 2015

This summer I was invited to present my Passive Solar Greenhouse project at a local, outdoor  Pecha Kucha event. The theme of the event was “Luz es Vida – Light is Life,” so you will see this concept woven in to the following video.

Pecha Kucha is Japanese for “chit chat” and was developed as a succinct presentation format: 20 slides with 20 seconds of presentation time per slide with total time just 6 minutes 40 seconds. Enjoy!

Cathy Hope Pecha Kucha Night Taos Volume 17 from pechakuchataos on Vimeo.

In Praise of the Overlooked

July 7, 2015
Title Image
Because of my car accident I’ve not been able to drive (and don’t have a car even if I could) and therefore have found it difficult to get to my favorite hiking trails in the Carson National Forest.
 I live along a highway and have lamented that there’s nowhere beautiful to walk from my house. I proved myself misinformed when I took my camera (a Canon set on auto) out at dusk and dawn at the time of the Summer Solstice. I focused upon what most of us tend to overlook as we travel–the highway right of way.
So here are some photos of various “weeds” and interesting “objects” literally at my feet, as well as the rather unassuming aspect of my walk when looked at from head-height. Beauty may not just be “in the eye of the beholder” but also in what perspective we choose to use.

Why haven’t you heard from me in awhile?

July 7, 2015

Back in the beginning of this year I had decided to start-up my blog again because four projects were incubating.

Well. What actually happened was a bad auto accidents on March 23rd in which a semi hit my little Honda on I 25. My car was spun across three lanes of traffic and ended up jammed into an embankment. The subsequent whiplash (yes I was wearing my seatbelt) broke my neck and sternum and bruised all my right side ribs.

So. After ten and a half weeks of being in a neck brace 24/7 I am now rebuilding mobility and strength and am launched upon this unexpected learning journey. Because I was in excellent health before the accident, my progress in the words of my neurosurgeon is “cautiously optimistic.” I have received a stupendous amount of help, food, prayers, support and love from numerous friends, neighbors and readers and I am deeply grateful to be alive. Who I was before the accident is not who I am becoming…the journey’s path unfolds before me…

Now about these four projects:

Two of them involving my greenhouse and garden are continuing in a very reduced  manner as I heal. Hopefully with excellent help, they will manifest sometime next year.

The other two are Iris Herbal Projects; one involves pain relief and the second is a set of oils that are based upon Chinese Five Element Theory. My hope is to manifest these in the next year or so as well. Because I experienced some mild to moderate traumatic brain injury from the accident, I am now more dependent upon others in running my business. Where before I had almost boundless energy and drive, I now experience the steep learning curve of patience, persistence and delight in small steps.

Free access to cancer info

July 6, 2015

Dear Friends,

Ever since the first free webinar series (which one could also purchase) about gluten sensitivity there have been multiple series about many pressing health problems. Much of the information has been pretty decent, and often collated from a good variety of alternative practitioners and sources. This one regarding cancer seems like another good bet to watch, with an interesting line up. I’ve earmarked 5 of the 9 episodes as having possibly new information for me, and I study this stuff as part of my business. It’s still tricky trying to process new information as I heal from my accident, but that’s what note taking is for!

So if you’d like free access (which lasts for approx. the time of the episode’s showing and then 23 hours afterwards) please sign up using this link

Too many of my friends and relatives have battled cancer, not always successfully. Let’s support one another in finding ways to prevent cancer, not just naively buying big medical’s hype about early detection. And not all alternative cancer treatments are wishful thinking and quackery: some really work well, even though they are demonized by big pharma.



My How Time Flies

October 23, 2014

Clichés are so often true, and somehow an entire season has passed since I last wrote…

I’ve been experimenting with a new way of gardening: a mix of Hugelkulture and permaculture. Once I get some help uploading photos, I’ll post more on that. Teaser: it works fabulously!

I also spent a ridiculous number of hours doing a renovation project. Completion is very close, and that means more time freed up for research and education. Maybe even more posts…

The teaching has continued all summer,  and we focused on nutrition after we spent weeks on the digestive system.  Now we’ve segued into diet. I cannot believe how contentious this subject is! Vegan, paleo, vegetarian, omnivore: the experts mostly put a finger in the air and say “my way is the best.” People are adamant that you and I are eating too much or too little fat, too much or too little carbs, too much or too little protein. Saturated fat is the devil incarnate; starchy carbs fog your brain; gluten is evil; eating meat gives you cancer; soy isn’t really food; I could go on and on. But here’s the single most important piece of diet info I can give you: if your great, great grandmother didn’t eat it, neither should you! To be more blunt: processed food is killing us. To be even more specific: sugar is terrifically addictive, is empty calories, and we eat a ridiculous amount of it every day which directly and adversely affects our health. The best research I’ve come across basically says that most people can safely consume 15 grams of non-GMO cane sugar a day as well as 25 grams of fructose in the form of whole fruits a day. Any more than that and you can begin the cascade to metabolic syndrome, feed the “bad guys” of our gut biome, and do damage to neurotransmitters, not to mention depressing your entire immune system. Worried about the flu/cancer/Ebola/whatever other scary disease is on your personal radar? Then stop eating so much white flour and sugar.


It’s Complicated (and Amazing)

June 19, 2014

It’s been a longish hiatus since I last wrote, and teaching and gardening are boiling away on the front burners.

So much of what we’ve been learning in our class on anatomy and physiology is the stupendously intricate complexity of the human body. And that science is still figuring us out. New hormones, proteins, enzymes, etc. are still being discovered. Ways everything interacts is still being parsed. Really intelligent people can read the same data and draw very different conclusions. Our own journey affects how we understand the concept of being a human…

In studying the digestive system and now adding nutrition, we are learning not just the basics, but the basics from a variety of viewpoints. The concept of a “calorie” turns out to be incredibly “loaded” with politics, belief systems and which scientists/studies you trust. Who knew!? And hardly anyone except “radical granola types” pay any attention to the primary basis of all health: the health of a country’s soil. And yet studies are showing up even in the mainstream that state that our food today is less nutritious that it was even 50 years ago. When we “mine” our soil, and don’t “put back” the minerals and organic matter and healthy microbes, then the plants don’t have the same nutritional content  in their cells, because the soil is deficient. Add the GMO, herbicide and pesticide issues, not to mention processing whole foods to death, plus artificial chemicals….well, it becomes tremendously difficult to find quality food in an average supermarket.

And that, dear reader is the crux: quality of food is the basis of health.

Traditional Foods and Fermentation PlayLab

April 15, 2014

If you live in New Mexico or southern Colorado, and want to learn more about traditional food preparation, including fermentation, please email me asap :, and I’ll send you the color flier and ingredient list. This super hands-on “workshop” is Saturday April 26th from 1pm to 4pm in Questa, NM. Come experience adult learning at its best.

Why Aren’t We Taught How Our Bodies Function?

February 24, 2014

Even though those of you reading this are a variety of ages, I’ll bet most, if not all of you, never learned anatomy and physiology in Junior, Middle or Senior High School. I certainly didn’t. I knew how to do Algebra I and II and III, learned about Chemistry (a lot about the periodic table!), managed to skip Physics, and struggled through many years of French, of which I remember maybe a couple dozen words! But not how my body works…not how digestion begins before we even eat the first bite of food. Not how fats are emulsified or not and where, and what happens when they aren’t. Why some folks can eat fast food and don’t seem to be adversely affected (at least for awhile), and I throw up if I eat fried foods.

We are bombarded with “diets” and the “experts'” opinions (which seem to change drastically over time) and is it no wonder that so many of my clients don’t know what is healthy FOR THEM. And that is the key: what is healthy for each individual, not a one-size-fits-nobody approach to nutrition. There are many “ways” of eating, and many preachers and apostles of what is “correct.” I’m going to put some highlights of our classes here on anatomy and physiology, as well as Michael Moore’s approach, and walk everyone through the process of digestion and its sometimes discontents. And those “problems” or symptoms turn out to be keys to what is not functioning properly and why! what a concept…

and here’s a little graphic that says a lot….:

How Did It Get To Be February Already? A New Direction For This Blog.

February 12, 2014

I just looked at my last blog posting, and realized I’ve taken a 2 month hiatus without planning to…Yes, there were holidays, and crazy weather everywhere, and inventory (my least favorite activity), and maybe a bit of fatigue: the attack on our food and health is unrelenting, and constantly pointing this out gets tiresome.

SO: this spring (in the Celtic calendar spring begins with Imbolc/Candlemas, as the days get longer and buds swell) I am going to take a break from gloom and doom and focus on positive steps we can all take towards reclaiming our authority and agency around our heath and healing process. As the old saying goes: the personal is political. And yes, systemic change means more than just our personal choices, and yet where we choose to spend our money and how we treat ourselves really does matter, for both our own healing journey and the planet’s.

I am currently teaching 5 students one morning a week, and have been (with some breaks) since last June. We’ve been going on plant identification field trips, learning how to make herbal medicine, and now we are studying anatomy and physiology for herbalists. We are having a great time as adult learners, and are amazed that we didn’t get this information about how our body works in school. Even those professionals who took A and P didn’t get the “big picture” with a paradigm that is health based (and the one we are studying comes from Michael Moore,  southwest herbalist who died in 2009). There is much good info that I plan to share here from this ongoing course. 

 Here’s your first “assignment” (oh, and there are no tests, no grades, just an informative exploration into the mysteries on the body/mind):  notice what you eat. Just pay attention. No judgments, no shaming self, no excuses. If you want extra credit, write what you eat (and I mean everything that goes in your mouth) for the next week. You will be amazed…


More Natural Remedies For Winter Ills

December 11, 2013

This post by Rodale is a compendium of natural cold and cough remedies. The only caveat: there are brand names used that I would NOT recommend. For honey, use raw and wild (less pesticides, and all the enzymes intact). For salt, use any bulk salt that is natural (Himalayan pink, sea salt, etc.) because they don’t contain additives (like anti-caking agents).  For black pepper, get certified organic: not sprayed, not irradiated.

here’s the link:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers