Ripples and Historic Johnson Farm 2022 Updates

August 4, 2022
Hello from Ryan & Amanda!
It’s been a long time (since spring 2021). Lots going on! We’re both doing fine, working and playing often. We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary this year with a trip to Eureka Springs! Amanda’s going through some health issues but often has good strong days, and she’s still writing history articles for the farm and drawing greeting cards to raise conservation funding for projects here. Ryan still works at Ozark Natural Foods as their IT Manager. Anne is doing well, too! Fawn is still taking good care of Anne’s farmhouse and yards. Archivist Tony has organized the archive collections brilliantly, and the New York collection is on its way to a museum to be preserved and shared. Unfortunately, Solo passed away last year at about 16 years old, we miss him so much. We endured the summer’s drought, despite our 550 gallon cistern becoming too low, and are now flush with rainwater for washing, cleaning and drinking thanks to recent rainstorms.

Here’s our photo-based update to what’s been happening at the Historic Johnson Farm, and our latest Ripples projects:

front of cabin as of summer 2022
front butterfly milkweed garden as of summer 2022
back of cabin as of summer 2022
Ryan unboxed and installed four new smaller solar panels to help us generate enough electricity, since our 6th panel stopped working for weeks and suddenly started working again (but only at partial capacity). Good to have some added power.
We put out this bear welcome mat, and Ryan saw our first black bear near the cabin that same week!
Grad student Emily has been photographing some awesome wildlife with her trail camera research project, including this gorgeous bobcat.
Ryan constructed, painted and installed an address sign post at the entrance to our driveway! Amanda followed up with Northwest Arkansas Land Trust small and large signs at the driveway, cemetery, gate, and mailboxes.
Frank Sharp organized a Rieff’s Chapel Cemetery cleanup day, and we joined a bunch of volunteers to spruce up the grounds.
Arlo and Ryan built two retaining walls to prevent erosion surrounding our gravel pad.
They turned out nicely, and make the walking space much safer.
A local wildlife rehabilitator recently released three juvenile opposums here at the farm, where they wandered off to begin a new life of freedom protected on this conservation property.
Amanda’s drawings including “Gingerbirdhouse” holiday cards and other new designs are now being printed with a carbon-neutral print company, SmartPress. Cards are available online at or at Ozark Natural Foods, Pearl’s Books, and Terra Studios Art Park.
Ryan constructed a magnet-based wooden attachment to make a window blind for our front door, blocking out hot sun and adding privacy.
Amanda was lucky enough to see this majestic little grey fox right in our yard one day! We haven’t seen it since.
We ordered a Pully Maid laundry drying rack from the UK, and installed it on our ceiling. A rope stretches down to a wall hook so that the rack can be lowered, loaded with laundry, and hoisted back up. Very efficient space-saving strategy!
Ryan regularly replaces the water filters underneath our sink. These include a cotton filter, carbon filter, and UV light. We also trap leaf litter in the gutter outside, and have a sieve at our water inlet pipe to limit debris entering these filters.
We installed a screech owl box, which was a gift from our friend Len, in a huge sugarberry tree we named Noblin.
We haven’t checked to see if we have tenants yet.
We winterized the cistern with foam and reflective insulation to ensure that it doesn’t freeze quite as much as it used to. This is part of a longer-term plumbing restructure to prevent loss of running water during freezing temperatures.

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Shari Withey

SWEET! Thanks for sharing your adventures and visitors. You are my heros!!!

Ronda Jean

So much hard work!!
The wildlife are lucky to have you sharing their space.
And thank You, for sharing with us!


Nice to see and hear about all the projects and wildlife on the property. Thanks Amanda and Ryan.

Karen Takemoto

Love the update! You have really been making a lot of cool innovative tweaks and improvements. I especially love the laundry drying system!

Amanda Bancroft

Thanks Karen! The drying rack you refurbished for us had many good years before it got smashed by the wind and we needed a replacement. Come over and visit sometime this autumn, we’lll have fun and you can try out the pully maid if you want to!

Shari Withey

I have seen lots of birds this winter…
Remember the Feb. Backyard bird count w/ Cornell University. Go to to get involved as ‘citizen scientists’…..

Traci Culling

Any rehabbers in NWA for a baby opossum who fell off mama?

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