Our Eclectic Skillset

Workshops, Demonstrations and Presentations


Click here for a list of workshops that Peter and Julie can do for you





We Walk Our Talk

We love our 170 year-old home and have restored it to fit our modern lifestyle while keeping its 19th century quaintness


The 420' long riverfront property was a monoculture of grass and few trees in 1991 and now it is one of the most diverse lots in the city







There's even a bellows forge out back where we occasionally host a daylong gathering affectionately called "Forge and Gorge" where we bang on red-hot metal and feast afterwards





First-Person 18th Century Natural Philosopher & Gentleman Scholar

Recently Peter provided one of the PhenoCulture Wisconsin services at the Waukesha County Land Conservancy "OaktoberFest" Fundraiser

Book him as his first-person persona Mr Peter Watts, Esq who uses hands-on activities to teach about binomial nomenclature and see how modern living meets the past!






Photos taken by volunteers for the Waukesha County Land Conservancy


The Video of Peter as an 18th Century Naturalist presenting Anatomy and Physiology of Skulls, Teeth and Fossils to Children was taken by Jill Bedford (Jill Bedford Photography)


(When Peter steps out of character to explain certain concepts, he informs his audience that he's breaking character)




Urban Homesteading

Any property can lend itself to being Nature-friendly

Let us help you create an environment that feeds wildlife, your soul - and your bellies



Backyard Bees



Hours can be spent sitting, quietly watching the comings and goings around a bee hive

So much can be learned by observing the cooperative precision of these of these super-organisms


Though honeybees are not native to the America's, we've identified at least five species of native bees and several different species of wasps in our gardens- and many of them have made homes here




Since we're more hands-off than some beekeepers, the combs can get, well, complicated



If you're a beginner, we'd recommend starting with a Langstroth Hive, which has been around for over a hundred years and is a little easier to learn from and care for




We have a top-frame hive called a BeePod which is a better choice for beekeeping since the well being of bees is most important to us


Top frame-style hives have been around for thousands of year and allow bees to do what they naturally do without being forced to bypass certain critical life stages





Bearding can occur because of high temperature, but it is often an indication that your hive is ready to split or swarm


Swarms are NOT dangerous and are incredible to witness


The sound energy of thousands of bees spiraling upwards is awe-inspiring




Children are intrinsically fascinated by bees (not to mention their sweet honey) 


Let us know how we can get your kids interested in the wonders of the honeybee!






We typically do not harvest honey from our hive unless the colony dies off


Unfortunately this is happening more often with the complications of climate change


There is so much to be learned from keeping bees and they offer incredible healing - from the honey itself to propolis to pollen to simply taking the time to slow down long enough to appreciate them



We purchase our Bee Packages from Heritage Honeybee in Sullivan


We also love the folks at BeeVangelists Bee Sanctuary in Milwaukee


Backyard Hens

Your community doesn't allow backyard poultry?


We were instrumental in getting our community to accept backyard chickens


Though there's still more education to do, we finally have an ordinance that allows hens



Keeping food local and within our control is the only way to know what we're really eating


Raising backyard hens is so much more entertaining than you might think!




One of favorite breeds is the Buff Orpington


They love to cuddle and they're great layers




Believe it or not, hens can be trained to stay in the yard


Peter uses hand gestures and vocalizations to keep them in line - plus the promise of a worm is a great incentive to stay close





Another breed that we have is the Black Australorp


They're not as friendly as Buffs, but they're prolific summer layers. Winter? Not so much

We compost, of course, but our hens are fed most of our kitchen scraps. In addition, many of the fall leaves are dumped into their run and by spring virtually all of it has been broken down and ready to place on plants throughout the gardens


Hatching the eggs yourself or getting one-day old chicks and raising them is a huge part of connecting with them



When needed, we get our chicks from Abendroth's Hatchery near Waterloo, WI




Growing Food in Small Spaces


Set up a consultation to figure out how to best use the space you have





Growing hops is easy and provides great shade over a gazebo

and grapes are wonderful - and delicious - to grow as a living fence





Children should be exposed to gardening for the vast health benefits


Our grandson helps harvest potatoes from a 2' x 4' x 4' potato tower


Food can be grown in the smallest of spaces - Let us come up with some ideas for you




Growing and Harvesting Garlic



Garlic is so healthy for us and growing garlic isn't difficult with the right plan


Wait until it's cold enough that the bulbs won't sprout before early spring. That's usually sometime in October


Once the soil is prepped, divide the cloves with a blunt knife


We trench out a row about 4" deep and lay the garlic cloves pointy-side UP about 4" apart


Using tree leaves in late autumn, we cover the bed with about 5" of leaves as winter cover


Harvest takes place somewhere between August and September for us




We typically make pesto from the scapes, but sometimes we miss a couple!


The photo on the left shows the root structure of garlic while still in the ground




Once it's harvested, depending on the moisture content of the soil, it might have to be washed


We usually let it sit in the sunshine for a couple of hours




We braid both hard neck and soft neck varieties, though we usually grow hard neck varieties



We can grow a year's worth of garlic in a 4' x 10' raised bed


We get our locally-sourced natural garlic from Copper Kettle Gourmet Garlic near Erin, WI



Spring Clean – Make Your Own Cleaning and Hygiene Products

The typical products that we use to clean our homes are filled with industrial chemicals- many which have been proven to cause illness, including asthma.

Common household chemicals are also linked to infertility


We want to know what's in the products we use. Our goal is shift completely from the paradigm of rampant consumerism and be as self-sufficient as possible


Products we can help you make include: Toothpaste, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid, bar soap, shampoo, citrus cleaner, floor cleaner, silver cleaner and deodorant


Consider hosting a 'Homesteading Party' with our help

(like a tupperware party, only different)




We do all kinds of family-friendly events


Make arrangements with us and we'll get the supplies so your guests can bring home their own self-made cleaning supplies along with proven recipes




Learn to make your own laundry detergent. dish washing liquid, toothpaste, lotions and shampoo







Making your own soap is truly gratifying - and it smells terrific




Angora Rabbits



The bunny hutch was assembled by Peter and you'll find the process on the Installations/Projects page


Julie bought two Angora rabbits, sisters named Unut and Ostara, so she could comb out their fur and use it to make mittens and such



Keeping the cages clean means getting out there every day, even when it's subzero!


Unut, the black one, and Ostara, the white one, enjoy apple twigs and branches after our apple trees are trimmed and pruned in late fall and winter



The collection of white fluff on the left is a year's worth of white Angora combings


The fur is then carded using a drum carder


Julie blends sheep wool with the Angora



Dyed wool can be blended with the Angora to get the colours desired



The batting is then spun using a spinning wheel and either knitted or woven using a four shaft castle loom


Julie Cuccia-Watts Website




Fermentation Fun

We host gatherings where we teach folks how to make their own great tasting and healthful fermented foods and beverages


The medical world is just now starting to understand the complex and vital role appropriate gut flora have on our overall health. Eating fermented foods is an excellent way to keep that gut bacteria replenished and healthy. Modern living meets the past


Book us for a workshop and take home what you need to make your own!






We peel and core our heritage apples using the juice to make cider and the scraps to make vinegar


The scraps are placed in a 5 gallon ceramic crock, topped off with spring water and covered with a linen cloth


Fermentation takes about 6 months




When the fermentation is complete we strain off as much liquid as possible and then scoop out the solids


We use several layers of cheesecloth to twist the remaining liquid from the pulp


The dry pulp is composted





The apple cider vinegar contains its own mother and has a lot of uses and health benefits







We use our own cukes, garlic and dill with salt


To EASILY make HEALTHIER pickles, top off cucumbers with spring water in a gallon crock and lay a grape leaf (for tannins and natural yeast) on top


Use a plate submerge the cucumbers for around four weeks or so then refrigerate. They'll stay crispy for as long as it takes to eat them


Fermented pickles are delicious and much better for us since they contain beneficial microbes







Sauerkraut is fermented using about a tablespoon of pink salt and caraway


The salt is hydrophilic and pulls the natural juices out off the shredded cabbage


Let stand for about four weeks in a dark, cool cupboard




Kombucha and Natural Sodas



Kombucha is delicious and full of beneficial bacteria that improve our gut flora


It's simple to make- using black tea,  honey or organic sugar


If you have a mother, called a scoby, the process takes about a week. If you're starting from scratch the process might take several weeks


Place the tea into a dark, cool cupboard and let the alchemy happen!




We don't drink soda, but sometimes we miss the carbonation


Often the kombucha will be fizzy and really satisfying


A similar recipe can be used to make a remarkable fizzy lemonade


*Though there is a very small amount of ethanol produced in this process, it's no more than you find in a ripe, fresh orange






Mead is an ancient fermented, alcoholic beverage made from honey, spring water and yeast


It's especially satisfying when your mead is made from your own honey collected from your own bees!



We use between 4 and 6 pounds of honey per gallon of spring water, which is warmed up a bit to aid dissolving


Once the honey has been dissolved and the temperature is around 90 degrees or less, add the yeast


We often use champagne yeast and it tends to produce a drier, more alcoholic mead




The solution is then transferred into a carboy for the fermentation process


Fruits and spices can be added, called a melomel, which are really fun to experiment with. The darker gallon carboy is an elderberry-ginger mead





We are pretty careful with sterilizing everything to be used in the process


Stop up the carboy using an airlock and watch it bubble!



Depending on your yeast and other factors, you can have a finished mead in as little as a month, but the process can often take over a year before bottling




Ah! The Famous MEAD face!




Living History




We've done Independence Day parades for different groups and causes


Peter's presentation at the North American Voyageurs Council led to two presentations for the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison, WI




We created and organized Rock River Rendezvous, an annual living history camp (French and Indian War to Civil War), in our community that focused on education




Though we haven't been involved with camping for a number of years, we are still prepared to present colonial life skills such as "primitive" fire starting, open fire cooking and bodice-making as well how to create your own accurate historical persona



     Book Peter for a first-person portrayal of an 18th Century Natural Philosopher for kids and adults



Haste ye Back!




Scots History





Peter is well known for his in-depth Great Kilt demonstration at schools, historical events and Highland Games



Peter served as Convener for his mother's clan, The House of Gordon Wisconsin, for several years and traveled to several state Highland Games, including Grandfather Mountain, in that capacity


He is a founding member of the Wisconsin Highland Games and Celtic Fling and Mad Celt Fest




Peter has been honoured to present the Immortal Memory at formal Burns Suppers for local St. Andrews groups


He has also worked with community theater honouring Scotland's great bard



Snow Sculpting

On a totally different tack, Peter is a past member of the United States Champion Snow Sculpting Team


Peter has organized school-wide snow sculpting activities



Peter and Brian Clemence look for finishing touches on the Inuit in Kayak on Whale sculpture



Peter's favorite first place sculpture is Icarus from the 1987 US Snow Sculpting Competition

Sculpture designed by Craig Yanek



Being presented with an award in Ottawa Canada

The Whale, The Bird Sculpture designed by Brian Clemence


Inuit in Kayak on Whale sculpture pushed the physical limits of snow

Sculpture designed by Craig Yanek





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