Ellen Rowland is an American living in Senegal, West Africa in an off-the-grid earth house she helped build with her husband and two young children. She writes about culture, family, food, things that are good for the planet and life without school. A lover of all things edible, she can usually be found in the kitchen when she’s not writing or creatively encouraging her children’s passions. Since moving to Africa at the end of 2008, she has learned to live without TV, pluck a chicken, make a mud brick, roast her own coffee beans and say “you can’t catch two goats at once” in local Wolof.




What is a muddy life, you ask?

It’s a deep, lusciously layered puddle where nothing is ever just black or white–including people, perceptions, ideas and identities. A muddy life is our own uniquely swirled concoction, one that’s hard to label because the outlines are smeared and murky. But that’s O.K. We like it that way.

A muddy life slips outside the box, slides past the status quo and doesn’t get mired down by what the Joneses are up to. A muddy life is fed by a rivulet of constant questioning with heart and mind wide open.

My own muddy life is about taking risks, something I’m terrified of doing, although I’ve never regretted taking the plunge. Risks don’t always work out. But when they do, what joy!

Mud also happens to be what our house is made of. It’s our way of living our best life while respecting our lovely planet.

Mud surrounds us during the rainy season. Sometimes we leap over it. Other times we lay down stones to make crossing to the other side a little easier. But most of the time we just play in it.

On this blog you’ll find all sorts of stuff on sustainable living, interest-led learning (also known as life learning or unschooling), musings on family and culture and an occasional mud pie recipe!

I hope you’ll enjoy your visit and come back often!

Ellen (the Muddy Mom)

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle wonderful.” –E.E. Cummings



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