08 May 2015

Dilemma...man vs. nature.



 Our wetlands are so full of life, more varieties of water fowl nesting than I've seen in ages. The beaver have created two step dams, each with about three feet of head. With the 3/4 inch of rain we've rec'd, apparently the drought is over...and the water level has risen by about 18 inches by the township road. A couple of years ago the DNR dredged a channel upstream, taking out a beaver dam and putting in a control for a wild rice lake...the township/state collusion (partnership) dug up the road and placed two 4 foot culverts beneath the new road bed...no apron, no rip rap...now the water is high (my choice...not tearing down the beaver dams, preferring to have water stored here)...had the road "engineers" built the road up two feet higher along with the culverts and added aprons/rip rap...there'd be no problem. Today one of the township supervisors came knocking at my door...he'd gone to the DNR to tell them of the high water undermining the road by the culverts (poor engineering) and the DNR told him to consult with me. We looked at the road together...I made suggestions as to what they should do with the road and told him I'd drop the level of the water by a foot or so...so as to not disturb the nesting waterfowl...so, Cheryl and I walked out to the dam, and I clawed about a foot to 18 inches 6 feet long out of the dam on two sides...about 100 feet apart. The water is rushing, but not so much as to be uncontrolled and flood downstream. I'm keeping an eye on it, but I must say...it was all okay with me before...why not engineer the road in concert with nature, rather than try to control nature for some road? This is a forest area, after all.
Off my soap box now.

11 April 2015

The Anthroprocene...it's not all about us.

As a species, we’ve gained an impressive degree of influence over our environment by deliberately simplifying ecosystems so they will support more humans, but fewer other species. Our principal strategy in this project has been agriculture—primarily a form of agriculture that focuses on a few annual grain crops. We’ve commandeered up to 50 percent of the primary biological productivity of our planet, mostly through farming and forestry. Doing this has had overwhelmingly negative impacts on non-domesticated plants and animals. The subsequent loss of biodiversity is increasingly compromising humanity’s prospects, because we depend upon countless ecosystem services (such as pollination and oxygen regeneration)—services we do not organize or control, and for which we do not pay.
The essence of our problem is this: the side effects of our growth binge are compounding rapidly and threaten a crisis in which the artificial support systems we’ve built over past decades (food, transport, and financial systems, among others)—as well as nature’s wild systems, on which we still also depend—could all crash more or less simultaneously.
~Richard Heinberg
http://www.postcarbon.org/the-anthropocene-its-not-all-about-us/

11 February 2015

What I've learned over the years.

What surprises me most about my 60s is seeing our world and personal realities still very much divided along the lines of race, culture, money, gender, group identities and/or personal strengths and weaknesses. It baffles me that some individuals and institutions use their resources to contribute to these divisions and drive them deeper by their desire for more - more money, more power, more control for resources while others work so hard to make life better. When I was little, I really believed the world was going to be much more unified than it is. I believed we were going to have accomplished more and that we'd have better skills in doing what's good for the earth and for life that needs sustained and nurtured. I do love that I have been able to witness this time in history and despite what I've written, I hope that I personally can do more at this time of my life to contribute something positive to the lives of those I know and in the communities where I live, whether it's here or some other corner of the world that I find more hospitable.

04 February 2015

Civilization

Each morning, a missionary advertises neon sign
He tells the native population that civilization is fine
And three educated savages holler from a bamboo tree
That civilization is a thing for me to see
So bongo, bongo, bongo, I don't wanna leave the Congo, oh no no no no no
Bingo, bangle, bungle, I'm so happy in the jungle, I refuse to go
Don't want no bright lights, false teeth, doorbells, landlords, I make it clear
That no matter how they coax him, I'll stay right here
I looked through a magazine the missionary's wife concealed (Magazine? What happens?)
I see how people who are civilized bung you with automobile (You know you can get hurt that way Dani
At the movies they have got to pay many coconuts to see (What do they see, Darling?)
Uncivilized pictures that the newsreel takes of me
So bongo, bongo, bongo, he don't wanna leave the Congo, oh no no no no no
Bingo, bangle, bungle, he's so happy in the jungle, he refuse to go
Don't want no penthouse, bathtub, streetcars, taxis, noise in my ear
So, no matter how they coax him, I'll stay right here
They hurry like savages to get aboard an iron train
And though it's smokey and it's crowded, they're too civilized to complain
When they've got two weeks vacation, they hurry to vacation ground (What do they do, Darling?)
They swim and they fish, but that's what I do all year round
So bongo, bongo, bongo, I don't wanna leave the Congo, oh no no no no no
Bingo, bangle, bungle, I'm so happy in the jungle, I refuse to go
Don't want no jailhouse, shotgun, fish-hooks, golf clubs, I got my spears
So, no matter how they coax him, I'll stay right here
They have things like the atom bomb, so I think I'll stay where I am
If that's civilization, I'll stay right here
~Andrews Sisters, "Civilization"

11 January 2015

.Is Wheat Toxic?

Not only did researchers find that those who ate the ancient wheat had fewer symptoms of IBS, but, to their surprise, they found that several inflammatory markers also showed significant change for the better in this group. Those who ate only the modern wheat retained higher levels of inflammation throughout the body. Inflammatory markers that are associated with cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic diseases were significantly lower after six weeks of eating ancient wheat...

Is Wheat Toxic?

03 January 2015

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front


(excerpted)
...Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.
~Wendell Berry

02 January 2015

"The Green Revolution"


When Borlaug was doing his groundbreaking work in the 60s, he didn’t have the advanced tools that breeders have today. He used something called “mutation breeding.” That method uses radiation or mutagenic chemicals to increase the number of gene mutations in a population of seeds and then a search is made for the extremely rare cases where the mutation is beneficial. Compared to modern biotechnology this is a pretty crude approach, but that was the only method Borlaug had to speed up the process of trait selection. Most crops consumed by the public-at-large in industrialized nations are Green revolution crops. Since improved crop yield was produced mostly through the use of heavy fossil fuel inputs, the increased efficiency of Green revolution strains is geared towards these inputs; that is, the strains are more efficient at exploiting the chemical fertilizers used, and also are designed to be easier to harvest mechanically. The Green revolution allowed a drastic reduction in the input of human labor to agriculture by extending the use of machinery to automate every possible agricultural process. The development of chemical pesticides and herbicides (including organochlorine and organophosphate compounds) allowed further improvements in crop yields by allowing for efficient weed control and eradication of insect pests.
Thus...I will stick with organic ancient wheats...emmer, einkorn, kamut, spelt. And continue to ferment my doughs. I also ferment many other foods. It is my belief that fermentation is important for our continued health.
If you have any interest, Bill Mollison's book on fermentation and human nutrition is being offered at a discounted rate...although it may still be prohibitively expensive for some folks. I was gifted this book in the 90s.

http://www.wildfermentation.com/the-permaculture-book-of-ferment-and-human-nutrition/

thoughts

As a student of cultural anthropology, I loathe the loss of cultures and their being subsumed...assimilated. We don't even realize the detriment we do to our humanity as languages and cultures are lost. Abhorrent. I certainly do not celebrate or encourage it.

Species are being lost at an alarming rate because they can't "adapt" to massive deforestation, loss of habitat, pollution of waterways, acidification of oceans, Human caused changes in climate, extraction and exploitation of resources. Nothing to be proud of. Actually I am ashamed of my own species.

I've been off grid for over 3 decades. Fairly agrarian and simple. I, too, appreciate some technology. Our problem, as I see it, is our sheer numbers and our belief in geometric growth economies.

“Happiness is like a butterfly:
the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things,
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…”
~Thoreau

01 January 2015

May the warm winds of heaven blow softly upon your house. May the Great Spirit bless all who enter there. May your moccasins make happy tracks in many snows, and may the rainbow always touch your shoulder.
East meets West on the stream/wetlands which bisect our forested lands. These were taken within 30 seconds of each other this evening. Happy New Year.

What Would the Dude Do?

Simplify...it's a global imperative now.

We make choices, we decide what our priorities are, and we give up certain things to gain others. Adding more and more to our list of “hav...