Truth Against the World

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Birth of Sun Harvesters

The above picture was taken from inside of a swale I just dug out at the Fox Den.  The fox in the picture is my companion fox, and she goes by Bo Beppa.  I was taking the picture when Bo Beppa jumped into the frame unexpectedly, making the image serendipitous. 

I dug this swale, measuring at about 2 feet deep by 2 feet wide, with an accompanying 2 1/2 foot berm, and about 50 feet or so long on contour, in two days by myself. 

I busted through South Carolina clay fit for a pottery wheel, and South Carolina rock that had bands that crumbled like salt.

I dug this swale to capture water and build soil.  During the spring, when we get torrential rain, I hope this swale stays full more often than not, and I hope that an underground lens of water forms.  If that happens, then another hole which I've dug at the lowest point on the property, about 25 yards away from the swale, may fill with water from that lens.  However, that biggest hole, at the bottom of the property, will fill with water because all of the water striking my property has been directed to that spot. 

I used an A Frame Level, which I constructed from scavenged and excavated bits.  I used an old broom stick, a piece of wood that was scrap from a previous project, a piece of trim from a 1969 Airstream International Sovereign land yacht, some cordage, and a rock I dug out of the ground in Asheville NC on a previous paid permaculture dig.  It was a crude instrument that I made simply to last for this one job. 

But an A Frame Level must be used because placing swales on contour is a counter intuitive thing.  You can't see that level of slope and land movement. 

one of the various rocks I dug up in Asheville NC

Today I jumped the chain link fence that separates my property from a trailer park.  And I racked up a shit load of leaves that fell from a massive oak tree and placed them on my side of the fence.  A few roads down I could smell the smoke from yahoos burning the leaves that fell on their property.  I suppose they lack the knowledge, or concern, or brain cells to know that burning leaves is a border line retarded thing to do. Concentrate them on the earth and let the earth worms eat them and shit them out.  Earth Worm poo is as fertile as soil fertility gets.  Building soil is not that complicated.  Concentrate organic matter, or biomass, and if you do nothing else it will eventually become fertile ground for life to grow. 

I placed many of those leaves on the back side of the berm I had just created.  I plan to place a couple inches of mulch on top of those leaves, once I drive back to the county dump to get another truck and trailer load of free mulch.  I have to fork that mulch myself, and I have to pic the trash out of it, but it's free and it's a very diverse mixture of woody plant material.  Lots of people worry about things like herbacides and pesticides accompanying the free mulch.  My argument is that the mostly perennial and ornamental woody plant material I see being trucked into the dump, to be ground into mulch, is not the type of plant usually sprayed by homeowners.  It's just pruned and driven to the dump, where the trash in the back of the pickup truck and trailer gets ground along with it. 

I'm building fertility on this acre of land that I've found myself a husband of.  I'm using the principles of permaculture to guide me.  I'll be starting a business one of these days, but I won't be calling it permaculture because that word is in the process of cooptation.  I won't be co opted, nor will any organization I'm involved with.  I'm doing ecological design.  I'm using my brain along with intuition and spiritual guidance to create a landscape that allows regeneration, fertility, and life all to flourish.

Zen busted open a dried out gourd on the concrete after an impromptu game of "kick the gourd."  It ended up in the future pond, and some type of green growth emerged on the gourd.  You can see four gourd seeds still attached.  It is sitting on top of mulch from the county dump. 
 This is what I spend my time doing these days.  I dig holes, direct water, collect and concentrate biomass, and I sift through the literal waste stream of an empire drunk and glutted on the end of the age of petroleum abundance.  I have dropped out of the Matrix and no longer pay in any attention.  Maybe my actions are futile due to radioactively contaminated Fukushima rain.  Maybe Obama's hench men will show up and cart my ass back off to the solitary cell they've created for my kind.  Mostly resistant to the bullshit destruction for pigmen profit, I carry on with my blissful work of concentrating the raw ingredients of renewal and regeneration.  I'm an earth moving alchemist concerned with the quality and ecology of living soil. 

The view from the top of my truck, before the swale.
The only meaningful action for anyone to take now, to give our children a chance to eat, is to begin concerning yourself with sustainable food production.  As in, we need to begin seeing ourselves as sun harvesters.  We need to design our society with this as our central purpose.  I see a symbiotic dance between the plants and animals on this Earth.  We can orchestrate this dance like conductors, and that should be our place.  To concentrate natural processes in an attempt to create the most life giving fertility possible is the loftiest of goals for our species just now. 

Zen swimming in the first pond I dug out after a good rain

So I've sort of rambled and ranted towards the summary of this particular photoblog.  I've got many more pics up at the SUN Foundation site  You can see them here

Hopefully someone with great means will show up and donate a large tract of land for the first Foxstead to materialize.  We are now a 501c3 foundation with a bank account.  Go and visit the SUN site to learn how you can help create a realistic alternative to the end of petroleum abundance.  A realistic strategy for dealing with the transition from a first world empire, to a third world slum.  Or just go back to your ithingy and mindless idiot panel entertainment in service of BAU pay checks and pointless poisonous existence. 

There is too much for us to be doing to be wasting our time in perpetuity for pay checks.  We can sustain our own universal needs if we just believe.  Even with radioactive rain falling from our corrosive chemical sky, we can seek shelter beneath a forest canopy under which we have built culture and food.  Even when it all burns down we can survive, and we can thrive under a new paradigm that honors our sacred connection with the natural world. 

This is what's left of the home I currently have a $744 per month mortgage on.  Hopefully Allstate does what they are supposed to do.  If they don't, my wife and I will default on this loan and my credit will resemble this burnt out shell.  Fortunately we have exited the Matrix and so none of this matters to us.  Yet, I brought my first baby boy home to this house.  I still can't believe it's reality. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hugelesquely Inspired

First of all, let me just say that Blogger sucks with uploading pictures.  When I uploaded them Blogger rearranged them all.  I don't know html coding so I can't go in to fix it that way.  That forced me to attempt moving pictures around in the "compose" option.  You can move a picture up one at a time, and it's tedious.  But then half way through the process it stopped allowing me to move they are out of order.  Which sucks because I was attempting to show the steps I went through in constructing this last hugelesque bed...I say "esque" cause I'm not sure it qualifies as a hugelkulture bed.  The first four pics were meant to be the last four.

Pepper diggin' in one of my unfinished hugel beds
Carolina Blue
For the movin' some mulch around.

Bo Beppa (what I call pepper) diggin' can see a chicken feather.  It got there because I harvested the chicken bedding to add as a layer of fertilizer

This is a load of hay that I acquired via  a local business called "Cowboy Connection."  I buy hay from them every once in a while to place in the coop.  Every couple of months they sweep out the hay room and I pic up the hay for free.  I use it for building soil or as bedding.  Also use it for humanure (although right now the humanure operation is on hold for various reasons).  This load was used for constructing the latest hugel bed. 

This is the southwest bed.  You can see a couple forks of hay at the bottom of this pic.  That is actually a hole that I dug last year to collect water.  This bed had peppers that had been overrun by basil.  I pulled the basil before this pic obviously, and it can be seen laying in the center of this bed.

This is about a week worth of scraps from the kitchen (the black is coffee grounds)

Here you can see the contents of that compost bucket dumped on top of hay at the North end of the bed.

I then covered the compost with more hay
Here I added some wood that I acquired at the county landfill while also acquiring free mulch.  When I get mulch I always walk around and grab whatever logs and sticks escaped the mulch machine.  I bring the wood home for hugel bed construction and for fire wood.
Here you can see more compost spread on top of the hay.  This compost came from a compost pile that is pictured further down. 

This is the South end of the South West bed.  I worked in two sections because I had that hole to fill on the other end.  I left one basil plant in the ground, you can see it on the top right of this picture.

To the right you can barely make out the compost because I dumped all of the mulch to the right.  The compost bin was made from rabbit fencing.  I just make a 3 foot diameter circle with the rabbit fencing and it works great.  This is spring and summer compost.  That five gallon bucket was dumped into that bin and then covered with hay or mulch about 15 times.  It composts down to nothing.  All spring and summer and I ended up with one wheel barrow worth of compost. 

Here I made another tribann with landfill wood.  I've also already spread the above compost across the entire bed.

I stood on the roof of my truck to get this pic


There are three beds here that make up the invoking and south facing end of the tribann.  They are hard to see due to changes over the year in plant growth.  It's hard to tell also because I have spread mulch around. 

Here you can see three beds a bit better, although the tribann is loosing it distinctness because of the North West bed (the bed shown at the bottom of this pic).  I made what I'm calling a "keyhole hugel bed".  You can see to the right, that there is a small area not covered with as much mulch.  That is the entrance into the key hold hugel bed.  Lot's of microclimates are going to exist in that bed.  You can also see the gypsy house (two car garage) and the chicken coop just to the left of it.

I finished up by adding a foot of mulch on top of the mess.