Signs of Spring!

This post contains farmish photos that may be offensive to some readers.  But it also contains some images that could inspire you, too!

newmama
A new mama and our first lambs!
twins
Twins!
bubba.buttercup
The puppies have gotten so big we can hardly call them puppies anymore!

 

henbit.jjack
Jumping jacks surrounded by loads of henbit.  Nature is telling me where to plant the tomatoes this year.  Henbit can be an annoyance to some who like well-manicured grass or doesn’t like weeding, but it’s also a sign of high nitrogen in the soil.  A great sign for your heavy feeders like tomatoes!

 

peartreebloom
The old-fashioned pear trees are the first to bloom here, by a long shot.  We’ll have some happy honey bees very soon, and if weather permits, another huge load of pears to make our delicious hard cider.

 

bigchop
Slaughter time is man’s work on this wee homestead, a blessing for which I regularly thank my luck stars.

 

processing
Bye, Big Chop, thank you!

 

bacon
There will be bacon! 🙂

 

seedtrays
I love seeing the seedlings emerge under the grow lights.

It’s a wonderful, miraculous world, truly, or at least our little corner of it is.

Agorism Update

It’s been a busy few weeks processing all those pears—I canned over 30 jars of them, we’ve got 15 gallons of pear wine brewing and 9 jars of pear-ginger marmalade. I also harvested our first honey, a whopping 4.5 pints!

(I consider leaving out this part where I admit I did not mean to harvest so much, but I made the novice mistake of lifting out a bar full of capped honeycomb, which in a topbar hive should not be done in high heat, because the comb can pull right off the bar and fall into the hive, which is exactly what happened.  It then smashed onto the neighboring comb, killed lots of bees, and meant I had to then harvest two combs and pull out dead bees with tweezers.  Not my finest hour.)

Also, we’ve had another agoristic experience I’m happy to report: 3 wild hogs from a friend traded for a half-dozen dressed ducks. No cash exchanged, that means no cash to line the banksters’ pockets or to pay for more illegal wars. I love the idea of agorism, it makes so much sense to me. But, like with all things, the theory is always easier to come to than the practice.

In fact, I could have several more occasions for bartering if I felt more comfortable simply asking.  We had a dump truck load of mulch delivered, the perfect missed opportunity.   There are many skills involved that require me to up my game and learn things I’ve spent my life avoiding, because I’ve never liked doing them–like marketing, networking, various other entrepreneurial-type skills. I’ve never been that comfortable or concerned with money and I automatically zone out whenever numbers come up. New challenges pop up over the simplest things that hadn’t much occurred to me before, like how to assign value to things or services. What is a dressed duck worth compared to an undressed hog? This is a question a suburban girl never expects to ponder in her lifetime.

Also problematic is distance. I see that bartering sites are popping up quite a bit now in urban areas and folks are exchanging even more now using old standbys like Craigslist. But Austin, Dallas, and Houston are all about a 3-hour drive one way, which make regular trips there un-economical and far too time-consuming.  While I’m thrilled to see how popular bartering is becoming, it’s not a decent short-term solution for us.

Now that I’m pleasantly and perhaps permanently unemployed I like the idea of trying to find other ways to exchange and earn that wouldn’t set us back so far that Handy Hubby would give up the plan of an early retirement. That’s our five-year plan. We don’t want to start a business, not in the traditional sense anyway. We like the simple, uncomplicated sort of life; we’ve adjusted to it now. I think it was once referred to as “subsistence farming,” maybe even without the negative connotation. That’s another concept I never expected to ponder in my lifetime.

I guess the criticism from a reader that I am a neo-luddite was valid after all.  I’ve changed in our nearly seven years here.  Our paradigm has shifted.  Cities are too crowded, even social media is too crowded.  I hate to think the only option for selling our surplus would be to go back into the matrix and try to navigate the (meta)physical marketplace.  Not that I don’t appreciate it now and again, but I’d much rather go for inspiration than labor.

Such thinking of short-term solutions led me to surf the dark web, to research the black and gray markets. It was a very educational journey full of potentialities. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you about that here.

I’d love to hear from y’all–your links, ideas, thoughts, ramblings, all welcome, both practice and theory!

🙂

honeycomb

Our first honey harvest was an accidental success, I learned so much about what not to do!

hogs

Of course it’s Handy Hubby who does the real heavy lifting.  I’m one lucky unemployed redneck wannabe!

 

 

Victims of Random Success, Failure

Sweet potato success two years ago was two wheelbarrows full.  This year, not a one survived, though slips filled two healthy rows at one time in early June.  Two years ago, no pears to speak of, in fact only one  and a half crops in 4 years.  This year, a bumper crop from a single tree that will fill my afternoons for the next week in processing.  Peppers one year, tomatoes another, melons everywhere like weeds three years ago, to this year, where are all the damn melons?!  I don’t see how the farmers do it.  Or, did our farming ancestors count on such extreme variations, whereas today there is an unrealistic reliance on consistency?   Hence all the hybrids and GMOs?

I wish I knew.  I suppose this has long been the struggle of man and nature that dimwits and intellectuals alike try to grapple with.  I read and observe and attempt eternal patience, but in truth it is terribly aggravating all this not-knowing.

It’s baffling and annoying and funny.  I try to keep records, but half the time I have no clue why something succeeds or fails, so I don’t know what to record–the temperature and rainfall and seed source and planting dates, ok, but that does not seem to get me very far at all, even when I manage to do it.  One year an invasion of squash bugs, another year white flies, another year some unidentified wilt, this year, five different persistent grasses growing like bamboo mats engulfing everything in their path.  This has been the most depressing summer for the garden I’ve yet experienced, but I get the sense now I’m repeating that mantra in some form every year.

I get hunches sometimes, for better or worse, and this year I thank the pear success to our beehives.  I know timing of the last frost and first good rains fit in there somewhere too, but don’t ask me how.  Also failed this year were the figs, one, like sweet potatoes and okra, also failed, were all ones we once called a fail-proof crop for the south.

Back to the drawing board, green thumb.   Success in one area, as temporary as it might be, leads to thoughts how to better benefit from such success in future, only in future to find that was quite futile.

If I can get myself past the programming to stop focusing on either success or failure, I might get closer to seeing the bigger picture.  Or so they say.

Pear hooch is bubbling happily in the crock.  That might be my zooming out solution.  One good solution surely leads to another.  🙂

 

rootcellar1_copyWe might need a root cellar.  Or then again . . .?

 

Meat Day!

I have my cheese days and Handy Hubby has his days at the smoker. Usually it’s a Sunday, because we try to always take a day off for lounging in the hammocks and over-consuming adult beverages. Cooking, writing and researching deep politics we don’t typically consider work. It’s more that we just agree to ignore the heavy labor for a day.

It’s raining again today (thank heavens!) so we’ve got our real redneck on, swinging under the carport, dogs at our feet, noting we have too many roosters–we have to yell to hear each other over the crowing and the drops echoing off the tin roof.

On today’s meat madness list: Hubby’s own pastrami, a couple of ducks, lots more duck necks for future soups, and some sausages. Yes, we are just two here.  We cook in bulk, just like we shop. By the way, we are awash in ducks. I’m scouring every cookbook and online site for new recipes and hoping somewhere, somehow to find someone to trade with for something.

Today we are experimenting with our ‘hard-core homemade’ menu by crafting a Reuben to reckon with. The recipe comes from Julia Child, but we kick it up more than a couple of notches.

Everything about it is homemade—the rye bread, the pastrami, the Muenster cheese (I’ve been babying that baby for two and a half months now), the mustard, the mayo, the ketchup and the saurkraut. (As I side-note, I had no idea ketchup used to be a very healthy condiment, because it was fermented, and nothing like the corn syrup concoction with seemingly unlimited shelf-life sold today.) Before finding this recipe in the gorgeous cookbook Baking with Julia, I didn’t know a ruben had ketchup. The Eastern European rye bread recipe also comes from this book. Normally I make a sourdough rye, my own painstakingly-crafted recipe, that is delicious.  But this one is made with yeast and looks so awesome in the photo (see below, mine is rising as I type, but I’m sure it won’t look quite that pretty), I just had to try it.

On the dark research front we have another score, and quite a synchronistic one.

Yesterday I was confronted with a compelling contradiction. I spoke with my mom on the phone and normally the conversation would not swerve into politics at all, but these days it’s front of mind for a lot more of the population than usual. She is concerned, as so many are, especially about ISIS. Her source of information is the mainstream news, known in ‘alternative’ circles as the lamestream news. I tried briefly to convince her that she is watching State-run propaganda and we might as well be living in the USSR, that’s how bad it’s gotten. She had not heard of false flags, of course, how would she?

Conversely, a friend on social media concluded this is a positively wonderful time for anarchists/voluntarists/agorists/libertarians and free-thinkers in general, because Americans are really waking up en masse. People are engaged in the elections and Trump is spilling the beans that the whole game is rigged and folks are listening, was just a small portion of her lengthy don’t-be-so negative-and-see-the-silver-lining lecture.

To her, I would like to say the same thing I’ve been saying at the university where I’m thrilled to be teaching my last class ever: Engaged is not educated!

I tossed in my sleep considering this great rift in understanding and reactions, and to my very pleasant surprise when I woke a brilliant piece of insight had been posted on Youtube by Truthstream Media, which I promptly sent to Mom and re-posted across social media.

This couple does excellent work, and if folks are really waking up, it’s thanks to them and those like them, boldly and courageously speaking truth to power, and putting their youthful exuberance into righteous anger, expressing a proper amount of snark and frustration, usually, but always deliberate, creative action, and especially oh-so-many undeniable facts for the lamestream watchers to reckon with.

Manufactured Civil Unrest and Regime Change: Is America Next?

 

 

bread

Breads from Julia Child’s book: Baking with Julia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agorism, continued

I used to consider myself a Liberal, back in the days before liberal politics officially embraced the Military Industrial Complex and the eternal war machine.

Then I called myself a Libertarian, until I realized the movement had been completely co-opted by the Right and been bought by the likes of the Koch brothers.   The so-called “New Right” proved itself to be exactly the same as the old Right, not exactly the Neo-Con version of the last several decades, but harking back that of my grandfather’s generation.  No thank you!

Then I called myself an Anarchist, because it was obvious to me no good was coming from politics at all.  I stand by this still, as misunderstood as it is.  Anarchy does not mean “no rules” it means “no rulers.”

It seems very much in line to me with Agorism, but I’m still learning and am not at all afraid to change my stance once again if I discover I’ve been misled or deceived or the movement has been co-opted.  The concept of the countereconomy is particularly appealing to me, because I absolutely abhor the effects of my labor going toward such criminal endeavors as war and lining the pockets of elected criminals, banksters, and their very many minions.

“Agorists regard this counter-economy as a form of nonviolent direct action, a method of simultaneously challenging and evading state power, in the process building a free society based on the principles of unrestricted voluntary exchange. Counter-economics underscores the fact that given the volume of rules, regulations, and licenses already choking economic relations, almost everyone has already participated in the counter-economy in one way or another, perhaps quite unwittingly. By simply paying no heed to arbitrary rules that attempt to prohibit completely voluntary, mutually beneficial trade, agorists are engaged in an attempt to change society without resorting to political action, which agorism regards as capitulating to the existing power structure. Agorists believe that by becoming politically engaged, running candidates and attempting to reform governmental structures and lawmaking, libertarians fall into the trap of politics — the delusion that if we only elect the right person or pass the right law, we can attain freedom. For agorists, the processes and institutions of politics are inherently and unchangeably corrupt and coercive.”

http://www.libertarianism.org/columns/black-market-activism-samuel-edward-konkin-iii-agorism

I first learned the learned the word and the philosophy from my most-trusted news source James Corbett.  His most recent article on the topic reassures me further that not only am I aligned with the message, but that it’s happening, for real.   With his typical sardonic wit, he writes, Dear Government, Deliver Us From Freedom!

In this good news piece he highlights the booming peer-to-peer economy, community exchanges and the other fantastic efforts of like-minded folks doing all they can to get the corrupt government out of their lives and livelihoods.  He lists many examples and resources, so I hope you’ll check out the entire article.

In the end he surmises sarcastically, “Do you realize what this means? It means that the plebs are actually starting to spontaneously organize in new and innovative ways to help each other. This is a disaster! What if they stop believing that all charity on earth must be provided by the government? What if they start creating self-sufficient communities? Or collaborating without corporate middlemen? Or transacting around the world without the knowledge or oversight of our tax collectors?”

Oh I do, James, I really do realize what this means!  And thank you for your years of work and ‘leadership,’ in the way that leadership is meant to be.  You have inspired me and millions, and our numbers are multiplying by the minute.

“Freedom. Terrible, terrible freedom. What if there’s no putting a lid on it?”

Amen, Brother!

nif_pray

 

 

 

Agorism, Anarchy, Action

A workable slogan.  First word practically unknown, the next totally misused, and the latter too often hastily employed, or far too often not at all.

In brief agorism is a worldview or philosophy that requires anarchy and action to function.  Here anarchy is defined simply as a counter-force to State power. State is capitalized because it means the over-arching control grid manifested through coercive government.

Action, even wrong action, is preferable to no action.  The current coercive State relies on the affluence, self-indulgence and complacency of its citizenry.  The bread and circus are provided expressly to keep you from complaining about how you’re being ruled, to what end, and by whom.

It is our effort to get off both the proverbial Western couch and Eastern cushion.  The beige matters, the survival efforts engender peace of mind.  No, it’s not exciting, not anymore.  At one time, five years or so ago, I felt pretty powerful digging my first garden plot, with the help of only Handy Hubby and a wheelbarrow and shovel.  Shoveling poultry manure and plucking feathers have long lost their short-lived novelty.

I noticed on one site large duck eggs going for $10 a dozen, we’re feeding our surplus to the dogs.  Bless their hearts, we do love to spoil them, but wow.  Just for the record, I also make a fabulous duck paté, which I enjoy with a mild pepper jelly and homemade sourdough bread.

By far the best part about homesteading for us is, we eat like royalty.  Yeah, we don’t have the servants to show for it, but it’s still worth it!

 

plucker
Beginner’s faux pas: Don’t pluck on the deck, Duh, because, flies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agorism?

It was a new word to me too, but one I learned is the oldest and simplest of concepts: bartering. I’ve looked more deeply into it–into the origins of the term and the philosophy and politics of it–and I suppose one of these days I’ll write more about it all.

For now, I’m thinking only one thing: We have surplus sometimes. I’ve been giving it away and usually happily so. Occasionally we find an opportunity to trade, but it’s relatively rare. Most often the surplus we can’t give away goes to the poultry and the dogs, also happily, but less so.

One year I took it to the local Food Bank, nearly an hour round-trip, thinking I was doing a good deed for the community. After one particular drop-off I remained in the parking lot for some time engaged on the phone. I watched as several people in vehicles far finer than mine strolled into the building and back out again with my hard-won, organically-produced fresh vegetables. Another avid gardener said she overheard complaints from patrons of the Food Bank that those vegetables are useless since they don’t know how to cook them, and they often take them just for show, along with their preferred items, only to throw them out at home. After that, I changed my mind I was performing any real social benefit. I doubt that supporting the poor choices of the so-called poor is a good idea, sustainably-speaking. If one can afford to drive an SUV, one can surely afford to pay for one’s produce. Otherwise, let them eat Ding-Dongs.

Agorism, otherwise known as bartering, solves our immediate practical problem of surplus, and while all the accompanied philosophy and politics are important to me, they are not as important as this. I’m reminded of one excellent quote on the topic, and that’s as political as I’ll get this post, I promise.

‘When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.” Ayn Rand

Bartering encourages the producers, rewards the producers, as it should be. Either you have something I value to trade with me, or you don’t. Simple economics. I might need a haircut, or a lesson in business development, or maybe I’ve got a real hankering for a pint of pear hooch. Do you need me to have a licensed dairy to trade you my cheese for one of these?

If you do, go to Wal-mart or Whole Foods, no matter, and do your thing. Pay your taxes, vote with your dollar, give the banksters their unfair share. But if someday you decide their cheese sucks, you know where to turn. That is, if you have something worth trading.  How about some gorgeous carrots for some . . .?

Links to share in my on-going research:

http://www.moneycrashers.com/best-bartering-swapping-websites/

http://www.libertarianism.org/columns/black-market-activism-samuel-edward-konkin-iii-agorism

https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-309-solutions-agorism/