Celebrating Small Steps

Late summer here is my personal version of hell and I bitch about it every year.

What better time to take a break from my current reality where I feel like an indoor prisoner and wake up daily wanting to lash out at all the idiotic Geoengineering causing drought here and weather chaos all around the globe.

I even want to take a break from my last post pondering passivity and violence and just notice for a day, or so, all the little things and little ways we have improved upon since I last felt this level of droughtrage.

I know I am just a bit more blessed this year than last, mostly by my own sheer will and resilience, and that of Hubby as well, no doubt, and that of some inspiring neighbors and cyber-friends, and perhaps if I dwell on that fact just a bit, next year will be just a bit more blessed in turn.

Last year’s late summer garden vs this year’s, not great, but still better!

A new young friend who loves plants as much as I do helps me identify the hardy, native heat-lovers of our area, and diligently and graciously watched our wee homestead so I could join my extended family at a reunion in July.  I look forward to returning the favor when her family vacations in October.  This is the sort of small steps a resilient community is made of, not the top-down control of Rockefeller’s ‘Resilient Cities’, because it’s the neighborly reliance that brings real hope and treasures and peace of mind.

borderpatrol
Collective Border Control, naturally 😉

I still don’t like okra, but I’m harvesting it anyway for the pigs and neighbors!  Every once in a while I throw a few into a meal, along with other traditional Southern favorites we didn’t grow up with, but are learning to appreciate, like collards and Southern peas, eggplant and jalapenos, all which have survived the heat, but would not be here now without regular irrigation.

It’s very hard to keep up with the constant weeding and mulching requirements in such circumstances, but these plants, along with the sweet potatoes, are actually successfully competing with the grasses in some cases.  Amazing!

I won’t mention the melons, because I’m hell-bent on keeping this post positive. So let’s mention instead the ‘mouse melons’, aka sanditas, or, Mexican Sour Gherkins.  🙂

Instead, let’s mention the fact that the young sweet potato vines and okra leaves are edible and quite tasty!

And the fantastic find this summer which I’m most excited to expand next year considerably, the Mexican Sour Gherkin.

Crop of the year, in my humble opinion!

mexican-sour-gherkin_LRG

Even in the dead of summer, of brutal heat and no rain, we enjoy meals raised primarily on this land.  As an added bonus now my raw milk source is 5 minutes away, whereas last year at this time it was 5 hours round-trip!

The aging fridge is full of cheeses we will enjoy all winter: Cheddars, Goudas, a Parmesan and an Alpine, several Brie almost ripe, a Muenster even!  YUM!  Last week I taught a couple of neighbor ladies to make 30-minute mozzarella and we had such a nice time.

Next they will teach me skills they’ve acquired—spinning, dying, soap-making–a few more small steps in our agorism adventures.  Skill-sharing has been such a crucial aspect of our most successful ancestors and I would be challenged to express how rewarding it is for me still, at 50 next month, to be learning so much that is new for me.  It is indeed a sort of middle-age renaissance!

I also foraged for elderberries, mustang grapes and peppervine berries, dried some and made some syrups and preserves.

peppervine

 

And, Another 400 pounds of pears, or so!

pears2017

I do believe still that’s thanks to our bees.  For several years we thought it was a weather issue, late frosts, whatever, but I am beginning to suspect it was a pollinator issue all along.

We will see, that’s just a hypothesis so far.  And in any case we continue for another year to benefit from the cider, the preserves, the cobblers, and the pigs are getting their fill, too!

beesgone

The Datura remains an absolute favorite of mine, blooming in crazy heat and exhaling the most exquisite fragrance into the evening air.  The thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano are gracefully resilient as well, I appreciate all y’all!

datura

And our dear Tori, who just as I was typing this post chased an enormous coyote off our chickens!

3.12.2011 019
Tori, 2 weeks old
tori2018
Tori today!  Rewarded Homestead Guard of the Year 2018

The blessings are very close at hand, the frustrations a million miles away.  I vow to maintain that truthful balance deep in my heart as I brave the coming days.

Peace and love to y’all, dear friends.

 

Collective Utopia vs. Private Idaho

I lost my last hive just a few weeks ago, mysteriously.  They dutifully pollinated the pears before their departure, sweet little creatures they are.  Unfortunately, they didn’t leave a note, or much clue.  I hope they swarmed and found a suitable new happy home, but I believe from what little evidence remained, that this was not the case.

The drama of the bees has been droning on now for decades.  But of course, have no fear, technology comes to the rescue!  First create the problem, then try to fix it while creating 3 new problems–that’s the modern, strategic, scientifically-advanced model at work.

Problem with disappearing bees?  Solution, robot bees!

http://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-robot-bees-farming-patent-2018-3

The next big thing according to TV’s famed Dr. Oz, is the RFID chip.  Keep losing your Alzheimer parent? Get ’em the chip!

Steve Hoffman gushes over the new tech which will allow our minds to merge with one another.  He calls it ‘almost like heaven’—a state of all-inclusiveness with others where our individuality is traded and usurped by the collective, to the extreme degree we can actually feel another’s pain as our own.

But, only if we choose it, of course.  Right.  That’s good, because mark my words, I don’t want to be in his mind, and I certainly don’t want him, or anyone, invading mine at will either.

 

Will we get to choose?  I’m pretty doubtful on that point.  Right now, do I get to choose whether my region is cloud-seeded, or not?  Nope. https://weathermodificationhistory.com/

Do I get to choose whether Walmart creates robot bees? Nope.

Do I get to choose whether scientists experiment with technology meant to replace nature, meant to manipulate the environment beyond measure, meant to research consciousness with the intention of controlling it, even replacing it? Nope, nope and nope.

Dr. Andreagiovanni Reina, Research Associate in Collective Robotics in the University of Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, said: “This study is exciting because it suggests that honey bee colonies adhere to the same laws as the brain when making collective decisions.

“The study also supports the view of bee colonies as being similar to complete organisms or better still, superorganisms, composed of a large number of fully developed and autonomous individuals that interact with each other to bring forth a collective response.

“With this view in mind, parallels between bees in a colony and neurons in a brain can be traced, helping us to understand and identify the general mechanisms underlying psychophysics laws, which may ultimately lead to a better understanding of the human brain. Finding similarities between the behavior of honey bee colonies and brain neurons is useful because the behavior of bees selecting a nest is simpler than studying neurons in a brain that makes decisions.”

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22616-y

Is it for a love of nature and mankind that science and technology seek to study it so thoroughly and in this particular direction?  Or, is it with the intention of replacing nature and mankind for the benefit of god knows whom?

Do they ever ask themselves if we all have the same vision of a collective utopia?

As they preach for the essential Oneness of humanity, the love and light of unity, the exalted state of community, the Kumbaya collusion of the hive, the higher consciousness of the collective, do they consider as well the famed quote by a character in one of Jean Paul Sartre’s most read plays, “L’enfer, c’est les autres.” (“Hell, it’s other people.”)

As they profess their profound compassion and concern, do they care that some of us don’t care to live with robotized nature?  Have they considered putting their intellectual efforts toward saving nature, co-creating with nature, relating equally to it, rather than commanding it, deconstructing it, subjugating it, destroying and replacing it?

Do they tread so shallowly in their own individuality that they cannot conceive of the notion that one’s relationship to oneself and to nature is by far greater, more fundamental and essential, than one’s relationship to any other?

Keep your robots, your synthetics, your hive mind, your Internet of Things, your technological collective Utopia, I don’t want it.

Many of us don’t want it, but we seem to have no choice in the matter.

If I weren’t an optimist, I’d feel we are doomed here on the wee homestead; doomed to watch as we are driven from the heaven of creating our own private Idaho into the hell of another’s version of ‘progress.’

My idea of progress:

Companion planting 3.0 (gardening by aesthetics) — cultivars co-existing with native volunteers (yes, I mean weeds); edibles among poisons; annuals with perennials with crops, seasonal ‘layering’.  More on all that coming soon!

Handy Hubby’s idea of progress:
Spending his entire vacation building!  Color me impressed. 🙂

 

 

 

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.

Diet Pushing, Politics and Pigs

Warning: This post contains images and commentary potentially unsavory or offensive to vegetarians and vegans.

My most used cookbook has a provocative title–Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon.

I am not a diet pusher; I am a critic of diet pushing.  I’ve long had an interest in diet and nutrition and like most Americans, by the age of 30 I’d heard it all said by the slogans of the diet dictocrats.  Eat beef.  Don’t eat beef.  Eat eggs.  Don’t eat eggs.  Drink milk.  Don’t drink milk.  Watch your calories.  No, watch your fats.  Watch your sugar.  No, watch your salt. No, make that sugar and salt.  Caffeine causes cancer.  Caffeine doesn’t cause cancer.  Wine is good, or bad.  Grains are good, or bad.  I could go on for pages here, but I know you know what I’m talking about.  Nutrition science is right up there with environmental science as being ever-changing and ever-controversial.

Currently the diet pushers are promoting vegetarianism and veganism.  I say currently, though it goes back many decades, because it seems to be hitting a crescendo lately.  As a case in point, a sociology professor demonstrates just how political diet can be, arguing in a recent article that eating meat perpetuates ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and ‘gender hegemony’.

“To study the link between masculinity and meat, DeLessio-Parson interviewed 23 vegetarians who live in Argentina to probe how they deal with their country’s “meat-centric” culture, finding that being vegetarian itself is a political act.”

“Refusing meat therefore presents opportunities, in each social interaction, for the [gender] binary to be called into question.”

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=10221

My immediate thought, after laughing out loud, was: “So if meat represents ‘hegemonic masculinity’ does dairy represent ‘hegemonic femininity’?”

cheese
I love cheese!

But jokes aside, what I find most interesting about the vegetarian/vegan phenomenon is that it has so deeply penetrated a few sectors of society where it seems to me to be terribly misplaced: libertarianism, anarchism, paganism, and even among homesteading/sustainability advocates.

I have no criticism to direct at these groups and individuals making their choices to enjoy whatever diet and lifestyle they wish.  Many vegetarians and vegans choose this diet for valid ethical and health reasons and I applaud this conscious choice on their parts.

My issue is when, and why, and how, diet becomes a tool of politics.  And especially, when those politics are propagandizing and peddling false information.

There are many others out there with this same concern besides Sally Fallon.  Some other powerful players have also spent considerable time and research adding to the conversation, like Michael Pollan, Wenonah Hauter, Marion Nestle, Nina Teicholz, Joel Salatin, among many more.

The only thing I can add to the wealth of knowledge already out there is my personal experience and opinion living now very close to the land and our own food sources for many years: Veganism is antithetical to sustainable agriculture, permaculture, homesteading, and any other system or worldview where decentralization is a valued goal.

Here is why, in words and pictures.

bigchops
From squeal to plate

Growing grains and legumes requires vast expanses of managed land that is kept free from predators and pests.  Our fruits and vegetables require keeping out the vast and varied competition from deer, rabbits, squirrels, feral hogs, birds, rodents and insects of all sorts.  Eating vegetables and grains does not equate to NOT killing animals.  You’re simply killing/trapping/disrupting other wild creatures other than the omnivores do.

farmscene.cz
Rape-seed (canola) fields, Moravia 1994

If it is not local, it is not sustainable.  Pineapples from Hawaii, kiwis from Australia, grapes from Chile, grains from India–these are all great luxuries and it’s a treat to be able to enjoy them thanks to modern technology and transport.  But anarchists and voluntaryists, pagans, homesteaders and all those who understand and recoil at the undue influence of Government power in our daily lives surely understand that without local control of sustainable food production the community, family and individual are forever at the mercy of a centralized system.

If it’s not local, if it’s not sustainable, it should be understood as the icing, not the cake.  Leave the icing to Big Brother if you must, but certainly let’s get his hands out of the cake!

kennpig
Real men have real skills.

These skillsets have been lost and need to be reclaimed–it’s how we all got here, after all.  Proper handling of a gun, knife, heavy carcass is skilled labor and if it’s men who are more capable and interested in handling these chores, praise be to the heavens, I say.  This doesn’t mean every man must want to do these things, but it certainly means we should not be discouraging them with nonsense about meat as synonymous to a brutal patriarchy.

Vegetables, grains, fruits, most things that grow need good soil.  Good soil is created with compost, manure and other fertilizing elements which, in the amount required for the large tracts of land required to produce grains efficiently, and in the absence of farm animals’ excrement, must be purchased, most likely from large corporations.

Cui bono, or, for whose benefit?

In the case of a truly sustainable setting there are many benefactors to a family’s pig slaughter: the dogs, the poultry, the vultures, the insects and the soil.  Not to mention the human guests, of course.

pigontractor

In the case of a vegan diet?  Big Ag benefits most of all.  I know many vegans are well-meaning and will bristle at that comment, but this is just the plain truth.  No small local farmer can compete with grain and vegetable prices of big ag.  While it’s true they can’t compete with the meat prices either, in our case currently, and in most places without an ideal growing climate, pound per pound, meat is cheaper and easier to produce than vegetables or grains.

With the on-going geoengineering assault on the weather, I expect this will become more true in the immediate future.  Even worse, I expect in less than a decade we will all be forced to grow vegetables indoors as the weather will become too unpredictable for even hobby and homestead gardeners to have reliable produce.

decrosentori
Roses blooming in December, and snow in south Texas = weather whiplash (geoengineeringwatch.org)

Not only do we get to enjoy the ribs, and the hams, and the bacon, oh my, but also the lard, the cracklins (aka chicharones or pork rinds), and the happy dogs when they get pork instead of poultry for a change.

cracklin
Homemade chicarones taste way better than store bought.
on walk
Advice on last week’s evening news: Feed your dogs raw carrots for treats because bones, skin and fat are bad for them.  Someone should really inform dogs of this preference, I don’t think they know it yet.

Want to challenge the diet dictocrats? Want the politics off your plate?  Don’t go vegan, go hyper-local!

Here’s a good place to start:

https://www.westonaprice.org/

Best business idea I’ve seen all year, most impressive!

 

 

 

 

 

No More Fakebook

torinpups2“Fakebook,” Handy Hubby calls it.  Of course he’s right, I’ve long known he’s right.  I left Fakebook years ago, then went back, against my better judgment.  It has become to me one more insufferable Catch-22 of the modern age.

I’ve met a few good folks there and it was the source in finding our new livestock guard dog pups, who are so precious it’s a real challenge not to spoil them!

It is a good tool for keeping in touch, no doubt.  I’ve also appreciated how it’s like the modern equivalent of scrapbooking in some fundamental ways. They keep better track of our photos than I do.  They record it all. And therein lies the Catch 22.

Fakebook has tipped in scales to more negative than positive, not just for me, I see folks leaving it and considering leaving it and I can’t blame them, in fact, I’ve again just rejoined the leavers, and this time, I’m never going back.

Oh my, I just felt a twang of panic in my gut.  Never?  Did I really mean that?  That’s so very . . . permanent.

I know it’s wrong!  I know they are spying, manipulating, engineering, censoring, and if that weren’t bad enough, the ads are over the top.  I just can’t stand it.  In fact, I find I’m turning to books, real books printed on real paper, just to be able to find a recipe without eight ads and pop-ups attached.

And I know very well it’s not just about the advertising, that’s just the surface level annoyance and distraction.  It is about Big Data, which I’ve written about several times already, but for those still uninformed, some background material.

https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-319-psychographics-101/

And Truthstream Media:

 

If I am to align my life with my principles, as I’ve sworn to do, I cannot support this level of technocracy.  Next will be the Smart phones, out of our lives!  We do just fine without satellite TV already.   We will vehemently reject all 5G roll-out “Smart” crap that we possibly can.

We will get better at it, these things take considerable time and effort. We are gradually becoming more refined in making due with the old ways, and isn’t it ironic.  I jumped on-board with educational technology as a grad student, made it my thing, taught online courses since the first years that was possible.

And now I look and shiver as at a golem.  Oh my stars, what have we created?

I must take a deep bow to those who saw it decades before I did, the ones I once considered practically prehistoric.  The ‘old folk’ who were so afraid of technology, so concerned about privacy. The paranoid ones who suspected, no, even had valid proof, that the government could not be trusted with this information power house.

We are in the process collectively of accepting enslavement to the grid. If you still believe the powers-that-be are benevolent, that once was me.  I can’t say all that it was that blinded me then, I was seeing it and reading it, but it wasn’t yet REAL.

I’m reminded of famous words that made a decent impression on me so long ago I can’t recall, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”

We, Kensho, have been learning about self-reliance.  It’s more work and more responsibility than I’d known before, certainly much more physical labor.  Many sacrifices have been made by us both.  We stopped traveling.  Our social and political priorities have shifted.  Our values and worldview and tolerance levels have become much more refined.  Our skill-sets have increased ten-fold.  One of these days I’ll make a list.

But this post is about Fakebook.  What it offers is not worth what it takes away.  In its absence I’ve started reading fiction again.  I’ve also decided to take up sewing, which surprises me about my own self as much as when I took up cheesemaking, my now favorite hobby by far and one I’m getting pretty good at.

Fakebook is a time-sucking, energy-wasting, spell-casting, manipulating, ad-pushing pain in the ass.  I’m done.

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

torinpups

 

There are so many better things to do!

 

Part 15: Rascals of Science

pigsnchickens
According to modern science pigs should not eat table scraps and farm species should not intermingle due to cross-contaminating disease potential.  Someone should really be informing the critters of these hazards.

There is a science underworld that borders with pseudoscience where mavericks and rascals believe the world, indeed the entire universe, is holistic, not mechanistic. I’m fascinated by these courageous thinkers who have ventured into unconventional territory.  I recognize the strength of character and conviction such a journey requires. Whether or not they are correct is, to me ,secondary, though I believe they are on the right path.

What I admire is that they strayed from the consensus, they escaped the group-think and the brainwashing of scientism, all while holding fast to a theory of a collective unconscious. At what point, I keep wondering, did they choose to deviate from the accepted experts in their fields and trust their own knowing? I’m so curious, because I seem to have arrived at that crossroad myself.

I’ve read many books by seasoned gardeners and farmers with great interest; I was a Master Gardner for a couple of years until politics got in the way; I’ve taken many classes, watched loads of videos and have now about six solid years of practical successes and failures under my belt. I can say with relative assurance that close to half of what I learned was wrong, or useless for me, or this particular region. In hindsight some of it was just a waste of time. Of course, there was much essential learning happening too, but I’m making my own rules in the garden now, based on little other than intuition.

I might be completely wrong, I’m sure I’ll be called totally crazy, but we will see how it goes. Considering the weather whiplash of this year, we are off to a pretty good start so far.

What’s calling me has many names that seem vaguely similar: companion planting, permaculture, biodynamic agriculture—it’s basically like organic farming on (natural) steroids. 🙂

snappeas
Snap peas with a backdrop of Texas squaw-weed, thriving even in the weather whiplash.

There is a growing amount of literature on the subject and I will continue to peruse through it, for ideas and inspiration of what to experiment with myself. I get the very strong sense that what this field needs is more explorers, more rascals and mavericks, more little devils tinkering with the science-status-quo. I begin with one overarching position—the answer is not to be bought. The answer exists in the nature right around us. I need only slow down, focus, and really listen.

I had a lesson just today on how I am certainly lacking in that level of detail and attention.  I was marveling for a moment on a butterfly that landed in the grass as I was walking back from feeding the pigs.  How marvelous, I thought, and I squatted down slowly and got closer.

aniseswallowtail
An Anise swallowtail. I did not know it at the time, but looked very closely so I could remember just what it looked like to later find its name in an internet search.

http://www.gardenswithwings.com/identify-butterflies.html

I thought how lucky and clever I was in that moment– Lucky that I had such time and appreciation of beauty to take extended notice and so clever that I thought to consciously memorize its details so I could later look it up.

I was so intent on it, I nearly missed the smaller, paler, but on closer examination equally exquisite butterfly laying still in the grass not even a foot away from his showy cousin.  A very tiny creature, brownish and so more camouflaged on the just greening grass, but with perfect miniscule polka-dots  in varied shades of blue along the base of its wings–but I could not find his likeness on any search.

Most certainly they were enjoying a tour of our garden.  Did they also think it too wild and untamed?  Weeds and crops growing side-by-side, on purpose?!  Were they as incredulous as most modern avid gardeners would be of my methods in madness?

I’m sensing the butterflies saw it more like this.

gardensalad

But the weeds!  They are choking and starving your crops!  Are they?  All of them?  How do you know this, I now question.  You see, the jumping jacks are delicious and gorgeous in a salad and they want to grow next to the onions.  And the lady slippers and carrots growing side-by-side not only looked lovely, but produced the best crop yet.

carrots

The most unexpected, and it would seem magical, transformation I’ve experienced since beginning our rural life is my sense of smell has gotten very keen.  So much so it’s become a disadvantage when trying to engage in the outside world.  What I consider a heightened sense, a new level of sensitivity that serves me very well in my immediate environment, is called by modern scientists as a symptom of a brain disorder.  It’s in the ballpark with phantosmia– I ‘hallucinate’ smells and over-register the strength of them, it seems.  I bet they’ve manufactured the ideal medication to rid me of my new superpower. 🙂

This week’s bread crumbs:

Yogic Science ‘one consciousness’  = high consciousness? Not sure about that, but found this one interesting enough to include it.  He made me wonder, when did the goal of spirituality become happiness?  Somehow, I missed that memo.

Dada Gunamuktananda https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo0X2ZdElQ4

Rupert Sheldrake—morphic resonance, 6th sense–says, on modern science: “Give us one free miracle and we’ll explain the rest.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jiJM4ybiho

You may call them simpletons, I call them inspiring.

“The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical.  It is at the root of all true science.  That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, is my idea of God.”  Einstein

muscove
Our Muscove flock–fertile and ferocious mothers that keep us in delicious meals all year.  Yesterday one ventured into the chicken coop and was attacked by the rooster and his harem and the ducks came across the yard to her rescue.  So loyal, and it would appear, terribly racist . . . or I guess species-ist?
rooster
“Is somebody messin’ with my bitches?” Nature is so very un-egalitarian, yet still manages to not slaughter one another–such a magical mystery our own social engineers might learn from!