Memory Lane

I rewrite this personal anecdote every few years, whenever it feels I might be able to improve it a bit at just a moment when I feel the seed may fall on fertile ground.

The scene: Me, alone, 1989, traveling by train through Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, East Germany before a semester abroad in Lille, France:

“Papers!”

The demand at every border, on both sides of the border, by intimidating uniformed men who could tell instantly I was a foreigner, well before my passport and visas were promptly presented. This is, for reference, even in the five miles it takes across ‘no man’s land’ from East Germany to West, between Germany and Italy, between Czech Republic and Slovakia, etc.

For reference, imagine traveling the equivalent of 3 states in New England and having to show your papers 6 times, even in the middle of the night in your sleeping car. Whether they chose to search your backpack or detain you for any number of unknown reasons depended more on the officials’ mood than anything you might say in the moment, so you learn quickly to keep your mouth shut, nod and smile, A LOT.

It was annoying and intimidating but especially, for me as a young, naive American, it was baffling. As was the constant currency exchanging, the shifting languages, the ghost-town Sundays when everything was closed. I was already used to being mobile across vast distances since my earliest memories without any of these inconveniences. It seemed primitive to me. Backwards, less advanced culturally, surviving from the Stone Age.

It was the first time I really considered a few of the advantages of my home country, since it was already trendy by that time at university to defile the uncouth, uneducated ‘ugly American abroad’.

When I went back again after grad school in the mid-90s I saw for the first time protestors against the European Union and heard for the first time the word “Globalism”. I considered those protestors as I did the other European inconveniences, that is, yet more survivors of the Stone Age. I’d bought the propaganda like the good student I was.

Please note—I was bold enough to travel through foreign countries alone as a ‘cute young thang’, foolish enough to roll my eyes at border officials (once), confident enough to crash on strangers’ couches or even on a bench of a train platform, desperate enough to work illegally, dumb enough to smoke hash in the loo, smart enough to learn a few foreign languages—but not nearly wise enough to recognize the mountain of propaganda I’d swallowed—hook, line and sinker.

No borders? Single currency? One GIANT happy Global family? What in carnation could be wrong with those protestors??

I saw the EU maneuvers as the continuation of a smooth skate in an ever-ascending flow toward cultural Enlightenment.

I was a front-row witness to an explosion of progress and those protestors were a visual menace to Europe’s peaceful transition. Thankfully for me, they were really easy to ignore. The politicians and media agreed with me, obviously, and slurred and minimized their pathetic attempts at being such bitter clingers to the past.

Ringing any bells yet?

It wasn’t for several more years that a few pinholes pierced through my blinders. First, it was non-stop celebration.

I lived on the Czech side of what was referred to as Sudetenland, just past the west German border and the goods were flowing, fast. The thrill of choosing between 3 kinds of toilet paper, the gratitude for non-fat yogurt, the convenience of plastic wrap and home phones and fancy new trains, all upstaged the coming onslaught, for a while.

Then the McDonalds came, and the ubiquitous candy and junk food and porn and the flood of advertising. And, once the EU was firmly established by the end of the decade throughout most of Europe, it became nearly impossible for an unconnected American to find legal work anymore.

And if that wasn’t all bad enough, then came the crowds.

Booming tourism, which I once believed would be a great thing, began invading all my favorite quiet haunts and deserted streets and the subtle, muted colors of old Europe went proverbially (and sometimes literally) neon.

And, finally, I questioned, “Uh-oh, what have I been blindly supporting through my ignorance and short-sidedness all this time?”

It had never occurred to me for a moment that I might be inviting in Tyranny through the back door. I’d considered myself an advocate of progress. But, I was not wise enough to ask: “Whose version of progress?”

The American Empire is on its last legs, but I never wanted, or asked, to be a part of any empire. Progress to me now means something very different than it did 3 decades ago. I wish we could go down more gracefully than the empires of the past, but there’s little hope of that.

So instead of hoping for a miracle I work, with growing awareness in ever-increasing ranks, toward piercing more pinholes in all those as unaware and propagandized as I once was—those who are still blinded by tyranny in its many guises and stuck in various roles of keeping it alive and thriving, while insanely badgering on about ‘progress’.

2+2=5 | Two & Two – [MUST SEE] Nominated as Best Short Film, Bafta Film Awards, 2012

(Hat tip to The New Abnormal for sharing this video and sending me down Memory Lane once again.)

Easy-Peasy 2020

Relatively speaking, we had an excellent year. I’m not the type to gloat, really. It comes as no surprise to me at all that my experience is pretty much the polar opposite of most folks most of the time. I accepted that ages ago and prefer to think I’m perfecting this ‘gift’ bit by bit, year by year.

Following are some highlights, some whys and hows and so forth, not meaning to boast or give advice, but rather to contrast previous years with my rosy 2020 perspectacles.

I perfected sourdough bread. I’ve been getting failures regularly for years without understanding why and thanks to one farm friend and her new guru, Elaine Boddy, I got the bitch slap needed to learn I was doing it ALL wrong. Not only was I making it infinitely more difficult than it had to be, I had a flabby starter and was creating needless waste. We’ve entered into higher consciousness sourdough on the wee homestead, praise be.

She doesn’t just make it look easy, she actually makes it easy.

I have also become a Kombucha master. Really, a master. It’s easy to say that for a number of reasons, but especially because so few folks drink it around here, or like it once they try it, that it’s in the realm of ‘acquired tastes’ and only needs to appeal to Hubby, and two nearby friend-aficionados. I’ve been working on signature blends for months, using seasonal herbs and fruits, have Kombucha vinegar in a few flavors and am now aging Kombucha champagne. It’s the funnest thing ever. Or, I’m just a real geek like that.

Of course, no one becomes master without help, and in Kombuchaland, this is Scripture:

Even funner than making cheese and much easier too.

Three great gardening successes overshadow the multiple failures—like a second year of sweet potato perils and a fourth year of melon miseries. I leave those to ponder in an upcoming post. For now, it’s Cranberry hibiscus, Blue coco beans and Trombetta squash. I really can’t praise them enough and they were prolific and worry-free and I can’t wait to plant them again in profusion.

But I once said that about the sweet potatoes and the melons, so I’ll shut up now.

Trombetta squash, delicious as summer or winter squash, we have one still standing in the kitchen waiting to be enjoyed.
It’s the sepals that are most popular for tea-making with the Thai red Roselle, aka cranberry hibicus or rosella.
Still eating these six months later and a second crop of volunteers came back at the end of summer.
All the wild grapes and pears we’d harvested and processed and froze in preparation for wine and cider-making were spoiled, because Hubby accidentally turned the deep freezer off. His one big dumb move of the year, pretty mild, relatively speaking again.

Extra-special mention goes of course to the best news of the year, Hubby’s layoff-rebranded early retirement, a somewhat unexpected miracle that has improved my reality already in very unexpected ways. Sometimes the true weight of a burden isn’t fully realized until it’s lifted.

I think he prefers his current working conditions.
Pretty certain it will take him a while to get sick of us, but just in case, there’s always the sourdough.

I knew he’d take over most of my animal chores leaving me more time in the garden and the kitchen, where I most prefer to be. And that he’d build more and relax more and check off items on the to-do list at a more satisfying pace. We’ve added two large asparagus beds, coop 3.0 has raised the bar once more in poultry housing, the orchard looks positively professionally and my promised potting shed is in the planning phase finally.

What I had not expected was how good all of that would feel and that it would come so early and that he’d be so glad about it and that we’d be prepared enough for it to not miss the income much in the foreseeable future.

There’s incredible empowerment and peace of mind in preparing, and not just financially. It has gone in a single year from “Prepping” being something we heard mocked for a decade in the mainstream to now feeling like we were choosing wisely all along—not the easy road for sure, but the right road for us and the many others doing likewise.

And with that a wee bit of a boast.

And another. Still, mask-free, with no need or intention to alter that reality or any of the layers horse shit coming down the pipeline with it in future. Have I earned the right yet to say what I really think about these fucking vaccines? Decker, at Dispatches from the Asylum, says it best so far: vials of battery acid.

Just mark me down in your permanent ‘anti-vaxx’ file and if they send the goons to our house, warn them they’ll be given a good ole-fashioned goose chase. (hmm, bravado before breakfast, I must be feeling good!)

Food for thought for the New Year:

“Ignorantly worshiping our own being on the theater of the external world leads to pathological behavior and neurosis. We are ensnared and enslaved to the will of despots in all sorts of guises. We are wide open to irrationality, manipulation, mania and insanity. As parents often work to deliberately undermine our will and identity, the world’s leaders and misleaders use our psychic dissociation to their advantage. In fact, our estrangement from ourselves is the main reason for the rise of all tyranny. However, the deadly predicament ends the moment we heed the inscription at the Oracle of Delphi – “Gnothi Seuton” or Know Thyself. No other instruction is needed on the journey toward enlightenment.

Jesus Meets Jung: Religion vs. Psychology – michaeltsarion

Homestead Happenings ‘Winter’

It’s GORGEOUS here. Sorry. The ‘weather gods’ Or, maybe that’s the weather engineers, are smiling on us, which is rare enough that we must embrace it for all it’s worth!

Sometimes I joke with Hubby, who chuckles like the Hero he really is: “Sweetie, the Sultans must be in town!” 😉

Time for few words, photos do it justice much better anyway. Happy Solstice, wherever y’all are!

New dog house and coop 3.0
Weather whiplash less extreme, here, for the moment
Ghost garden :). Floating row cover keeping us in salads.
Not too concerned about it
Retirement sucks

On Teachers & Students

Some of us are compelled by learning and therefore find ourselves comfortable in lifetime roles as teacher and student in tandem.

I left formal education with a Master’s degree in order to become a teacher, which I did do, for two decades. I’d probably still be teaching, but I became too disgusted by the system to continue in it. First, I witnessed as students became little more than commodities and teaching became not about learning, but about customer service. That was higher education, but once testing became the anchor of achievement in high school education, it’s the same thing in a different mask.

I used to encourage my students to challenge me, to “talk back” because I saw that was a serious lack in my own upbringing and education and vowed not to pay it forward. Students found me challenging, but fair, and I took that as the highest compliment that can be awarded to a teacher.

As the curriculum noose continued to tighten around our necks I watched as 99% of my colleagues went with the new and ever-tightening program for a few more years. Then I gave up. The system had sucked out everything I’d loved about teaching and was actively trying to turn me, and my students, into automatons, robots. When I lost the joy in it I was no longer good at it.

It was a blow to my ego and our bank account, but I knew I’d made the right choice for my soul. It’s been a few years now and surprisingly to myself, I don’t miss it. I embraced the student role fully again—on all things homesteading and conspiracy theory. An odd match, one might think, but to me it makes perfect sense.

Conspiracy theory is the study of power, that’s it in a nutshell. It’s not nearly as scary as the mainstream news, social engineers and politicians make it out to be. I was forced out of education for my own lack of power—it seems obvious to me then to restore my individual power I needed to understand much more about how power functions. I’ve been blown away by my own ignorance on that front.

To seriously study conspiracy theory one needs a firm grasp on two fundamental topics: psychology and social engineering. The essential sub-groups stem from there: history, religion, spirituality, politics, philosophy, linguistics, folklore, and more.

Like with homesteading, there’s FAR more to learn than can be done in a single lifetime or by a single individual. And for that, I find them both absolutely enthralling and a perfect marriage—the essentials of the practical and the esoteric bound together forever.

I know there will come a time I move once more from the student role to the teacher role in these endeavors. That time is not in my near future. I’m waiting for something, or someone, but I can’t tell you for what, or for whom.

But with leaving my formal, former student/teacher career came the most valuable lesson of my life, which I see now is becoming increasingly pertinent for loads of folks: When to walk away. Like the old song goes: “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em . . . .“

For anyone truly dedicated to their roles, this is going to be seriously challenging. You’re going to create a huge, empty space in your life that you’ll then have to guard like a bulldog so that chicanery and nonsense are not then sucked into the gap.

Discernment will become your best friend. Attempts to manipulate your re-emerging Self with group-think or calls to obedience will become intolerable. You will lose friends at a rapid clip.

But you will become an expert student and the expert student needs to know only one thing: When to walk away.

Be brave.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Most of our cyber-only friends don’t know this, because we’ve been keeping it secret for security’s sake, but for the last nearly decade we’ve been establishing our wee homestead, I’ve been doing it alone for half the month.

I’ve wanted many times to talk about how hard this has been on this blog where I’ve shared so very many of our ups and downs, bad moods, worse ideas, unpopular philosophies and big defeats sporadically dotted with a few triumphs.

It’s been not only lonely and isolating, but also on more than a few occasions, terrifying, like when the tornado came through in the middle of the night, or the many times I’ve had to manage alone tasks like lambing—including their challenging life and death complications—all of which I have absolutely no previous experience with—having been raised in the burbs. We started with nothing, now we’ve got garden, orchard, dogs—started with chickens and now have poultry, sheep, goats, pigs. When I injured my shoulder about two years ago I was really at my wit’s end.

Of course, it was no picnic for Hubby either. He was offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, on platforms with all dudes, working long days far from home for weeks at a time for all those years. Then he’d come home and scarcely rest before diving in to the book-long homesteading to-do list and climbing learning curve after learning curve. He spent his vacations building coops and corrals and many acres worth of fencing.

Of course as well, he worried about me here alone, especially in the beginning. My learning to shoot gave him a bit of a respite, but considering I suck at it as well as abhor doing it leveled that relief mostly.

We stopped taking vacations, have almost no social life, rarely buy new anything. We both equally dreaded the inevitable moment one of our 4 big dogs died of old age or had a fatal accident while I was here alone. We lucked out there.

The physical challenges were hard enough, but the emotional ones have been exceptionally challenging for me.

Sundays off became a forced ritual after the first few years, a much needed one we’ve become reliant upon now in order to remind ourselves weekly that ultimately we came here for a better quality of life, not to recreate city-like schedules in the country and killing ourselves for some potentially unattainable goal.

So, after all that backstory, I’m beyond thrilled to announce a new chapter for us, one of those blessings in disguise that I hinted about a few posts ago . . .
Hubby’s been laid off!

We’ve rebranded it as early retirement and have already celebrated with champagne and verses of “For he’s a jolly good fellow!”

For he truly is—jolly good and my Great Hero—we’ve no idea what’s in store for us yet and that’s a fun place for us to be again.

Had we not been preparing for this potential outcome our disposition would be very different. And with this post I don’t want in any way to diminish the hardships of the very many families who’ve lost their income in this Plandemic, or those who surely still will.

We’ve been living low on the hog, as the saying goes. It’s been a lot of little sacrifices that are now paying off in peace of mind and time to reflect, rejoice and redesign.

We are not self-sustaining still, maybe we will never be, but we still hold out hopes and intentions toward that goal.

Thanks to the readers out there who’ve stuck with me during my foul tempers, moody rants—now you know mostly their underlying triggers and you can expect more positivity in future.

Or at least that’s the plan so far. 😉

Cheers

True Sustainability

As the United Nations, Club of Rome, World Health Organization and various other international ‘public-private’ partnerships try to propagandize the world into their vision of “Global Sustainability” there are a number of crucial variables they’ve left out, which localities could capitalize on, if they were made aware of this potential.

For example, did you know there are salt mines all over place in this country? Salt was the basis of our first ‘trade markets’ — long before exotic spices of the Orient — salt was King of the World.

Salt was, well, worth its weight in gold, as the saying goes. Why do we import tea, the ‘native Americans’ might have queried of the mostly British expats settling here? There’s perfectly good tea all around you, can’t you see? And they might have made a few good jokes about that.

But salt? You’re going to import salt, too? What the bleep for?! That’s not even joke-worthy, that’s just a dumb-ass death sentence! You know it’s everywhere around here, right? And the gold y’all so covet, what’s that for, exactly? Y’all are really so very attached to your adornments, eh? Good choices there, give over your salt, so you starve, for gold, so you can pay your taxes. Brilliant system!

Here on the wee homestead we came inspired to see how long and far a road it is to self and community sustainability. We were thinking like most homesteaders, survivalists, etc., are thinking—food, water, energy. Obvious, these are crucial.

But what about the salt? That, along with the water, was the very first thing either robbed, buried, or tainted by the industrialist-minded settlers. Not the ones who came for a better life more aligned with their God and purpose, the ones who came expressly to profiteer for the pay-masters back home.

Long before our water and air were compromised, our people enslaved to the State and our ranges overrun with slave labor, our salt was “buried” by the Global Regulators. There are salt mines and primal (renewable, sub-surface geysers, essentially) water available all over this country.

That was known centuries ago! But go ahead and demonstrate your loyalty to the State, that tricked and enslaved your Great, Great Grandparents and before, by wearing that muzzle of submission and voting for your next tyrant.

Don’t care where your salt comes from? Next you don’t care where your water comes from, or your food comes from, or your energy, or anything else.

Line up, bend over, take your shot.

https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/texas/salt-mine-tx/

Envy Is Everything

I’ve heard contention whether envy or jealousy is ‘le mot juste’ and while I’m interested in the semantics, in this particular case, for the moment, I’m more interested in the feelings.

Let’s just say, for the sake of this post and the wisdom I’m trying to impart within it, that envy, like its roots, denote from ‘envie’, or, ‘to desire’. That is, within this particular context, to desire something for its own sake, not to receive pleasure by withholding from another.

To desire something at the expense of another is a feeling I’ve not yet known, though I’m assured constantly it’s a quite universal feeling. Not that I’m saying at any level that I’d wish to share my spouse, as one example, with another for the sole sake that such an individual would benefit, at the level that I theoretically might, according to such anecdotes, from the accolades or astral benefits of sharing my spouse. Now that I’ve only managed to combombulat the issue, let me state it unequivocally: Desire is love without the commitment.

To say “J’ai envie de toi.” is a far more sexually explicit thing to say in French than to say “Je t’aime.” Yet both are translated often as “I love you.” In Spanish the two expressions prove even more nebulous.

Until this particular feeling enlightens my consciousness I can only say what I’ve experienced personally in that relative ballpark. I have “envied” only one person in my entire life—in this particular sense of I WANT what you’ve GOT—and it was not for her beau, or her looks, or her wealth—though that is not to say that any of those were not enviable. In fact, as enviable as any of these things might be, this young woman would have no idea whatsoever I ever ‘envied’ her at all. It was like 20 years ago, or so.

And yet, when I think of her, my heart is stroked. I get a knee-jerk reaction of nostalgia mixed with mystery that evokes in turn a tear-jerk reaction that is completely unique to this particular individual.

I don’t even remember her name. In fact, in the most attracting moments I ironically also found her a bit irritating—as odd as that sounds—too lively, too happy, too in love, or something.

She was blonde and bubbly and sleeping with the boss, so I really don’t knock my irritation too much. But, she had something else. It’s so extraordinarily rare anyone has anything I want, but she had it. To me, in a way I didn’t understand at all at the time, she had the ring of power.

And She had it so fucking good it burned. It burned me! My desire for what she had burned me, so hard, that over 20 years later, my biggest triumph in life is, #metoo. But not for her man, her plan, or her choices!

No, not that #metoo nonsense!

She knew the plants.

We walked through Prince William Sound Alaska, and the flora and fauna were like relatives to her. She knew her TERRITORY! Never, not ever before or since, have I felt that kind of envie.

And now I know, if she were to meet me again now, she’d say the very same thing about me.

She’d see in me what I saw in her: Pride in my territory.

And so, this strange young woman I knew for only a few months, in changing the course of my mind, changed the course of my life, for the better, forever.

And she has no clue about it, at all, and most likely never will.

Homestead Happy Snaps

Bullied in my own hammock! Apparently she’s one of a great many in this country who have taken a few lessons in tyranny.

Ok, so I let her win, this time. At least I got an egg out of it.

I love foraging for mushrooms! I just really wish they were easier to identify. Like good sourdough, it’s serious business, but some folks make it look so easy.

I’m a novice, still, after years, but getting there on the slow boat. A lunch of freshly foraged chanterelles sautéed in butter with a delicious sourdough I’m still trying to master. Along with a whole lot of mushrooms I can’t identify.

We can’t even buy bread like this in our area and I bet there’s a lot of folks in that boat. DIY! Here’s the expert to show you just how to do it: https://youtu.be/UF9dCkKhBnI

Homestead Happenings

Just a wee update on the wee homestead during our current Sweltering Season—that runs from about mid-July to October here—where you thank Man every damn day, and especially every night, for inventing A/C, and refrigeration.  As miserable as it is, especially when the weather makers continue to steal our rain, this has been the best one yet for me.

When we first came here I swore I’d travel every summer at this time.  HA!  After that plan failed, I’d give up on the garden by this time, because who really cares about okra and eggplant anyway?  I’d ritually whine to Hubby we are over-producing.

Recently pulling out a hot sauce from 5 years ago, with pickles and marinara still left from 2 years ago, Hubby made an astute (yet annoying) observation.   “Aren’t you glad now we were over-producing?”

Yes, indeed I am.  I haven’t had to don a face diaper yet, and I’ve no intention to.  I’ve got a freezer full of grapes and tomatoes to process, a fridge full of peppers and a living room full of pears awaiting the same fate, fall seedlings started, a pack of dogs at my feet, and the plan to take a serious ‘home vacation’ very soon.  More details on that forthcoming.

In the meantime, look how the girls have grown!

6DCFBCBD-D7EB-4DA6-9822-1213CF4D5FFF

We’ve established a favorite snack station!

94D0E5D4-BD51-4F76-A76A-1B5DC2FD09F1

Not for sure if all the sheep are pregnant, but clearly the majority are, fingers crossed.

F347C12B-F962-4160-BA62-A49C02956E64

The hummingbirds and bees are happy with my offerings and don’t even notice the heat, it seems.  6 colonies going strong so far, or so it seems from their activity at the entrance, because I never mess with them in the Sweltering Season.

The old piglets are getting fat while Mamma & Papa Chop are getting reacquainted in the Back 40, planning for more piglets soon on the way, we hope.

92CB272D-F211-4420-86AD-C9CBF5F44FC8

I’ll leave out the part where friends and I are complaining about the mysterious lack of butterflies this year.

 

Homestead Happenings

Just another loungey Sunday on the wee homestead.  I’m so grateful I don’t have to go to the grocery store, or venture to town at all or anywhere near where masks are apparently now required, and witness the ‘shitf**kery’ (Decker’s choice expression from Dispatches from the Asylum, highly recommended for anyone who might wish to choose a few minutes of lucid reality) happening all around us, apparently, like a super-creepy episode of the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror.

Here we have problems, who doesn’t.  Even if might be completely unmanageable problems, at least they are sane, rational problems.

FBC516A2-D5B7-42EA-9173-97594E302A17
Another 20 pounds of wild grapes, whatever to do with them all?  And melons harvested a bit early due to disease, no where to store them but the living room as they ripen, so problematic.

F389D82C-AD74-488E-BE9F-EB77189468B9
Girls gone grazing!  Whatever to do, what if the kids flock with the sheep and forget all about me?  This is what keeps me up at night.

8A881B69-031F-4734-BF79-6BF790647BDE
Why are some of my very favorite plants considered toxic and are pooh-pooed by ‘science’ and most of my modern-day neighbors (and certainly NOT by my ancestral ones!)?  Like this gorgeous castor bean, the ubiquitous pokeweed everybody wants to kill, and especially my most beloved Datura?  These heat-lovers belong in the South!

86E390C6-8DCF-4AFA-B69E-009CB398E380
A gorgeous volunteer Datura growing here in the background.  No poultry have died from it, though we’ve lost more than usual to something mysterious, about 20 now, one or two at a time, with no clue as to why.

Here’s a wonder: why do Lowe’s, Walmart, and all the other shills of the Corporatocracy sell the same zucchini and yellow squash seedlings that are nearly impossible for organic gardeners to grow according to everyone I’ve talked to, including the Master Gardeners to whom I once was a member?  Get out there with your hand-vac at dawn, they all said, to gobble up all the squash bugs and vine borers they attract, meanwhile this gorgeous heirloom squash (Trombetta) takes it all, virtually maintenance-free, with the stamina of a giant, even in our crazy summer heat?!

Bubba & Buttercup: “How to stay cool in incessantly manufactured weather, we wonder?  Don’t worry, we’ll find a way!”

11E1F226-CAD1-4699-A40E-47870C96D6F4
And here’s to the countless ninnies and nitwits claiming Trump is solving the weather modification/geoengineering issue.  Come on now, do I have to go back to photographing the sky every damn day?

22DBB9EA-1095-4FA5-988E-F49E3D986C99
“Mamma, we’ll follow you anywhere, just save us from the chicanery and chaos of civilization!”