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Messages - funkyspec

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Doomsteading / Re: 2014 PASA conference
« on: January 10, 2014, 03:22:57 PM »
I'll pm you when we finalize travel plans. Thanks for the info on the preconference track. I thought I would ask you about Ben Falk since you knew a lot about another author of a permaculture farm book I read, Darrell Frey.

Doomsteading / Re: 2014 PASA conference
« on: January 09, 2014, 10:04:48 AM »
Thanks jd for the detailed reply esp. the info on the hotel situation.

We'll be coming from coastal MD, so it's at least a 5 hour drive for us. We managed to score a scholarship that should cover our basic conference admission.

Since you seem to be plugged into the east coast permaculture scene, I am wondering if you think it is worth me attending the Ben Falk preconference track on Thurs. I may have to pay some of that out of pocket. I guess I am asking if you are familiar with Ben Falk and what you think of him. I haven't read his book.

Anyways, if I go, we have to try to meet up in person. You'll be the first diner (and sun4living member) that I would be meeting face to face.

Doomsteading / 2014 PASA conference
« on: January 09, 2014, 05:50:29 AM »
I was wondering if any diners are planning on going to the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Conference in State College, PA, Feb. 5-8 this year?

jdwheeler - have you ever been to this conference and is it worth attending? 

There seem to be lots of permaculture-themed and otherwise interesting workshops and sessions. ("Integrated Pest Management in the Natural Orchard," "Successful Drafthorse Methods for Market Gardening," "Modifying/Making & Using Your Own Equipment" to name a few)

Ben Falk, author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach, is doing a whole day pre-conference track on this book topic.

I've never been to this conference but know that it is probably the most well-known "sustainable ag" conference in the mid-atlantic.

The Diner Pantry / Re: Real Men Make Quiche
« on: November 20, 2013, 07:09:22 AM »
Our last WWOOFER was pretty handy in the kitchen for an 18yo. She made 2 quiches for us (and yes, RE, she made the crusts from scratch, although we used the thin disposable aluminum pie pans).  Eggs, peppers, mustard greens, onions were from the farm. Mushrooms from the farmers market. Unpasteurized milk from Pennsylvania. Cheese and butter from the store.

She also made frittata for us - same as the quiche above minus the crust.

It would be cool to do a 100% farm ingredient quiche - goat milk, cheese, and butter.

I'm going to do some Jeavons beds next season and small scale hand-grown and processed grains are a big part of Jeavons biointensive farm/garden plans, so maybe we can even produce the ingredients for the crust.

Good on ya Eddie for sharing this. Hope the potluckers enjoyed your quiche and you enjoyed what they brought.

Energy / Re: Is This Dumbed Down and Innocent Enough for an Editorial?
« on: November 17, 2013, 05:49:42 AM »
Hi illdill -

NYT published an editorial recently where the author openly discussed the possibility of human extinction due to climate change.

For yours, you may want to define some terms at the beginning - energy as the capacity to do work, work as force acting over a distance, and "economic work" as a subset of physical work.

George Mobus has written on these topics, including EROI, in an accessible manner. Some of his blog posts and presentations could inform your potential dumbed down editorial. This is a good presentation of his with which to start: Net Energy and the Economy

Good luck getting your editorial published.

Doomsteading / Re: Meanwhile back at the 'stead
« on: October 29, 2013, 05:43:16 AM »
Eddy -

The USDA's NRCS has a web app for their soil survey(s). I was able to zoom in on the property where I farm (which was the property I used for my PDC project site). The app will generate pdf maps showing soil types, water table, and lots of other data for the area you've zoomed in on.

The app is not completely intuitive to use, but if you spend a little time with it, you should be able to figure it out. I don't know how useful this will be for your basemap, but it is a great tool for getting some free data for your site.

You can also use google maps to help with your basemap, if you haven't already thought of that.

The Kitchen Sink / Re: Doomer Normal Distribution Graph
« on: October 23, 2013, 07:48:48 AM »
RE, have you moved more to the right since the last time you posted something like this (I think it was a poll with categories like Doomer, Uber Doomer, etc.) ?

Right now, I am being heavily recruited by both Team Two Sigma and Team Three Sigma (captained by Guy McPherson).

I would say 100% probability of humanity's population going through a bottleneck this century due to massive overshoot of planet Earth's carrying capacity.

Significant nonzero probability of human extinction resulting from said bottleneck and the climate changing too rapidly in all global locations for Homo sapiens to adapt. Let's say 50% chance of Homo sapiens extinction by the year 3000. (I have no way of justifying this number other than it being "nonzero")

Seasteading / Re: In Praise of Pantheism
« on: October 18, 2013, 05:02:41 AM »
Here is a quote from Thesis #8 of the brilliant rewilding 30 theses by Jason Godesky regarding the religions of foraging societies vs. the religions of agricultural societies:

"Foragers are almost invariably shamanistic animists. Their religion posits a world that is sacred and bursting with life. Details vary widely, but there is almost always a deep appreciation for non-human life, even sometimes on par with human life, as well as a conviction that humans are intimately bound into the natural world. Humans often enjoy a pride of place, even in forager mythology, but the divide between human and non-human life that is so prominent in agricultural mythology is almost always absent. This can easily be seen as a consequence of the forager lifestyle, of course. Tracking, hunting, gathering fishing and all other forms of foraging require not only an intimate knowledge of the food species being sought, but its relations with all other species. This kind of appreciation for other organisms as part of a complex “web of life” cannot help but be reflected in the forager’s own ruminations on humanity’s place in the world. By the same token, any forager who takes on the more prominent ideas among agriculturalists concerning humanity’s separation from the natural world and position as ruler, or in the best case “steward,” of the world would be very prone to over-exploiting her resources. Such a forager culture would be at a distinct disadvantage to a more animistic forager culture. Thus, natural selection favors shamanistic and animistic beliefs among foragers, and selects strongly against the memes found in civilizations."

The Diner Pantry / Re: Long Potatoes
« on: August 29, 2013, 01:51:52 PM »
Eric Toensmeier's Perennial Vegetables also has some decent info on non-potato tuber crops for North America. Each plant profiled has a map that shows perennial and annual growing ranges. Many of the tuber crops are plant/harvest/replant like the potato and some are true perennials.

Carol Deppe's Resilient Gardener has a great chapter on potatoes, integrating botany, cultivation, and preparation of the mighty potato.

I have been growing 15+ varieties of potatoes for the past few years for a small organic farmer. I am now really trying to focus on learning and mastering fossil-fuel-free methods. Checking out the "Return to Eden" video which has details a wood chip mulch bed method (recommended by a fellow diner - my concern being how to get wood chips easily sans fossil fuels). I've also done Jeavons double-dug beds for taters with nothing but hand tools - this included breaking sod by hand with an eye hoe. There are hand and draft animal cultivation methods from pre-famine Ireland and also traditional high Andes peasant methods but it is hard finding detailed documentation.

I still have much to learn, but I do believe it is good to be LONG POTATOES AND HAND TOOLS.   Even though doom and possibly near term extinction of humans are COMING TO A THEATER NEAR YOU.

Doomsteading / Re: Putting food on the table...
« on: August 23, 2013, 02:51:32 PM »
In my PDC we did our own design project for a site of our choice, which I think is great. Regarding getting a pro to help you, unless you can find someone familiar with your region and area, it might not be worth it. If you've been on your site for awhile, you probably know it better than most humans. One of the permaculture principles is the value of extended observation of your site prior to starting design or implementation. I know as collapseniks, we feel pressed for time since we may not be able to obtain from the existing industrialized economy the trees/seeds, tools, and other supplies we need for our food production systems, but it might make sense to spend a few years observing before designing and installing your forest garden.

Seasteading / Re: The Sea Gypsy Tribe
« on: August 22, 2013, 04:14:30 PM »
I would totally support the sea gypsy tribal idea and would strongly consider joining if given an opportunity. I learned to sail years ago at USNA, but have only been a few times. A navy buddy and I came close to bailing on society and living the cruising life 20 years ago, but we were enjoying ourselves as surf bums in Hawaii at the time.

I have left the real economy for now and work on a small organic farm growing vegetables and starting permaculture projects a few miles from the Atlantic Coast in Maryland now. No firm attachments to land though, and if I met the right boat and crew and they would have me, I think I would set sail.

Regarding piracy, I have Benerson Little's The Sea Rover's Practice on my reading list. Not because I fear piracy and want to "know my enemy," but because it contains lots of info of how small groups were motivated at sea in pre-industrial times.

An amazon reviewer posted one of the last paragraphs of the book, with the final sentence giving hope to the chance of tribes at sea forming successfully:

"Whatever their vices, weaknesses, and moral ambiguities, these buccaneers have in common with most sea rovers several tactical virtues, including innovation, loyalty, perseverance, adaptability, and courage. Collectively, they prove that a loose, uncentralized, and informal network can conduct significant, complex military operations. They show the effect that an irregular force can have on the resources of a powerful state, causing great economic damage and tying down significant forces. And, most importantly, they demonstrate that elements of broadly divergent and disparate cultures, races, nationalities, classes, professions, and personalities can act as one with a common goal."

Doomsteading / Re: Putting food on the table...
« on: August 22, 2013, 03:53:09 PM »
Regarding "gardening under the canopy" -

Living in coastal Maryland now, I am in the "Eastern Temperate Forests" ecoregion (you can get the ecoregion maps from epa web site). Our ecoregion climax community is the deciduous temperate forest. One of the main permaculture food production strategies is to design systems that mimic natural systems, so the "edible forest garden" makes good sense for my ecoregion. Basically, a forest garden mimics a natural forest system, replacing some of the natural species with species more useful to humans. The idea is that nature supplies most of the energy in maintaining this system (nobody has to weed or fertilize a forest). This strategy is different from agriculture, which relies on a strategy of humans using a lot of energy to control which species appear (or don't appear) on a piece of land.

From the level I map, it looks like this ecoregion extends into TX, with the rest of the state part of the "Great Plains" ecoregion. I think the Great Plains climax community is the prarie, so depending on where you live, an edible forest garden may not make the most sense.

Doomsteading / Re: Putting food on the table...
« on: August 21, 2013, 01:29:48 PM »
Thanks for sharing Eddie. I remember doing some camping in Texas Hill Country in the early 90s when I was going through navy flight school in Corpus Christi.

Regarding your tractor woes - I hope this is helping you figure out how to do agriculture and permaculture without the ~100 energy slaves of diesel.

We are in zone 7b according to the USDA 2012 zone map, but we're pretty close to 8 here in coastal Maryland. We're trying a bunch of heirloom dry beans varieties this year and most seem to be doing well. I can't remember all of the varieties off the top of my head - Tiger Eye(?), Jacob's Cattle(?). We actually started them in 72-cell trays, transplanted, weeded once, then mulched with straw.  Our first trellis collapsed, so these guys are just sprawling. Some are bush, but some are runners.

We also are growing an eye candy bean for the farmers market - Thai Long Purple - that is doing well. Same treatment as the dry beans above.

Regarding manure: we leave a trailer at a nearby horse stable and they fill it for us and call us when it is full. The 75 yo propery owner knows most of the nearby horse stable owners well. 2 years ago when we were farming a different property, we got manure from a horse rescue farm (my farm partner knew them - not that well - and she just called and asked).

My two main permaculture projects are designing the canopy layer for our edible forest garden (trees to planted this spring) and an edible hedge along the north edge of one of our fields. We are also doing a groundcover berry planting on the southern part of the same field - garden strawberry interplanted with white clover, cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) interplanted with white clover for the wetter part of this planting, and creeping blueberry.

Science, Inventions & Techology / Re: Inventing the Wheel: An Epiphany
« on: August 12, 2013, 04:21:21 PM »
Umm, look at all the JOINTS on the Imperial Walkers.  They are all wheel/axle.



Science, Inventions & Techology / Re: Inventing the Wheel: An Epiphany
« on: August 11, 2013, 05:29:39 PM »
Wheels, schmeels. Who needs 'em?  According to RE the Incans and Mayans certainly didn't.

Neither did the Evil Galactic Empire. When you're obliterating a planet, why roll around in a wheeled vehicle when you can "walk" in style in one of these:

Although we modern humans have pretty much managed to obliterate Earth with our precious gas-powered wheeled vehicles.

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