Monday, April 30, 2007

i'm fond of this little place in cyber space, and i'm gonna keep it. however, i can't write as much as i used to because i'm doing more other shit.

this blog, Out on the Limb, is by my new friend Deb. she came all the way from Washington to Mountain Gardens, and after an all too brief spell she's leaving us again. so it goes. parting is such sweet sorrow.

hmmmm.... Mountain Gardens has a mellow, nourishing atmosphere. it's a combination of the more natural setting, the simpler lifestyle, and the community, i think. whatever the formula is, it's condusive to my reimagining my relationships with everyone, 'specially myself. here's the latest halfbaked batch:

i've been over-hyped about my identity, trying to be a hero in my own little epic for a long time (thanks hollywood). i've had to be tense to carry that burden, trying to mould my life to look like the ever-evolving ideal in my head. with so much attention on myself, albeit on an amazing person i'm really not, i haven't been able to "put my attenae up" as far as i'd like to and see what other people are about. and i've had to willfully ignore the stethescope that would tell me how my heart really beats.

not that the ideals i've been carrying laboriously about, (or idols, if you prefer) haven't brought me some good and unusual things. they brought me to the Zoo Academy, to permaculture and anarchy and Earth First!, to Mountain Gardens. to passion. but if i spend all my time leading the horse to water and willing it to drink, i'll never get to taste the water my ownself.

also, i've caught myself thinking that i'm a fish that is wearing some kind of magick/high-tech suit that lets me play on land.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Scrooge McDuck

Joe's a big fan of the comics that became "Duck Tails" when I was young. They're hilarious parodies of the American Dream. The protagonist is oneScrooge McDuck, an eccentric centrifugillionaire, whose always almost losing his money and always thinking about it. His spends most of his free time in his money boz, which contains 3 cubic acres of coins. He likes to "dives about in it like a porpoise", burrow through it like a gopher and toss it up and let it hit him on the head. His ceasing to consider the hoarde as currency and it's frequently precarious position (the hollow Earth opens up beneath it, robbers try to steal it, he must leave it to get away from his city's smog, etc.) show the follies of an addiction to money. Apparently there's a similar critique of technology in the form of Gyro Gearloose, an inventor and believer in Progress, who almost always get the gang killed when he tries to do something right.

Pick 'em up and look at 'em if you get chance. It's a classic piece of American literature. Here's a pic of Scrooge.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Banjos, Strings McPickens, and the CrimethInc. convergence touches down in the Buckeye State

A banjo is being played frequently by my globe-trotting comrade in gardening, Aaron. So here's something you probably did not know about it: it was brought to this continent by West Senegalese slaves, who, being forbidden to build drums, made a simple version of their native Xalam out of a halved gourd and twine (or cat intestines). Gleaned from Hillbilly Savants. I am also reading about the infamous Strings McPickens, a Southern folk hero and vigilante.

and for those in the IN-KY-OH tristate area, here's a reprint of email to my email peeps:

Hey Pals,

CrimethInc., everyone's favorite Ex-Workers' Collective, is going to be
having a big shindig in Athens! For those of you less familiar with
CrimethInc., it's an association of adventurerers that believes the world
is a ripe apple that you should pick afresh, every day, and that anything
that stands in everybody's way of doing so is simply another hurdle to
merrily leap over. My other comrades in CWC have been a great inspiration
over the years, and if I could go be with them I would. To learn more,

for love and freedom,


Thursday, April 19, 2007

the Moonies are for real. dystopia is here, right alongside our utopia

i'll be looking into this more in-depth later, but have you heard of Reverend Moon and his craziness? well, here's for starters: 81 USA congress-people, along with big shots from all the major imperialist religions, crowned him (and his wife) King of the universe in the fucking Senate office building 3 years ago! what the bloody hell does this mean?! i dunno.

what did the lone hobbit say to his predominantly dwarven dragon-hunting collective?

i feel tolkeinized.

i'm two days from finishing The Warrior's Workout, and after a month of buddhist quips and painfully high kicks i do feel rather more enlightened. if anybody wants the book after i'm done with it, just holla. testimonial: there's a slack line set up behind the library, and with this kung fu under my belt i am not so prone to face plant off of it.

in other news, "being in the now" proves to be as rewarding and difficult as it's been since i can remember. the Sifu says that anything we do can be "action meditation", that you can lose your ego in the tumble of any activity if you focus enough attention on it, really get into it. in fact, he likes to point out the limited usefullness of sitting in lotus position for hours on end.

i'm thinking about starting a series of Organic Gardening 101 modules, to fit with my dad's needs to transform his property.

i continue to add to the blogroll. here's a new one: Pirate Papa: A Journal of Anarcho-Green D(o).I(t).Y(ourself). Parenting

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Ashevillage Institue

Located in a neighborhood a few blocks from downtown Asheville, NC, the Ashevillage Institute (AVI) is in its early stages of becoming an urban education center and living laboratory dedicated to sustainable solutions in action. AVI will serve as headquarters for Kleiwerks International, the Ashevillage Building Convergence, and other community meetings. Currently, AVI is one almost complete eco-remodel house in a group of four private homes with a shared backyard. There is a mostly complete earthen cottage in place, called the "Garottage." With a focus on local, regional, national and international outreach and education, AVI will provide a:

*Hands-on center for classes, workshops, presentations & service learning
*Urban demonstration of permaculture & natural building
*Community meeting space, library, studio & more
*Housing for live-in staff & volunteers
*Community healing sanctuary & bath house
*Inspiring model & support network for neighborhood-based permaculture design
*Kleiwerks International & Ashevillage Building Convergence (ABC) headquarters

(green) anarchist yellow pages

hmf. have you been to the Anarchist Yellow Pages lately? it is sadly out of date. i've used it to good effect before, but alas, when i first got to Ashville, looking for comrades, i hung out with squatters because the infoshop AYP promised had been closed for more than a year.

besides being outdated, look at the categories you must choose from when SUBMITTING a proposal to put your project on the AYP:

Alternative Media (Print / Internet)
Alternative Media (Radio / TV / Video)
Anarcha-Feminist / Anti-Sexist
Anarchist Black Cross
Anarchist Group
Anti-Capitalist / Global Action
Anti-Fascist Group
Archive / Library
Community Space / Social Center
Food Not Bombs
Industrial Workers of the World
Infoshop / Bookstore
International of Anarchist Federations
International Workers Association
Libertarian Marxist / Ultra Left
Libertarian Publication
Libertarian Web Site Project
Publisher / Distributor / Mail Order
Social Ecologists
Syndicalist Union / Group

conspicuously absent is any mention of anarchist people of color, rewilders, Earth First!, autonomous technology developers. what about what about what about?! you can be a social ecologist, but not a deep ecologist.

how can we improve this noble effort at spreading the good word? your thoughts, please.

shiso and shawnee salad; scary political matchings

today, i was reminded of the "shiso" that grows in many simple urban Cincinnati gardens. i ment to talk about it last summer, just didn't get round to it. it's name was spotted in a package of pickled ginger at the food co-op, and so here i am, bringing it to your attention.

according to the mother of all wikis:

"Perilla is a genus of annual herb that is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. The most common species is Perilla frutescens var. japonica or shiso which is mainly grown in India and East Asia. There are both green-leafed and purple-leafed varieties which are generally recognized as separate species by botanists. The leaves resemble stinging nettle leaves, being slightly rounder in shape. It is also widely known as the Beefsteak plant. In North America, it is increasingly commonly called by its Japanese name, shiso, in addition to being generally referred to as perilla. Its essential oils provide for a strong taste whose intensity might be compared to that of mint or fennel. It is considered rich in minerals and vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to help preserve and sterilize other foods. In Nepal and parts of India, it is called silam. Its seeds are ground with chili and tomatoes to make a savoury dip/side dish."

this purple type's the one all over Clifton Heights. again, quoting el wiko:
"The purple type is called akajiso (赤紫蘇 "red shiso"?) and is used to make umeboshi (pickled ume), or combined with ume paste in sushi to make umeshiso maki. An inflorescence of shiso is called hojiso. Its young leaves and flower buds are used for pickling in Japan and Taiwan."

the other plant, i could only find online reference to in the humongous .pdf file Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, which says it's latin name is Hydrophyllum virginicum. it's leaves are green, splotched with a more silverish verdency. Joe says when the silver dissapears later in the season, it will be too late to enjoyably consume.

in other news, i hear that Pope Ratzinger has appointed Henry Kissinger as an advisor. and Will made fun of Chavez for waving around a Chompsky book. seriously, when i heard this my fear of the dark returned and i had trouble going from building to building last night.

and... 'parently these posters are popping up all over Europe in train stations:

i start to get acquainted with Traditional Chinese Medicine

when people ask me how i found MG and why i chose it, out of all the other places i could be, i usually tell the that any Taoist/Anarchist Permaculture establishment that's been goin' on for 30 years has to be doing SOMETHING right. and indeed, it is.

i've been preparing little baggies of TCM ingredients to make tinctures from. they have names like "Huang Ti's Choice", "Step Back from Old Age" and "Tiger Stance". from having to look through all 400-something ingredients constantly, i'm developing a novice familiarity with 'em.

i recognize a lot of them. they're just ordinary stuff that any local city with a botanical garden and arboretum could find most of. how did the Ancients, presumably lacking manual microscopes, chemistry textbooks, and all that shite, figure out how to prepare and use what parts of what plants (and animals) that were already living amongst them, to treat human illness? Joe puts forth, and he's certainly not alone in postulating this, that they had ways of speaking with the spirits of the plants, who shared their previously secret self-knowledge and powers. this is, apparently, the subject of "Plant Spirit Medicine: The Healing Power of Plants" by Eliot Cowan. i'm not reading it, because I'm already reading too many others. you'll be pleased, Hakim (if ur reading this) to know that i'm about to crack open "Food of the Gods", by Terence McKenna

Saturday, April 07, 2007

ACRe Community

there are a few folks visiting today that hail from Raleigh, NC. they're involved with the ACRe Community (Action for Community in Raleigh). their blurb is

a local non-profit which provides a center for the activist community; including meeting spaces, cooperative housing, skill-sharing, a bike project, a community kitchen, urban gardening, and more.

i feel like a lot of places would do well to have such a tie in. other side of the coin is that sometimes if there's a really fractionalized/factionalized scene, lots of people wouldn't actually use the resource and it would be a waste of time. i'm partial to a really happy, synergized community myself, but the world don't always spin like that.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

tomatoes in newspaper?; ways of approaching the drug choices

in Tom Robbins' "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas", it says you can grow tomatoes in shredded wet newspaper. i found something about this on the internet, too. I'm going to try it.

"Soil, sun and water requirements
Tomatoes require plenty of sun. As for soil, they will grow in just about anything you throw at them. An old survivalist manual says you can grow them in newspaper if you add the right fertilizers and I don't think that's far from the mark (although I haven't been brave enough to try). That isn't to say that soil amendment is a bad idea."
since this summer, when i suspected Carrot Man of stealing my scrumptious 6 point something megapixel camera so he could get his fix, people abusing their bodies with mind-altering substances has bothered me more and more.

in regards to such abuse or even respectful use, my friend Jeronimo likes to quote Allen Ginsberg (I believe). Ginsberg was hanging out at Burroughs place (author of Naked Lunch), and when Burroughs offered Ginsberg some herb, (it my have been opium or shrooms, i don't remember) this is what he said:

"No thanks, man. Walking on water wasn't invented in a day."

J Man takes that to mean that Ginsberg was trying to get to a higher spiritual level without any help from entheogens.

before we analyze that, to the small degree that i'm going to try, here's two more quotes to throw into the mix. this one's from Tom Robbins' "Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas":

"Yamaguchi: First, there any questions?

Reporter: Yes. Doctor. Do you have an alcohol problem?

Yamaguchi: Of course. Every person who drink alcohol have problem. That why alcohol so popular. Make new problem for our entertainment."

Yamaguchi was a popular public figure in the story, and in the incident which led to this reporter's question, he had called the police because he couldn't find his miraculous cancer-curing enema, which it turned out he had dropped and rolled under the bed on accident while drunk.

the third's a paraphrase, and i don't even remember who it's by. some famous author who has studied and published high quality literature on entheogens and their hypothesized pivotal role in human history. asked whether he still did entheogens, this is basically how he replied.

"After you've gotten god (the god within) on the phone (and had the conversation), it's time to put down the reciever."

with Carrot Man's life, he felt that pot/heroin/etc. were his vital essence, and so naturally he needed them to feel alive and enjoy playing with the universe.

with Jeronimo's quote and policy, you chase the divinity in life without the aid because, if you trip, you'll be missing out on some of the enriching experiences in getting there with hard work. getting drunk without booze, so to speak.

with Yamaguchi, you get the sense that he's zenned with or without any specifically mind-altering substances, and for variety he sometimes chooses to go with them.

with that last man's quote, he chased the divinity in life as far and hard as he realized he wanted to using a variety of entheogens, and then he quite, because he came to that glorious end.

i'll leave you with those choices to think about.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

another day in the life of a "Paradise Gardener"

Mead mead mead. That's what I want. We had lots of carboys, so it was just a matter of procuring some honey. And yes, a little yeast and misc. BS from the brewstore. That's covered by our party hardy instructor, so it's just honey we needed.

We asked around at a concert a couple weeks ago, and found a bee keeper. Someone gave him a bunch of already fermenting honey to feed to his bees, and he said we could have some. That rocks. Today we went over to give him a hand with his place, because we were so appreciative. Work trade begins to bleed into gift exchange...

We put horse manure on a couple of his intensive raised beds. Over the winter he planted something like "Prussian Snow Peas", a legume that fixed Nitrogen in the soil. As we turned the soil over in one bed, we could see the little N-fixing nodules. The other cover crop, barley, was just there to add organic structure to the soil.

He said he'd been developing his technique. He'd like to do no till, but he didn't have the people power to sheet mulch the weeds into oblivion. We literally forked the cover crop over, burying it in 8 inches of the soil that was previously beneath it.

We also dug a strawberry patch and saw his far-out circular house, which was timber-framed and filled in not with cob, but with a similar mixture of straw and clay slurry. He said it was 2 gallons of slurry to 1 bale of straw.

So, honey in hand and all abuz with excitement, we made mead. In fact, I'm still in the process of making it. There's a five gallon batch of boiled honey water which I'll add packaged yeast, yeast food and Irish moss to. There are two one gallon batches which, a la Ran Prieur, I innoculated with my mouth and whose honey has never known heat. One plain, as a control to compare with the plain domesticated batch. The second one gallon batch will be C-R-A-Z-Y, because in addition to my microorganisms, the honey's microorganisms and spring water, it has jioagulan, horny goatweed and ginger in it.

Jioagulan is like a more cost effective ginseng in it's effects and potency. Horny goatweed is, you guessed it, an aphrodisiac, from a fable about a goatherd observing his charges eating this plant and promptly getting it on. Ginger is for taste, and also has some microorganisms of its own to contribute.

it's hardy to zone "8", though it's growing outside here in zone "7". question authority, my friends, and smash the state. grow it if you can, for it is mundo healthy.

speaking of which, i'm making some pretty good sourdough wholegrain spelt bread these days. soon to be making more as i get comfortable with the clay bread oven here.

here are a few other plants i've been eating, for my fellow gardeners:

upland cress/creasy greens, a peppery tasting plant that has gone in some sandwiches and a salad

turnips have self seeded all around the garden. they have nice roots some of the time, but their greens in the spring are hard to beat. every Paradise gardener should find something like this, a voluminous vitamin store of a plant that can stand to be weeded out of a bed and come back in the path the next year.

ramps. wild onion/garlic relative, people in Appalachia like this plant so much they throw it festivals. it's only up one month of the year, which hear was this and last month's respective halves.

i should be doing more wildcrafting, but the honey and peanut butter sandwiches beckon. o yeah, one more...

spicebush. i've been breaking off twigs and flavoring our overnight-soaked oatmeal, so we don't always have to use cinnamon. when their fruit comes out in the fall, then we'll REALLY be cookin.