Open Thread 1-11-2018


Prudent economy of living a necessity when one has low income or a useful tool to shift dollars towards personal goals. Minimizing dollars directed to corporations, increasing donations to favorite causes, building a retirement or keeping a roof over ones head.

The site How to Have a Great, Disabled Life has essential information on the unique challenges of living with a disability. Created by caring persons with thoughts towards others who find themselves in economically challenged situations. Have not had time to read all the publications. If you find something useful, perhaps share at with this OT or in future ones.

Been reading the section "How to be Poor in America" and found this useful tidbit.

Sounds too good to be true. But it is true! Prescription eyeglass for $7. You have to know what your prescription is. Try to exercise a lot of self-control at check out. Uncheck all the boxes to add bells and whistles and just buy the basic glasses. $7. Really. Zenni Glasses.

Food Choices
Gardening and buying local agricultural products can be one of the best ways to disrupt commercial agriculture, international corporations and international shipping. Possibly why international trade agreements and food donations are structured to destroy small domestic producers.

Mel Bartholomew, developer of Square Foot Gardening method, explains how a radish bought at the grocery store have traveled 5,000 miles.
(session 6) (no that is not a picture of Mel)

Mel left earth in April 2016, but his advice and gardening program for vegetables is still available. This radio interview when he was promoting his book All New Square Foot Gardening. The basic elements of 6 inches of virgin soil mixture made to formula in 2x4 ft container boxes for indoor/outdoor use or 4x4 ft raised beds to grow all the fresh vegetables and herbs one needs for multiple years.

Mel maintained novice growers got the concept in a couple of hours, experienced growers in may take weeks. Personally I fight with his method it seems too simple. This year I plan on setting up beds and container pots per his instructions and quite fiddling around with kinda close attitude. Will use my more complicated methods on the permanent landscape bi-annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees.

(session 1)

(session 2)

(session 3)

(session 4)

(session 5)

Larger scale growing areas, soil enhancement and water retention projects are necessary for dryland farming, perennial plants, shrubs and trees.

Hugelkultur

Hay bale diary by mhagle

Dryland Corn

Suggested reading: Gardening Without Irrigation: or without much, anyway by Steve Solomon

Farm Report
Been enjoying the longer days. Last 3 days have gotten above freezing. Morning walk was filled with sounds of a babbling brook. Water district is doing a domestic run to fill up pond.
soe mid winter run.jpg

Sunsets have been beautiful.
Saturday
soe orange_0.jpg

Sunday
soe light.jpg

Fortunately have not have not had to fight through winter like last year, 9 weeks of below freezing weather. Hope each of you make it through the weather that is being thrown at you without hardship.
soe winter.jpg

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Comments

NCTim's picture

On being disabled: My sweetie transitioned through paraplegia, quadriplegia and muteness, on the way to her final chapter. We lived on social security disability, while she used Medicare. My fondest memories are simply holding and comforting her. We kept the house cool, particularly over night. I wish I could tuck Sue in and hold her until she falls asleep. It would be interesting to compare notes with other care givers. It has been nearly a year, and I still wake with the feeling there are things that need attending, like making sure Sue was covered/warm, her breathing machine is on properly, nature is not calling, ...

On the sustenance front, I have found biochar and zeolite (green sand), very helpful for water retention. I cook according to what is on sale. Here, NC, pork and chicken are relatively inexpensive, and I get my produce from the farmers market. No need for south American grapes and strawberries. Grapes and strawberries will be back in season, within a few months. The #1 NC food value is sweet potato. During the fall, the roadsides are littered with sweet potatoes, that have fallen off the trucks. Boil them whole, skin them and mash them with some brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice (expensive, but on sale after the holidays), and some crushed pineapple or apple sauce (or butter, if that is your preference).

Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It solely relies on what you think. - Buddha -

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Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

enhydra lutris's picture

@NCTim
dig it in, a layer or what, and how deep?

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

NCTim's picture

@enhydra lutris I mix soil, biochar, green sand, humates, vermicompost, hydrated lime, alfalfa and kelp in ~50 gallon batches. I think there is a peculiarity to biochar and California, because I notice statements about not shipping to CA. I have been using Green Texas biochar, because it is less costly and is infused with EM1. Sunriver, Oregon, makes a nice biochar and Oregon regulates content. I water one gallon/week for a five gallon container, and my plants are always moist. PS - adding an enzyme accelerates the release of nutrients by the organic content (alfalfa,kelp).

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Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

earthling1's picture

@enhydra lutris
with bio-char trying to replicate Amazonian "Terra Preta" soil, also known as dark earth.
I mix the bio-char into the soil 2 ft. down and then add alternating layers of organic materials,soil, manure, soil, fish debri or emulsion, broken pottery chards, more soil, chicken manure (very powerful, be careful), more organics, more soil. And then I use the "no till" method of gardening where I only disturb the top two or three inches of soil.
So far,so good. You've already seen some of my produce from past photos and the harvests are getting bigger and better each season.
Through research I've read it sometimes takes a year or two for the bio-char to fully inoculate, and found this to be somewhat true.
Although this is a "manmade" soil in a raised garden, I don't see any reason it would not work in pots or hay bales, as Tim and Marilyn are doing.
I hope the both of them continue to post their great gardening tips here periodically
And of course, advice from SOE is always greatly welcomed.
I want to add that using bio-char also captures carbon in the soil, where it will remain for dozens, if not hundreds of years. And last week, new research was released indicating deep rooted plants infuse the soil with carbon natually.
Every little bit of carbon capture will help, especially if millions of gardeners worldwide shun petroleum based fertilizers and give new life to their soils.
Be a creator. Create life and a whole new world beneath the ground.
Thanks SOE for the OT and the opportunity to display my passion. Gardening.

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mhagle's picture

@earthling1
I look forward to continue reading about your gardening adventures.

Is it the ashes at the bottom of my fire pit, or something more special? I want to know more about it!

I was able to watch all of the videos here today. I have not paid much attention to square foot gardening before, but found several new excellent ideas. I like how he spaces the plants - much like Deb Tolman and her keyhole gardens . . . but how he pokes a hole, sprinkles in a few seeds, and cuts off the excess. Wow. That is a solution for me, because I loathe thinning!

I am looking at combining all of these principles. Making raised 4 ft square beds, made out of a 16 ft cattle panel bent into a square and wrapped with shrink wrap. Anchored by t-posts. Put rotten logs in the bottom. Layer brown and green, then add worms. Plant in squares. ?? Make sure there is adequate biochar?

And the thing about these bales . . . the second planting this year produced especially beautiful veggies. On Christmas Day I picked a cabbage to cook with corned beef.

This year I am going to keep a gardening journal on nowthepathforward.us. Never done that before, not having great attention to detail.

Thanks again SOE for this great OT. Smile

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

earthling1's picture

@mhagle
Bio-char is produced in the complete absence of oxygen, cooked at about 300 degrees until it is reduced to char. It is then broken into pebble sized granules and buried deep enough to become inoculated with natural organisms in healthy soil. Kind of like hotels for micro-organisms. As these organisms grow, reproduce, and thrive they convert the soil into a living biome which either directly feed plantlife or convert organic, atmospheric, or compounds into food for other beneficial organisms or plantlife itself.
Modern big ag rely on petroleum based synthetic fertilizers that directly feed the plants but leave the soil dead and void of life. Constant re- feeding year after year results in salting of the soil for which there is no redeeming.
This is what is happening to most of the worlds farmlands.
And poking a hole and dropping in seeds is basically the "no till" method.
Native Americans did this for thousands of years. Peach pits, apple seeds, any seeds they just stomped into the ground wherever they finished eating it, knowing full well they can come back in a few years and there probably will be a tree growing there. Or cornstalk. Or berry patch.
Pre-Columbian America was a literal Garden of Eden. Columbus was too stupid to realize it.
"the second planting this year produced especially beautiful....."
Sounds like your soil is coming alive and becoming a healthy biome.
Congratulations. You're doing something right with those haybales! Can't wait to hear how you progress.

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mhagle's picture

@earthling1

I watched a few YouTube videos on biochar after I read your first comment. Your explanation is much easier to understand. Thanks!

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

studentofearth's picture

@earthling1 Ancient agriculture practices have a lot to teach us.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.

studentofearth's picture

@NCTim only tempered by time and pushed out by other urgent responsibilities. Then will only reappear at times of mental disorientation such deep sleep, day dreaming, dementia or delirium. Seen many times nurses and caregivers in nursing homes reassuring a patient about past responsibilities istaken car of and the the patient calm down. Never really understood whey someone would worry about an event that could be decades old.

The intense care of hospice in my home for Mom was done in shifts with a number of people rotating responsibility. No flashbacks or leftover feelings of what do I need to do.

After Dad's care it was a different story. He lived here for two year before he passed and next door for 5 with daily check-ins. Was the sole caregiver and when waking abruptly from a deep sleep still have the checklist running through my head or when going on a trip a checklist of what no longer needs to be taken.

If one of the animals requires extra tending I gear up to the hyper watchfulness fairly easily now and have slight lingering effects when the event is over.

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9 users have voted.

Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.

Lookout's picture

Several of our young farmers use hugelkulture. On the mountain soils are thin and this is their method to improve their growing conditions. One couple use the technique for their small orchard.

So wild weather is the new norm. Last week very cold, today 50 degrees first thing. Next week possible single digits. As the arctic warms the vortex over the pole has less strength and lobes of cold, then warm air, then cold... pass across the nation.
arctic oscillation.jpg

If any of you live on the coast, several respected scientists suggest 6 meters (20 ft) of sea level rise is currently locked in the atmosphere. We could still address the worst of the effects if we would act, but I'm afraid our profit driven system will not allow us.

The images from CA of the mud slides are scary. Hope none of you are dealing with that. Well wishing you all the best. Be cool and stay warm!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

magiamma's picture

@Lookout
Really clear explanation of the changes in the Jet Stream by Dr. Jennifer Francis, at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University.

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The news is dead, long live the news.

enhydra lutris's picture

grow bags?

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

NCTim's picture

@enhydra lutris fabric pots. They help prevent over watering. There are some great single season grow bags out there.

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Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

enhydra lutris's picture

@NCTim
shaded, and a large open area covered with rock, we've been planting in pots special purpose containers in a part of that area, but the idea of grow bags is appealing.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris temporarily grown transplants longer than planned. Have not used the grow bags being sold currently at the nursery and online. They should work fine and not be as heavy as pots when moving outdoor in the spring and then indoors in the fall.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.

NCTim's picture

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Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

NCTim's picture

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Jesus loves you. Everyone else thinks you're an asshole.

mhagle's picture

I am about to settle in and watch your videos. Thanks!

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Marilyn

Let's save the planet for our kids. Tree Hugger to the end.

mimi's picture

(edited stupid spelling mistake - you guys are kind not to say a word about my rather funny, but embarrassing spelling)
WikiLeaks's Julian Assange becomes Ecuadorean citizen
The German papers made some amazing sloppy mistakes in their reports. Whatever. I don't bother to translate.
As I boycott Twitter now and don't go over there, I guess you have to search for links yourself. Ha.Ha. That's what you get when you walk the talk and try to be outside the system. It means you get nothing.
Diablo

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@mimi thanks.

World Hero
GO TEAM

truth.png
FREEDOM

Meta: image browser alphabummer is having to scroll through pages of trump jpegs to get to the truth png. lol
kbd unaware

PEACE

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Bother.

QMS's picture

@mimi ^^^ that and you have to search yourself for links. Seems they're putting chips in our food and meds now, so we don't suicide or something. Ha

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Use the Lincoln Law to fight government fraud.

riverlover's picture

that I had not applied for, so I hung up. And today, cognitive skills seem to be leaking out because your SSI/SSDI links were useless to me. I feel like I am incubating a virus today, ache-y and headache-y and with ulcers, I cannot take anything palliative. Will try CBD. I have had three days of better balance. And faster walking. Now this..Currently 51, better than 2 with wind.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.