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Never Admit Defeat
Nor a Mistake

I once had a boss who said you should never admit a mistake because it makes you look weak. Whaaat? How can you learn if you don't recognize (and admit) failure? Seems to me that denying your mistakes is the weakness. I didn't work with him for long. I like the line in Joni's "Woodstock", But you know life is for learning. Mistakes, failures, defeats are part of the process, part of life. They should be embraced so that you grow and improve. I guess you can imagine what brought this to mind...our ole buddy, Trumpolini. But this week I really want to focus on my learning path in the garden...mistakes and improvements. I wrote a comment this week about the systemic system we've created with our greed for profit. I used my agricultural education as an example. I was taught fertilizer rates, herbicide use, animal feeding, depreciation and profit...not permaculture nor ecological farming. I was offered a lucrative job as a farm chemical rep upon graduation, but I took a low paying research position instead. It took years for me to learn to garden without chemicals, plowing, and constant weeding....production for pleasure not profit.

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Skipping Through the Holidays

For decades we've gone down to Birmingham to spend holidays with both of our families, but not this year...just phone calls. COVID is spreading rampantly and holiday gatherings WILL drive the spread. Vaccines appear to be on the horizon, and perhaps that will be the light at the end of the tunnel. The accompanying economic collapse will be more difficult to overcome quickly. I feel for all those who lost their job or business and as a result their health care...or worse yet, lost their home in the middle of a pandemic. Comparatively we're doing great... we're still eating well from our Thanksgiving leftovers, and the garden is still productive though the weather has shifted to wet and cold. It is hard to believe that it is time to start planning the spring and summer garden, inventorying the seeds we have, and ordering seed we need. Looks like limited supplies this year. Despite the situation we've got a full plate...


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Chaos Creations

Crisis brings opportunity for change...both good and bad. Running the gambit from the autonomous zone in Seattle to the out of control expansion of the Fed. This week I've been pondering the lens which we could use to better see our way through these uncertain times. My nature is to focus on nature. I understand others have different perspectives. That's okay. However, there's no doubt we are hurdling toward big changes in our ecosystem and biosphere, as well as our society at large. Our basic needs of air, water, food, and energy hearken back to the four elements of the Greeks. The planet has the ability to recycle these basic resources naturally, but human activity has thrown a wrench in the machinery. Is it even possible to limit our footprint to have an equitable sustainable human existence? There are techniques which suggest it is possible.

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To Our Good Health

We are likely to get COVID-19 (I've heard estimates of 70 to 80% of us). Fortunately, most people have mild to no symptoms. The severity of the disease is primarily dependent on the strength of our immune system and the initial viral load at infection. About 70% of the severe cases are in people with some level of obesity. We can influence these factors folks. Wearing a mask, even a homemade one, will reduce the initial infection load. Obesity is a result of poor (misinformed) dietary choices and is really pretty easy to correct. The truth is that we blame people for being overweight and sick, but it’s not their fault. Our taste buds, hormones, and brain chemistry have been hijacked by the food industry. Stress is also a complicating factor, as is poor sleep and lack of rest. The concurrent economic collapse coupled with worry about family and friends add to our susceptibility. Perhaps some of us will manage to avoid infection until there is a vaccine. That appears to be a year to 18 months away. That's a long time to be isolated using good antiseptic measures. So this week I thought we should focus on maximizing our own healthy immune system and reviewing protective techniques to minimize infection. Let's try to do more than just survive, but to thrive... and come out of this seismic event better, more thoughtful, and kinder people.

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Leftover Potluck

Another holiday come and gone. I hope yours was rewarding. Visiting with family can be a two edged sword - sometimes stressful and combative, other times pleasant and fulfilling. We see one another rarely these days so it tends to be pleasant. My Mom is 88, so I'm glad to spend some time with her while I can. Both my sisters were there this year, one having returned from a tour of teaching in China. They are close to the same age and they have had issues in the past, but all was well this year. This week I thought I would pull together several sources I've collected but not posted and serve a smorgasbord of ideas from food to politics to the economy. Let's begin by getting back to the garden...

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Here Comes the Sun
Come on Baby Light My Fire

The wheel of the year turns to spring this week. There will be more sunlight...longer days... here in the Northern hemisphere. Light is the key to fixing carbon...through photosynthesis. Plants taking CO2 and building it into sugars and other compounds. When we eat plants we burn them back into CO2 and H2O. This balance of photosynthesis and respiration maintains the carbon cycle. For most of human history we have burnt wood as our primary fuel. Trees will regrow and recapture atmospheric carbon. However over the last century we converted to fossil fuels over plant based renewable energy sources. That (and population growth) is what put us on the path of rapid climate collapse.


This diagram of the fast carbon cycle shows the movement of carbon between land, atmosphere, and oceans. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes, and red are human contributions in gigatons of carbon per year. White numbers indicate stored carbon.

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Out with the Old, In with the New!


Like Janus, the name sake of next month, let's look back at what has happened and look forward to what we might do. There are many things I wish we would throw out as the year changes...perpetual war, massive inequality, our prison state, fossil fuel extraction and use, indebtedness for college, the greed of capitalism, and so on. Similarly I wish we would accept a new paradigm of greater good for the masses... a green energy revolution, worker owned business and coops, living with less and leaving a lighter footprint on our planet, excellent public education, green mass transit, and so on. As our environment spins out of control with massive extinction and climate disasters, we don't have time to deliberate. We must act or go extinct ourselves. This is the challenge of the future.

Thursday Open Thread 5-24-2018

Good Morning. If we live long enough most of us will experience a period of physical and mental disability ourselves or a close loved one. Acknowledging the possibility frees us to tackle the societal and political challenges. The most resilient individuals I have known had disabilities. The greater the limitation the more creativity required.

To Survive the Trumpocalypse, We Need Wild Disability Justice Dreams

Thursday Open Thread 5-3-2018

A brief thought break, then back to regularly scheduled musings on resilience mind set tools and potential scenarios.

Two phrases keep mulling through my mind similar to the tune that plays over and over.

"If we don't fight them over there we'll have to fight them here at home." Could be a Freudian slip. Maybe a peace effort could be sold as self preservation of American culture. If the rest of the world is successful pushing out our military industrial complex (MIC) the focus will be all our neighborhoods, not just around military bases, poor and racially diverse neighborhoods. The push for expanded military in Washington state was a little close to home.

"US Partition of Syria" It is the method used in Korea to keep troops next to China after the division of China proposed between Mao and Chiang Kai-shek was refused. The British colonial powers habitually divided civilizations as a method to maintain disorder for ease of control. If the Confederate States had not lost the Civil War Canada, United States and Confederate States could have been played to create a state of perpetual tension to manipulate from afar. Is this part of the origin of our identity politics?

Thursday Open Thread 4-19-2018

This week hinted at the uncertainty of the future and reminded us of the difficulty making a significant impact on many of those challenges. Still, small acts taken today can benefit us or the unknown stranger many years in the future. People, communities or plants our actions are ripples in a pond moving forward.

The various fruit trees that provided food as I grew up had been planted nearly 40 years before my parents bought the place. Each place I have moved from was left with a few new plants and better soil.