Friday, November 28, 2014

Revisit: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 -- On Modern Day Slavery

Because of statistics, I got to read this (below) again.


What I have been thinking about is that I don't know what techniques were used to convince the slaves to stay in slavery, but whatever they were then, more effective ones are being used now to keep people in slavery that they don't even question as slavery.
I was with a child, not my own, the other day, and in her chattering she said something about something not being fair. I remarked, "Fair isn't something you look for in life." To which she chattered (and you know this is just something she's heard, she does that, passes on everything she's heard, ever), "Nope, a nice house, a nice car, and a good job -- that's what you look for in life."
You can possibly imagine the horror I felt at that moment, with the meaning of life defined as a house, a car and a job.
A few minutes later the little girl said, "I'd so much rather be here than at school;" and her great-aunt said, "Yeah, I'd so much rather be here than at work;" and I said, "Yeah, I'm so glad I'm here instead of at work." The joke was, of course, that I *was* at work and so we all laughed and I launched into telling about a trailer for a new tv show about mountain men wherein one of them says, "People ask me what I do for a livin': I LIVE for a livin'." To which the aunt said, "Well, that's fine as long as I don't have to feed you."
So, evidently, I'm supposed to sell myself to the highest bidder rather than do what I want to do, and so are you, and so long as you believe that it is your work that feeds, houses, clothes and cares for others, and as long as you have a nice car and a nice house and a good job, you are in the clear.
What you are is a slave.
If you have been paying attention you know I'm not advocating dependency. What I'm identifying is a system, an entire paradigm, where the people who actually do the work are impoverished and the people who bet on that work and exploit that work and add nothing to its value live opulently. Perhaps you can see it best at the fringes, the high and low points, but it exists throughout the spectrum.
And there isn't a person in this country who doesn't live opulently and that is because this country exploits (enslaves) the rest of the world (people and environment) and living here there isn't anything at all we can do except live in that particular milieu.
What that makes you is a slave owner.
What that means is that as far as I participate in the system, I am a slave and a slave owner; I am enslaved and I enslave others.
It is not a good thing.
And as inescapable as it is, it is not a thing to ignore. Sure, you are gonna die one day but in the meantime, you're health is important and what you do does impact it. Greatly.
So, what I'm offering, and what I'm asking for, is another way of seeing; another way of being. It doesn't get us out of the milieu, but it does prepare us for the paradigm shift that is actually already underway. The balls are up in the air and they can't all be caught; the plates are spinning and some are beginning to crash down right now.

The cornfield is planted.  There are blueberries ripe already.  Cheeses are being waxed.  Greens are being parboiled (ok, really steamed) then frozen.

Of  course, this time of year it is firewood coming in mostly, to maintain a level of warm most wouldn't put up with in modern slavery times, today's slaves being accustomed to a thermostat and a sprained wrist being able to turn it up.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

same as ever, 10 years on

Speaking of totems, two flying GBH's this morning as we turned the old stud out and went to get the night turn-out field.  Flying, flying, circling, flying; and definitely interacting although I don't know enough about their habits to know if it was a pair or two of one sex having some controversy . . . but I rarely see them other than solitary.

And on the way home, wind blowing leaves.  In one place a whole pile you could have jumped in in the road just from an eddy in the currents.  The world here now has lost its paintedness and taken on its winter greyness but the brown leaves blew and blew and swirled and a solitary leaf would be all picturesque as though seeking its destination.

And I couldn't help but think of all the people and all the leaf blowers.  And here was the wind.  Leaf blower: time, money, energy.  Or wind: art, freedom.

What does it look like vs. what it is.  Always something that has been of interest to me.

We did rake leaves when I was growing up, and maybe it might have made a difference in the slightly damp and tree dense lower back yard in allowing grass to grow there.  I remember mowing on that big lowboy mower with a bikini on and my grandmother running over to tell me it looked like I was naked.  "Well, I'm not," I said, refusing to be more concerned with how it looked than with how it was.  Of course, I was almost naked in that bikini.

At home, now, this afternoon, I split wood, lots and lots of wood, because we had lots of slightly pithy wood down and if it rained on it, it would be damp through but if we got it split and in, we'd have wood for days taken care of.  And it isn't even going to be that cold (although it isn't going to be that warm either).  In the same kind of way we often hear neighbors mowing seemingly incessantly in the summer, in the winter our sound is the "shhhsssshhhh" of the saw and the whack whack of the ax.  You mow, at least if you mow more than twice a year, for appearances.  Ok, if you are really lucky you'll get three mowings for hay in but you KNOW that ain't what I'm talking about, and you know that is rather rare 'round these parts.

You cut wood, split wood, know wood, love wood, for real reasons, not because your woodpile looks good.  Although at one time, perhaps, judgments were made based on that but still, so much . . . depravity in appearances.

What's the harm? people ask.  That article about how to revive a tired bee, that's just encouraging people to be kind to bees.  What's the harm?

Well, what's the harm in believing that those four tea candles under a flower pot will heat your whole room?  What's the harm?  You'll be cold, that's what.  And that cold would be a good thing because in that you'd touch reality instead of living in delusion.  Yeah, people don't like that much.  Makes 'em mad.  But really, has anybody, ANYBODY, gotten the tea candles and the flower pot and done this?  Has it encouraged anyone to actually do, say, turn down the thermostat?  Well, duh, of course not.  Because people know when they are lying to themselves, and they get really really mad about it.

The harm, obviously, is perpetuating delusion.  The harm is that delusion prevents what might be real action, real life.  At least if you TRY the tea candle trick, the delusion will be relieved.  If you want to help bees, put a hive in your backyard and learn bees.  It is easy to appear to be kind -- it is far more challenging to actually be kind, which is why (if you think about it) the Dalia Llama  can make it his religion.

Delusion is always easier than reality but it will catch up with you.

Go back.

Grasshopper:  Is the sandpainting delusion?

Master Doh:  Do you need for it to be something that it is not? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

listening to the universe

The Universe speaks.  Or your higher self.  Or your totems.  Or maybe through your totems.  Or prayer.  Or meditation.  (Although I do always say that prayer is talking and meditation is listening so I think people who pray a lot don't actually listen much but you know, grace.)  Or maybe the car won't start and you miss a big wreck.  Or you have this feeling that you shouldn't but you do anyway and, disaster.

I got way out of line with the universe one time.  Lots of reasons.  Oh but disaster did come.  My spiritual mentor at that time (a Charismatic) used to laugh and say, "God is just so very gentle with you!"  Haha.  Where I was at that time was not a gentle place; I had been, in fact, a slapped down and slapped down hard and stayed under the jackboot for quite some time.  Because I had not really learned to listen to the universe at that point, at the points leading up to that.  But I had a lot of good info on how to do it, I almost knew how to do it somehow, but one of the main things, the main thing I think, was that I became chemically altered and I don't think you can hear the universe in that state.  And so, when I am listening better, it appears that God, the Universe, whatever, is very gentle with me.

So how I think it is that the universe speaks, yes or no or something else, is very very very quietly.  I think it is a lot like with horses, the universe doesn't actually say "yes" very often because the release, the "yes" as it were, is silence, or alignment, or just integrity (the state of being whole and undivided).  And then, when we persist because mostly we do, the universe speaks more loudly.  Etc.  It takes a l-o-n-g time for a slap down, whatever form it may take.

I appears that the universe is very gentle with me because, get this, I listen.  Yes, I think it is a thing.  Whatever the explanation, of which I'm sure this is as through a glass darkly.

Once upon a time there was this hay ring.  It came to me from the universe, free, at a time I really couldn't afford one and at a time I really wouldn't have been convinced I needed one (and I can still go through several ways to handle it without one).  And that's been five or six years ago?  As many as seven.  And it started falling apart.  Because they do.  Last year it didn't have a couple of the dividers but that didn't really matter.  This year, however, it was gone.  Gone.

The farm needed a hay ring.  Although there are other ways to handle it.  Still.  Finally I decided to buy one, and I looked around and decided which one.  And I shopped and decided where to buy it from.  And I went to order it, finally.  And the darn computer program won't allow for "negative inventory" so I couldn't pay for it when I ordered it which was exactly what I meant to do.  Ten days they said.  Ok.  I called.  It will be in tomorrow.  Day after tomorrow I went in to pay for it, as I needed to pay for it so that someone else could pick it up for me.  The one that had come in wasn't the one I had ordered after all but if I hurried they had the one I had ordered at a store in a neighboring town and I could buy it there.  Off we scurried.  And when we got there our eye got caught by a PVC feeder, and our brains got caught on the idea that we could make that, and that if we could make that for under $100, that would be a very.good.thing.

Well, we couldn't make it for $100.  We very likely couldn't make it at all.  And it was really before we were even through that little rabbit hole (which only took about 40 minutes, drive and all) that I felt like I really should have just gone ahead and bought the one I had planned on buying to begin with.  I called a neighbor with a truck and asked her if I could buy her lunch the next day and we made a date to go get it.  But something was still nagging at me.  Something.  We ate lunch and pulled into the store and parked in front of **the very type that had been delivered to the other store** and I had a good look at it all put together and I thought, that's the hay ring I need.  Heavier duty, sturdier, cheaper, easier to maintain, less likely to be busted apart. 

And I heard the universe clearly, finally.  And that is the universe's new hay ring here at Peaceable Kingdom Farm.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

work vs. job, etc.

People need work.  People need work from the time they are two until they are two weeks from dead.

But a job is not work.  A job is a pimp, or a slave-master.  Oh, it might be work but rarely, oh so rarely.  Mostly it is something so you can do something else.  Which is ok.  Nobody's judging that.  Not that part of it anyway.  But a job is not work.

Find your work.  Your dharma.  And, you know, do it.  Although most people whore themselves to a job and fault anyone who won't.

People need family.  Family is who you are born to and who you bear.  Family is not who you pay minimum wage to to be a parental or child substitute.  Although truly that is the most so many people have.

People need community.  Community is who is around you, and who looks out for you -- like the hay guy who tells you your horses will be slobbering two years from now because they are planting red clover.

People need food that isn't adulterated and that comes mostly from their own hands.

People need water that isn't fracked so that you can easily turn up your thermostat and be warm.

People need to not be sent to wars for oil and call that defending "freedom".

"Security" is an illusion.  So are most of your problems.


Quit freaking consuming so dang much.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

regarding a morning interaction concerning obamacare and corporate welfare

It is easy to be mad at a person.  We can be mad at a person who to our eyes is gaming the system, who is getting something they may not deserve, who we think it stealing from us, or who did us wrong/harm/dirty.  We know people; we are mad at them all the time; they pay no attention to us being mad; we can be mad without consequence..

It is easy to be mad at a corporation.  We can be mad at a corporation who to our eyes is gaming the system, who is taking something they may not deserve, who we think is stealing from us, or who did us wrong/harm/dirty.  We don't know them; they are far away; they pay no attention to us being mad; we can be mad without consequence.

Neither of those things require more of us than posting a facebook meme.  A big response to either would be to march on DC (whether you are the million men or the promise keepers, whether you are pro- or anti-Roe v. Wade, whether you are OWS, Appalachian Rising, or restoring honor), or locally to stand in front of the federal building holding a sign.

Mad is just being mad and that is all.  Useless.  It happens.  But nothing else does until you get past it.

And protesting is the same as being mad.  Nothing.  Empty.  Whiney & complainy.

It takes a lot more than being mad and enraged (or whiney and complainy) at a person or at a corporation or at a system to, as Gandhi put it, be the change.  It takes doing something.  It takes doing something today.  And tomorrow.  And the next day.

Like quitting smoking is not one decision but every time you want a cigarette.  Or losing weight is every bite and every choice to walk instead of ride.  Or milking is  Although "being the change" is probably more forgiving than milking.  But you can whine and complain while milking because the cow will not care.  The chickens might fall over dead but the cow will not care.  "Being the change" might could skip a day.  But like the garden, skip too many in a row and it will run to rack and ruin.

And that is in all realms:  personal, family, community, local, global.  And it ain't straight line and they'll conflict and just exactly like always there are three steps forward, two steps back.  But it is walk.  Walk.  Walk. 

Sometimes blind.  Walk.  Sometimes listen.  Walk.  Sometimes preach. Walk.  Sometimes be guided.  Walk.  Sometimes in step, sometimes out of step.  Walk.  Sometimes falling.  Fall.

Because:  Today.  For:  Love.  When:  Now.  Where:  Here.  About:  Us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

life on the farm, lower case

You know what the problem is?  Or at least what one of the really really big problems is?  Everyone wanting to BE someone, something, someone.  I don't mean internally, I mean externally -- something someone else can recognize.  Leader, admired, recognized.

I think some of us have something within us that we have to do, and sometimes it is plural:  somethings.  Horses burn for me.  & I have to write.  I have to get away from people.  And that may not be true of everyone, I don't know.  But it really doesn't matter.

The key is a quote I ran into a long time ago:  "[Have] the courage to be an absolute nobody" (JD Salinger).  That doesn't mean you aren't anybody, it only means no one needs recognize that you are somebody.

It isn't that your life won't touch people, just that you don't live for the acknowledgement that you touched.  Come on, if you touched, you know it.  Or maybe not because you lived in your integrity and you don't have to have applause to feel alive:  you ARE alive.  Like when you die, no one need come to the funeral.  When I die, no one need come.

I ran into a photo today.  It was a first cousin's child as a very young child standing on the back porch of my house.  I would have been in my teens at the time.  My mom had found this teeny tiny bikini bathing suit with flower pot boobies and my cousin had tried it on.  She was not two yet.  And you couldn't really see the suit in the photo and yet I recognized it and in that moment everything that was my mother was with me again.

It isn't the big things.  It isn't the little things.  It isn't the bathing suit or the photograph.  It isn't the things at all.  It is the essence. 

I don't need to be the world's greatest horseman.  I just need to be a better horseman today than yesterday.  And things like cooking, they evolve instead of any hierarchical thing.  Nothing has to be perfect.  The small things don't all have to get done.  Do what you do with some love and some quality.

You know, when people try to make you smaller than you are, less important, devalued, that is not so much of a problem because you feel that and rebel.  "No, this isn't so," you know in your soul even when you are afraid it might be true.  But when people try to make you be more, be big, be a hero ("Billy don't be a hero") -- that's when people lose themselves.  And sometimes they never get themselves back and need fantasy islands for the rest of their lives.

There are things that stand on their own and things that don't.  And when someone can do something that stands on its own, even if you don't like that person, even if you hate them, that person will get your respect -- that is IF you can do that thing on your own too.  Because you know what that is. 

There are things that are just postures with no substance behind them, play acting.  And there is no respect there.  Only a facade.  Only dry ice after it has vaporized.

This is JD Salinger's Franny again:  "I’m just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else’s. I’m sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting. It’s disgusting."

Come on, we all know them, and most ARE them, the people who are more concerned with the appearance of being a genius than actually being a genius.  Or the appearance of being magnanimous than actually being magnanimous.  With appearance rather than being.  No amount of posing can substitute for substance.

People get attracted to substance then they get scared by it.  And it is a hard thing, and a sharp thing.  But substance is also horse's breath, and getting clean after being really dirty, and cheesecake  It is the sleep of Morpheus and sunrise/high noon/sunset/dark and a tune.  A home cooked dinner and home made bread.  And chocolate.

And love without punctuation   And home.

And life on the farm, lower case

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

on healing

Six months ago, I hurt my knee.  Notice that is not the passive voice.  What happened was, my knee got kicked by a horse.  Hard.  It hurt.  A lot.  It hurt so much that my first thought was, "I wonder if my leg is still attached."  Try to imagine a kick that would detach your leg from your body and that's what it felt like.  I don't think at that point it even actually hurt that badly yet -- I just knew I was in big trouble.  When I crawled to the door of the stall and used it to pull myself off the ground, I thought "When I put my foot on the ground, I'll know if something is broken or if it is dislocated."  It wasn't.  I hobbled to the nearest padded trunk, lay down forward on it, held my face in my hands and moaned.  I experimented with moaning -- would it hurt less if I moaned more loudly?  Softer?  Nothing?  Oh there is an ice pack in the fridge, got get that -- although I had to pull my pants down to put the ice pack on.  I sat there in the barn, in my underwear with my jeans around my andles and an ice pack on my knee IN JANUARY wondering how badly I'd just done myself in.  My knee started turning blue on the side opposite where it had been kicked.  How bad?  How bad?  With the voice of my grandfather telling my three year old self, "If you get kicked, bit or stepped on, it's your own fault."

It was also in that moment that I started healing.  I'm not much for all this healing sh*t because most of the time when someone is all "healing" over something, it is some made up trauma anyway.  And sure, a made up trauma is just as traumatic as a real one but healing doesn't happen in any way other than by doing.  And sometimes it doesn't happen anyway.  Or doesn't completely.  But by doing, you increase your chances.  For me, for my knee, doing was pretty literally walking.  I didn't miss a day of work although I did arrange to have help.  It was at least a week before I could walk the horses in and out from turnout.  At first I coudn't carry water buckets at all, then I had to carry two so I'd be balanced.  It was a week before I got on a horse, a month before it didn't hurt to get on a horse, two months before it didn't hurt to get off a horse.  I still get off kind of carefully.  For the longest time steps and stairs were a particular challenge.  Sometimes it still hurts when I sleep.

But every time I came to a set of stairs in my life, I was grateful.  And life presented me with appropriate stairs -- the mild library ones to begin with, the grand prix level TB stairs when healing was way far along.  I may have hobbled some, but every day I tried to hobble straighter, to hobble less.  When out in public I see that one difference between old people and young people is waddling -- do not waddle I remind myself.  It is those things I think that most determine who heals and who doesn't:  gratefulness for challenges and willingness to try.  Not that there doesn't come a time for all of us that we have to find the grace to deal with some limitations.  But so many seem to revel in their limitations -- magnify them -- cherish them.

I had another advantage in that I did not have medical intervention.  No workmen's comp when you are a contract worker.  No insurance when you are poor.  So I had no imaging.  I didn't and don't know what is wrong with it.  This is not an argument against medical care, but it IS an argument against too much medical care and too much intervention.  Medicine does not know better than nature how to heal a body and many times interferes with healing.  I just ask it to heal by keeping it comfortable and stressing it regularly.  I'm still doint that although TWISTER (the game) was a bad idea for other, additional, reasons.

Listening is hard.  That is why people pray instead of meditate.  But our bodies will tell us.

How to heal.

And eventually how to die.

I think the trick is to heal all we can, and when we can't, to still do what we can and learn the happiness in that.  You get what you pay attention to.

Or as our eldest used to say when he was a very little boy trying to play pool:

f-o-c-u-s, f-o-c-u-s, SHOOT!

And really, it is healed.  My guess is that in a year that healing will be complete.  If I stress it enough.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

blackberry fields forever

To the ancestral land, to spend the night in the house Papa Joe built, to pick blackberries.

I thought I had written before of the art of picking blackberries but I can't find it.  Your hand follows your eye and while your hand goes to what you have just seen, your eyes search for the next.  If you can find places where you can "milk" a handful of ripe berries at a time, that is better than picking one at a time.  Picking clean is an art in itself.  Clean and not hurting the canes.

Sometimes you go to pick a cluster and one or more nice ripe sweet ones fall to the ground.  And sometimes you flat out drop them out of your hand.  This is the libation to the blackberry Gods.  The blood sacrifice is wrought by the thorns although this is not a sacrifice to the Gods but an offering of yourself.  The Gods, you see, are not jealous or vile or violent but ultimately playful and interested in your intent and dedication.  Do you want a few gallons of blackberries enough to pick thorns from your hands, have welts swell up on your arms, and have sweat run in sheets down your face?

These days, of course, people don't have to do that in order to have fruit -- they can go buy it.  And misguidedly they consider "work" for pay the same thing as work for food.  It isn't.

What I was thinking about in the blackberry fields (or on the blackberry hill actually) was how life offers us real challenges, all the time, real and fruitful.  Life will tell you if you are productive, useful, worthwhile . . . or not.  Life will give you "community" . . . or not.  Life will give you your "strong" . .  . although whether you own it or not is another matter.  All sorts of things.

Real things produce something real in the end.  Like fried pies.

Real organic has bird sh*t on it, not plastic from the store or a smiling farmer selling it to you making you feel better about your soft-handed white-privileged life.

Real things have thorns.

Real things leave stains.

Did I forget to mention the BEAR POOP?  Real bears poop.  And like berries.  And apples.  And bees.  Now, what little thing did you make up to be afraid of?  bwahahaha!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

can't you see

Do you see this?  People doing what they really want to do.  And learning in quality.

And really doing it too.  Not pretend doing it.  Or saying they did it once upon a time.  Or that they are going to do it soon, real soon.

And not making excuses for not doing it.

Such a juxtaposition to several other examples, or rather horrible warnings, that I have seen recently around me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

because this is what it is really about

At just about this very moment in doing this today, I was thinking about a stupid little magazine article I read more than 20 years ago now.  We'd moved to the farm so we were at least pregnant but it was early on, before we'd really internalized the fact that it just all doesn't get done.  The article was basically talking about that, but also how to get stuff done I guess.  What I remember was that she talked about a friend of hers who made for her family a cake, from scratch, every week.  But when she really thought about it, her friend made the same cake every week, and on the same day of the week too.  And what she learned from this was what we do habitually becomes easy.

We didn't plow last year as we had no horse.  It is amazing what you forget in one year.  And a new horse!  A new horse who has his own issues and who I don't know and who doesn't know me and who isn't familiar with our work.  Whew.  He wanted to walk fast.  He did not want to wait for us to catch our breath.

I look at this photo and I think, a real teamster would see 1001 things wrong with it.  I myself see 10.  But here's the thing.  We are doing it.  It is getting done.  And that is what is important.  Improvement, some measure of fluency, comes,  hopefully.  It is deadly serious and it is incredibly fun.  It isn't idle.  Or illusion.

I mean, really, I don't care what it is, where you are, anything.  But I do care about those things -- not idle, not illusion, serious and fun.  Try counts.  Perfection doesn't.  Whining is a minus (life is tough all over).  And DOing.  Because if you never do it at all, it cannot become habitual and thus easy and you end up just doing the easy stuff which is cr*p for food, the money economy, vacating, whining, etc.

And so here is also a guest post about soil by the scarce but ever erudite Eleutheros:
The question is often posed, what is your main 'crop'? What's the most important thing to grow in the home garden. The answer is simple and clear . . . it's dirt.
If the organic intensive gardener makes only this one transition, the majority of the task is done.... view yourself as farming dirt, not plants. If you farm the dirt, the plants will take care of themselves.

There was a time in the now distant past (1960's let's say) when "organic" meant grown from decaying organic material. By this view you had to build an organic soil, it had nothing to do with what you did or did not put on the soil or plants that season.

Then the idea of "certified organic" arose, There is no feasible way to quantify real organic soil. So instead the organizations poked around the sheds to see if there were any insecticide or chemical fertilizer bags and there, you are now "Certified Organic" although there might not be hardly a trace of humus in your soil

Then like the Israelites begging for a king when Elisha told them the last thing in the world they wanted was a king .... people pushed for a USDA definition of "organic" thinking it would include them but exclude all their competition only to find the word was sold to the highest bidder (and it wasn't them) until now the term is meaningless.

But back to its original meaning, the type of gardening being examined here depends on lavishing time and resources on making organic soil, and once that is underway, the rest falls into place.
This is an oversimplification, and for that I apologize ahead of time to any chemist/biologist type out there, but it isn't entirely objective science, there is some mystery to it as well:

There is a wheel in motion, a Rotas Fortunae of Nature, called the Nitrogen Cycle. There are also interconnected wheels of the phosphorus cycle, potassium cycle, and cycles of all manner of trace elements. For the sake of illustration let me confine myself to the Nitrogen Cycle.

Atmospheric nitrogen is taken in by microorganisms and fixed to hydrogen in the form of NH3 (ammonia), this also occurs when protein bearing organic material decays, NH3 is released.

The ammonia would be quickly "lost" to the atmosphere were it not for another group of bacteria that "eat" it and excrete -NO2 compounds (nitrites). And then another group of bacteria "eat" the nitrites and excrete -NO3 compounds (nitrates).

When the nitrates accumulate in the soil, the nitrate-excreting bacteria, being far better versed on these matters than we are, sense the level of concentration long before it reaches a level toxic to them and they go into a sort of stasis, dormancy.

Since they are not eating the nitrites, the nitrite excreting bacteria eventually also sense the levels building toward toxicity and go into dormancy. And likewise the nitrogen fixing bacteria and protein injesting microorganisms sense the levels of ammonia building and go into dormancy.

Plants can only use nitrogen in the form of nitrates. The growing pants take in the nitrates thus lowering the level of their concentration and awakening the nitrate excreting bacteria back into action. And this in turn lowers the level of nitrites and awakens the nitrite excreting bacteria which lowers the level of ammonia.... and etc.

It operates like a well oiled machine in a Steam Punk story. The soil is alive and there is always a very good level of nitrates in the soil for the plants to use. See why a soil test is useless on alive organic soils? It tells you nothing of any importance.
From the foundation of the world until the late 1800's all life on earth came about from the process of natural nitrogen fixation. This limited the number of animals, but especially humans, that could be in the world since they are made out of nitrogen and nitrogen was a limited commodity. [Incidentally this also limited warfare since explosives are made out of nitrates as well]. But in the 1890's a German (Haber) came up with a method of using natural gas to artificially fix nitrogen. A few years later another German (Bosch) came up with a way to industrialize the process. And thus since then the artificially fixed nitrogen from the Haber-Bosch process has allowed there to be far more human beings that the world would have naturally been able to support.

These artificially contrived nitrates are applied to the soil and the plant uses them directly, and the process is very inefficient with most of the nitrate salts being washed out of the soil. This level of nitrate concentration is toxic to our nitrogen-excreting bacteria and it kills them. Since they are gone, the levels of nitrites build up until the nitrite excreting bacteria cannot come out of dormancy and they die. Then the ammonia fixing bacteria are the next to go, The soil becomes dead.

Organic means plants grown from living soil as compared to soil soaked in inorganic nitrates. It has little to do with what you do and don't "add" to the soil or with what you fertilize it.
 Now .... what's the practical upshot of this? It's that in whatever situation or capacity you find yourself, build some soil. If it's a half acre corn field or an old recycled coffee can of dirt, it makes little difference really. The organic dirt farmer is like those Cylons of BG fame, the one big eye forever scanning left and right and seeing soil in every unlikely bit of organic material .... a pile of leaves, some weeds growing next to the mailbox, the paring from the mashed potatoes, that those old canned goods that are now 18 years old, that glob of swamp muck, that decaying stump in the woods,

How long does this take? Here it is early May, if you had some green grass clippings and weeds (lots of green weeds) and some carbon rich material like a few mouldering leaves from last year, you could have new soil, capable of growing something on it ,,,, by the first week of June. Oh yes, not joking, about three weeks with enzymatically active material and this warm weather (and a little savvy and perseverance) .

To build those dark rich beds of soil 20" deep in humus takes years, But the very fine thing about soil building is that you get some results immediately ... a matter of weeks ... while contributing to the long term goal,

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

quote lifestyle end quote

People bring up my "lifestyle".  Isn't that funny.  They are religious in a delusional way but that isn't a lifestyle.  Because they don't actually live it.  Religion is handy dandy that way.  Or maybe they are just delusional, doing the same thing yet again, feeling the same way yet again, and thinking it is going to turn out somehow differently and that if it didn't, well, it isn't their fault.

Try living something, it isn't something someone else needs to "line up" with.  It is Yoda-ish:  "Do or do not.  There is no try."  Do or do not.  I don't give a sh*t which one you do but do not say one thing and do another.  You'll get the results you live.  Don't blame me for that.  Nature is a harsh mistress and doesn't mince words.  That's where I live.

That moment you forget to pay proper attention, the horse kicks you in your f-ing knee and it doesn't get better for a long long time and maybe not ever.  Getting mad at the horse is stupid.  Suing the owners is more stupid.  Expecting someone to feel sorry for you and listen to you whine for the rest of your life is colossally  stupid.  Refusing to pursue your dreams for fear of getting kicked again is just sad.  Walk.  Whenever confronted with steps or stairs, use them.  Don't curse them.  Use them, repeatedly.

It ain't ever going to be the same again but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.