26 June 2011

What is Self-Sufficiency

Self-sufficiency turns out to be a profoundly political choice.

What is self-sufficiency?

Nailing down a coherent answer to this question is proving much more difficult than I anticipated. In some ways it is easier to describe some things that self-sufficiency is not. It is not, really, truly, the arduous work of keeping yourself fed, watered and shod all by yourself. The term is loaded and deceptive.

09 June 2011

My Dams Runneth Over

After a record May rainfall230% above average for May in the time I've been keeping records – we were really happy to see water in our dams after years of seeing nothing but sun-baked mud. The song of Frogs returned to lull us to sleep.

Even though its hopelessly too late in the season, I optimistically sowed some of the veggie beds with Carrots, Swiss Chard, Garlic, some Barley,... Funny how a little water affects one's emotions.



House dam. Overflow foreground right.

Whenever the district council get around to sending a grader to maintain our little road, we know that rain is on its way. It's the surest rain dance we know, and infinitely more reliable a predictor than the weather forecast experts. On Monday the road got graded. On Tuesday evening it started to rain at about 6p.m. And didn't stop a steady, solid downpour, until 6 the next morning. 74mm  overnight! Both our dams are overflowing gently – a thing we've not seen in perhaps 5 years, and the rainfall already exceeds the average for June (though not the mean) despite being less than one third of the way through the month.

Bottom dam (and Keira, a bit mystified by all this water.)

The first question everybody asks is, "So does this mean the drought is broken, then?" And the answer is a predictable, "Maybe."

The rain we've experience over the past month is still way off normal. The point is not "drought or not drought". The point is not "too little water vs. plenty of water vs. too much water".

The point is "abnormal weather patterns" – unpredictability. The most reliable prediction climate scientists can make is that, as we humans stress the climate further, we can expect to experience a greater number of extreme weather events, more extreme weather of greater severity. I think that our own experiences seems to bear this out. Even though the recent rain does not really count as a "severe" weather event it is certainly poking its head well up above the "norms"1.

Even as I write the rain is falling so hard that we can barely hear ourselves shout, as it beats down on our metal roof... and we're very happy to have the water visiting again.

[1] Whatever "norm" means in relation to weather. The very notion of climate is, itself, no more than a mathematical fiction.

08 June 2011

What's In A Name

You've probably already noticed that, not only has the blog look and platform changed, but now its name has changed, too!

This is a change I've made with some trepidation and fear. After all, quite a lot of people find it by searching for Plan Be. On the other hand a hell of a lot of those people are looking for abortion drugs. The name "Plan Be" was intended to inspire an aura of Zen – our plan to "just be". It never worked particularly well, I feel.

So, heart in mouth, it's changed. Hopefully the new name reflects better the agenda I'm trying to advance through the farm website and this blog.

06 June 2011

Blog Update

Well, I have finally finished transferring (almost) all of the articles from my old blogging platform to this new, Blogger-hosted, incarnation. I had to copy the articles by hand – a tedious exercise. The old blog platform lacked any way to automatically export and translate the content – just one of the many deficiencies that drove me away from the Blojsom platform, no matter the pain and tedium involved in getting rid of it. This means that I also had to translate internal links – links from one Plan Be article to others – so I may easily have missed some. I'd appreciate help from you all on this: Please let me know if you come across any broken links, links to the old (http://mikro2nd.net/blog/planb/) blog setup, missing pictures, misformatting, or just plain anything that looks wrong to you.

Unfortunately, due to this "lack of export" functionality, I was not able to transfer blog comments over intact. This is a sadness to me, since so many of you have contributed insightful and helpful comments over the years that have helped shape my writing and move it forward. I do have all that content backed up, so it's not lost forever, and, if I ever do find a way to get those into Blogger – properly attributed – I can and will do so.

Finally I'm looking forward to writing, once again. And there is certainly plenty we have to get caught-up on. I have to let you know how the Mushroom-cloning experiment is going -- we're about to take the next big step tomorrow. There's brews to write up, and even some drought news (we've had a bunch of great rain, and the dams even have water again!) so there's gardening happening, even though it's probably too late in the season to hope for much success.

And finally lots of plans to get deeper into the whole Self-Sufficiency thing... the why's and wherefore's, and hopefully some more of the How-To's, too.

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