31 July 2007

Hoe, Hoe, Hoe

Introducing The Revolutionary Micro-Hoe! Invented by Me; Patent Not Pending; All Rights Reversed. Order Now. One Week Only, Free Cardboard Box1 Included!

For ages, now, I've been wanting one of these.  See, the problem is that I garden using the Deep Bed Method (about which I shall pontificate at a more apropos time.)  This means that a lot of plants get spaced much more closely than recommended by All Manufacturers.  In particular Onions and Garlic are a Perennial Problem2.  They hate weeds, and suffer them poorly.  But they're so closely spaced that any form of conventional hoe is a non-option.

"What to do? What to do?"  Enter the Revolutionary Micro Hoe.  I managed to bum a bit of scrap off the local metal merchants4 to (finally! eventually!) implement the implement: the Plan I've had in mind for months5.

The metal bit is only about 5cm wide, and sharp enough to shave a sheep, meaning it will fit between cramped rows of Onions, severing the roots off Terrible Weeds without damaging the pencil-thick Onions.

Fields trials seem to show that this one is a winner.  Took me less than ten minutes to hoe a 10m2 bed full of Weeds (and a few Onions).  It snickedthrough the weeds like... Oh! Enough with the similies!... It cut through them really easily.

I don't have the angle of the blade quite right, yet.  It needs to be a bit moreacute an angle (contrary to all expectation) than it is.  On the other hand, that involves dismantling the entire contraption, re-sawing the slot in the handle, and re-setting the blade.  More than I can face today.  In use, the handle has a disconcerting tendency to twist anti-clockwise, and that gets a bit uncomfortable after using the Hoe for a time.  But I can live with that, considering how much quicker it is that Hand Weeding!

If you're a Real Human Person wanting to build your own MicroHoe to my design, go ahead with my blessing.  If you're a Company seeking Fortune through the manufacture of MicroHoes, please fuck off.  It's my design, hereby Open Sourced for Real Human Beings.  Only!

[1] Just some random cardboard box, mind you.  No guarantee that the MicroHoe would fit into it, or anything.

[2] AKA a Pain In The Arse3.

[3] "Ass" for the 'Merkins.

[4] Too unhip to even have a website!

[5] Could be years, actually.  My Scotch-addled brain glosses over time like... well... like something very glossy6!

[6] ...had in mind something along the lines of "like gumboots on a duck-beshitten lawn", but I couldn't make it scan.

24 July 2007

"Oh the Climate She Is a' Chaaaangin'"

(Apologies to Bob Dylan)
Something unnatural's going on. Its Winter. The very middle of Winter.  And yesterday I harvested a (Lime Green Salad) Tomato off a plant left over from last Summer.
A Japanese White Eggplant has just fruited.  Normally Eggplants don't make it through the Winter, here.  The climate is just that much too cool for their liking.
Normally seedlings are safe from cutworms at this time of year.
The volunteer Tomatoes popping-up all over the veggie patch never make it as far as growing their true leaves.  This year I have some that have reached 10cm tall and look ready for permanent homes.  Whilst I can (and will!) "make hay whilst the Sun is (briefly) shining", I find the whole thing deeply worrying.
There's a small beetle I call the Cabbage Bug, since the Brassica tribe are their favourite food, along with Beets and Chard.  My reading seems to indicate that they are a sub-family of Laybug, but, unfortunately, one that eats plants.  "Dormant in Winter." I would advise the Neophyte Gardener. Oh! How they would laugh at me now, as I daily watch my Beets, Turnips and Chinese Cabbages -- even Lettuce -- getting shredded by these small beasts.  They look something like Ladybugs -- about the same size and shape -- their colours run to red-and-yellow on black, and they seem to have lack any form of predator.  Oh the Sin of Hubris!  It is soooo tempting to get out some sort of Spray to sort them out.  Presumably whatever birds or bugs normally keep them in check are sleeping through the alleged Winter.
Oh well, we will be Powerless for most of the day.  The electricity company will be replacing a transformer and improving insulation on the cables upstream from us to prevent birds electrocuting themselves.  I'm happy to be powerless for a day in the cause of bird-preservation, even if they are merely the Bloody Noisy Hadeda.  I shall spend the day planting Very Early Tomatoes, Chillis, Eggplants and Tamarillos.
(For those of you who may have been following the Saga Of Autumn-Sown Chillis: The Chillis have survived handily so far.  My seed-tray mix tends to be a bit heavy and airless, being almost-pure compost, so the seedlings are all a bit yellow and pale, and they really want moving out into better homes.  I shall attempt to oblige tomorrow.)
Anybody who claims that there No Such Thing As Global Warming[1] has, I think, probably been eating some of those odd, spotty fungi.  I am deeply worried and frightened by the coming Summer.  Last Summer we saw the "Hole in the Ozone Layer" larger than ever in recorded history.  The Ozone Layer might not be getting the press coverage it was a few years ago -- seems that Al Gore and Peak Oil are stealing the limelight -- but it's still there.  And growing.  I fear the effect on our crops of ever-higher UV levels.  This is part of the reason I am consciously choosing to plant red- and purple-coloured varieties of vegetables where practical; the anthocyanins that cause the red/purple colouration also impart a UV-tolerance.  So I'm told.  We hope.
Already I'm trying to figure out how to erect shadecloth barriers to protect plants through the heat radiation of the coming Summer's afternoons to avoid sun-scalded Tomatoes and Chillis!
And it is only July.
[1] Alright, alright: It's really "Global Climate Change" and not "global Warming".  But shorthand works!

17 July 2007

Next Summer's Crops

So here's what I'm planning for the Summer.  As usual I don't have enough bed-space for them all, so I'd best get digging!  I'm also getting the rotovator fixed so that I can clear some "field" space for the more broadscale stuff.  My focus is threefold:
  • First, and most important, is our food supply -- the self-sufficiency thing.  Dried beans, sunflower-seed, grains, winter squashes for storage.
  • Second, I am strongly leaning towards selling some produce, hence an eye towards visually appealing varieties, unusual and unique stuff, and things that will appeal to gourmet chefs.  My thinking is to sell and exclusive range to just a few upmarket restaurants.
  • Third, seed-saving; keeping all the varieties going, plus enough to sell seed.
Tough challenge, and, in honesty, I doubt that I'll achieve it all.  Still, if you don't aim high... New varieties that we've never tried before are marked with a *; all seed is from our own stocks, except those marked with a § (and, of course, the * varieties, too).
The List
Salad mix -- more-or-less a year-round thing; the only time it slows down is in Dec/Jan, when high temperatures inhibit germination of the Lettuces.  Easily solved with a bit of shadecloth, or by putting the seed-trays in a cool, damp place.
  • lettuce (about 12-14 varieties)
  • pak choy
  • tat soi
  • red mustard
  • rocket
  • chicory
  • radicchio - Red of Veronna
  • curly endive
  • radish
  • spring onions
  • chives, garlic chives
  • brandywine
  • a mysterious "sweet pink" variety that was mixed in with another packet of seed
  • cherokee purple
  • black krim
  • gold nugget
  • ida gold
  • lime green
  • tigerella
  • roman candle*
  • purple russian*
  • black cherry*
(Thanks to Patrick for suggesting the last two -- I'm looking forward to them very much!) Cucumbers:
  • lemon cuke -- quite insect resistant; very important here
  • chinese golden
  • telegraph improved (maybe!)
  • hopi black (field scale)
  • dragon's lingerie (field scale)
  • rattlesnake
  • chickpeas§
  • yellow wax
  • Japanese White
  • Black Beauty
  • Japanese Purple (if I can get hold of some)
  • crimson globe (the old standby)
  • golden (hopefully -- I had very poor germination, and this is a last-ditch attempt with the remaining seed from last year)
  • chioggia*
Squashes & Pumpkin:
  • black futsu (yum!)
  • butternut (very common commercially, and cheap, so I may drop them)
  • yellow straightneck§
  • caserta (as baby marrow)
  • mystery round squash
  • golden hubbard (may also get dropped, depending on space)
  • table queen
  • "gnome" (mottled orange/yellow winter sq., about 1/2kg, very tasty)
  • some sort of Pumpkin for seeds*
You can probably tell that I do quite a bit of my "seed shopping" in the produce stores and supermarket. ;-)
  • jalapeƱo
  • cherry
  • habanero
  • serrano
  • "anaheim" (misnamed, methinks)
  • ancho
  • tabasco
  • red hat
  • pasilla*
  • new mex big jim* (had them in the past and then managed to lose the variety!)
Snap Peas - Golden Sweet, Sugar Snap
Sweet Potato
Sorghum* (for chook feed)
Wheat* (maybe, depending on space, energy)
Artichokes -- Purple of Romagna
Cabbage (a bit neglected in Summer, but coleslaw is always nice on hot evenings) Kohlrabi - Early Purple Vienna (or maybe not)
Watermelon - Moon & Stars*
Leeks (just a few)
Sweet Pepper - Cosmic Purple*, California Wonder* (maybe)
Swiss Chard - Luculus
Parsley (plain, flat-leaf kind -- much more flavoursome!)
Coriander/dhanya (we eat a lot of curries and Indian dishes)
Throw in an assortment of herbs, and that's about it!

13 July 2007

Space: The Final Frontier

Serendipity Happens: A 48-hour power outage last week set me thinking about food preservation. Without the freezer. Today my feed-reader plunksSharon Astyk's post on Low Energy Food Preservation onto my plate.  Her blog is always interesting, packed with detailed information and deep insight.  Honestly, I don't know how Sharon finds the time for such prolific posting! 

We mostly rely on the freezer for preserving our produce, but then, as last week, you begin to wonder whether an entire Summer's harvest is going to survive and ever-lengthening power failure...  Forgetting the old permaculture principle, were we: Critical functions must be supported by more than one element.  Honestly, it's just too easy to fall into a comfort-zone and stay there.

So we're starting to look at and learn about other ways to preserve food.  The catch, of course, with all this preserving of produce, is that you need somewhere to store it all.  One of the most serious gaps in our original planning was in not providing for sufficient storage space.  Despite having added two small sheds and a garden "cupboard" to our storage, despite using chunks of the 3-car carport for storing bulk chookfood, rotovator, mower, various toolchestsfull of crap, we're still perpetually short of storage space.

Not only do you need somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight to store preserved produce, you also need to store all the empty jars and bottles (and their lids!) until you're ready to fill them up.  And you need lots of them!  Then you need somewhere cool, dark and dry to store self-saved seed; somewhere where labels and containers won't get mixed up.  It's pretty easy for conventional farmers who typically buy-in their seed, and only need to store a few varieties for a short period of time; quite another for a self-sufficient holding, where you regularly keep dozens of plant varieties.

Then there's somewhere to stash tools.  And it's not good enough to just say "tools": There are general small tools -- hammers, pliers, vice grips, screwdrivers, measuring tapes and set squares -- specialised and power tools, plumbing-specific tools, gardening tools large and small, powered and handraulic.  Some are pretty specialised to a self-sufficient setup: I am planning to make an oil-press and a solar-dehydrator, aiming to acquire a flour mill; they'll all need places to live.  Some of these more specialised tools get used only once or twice a year -- the ridging hoe is only needed a few times in Spring.

But they all need safe, dry storage space.  Turns out that the one wendy-house outside the kitchen door is not as dry as we expected it to be.  Result: a lot of hand tools furred in a fine rust needing cleaning.  Trying to be self-sufficient demands a lot more storage area than I expected.

I'm thinking of enclosing a piece of the carport...

10 July 2007

Organic Growing vs. Organic Growing

Over on The Back Forty blog,  Robbyn asks, "Are Organic Pesticides Safe?

The short answer could be, "Yes.  They degrade rapidly in the environment, and so pose no long term threat."

Another, equally valid, short answer could be, "No! So-called Organic Pesticides, like any other disruptive measure, break the links and cycles in the local ecosystem, so, in the long term, they simply aggravate the problem you're trying to solve, albeit slightly more safely than do conventional pesticides."

As anyone who has taken a more-than-cursory glimpse at our farm website will have figured, I place my self firmly in the latter camp.  If I use a poison (of whatever nature) to kill off the aphids presently attacking my Broccoli1, then I disrupt the food supply for the Ladybugs that make a meal of Aphids.  Consequently the Ladybug population is going to decline for want of food.  Then, come Summer, when I get a real Aphid infestation, I'll surely want for more Ladybugs.  But they won't be there, due to my interference.  Much better to leave things largely alone.

If the Aphid attack gets too severe -- unlikely, as the weather forecast is for a bit of cold front in another day or so -- I will resort to blasting the Aphids off with the hose, where they will remain as prey to the Ladybugs, but not on my soon-to-seed Early Purple Broccoli.

Remember that the term "Pesticide" still contains the root "-cide": death.  It is a paradox to me that so many growers are trying so hard to grow stuff -- to make plants live, so that we in turn can eat and live, live and be healthy -- but spend their time running around trying to kill everything else.  Surely the answer to vibrant life, exuberant life-liness, cannot lie in death!

Keep in mind who benefits most from pesticide use!


One of my favourite memories is of a Saturday Morning Gardening show on TV, presented by a well-known local gardening "expert".  Mainly the show is a thinly veiled advert for selling more gardening stuff2, as are most of these things.

By his own admission, he knows next-to-nothing about "organic" methods.  One particular occasion, he was scripted to shill for a company launching a new range of "organic pesticides and fertilisers", and ended up chatting to an organic veggie grower.  (Well, he looked pretty organic!)  At the key product-placement-point in the programme, the presenter looks over at the veggie grower, and says, "So what would you use if your crops were attacked by X?"  (Some pest; can't remember.)

The grower looked completely blank, frowned, mumbled something along the lines of, "I don't know. Never happens 'cos of the Wasps."

Exit Stage Left.

"But What Is Lurgy?"

All this begs the question,  "What is the meaning of the term 'organic'?"  I think the "Certified Organic" labels are pretty-much3 a load of crap (depending where in the world you are to some extent.)  The range of practise that can legitimately be called "organic" is so wide as to render a single blanket label meaningless.  At one end of the spectrum, all a grower has to do is replace the existing fossil-fuel-based fertilisers and pesticides with equivalents acceptable under some-or-other certification regime.  At the other end are more "hardcore" practices that shun all such artificial interventions, and aim to build up a vibrantly healthy ecology, especially in the soil, and then rely on the natural health of plants to cope with whatever comes along.

Whilst I consider that my own growing is pretty much towards the "hardcore" end of the spectrum4, I am not knocking the other choices.  There have to be paths for "conventional" growers to transition  to a more sustainable practise while coping with the realities of the supermarket-oriented supply chain, the bank-beholden, joyless, tractor-enchained existence of industrial agriculture.  (I cannot find it in myself to call that "farming", and, evidently, many agro-industry growers I have met agree, shunning the label "farmer".)

I would propose a three-level organic certification scheme.  Something along the lines of "Green Label Organic" for the conventional-using-alternative-chemicals approach, "Silver Label" for somewhere in-between, and "Gold Standard" for the hardcore non-interventionist approach.  It would take some working out, some marketing to educate consumers about the differences, but would enable price-tiering to the benefit of all.  Maybe.  It all sounds a lot like working in an office to me, and part of a way of thinking about the world that is soon to pass.

Mike's Answer to Robbyn

So, to answer Robbyn (if you've made it this far!) I would give the Stinkbugs a Round Of Applause.  Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap!  around the bugs, leaves and all.  Damage to the leaves is minimal; you get Squashed Stinkbug all over your hands, but that washes off easily enough; the bugs you don't squash will fly away or get knocked off your Tomatoes, and you'll give predators some time to get going.  Worst case, the crop will take a knock, but look upon it as a long-term investment in your garden's health.

Longer term, the Big Deal -- what defines "organic" for me -- is to build up your soil.  Lots of compost, even if its pretty rubbish compost; as long as you're adding lots and lots of organic matter to the soil, sooner or later things will improve.  As the soil becomes healthier -- and plenty of fungal activity is a good sign -- the biodiversity of your garden will improve.  Everything derives from the soil/Earth itself, all plant health, all the predators, and ultimately our own wellbeing.

Tolerate the pests.  You cannot cultivate a healthy garden without them!
1Aphids! In July, no less.  I thought the buggers were all in bed for the Winter!

2Trying to remain polite and maintain a "Family" rating, here.

3But not totally! And sometimes very necessary as a way to reassure buyers.

4Even though I have violated the principle myself, on occasion, before anybody calls me out for lying!

08 July 2007

Planning Summer Crops

Planning for Summer

For once I feel like I'm getting ahead of the curve.  My usual Summer planting: a haphazard sowing of tried-and-trusted favourites, interspersed with a motley assortment of new varieties I just couldn't resist.  Result: Not enough beds, seed-trays of plants unused, packets of seed growing old, unopened, in the seed cupboard.

Not this year!  Took advantage of some crappy weather yesterday (and back muscles complaining about the previous day's exertions) to draw up plant-lists...  all the things I'd like to grow in the coming Summer season.  A primary goal is to identify "gaps" -- the things I always see halfway through the growing season, and say, "I wish I had planted..."

I'm also having to triage my New Variety Lust pretty ruthlessly...

Missing Links

I'll write up my planting-list soon, for anyone who is interested.  I would really like some advice on good varieties.  Bear in mind that, come Spring and Summer, I'm dealing with a warm, humid climate, and a heavy clay-loam soil.  Water supply can be a problem, depending on our luck with the weather.  Meanwhile, here's what I am looking for:

Tomatoes: I have about 8 or 10 varieties planned, but could well do with another couple of smaller and medium-sized varieties -- salad, paste and drying tomatoes. (I'm planning to build a solar dehydrator, since our climate really puts a crimp in sun-drying.)

Beans and Peas: I have a couple of good varieties of field-beans for drying, but would like to add Pinto beans.  I am looking for one or two (or three) kinds of Snap or Snow Peas, preferably in interesting colours, should I get into supplying gourmet salad stuff (which is a possibility I'm contemplating.)  Chickpeas I'll probably source from the Health Food section of the supermarket.  I'm also looking for some sort of Pea suited to drying and making Pea Flour (Channa Flour.)

Squash/Pumpkin: Looking for an "edible seed" variety so we can harvest Pumpkin seed for breads and snacks. In general Squashes and Pumpkin are difficult subjects, here, since they get nailed by Pumpkin Fly, so all Squashie crops have to be netted, and the netting is damn expensive, limiting how many of these plants I can realistically grow.

Carrots: I would just love more varieties.  We have so few Carrot varieties available locally, all orange, and I'd really love to get some of the more colourful ones.

Peppers, Sweet and Hot: I already plant too many Chilli varieties.  (Nonsense!  There's no such thing as too many Chillis!)  I still need a hot, thin-walled variety suitable for drying and crushing.  Flavour is, of course, the key.  I can easily get seed for Long Red Cayenne, but the flavour is so boring that they're not worth the bother.  I'd also like to get New Mex "Big Jim" back again!  Then, too, I want to make an effort to branch out into Sweet Peppers a bit this year; something I've never much bothered with before.  I did have a very lovely tasting variety called Sweet Banana -- beautiful colour changes, too -- but managed to lose them in The Great Crossing of 2002.  I'd love to get them again.  I'm not much interested in the ordinary California Wonder type of blocky Peppers you get in the supermarkets, mass-grown in tunnels and sold in Red-Yellow-Green packs -- they don't taste like much at all.

WatermelonSmaller ones.  I've not grown watermelon before, but only because I've not had a way to keep them from the insect pests before now.

Onions:  Locally available Onion varieties are very limited and boring, being completely oriented to the large commercial growers.  I am particularly looking for a large/sweet/mild variety good for salads.


There's loads more I want, but I'm  not going to get.  As it is, I'm already preparing new beds, and clearing new ground for field-scale crops, and we still have most of Winter to get through.

Please help with advice and suggestions!  Open-pollinated only, please.  Heirlooms greatly preferred.
If, for any reason, comments are not working properly, or you just prefer to let me know privately what you think, please drop me a line at mikro2nd [at] gmail [dot] com.

05 July 2007

The Self-Sufficient Dog

Guinea Fowl are endemic to this area, or perhaps I should say pandemic,since they additionally get housed, fed and pampered by a neighbour.  The result? A Guinea Fowl population rocketing out of control.  Many of their natural predators have been chased away by us humans so there are several flocks in the neighbourhood, each numbering fifty to a hundred birds.

They can be a Great Bloody Nuisance when they attack my Lettuces and Swiss Chard, and for a while I've been keen on shooting a few for the pot, or at least for supplementing the dogs' diet.  I've made a few half-arsed attempts to cull the flocks, but the dogs generally alert the Guineas before I can get close enough and have great fun chasing the entire flock into the air.

This morning for the first time, OB must have lucked into one. Or perhaps Myah helped her.

Happiness is a Warm Breakfast... Lucky doggie! She won't be wanting supper tonight, that's for sure.

When I first found OB gnawing on a wing, she looked very warily at me... she knows full well that she is not allowed to go after the Chickens, and this is obviously very close to the same thing to her, too.  Even after I made it clear to her that I thought she was a clever dog, and then leaving her to get on with Dinner, she was quite unsure.  In the end Hunter Genes win, though.

I would really like it if she could continue to catch a Guinea Fowl once in a while -- good for her, good for the local ecosystem to have them culled, good for the Guineas, since the weak, slow and stupid will get caught first.  (Though its an awesome thing to contemplate: Something even more stupid that a Guinea Fowl!)  On the other hand I don't want her to start wandering off into the forest to hunt, so we'll have to keep a close eye on how this all unfolds.

02 July 2007

The Clock of the World

Keeping Track

Tactics is extension in space.  Strategy is extension in time.

Gardening teaches both Tactics and Strategy to the attentive student, though the emphasis tend to be on Strategy.

Tactics: Laying out garden beds. Which hoe to use for a given weed-challenge.  The pointy shovel or the straight-edged shovel for lifting that particular pile of manure?  Spade or fork for digging that bed?

Strategy: Right now, in the middle of Winter, I have no more than another month before all considerations of next Summer's crops will be before me.  Already I weigh up whether I have enough seed of the varieties I would like to grow, and seed orders take form.  Time to buy the crop netting I will need to keep Pumpkin Fly from the Cucurbits, come mid-January.  Compost heaps are a-cooking in anticipation of the Spring Rush.  It's already late to be digging new beds to increase the area under cultivation.

I usually end-up getting it wrong somewhere along the line.  Don't we all?

I guess that everyone has their own strange and unique ways to keep track of what-to-do-when.  Of course you have to remember to actually look at the damn wall-chart/spreadsheet/book/diary.

Hedgewizard describes, in a hilarious post, the soggy and disastrous end to one such system.


I have quite a few friends who subscribe to Rudolf Steiner's ideas on cultivation, summed up, codified and dogmatised as Biodynamic Growing.  Most are not Deeply Committed Members Of The Movement, merely dabblers who apply an eclectic handful of biodynamic potions and techniques -- a pinch of some or other weird concoction kept in a cow's horn added to the compost heap while dancing clockwise at full moon; Yarrow stored in a deer-bladder pouch.  A bit challenging, that last one, since the Red Deer fail utterly to be found in South Africa.

No!  I sound like I'm dissing the biodynamic ideas, and really, I'm not!  I just have trouble believing that these homoeopathic treatments of seed, soil, water and compost can have any significant effect on the growth of plants when its simply a case of not getting enough water, nitrogen or calcium, or when the soil pH is way out of whack.  In other words, the effects of macro-nutrient deficiency or imbalance vastly overshadows whether the moon was in Scorpio or Leo when you planted the seed.  Personally I don't believe I am that good a gardener that I have those large-effect inputs well enough under control for the subtle effects of biodynamic preparations to manifest.

One of the key ideas of biodynamic gardening is Sowing By The Moon.  In broad outline, we should sow leaf crops in the First Quarter of the moon -- that period from New Moon to Half Moon during the waxing phase -- fruit crops (Tomatoes, Chillis, Squashes and so on) from the Waxing Half to just before Full Moon, and root crops from Full Moon until the Waning Half.  The last quarter of the moon is no good for planting anything, and should be kept for digging beds, weeding and mulching.  Of course this is only the very crude outline; there is much, much more subtle detail; attention to astrological effects and their interaction with the nature of various plant varieties.

Whether you buy into this stuff or not (and I make no comment or commitment either way, myself) there is one very useful idea.

The Moon

The Moon gives us the perfect clock we need.  Every Moonth, sometime in the First Quarter, I know I need to plant Lettuce.  Every Half Moon its time to sow Radishes.

No need for fancy systems.  Just going outside of an evening to take a look at the sky.

The Sky

Number One Son bought an imposing reflector telescope, so we've been having lots of fun learning to use it.  Our triumph was getting good views of Jupiter, Saturn (it's awsome!) and Venus (blindingly bright) all on one evening's perfect viewing a couple of weeks ago.  Consequently we're learning a whole lot about the constellations -- the patterns of the heavens. The Clock Of The Year.

Then, too, I would dearly love to learn more about how to read Nature's clocks. Bits of folklore like, "Plant your Potatoes when the Apple trees blossom."  Anybody have some pointer to that sort of knowledge?  I imagine that huge swathes of that sort of lore has already been lost; how do we relearn it?  Reinvent it?

Yet more ways to reconnect ourselves with the Universe.  Actually, we've never really been disconnected; only in the tiny space inside our own heads have we thought so.

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