Friday, September 14, 2012

Ramblin Man

"Creativity is the residue
of time wasted"

-Albert Einstein

It feels good to be posting again, after a break...

Moonrise in Waiheke's main village

We all have something to say..

How important it is to us, taking the time, and cultivating the dicipline to say it, are clearly, important factors for anyone writing.

Growing real food is magic for me.
The enjoyment and understanding that comes from partaking in and  preserving the bounty our natural ecosystem services provide is important to me.
So I write about it. Pretty simple, really. 
Winter cauliflower
Winter broccoli

Winter is mild in New Zealand, and good food can be grown at all times of the year. Being surrounded by water, there is little chance of any frosts, and it is just a matter of timing as to when you can get seeds to germinate etc, like anywhere else. Seedlings can go in at any time of the year. So good nutrient dense food can be had all year. 
This is a good thing.                   

Wave riding

Music, media and meditation (amongst other things) all garner my attention as well...
Some can be written about, the others, not so easily. 

While political junkies are running about in a lather talking up their guy to run the broken, rigged system that is the United States government..
Bob Dylan has a new album out.

It is his 35th album. Tempest is the name.

Rocking Bob
Pictured left is his concert at the recently refurbished Capitol Theatre in New York. Apparently, a perfect venue for the this NYTimes review states, making it clear the 71yr old was enjoying himself. Not one to be left behind, the maestro has his songs drip fed out online nowadays, and a quick visit to iTunes will get you the feel for his enduring musical gift. A glowing review of the album on The Guardian makes interesting reading for the die-hards (like me)

Tempest. What a great name.

Which is what Spring is often like down on a small island in a big ocean. 
Waiheke is only 20km long, and about 15km off the coast of the main city of Auckland. When the wind blows, it howls. We have had a share of it this year... but the signs are good now, even though Spring days are so unpredictable

Signs of Spring
One of my new favourite blogs is by a lady called Perma Goddess (great name!) about her abundant small permaculture holding in Ireland called Bealtaine Cottage. She posts about most days. Absolutely superb.

My spring walks take me all around the small village of Rocky Bay here on the island, a home of mine for a number of years, and a great little community.
The country lane I start my walks on

I start up the lonely lane and see where it might lead. There are signs of Spring everywhere, and the air is fresh and crisp.

The ground is still a bit too wet to get involved in any cultivation presently, but the birds are active, the temperatures are warming, and growth is emerging from hardier species. 

Even the spiders are getting themselves 
Fractal geometry?

Nature is all about balance. We would do well to seek that in our lives, rather than make so much effort trying to own, patent, and manage natural processes.  
They are already managed very well, thanks. 

This was an interesting take on our energy conundrums I read recently from a solar enthusiast:
"Think about it this way. We’re killing people in foreign lands in order to extract 200-million-year-old sunlight. Then we burn it . . . in order to boil water to create steam to drive a turbine to generate electricity. We frack our own backyards and pollute our rivers, or we blow up our mountaintops ... for an hour of electricity, when we could just take what’s falling free from the sky.”

Danny Kennedy

Solar is undisputed as reliable source of energy. In fact we would die pretty quickly without it. The problem is not using it, we do. Every day. The problem arises when we want to try to plug it in to our excessively energy-hungry lifestyles! Then we are dealing with all sorts of issues like infrastructure, rare-earth materials, etc etc.
As a farmer, I am a big solar fan. Works great. 
Have to have it, actually. 
I just use it as it is...


Friday, September 07, 2012

Living Earth

"Eating is an agricultural act"
-Wendell Berry

I love compost. It is the most essential and basic of all natural life processes. It is beautiful, easy and efficient. The small pile above, in which my fork is stuck down deep, was made in only a few months. The carbon material, mixing with water air and nutrients, has broken down into a dark friable and highly fertile mix that anything will grow like mad in. Great stuff. Most of the material has been sourced from the local wineries on the island, and is quite acidic, so I always make sure to add plenty of lime. Great for compost tea, which the plants respond to quickly

The compost I have made in between rows in the vineyard (left) is called green manure, or cover cropping, and works essentially the same way, only on a larger scale. Seeded in the fall, a mix of grasses and legumes are now in full bloom and will be turned under this week. With some added bacteria and fungi, the process will take place over the 6 acres in the ground, just as it has for ages, as nature designed. I am just facilitating the process. with enzymes and bacteria that helps ensure the biological activity is complete. This enables the soil to use the additional organic matter in holding water better, allows nutrients to become available through electromagnetic and chemical reactions going on all the time. It is a dynamic situation, always changing and always teeming with life. This life in the soil is essential for life in our food.

"Soil is alive. It more than simply supports life. Living soil is healthy and healthful. It allows for the growth and development of healthy, healthful plants - plants that fulfill the nutritional needs of animals and people. Dead soil is dirt. It does not produce healthy animals and people. It does not produce healthy vegetation. It erodes. It compacts. It clods. It no longer carries an adequate electromagnetic charge".

-Dr. Arden B. Andersen
Life and Energy in Agriculture