Friday, July 29, 2011

2011-07-29 Harvest - Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm

Several tomatoes, purple potatoes, and a small chocolate sweet pepper.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You and I are Silly Monkey People with Delusions of Grandeur Being Played Like Pawns in a Game of Chess

In a discussion at my friend CNu's blog, Subrealism, a regular commenter, nanakwame, posted a quote in a comment:
Human nature is not rational; there is intelligence only in what encompasses him.
- Heraclitus
Of course, I constantly laugh at the name we have given our species - Homo sapiens, or Wise Man. Especially given that supposed 'wisdom' of ours is full of egregious, gaping holes. In fact, these holes are so huge I would say that we are anything but wise or rational and that we are also likely barely 'conscious' too.

Here are a couple of my favorite Men in Black quotes:
Edgar/Bug: Y'know, I've noticed an infestation here. Everywhere I look, in fact. Nothing but undeveloped, unevolved, barely conscious pond scum, totally convinced of their own superiority as they scurry about their short, pointless lives.
Zap-Em Man: Well, yeah. Uh... don't you want to get rid of 'em?
Edgar/Bug: Ah... in the worst way.

Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.
Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.

Anyway, CNu responded with:
lol, not only is human nature not rational, sophisticated governance ruthlessly exploits vulnerabilities in the configuration of human psychology and culture to maximize control exerted through and by what must now be considered (in the modern context) cognitive defects; Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose
Now, how exactly would an SMP aspiring to be rational start looking to find which governance systems might be in place controlling their lives? These control systems --
  • encourage emotionality over rationality
  • value beliefs and feelings over facts
  • 'feed'/encourage cognitive biases
  • stimulate the brain's dopaminergic systems
  • interfere with the brain's sertoninergic systems
  • organize hierarchically
  • isolate individuals
  • encourage SMPs to proselytize the system
Eliminate or reduce your exposure to these systems and constantly question what you think you 'know' to break free and learn to think for yourself.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Video Update at Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm

My brother-in-law requested a picture of the chicken tractor, so while I was out moving it, I decided to take some videos of the farm with my phone.

The chickent tractor:

The burn pile with some very vigorous Chenopodium album:

A look out over the Zone 2 Area:

The Zone 1, Kitchen Garden:

Snowball (who was pure white when we bought her), the alpha hen, out exploring:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - How-To: Organic Shiitake Mushrooms

Milkwood Permaculture Farming and Living has a great little how-to on making your own shiitake mushroom log.

About two years ago I tried my hand at mushrooms after reading (and getting totally stoked over) Paul Stamets' Mycelium Running. I then got a copy of his heftier tome, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and attempted to spawn some oyster mushrooms. I procured some spores and substrate (spent coffee grounds) and followed the instructions. Within days, I could see the mushrooms building mycelia. Unfortunately, the moment they started to sprout fruiting bodies, some sort of mildew decimated the growing medium. I have to admit that it discouraged me a bit and haven't put much effort toward mushroom cultivation since.

But... with all my recent successes in the garden and with the chickens, I might be ready to give mycofarming (of the edible variety, those of you thinking of being snarky ;-) another try. Until the trees start to grow and fill in shaded areas, I'm going to need to create a shelter in the Zone 1 area so that I can keep an eye on the logs and have easy access for watering them. I think getting some spores to inoculate my hardwood mulch (since the soil out here is almost totally dead) is an excellent idea and is a great example of stacking functions by using mushrooms both for eating and as a keystone for building healthy soil.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How-To: Newspaper Origami - Seed Starter Pots

Found this useful and simple how-to video:

People at work recycle their newspapers, so I've been grabbing a few out of the bin to use both as a weed barrier for my lasagna mulching and now for seed starter pots!

Unfortunately, their claim for 'organic'  is specious unless they use organically sourced paper and inks in the newspaper.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Permaculture Video: Martin Gardner's A Forest Garden Year

Excellent video of Martin Gardner going through all four seasons in an permaculture forest garden. The focus is on permaculture gardening techniques and less on permaculture design principles. This makes the video a prime example of what to do and less so of why to do it.

Definitely a video I plan on revisiting!

Experiment Continuing: Black Garlic

The first couple of days had some intense garlic odors wafting through the house and around the yard. The smell is definitely getting milder now. The temperature has been tough to regulate with the cooker I chose with it getting a little too hot during the heat of the afternoon and a little too cool in the early morning. Hopefully the temps aren't going outside the prescribed range too long.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Asberry Acres Permaculture Forest Farm - Experiment: Black Garlic

While  browsing the web, found something that sounded interesting:
Black garlic is a type of fermented garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind.
Since I love garlic, I'm going to be growing a lot of garlic here. Although the garlic is hardly ready for harvesting, I still wanted to experiment to see if I could make it. So, made a quick trip to the closest Big-Box store where I found a cooker that heated at low enough temps to encourage fermenting without actually cooking the garlic. I also got about 3 pounds of garlic.

I excitedly prepared the cooker and the garlic as my recipe indicated and started on my 40 day journey! When I left for work, everything looked fine at 140°. Later in the day discovered that the kitchen had an intense garlic smell so moved it out to the mud/utility room. After work, I went out to check on it and was greeted with the most intense garlic smell I've ever known. Wunderbar!
With 39 days left, it's a little warm at 150°

My Most Recent Metabolic Screening Results

Over the last 6 months - a year, I've been changing my habits.

The changes:
  • To the 3 days of weight lifting, I've added 2 days of cardio
  • I consume 1 tablespoon of Omega 3 fatty acids daily.
  • I consume 4000 I.U. of Vitamin D during the winter and slowly adjust with my exposure to the sun
  • I consume 1200 mg of Calcium
  • I have a standing desk at work
  • I've significantly reduced my gluten intake
  • I've replaced my consumption of diet cola for tea sweetened with stevia
The qualitative results:
  • I've gotten sick only once, wherein I recovered fully in 3 days, and happened after a two week lapse in taking my Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and Calcium supplements.
  • I've been snoring less, and not at all the last week.
  • I feel really good, aware, and much better rested.
The quantitative results:
2010 Results
2011 Results
2010 Category
2011 Category
Total Cholesterol
High Risk
Total/HDL ratio
Systolic blood pressure
Pre-hypertensive, almost Stage 1 Hypertension
Pre-hypertensive, just above Normal
Diastolic blood pressure
Obese, had a strong pear-shaped figure
Obese, however, I'm very muscular and only appear Overweight
Waist Circumference
High Risk
Moderate Risk

I've clearly had significant improvements both with cholesterol and blood pressure. My continued cardio program along with my standing desk should continue lowering my blood pressure.

As for my weight/BMI... the progress has been very slow. Some recent studies have linked potato, processed foods, and alcohol as the biggest culprits in American diets to cause weight gain. The processed foods are being eliminated as I have taken to cooking dinner from scratch. The potato I'm just now starting to eliminate as best I can. Not sure about wanting to eliminate alcohol - I do really enjoy a beer (or maybe two) a few evenings after work a week. On the positive side, eating an extra serving of fresh fruit lead to weight loss. In addition to making dinner, I've also been buying and eating more fresh fruit. Hope it helps!