Sunday, February 26, 2017

Covering fruit trees from spring frost

Peaches & Nectarines covered, but I did not cover 2 of the big Peach trees
 Although Friday was an 80 degree day, the following Saturday was bitter cold and the night into the early Sunday morning was supposed to be in the low 20s. I'm not sure how cold it got last night, but I made sure to cover the fruit trees that were smaller because most of the had started to bud out. For example the Pear trees were about to bloom. I barely got the Pear trees covered though, and I could not cover the two large Peach trees nor the large Plum tree. Those trees I worried about because they are ready to bloom as well where the weather is tricking them into thinking it's late Spring.

Figs, Cherry, & Plum covered but I did not cover the big Plum tree

Here, the Cherry tree to the left is covered, & Pear trees are barely covered because they are large

Friday, February 24, 2017

Growing Cabbage, broccoli, & Onion in Polytunnel greenhouse

Today while the weather permitted, my partner and I got a truck load of compost to go on one of the gardens. The truckload of compost cost $37 after tax. Before spreading the compost, we made a polytunnel using water pipe attached together and held in place with small pieces of rebar in the ground. Afterwards, we assembled cardboard in the shape of the polytunnel and then spread 6 inches of compost on top of the cardboard. We collected rocks and lined rocks around the bed to contain the compost.
Then we transplanted cabbage, broccoli, and onions throughout the compost bed and watering with rain that was collected on site. Because we are transplanting in late February when the nights are still between 20-40 degrees, we went ahead and covered the poltunnel with plastic and secured the plastic with long pieces of rebar and rocks. I will have to make sure to uncover the polytunnel on hot or warm days or use garden cloth to cover the tunnel. The idea behind constructing tunnels over the garden beds is to use plastic when it's cold and then use garden cloth when it's hot and to keep bugs out.
Below are some photos I took of the bed to show you the first garden we have put out this year. Although I have had some plants growing throughout the winter, it feels like I'm actually gardening now that I'm transplanting.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An AMAZING material for building CHEAP eco home (VIDEO)


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Give people land (Redistribute land!)

knowledgeisking.ning.com
In this essay I discuss the historical ways land and resources are taken away from people while they are exploited for corrupt means. Our history has created systematic disadvantages for the poor people of color. This system is environmental racism-- where the poorest persons of color are segregated and red-lined into the worst schools, worst neighborhoods, and worst environmental conditions. Another example of this environmental racism includes deforestation in Central Africa (Congo) and South America, and pollution/contamination (e.g. Flint water crisis) affecting poor people and people of color, on a global scale (an international division of labor).

Consequently, not many people know of the United States' terrible history of buying up land and exploiting it, nor do people know the extent to which this affects the present state of affairs. One thing that impacted the most was Land lotteries which prompted Indian removal. Land lotteries was simply giving away land to white immigrants like in Georgia. Another impact was creating systemic racism in the form of African/African American slavery. Even after slavery, Black families were not allowed to get loans to make small payments on property, Blacks were segregated, and now there is a phenomenon now that keeps Blacks segregated called Redlining. There are many systematic factors that contributed and still contribute historically to the racist policies, laws, customs, mores, etc which keeps people of color from owning land in the United States.

Those in rural areas were greatly disenfranchised during the Industrial age in Appalachia because of coal mining and timber companies. For example the expansion of surface mining leveled thousands of acres of mountaintops because the coal industry benefited from mountaintop removal (Eller, 2008.) Additionally, corporate chains like Wal Mart affect small local businesses in those rural areas of Appalachia, especially when the profits do not trickle down into the community because they go out of the region. The Appalachian Land Ownership Task Force found that large corporations and land companies controlled up to 90 and 100% of the surface land and the mineral resources in 80 Appalachian counties (Eller, 2008.) This was a significant study during this time and it's shocking information. Other data the study found was that 8 million acres—more than 40% of land surveyed—was owned and operated only by 50 private owners and the federal government (Eller, 2008.) 

Another example of this is that for 14 West Virginia counties, 25 companies owned 44% of the surface land, yet only assessed for 20% of the area’s taxes (Eller, 2008.) This means that taxes from these large corporations are not going to the community while the poor community pay higher taxes or more taxes to support it's own community. This is happening even today like with the 45th President not paying taxes for 20 years even though he's a billionaire. Likewise, these systems of racism has led to the extreme wealth of a select few white families. Today, the median wealth of white families is 20 times greater than the median wealth of black families (and 18 times greater than Latinx families). 
Subsequently, some of the programs put in place to aid those disadvantaged did nothing to help disadvantaged people of color. In fact, FDR was able to pass the New Deal including Social security and other beneficial programs, as long as they excluded domestic service workers and agricultural workers (which meant predominantly people of color.) This gave preferential treatment to whites. Secondly, the dream of home ownership granted mortgage loans to Americans, where 98% of all recipients were white. Third, GI bill was passed to give low cost mortgage, living expenses paid, and paid tuition for veterans, which exclusively benefited whites, and excluded black veterans. 
Additionally, The 62 of the richest billionaires own half of the world’s poorest populations. Those that have accumulated all the world's resources simultaneously destroy natural resources at an alarming rate. Those richest people are the ones that destroy the land (trees, soil, crops, air, water, animals/aquatic life), those people buy all the land, and try to keep people from being truly free. We do NOT live in a free and equal opportunity country, and it is essential that we (the 99%) take back stolen land, take back our stolen creativity and individuality. In an effort to save, protect, and preserve nature and all its species, we cannot continue to deforest the planet, pollute, and kill off ecosystems.

Moreover, the middle class own more land, but it's usually for farming, growing soybeans or corn for livestock to eat, or for hunting grounds (more family owned operations). I'm not sure how anyone figures they own the oceans, but they also wreak havoc on that too, and capture to exploit and kill aquatic life. Those who own the majority of land on this planet are the rich who exploit it for drilling and fracking, mining, infrastructure, etc. In fact the families who own most of the world's resources are the reason the number of trees has fallen by 46% since the start of human civilization. There are over 20,000 different kinds of trees in the world. Actually, 3 trillion trees are left on the Earth. Somehow these same people who don't own land will go to different countries in Africa or South America to mine for gold. And they too are part of the destruction of land, trees, wildlife, and the last remaining tribes.

As mentioned, all of these examples are the many ways land and resources are taken away from the poor and persons of color, and consequently, this land is often used for big business, corporations, coal mining, logging, or fast food chains. What's truly depressing is that absentee owners of land have taken thousands of acres while rich families keep land in the family for to be passed down through generations. I'm not sure redistributing land (redistributing wealth) is feasible, but it sounds effective. And in fact when I think about the few people that own half of the world, this wealth disparity is unfair, and simply unjust. This cannot be normal, this cannot be how the system works. There is much land to be "bought" but there is much land already owned on a large scale.

Simply, if all people were given land to build their own houses and grow their own food, there would be less corporations, less logging, mining, fracking, pollution, etc. If all people had an acre, no one would want to cut down all the trees on their property for a quick buck. People would perhaps use their land to make a home business and then this would create a local economy where everyone had a service to offer. This isn't about poor people paying taxes, because in fact the tax system is not fair for the poor to begin with. Poor people shouldn't pay taxes, only the rich! Poor people pay the same tax rate as the rich, if not more taxes. And something most people don't realize is that half of the US budget goes to funding the military. So, clearly the tax system is not fair for the poor, but it should be used to regulate the rich because they are clearly exploiting people, resources, polluting land, and those are the people that came from money that was passed down to them through the generations of a system that favored the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
 
I am one of the many people who do not own land. Even if I bought land, I still do not "own" any of the trees, the sky, the birds, the deer, the soil, rocks, and rivers. People often talk in terms of ownership like "my girlfriend", "my daughter," "our Earth", "our galaxy", "my America." I find this to be problematic because this suggests that we have a culture that cannot look outside of capitalism, imperialism, and colonization. I fear that if the culture continues to use rhetoric that reflects ownership and possession, then it will be one where the disparities, inequality, destruction will be even greater as civilization ages within this world. But, if those of us don't collectively buy up land to take away from capitalists, then what will be left for those of us that want to protect it? True equality is the providing access to healthy living conditions, healthy food and land to grow food, and education for everyone. 

References:

Eller, Ronald. D. (2008). Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press.


Re-wild yourself Part II: Hike in the woods naked


The Hyacinths are popping up, along with the tulips, and daffodils and crocuses have already presented themselves with their delicate petals. On a day like today where it's a overcast, 70 degrees in Kentucky in late February, I find that it's the right time to rake up some brush around the flower
bed so I can mulch soon.
But also on days like this, I go into the woods to my sacred spot that I have dedicated to meditating and sunbathing. Here in the woods I re-wild myself when I take off my shirt, pants, briefs, and boots. My bum is bare to the smooth cold rock shaped perfectly like a bench. The tree above me has its roots wrapped around the rock where my feet are dangling and I'm rubbing my soles on the smooth bark of the Elm. A Hawk calls above me and circles the hillside. Other birds make cute little playful sounds like they're saying yes to the coming Spring. And I spread my body like the flowers emerging from the soil, stretch like the tree, arms out like the hawk, and the fungus growing.

In my previous post on Re-wilding yourself talked about eating wild edibles and some common wild edibles in the woods near you. So I wanted to share with you another way I re-wild myself often throughout the year. Because there is something pleasurably freeing being naked in the woods, I also suppose this experience makes me feel hat like I am reverting back to my animal. I feel that this practice is like therapy in that way.

 I must say that it is a privilege to have access to woods, forest, trees, grass because in urban areas, it's an industrial waste site. And I'm even more privileged because I have woods behind my house. But, try this practice of hiking naked in the woods if you have woods near you, and document your feelings and reactions. There are many things you can add to your meditation practice like standing erect with your back against a tree and holding the base of the tree like you're giving a reverse hug and imagine and exchange of energy being transferred between you and the tree. I tried this today as well and I found it very comforting and healing. So experiment with those holistic practices as well as see if they work for you. Many people require some form of rejuvenating or healing period in their life--and some people call it a vacation--but I tend to create my own retreat when I go into the woods.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Indoor starter garden update Feb 20 2017 & how I overwintered Figs (VIDEO)

Friday, February 17, 2017

An Indoor Greens Garden for COLD climate February harvest! (video)

MIgardener shows you that you can grow an indoor garden in a colder climate and harvest in February.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Indoor Starter Plants with LED grow lights (Mid-February 2017)

Below are updated pictures of the indoor starter plant garden. I have LED 4 foot lights attached to two rubbermaid shelves. Growing on the top shelf is Swiss chard germinating in recycled strawberry/blueberry/kiwi containers. I buy a seed starting mix, or will mix my own potting soil with vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss. On the second shelf is Cherry tomatoes and Beefsteak tomatoes growing almost directly under the grow lights.  The tomatoes were sown 6 days before they sprouted, and now they are at least an inch tall. Beside the trays of tomatoes are a Goji berry in the orange pot and a Pineapple plant to the right. Below on the 3rd shelf is another goji plant in the orange pot with a tray of onion seed germinating, then Beets, lettuce, Artichoke, Brussels, Broccoli, and Cauliflower growing in the second (middle) tray. To the right is a tray of Radish growing. The radish are becoming quite leggy despite putting them directly under the grow light like with the tomatoes.


Cherry Tomatoes

Radish (right)

Goji berry

Goji berry

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Indoor Growlight Starter Plants & Greenhouse in Early February (Winter)


In the Indoor garden, there are LED grow lights above the starter plants (seen above). Some of the plants sprouting are radish, lettuce, broccoli, and beets (seen below). Those that I sowed are Onions, Beefsteak and Red Cherry Tomatoes, Artichoke, and Cauliflower.


Basically I turned the porch into a greenhouse to keep the outside animals warm in the winter. And of course it works as a place to start cold weather crops in the late winter and early Spring. Below I took pictures of the greenhouse I assembled using materials I had on hand. Because it was warm for the last two days in Kentucky, I put the tropical plants outside in the greenhouse. You may have seen in the past that I have Pineapples growing, as well as Snake plant, Aloe, and Cactus. The tropical container garden is dwindling considering the inside and outside cats tore up many of them or "fertilized" the plants to the point that they killed many of my indoor plants. But of course I am collecting and growing more.