Practicing in the prime of life…

Dear Sunaina,

The other night I walked home from the neighbor’s house, after dark. What a huge difference between Hawaii and Louisiana. In Louisiana, walking down a rural trail at night, I would have to think about snakes, spiders, hogs, coyotes, rutting bucks, livestock, idiots, and drunks. On Killer Hill I had to think about not tripping on rocks, how pretty the sky was, and “I hope I see the horses!” I didn’t see them, and the carrots kept as treats were getting soft, but the only Bogeyman out there was me.

While walking home on that moonless night, blazing my flashlight in every direction, I did have some other thoughts, however; and it was a bit of an epiphany. I’m 36 years old, in what most consider the prime of a man’s life, and there’s nowhere in the world that I would rather be than here, practicing my craft. It’s awesome that a person can manifest their destiny through research and sharing ideas with friends. There is a ton of opportunity here, as long as there is work ethic. Hopefully a few hard and smart workers will be able to capitalize on that, as there are a number of people out here that need help. As I mentioned before, most people out here are 60+. This place is not easy for anyone, much less someone facing the trials of advancing age. The challenge for younger people here is in facing themselves, see “Bogeyman” above^^^.

This brings to mind what we are really doing when we garden, and live more sustainably. In truth, when a person has the fruit and veggies in the garden, it’s a byproduct of the cultivation of good habits and traits that help life to thrive. As well as delicious foods, we’re growing an atmosphere of self empowerment, and by empowering ourselves we’re more able to build a strong community and society. It’s a truly symbiotic relationship.. In Switzerland there are neighborhood areas where everyone has gardens, and they work as a community to produce a wide variety of foods to share and trade. It’s something called “Foodscaping“, and I’m sure here are many other places that do it as well, it’s pretty common sense.

Here at the homestead things have been fairly slow. I’ve been car shopping, to get rid of the Jeep, and I’ve tested a couple sprays that I made. For one pray a person uses the water from tomato leaves soaked over night, mixed with equal parts fresh water, to spray plants infested by aphids. I’m not sure if it worked yet, will give an update if something becomes clear (edit: it works fairly well). It’s also supposed to attract a parasitic wasp that lays its eggs on caterpillars, and the larvae eat the caterpillar from the inside out. It’s pretty wicked! The other spray is 1 gal Vinegar, 1 tbsp Salt, and 1 tsp eco-friendly Dish soap. It’s used to kill foliage, and I’m testing it on perennial soybean, aka Glycine, which is horribly invasive here. Glycine will flatten trees and shrubs with its weight, it if goes unchecked. It worked surprisingly well in my test run (edit: well enough that others on the mountain have heard about it and sought out the recipe from me). I’m not a fan of soy. It’s not beneficial to men’s health, is high in Omega 6 rather than Omega 3, and is just another GMO monoculture crop. I’m looking forward to gains in the Hemp revolution, which has already started. It will eventually be another monoculture crop in the US, but one that is less taxing on the environment than the rest. Hemp is at the center of the sustainability conversation! It’s got so many uses! It makes high quality food, fuel, housing material, insulation, medicine, clothing, everything that is a basic need for humans to survive it can provide, and more that helps us thrive. Henry Ford’s first car ran on fuel from hemp, and the body was made of a hemp fiber blend. I think it’s pretty awesome stuff, anyway!
Grey water garden bed!
My seeds have started to sprout, which means I need to build the new garden beds. The goal is to make something easy to water, that looks nice, and is easy to access. (Edit: I built the first bed, it’s in the grey water run-off area where the shower drains.) I’ve done several “Three Sisters” seed plantings. They are Glass Gem Corn (a very rare popping corn), various beans and peas, and various squash and cucumbers. The idea is that the corn makes a trellis for the beans/peas, and the squash/cucumber grows around them, low to the ground, and the spiky hairs that grow on their leaves and vines will help keep insects off of the corn and peas/beans. I did the same concept with Habanero peppers, Eggplant, and Sunflowers, as well as with Carrots, Tomatoes, and Sunflowers. I’m not sure how much sunflowers will actually contribute to the well-being of the other plants, aside from attracting pollinators/predators, but they sure will be beautiful! I figured that Mr Tomato wouldn’t mind leaning on Miss Sunflower, either, she’s pretty solid.



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