Inspired decades ago by the animated film "The Man Who Planted Trees". I collected buckets of acorns and black walnuts from the largest, healthiest trees I could find. My goal was to diversify a young, mostly maple and ash forest near my homestead. I planted many nuts just to find out the squirrels and other critters dug them up for food. Yes, I did try to protect them with mesh, cages, etc. It didn't stop those hungry squirrels. A whole lotta work for nothing. So, I watched the squirrels bury their nut cache at different times of the season and learned that they know just how to plant an acorn, by rolling it in to the ground, on its side, at the correct depth for optimum germination. So, for the last several years I've been collecting then dumping bucket loads of different types of acorn, at different times of the year, spring, summer and fall for the squirrels to do the planting for me. Yes, squirrels have excellent GPS like memories on where they plant their nut cache, but they do forget some. Now I have hundreds of little oak trees growing in this woodland. I hope in decades I will have a surplus of hardwood and acorns. Plus, plenty of food for the forest critters keeping them away from other nut producing plants like my prized hazelnuts.
Loren Amelang once helped code for Silicon Valley companies, but he'd always been sensitive to environment so when his employer installed fluorescent lighting and wouldn't let employees use their own lights, he decided to move to the country and craft his off-grid dream home.
Today he lives with "clean air, a great view, free hot water and free power, and a decent chunk of free heat". The entire south side of his home is covered in solar capture devices: 1600 watts of photovoltaic power, solar hot water panels, a sunroom/greenhouse and a solar hot air collector. The sunroom/greenhouse provides most of the free heat via the 'solar flue' that moderates it in warmer weather or circulates some of it into the house when needed, and the concrete walls that stabilize the temperature over time.
Putting his technical skills to use (he's a pioneer in C++ programming), Amelang wrote over 10,000 lines of code so that his home's water and electric systems could be operated remotely, by even just an iPhone.
Since he built most of the home himself (the person he hired to do it decades ago, spent all the money and built half the house), Amelang has made it very custom. He avoided using aluminum and plastic (except for the insulation on the wiring) and he wired it for pure DC lighting (which makes sense with solar, but Amelang also likes how "peaceful" DC lighting feels).
Building on his own terms means that Amelang created a home that doesn't look or feel like anyone else's, but it works well and makes sense. For instance, he designed an audio system where you can "walk around in the sound space and feel where you are" and a central locking system for all exterior doors so that when he leaves the house he doesn't have to lock 12 different doors, but just turns one key and they all lock.
* This is a follow-up story with Loren. The original stories from 2011: -- C++ programming pioneer hacks off-grid, DIY, smart home
-- 96-square-foot tiny home hand built inside century-old barn
** Note: Loren has always seen the world differently, in a literal sense and he is hoping to hear from anyone who might experience the same phenomenon. He explains they are "issues are with brain-level perception and my expectations of how the visual world should work". He writes about it more in detail in his blog post "Consumed by the light"
Hi Judith, Sunchokes in the foreground, plum, confrey, cherry, arugala, persimmon, raspberries, etc are behind. Close by, in the same photo, to the left and right (not seen in the photo) are garlic, beets, potato, mustard, horseradish, blueberries, bamboo.... Keep in mind it's still kinda cool here. It looks a little barren, plants are just getting started.
Hi Dan! Thanks. I've watched it several times.... can't get enough. This film reminds me of another great documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" featuring The Funk Brothers, but that should be reserved for a future thread.
Dan, do you have a favorite artist inspired by the "Muscle Shoals" sound?
Hi Jess. I agree, wish it was longer. From a filmmakers point of view. A film shot over 2 years in such conditions is an amazing feat. Herzog "found" this unfinished film and did the best edit possible.
So why post this Documentary film? 1) It's just one helluva amazing story, with great music. 2) If our goal is to spread the word about Permaculture... I think we can learn alot from the history of Muscle Shoals.
Synopsis: Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the 'Singing River' as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals changed the world and sold millions upon millions of copies. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, he brought black and white together in Alabama's cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations while giving birth to the 'Muscle Shoals Sound' and 'The Swampers'. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Bono, and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery, and why it remains influential today.
Briars in the Cotton Patch is a documentary film that explores the unknown story of Koinonia Farm, one of America’s most daring social experiments of the last century. Started in 1942, Koinonia Farm is a rural community in southwest Georgia where blacks and whites lived together, broke bread at the same table and got paid the same wages. Though founded on the principles of non-violence and sharing, this seemingly innocent philosophy once tore a community apart and inflamed passions for decades. Koinonia had to endure years of bombs, boycotts and shootings. Out of this chaos grew a batch of Koinonia “briars” whose lifestyles pricked America’s comfortable social culture. Koinonia also provided the environment from which grew the worldwide movement of Habitat for Humanity International.
Andrew Young, former Ambassador to the United Nations, Atlanta Mayor and Civil Rights veteran, lends his powerful voice as narrator of Briars in the Cotton Patch.
This gripping documentary tells the nearly forgotten story of this courageous group of blacks and whites who withstood searing hate and continual violence in the years leading up to the tumultuous Civil Rights era. See how Koinonia survived the battles of integration, changed the lives of generations to come, and planted the seeds for the global work of Habitat for Humanity International.
Briars in the Cotton Patch, a compelling chronicle of heroic humility and uncommon courage that echoes to the present day.
The complete film is available at through Netflix.
One subject rarely mentioned in this movement is ownership (patent) of the worlds staple crops. Is it right or even dangerous to have a handful of international corporations not only own the worlds staple foods but animals and insects like fish, goats and bees? I also find it interesting that many of the staples these corporations acquire do not rely on insect pollination. Most staples are open pollinated. Hmm? No pollinators would surely hurt competitors and in turn increase profit.
Hi Leila! I'm obsessed with any type of glass container, old pyrex and cast iron cookware. Most of it is in storage, but I continue to collect.
Ooh.... Almost forgot ReBar. I use it throughout the homestead and garden for numerous projects. I usually get rebar scraps at construction sites.
As far as fodder and medicinal remedies for live stock...
Referencing Juliette de Bairacli Levy's book "The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable"
Ivy (Hedera helix Araliaceae) " This is a well known evergreen climbing plant. Distinguished by its peculiarly shaped leaves, small, honey colored, sticky flowers, which develop into succulent black berries of pea size. The berries are a famed cure for fevers; they are also used to induce perspiration. They possess mild purgative and emetic properties. They are an excellent tonic for poultry. The leaves are a valuable external aid for poulticing enlarged glands. Sheep, goats and deer eat ivy greedily. The Greek peasants say that the woodland gods gave the ivy to the animals to guard them against starvation in times of heavy snow. Many people have the belief that ivy is a totally poisonous herb... all parts. But one has only to observe how the bees crowd to it flowers, and the birds to the berries, and how animals seek out its leaves, to discredit this idea. I think that the name of that dangerous plant poison ivy, which is not of the same plant family as true ivy at all...indeed a totally alien plant... gave the poison belief to common ivy. Overeating of this herb, however, will cause discomfort and sickness. This is especially true when ewes are pregnant. Ivy is one of the best herbs for complete internal cleansing after birth. Feed one handful to sheep and goats immediately after giving birth. Larger quantities for cows and mares. In treatment of retained afterbirth make a strong brew, one handful leaves to one pint water. Give half pint drenches every three hours. Use ivy brew also in difficult birth, same dose. I have saved many goats and dogs with this help from ivy brew. Use: Treatment of all fevers. Loss of appetite, dropsy, constipation. Inflamed joints, enlarged glands, chilblains, birth. Dose; Two tablespoonfuls of fresh leaves finely cut and mixed into bran, or brewed in one and one half pints water, two dessertspoonfuls honey added. Give one small cupful daily. Externally: make a standard poultice from the bruised leaves and berries. Ivy is an effective treatment for warts and horny growths, is a pulp of fresh ivy leaves packed over the area and bound with strips of cloth soaked in vine sap."
I've followed John Hamilton's career from his high school band to one of the most respected literary scholars of our time. For many years we were neighbors, living in the same building. I feel privleged to have witnessed his musical progression and his strong work ethic. He is one of my greatest inspirations. I think he still holds the title as the youngest person ever to be offered tenure at Harvard University. His newest book Security: Politics, Humanity, and the Philology of Care is highly recommended.
The reason for posting this video is that he briefly explains Aristotle's view on the model for democracy.... Asphaleia. The explanation beings at 6:29 in this short video lecture.
Hi Judith. The 6 foot decaying stumps feed the surrounding brambles, lots of tall, thorny wild berries. Just beyond the brambles are low growing blueberries. My plan is to hollow out the tall stumps and turn them into natural beehives. I figure the bees prefer a higher hive.
Beautiful Judith. All my stumps are 3 to 6 feet high. I surround them with plants and I inoculate the stumps with mushroom spores. I also use stumps as planting pots. Some of my stumps develop a hole down the center. I think they're all maples. So, I throw some soil down the hole and chuck some seed into the stump and I have a natural hugel (as you mentioned above). A few years ago I used elderberry seed and I now have a beautiful elderberry being protected and fed by the old decaying stump.
Excellent Wayne. I'm a big fan of Carlin. Is this thread open to "any" videos by Mr. Carlin? The reason why I ask is that many of his talks, interviews, performances are politically tinged. I would like to participate but don't want to break the rules.
Thank you Judith, you are wise, compassionate and brave.
I read you were having trouble with your computer. I have a nice laptop I'm donating with free shipping. I can't think of a more deserving recipient. The permaculture community needs your experience and guidance. If interested send me a PM.
Dan Boone Thanks!
I'm searching for the first appearance of Mr. Seeger on the Johnny Cash TV show. Not just Seeger's performance, but Johnny's introduction / monologue. If I remember the story correctly.... Johnny Cash agreed to do a variety TV show only if he was allowed to invite his longtime friend Pete Seeger who was still being censored.
Although I[m not a completive type of guy, competitive event may be the way to go.... kinda like a lumberjack / TimberSports event but permie style, digging holes, building hugelbeds, etc. Add food, or a food / cook out competition as mentioned by others is a great idea. Checkout this short video of a nettles eating contest.... all men.
I wanted to compile an in depth retrospective / homage to Pete Seeger who died this year. I've scrapped that idea, but I feel compelled to post this talk. I hope viewers will take the time to see this 40 minute (unfortunately incomplete) film to the end. I think it's important to see the complete talk and question segment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrM_TGX-KMk
Peter "Pete" Seeger (May 3, 1919 -- January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. Members of The Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, he re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture, and environmental causes.
As a song writer, he is best known as the author or co-author of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" (with Joe Hickerson), "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" (composed with Lee Hays of The Weavers), and "Turn, Turn, Turn!", which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world. "Flowers" was a hit recording for The Kingston Trio (1962); Marlene Dietrich, who recorded it in English, German and French (1962); and Johnny Rivers (1965). "If I Had a Hammer" was a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary (1962) and Trini Lopez (1963), while The Byrds popularized "Turn, Turn, Turn!" in the mid-1960s, as did Judy Collins in 1964 and The Seekers in 1966.
Seeger was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual "We Shall Overcome" (also recorded by Joan Baez and many other singer-activists) that became the acknowledged anthem of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement, soon after folk singer and activist Guy Carawan introduced it at the founding meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. In the PBS American Masters episode "Pete Seeger: The Power of Song", Seeger stated it was he who changed the lyric from the traditional "We will overcome" to the more singable "We shall overcome".
The long television blacklist of Seeger began to end in the mid-1960s when he hosted a regionally broadcast, educational folk-music television show, Rainbow Quest. Among his guests were Johnny Cash, June Carter, Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, The Stanley Brothers, Elizabeth Cotten, Patrick Sky, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Donovan, Richard Fariña and Mimi Fariña, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Mamou Cajun Band, Bernice Johnson Reagon, The Beers Family, Roscoe Holcomb, Malvina Reynolds, and Shawn Phillips. Thirty-nine hour-long programs were recorded at WNJU's Newark studios in 1965 and 1966, produced by Seeger and his wife Toshi, with Sholom Rubinstein. The Smothers Brothers ended Seeger's national blacklisting by broadcasting him singing "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy" on their CBS variety show on February 25, 1968, after his similar performance in September 1967 was censored by CBS.
Pete Seeger was one of the earliest backers of Bob Dylan and was responsible for urging John Hammond to produce Dylan's first LP on Columbia and for inviting him to perform at the Newport Folk Festival, of which Seeger was a board member. There was a widely repeated story that Seeger was so upset over the extremely loud amplified sound that Dylan, backed by members of the Butterfield Blues Band, brought into the 1965 Newport Folk Festival that he threatened to disconnect the equipment. There are multiple versions of what went on, some fanciful. What is certain is that tensions had been running high between Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman and Festival Board members (who besides Seeger also included Theodore Bikel, Bruce Jackson, Alan Lomax, festival MC Peter Yarrow, and George Wein) over the scheduling of performers and other matters. Two days earlier there had been a scuffle and brief exchange of blows between Grossman and Alan Lomax; and the Board, in an emergency session, had voted to ban Grossman from the grounds, but had backed off when George Wein pointed out that Grossman also managed highly popular draws Odetta and Peter, Paul, and Mary.