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Morfydd St. Clair

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since Feb 09, 2015
Hamburg, Germany
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Recent posts by Morfydd St. Clair

I like the idea of pushing the mush through a colander!  (It will still be fussy but less so.)

Juicing it, either through a traditional press or a steam juicer, could give you something to work with.  Then feel no guilt in composting the pits and mush.  (You may end up with more wild plums sprouting up!)

I have a lot of rhubarb and have been making this simple syrup:  Nice in sparkling water, far too nice with gin.  In the case of rhubarb you also get a sweet mush that is pleasant on toast instead of jam, but again composting the mush is fine too.
3 weeks ago
Hey, you may already know about these, but I found this: with a cool interactive map about halfway down.

It also points to which looks like more information than you can ever need

Obviously you could be in a weird microclimate, so you might want to invest in a rain gauge, which looks like it goes from $4 for utilitarian to $20 for adorably kitschy, both of which you'd have to check and record on a regular basis.  Or there are electronic versions that should do the recording for you for $40.

I have no advice for comfrey (or lemon trees, I wish!) except that you should expect it to grow bigger than expected, and even the sterile versions will gradually advance to new places.  (Sayanora, the back row of my annual bed!  At least it looks nice, and the bees like it.  Argh.)
I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.  I'd recommend 3 things:
--Get a lawyer.  You're going to be dealing with this for a while.  Run everything you plan to do by them to make sure it's by the book.  (Uh, including whether what you posted violates any laws.)
--Document everything in chronological order.   Where you have evidence, include it.  From now on, add new incidents in a bound notebook, so that you can prove that you didn't rearrange or remove any pages.  If you can put up cameras, including at your door, do so.  Scan the notebook pages and upload to the cloud on a regular basis.  And upload any incident footage to the cloud likewise.  Ask your lawyer how he wants you to document and follow his lead.
--Put up the electric fence.  Put up clear warning signage (in language cleared by your lawyer).

I wouldn't confront them publicly - you'll just be seen as the person causing everyone else discomfort, and they won't want to deal with it.  Media, sure, if your lawyer approves.

Good luck.
4 weeks ago
Given the size, would extra pillowcases work?  Just for a week or so for that last burst of ripening?

My two store-bought Sambucus nigra bushes are piddling along at under a meter tall and are supposed to get only a meter and a half tall.  They're not flowering yet.  (At least they're alive!)  They're in a wet, half-shade bed with hazelnuts, bush cherries, honeyberries, hostas, perennial cabbages, alliums, sorrel, and perennial buckwheat.  (This is not an organized guild as much as "whatever can fight off the grass".  Last year I threw some rockcress in for flowers and a few have survived the slugs.  I added some cheap sweet alyssum last week for the same reason and we'll see if they manage there.  Meanwhile the lemon balm from the herb bed is marching in from the north...)
1 month ago
I'm digging a (very small) pond and about a foot down it appears to be yellow plastic sheeting over something hard.  I didn't have the energy to investigate, so I'll brave the horror next weekend.  Also the plastic-wrapped bundle I'm really hoping isn't a pet.  I had planned for part to be 1 foot deep and the rest 3 feet deep, but, um, it may stay 1 foot deep entirely.  At least now I know why the drainage there is so terrible!
1 month ago
Hi Zoe!

I know you don't have the electrical capacity for running a fridge or freezer, but you might keep an eye out for broken ones.  They should be free, and the structure itself will keep pests out.  Then you don't have to be so careful about the actual item-specific containers.

I know that people have dug root cellars for vegetables and used broken fridge/freezers to keep pests out, and that there's a complicated venting system for that.  I don't know what condensation issues would arise at room temperatures with foods that are not trying to rot in there!

1 month ago

Rufus Laggren wrote:
I guess one short answer to your original post: There's a RealWorld out there and everything is anchored in it. We are. And IT doesn't move noticeably when you push on it. Not every when you push really really hard. To get anywhere we find where the river flows and go _there_. Not where we "arbitrarily" decide to go. The RealWorld monopolizes most of everybody's attention, 24/7. Even Permie Zealots. Ask Paul how much RealWorld controls his plans and efforts.

This leads to Elliot's problem with "packaging". Packaging is what makes it possible for people, without the time or resources to make themselves gurus in everything, to benefit from massive learning and design by others. It's what makes it possible for the "little woman" (or name your better example) to drive the horseless carriage. The steering wheel, accelerator, power brakes and power steering (not to mention weather proof interior) are a PACKAGE! It takes mind boggling science and engineering and covers it over with pretty fenders, nice interior and doors that open easily and an easy-to-understand way to start it (key) and use it. No degree in chemistry or applied industrial design required. The package truly does "dumb down" what really makes up a car. If it didn't, nobody could drive one.

I'm guessing C* might be looking for a package to make Permakulture usable by people with no real understanding of the details. Nor any wish for such. Do you _really_ want to learn how to reprogram the computer that runs your vehicle? Going with that for a moment, what _would_ people using the Permakulture Package be wanting? Mystical communion with... Something? Ticket to heaven? Bragging rights? Think a moment about the car package. People (most everybody, in fact) drives. Why? Is it because they just get warm and fuzzy when the engine purrs? Is it because they worship Western tech and want to be a little part of it? Well, even though I'm sure there are a few people that get the warm fuzzies and all that, the car has become ubiquitous by providing a huge dollop of power and control to people who drive.

I find this really insightful, Rufus, thank you!

I definitely need the reminder that "There's a RealWorld out there and everything is anchored in it. We are. And IT doesn't move noticeably when you push on it."

I also appreciate the metaphor of packaging, and extending it to the car.  It used to be, the only people who drove were the car geeks.  They had to have a certain amount of money, space and time to play around, mechanical/electrical aptitude, physical strength to turn the crank, and a bunch of other geeks to geek around with.  Now they still exist (in the muscle car group, the replica car group, the bio-diesel hackers, etc...) but most people just want to get from here to there with certain parameters.

Permaculture isn't just gardening, right?  a) It's a World View so to speak.  b) It's supposed to be applicable in any context with enough creative stretching, and to be able to solve any problem.

a) most people don't want to change their world view.  They have a specific task they want to complete, and they're willing to look at Permaculture if they think it will help, but while b) promises to help, it can also come off as, um, cult-like.  

I want to go back to the original post:  "I think we can all agree that we are in a shape shifting time with this pandemic and economic collapse. IMO this is the time that permaculture could arise and be a better way forward.  That is not what I'm seeing and it has been one of the reasons why I rarely use the word that much to describe what I'm doing at my residence. I feel as if permaculturists have been waiting and anticipating peak oil, economic collapse, health crisis, etc for the path to be paved for a better future, one where permaculture principals can be implemented."

Does Permaculture have something to offer to people right now?  I mean, I think it is a good set of principles, but is it what people are looking for?  Or do they just want to be able to eat their own apples in case the grocery store is closed for a month?
1 month ago

C Gillis wrote:

Never said anything was “too hard”, fragmented yes.

I think you can address all of the concerns you mentioned if you want to make it that robust. Rodale Institute seems to cover a wide range of topics around organic - everything from large scale farming to backyard gardens. They offer a resource that is easy to understand but also covers a wide range of topics. I don’t see why a Permaculture resource couldn’t aspire to that

I happen to work in technology, funny you mention that. We have organizations such as the W3schools where you can learn basic html, css, JavaScript and more for free. It’s a great entry point into a career in that field if you are willing to put in the work.

I send to a lot of people who want to dabble in front end programming- they will learn the basics but can move to more advanced techniques if they choose to. It’s all open source too. Check it out

It’s not the only option out there, but it’s a place for people to get their start if they are interested.

I could see this community coming together to create something like that. It might bring Permaculture to the masses. Right now as I mentioned it looks a bit fragmented.

See, this kind of amuses me - I'm also in technology, and the educational space there is possibly more fragmented than Permaculture!  (I'd assume because there's more widespread interest and because there's a lot more money sloshing around.)  I've heard of W3schools but never taken courses there.  But I've taken courses through Coursera, and Lynda, and specific tooling companies, and university extension programs, and...

I don't have a CS degree, which I've done ok without but I do feel that having a structured progression of classes would have made my career better.*  OTOH, Permaculture has that in PDCs!  And PDCs are a) hugely cheaper in time and cash than a 4-year degree, and b) surprisingly probably a lot more uniform than CS degrees, as PDCs are still within a few generations from the OG Mollison/Holmgren model.

You've been very involved with W3schools, it sounds like.  With your own (valid!) critique of permaculture learning, how would you "achieve world domination" for W3schools?  (I don't mean this to sound like a gotcha.  I have this frustration for many topics and sometimes worry that only the bad guys have figured this out!)

*For instance, the capstone class of my major was studying biological systems from an engineering perspective, e.g. analyzing cell membrane activity as electrical circuitry and the digestive system in terms of control systems.  I had several friends who went on to med school who said this course allowed them to practically sleep through the ordinarily difficult first year, because they got the mechanics in a deep way and could just plug all the new facts into an existing knowledge structure.  And of course, it was a capstone course after years of basic science/math/specialized-engineering.  I wish I had that deep understanding of programming.
1 month ago
To me, a central source of information is Permaculture magazine (  If you subscribe, you get access to all the archives, and I've spent hours finding new rabbit trails of information, and I've been able to watch how the UK permaculture community has evolved.  However, they don't have a forum to get and keep people talking, and their web page doesn't have much of the Permaculture 101 that would make a good intro for new people.  The first would be a LOT of work, so it's a bit sad but understandable.  The second is really surprising to me.

I really wish someone would go through, revamp, and reissue Permaculture One and Two, and the other seminal books.  Everyone recognizes them as "the start" and they were apparently engaging enough to get people excited in the first place.  (I know that what caught people's imagination in the 70s is no longer what will catch people now, so it would require a very skilled revamp.)  Even though I've dropped hundreds of dollars on permaculture books, I've never been able to bring myself to drop the crazy prices the original books are going for now.  Would the work required to update, and the limited audience, make an new issue at 30 or 40 dollars unviable?  That would be sad...

1 month ago
Slugs?  All my transplants disappeared this year, and I've seen that the slugs are all over.  Slugs also really like mulch.

In my case it could be rabbits, but I've heard they don't bother nightshades and my peppers disappeared like everything else.
1 month ago