Rex Nichols

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since Apr 12, 2011
Indiana, USA
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Recent posts by Rex Nichols

I recently read a book The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs by Stephen S. Ilardi http://psych.ku.edu/tlc/

The book is fantastic. It gave me insight to my wife's depression and has helped her a lot. The six steps he recommends are listed below--From http://psych.ku.edu/tlc/Elements.html

1) Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

Omega-3 fatty acids come from naturally occurring plants and animals that eat them. These fatty acids have been shown to have antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties, and studies indicate that they help serotonin and dopamine circuits in our brains function more efficiently. Our bodies cannot produce Omega-3 fatty acids, and our diets generally do not provide the optimal Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio necessary for an antidepressant effects. Thus, we recommend that you supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids. You can buy Omega-3 fatty acid supplements at a drugstore or health food store. We recommend brands that give you 1000 mg of EPA and 500 mg of DHA per day (this amount has been shown to decrease depressive symptoms and improve mood). This supplement can be taken by those on
antidepressant medications, as there are no known interactions. In general, however, it is always recommended that you inform your doctor of any changes or additions to medications or supplements you take. Other Supplements: 2000 IU Vitamin D daily; Multi Vitamin daily; 500mg Vitamin C daily; Evening Primrose Oil 500mg weekly.

2) Anti-Rumination Strategies

In the ancestral environment, people had less time to sit alone and think negative thoughts. There were often activities to do, or other people around to serve as distractions. This is no longer the case, and many people in the modern environment may find they have plenty of opportunity to ruminate. Rumination, a habit that many depressed people get into, is dwelling on negative thoughts and feelings. Rather than coming up with a solution to a problem and acting on it, people with depression often let their negative thoughts spiral out of control. It is important to recognize rumination for what it is and put a stop to it immediately. Rumination only makes peoples’ moods worse. When you find yourself doing it, do one of these things: call a friend, exercise, write down the negative thoughts in a journal, or do some other pleasant activity (like knitting, reading, or another hobby).

3) Exercise

Exercise is one of the most beneficial, but most difficult elements of TLC. A cardinal symptom of depression is low energy, which makes exercise difficult. Initially, it takes a lot of energy to exercise, but once you begin, you’ll find that you have increased energy, and subsequently, increased mood! In fact, several studies have found that exercise is about as effective, if not more effective, than most antidepressant medications. We’ve found the most effective exercise schedule to get antidepressant effects is 35-40 minutes of moderate physical aerobic activity, at least three times per week. Aerobic exercise is anything like running, walking fast, biking, or playing basketball, which gets your heart rate elevated to about 120-160 beats per minute. Anaerobic exercise (like yoga or weightlifting) is better than nothing, but the strongest antidepressant effects have been observed from aerobic exercise. Lots of people report that finding a regular exercise partner and routine helps them stay motivated.

4) Light Exposure

This element of TLC is most helpful to people who notice that there is a seasonal component to their depression. We recommend that people get at least 30 minutes of bright light exposure per day. You can actually go outside in the sun (take off the sunglasses, but leave on the sunscreen!) or get light exposure from a special light box that emits the same amount of light (10,000 lux). You should try to get light exposure at the same time every day. Some people like to sit by it while they eat breakfast and read the paper. Some like to sit by it while they read or study in the evening. Experiment to see what works best for you. And don’t miss a day of light exposure if you can help it. This is something that will only work for you cumulatively if you are consistent!

5) Social Support

Our ancestors lived in small tight knit communities. Rarely did one do something alone, and community members looked to each other for entertainment, comfort, safety, and support. You have probably noticed that as you or someone you love becomes more depressed, there is less motivation to seek out others for socializing. Evolutionarily, our brain may interpret depression as an illness. Just as we keep away from others when we have the flu (which gives us time to recover and keeps others from becoming infected), our natural inclination when depressed is to withdraw from our social networks. Unfortunately, this worsens depression. Thus, it is important to lean on friends and family, not only to get needed social support, but also because spending time with others is a good way to distract yourself from rumination. Try to reconnect with loved ones from whom you’ve grown apart. Telling friends and family about your struggles with depression can help them better understand what you are going through. For family and friends that do not live nearby, utilize phone calls, email, or video chatting.

6) Sleep Hygiene

Many today see sleep as expendable. When there is extra work at the office, studying for finals, or just a late night TV show to watch while you unwind, it is easy to cut into valuable sleep time. Our ancestors did not have many of these distractions – when the sun went down, there may not have been much else to do but sleep. While everyone varies in the amount of sleep they need, the average is approximately 8 hours of sleep per night. One of the biggest risk factors for depression is sleep deprivation. Thus, it is important to maintain a regular sleep schedule and protect that time for sleep that may be pushed aside when our lives become hectic. To create a healthy sleep pattern, try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Prepare yourself for bed by having a “bedtime ritual”. Dim the lights, turn off the TV and computer, put on your PJs, and do a quiet activity like read. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours before you plan to go to bed.
6 years ago
I have Lamancha's and I love them. They are quiet and gentle. They will escape, but they don't go too far, usually straight to my grape vines.
Thanks Natty, for the detailed description. I have thought a lot about your playground idea and an even larger permanent fenced in pasture. because I never had problems with rabbits digging out of my tractors, I attempted to create a large fenced in pasture with chicken wire; thinking if they didn't dig out of the tractor, they wouldn't dig out of the fence. It took approximately one day for them to escape. They didn't dig, they just slipped under the fence.

With the tractor, I had PVC pipes running along the bottom edge. The weight of the tractor held the PVC against the ground. In the pasture, I could not stake the bottom of the fence in good enough. I tried folding the bottom of the fence in on the ground, but that didn't work either. I believe the fence could be buried a couple of inches to prevent escapes, but I gave up for now. I never saw the rabbits jump over the fence but they may learn that behavior once they are prevented from going under. I will probably try again someday. I really hate the cages, but they're what work best for me. By work best for me, I mean they help me keep the critters alive.
6 years ago
Here is a video showing my cage floor. Actually, may cage is about 5' x 2' x 30" tall. I like those dimensions. The rabbits have plenty of room to stretch.



6 years ago
I've been looking for alternatives to the wire floor too. I tried rabbit tractoring, but lost a lot of rabbits. I'm starting to think domestic rabbits are best kept in cages. I build larger than normal cages so they have plenty of room to move.
While looking at a diamond mesh picnic table I got the idea it would make the perfect floor for rabbits. Much more comfortable than wire, but with plenty of holes for waste to fall through. The picnic tables are made out of poly coated expanded metal, but I haven't been able to find any at a reasonable price. When I bought my house, the previous farmer had pigs on a mesh floor that was similar. I now have three cages on a 5' x 7' section of the floor that I raised off the ground. It's better than the wire mesh, but I still would like to find some of that coated expanded metal. I think 3' x 2' would make a good cage.
6 years ago


Sad Grapes YouTube Link

Well, I took the lack of response to my earlier question to mean no one had tried using rope to trellis grapes. So, I went ahead and did it. That is, after I neglected them for a year. I planted them last year. Since I was going to prune them the first winter, and I didn't know exactly how I was going to trellis them, I just let them grow on the ground. They were still pretty small in the winter, so I didn't prune them. I believe now, that was a mistake. Likewise, not trellising them the first year was a mistake.

Anyway, come June this year I still hadn't trellised them. I mowed around the vines while i tried to decide what I was going to do. Then one day I noticed there were already bunches of grapes growing on the vines. I decided I needed to trellis them quickly. So, I used rope. The vines had already started to harden in the "lying on the ground position." Also, separating the vines from the grass was not an easy task.

If you watch the video, you will see, the vines are in a sad state indeed. My plan is to let them grow this way until winter, then prune them way back and install a traditional steel wire trellis. I'm planning to put a more permanent fence around my garden. I think I'll try your suggestion, Calvin, and plant grapes, berries and kiwi to trellis the fence, thanks.
7 years ago
I'm thinking of using hemp rope instead of high tensile wire on a traditional type grape rellis--seems more natural to me, although less natural than using trees. I figure I wont have to worry about tightening and sagging from winter to summer. I'm hoping someone with more experience can let me know if I'm crazy before I invest the time and money into it. The trellis will only support two vines.
8 years ago
Is a reason one would not want to just save lawn mower clippings? Does the grass loose nutritional value, or shelf life when it is cut into smaller pieces?
8 years ago
I started feeding pellets every night.  Keeping the rabbits on grass has cut down on the feed bill and they seem happy and healthy.  I've had a few escapes and a couple predator challenges, but overall it has been a success.

The escapes intrigue me.  I do not set out feed for them, yet the ones that avoid capture seem more vigorous and healthy than the ones in the tractor.  I'm thinking about putting them in a 50' by 50' paddock and do a shift type system.  But, winter is approaching.  I don't like the idea of putting them back in a 10' by 10' coop after they have had the freedom of a larger paddock. 

Has anyone left rabbits out in the winter? The ground here is covered in snow one to two months.  If I give them an insulated dog house and feed/water would they be better on the snow than on deep litter in a coop?
9 years ago
A different perspective, no ill will intended -

I'm honestly enjoying the thought experiment that is husp.  Although, I'm not sure permaculture progress ended with the Europeans conquering the Americas.  When I started reading about permaculture and bio-dynamic gardening, about two years ago, I was amazed how closely the material matched how my grandfather gardens.  And, he has never heard of the the terms.

On his current property, where he retired, my grandfather has apples, cherries, butternuts, grapes, a compost pile, a worm garden, and a large vegitable garden with several perennials.  He also grows many flowers, and probably a few things I forgot.  I look at his property now and am in awe, but my family says it doesn't even compare to the property where they grew up.  I don't know what happened between my grandfather's generation and mine.  

I grew up with my grandfather telling me how Native Americans used different plants and that they didn't waste any bit of the animals they harvested, how they used fish remains to fertilize their corn, etc.  If my grandfather new so much about Native American practices, I bet his grandfather knew more.  I suspect the beginning of the end of permaculture evolution had more to do with industrialization and the movement from rural to urban life, than it had to do with the end of Native American dominance.

I believe some families like my grandfather's learned from the Native Americans and passed the knowledge down from generation to generation improving on the knowledge as they, themselves worked the land.  Other families made nature their bitch.  Something happened between my grandfather's generation and mine.  The knowledge was not passed down.  Most in my generation (I'm 37, live in USA), were never taught to respect nature.  My grandfather gets sick thinking of industrialized farming and it's reliance on toxic chemicals.  I wish, now, that I would have spent more time learning from him when we were both younger.

I don't think it makes a huge difference in your husp concept where you begin the time line.  The important thing seems to be imagining an alternate history where permaculture evolved, and was optimized, so industrial agriculture never got a start. I imagine a greater emphasis on edible forests along migration routes south every fall and north every spring.  I think property rights would be more squishy, more like mobile encampments than land ownership.

But I wonder what progress had been made up to my grandfather's generation.  What knowledge has been lost in such a short period of time, and how did it happen?
9 years ago