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Life is much too short

November 10, 2013

Life is much too short to take all opening chances, pursue all promising projects, engage in all useful and splendid pastimes, and reach all desirable goals. A day has only 24 hours, a week only seven days, a year only 52 weeks.

In my case one life alone wouldn’t do it, I would need at least three lives to realize my plans and pursue my dreams. One life for researching, writing, teaching, engaging in social and environmental politics, a second life for making music, a third life for gardening, meditating, wandering in the forest and watching nature.

In lack of two extra lives I had to set priorities and to scale back certain activities, among them even activities, that are dear to me and that I consider as important. With a heavy heart….

In other words: Facing the choice, either to write about change and transformation or to actualize it in my own life, I choose the later. This is my explanation and excuse for the nearly three month long hiatus of this blog.

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Most of the garden is now converted to permaculture areas a la Sepp Holzer. As I told already in earlier posts, I have built a second greenhouse and a second toolshed (assembled from kits), I also made a new garden fence and exchanged a thuja hedge against hornbeam shrubs.

I replaced the wooden pavement between the old greenhouse and the old toolshed with paving slabs. The planks and an associated fence were both completely rotten but they nevertheless served somehow as a barrier to a massive deposit of gravel which constitutes the foundation of the greenhouse and a terrace between the greenhouse and the toolshed (this part of the garden is on a slope).

When I removed the planks plus the fence the gravel started sliding downwards and there was the risk that the foundation of the greenhouse would become unstable. Meter by meter I had to fill the gravel into buckets, build a new barrier out of retaining wall blocks and straight kerbs glued together with cement, and then pour the gravel back into its old place. After that I could pave the area with patio stones but I needed to install and cement another row of kerbs because the stone pavement also started sliding downwards. It took me one week and 12 hours a day back breaking work to rebuild this area.

It was not the only unexpected complication. While planting bushes in the newly cultivated area between the old toolshed and the thuja (now hornbeam) hedge I unearthed the manhole of the cesspool which had been used before the area was connected to the municipal water and sewer system. When the cesspool became obsolete, the former owner of the property simply covered the manhole with a few wooden boards and poured a load of gravel onto it.

The wooden boards were completely rotten and two strokes with a hammer made them fall apart and disappear into the manhole. If a heavier person than I would have stepped onto this hole, he/she would have fallen into the cesspool.

The manhole is now secured with some stainless steel bars (cemented into the concrete frame) and it gets a costly stainless steel cover in form of a shallow basin, which will be filled with a bit of sand and small stones to become the third garden pond. A very small pond (one by one meter), but hopefully nevertheless appreciated by some of my fellow animals (especially the toads).

Keep your nose to the grindstone, so they say.

I never ever in my whole life worked that hard. I felt like a humanoid vole with the name Sisyphus. I was digging and digging, carrying stones back and forth, stirring and pouring cement, mixing concrete. 

I made a few mistake, but nothing essential. Some of the cement connections will possibly be damaged by frost and I will have to renew them in spring. We will see.

I have now a little “hall of fame,” because my feline friends didn’t miss the chance to immortalize themselves and leave their pawprints on the cement and concrete while it still was soft.

pawprints DSCN0869

Beside the already mentioned second greenhouse and second toolshed I also made two small but solid concrete foundations for the rainwater barrels. The old toolshed got a new roof.

One area of the garden is littered with pavers and step stones. The pavers form small narrow paths and are arranged like a labyrinth. The whole area can be accessed without stepping onto the soil, which is quite useful especially after heave rain.

The soil here was not good, it was a mixture of clay and construction rubble with a thin layer of humus. The former owner did his best to destroy the humus by applying large quantities of chemical fertilizer. When I moved in I found big bags of fertilizer and I was mystified. So much phosphate and nitrate just for a plain lawn and some bushes?

When I started gardening in earnest last summer I had to buy loads of humus. Every week and for a while nearly every day I filled up the car with 60 liter bags of various kinds of humus and peat that I applied strategically onto the new beds.

It must be about three to four tons earth that I have imported.

Everything here is composted and there are 12 compost containers. From next year on I will not have to buy humus anymore, because the compost containers will deliver quality earth with a high amount of organic material. The earthworms, the ants, and the root systems of trees and bushes will penetrate and break up the clay, old leaves and dead plants will increase the humus inch by inch.

I could have created a humus layer without importing earth, but it would have taken years and I didn’t want to wait that long. Many rural people in the world don’t have the resources that are available to me, they have to cope with the degraded soil as it is and make the best out of it.

In addition to the imported humus I covered the newly cultivated areas with moss and twigs from the forest. The forest is across the door and I go nearly every day and often several times a day to collect moss in two textile bags. Some of the moss is astonishingly deep rooted and one has to dig it out, but there are patches of moss who grow on a loose layer of decayed pine needles and one can easily pull of the moss together with the needles.

The patches of moss have then to be planted in the garden at the right place and at the right time. Best time is in early spring and late autumn after heavy rain, best places are in the shadow. Sprinkling the moss with loose earth, covering it with twigs, and repeated watering helps, but if it is hot and the sun shines nothing will help and the moss will shrivel, dry and die.

Even the dead moss is beneficial, it protects the soil and hinders weeds. Sometimes after a period of strong precipitation the moss that I considered to have died suddenly comes to life again.

The forest is not only an important source of moss and needle branches, it also shields the garden from climatic extremes (storms and temperature peaks). A friend who is an accomplished gardener had to come last year to fetch some sage plants because hers had died over the winter. Many other people told me that their perennial plants usually are all gone after a strong winter.

That doesn’t happen here and if there is enough moisture in the air and soil, plants will survive the winter. Last year most of the strawberries kept their leaves during the winter. They stopped growing but in spring they just took off and continued as if nothing had happened.

Many people in the world don’t have a forest across the door and the remaining forests are mercilessly destroyed. Many countries in the world are ecological disaster zones (most Middle Eastern countries, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Greece, Northern China). The remaining soil is destroyed by industrial agriculture, by mining, traffic, expanding towns, waste dumps, and other human activities.

The human population is still growing — how can people be fed without intact soil?

This will end badly!

Fire 2

One more thing: Did my laborious efforts pay off?

The strawberry yield was quite good, a bit better than last year. Strawberry fruits are ripening even now and when I go out I always find some eatable fruits. The yield will most likely not increase further but if I can hold it at the present level it is ok.

The vines were terrific, even the new plants without exception delivered a few bunches of grapes (everybody told me that one has to wait three years till they bear fruits — never believe the experts).

I dug in some potatoes just as a test and they grew nicely. These are friendly, good looking plants and they harmonize with the other garden plants. Yet I dug out only tree times the amount of planted potatoes which was a bit disappointing.

The fruit trees were even more disappointing, only one peach tree had 32 fruits, a remarkable achievement because the tree is now just three years old. Its older sibling unfortunately was completely infected by curled leaf disease. I had to remove all leaves and the tree grew a new set of leaves and looks very good and healthy now. But it lost all fruits in the process.

The apple trees got just a handful of fruits, which were delicious but eaten in a few days. The other fruit trees didn’t even bother to get fruits, they are all freshly planted and I will probably have to wait a few years till they contribute to my diet.

As a side note: The blacksmith who makes the cesspool cover is a friend of mine since thirty years. He is also an organic farmer and I’m allowed to plug as much apples from his trees as I need — which means that one shelf in the cellar is full of apples. Sometimes it is good to have real friends that one can meet in person. My virtual (online) friends would not be able to provide apples (maybe software for my Apple computers, but software cannot nourish me). My virtual friends would also not be able to forge a cesspool cover.

The berry bushes did fairly well, especially the blueberries. I had to buy a second (top loading) freezer and both freezers are full with boxes of berries and grapes.

blueberries 4

The former owner of the property mistreated the garden terribly but I must at least give him credit for planting a hedge of blueberries. These are some 30 bushes which are old but still extraordinarily  productive. I added another 30 bushes and I also planted a dozen blue honeysuckle (also known as honeyberry or lonicera kamtschatica).

In addition to that I have fetched wild blueberries from the forest but it is very difficult to transplant them successfully because the wild blueberries are all connected with a net of creeping rootstalks (rhizomes) and these connections remain active indefinitely. One plant that has found a water source will support all the other plants of the colony and the plants which are exposed to sunlight will send back sugar and other products of photosynthesis.

Which means that one has to dig out the whole colony of wild blueberries to successfully establish them in a new place. Until now I have only four thriving colonies of wild blueberries, the other attempts seem to fail, though I cannot rule out that in spring some plants will rise again.

gooseberries 2

Gooseberries and jostaberries are doing well though the oldest jostaberry bush seems to be dying. Fortunately I have propagated it by hardwood cutting.

Blackberries, raspberries, red and black currents are not my absolute favorites but they need no special care and just grow. The wild blackberries and wild raspberries emerged by themselves, they came from the wood. Wild blackberries and raspberries are very aggressive and I have to be careful to keep them in check, things easily could get out of hand.

Wild blackberries have terrible thorns which easily break away and remain stuck into the skin. But their fruits are delicious, far more tasty than the fruit of their cultivated relatives. Wild blackberries are useful to protect certain areas from unwelcome visitors (mainly my feline friends).

Herbs for tea (marigold, camomile, sage, stinging nettle, several varieties of mint, lemon balm) are plentiful, providing more tealeaves than I will ever need. The same can be said about chard and chives. I let a few chard and chive plants bloom and I’m curious if they spread. I would like to have more ramson (wild garlic), garlic, onions, and would like to propagate them by myself but right now I don’t have the experience and the knowhow. This is a project for next year.

The little pumpkin plants, which had grown unplanned and unexpected on top of an open compost container from pumpkin seeds in the kitchen garbage were not easily to transplant and were cruelly decimated by slugs. Yet enough survived and grew up to conquest a wide area of the garden, converting it into a “pumpkin jungle” and making it completely inaccessible. 58 pumpkin fruits resulted.

pumpkin pile 2

The tomato harvest was beyond any expectations. I never would have thought, I never would have dreamt of, I was speechless! I have harvested the tomatoes now five times. The new greenhouse is empty but in the old one there are still plants with ripening tomatoes. I carried bucket after bucket filled with tomatoes into the house, the kitchen was completely full, I was running out of baskets, boxes, containers.

I started canning tomatoes and that work kept me busy for days. Humidity in the kitchen rose to 80 percent.

This is the real thing, this is a serious step to self sufficiency. I will not need to buy tomatoes in a shop anymore. Even now the kitchen is full with tomatoes. One shelf in the cellar is full of tomato jars.

Not unsurprisingly a certain kind of tomato fatigue has set in. Rice with tomato soup, lentils with tomato soup, tomato salad, raw tomatoes in between as a snack, tomatoes in all imaginable variations. I even mix tomatoes into my muesli. I will get used to them, one gets used to a lot of things. Btw., aren’t tomatoes supposed to be healthy?

tomato harvest DSCN0861

What else happened?

I deactivated my Facebook account. I easily found the option in the privacy settings. Facebook will keep all my date indefinitely, but they have not much because I didn’t use their service since one year.

And:

Just out of curiosity I visited the alternative (pseudo, self declared, fake, phony — choose the attribute of your liking) news aggregation site Common Dreams and it was, as always, amusing and sobering at the same time.

I continue to wonder:

How long will renowned alternative pundits contribute articles when their musings are regularly blasted, denounced, dressed down, ridiculed, and cut to bits by commenters?

How long will the site owners continue to publish pieces which are half-baked, ignorant,  shallow, meaningless, and therefore most predictably will cause a negative reaction?

How long will it take till donors, supporter, contributors, readers realize that a profit oriented alternative news site is a contradiction in itself, is a scam, a ruse, an artifice, a con?

How long will it take till the commenters realize that their opinion is ignored and their voice not heard outside the secluded brotherhood (and to a lesser extent sisterhood) of commenters? How long will it take till they realize that reading and commenting on this site will not change anything and is a waste of time?

How long will the Common Dreamers be able to dream on before the harsh realities of power politics, the ongoing class war, resource depletion, and environmental destruction wakes them up?

I could ask the same question about readers of other alternative media like Huffington Post, Democracy Now, Salon, Alternet, etc. I could ask the same question about a myriad of analogous accounts, pages, and communities on Facebook and Twitter.

data mining 3

Activities like writing posts and critical commenting are tolerated and probably even well liked by the masters because in this way their subjects can let off steam and are also easily to monitor. Whatever the official privacy rules may be, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ undoubtedly present their alternative minded users to the NSA on a silver platter.

The masters know from the postings, blogs, comments, whom to monitor more closely just in case the growing frustration leads to activities beyond posting and commenting. But the danger of this to happen is minuscule, because, as I mentioned already at the start, people have only one life and the day has only 24 hours.

Those who participate in virtual communities are not likely to participate or organize real life communities. They will not have time to build local networks and participate in community projects who could diminish the dependency on old systems. Those who participate in virtual communities will continue to support the military machine with their tax money even if they castigate it.

One more aspect the masters will certainly appreciate: Those who spend their time watching screens of various sizes (computer, TV, smartphone) can be easily misled, manipulated, duped, and confused. The pictures on the screens are mostly altered, retouched, photoshopped, the stories told are mostly fiction, and the presented facts are most likely fabrications.

Dear reader of this text, you are a seasoned user of the internet and proud yourself to easily separate fiction and facts. You know their game, you cannot be fooled.

Lucky you! I personally have no problem to distinguish between propaganda and genuine reporting, but as it stands now, most of the media content is propaganda, and I have great difficulties to find out the few hard facts, the needles of truth hidden inside a gargantuan haystack of lies. I have great difficulties to peak through the smokescreen of misinformation and make sense of the blurred contours and figurations. I have great difficulties to reassemble the scattered pieces of the puzzle into a picture.

I try to interpolate, to equalize, rectify, and straighten. I use logic and common sense.

datacenter servers

You do that too, of course, and you have made up your mind about economic growth, financial bailouts, austerity, the benefits of global trade, and the need of technological progress.

Do you find the philanthropy of Bill Gates and his efforts to privatize the US education system, promote GM-crops (in cooperation with Monsanto), and reenergize nuclear energy (TerraPower) impressive?

Are the philanthropic efforts of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, the Koch Brothers, The Kaiser Family Foundation, and the substantial corporate donations to charities not examples, that capitalisms works, that capitalism has a “human face”?

Of course, the companies have to balance the philanthropic efforts with their shareholders’ needs.

Please tell me: Why don’t the billionaires and the corporations not simply pay their fair share of taxes so that welfare programs can be sustained and extended?

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Dear reader of this text, I know that you examine every information critically. You don’t believe the official versions about the JFK and MLK assassinations? The Watergate narrative is ok, you think?

Jack Ruby, Yasser Arafat, Hugo Chavez, Michael Hastings. Funny, how my brain unexpectedly associates these four names.

I assume that you feel strongly about the reported atrocities of Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad. Do you despise Vladimir Putin? Do you cherish the work of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Avaaz, OSI, Freedom House, Golos, and the various humanitarian UN organizations?

Am I right to assume that you are questioning the official infos about the state of the oceans, about Fukushima and the resulting radioactive contamination, about various WMD threats, about 9/11, about the Osama bin Laden raid, and about the war on terror in general?

Am I right to assume that you are not a conspiracist but don’t completely dismiss theories of a New World Order, Mind Control (MK-Ultra), the Permanent Government, false flag operations?

Well, the Military Industrial Complex — what can one say…. And well, NSA spying programs Tempora, X-Keyscore, Prism, Muscular, Apalachee, Bullrun, Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium, Stormbrew (the list is for sure incomplete). 

Join one of the hundreds of conspiracy forums and/or consume your daily dose of David Icke via his website and YouTube channel. Both of this will have dire consequences for the establishment.

Dear reader, as a seasoned internet user and multitasker you have no difficulties to follow my meandering thoughts and erratic jumps to seemingly unrelated issues. You easily understand the hidden messages and cues, messages and cues, which not even the cray supercomputers in Fort Meade can decipher. Such is the power and magic of our brains pattern recognition.

Well, I’m not sure that there are any hidden messages and cues in this text. I just write what comes into my mind.

One of the reasons that I’m reluctant to publish new blog posts is my inability to deliver really well composed, well formulated text. I read my old posts and some of them are quite good (for a “non native”), but I cannot meet this standard now, because my brain is filled to the brim with gardening knowhow, with the shapes of leaves and the images of pests, and with the time schedules of the next days (including a list of the most important things to do and the detailed plans how to successfully accomplish the tasks.)

I would be satisfied with my writing, if I could deliver a piece like this:
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2013/09/which-way-to-heaven.html

Following are links to articles that I found interesting:

Cheap nuclear:
http://www.nbcnews.com/science/fukushimas-radioactive-ocean-plume-due-reach-us-waters-2014-8C11050755
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/inspector-says-japan-needs-international-help-for-nuclear-plant-a-921302.html
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/30/hinkley-point-nuclear-power-plant-uk-government-edf-underwrite
http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/chinese-leadership-announces-new-focus-on-green-energy-a-917389.html
Is this the much needed change of Chinas environmental policies? They still build more nuclear power plants (waiting for a “Fukushima accident” to happen).

Mind Control and New World Order news:
http://brucelevine.net/8-ways-young-americans’-resistance-to-domination-has-been-subdued/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/corporate-child-abuse-the-unseen-global-epidemic/5352919
http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/world-bank-whistleblower-karen-hudes-reveals-how-the-global-elite-rule-the-world

Imperial news:
http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2012/october/15/safety-net-hospitals.aspx
http://www.globalresearch.ca/obamacare-is-another-private-sector-rip-off-of-americans/5352559
http://www.workers.org/articles/2013/10/04/senseless-killing-miriam-carey/
http://www.computer.org/cms/Computer.org/ComputingNow/pdfs/MakingSenseFromSnowden-IEEESecurityAndPrivacy.pdf
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/nsa-gchq-attack-tor-network-encryption
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/09/11/the-nsa-is-sharing-data-with-israel-before-filtering-out-americans-information/?wpisrc=nl_tech
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23049737
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/secret-nsa-documents-show-how-the-us-spies-on-europe-and-the-un-a-918625.html
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/can-there-be-a-non-us-internet
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/us-modernizing-its-nuclear-arsenal-despite-criticism-over-weapons-a-932188.html

Imperial conquest news:
http://www.voltairenet.org/article180803.html Thierry Meyssan is a highly respectable journalist but known for overly optimistic assumptions as well as for bold and often incorrect conclusions. This time he seems to get it perfectly right and his report is conclusive and in accord with most other information sources.
http://rt.com/op-edge/syria-world-hate-message-604/
http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_66092.shtml (an excellent analysis).
http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_65985.shtml
http://www.workers.org/articles/2013/09/09/pinochet-suharto-u-s-supported-dictators-killed-people/
http://www.voltairenet.org/article180423.html

Related
http://www.globalresearch.ca/israels-secret-nuclear-biological-and-chemical-weapons-nbc/5352454
http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/if-charles-taylor-war-criminal-then-so-are-obama-bush-and-clinton

The question remains, if this text is really necessary and useful. Why do I do this?

Answer: It is my contribution to human knowledge. I tell what I have found out over the years and publishing it on a blog seems to be the most unobtrusive and humble way of presenting the findings to my fellow humans.

I don’t promote the blog and don’t ask anybody anymore to read the posts. Take it or leave it. I opted out of the rat race a long time ago and I’m not in a competition with anybody. I watch the efforts of fellow bloggers to promote their sites with amusement. What do they hope to gain? Why don’t they just live a happy life and publish a post every now and then with their compiled wisdom?

I don’t disguise myself and don’t trick somebody with a different worldview into reading the posts.

Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Salvador Allende, Mohammad Najibullah, Yasser Arafat, Muammar Gaddafi, and Hugo Chavez are my heroes, Leon Trotsky and Fidel Castro Ruz are important influences.

Ku Klux Klan burning cross

I reject and oppose superstitions, ideologies, and religions.

As I look into the fire of the stove I see two burning logs, one lies across the other. Somehow they resemble a burning cross, reminding me of the Ku Klux Klan. When I turn my head a 170 degrees I see in the distance the cross on the church steeple. It is probably made of wrought iron and could last for centuries. This is a small village but it nevertheless has two churches, one for Catholics and one for Protestants. The services are probably not well attended, as Europe becomes more and more secular.

Good so!

Catholics and Protestants killed each other in the millions during the Thirty Years’ War. This was not an isolated incident, throughout human history religious motivated wars were an imported means of population control. Do I regard religion as the worst bane of humanity?

No, Wars and TV come first.

One comment

  1. I have missed your posts, Mato! It’s good to know you were busy in your garden. I too got a marvelous tomato harvest this year; also a loaded peach tree, strawberries, raspberries and excellent cucumbers and chard. The garlic was a bit small….the zucchinis and green beans fine. Considering that I went away for six weeks during the summer, I am very pleased with how the garden was able to manage without constant tending. Although my son and his girlfriend were here at least to keep it harvested–

    Anyway, you raise an excellent point about the importance of focusing on building local economies and local resilience instead of just writing about it. I think about the choices I make daily. Right now I am still trying to find a balance between the doing and the writing about doing. Writing is important for trying to imagine and dream of what should be. But it’s only effective if then we get busy manifesting those dreams.

    Me, I can’t opt out of the rat race yet. I need to support myself and my children. I need to keep teaching and writing and public speaking, therefore. If I were ever to be free of the need to make money, I know I would spend a lot more time tending my garden, just as you describe.

    Enjoy!

    Like



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