Links October 2014

October 1, 2014

Environmental news:
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/fracking-or-drinking-water-may-become-choice-n202231 Didn’t we make the choice already?
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/09/15/indias_nuclear_nightmare_the_village_of_birth_defects.html Get used to it, this is our future.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/09/140918-soil-bacteria-microbe-farming-technology-ngfood/ Frankenstein microbes are in the works. If you think, ebola is scary — you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Imperial news:

Imperial conquest news:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/nothing-will-stop-isis-except-a-syrian-truce-9746373.html This article is based on the assumption, that IS is an independent Jihadist group and not a creation of Mossad and the CIA.
http://consortiumnews.com/2014/09/29/neocons-noses-into-the-syrian-tent/ Planned mission creep. Russia should get the S-400 ready.
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/earth-248-armed-conflicts-ww2-us-started-201-81-killing-30-million-far-arrests-now.html This is an older post from Mai and we knew that all before, but it is good to be reminded again and again to keep up motivation.

Everything else news:
http://leavingbabylon.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/gatekeeping/ Describing crucial details of a sustainable society.

News from the subsistence garden project

Many areas in the garden now organize themselves and weeding doesn’t take much time because the weeds are either suppressed by organic mulch, by the herbal plants, the strawberries, or the berry bushes which I have planted everywhere in between. In one or two years the newly planted fruit trees will provide a cover for the bigger part of the garden and that may change the vegetation again, with an unpredictable and hopefully positive outcome. For now I assume, that the tree canopy will be beneficial.

All four little ponds in the garden are populated by tiny toads and frogs. They like to rest in the sum and when one approaches a pond they jump into the water to seek cover. The toads were born here as I already told in spring but I have no idea from where the frogs came, because there is no pond or lake nearby. The reign of the dragonfly nymphs has definitely ended, I have not seen one for a long time. There are probably still a few individuals around but they have to hide and if they try to crawl out of the water up the stem of a plant to shed their skin and fly away as a grownup dragonfly they will be welcome food for the frogs and toads.

Dragonfly nymphs are a bane for every garden pond but they at least eliminate the mosquito larvae. Backswimmers and water striders do the same but at the moment there are also no backswimmers or water striders, the little frogs and toads are hungry.

Yet mosquitos or horse flies were no problem this year, and I didn’t have to use insect repellents. Which leads to the interesting question: Who was taking care of the mosquito larvae?

During summer the oldest and biggest pond was nearly completely shielded by a jungle of wild blackberry shrubs, constituting an ideal refuge for the amphibians. Two days ago I removed part of that jungle because I need to access the garden pond at least from one side to cut the reeds and clear out leaves, dead plants, and algae. The blackberries grow like mad and they have nasty thorns which easily break off and get stuck into the skin.

Blackberry Bushes

I admire them for their vitality and brute force. In the forest there are some areas which are completely cordoned off by blackberries and one only can get access with a hand pruner. Boots, thick leather gloves, and robust cloth are indispensable and even with the best equipment one has to be extremely careful and patient because if you get entangled in the long and winding branches you could end up like a fly in a spider web. Fortunately there are no men-eating spiders around here.

As I reported already many times the cat family and I are used to make our daily walk in the forest. In the last time the walks take place mainly in the evening. A few days ago it was new moon and the sky was completely clear. The forest was eerily quiet but it was not completely dark because the stars were shining their pale bluish light onto us.

When we reached the big clearing in the center of the forest I looked up and was overwhelmed by the majestic beauty of the firmament. Stars of every size and brightness were spread randomly across the sky, all the nebulae were clearly to see. I could even make out Ursa Major, Gemini, and Leo (or what I thought was Gemini and Leo, I’m not an astronomer, not even an amateur astronomer, and so I had to guess a little bit).

forest stars

How can we tiny and limited human creatures attempt to make sense out of this, I thought? Isn’t it sheer presumption, hubris to make even the effort of understanding the mystery of the universe? Speculating, fantasizing about a “Big Bang,” antimatter, black holes, parallel universes, and similar creations of our mind?

I wonder that nobody tries to find a system, a pattern, an order, a structure in the way the myriads of stars are arranged on the firmament. People try to find an explanation for the occurrence of prime numbers (ABS conjecture proof), why not for the occurrence of stars and their placement in the universe?

We continued with our walk because my neck did ache for bending backwards while looking at the stars and the cats were getting restless, they had explored this particular spot thoroughly enough and were reminding me with questioning and partly inpatient meows that we could progress further along our chosen route.

When I turned left shortly after the clearing to enter the young wood which leads to the northern edge of the forest I was again reminded that some basic principles of nature can even be understood by us humans. The path that we followed was created by deer, it was winding and took several seemingly random turns, but the pale starlight which was peeking through the canopy revealed that the path was exactly between and along the biggest gaps between the trees. The deer hadn’t thought about that, they had not measured the distance between the stems, they had just followed their intuition.

At the end of the young wood I unfortunately took a wrong turn. The trees were older and higher at this point and they completely blocked the starlight, it was as dark as it could be. The cats meowed worriedly but I was so distracted by al the ideas running through my head that I didn’t recognize their warnings.

After about 20 meters I ran straight into a field of blackberry bushes. I first thought it was only a small patch which I could pass easily but after a few seconds I was completely entangled and trapped by the thorny branches. I realized that I had strayed from our usual route. The cats were still around, meowing now more forcefully.

I freed myself from the branches, switched on the LED flash light, turned around, and went slowly step by step out of the blackberry maze. The cats understood perfectly that I wanted to reach our usual way again and they went ahead of me and led me back to the point where I had left the way. The cats know the forest better than I do.

Autumn is always a difficult time for me because I see my beloved plants in the garden wither away. Some just go to sleep and they will wake up in spring and develop new sprouts, branches, and leaves. Other plants though will die and they will be gone forever. Many plants live only one year or even less and they have to produce as much seeds as possible to make sure that their species lives on and a new generation of plants grows again next spring.

The last days here were sunny but in the night it is getting cold. There is no need to heat but in the house one has to wear a pullover. Temperatures in the house are about 18 degrees, in the night they drop to 15 degrees.

The harvest was good, all three freezers are full with various kinds of berries, fruits, and grapes. I also canned 30 glasses with tomatoes and I could can the same amount again, but something went wrong and I already had to open and use up three of the glasses because they were infected with fungi. Last year everything was perfect, maybe I was too careless this year. I had cleaned the glasses in the dishwasher (which I very seldom use) and they looked perfect, I don’t know how the fungi infection occurred.

There are also several boxes full of apples and there will be more than 100 pumpkins this year. Onions and garlic are already sorted in. A friend helped me to pluck tea leaves (mint, lemon balm, camomile, sage, marigold, nettle) and fill up a row of boxes with the dried leaves.

Broccoli harvest was not so good, too many caterpillars. Chard and carrots were ok.

I didn’t go shopping for three weeks, I first need to east what I have harvested.

Mia Gandhi Min Ki DSCN3061

The cats are all fine, thank you for asking. Rosy and Princess Min Ki needed dental care, because some plaque and tartar had formed on their teeth. Unfortunately, two teeth of Rosy were inflamed and they had to be removed. They both had a blood test which showed no sign of any health problem, so I hope, we will be together for many years to come. Linda got vaccinated, she is growing fast but is still a small cat. I want to spay her as soon as possible and I will insist that an ovariectomy instead of the more invasive ovariohysterectomy is performed. Next month they all have to get vaccinated again and they also need to swallow their worming tablets, which is always a complicated and challenging procedure.

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