Tag Archives: cycles

Modular Air Prune Beds #1: Planning and Gathering

After harvesting many hazelnuts, I set out to build portable-sized, modular air prune beds to propagate trees. I followed inspiration from Twisted Tree Farm and Edible Acres. I built one air prune bed before and it works but I learned a lot I’d change from the process: deeper sides, sturdier sides and no need to fuss with building handles as I had before. I also use gifted premade air prune beds for apple and pawpaw seedlings and am happy to have them!

I started by revisiting the videos by Twisted Tree & Edible Acres linked above, then drew plans out – both a helpful and recreational activity – as a loose guide for modular air prune beds. Then I gathered materials for the build.

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The Problem is the Solution: Carbon, and the case of Life and Death

The problem is the solution.

Permaculture Principle

Hearing about carbon and the environment, many people think of atmospheric carbon as a green house gas. Right alongside that are all the long-term massive changes in the carbon cycle from fossil fuel extraction, processing, and use as fuels and plastics. Carbon is problematic, but it’s so much more. In fact it’s a lot of things, and it’s ubiquitous in life.

On Earth, all known living things have a carbon-based structure and system.


Even fossil fuels contain this fact, that carbon is the building block of life. Fossil fuels are not inherently bad, they are just part of life systems, dead for millions of years only to be brought to life briefly for a fast flash then a slow decay. A decay of life systems themselves, a stumbling toward high entropy and climate chaos. How do we reign in the chaos, how do we lower entropy on Earth as Life overall seems inclined to do?

The complexities around fossil fuels, from geology to economics and ecology to justice, exist in full form only at scales (i.e. a hyperobject) that are hard for us to grapple with. It is how we interact with the the systems fossil fuels are a part of, to either degrade or regenerate those very living systems and life itself. Carbon can be the quickly-lost exhaust of burned billion-year-old oil, or it can be rich black organic matter that gets better with time, revitalizing soil that sustains us and all life on Earth.

We live at a time where there is widespread disturbance all around us. The ground is open and waiting for seeds. We can bemoan the tragedies that nature has endured or we can cast seeds and plant a future.
We can and do influence the ecosystems around us more than any other species. That influence can come through reckless destruction, blind abandonment, or conscious intent.

Trees of Power by Akiva Silver of Twisted Tree Nursery near Ithaca, NY

Carbon’s role in life systems can give momentum to feedback loops of degradation or of restoration and regeneration. Carbon can serve a core role in feedback loops that produce goods in the present and get better over time: trees, soil, animals enjoying carbon while sequestering and storing it, all in mutual benefit enhancing the systems one and all exists in.

Enjoying carbon? Enjoying it as in making fulfilling, mutually beneficial use of it. And enjoying it while we still can, that is, considering how dire some environmental situations are becoming in large part due to imbalances in the carbon and other cycles. We need the tools to shift the carbon cycle into a more wholly beneficial setting. We know the tools: trees; carbon farming; regenerative, ecological lifestyles and landscapes. And we have the main building block of those tools, waiting to take f(x) one way or another: Carbon. For life systems, ecosystems; or for the degradation, destruction, and death of those systems?

For life systems, or for the death of those systems?

Where’s the carbon?

Is it regenerative or degenerative?

Is it diverse or a monoculture/monopoly?


Carbon Circuits

Related comments in response to someone doubting anthropogenic global warming and the importance of our effects on the carbon cycle:

I see both large-scale data from climate experts and see wackier weather in my own neck of the woods over the past 20yrs. Anthropogenic climate change or not, I’ve seen first hand that humans are degrading ecosystems we live in and/or rely on. Regardless of political agenda, we shouldn’t shit where we sleep.

That said, humanity is changing the carbon cycle, storing more carbon in the atmosphere; how is pottery made? concrete? steel? What happens to carbon atoms when gas goes from underground to our car’s engines? Or the natural gas as it goes from underground to our home furnaces and water heaters? Thus, I disagree with you saying “quit worrying about carbon”. Let’s actively store carbon in ways beneficial to us – trees, wood, soil – and not let it go haphazardly to oceans, where simple & advanced science experiments can show it is not helpful for us or most other organisms.

To Mediate

Deliberating debates I often find myself navigating toward a middle way.

Solve et coagula, meeting in the middle. Lest 1 forget the value of VITRIOL.

The middle often feels oddly dissatisfying, even when reached with an impressive reconciliation of differences. It can feel as if the debate is cut short, or as if a rightful winner is stuck with tie by technicality. What if it were best to keep debating, even if doing so fiercely and even if missing each other’s points?

I suppose to moderate is not to identify and insist on a fixed middle ground, but rather to remind toward and protect access to a homey middle ground. All things in moderation…including moderation.

Just as debating shouldn’t be a spending of time that could be better spent acting, moderating shouldn’t be a spending of time that could be better spent acting (?)

What is it to act of balance? To do nether? To do both?

Is a waveform up or down? Mu!

This post is inspired in part by my effort this evening to offer a middle ground in an increasingly fierce debate on a permaculture listserv’s email thread about Extinction Rebellion / “collective action” vs. Individual efforts. Both initiatives pointed toward radical mitigation and adaptation for ecological crises. To identify and push for a middle ground felt necessary in the act, but afterward I wondered if it were better to not intervene and let both sides further duke it out. Surely they will still duke it out and hopefully my intervention helps that go productively. Additionally, as I wondered second-guessingly, I also felt the burn of time ‘wasted’ as I recognized and acted on various tasks I could’ve/ would’ve/ should’ve tended to instead of email.

Alas, there are layers of life to moderate, and as usual priorities are of prime importance!

Mulberry transplantin’ & snow storm dancin’

Planting rooted mulberry medium-softwood cutting that was collected in ~Spring 2018 and grown in water, on the heat mat and under a grow light at the indoor nursery. It’s the pot on the black table in the photo below, and it’ll be moved back to the indoor nursery for the winter. Yesterday, moved any trees that remained outside in pots, bringing them into the garage for the winter or at least until I can heel them in outside ’til planting elsewhere in Spring 2019. That’s the trees huddled together in pots on the floor. The weather’s taken a rapid turn toward winter, with nighttime temperatures below 30dF a few nights in a row, and a sudden 10″ of snow in a day!

The basement is around 40% humidity and a little over 50dF. That’s with 2 heat vents opening to the room left on; heating vents could be sealed off from that room but it gets very cold, and it’s below our bedroom and has some pipes so we want to keep some warmth in there. ~55dF might be too warm for the trees, preventing them from having a proper dormancy. I’m not sure about this – comment below if you know please! I hope to heel these trees in ASAP; they’ve been in pots for so long as I only moved to this more permanent location ~1 year ago.

cr0 – A Group (Lyrics & Instrumental, Rendition Not Recorded)

A group of musicians merges
Making the most of what each of them brings to the coast,
To float, to coast, to roast yet also to regenerate
1&1 fate come together
I & I makin moves with the weather
Of the crowd, of the loud, of the soft, of the
Group of musicians coming together
Makin the best of what each of them got to get off of their chest
Empty one cup just to fill another
Keepin’ the water cyclin’
Fixin’ Nitrogen like lightenin’
And so the music moves, to the grooves of the
Group of soils come together
Aggregated action as ecological agriculture gains traction
1 & 1 fate come together
I & I makin moves with the weather
Of the crowd, of the loud, of the soft, of the
Group of farmers come together
Trailin’ trees for the Golden Tether
Making the most of what each of them brings to the coast,
To float, to coast, to roast yet also to regenerate
A group of people emerges

Humility – Thoughts from fasting – Summer Solstice 2018


Let it be or intervene. Even in the simple act of eating, is one creating or destroying potential? Someone else could have had that grain. That grain could have become a whole ‘nother mother.

Such suffering. The one lashing out suffers themselves; whether they recognize it or not, they harbor suffering. Rather than pray for their decay, pray for their transmutation; when all is whittled away at the end of the day, some toxins persist. This is why “two wrongs do not make a right”: to respond to the propagation of suffering with further propagation of suffering does not decrease suffering.

Put yourself in another’s shoes. We all suffer at times. Why would you behave in such a way as to cause the suffering of another? If you are at peace, would you cause such suffering?

May peace be upon oneself.