Tag Archives: perennial

A Vision of Renewal Amid Ignorance of Collapse

Societal collapse is underway in the U.S. yet ignored by many. Fossil fuels enable this ignorance while exacerbating the problems: propping up leaders en route to authoritarianism, oppressing far-away people, catalyzing capitalism’s promise of seamless resets with no reckoning of past costs while facing a future of unceasing growth.

Is America really collapsing? How would Americans know? Scientists might, as in Deep Adaptation. Survivors of past societal collapse might, as in the following two articles.

What is a vision of renewal? The Leap, a progressive campaign promoting the Green New Deal as a needed-transformative step that avoids eco-fascism or worse, offers this:

There is no future emergency for which we must prepare.

We are already here—with every dystopian element, every means of revolution. The horrific consequences of our time and its beautiful potential are unfolding everywhere. We are resisting the end of the world by proliferating new worlds. We are becoming ungovernable—unbeholden to their merciless law, their crumbling infrastructure, their vile economy, and their spiritually broken culture.

We violently stake a claim in happiness—that life resides in our material power, in our refusal to be managed, in our ability to inhabit the earth, in our care for each other, and in our encounters with all forms of life that share these ethical truths.


Acorn Acknowledgement; ‘Nuts as Staple Foods’ with Osker Brown; and More – for “The Creation of a Thousand Forests is in One Acorn.”

Acorns have great potential as a staple food. This may seem like it takes a lot of processing, but compared with conventional staple food sources with similar nutritional profiles and palatability, this and many other tree crops require less energy overall to enjoy, potentially require less capital as a cost-of-entry, and have numerous co-benefits. This calls for a different culture however, as there’s a shift in where much of the energy is expended in enjoying regional nuts and trees for basic needs:

In conventional systems, energy use and negative externalities occur “Not In My Backyard“, in rural areas and in far away oil and fertilizer producing places. In systems offering greater food sovereignty, resilience, and positive externalities, energy use is brought closer to the point of consumption and after the point of sale.

Shelf stability of acorns highlights a trade-off of this shift in the point of energy use to enjoy the crop: acorns and many nuts are very shelf stable, but when they’re processed enough to be ready to eat (e.g. as acorn tortillas or roasted hazelnuts) they become less shelf stable. This is not a critical issue, as acorn flour and many value-added nut products can last for weeks dried or refrigerated and be preserved for months or maybe years frozen. This trade-off affects the culture of use and markets for local nut crops:

Tree nuts are long-lasting, resilient, more intimate staple foods which require more labor close-to-home, but

tree for basic needs also bring home closer with the source of one’s well-being and being well in ecological mutualism with that which supports oneself.

And with this in mind, I give thanks to Osker Brown and Living Web Farm for the information below about acorns for landscapes and livelihoods.

Distribution of time for tasks to enjoy acorns:

  • 1/3 labor gathering and drying
  • 1/3 labor cracking, leaching, processing
  • 1/3 labor quality control, removing nuts with signs of mold

Gather & quality-control red oaks, dry, store in-shell . . . here is a very informative video series, starting specifically at part 5 which details home and community-scale acorn gathering.

Ready to prep for meals? De-shell red oak acorns using hammer, nut cracker, nut crucible…or for large home-scale (e.g. ‘5lbs batch weekly for two months’), Davebilt #43 nut mill has been found effective and robust.

Sort and quality-control, winnowing kernels from shells. Discard kernels that are not a shade of brown whether dark or cream colored, e.g. remove nut meat colored white, yellow, green, or blue), discard shells for mulch or fuel or tanning.

Leech (various methods) until astringent flavor is no longer noticeable when tasting nuts. Dry. Break down further into flour using food processor or similar methods. To begin with cut with 50:50 all-purpose flour and use as you would all-purpose flour. Acorn flour can replace all purpose flour for many recipes.

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Starchy Perennial Plant Ally: Sunchoke

A long term steward of the northeast, Sunchoke aka Earth Apple aka Jerusalem Artichoke aka Helianthus tuberosus. This plant is a sunflower species with a starchy, potato-like root that propagates itself (usually easily) from year to year.

In the video below, Ben Falk harvests and discusses a 400sq.ft. area that grows sunchokes year after year, with minimal maintenance, while building soil. This year’s harvest offers 90lbs of starchy “J-choke” tubers, leaving some in soil to regrow the patch for next year’s harvest. He notes using them as pureed soup after some slow cooking, as well as pickling and lactofermenting them. I have only had them a few times. When I cooked them I cut them thin and stir fried them, cooking them for a while and adding other veggies and seasoning into the mix. They are dense plants and feel like a good staple, able to significantly help mitigate ‘the hunger gap’ as Ben says regarding strains on food supplies and ecology. I look forward to growing, harvesting, and cooking more of this perennial plant ally.

I give thanks.

Wonderful planting workday & garden lunch – Elderberry guild, L-shaped nut & fruit bed, perennial pollinator bed – Sat, Sept 8, 2018

Thankful for a wonderful day forest gardening with good company. Started the day with J picking up some friends K & Ez to go pickup plants at a perennial native pollinator plant sale. One of them got some trees, we got a bunch of herbaceous flowery plants.

Back at home we started out by planting some of the Fava beans our friend from Puerto Rico brought us as seeds. They were growing well indoors and now that it’s cooler we’ll plant them, hoping they flower before frost but not until the max temps drop below 80dF (that heat can kill their flower).

Then we began planting an L shaped series of trees and bushes along the south and east side of our garden. The shorter bushes – black and red currants – are on the east side which is toward the house, allowing us to see over them into the garden. On the south side is a hazelnut, and we’ll locate another one or two relatively close to pollinate it. These trees were potted and grown that way for approximately a year by me, having been almost a year old when I got them. The hazelnut was purchased from Twisted Tree Farm nursery and the blackcurrants propagated through Alchemical Nursery. These trees will hopefully be propagated into more generations of them once they’re healthy and hearty-sized in their permanent location.

Then we moved on to extend the elderberry/mint/strawberry guild/bed, with a patch of pollinator flowers. Around this time a friend arrived to join in and help out. We yanked out tons of mint and lemon balm and hung ’em to dry. We dug roots out of the ground then planted the pollinators, laid cardboard around them and covered it with mulch and some rocks we had. Can always use more mulch, and we were low on rocks.

We planted pollinators in the front yard too but not before having an amazing lunch. It started as an idea for a quick snack, a garden fresh cuke seseme salad, but it turned into a smorgasbord of that, Brazilian cheesy bread, garden fresh tomatoes with basil and fennel, roasted anchovies, shrimp fried rise, and an amazing chicken noodle soup our neighbor brought over (we just learned she’s a chef and owned her own restaurant, as we gave her garden fresh food! hopefully that’s a wonderful win win symbiotic relationship).

In the front we were able to reuse mulch already in a planting bed.

Overall we used 3:1  mix of native soil with compost/tree planting soil mix. Much of the excess native soil went in the heap compost to enhance it and get enhanced by it! Speaking of soil, we chopped and dropped some grasses and used that as mulch or added it to the heap compost. Looking forward to more chop and drop, and soil building!

Zero and Infinity – Mind the Tree

“Something for a Saturday – Zero and Infinity

As soon as one is on the mystical path, it is neither logical nor rational to think that the existence of man is confined to a single passage on Earth.

As soon as intuition or inner experience, or some other kind of mental pressure, has led us to conceive of man as a being in evolution, a coherent explanation of existence is that man starts from Zero and journeys towards the Infinite. Indeed, as soon as there is evolution, what is the obstacle that could limit it before the stage of the Infinite?

The aim of my lessons and papers is twofold. Firstly to give the means to everyone to accelerate their own evolution, and secondly for people to obtain one of these contacts with the Infinite which alone reveal the true destiny of man. Continue reading →