|April 27, 2013||Posted by Issa under Radical Self-Acceptance|
|April 25, 2013||Posted by Issa under Homesteading|
By Joshua Bardwell, originally posted in November 2009 at Jackbooted Liberal.
In late August, I planted a second crop of carrots, spinach, lettuce, and collards, all of which I think are crops that do well in the cold. Carrots, you can even leave in the ground over the winter. Nature’s own refrigerator!
This morning, I pulled a few. The little stubby one on the top/right is from one planter, and the longer, more “normal” looking ones are from a different planter. I’m not sure why the difference between them. I’ve actually only pulled one from the “stubby” planter, and a total of three from the “normal” planter, so maybe the “stubby” planter carrot is just a fluke.
Issa bites one and says, a little bemusedly, “Tastes… like a carrot.”
“What else would it taste like,” I ask. But I understand her reaction. Growing our own food is still new enough that it feels something like a victory when what comes out of the ground not only lives up to, but exceeds our expectations from store-bought food. It’s as if there’s this underlying assumption that only the Machine, or at the very least, some kind of esoteric guru, can produce food that’s any good. Us mere mortals can try it as a cute little hobby, but we’ll definitely fail.
Which is, of course, the exact opposite of reality. To plant these carrots, I literally dumped some seeds on the dirt of a planter and then made sure they had moist soil and sunshine. They did all the rest. No esoteric knowledge required. Which is not to say that some knowledge isn’t required to garden successfully, or that any batch of carrot seeds dumped on any patch of dirt will produce food. Just that plants want to grow and home-grown plants have the potential to far-exceed their store-bought counterparts. Even if the lack of expertise of the home gardener decreases the quality of their produce, the fact that it’s pulled fresh from the plant right before use often more than makes up the difference.
|April 24, 2013||Posted by Issa under Radical Self-Acceptance|
Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore is a book that I used to read frequently when I was trying to create a spiritual practice for myself out of the mess and muck that is religion. I hate religion. I hate imaginary deities and anti-humanity dogma. But there are positive things I can imagine religion or “spirituality” providing, and a struggled to invent something that would provide those things.
My culture is lacking in ways to talk about matters of the soul. I can submit myself to religion. I can commit myself to psychiatry. Or I can wall myself in with facts and data and pretend that the mysteries of the soul are but data-sets yet uncovered.
22 years after I abandoned Christianity, I’m still looking for better options.
Thomas Moore writes from the perspective of both religion and psychiatry, using the language of both while remaining slightly outside of and critical of both. Many of his books are concerned with soul – or the stuff of ourselves that lies outside dogma and diagnosis.
An Amazon review says:
Care of the Soul is considered to be one of the best primers for soul work ever written. Thomas Moore, an internationally renowned theologian and former Catholic monk, offers a philosophy for living that involves accepting our humanity rather than struggling to transcend it. By nurturing the soul in everyday life, Moore shows how to cultivate dignity, peace, and depth of character.
As I search for what it might mean to be radically self-accepting of my mental states, I’m thinking it’s time for me to read Care of the Soul again.
I’m going to post here about my thoughts as I read. Is anyone interested in doing a more formal book club style reading along with me? I’d set a start date to give everyone time to get the book, figure out an appropriate pace to go, and set a posting schedule for discussions of the sections.
Check out the book on Amazon, see if it interests you, and let me know if you want to participate.
|April 22, 2013||Posted by Issa under Homesteading|
By Joshua Bardwell – originally posted in September 2009 at Jack-Booted Liberal.
In my previous post on composting pig manure, I discussed the type of composting system Issa and I plan to use. A fundamental question for us in choosing a system was how much manure we could expect our forthcoming pigs to make. A system based on 55 gallon drums would be a hassle if the pigs could fill them in too short a time.
Issa found one site that stated that a 200 lb pig would produce about 13 lbs of manure a day. That’s all well and good, but unless you know the density of pig manure, it doesn’t tell you the volume you’ll need to contain it.
I found a site that stated that pigs would produce between 0.5 and 0.75 cubic feet of manure a day, per 1000 lbs of pig. For a 200 lb pig (close to market weight), that’s 0.1 to 0.15 cubic feet of manure. That gives us a density of about 87 to 130 lbs per cubic foot, or an average density of about 108 lbs per cubic foot.
A 55 gallon drum is about 7.3 cubic feet. If a 200 lb pig produces 0.1 to 0.15 cubic feet of manure a day, it will fill a 55 gallon drum in between 73 and 49 days. We plan to keep two pigs, so cut those numbers in half: 36.5 and 24.5 days. Granted, those numbers are for full-weight pigs. The pigs will produce less manure when they are smaller.
A 4-H site I found said that a healthy pig will gain approximately 1.6 lbs per day. According to that site, 50 lbs is a typical starter weight. Market weight is between 200 and 250 lbs. Based on the previously-given numbers, here’s a graph of the estimated total manure production of a pig from 50 lbs to 250 lbs:
The red line is the high estimate, based on 0.75 cubic feet of manure per 1000 lbs of pig, while the blue line is the low estimate, based on 0.5 cubic feet of manure per 1000 lbs of pig. You can see we end up with approximately 9 to 14 cubic feet of manure produced per pig. (For perspective, again, a 55 gallon drum is about 7.3 cubic feet.) This is estimated to weigh approximately 972 to 1512 lbs.
Here’s where things get a bit fuzzy. That manure is going to shrink down when it composts. A typical ratio given for compost shrinkage is 50% volume. That means we can expect to end up with approximately 4.5 to 7 cubic feet of compost, solely from pig manure. Bulk finished compost is estimated to weigh in the ball park of 800 lbs per cubic yard, or 30 lbs per cubic foot. That means our final compost will weigh only 135 to 210 lbs! That’s a heck of a lot of matter that left the system!
Realistically, though, the pig manure will not be the only input to the system. Pig manure has a high nitrogen content relative to carbon. This means that an appropriate quantity of high-carbon material must be added out to balance out the ratio in the final compost. The actual amount of material depends on the type of material added, and a consideration of this factor is beyond the scope of this post. The bottom line is that there’s going to be a bit more compost than the pig manure alone would produce.
The final question, then, is whether the two pigs we plan to keep will provide enough compost to fertilize the garden plot we plan to keep. I have estimated that the garden will start out at about 350 square feet and will probably grow from there. A common guideline is to till 1″ of compost over your entire garden. Based on this, a 350 square foot plot will require just about exactly 1 cubic foot of compost. Yeah, looks like we’re good to go, with compost to spare!
I have some water jugs that are almost exactly 1 cubic square foot. It’s hard to imagine that small amount of compost going over 350 square feet! Maybe it’s more compost than it looks like, though. After all, it’s certainly more water than it looks like!
Actual results will, of course, vary, but it’s still a fun thought exercise.
Editor’s Note: On the original post, a commenter said, “I think you made a miscalculation–I went to an online mulch calculator and it indicates that for 350 square feet you need 1.1 cubic YARDS not feet. That means you’ll need 27 cubic feet which means you’ll actually be a bit short on compost,” to which Joshua replied, “It’s true, as I discovered when I went to buy compost for the garden this year.”
|April 18, 2013||Posted by Issa under Blogging|
My latest depression is bringing up lots of “what do I want to do with my life” questions for me which puts my blogging on shaky ground. To keep you company while I’m annoying myself with my inner questions, I’m loading up a bunch of Joshua’s posts from Jackbooted Liberal that I’ve been meaning to share with you anyway.
And this makes it a good time to ask for guest posts! I’ve only had one other guest post here, but I’d love to have more.
Guest posting is good for:
- Bloggers who are looking to reach out to a new audience
- Bloggers who want to write about something different from what they post on their regular blog
- Someone without their own blog audience who nevertheless has something to say
- Anyone who wants to help me out by filling up my editorial calendar without having to write posts myself.
If you want to guest post, it’s probably best that you’re already a regular reader, and if you’re a regular reader you probably already know what kinds of posts would fit in here. But just in case, here’s what I’m looking for:
- Counter/Culture – Burning Man culture, feminism, advertising critiques, polyamory… anything that is critical of or in opposition to our dominant culture.
- Parenting – I’ll consider anything parenting or kid-related.
- Radical Self-Acceptance – if you want to write something on fat acceptance, I ask you to submit it to GLORIFY. Mental health acceptance is welcome here, as well as other topics of accepting things we’re not normally encouraged to.
- Simple-Eco-Happy – environmentalism, nature, the simple life, happy joy stuff. I haven’t written much in this category lately, so I’d be happy to publish some.
- Homesteading – this is the category I’m least likely to want to publish because a lot of the Jackbooted Liberal posts I’m queueing up are homesteading topics. But if you’ve got something awesome, I’ll consider it.
Your guest post must be original material by you and owned by you, not previously published online, and you agree not to publish it elsewhere for at least 30 days. You can include a bio, which can include a photo and links to your websites, social media profiles, etc.
If you have any questions or want to bounce an idea off me before you write it up, email me to talk about it or go ahead and mail me your submission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking forward to it!
|April 13, 2013||Posted by Issa under Just Pictures|
|April 11, 2013||Posted by Issa under Homesteading|
Spring has snuck up on me a bit. Last year I had seeds spouting by April 10th. This year my beds aren’t ready, the compost isn’t screened yet, and I haven’t stuck a single seed in the ground. Oops!
I’m still having fun heading outside each day to spend some moments on one garden task or another.
Here’s the compost screening in progress (first step is to lay it out on a tarp to dry):
The beds that are at least weeded:
The herb spiral attempt:
I don’t like how the spiral was coming out, so I’m going to try a tiered box instead. I’m sure I’ll update on that if/when it happens. I have to cart away all the bricks first.
The strawberry bed that should make fruit this year:
The abandoned duck pond that’s now turned into quite a habitat for spring frogs:
The beautiful sign my friend Sara painted that now graces our front porch:
|April 8, 2013||Posted by Issa under Radical Self-Acceptance|
I have a new article up at GLORIFY today called Fat People Deserve to Eat.
It pulls together some of my own thoughts about “eating while fat”, comments I’ve seen from other people around the web, and comments left on a previous post here on LoveLiveGrow. I’d love it if you’d check it out and leave a comment if you have your own thoughts.