greenstorm: (Default)
I started running last week; it became apparent that yoga was going to take some working to make happen (I may have to drive to school for one of my classes on yoga days, to make yoga without completely sacrificing the whole evening, just with the placement of schedules and the general awfulness of buses) and my shoulders were sore and I'd just been generally neglecting my body. Starting to drink soylent in the mornings for breakfast got me past worrying about not having enough calories in the day (eating can be a challenge for me, let alone eating within my time and money budget) and so the next good body step was exercise.

So it has been a week. I'm starting the same couch-to-half-marathon schedule that injured me a couple years ago, but spacing it out a little but more to avoid that same outcome. It was pretty magical, last time, the way following a relatively scientific schedule got my body doing so much so fast, and I'd like to experience that again. I'd also very much like to be in good shape when I start work in May.

I still need to find a way to get yoga in, but in the meantime I'm not doing nothing.

And of course, my sleep is better now, my energy level is up, the swings in mood I was starting to experience have settled a little bit, at least so far. And... I'm feeling things better, as in, my emotional apparatus is working in a more nuanced way, and is more integrated with my thinking bits. Also, food tastes better, etc, all that normal exercise stuff. So I guess school wasn't as far from hitting my depression triggers this year as I thought, I was just maintaining a high mood while losing a bit of functionality.

Good save, self. Keep running now.

Incidentally, my mom completely self-medicates her depression with running. My mom's life is always both an inspiration and a warning to me, in this as in so many other things.

This whole thing is helping a great deal with sorting through my complicated poly/partner/identity/desire situation. My identity seems to be stabilizing somewhere between relationship anarchist and solo poly. I'm finding a middle ground between trusting my misgivings and just plain trusting. It helps to remind myself that I can place my trust in the future, in my ability to navigate the future, rather than in particular outcomes. It still leaves me in a shaky place sometimes, wanting things from people who in turn care about me and therefore don't want to hurt me (but maybe can't give me what I want) but wrestling with the issue is no longer taking up all my spare thoughts.

Without interpersonal demanding all my attention, I'm free to get back in touch with myself, and also with my career. The issue of stewardship is arising. Stewardship is forestry code for thinking in the long term, thinking in the bigger picture, thinking outside the axe and pile of logs that comes to mind with the word forestry (okay, fellerbuncher and processor, but those didn't start attaching to the idea of forestry till I started doing it). Stewardship over the forest is something that arose this summer: I was working with a 'stewardship-focused' person when I found a happy place this summer. Principles of stewardship also apply to friends and community. There's an underlying responsibility, I think, that if I can gently steer the future towards a place I consider to be better, I should do so. With forestry that might mean not cutting certain areas, replanting with a wider species mix than necessary, working in partnership with people who have other interests than I do. With community and relationship that has meant, lately, making safe space for emotions and human tenderness and just generally those things that make us feel a little vulnerable and also connected.

Well. Time's up, so have a lovely day. There will most assuredly be more later. And: this is also more, from later. For instance, my life will once again be mine soon: http://greenstorm.livejournal.com/757766.html
greenstorm: (Default)
I use the word fat in here. It kinda triggers even me. I do this deliberately to try and break down my unpleasant stereotypes. Tread lovingly with yourself here.

This is the tail-end of the marathon-three-days I spend at work/school. I should be at school this second, half an hour into class, but I dropped my bike off and they're keeping her for a week, which kind of broke my stride, and I'm sitting down and that feels amazing, and since about noon today I've really been wanting to write something.

I've been poly for a long time, and I've learned to erase some cultural norms from my psyche and to set aside others in order to do that. I know I'll likely always feel weird sneaky traces of poly guilt, for instance, which results in my believing that any given person is better off partnered to a monogamous person than to myself. This just sits there deep-down, despite my knowing that I am better off partnered to people who have other things going on in their lives (whether those other things are people or different passions) and despite being genuinely happy for my partner's pleasure when they're in a safe happy situation with another person.

I've also been skinny all my life. I don't feel skinny nowadays, I feel "normal" and sometimes jiggly and weird, but during adolescence and through my early twenties I was this same height, 5'8" or 5'9"ish, and 110 lbs, 120 max. That's really pretty skinny. In the last bunch of years I've gained both buoyancy and muscle to the tune of 20 or 30 lbs, topping out at my maximum weight when I'm in very good shape and literally sheathed in inches of muscle, getting softer and wider and dropping weight when I'm in poorer shape. And till a couple years ago I've always slept with tall skinny computer geeks with ponytails, basically.

This is a tangental way of approaching the idea that I've never had to deconstruct my ideas about fatness, though I have had to pull apart other received information like that about relationships. I've been the butt of hostility in the past ("skinny bitch" and "beanpole") but those days are over too.

Oof. This is hard to write. I'm not proud of this.

So, not thinking of this, and then diving into a really intensely hot sexual relationship with Angus (who has tended to carry 'a couple extra pounds' since I've known him) and then with Michael (who is more than twice my weight) I managed to be a total dickwad.

I have to be brief because this hurts to write. Think about this situation:

I meet Michael. We start sleeping together. I find him very hot, the way he thinks, the way we interact, but also his body itself, just the way his thighs feel and the line from his shoulder to his hip and his hands and the texture of his skin and the everythingness of him. And I keep saying to myself, not mindfully at all but in bemused wonder: I never would have expected to feel this way about you. I would say, in with that same bemusement, you are so fucking hot. And I didn't think about it.

And I would forward all this stuff about overeating and the obesity epidemic and whatnot because I'm pretty involved in food activism. Aaaaaand... finally the incongruity hit me. I poked at this in my head for a couple weeks, like a sore tooth, and realised what was going on. I was saying I never would have expected you to be hot because you're fat.

Except it wasn't graceful like this. After all this subtext, after accepting all these unspoken and unconscious endings to my sentences and not walking out on me, Michael had to endure a conversation where I basically said, "I don't know how to reconcile your body type with me thinking you're hot, any pointers?" and it hurt him pretty bad because, face it, it was maybe one of the jerkiest things I've done in my long career of being a dick.

So he was hurt and got quiet and I took it away and thought about it some more. And after a bit I stopped using the subtext. It stopped being woah, I'm shocked that you could be hot and started being just, you're hot. That made me happy, but I wasn't really sure what was going on in my head. Then today someone made a post on facebook and I grasped something more consciously.

It's true that carrying a lot of weight is a health risk.

It's true that stressing over things is a health risk.

It's true that working a desk job is a health risk.

Driving in a car is pretty goddamn dangerous, actually.

Smoking, drinking from plastic bottles, all sorts of things: health risks. In fact, cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. Then heart disease, in which weight is definitely implicated. But, you know, people die, and statistics are statistics. No one actually chooses a mate by running a statistical analysis of everyone in the room and taking the person most likely to live a long time or we'd all want to date Japanese schoolgirls... oh, wait.

So the next argument, and one dear to the food movement, is that fat people are socially irresponsible because they do something which makes them unhealthy and thus a burden on health care and the rest of society, etc. The usual rebuttal to this is: we've all got our vices, so if you conflate attractiveness with health with skinniness, then also conflate attractiveness with health with nonsmoking AND not driving on dangerous roads AND not drinking to excess AND to not getting sunburns AND to using only glass containers and organic food AND teflon pans AND etc etc or you're a hypocrite.

But I've realised that it's much simpler than that for me, suddenly.

I find some people, and some bodies, maddeningly earthshatteringly attractive. I find some people and some bodies very much not. I don't control and can't anticipate this attraction; it's a gift when it's put in my hands.

And, separately, I worry about the economics of health: health care; the high cost of good veggies; eating well; desk jobs; yes, high fructose corn syrup and the subsidy pressure from the agroindustrial machine to maintain a steady cheap supply of that rather than fresh fruit and veggies and by the way more veggies would mean more farmers instead of more jobs where people sit down and that's socially unacceptable; and in the same category a lack of biking infrastructure and pesticides and the lack of self-worth driven by our lack of worthwhile projects to break our teeth on and thus teach us how to be effective in the world and how that leads people to do stupid self-harm or self-risk to fit in; a poor definition of health overall; no actual value placed on a culture where people can share knowledge about how to live well or have socially-sanctioned conversations about same; epidemic depression, the list goes on and on and on.

These two things, what we find attractive and what we approve of morally, are rarely connected and in fact often backwards-wired as per the girls-like-bad-boys stereotype. So it's really not cool what we do: we project all the guilt for our broken food culture and food system onto the people who bear the most visually obvious symptoms of it, then we use the threat of sexual and romantic rejection, which really drives to the core of our happiness as humans, to try and get them, any them that's not us, to make it go away. And we dangle romantic acceptance and sexual fulfillment as the carrots gained for successfully putting that societal skeleton back in the closet where we don't have to look at it. But, that's getting a little meta. My real point is merely the separation.

So there's how I was a dickwad with my projected shit and my inability to treat a human like, you know, a person instead of as a social issue. And that's why I try to be mindful about it now. And it's kinda incoherent because I've had a long week, but I really really needed to get this out. And I'd really like people to respond to it if they have something to say, gently if possible, because I need to hear the voices of my friends on this.
greenstorm: (Default)
Well, it's morning and I'm still feeling a little broken, if less so. I'm supposed to be working today, but I can swap it with tomorrow if I want to. I may do that and spend today trying to reassemble myself.

I've been meaning to write a riff on a phrase Michael sent me, "work as worship", and perhaps this is the time.

First:

wor·ship (wûrshp)
n.
1.
a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
b. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.
2. Ardent devotion; adoration.
3. often Worship Chiefly British Used as a form of address for magistrates, mayors, and certain other dignitaries: Your Worship.
v. wor·shiped or wor·shipped, wor·ship·ing or wor·ship·ping, wor·ships
v.tr.
1. To honor and love as a deity.
2. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion. See Synonyms at revere1.
v.intr.
1. To participate in religious rites of worship.
2. To perform an act of worship.
[Middle English worshipe, worthiness, honor, from Old English weorthscipe : weorth, worth; see worth1 + -scipe, -ship.]
worship·er, worship·per n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Let's start with this: I'm pretty deeply agnostic. I can't summon up the hubris to transform my mystical/spiritual/numinous feelings and impulses from personal to universal absolute. There are too many conflicting voices on the subject of religion for me to feel comfortable privileging the expertise of any one group. I don't even understand enough about psychology and social construction to know how a more workable society would have to be put together, and given my little knowledge of the complex systems involved in ecology I don't much trust anyone who claims to have the answers to that, either.

So in terms of Absolute Truth, assuming there is such a thing (I'm doubtful most of the time) I have no answers.

I do have a flourishing system of top-of-the-mind beliefs, actions, and rituals though. I have a lot of numinous impulse, I am prone to mystic states, and I like to love and cherish things. It definitely improves my life to run with that, to think it through a little bit, and to introduce casual beliefs and practices into my daily life. I believe these things much like I believe the best way to get to downtown is to catch the #99 and then the Skytrain: it totally works well right now, might change at any time, it really depends on where precisely I'm going, and everything is subject to service disruption.

One of the practices that works for me is thinking of each strand in the ecological web as sacred, and by this I mean each person and thing within it. Assuming creation through any deliberate or semi-deliberate means, these things were put here by God/s' own hand and as such are sort of a holy gift, and thus the relationships between them are a form of worship. Your relationship with yourself is a form of worship. You can neglect that aspect, as you might go to church to flirt or out of duty, but then you're ignoring something potentially nourishing for your soul.

Assuming no deliberate or semi-deliberate creation, let's talk about blind evolution for a moment. Let's talk about iteration, about steps continuously taken in spite of testing and challenge and caprice. Let's talk about perseverance towards a goal, about reaching and striving, about gloriously winning out in the face of all opposition but never being able to rest on your accolades. Let's talk about the way knees wear twin dishes into a prayer rug after so many many years. Now let's talk about what worship is, about what makes something holy.

...perhaps let's not talk much more about it, though. These are both backwards justifications I can come up with for this innate sense that everything is precious. Every. Thing. A leaf, a hand, every leaf, every hand, every voice has meaning and has its own keys to God/s or transcendence or joy or whatever it is you're gunning for. I'll gloss over this because, although I could argue the point, I have no desire to do so. I understand this to be a personal belief.

It does mean that one of my religious goals, for lack of a better term, is to treat everything with worship. There's no way for this not to improve my life; suddenly I am surrounded by sacred mysteries to explore and holy things to reverence. To get back to the quote which triggered this, my own life is worthy of worship, and one of the ways I worship myself is through the sometimes onerous, repetitive, or challenging task of working. This is serious worship, not a Sunday picnic but days full of challenge and ritual in service of something holy.

To take it a little further, I often feel that things created by people, while useful perhaps as simplified metaphors, are not not as worthy of a life's service, and certainly are not worthy of notice to the exclusion of the rest of the world. Time spent in study of people, plants, social systems, ecological webs, even geological systems or physics: that's worship. Time spent engaging in movies, TV, video games, and even books without using it to tie into and reference the rest of the world, perhaps even as a way of ignoring the world around you?

That's idolatrous.
greenstorm: (Default)
I'd really like to take the time to write about school so far. I know my impressions of it will change, but tonight I'll have been to each class once (some of the classes I'm only at six times before the midterm rollover) and have some general idea of what the classes are about; thus far I've worked with each teacher I'll work with, since the one tomorrow is a repeat from last night. I've had a chance to very generally size things up, and I like what I see.

I've made the right decision doing this.

Don't get me wrong; school is brutal. I have no time for anything; when I do have time I have very little patience. I'm pricklier, but I am also more interested in the world. Sitting upright without moving for three hours a night -- every night -- makes me feel like someone's kicked me around a field a couple of dozen times and my body does not seem to be hardening to it yet, but it's easy enough to find a distraction in what I'm learning and drive my focus that way instead. I have no money to spare, but no time to spend money anyhow. I have no idea when I'm going to find time to do homework, but a lot of it I look forward to doing for the way it lets me play with interesting ideas. I haven't yet found a way to respect many of my classmates, but my professors are absolutely aware of their field and-- their field is my field. I've come home.

And so I find myself in a plant ID class where I know the course material, basically, but the prof goes off on a tangent walking back to class and talks about sugaring the native maple, acer macrophyllum, which puts out a lot more sap over a longer time than the sugar maple because it's the freeze-thaw cycle that pumps sap out for sugaring and that happens here all winter, wheras in Quebec it only happens for three weeks, so even though you need to reduce twice as much sap to make the same amount of sugar our maples are more productive-- and then we're talking about multi-use woodlots and the weirdness of names like 'agroecology' or 'silvipasturing' and the philosophy behind land-use design. And that's made everything worth it.

Or I find myself in a course that's trying to cover the basics of sustainable resource management (hint: this ranges from GIS through government and plant science to ethics), and my teacher pulls out a quote from George Carlin in 1830-something advocating "Indian" inclusion in then-nonexistent National Parks -- this during the time when the US government's goal was eradication -- and he says "sometimes ethics are in conflict with the ideas of the times. I like to think in that time I would have had the courage to stand up for something like Carlin did, but I'm not sure I would have. That's what a lot of this is about, though-- that and learning to communicate so you'll do it effectively." Then he goes on to tell us to get a copy of Sim City for class, because we'll be playing it in groups. The guy comes to sustainable resources from the social sciences. He can draw the major dams of BC onto a blank whiteboard from memory.

I'm a little less enthralled by math, which I see primarily as a tool rather than a system I find interesting in and of itself. It's all doable, though, and it's been awhile since I've sunk my mind into that kind of system.

Tonight's mapping and aerial photography.

There's an online technical writing course I need to get around to Friday evening.

And I'm writing all this after a night spent with food poisoning gradually triumphing over my cold-- I came home early from work and napped a bit, so I can shower and eat at home and get out there again for another round of having my sides kicked in by the fight against gravity.

Sometime I need to find time to repot my natal mahoganies and bring them indoors. I need to make chicken soup. I need to finish buying my school equipment - I ran out of money and am not quite finished on the binders-paper-books front, though I have all my awesome equipment like a 'clinometer' which I don't know what it is. Angus is taking care of the squeaky ratty things which disrupted my supposed weekend of relaxation, but I should put some time in with them. I need to register for Sickle this Friday or so, gotta hunt down someone with a credit card for that - I'm taking the Writer for his birthday present, which will present a bit of awkwardness on the poly front but will I think be worth it. And I need to keep making the time to write, which I haven't always been doing.

I already am thinking of a series of articles based on the idea of biomass/carbon management. things I basically know but want to get down concisely. What is a pig's or a chicken's ecological function in an urban system? Why does rain make us mulch? What's the logic behind a no-till system? Is biomass/carbon conservation always the right thing to do, and if so how with regards to burning oil etc for energy?

And to think, this morning my hands were too shaky to actually write. Maybe I'll make a midweek nap a habit-- just gotta start work earlier. My body seems locked to waking up at 7ish, which is why I didn't get any sleep on the weekend; I forgot I couldn't sleep in and stayed up too late with friends I missed. If I roll out of bed and head out the door I can come home, nap briefly and change, and then be fresh for school.

Hmm.
greenstorm: (Default)
I am roasting a chicken right now. It's just starting to smell fabulous. I'm proud of myself; it's hard for me to make the time to actually cook a thing like that a day or two after I pull it out of the freezer; I usually end up booked up. I will reward myself with... a roast chicken.

I was out on my bike tonight-- in the dark, in the rain. It may be my favourite time to bike, or maybe the most recent time I've biked is always my favourite time, barring rush hour. A good bike feels like an extension of your body-- moving is like using the blade of your hand to push aside water when swimming, something so intuitive that it doesn't feel like it was ever taught. Walking doesn't feel intuitive after biking.

I love watching the steam of my breath drift through the beam of my headlight when I'm stopped, a second after I exhale.

There are some cute pink squeaky baby rats here. After a luckily-not-serious adventure last night, I have my girl Lady Luck with her four babies and she's also nursing four out of her eleven grandbabies. Her daughter's got the other seven. She's a trooper. It's good to have cute squeaky things around again, I had missed them and they will be lovely.

I also spent a good few hours this weekend chatting with mom about food security and advising her on the necessity of mulch for her community garden. It also occurred to me that an urban CSA which was part- or wholly-subsidized by the city, for low-income folks, would be an incredibly good and supportive idea on a lot of levels. This occurs to me partly because of this very exciting link.

I'm feeling inspired to start writing about ecology and permaculture again. Ideas are slotting into useful places, cross-connections are lighting up in my brain. I don't know where it comes from, maybe just the higher energy level associated with keeping myself running and on all the time, but it's cool.

I'm also excited about Angus going back to school. I think he's scared, obviously, but already feeling more hopeful about his future. There is nothing but good in that. I've been thinking about doing short recipe videos for youtube with him. It'd be a fun activity, he's plenty charismatic and pretty, and this laptop and my camera both have recording capability-- my camera takes gorgeous videos, actually, in HD.

Now I'm tired, I didn't sleep much at all this weekend, and my chicken is smelling better and better. I'm hoping it will ward against the tickle in my throat, and the remains will go into a soup that I will find time to make. It's stuffed with beer and bay leaves.

Well, there we go. Be well.
greenstorm: (Default)
I woke up, journalled for an hour on paper, Angus is making hash browns and I'm making a smokie from that meat thing I have, and I opened up lj to this poem:

Girl on a Tractor

I knew the names of all the cows before
I knew my alphabet, but no matter the
subject; I had mastery of it, and when
it came time to help in the fields, I
learned to drive a tractor at just the right
speed, so that two men, walking
on either side of the moving wagon
could each lift a bale, walk towards
the steadily arriving platform and
simultaneously hoist the hay onto
the rack, walk to the next bale, lift,
turn, and find me there, exactly where
I should be, my hand on the throttle,
carefully measuring out the pace.

Joyce Sutphen

I was going to go to the farmer's market today, but instead here I am at home still-- it's okay, I don't have any money anyhow. I'd like to get up to Juggler's and pick the raspberries he offered me at some point, and I'd love to get down to trade with Sara for some flour (she was part of the grain CSA last year and has lots) since I didn't get to the "flour peddler" guy who grinds it on his bike grinder at the market.

I invited Juggler to lunch yesterday and it was awesome. Again talking apocalyptic scenarios (this is what replaces TV and video games in my conversational repertoire) I was mentioning that I think Africa will be better placed in a sudden collapse than we will, because the skills that they are having drilled into them in the hardest possible way about sustainability and land management will be more entrenched there than here (they have already had their apocalypse in many places, or are having it now); the relocalization movement is helping here, but we aren't there yet. And I mentioned grain-- 10 years ago there was no one within 250 miles who knew how to grow grain in our climate; now there is some local. Sure, it's one or two guys, but the skill exists where it had been lost for so many years. And I mentioned the flour peddler, and that he knows how to make the device that does it _right there_ and that is a measurable achievement.

Juggler said, "no he doesn't!" with emphasis-- and I asked him if he'd ever watched "The Gods Must Be Crazy." That's foundational to my idea of permaculture and apocalypse-- that we have relics, rescources, byproducts that will be intensely useful for many generations of people who do not have the manufacturing ability to create them.

Or, you know, maybe we'll adapt and it will not all go down in that way, manufacturing will shift rather than stall, things will change in ways I can't imagine. But this is my game.

I love talking to people who contradict me, and I love talking to people who will play this game with me. The Chrises are both good at it.

Food. Mmm.
greenstorm: (Default)

NW Radical Herbalists Gathering

.........
August 27 - 30, 2010
*Unceded Coast Salish territory on Vancouver Island, 'bc'.*
.........

*Y*ou are cordially invited to a gathering of Pacific North-West herbalists
and plant enthusiasts of an anarchist, anti-oppressive, and community-minded
persuasion. We are open to radical herbalists and plant nerds of all skill
levels to challenge, learn, and share.

*W*e are loosely organizing the gathering around skill shares, workshops,
discussion groups, group outings, and fun times! We would like to discuss
ways of collaborating regionally with other herbalists, sharing medicines
and resources, sharing knowledge, skills, and inspiration and figuring out
ways of supporting each other and our cross border, cross ocean
communities.

*A*s a growing number of radical herbalists emerge, we feel the need to
explore how our work as herbalists and plant lovers fits into the rest of
our resistance work and the work we are doing to build the world that we
want, especially in the face of main stream and regulatory herbalism. Please
bring your thoughts about this.

*I*f you would like to offer a workshop/ skill share or facilitate a
discussion, please email us with your ideas, just so we know we have some
bases covered. We will be camping so please come prepared to sleep outside.
There may be a possibility for some inside accommodation for those who need
it, please let us know ahead of time so we can work it out. For those of you
coming from south of the border, we suggest you take the ferry from Port
Angeles, the border crossing is much easier there and we will be arranging
car pools from Victoria.


*
*
*S*ome workshops / facilitated discussions we'd like to see happen are:


- constitution
- cultural appropriation
- tongue/ pulse diagnosis
- pathology
- case studies
- plant attunement/ communication
- herbal medicine for trans folx
- connection with our bio region
- access to and sustainability of community projects
- clinical skills
- establishing healthy boundaries as a health practitioner
- plant profiles
- gender, class and race dynamics in practice and in the herbalist
community
- percolation/advanced medicine making
- make yer own perc cones
- colonization and herbal medicine
- the hi)her)story of herbalism in 'n, amerika'
- the intersection of food and medicine
- non-plant based medicine
- western herbs and TCM (in a nut shell)
- getting to know strong medicine plants of this area


let us know if you can facilitate any of these, and please offer any other
ideas you have!


And, it?s going to be blueberry season in the mountains during this
gathering, and we?re all hoping to fill our (and your) bellies!
..............................
......................

When: August 27th-30th ish 2010
Where: Mid-Vancouver Island

Feel free to forward this message to people that you know who may be
interested.

If you are interested in participating in this please contact Janette or
Philippa for additional information and details at widenightsky@gmail.com,
or call (250) 334-7334.

greenstorm: (Default)

NW Radical Herbalists Gathering

.........
August 27 - 30, 2010
*Unceded Coast Salish territory on Vancouver Island, 'bc'.*
.........

*Y*ou are cordially invited to a gathering of Pacific North-West herbalists
and plant enthusiasts of an anarchist, anti-oppressive, and community-minded
persuasion. We are open to radical herbalists and plant nerds of all skill
levels to challenge, learn, and share.

*W*e are loosely organizing the gathering around skill shares, workshops,
discussion groups, group outings, and fun times! We would like to discuss
ways of collaborating regionally with other herbalists, sharing medicines
and resources, sharing knowledge, skills, and inspiration and figuring out
ways of supporting each other and our cross border, cross ocean
communities.

*A*s a growing number of radical herbalists emerge, we feel the need to
explore how our work as herbalists and plant lovers fits into the rest of
our resistance work and the work we are doing to build the world that we
want, especially in the face of main stream and regulatory herbalism. Please
bring your thoughts about this.

*I*f you would like to offer a workshop/ skill share or facilitate a
discussion, please email us with your ideas, just so we know we have some
bases covered. We will be camping so please come prepared to sleep outside.
There may be a possibility for some inside accommodation for those who need
it, please let us know ahead of time so we can work it out. For those of you
coming from south of the border, we suggest you take the ferry from Port
Angeles, the border crossing is much easier there and we will be arranging
car pools from Victoria.


*
*
*S*ome workshops / facilitated discussions we'd like to see happen are:


- constitution
- cultural appropriation
- tongue/ pulse diagnosis
- pathology
- case studies
- plant attunement/ communication
- herbal medicine for trans folx
- connection with our bio region
- access to and sustainability of community projects
- clinical skills
- establishing healthy boundaries as a health practitioner
- plant profiles
- gender, class and race dynamics in practice and in the herbalist
community
- percolation/advanced medicine making
- make yer own perc cones
- colonization and herbal medicine
- the hi)her)story of herbalism in 'n, amerika'
- the intersection of food and medicine
- non-plant based medicine
- western herbs and TCM (in a nut shell)
- getting to know strong medicine plants of this area


let us know if you can facilitate any of these, and please offer any other
ideas you have!


And, it?s going to be blueberry season in the mountains during this
gathering, and we?re all hoping to fill our (and your) bellies!
..............................
......................

When: August 27th-30th ish 2010
Where: Mid-Vancouver Island

Feel free to forward this message to people that you know who may be
interested.

If you are interested in participating in this please contact Janette or
Philippa for additional information and details at widenightsky@gmail.com,
or call (250) 334-7334.

!!!!!!!!!

Jun. 8th, 2010 05:38 pm
greenstorm: (Default)
UBC Farm stuff, from their mailing list:

1) Bulk spinach sales - pre-order now!

With all the rain and then sun we've had recently, the UBC Farm is experiencing a spinach explosion! We have some amazingly-tasty spinach that we'd like to share with you at wholesale rates so that it doesn't go to waste. Spinach usually flies off the shelves at the market, so this is a great opportunity to get your hands on a popular item. The leaves are quite large, and are incredibly sweet and flavourful. Much higher quality than what you can find in the store right now.

Though it seems a long ways off, this is a great chance to start stocking up and freezing produce for winter. Spinach can easily be frozen for future use. It will also shrink down quite a bit in the blanching process. Here is a simple guide with photos to help you through the process.

Spinach is available to pre-order in the following quantities:

5 lbs @ $2.50/lb
10 lbs @ $2.00/lb
20 lbs @ $1.50/lb

It can be picked up this week between 5 and 6pm Friday evening, or during our first market from 9am-1pm this Saturday.

To order, please e-mail Amy at amy.frye@ubc.ca by 5pm on Thursday and indicate the quantity you'd like to order and when you will pick it up (Friday or Saturday). Please bring your own container to take home your spinach in - 5 lbs will fill a couple of grocery bags; larger quantities you could put in a clean garbage bag or tote. Cash only, exact change preferable if you are picking up Friday.

Well Well

Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:46 pm
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All else aside, it seems that my personal darkness is going to be left in the dark for now. That weekend that I was interrupted writing about when my housewarming began (now there's an awkward sentence; how would you phrase it?) once again would like to be tabled in favour of writing about [livejournal.com profile] dark_sphere and Brendan and permaculture and how it makes me feel.

I do want to get it down for the record, though, that I went to Andrew's place to finish drinking, threw up a bunch, cried some, had my hair held occasionally by the Writer, didn't get hung over the next day and felt cheated by that, didn't die, and wanted the world to end.

Now on to business: permaculture (which may well be what set the whole bad thing off anyhow).

First off let's get the emo song lyrics out of the way. Let the music run: Read more... )

So here's the deal. I really, honest to every God there is or isn't, believe that the world is gone to hell in a handbasket. Like any ending, this is also some sort of a beginning, but I don't know what it's the beginning of. No one does for sure.

I went to the SOUL chickens meeting (Society for Organic Urban Landcare, the group which created the organic standard for Vancouver & area, in this case they hosted an info night on urban chickens) with a friend who's just moved here from Ireland. Whether it's that things are different there or whether it's just who he is or whether it's a mixture of both, we share some sensibilities and sensitivities towards the environment and the world. We chatted a bunch, and I felt once again just how nice it is to talk about these things with someone who gives a damn. The people I've been hanging out with are a welcome distraction because when you're clueless or deliberately obtuse you cannot also be properly cynical about something, but this worldview is where I live and it doesn't enter into that space. This was a bit of a return to that, and a reaffirmation of what I want to do, like doing, and am good at: creating good living systems to sustain people, especially food systems. Problem is, the way the world works now and maybe always, those things have no value. Furthermore, the current system is so deeply flawed that all one can really do is help people learn to grow tomatoes and other nickel-and-dime solutions so small and far-removed from any solution that they're more little pieces of toilet paper like you stick on a razor nick than they are even band-aids.

And meanwhile our body is dropping limbs.

I ran into Brendan today on the skytrain. I ran into him at the Paulocaust too, and it was welcome. For awhile he was the person who acted like a jerk in the social circle I knew through Bob (you know how someone always takes that role?) and I didn't like him (because, again, it's not something I value) but after awhile it turned out that he was in urban planning and knows his stuff. Now he's working for a design company planning towns and we have some stuff we can talk about, and a lot of knowledge to impart to each other. There's a tentative plan to go walking or biking around the Olympic Village and discuss their landscaping choices, for instance, and he's going to get back to me on who designed Burrard Station.

At one point in our conversation on the skytrain he said, "I don't need to pretend I'm not cynical [about these towns I'm designing] with *you*" We were talking about how the towns are supposed to be agrarian communities and(!) 'active retirement homes' but that somehow putting a bunch of farmland in the hands of seniors seemed less ideal than putting it in the hands of people who, you know, need food, are able-bodied, and have no money. We had just agreed that wasn't the North American Way.

And the more time goes on the more these things become very important to me. I'm not doing anything here; schooling will help, but I'll still be tweaking the current system only. I used to think that we could fall softly into something new, but I'm not sure we can anymore, and I'm not sure I want to be a part of it if we can.

I have nothing else to say, I guess, and I need to eat something.

Care.
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And here we are-- internet in my very own house, unconnected to my phone device. Laptop plugged in, and I can lounge on the mattress in my livingroom and type easily (more easily once I find the nail clippers, sheesh).

Interestingly, I don't have a ton to say right now. My life is slipping out of the high bright shiny intensity it's had lately. I'm finding time for friends and lovers, not reliably but some and without feeling like I need to carve it out with a chainsaw. I have this weekend sorta to myself, so I can wash my floors and dance around in my livingroom (because what else is a livingroom for?

I avoided using all sorts of beautiful slurs that came to mind during a twitter argument today. I have eaten, not one but a couple meals made in my very own house (!!!), one of which contained mint I harvested last summer and dried against just this sort of need. I am even reading again.

I'm very much looking forward to this summer. I think it'll have an interesting cast of characters; I hardly had time last summer to have anyone in my life, and now there're a bunch of people, new and old, who are presenting themselves in my life. I'm glad of this. There are also more social opportunities, at least some of which might be to my taste, and I'm very glad of this.

There's lots of home stuff to do yet-- figure out the kitchen and the rat room, for instance. And I need to figure out just how much of my time I want to schedule-- June, for instance, is going to be a headache and a half.

My permacultural sensibilities are coming to light again too. I blame Twitter for that mostly-- it offers a steady stream of links which I can read and then analyze according to my own sensibilities, so I am reminded to look at and analyze everything according to those sensibilities. A headline article the other day-- living wage now at 18.something for a two-child family with parents that work full-time --particularly reminded me of this. The point of the article was to bemoan the rising cost of living in Vancouver and was throwing rings into the poverty and minimum-wage arenas, but of course it sidestepped the issue that many of the things we spend money on are unsustainable and will run out sooner or later (or at least change substantially). So sure, inequality is bad and there's lots of that in Van, but the solution may not be as clear-cut as 'give people more money' especially in this context.

Things that *are* solutions might be akin to Fresh Roots' work-for-veggies urban CSA stuff, housing and food options that aren't based on our incredibly wasteful current options (community, multigenerational-family, or neighborhood meals are a better option in many ways than building one kitchen per every two adults in the city), I'm sure Kynnin is a font of more sustainable childcare ideas (mentioning that cause it was mentioned in the article), etc, etc, not to mention all the current trendy stuff regarding relocalisation (esp. of food, which, sorng things, sorry guys, means you don't get every fresh veggie you want when it's out of season-- so while the article mentioned 'nutritious' food I'd like to see what they mean, and whether it's necessarily tomatoes shipped in from Mexico or peas from China).  I know that in Vancouver more and more eating out seems more like a right than the privilige I understood it to be as I was growing up, and I think the community meals thing is especially going to come up soon because of that-- it's a sustainable way of doing things socially, equipment-wise, and time-wise (because let's face it, one person cooking for themselves with another cooking for themselves next door is not an eficcient use of time, which is why so few of us cook serious meals for just ourselves).  That lets the amount of meal prep time required to work from-scratch local materials into meals become realistic, because you're not doing it every day.

Wow, I'm wandering now.

Enough of this.  More when I can think in a straight line (or as straight as I ever could).

Be well.

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May 8/9 - Roberts Creek -
Wild Weekend in Roberts Creek – Hone your outdoor skills in a relaxing and supportive environment. Take any number of classes, camp on site ($5) or stay with friends. 20 minutes from the Langdale ferry terminal.
To register connect with info@ediblelandscapes.ca or call Robin at 604-885-4505

Saturday, May 8 – Edible Landscapes site – 1732 Pell Road, Roberts Creek


9:30 – 11:00 Introduction to Wild Edibles with Annette Clarke

Easy to identify plants that do not need any complicated cooking methods are the topic of this course. An emphasis is placed on respectful collection and proper identification of the food plants. Different plants are growing and ripening with each season. Topics change slightly depending on the time of the year. We will cover berries, wild weeds and edible trees. $25

11:15 – 1:30 pm Wild Containers with Annette Clarke (bring brown bag or order $4 snack lunch to eat during this class)

We may find ourselves in the bush, wanting to carry berries, mushrooms or other precious finds. Annette will show us samples of various containers made from bark, leaves and vines that will last for years. Container materials will be:

Grass, Leaves, Sedges and Rushes, Cattail and Birch bark. We won't make all the different container types, but I will bring them all for showing the options and then pick one simple version (Leaf or Grass) and a Cattail container to make ourselves. $25

2:00 pm – two events occurring at two locations –

2:00 - 5:00 - Into the Wild with Peter Light (off site – 2692 Highway 101 - Carpooling can be arranged, camping available at Peter’s.)

Covers most of the resources one can find close to our doorsteps in our west coast woods. Learn how to recognize the principal trees in our forest; spot useful old, moss-covered logs for multiple uses; process cedar poles and beams for all your building needs; split cedar shakes for roofs and walls – in short, how to go into the woods and harvest all you need for a FREE house, barn, shed, bench, fence, gate, handle, etc., etc., as well as a FREE supply of fuel to heat your home and cook your food. Learn, too, of more unsuspected wealth that lurks among the trees! Includes an introduction to the hand tools you will need to harvest these resources. $30 - $45 sliding scale


5:30 to 7:00 - Cook-out around the doorstep firecircle. Instructor will contribute hearty soup and bread for all.

7:00 onward - firecircle hang-out. Some beer, wine and smoke provided for all. Sleep over optional. Please register.

A prerequisite for this course is to read the segment of the instructor's autobiographical sketch to be found at http://slas.ca/peter-light/

or sign up for Wild Pigments at Edible Landscapes also on Saturday May 8

2:00 – 4:00 WILD PIGMENTS - Colouring with plants and minerals with Annette Clarke (or: how to make the best out of a berry stain)

Colours made from charcoal and clay earth pigments such as red and yellow ochre have been used worldwide since prehistoric times. In this course we will make red, orange, yellow, white and black oil paint from minerals and pollen and purple and red water paints. All materials used are local, easy to find and lots of fun to work with.

The course also includes the making of your own brush from a small branch or twig, as well as handouts and all materials needed. $25

Sunday, May 9 (Edible Landscapes site – 1732 Pell Road)

10 – noon Native Plant Technology with Cymba

The workshop will consist of a walk around the area to identify plants that were (are) commonly used in various technological ways (providing materials for cordage, adhesives, shelters, clothing, tools etc. Samples of important materials from off-site will also be provided for discussion. In a hands-on component we will play with simple tool construction (includes binding and gluing). * The exact nature of these workshops will vary according to interaction between participants. We will attempt to cover all materials and the instructor is willing to spend more time if participants feel a need. $25

1: 00 – 2:30 Wild Medicines and Wildcrafting Skills with Robin Wheeler

Beginner class for harvesting wild medicines. We will learn some recognition techniques, identify common wild medicines, take samples, and learn some uses. We’ll learn sustainable and respectful wildcrafting techniques, plus how to dry and store berries, leaves, roots and flowers for highest quality results. We’ll drink teas and apply poultices. $25

3:00 – onwards Fire! with Kim Wilkinson


Rekindle your relationship with fire in this 1.5 hour course for
beginners on fire-making in a wilderness living or survival situation.
We’ll start with basic concepts tinder and spark with modern methods and materials. Then we’ll try our hands at ancestral techniques including flint & steel and finally bow & drill friction fire with natural materials. We’ll discuss respectful gathering of tinder, cordage, and wood materials, and how fire interacts with other survival priorities including water, shelter, food, and emotional health. Be aware that when we work with ancestral skills we are not guaranteed to “make” a fire—fire is a gift that comes from a relationship. Bring a sense of gratitude and join us to experience the wonder of fire! $25

5:00 onwards

Dinner at the fire pit, with our wild edibles, harvested teas, bannock, fish and homemade wine. $3.00 per person or contribution to above.

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Marvin says: at the permaculture teacher training I was at we talked a bit about chaordic systems - ones which are chaotic, but tend to self organize in predictable patterns, like DNA
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Excuse me for spewing love songs all over the internet, but this is what's playing in the background right now and it needs to be here. I'll cut it a bit for ya.



Well you've done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
and now I'm trying to get back
Before the cool done run out
I'll be giving it my bestest
Nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon its again my turn to win some or learn some
Read more... )
No I won't hesitate no more, no more
This cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours, I'm yours


Basically right now my life feels like dancing in warm rain. I am enjoying it so much, and even learning to relax a little bit about that. I have done cool things, spent more time than I believed imaginable with cool people new and old, learned so much interesting stuff, gathered and accepted so many opportunities, been presented with so many workable challenges... If I had ever been in the habit of being optimistic about the future I'd say my dreams are come true, but to be honest I'd never have thought to aim so high. And don't get me wrong, I am high right now, I'm riding very little sleep and a spring surge and hormones and the trailing edge of this chaos wave. Don't worry, I'm a pro. When it all goes over I'll try not to breathe too much water.

I want to tell you about all the highlights that have happened lately, but I need you to realise I haven't been sleeping. Normally this isn't possible for me. I self-destruct. Lately I haven't been able to settle, and even when I go to sleep at 4am I wake up at 6 and pop out of bed, so a lot has been happening.

One of those things was the Bridging the Gap Engineers Without Borders Conference which I went to on Saturday with CrazyChris. At the beginning of the day they gave us a sticky note, and they asked us to write on it what got us out of bed in the morning, and then during the course of the day stick it on the board. I wrote, "I live the world and I get to be a part of it!". Normally I'm not a fan of chirrupy engagement-building exercises (if I'm there, it's because I am engaged, I don't waste time and money on things I would only engage with because a man in a banana suit started a chant or something), but I was pretty solid on that one. Not only did I get to hear some amazing speakers say some incredible things-- no punches were pulled, there was little in the way of shock-rhetoric but also little sugar-coating --but I got to meet some cool people, get some great info, and spend some time with my birthday twin who's been mentally on vacation in the land of theatre and internet memes for the last couple of years. Chris and I were frothing at the mouth together, grabbing each other's legs, making muffled choking sounds, and otherwise engaging deeply with both each other and the content-- and I had missed that so much. He's the guy who started me down the urban part of my path, who's half-convinced me that big cities may be worthwhile and desireable enough that it's worth the administrative hell of keeping them around, who introduced me to ethical eating and also to basically all the people I'm friends with now, and who... well, he's just very special to me. I had missed him, and there he was, back with me for a whole day. I had missed eating with him. I had missed his high level of reaction. I had missed his engagement with the world around him-- so many people are so very ignorant or head-in-the-sand.

Also Hans Rosling compared Christopher Columbus to Hitler, showed a trade-deficit thingy of the world and commented, 'in the US, they always give the black man the crappy job', and otherwise blew my mind. Then there was the guy from Bangladesh, who was super hardcore. He gives us some figures: land area of Canada, land area of Bangladesh. Population of Canada, population of Bangladesh. Then he says: "30% of Bangladesh will be under water in 20 years." He talks about this for a bit, including things like climate refugees. At the end, during question period, some kid puts up his hand and says in effect: I don't want to accept refugees, that problem's pretty hards, so maybe in Canada we'll be doing enough of our part if we just buy new cellphones less often (note: the 'new cellphones less often' were his own worlds). Iqbal responds, and I swear I don't know how he did this, "Thank you for your question." Then he mentioned that his government was willing to do basically anything that would help, but was also focusing resources on poverty reduction and there was some question as to priorities there.

Oh, that does not do the conversation justice. Here's how it felt to me. Guy: we have little land and lots of people. You have lots of land. Soon our land will all be underwater. Kid: We could replace our cellphones less often in Canada, then we'd have done our part. Guy: Thank you for your question. My country will be underwater. The people actually need places to stand. We are willing to look at all assistance however. Chris and I: *stare in horror*

In addition to that, I've been reconnecting with other people. I looked up Bevan the other day and chatted with him for awhile. He's generally a little awkward, and I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of that had dissipated and we could just talk about cool stuff. I am also always thrilled when someone I haven't talked to in two years doesn't hold that against me.

Tillie too has been re-entering my life. There was an impact play workshop at her place (slapping, kicking, punching) to which I brought Angus, and afterwards she beat him up a little bit and I watched and it was all super shiny. We agree that family dinner will start again. It would not be family dinner without her.

I worked at the Pan overnight between a couple of those things (did I mention I have NOT been sleeping?) and remembered how cool my bosses are. It's comfy to talk casually with them during work, and that means so much. Also I got to be a plant ninja, which would be more fun if I was not half-dead with sleep dep but is always kinda cool.

What else has been happening? Cameos at social events, some settling in and coming to terms with the relationship stuff going on in my head including a very new and very shiny someone (his handwriting is so beautiful) and the surprising slam into familiarity of someone else, little bits of chatting with Angus and no fretting there. I notice that there is such a depth of love with my old friends, where the breadth might have been worn away with lack of contact the thing still feels so very powerfully anchoring-- while with new people the challenge of engaging and figuring them out is so very strong and stimulating. I may be coming to accept endings a tiny bit more, and not to let them angst the whole experience of everything ever in advance. Maybe. (see: song)

And on top of all of that the air today felt like soft blankets in a cradle-- not cold, very soft, very present, and it smelled so lovely.

What else could possibly go right? Well, Twitter is apparently a wonderful source for permaculture info-- as it should be, considering the distributed bottom-up nature of it. When I have a spare moment I poke around there and it's neat to see what's around. I've also found it to be a good outlet for my activist side. I guess the length and immediacy of it seems appropriate to comment on things that pass me by or that I notice in the gardening/food/ethics world where there's not time for an lj post or where a facebook status update feels... weird.

I've also custom-ordered a mask for the masquerade, and discovered and bought the proper skirt. My outfit will allow me to go barefoot if I like. Now I just need to bug andi_sunrider about the corset. This is fun. I adore costuming. Adore, adore, adore.

Did I mention that there's a permaculture community garden by my place? Of course I did. I mentioned the chestnut trees. There are also pecans or walnuts or something-- I'll need to actually stop and look for a proper ID on them. Did I mentioned I may have seen an apricot tree growing in a back alley today? How freakin' cool is that?

And now I'm looking forward to many things this upcoming while: sleeping a full night or three, sex, my natal mahoganies arriving, beating up a boy, reading more permaculture stuff while on the bus, spending a weekend cut off from media paganizing, peoplepeoplepeople of the very best sort, puzzling out more about my shiny thing, alcohol-ing the ass off the scale at that one account at work, deciding what to wear to the big hippie pagan festival, maybe being beaten up (face slapping ftw!), more time with my ratty babies, regular mealtimes, sleep, and did I mention sex and sleep? And people? And what about wearing my super comfy sweaters? And maybe even having time, or not having time, for more lj posts.

So much love. Be well. Thinking of you.

:D

(Woah lj is acting weird and sorta-double-posting this)
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I had about half a meditation on poly written out before I got to work, then my new shiny device ate it. I've been thinking a bunch about my current situation lately, and wrestling some of the details into clarity with Angus.

When he and I first started dating I offered (for the first time in my life, I think) to do the monogamous thing. Angus said (hear my heart sink) 'no, seeing other people seems fun'. Since that time I've become enmeshed in a web of friends and (much smaller) of lovers that are, no surprise, pretty important to me. During that time, too, both he and I have grown tons- we're boh much more realized individuals than we were.

And now we're pinning it down with a lease and I'm like, ok, what am I DOING? What do I want out of this, what should it look like, if it's gonna close someday (perhaps always the plan) how will that be forme and what will the relationship need for me to be happy with that?

It's complicated by a couple things, not limited to my inexperience with monogamy and Angus' continually-worse chronic illness.

I guess everone deals with this in a partnership-type relationship; how important can people be, how important can work be, how do you keep pointed in similar directions. On top of that there's the extra poly ride.

So I was writing about that when my phone ate the post. Then I learned it's a bad thrips year at work (pests run in cycles, often every seven years, all across the continent in unconnected buildings, and thrips are the hardest to control except maybe for scale) and then on my way home I remembered that mynew neighborhood is a permaculture paradise.

So now I'm writing to inform you that there are chestnuts as street trees in my neighborhood, people grow broccoli on their apartment decks, and there's a food forest with a view half a block from me in a community garden.

Which leadsme to wonder: how many of you would have any interest in a permaculture tour/lesson if I were to host one sometime?

So busy lately! The days are all running together so it feels either like time isn't passing or like everyhing is happening simultaneously. Lookin forward to mid-April.

Read more... )

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This chemical rethink that started with some of the more intense pesticides is spreading. Pretty awesome.

Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) regulates pesticides under the Pest Control Products Act, including those intended for lawn and turf uses. Pesticides combined with fertilizers and sold as fertilizer-pesticide combination products are regulated by the Crop Inputs Division of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) under the Fertilizers Act.

Based on consultation with the provinces, experts and registrants, the PMRA has concluded that fertilizer-pesticide combination products for lawn and turf uses do not support the goals of best practices for pest management in turf. This decision does not include agricultural uses of fertilizer-pesticide combination products (turf farms), or products that have only a single active material with both fertilizer and pesticidal properties.

The PMRA, with the support of the CFIA, has made the decision to uncouple the fertilizer-pesticide combination products intended for lawn and turf uses. The date of last sale for these products will be December 31st, 2012.

Pursuant to the Fertilizers Act and Regulations, the CFIA registers fertilizer-pesticide products that are compliant with the Pest Control Products Act, through the Compendium of Fertilizer-Use Pesticides. As the PMRA will no longer register pesticides for use in fertilizer combination products for lawn and turf uses, the Compendium will be amended accordingly, and the CFIA will cancel existing fertilizer-pesticide combination products for lawn and turf registrations according to the above date of last sale. Please note that this date may be prior to the completion of the three year registration period for many products.

The complete re-evaluation note is available on Health Canada’s website at:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_decisions/rev2010-01/index-eng.php


In other news, Slow Food Ireland is having a Grandmothers Day in April with things like recipe compilations. Do I ever want a book of Irish granny recipes!

Other Side

Feb. 27th, 2010 08:50 am
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Finished my last shift in the pouring rain. Y'know, if you have toasty dry feet the rain can be very nice-- especially the warm rain that's pouring down right now (and has been for the last four hours, I might add). The cherry blossoms that have opened are bravely hanging on despite cold nights and heavy rain, heads hanging patiently in all this grey. The pear blossoms on my walk home are still waiting to open, they're white beads now and so they're not worried about this downpour.

I admire my foresight in buying a vinyl kilt which I can wear tonight-- with my tall boots it will keep my bottom half dry in line, and the umbrella should be good for the top.

An email came yesterday which asked me to help teach a class for a couple of hours on Sunday. A permaculture class. I will get paid a tiny bit, but more importantly I'm on someone's list as a go-to person for this sort of thing -- and this person lives in Vancouver. Between Paul asking me about dryland agroforestry species (I almost said 'I'm a pacific northwest vegetable gardener, I've never even been to dryland climates, but then I realised I actually had a lot of info stored up there) and this I am hopeful and happy.

I admire my foresight in having a warm boyfriend to dry off with in bed. Ta ta.

Book of Eli

Feb. 2nd, 2010 02:28 pm
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Sure it was pretty, but how the fuck can an entire theatre full of people look at the lovely panning shots of desert wasteland and hear about water scarcity and not once think 'there is no sign of an agricultural base anywhere in any of those shots, not even a token, not even a badly explained one, they sure as hell aren't trucking their food in from California, so what are they eating?' Come on. People have turned to cannibalism for food and other people haven't so food scarcity is a semi-acknowledged issue, they are congregating in towns, but no sign of anything. Sure, ten years after a nuclear apocalypse, twenty years after, you're still eating canned food from supermarkets, I'll buy into that suspension of disbelief... but thirty years after and not one shot of agriculture anywhere? I guess if you magically have the fuel to scavenge for days in every direction we're supposed to believe you can find food that's been missed, but that each and every bible's been burned?

Yeah, sorry. Nice movie, but it loses. So does our society-- because it ain't gonna cross anyone's mind that suspension of disbelief is necessary in that area of the film. Don't you realise that food comes from a place and an activity that frequently leaves traces of its existence? Collecting bibles? Not agricultural info? The promised land full of urban density with people bustling around but placed in the midst of totally uncultivated land? You lose, guys. Game over.

Ack

Jan. 9th, 2010 10:49 pm
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So so so tired.

Oh wait. No sleep. Duh.

Particularly aware of the world going to hell in a handbasket today. I should watch the willie smits talk on ted again.

Then run away and join him.

There are just so many bad things happening to the world that no one knows about, and that so few people care about or understand. Is this what expertise is supposed to be? In my mind tonight is: peat mining, mountaintop mining, percentage of biomass in predators in ocean and by extension (?) land environments, nature 'preserves' vs 'managed' environments, consumerism trumping food security and the whole food-as-%-of-total-expenditure change over time, zero-mile-diet as a trend, complete and total devastation of local and sustainable agricultural knowledge in all areas of the entire world, difficulty of managing viable ecologies in times of scarcity and the whole long-vs-short term sustainability issue, earthbound fucking organics, dilettantes, SLACKTIVISM, the replacement of a connection to nature with pictures of kittens on the internet, people who won't eat food that has been in the dirt vs people studying insects as a viable protein source in a highly efficient permaculture system, SLACKTIVISM, how when I'm upset about anything else Angus can hold me when I cry and tell me it's okay but about this topic I don't believe him, the exclusion of disposable consumer electronics from buy-local save-the-environment mentalities, subsidies and agricultural-cultural warfare, deliberate disinformation, pig farmers, mcdonalds potato fields, ethnic divides limiting urban permacultural knowledge transmission, community gardens, rhododendrons, culture of scarcity in the midst of plenty, the dopamine boost from 50% returns vs 100% returns...

Oh my god. Let's try some good things. That list got very long very fast, and finding explanatory links was quickly discouraging. I can think about good things, right?

Hands in the soil. Warm. February spring smell when the light is yellow. Leaves on the ground under the trees. Bamboo through sidewalks. Neighbors in tall buildings. Farmer's markets. Curly carrots in stores in England. People with small stashes of knowledge. My mom's first garden. Mimi's first potted plant. The Richmond fruit tree project. Kent Mullinix quoting Wendell Berry. Cherry petals. Sedum deserts instead of concrete. Increasing infrastructure. Vaccinium ovatum on the living wall outside whole foods. A land that is so generous it speaks to Gavin even though he has no training. Our human ability to intuit environmental health. The smell of rain on concrete. Cottonwood trees. Winlaw. Farmschool. People who want to be pig farmers. Courage to use the word farmer. Preserved knowledge. John Seymour's books. John Seymour. Wendell Berry. Gregoire. People who live this way. An accepting vacuum of knowledge where it is least expected.

Here is the Mad Farmer Liberation Front by Berry, and I will sleep:

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Read more... )

PS Slacktivism is getting more offensive every day.

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