BIRTHDAY BLUES


 

Just a perfect day… Riaan in Haga Haga

 

So this is entry no. 11, and yesterday was my birthday. I am now 47 (4+7 = 11) in 2011… all just coincidence ?

We went down to Haga Haga, our nearest town. just Riaan and myself. It is such a beautiful little place and the weather was perfect. Riaan also gathered information for the walking trails he is planning.

The only damper on the day (the last few days actually) is a massive tooth ache. I mean massive. At first I was the brave one, I will fix it, it kind of worked, but kept on coming back.  I would wake up with no pain, but as the day went on it got worse and worse, until that point where you want to rip the tooth out with a pair of pliers or chop your own head of just to be rid of the pain and I am no sissy, or so I say… This carried on for almost a week and came to a full blown confrontation yesterday. The pain was just too much, I have to admit I lost the battle; I went to a Dentist this morning.  My poor ego is crushed, (now that I can feel that and not the tooth ache) I have always been quite proud of the fact that I do not get sick, not even colds and no allergies.

I am also not big van on Pharmaceutical products, but you know what, it is easy to talk.  When you are in serious pain and you have tried your best and nothing works, these pills suddenly does not look so bad, the side effect are suddenly not that important. I took a view Grandpa’s (very mild compared to some of the painkiller out there), which worked for a few days, but by yesterday they made no difference. Now what do you do, take stronger pills and then even stronger ones until you end up with an addictions problem and you still have a teeth problem (you are just not aware of it anymore) or do you get to the root (pardon the pun) of the problem, i.e. stop being so stubborn and go to a Dentist.

I also read somewhere, a while ago, about the amount of people walking around with constant tooth ache, simply because they cannot afford dental services.  I have a lot to be grateful for, but  I honestly think this is the worst pain I have ever experienced, but then again, as Riaan said “isn’t every tooth ache always the worst pain you have ever experienced?” I have to admit my teeth have always been a weak point, never been pretty, never been strong.

I also believe that there is very often a mind, body, spirit connection with pain and disease, maybe in this case it is some sort of retarded stress reaction to the whole uprooting and replanting my life just went through, not sure.

My timing is just really bad, because we are missing out on the 1st day of the Perma Culture course.  There is nothing I can do to change that now, we will just have to catch up one way or the other. I have been wanting to do this course or a similar type course in Pema Culture for a while, but nothing of this sort was happening in Limpopo.

I am very much looking forward to tomorrow…..

 

 

 

 

 

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BRAINWASHED AND BOMBARDED


Butterfly

Our way of life (alternative, of the grid, trying to be self sustainable) is not necessary the right way, it is just a different way, at least we are trying, because the truth is that capitalism is bound to fail, it is a system based on a endless supply of resourced (which we do not have), you are expected to slave away, so that you can buy buy, throw away, buy buy some more , slave some more and so the vicious circle continues.  These resources we are wasting and polluting  are starting to run short already, even in the so called Western societies. What will happen when all the money in the world cannot buy you clean water, because there is no clean water…… So we either change this system or let it run into self destruct and we destroy ourselves, that simple.

The amazing part is that most people just do not see this, why is this?

Is it 12 years of indoctrination called schooling, followed up by live long brainwashing via TV and other media (The media does play a missive roll in sustaining the current system). We are being bullied, bombarded and brainwashed into supporting a system that works very well for very few, yet we strive to be like the few, we buy magazine and gloat over some movie star, because he/she is good looking, wealthy and famous (but famous for what exactly) we spend hours watching the Royal wedding, but I guess that is okay because you actually paid – via your tax money you sucker- for the wedding. We buy the most ridiculous products, (products that create waste) like under arm moisturizer, because the pretty (airbrushed) girl in the advertisement says you will be ugly and socially unacceptable if you don’t. We treat our slave master and torturers like kings and we aspire to be like them.

Sometimes I think we are so dumb we deserve to self destruct, but we are not really that dumb, it is just that our whole system is designed to keep us in a state of fear, fear of shortage, fear of alienation, fear of fear, for that matter.

Yet, every single messenger/master, like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, etc. all brought the same message –

 

All you need is love.

THE PERMACULTURE COURSE

Where to start. It has been so busy around here lately I haven’t had much time to write.

  

Yellowwood forest in Morgan Bay

We finished the perma culture course on Sunday. We had a lady with an Agricultural Degree and a Landscaper on the course. That is very interesting, because it means the “mainstream” is starting to show interest, or maybe, as one lady said, her clients are asking about it and it makes so much sense, so we will soon have perma culture incorporated in suburban gardens in East London and even people in cities can actually know what they are eating i.e. vegetables and more from their own gardens. I think the interest will keep rising as the food prices rise.

 

Making a new banana circle

The perma team, minus the photographer, Riaan

 

We spend the whole first day of the course in a forest. In today’s monoculture systems (rows and rows of exactly the same crop and any other plant is seen as an enemy or a weed). We are depleting the soil and after ten years the soil can no longer yield any harvest and needs to rest, then we chop down more trees for more land to plant and destroy the soil again. The sad story is that one of our neighbour is doing exactly that right now. Big scrapers are just pushing every tree and plant flat and then they burn all the vegetation! It is like listening and looking at the earth being raped !

The idea of spending a day in a forest is so that we can see the difference between the way we destroy the soil and everything else and how a forest flourish and carries on forever and ever in complete synergy, providing live to very many plant and animal species on a long term scale, that is until we interfere and need more space for more mass production of food, then we destroy the perfect system and plant our plants in little rows, spray them with pesticides (witch also kills the microbes in the soil, giving you dead soil) then we add all sorts of chemicals to make the plants grow in dead soil. Most people call this farming, I call it slow suicide, for us and the planet.

What you basically do in perma culture, is to copy the perfect systems of nature. Certain plants actually help each other grow by enriching the soil, other plants keep insects away from food crops nearby and water is used in a much more effective way. You can do this on a small scale in your own garden, just to supply your own food or if you are lucky enough to have the space, you can create a complete food forest, which can provide food for years and years to come, without destroying the natural environment. I can write a book about the subject, but that has already been done and I need to get to my garden, so if you are interested you can read all about the basics of Perma culture here –

http://www.permaculture.net/about/brief_introduction.html

or if you would like to do the course, you can contact Tim Wigley – tim@keimouth.co.za

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOLUNTEERS AND WORMS

David and the biggest Sweet Potato I have ever seen

There are two types of people that normally visit an Eco community.  There are volunteers (they normally stay for free, but bring their own food) and in exchange, they help and learn about the community and the things we do.  Volunteers often visit a community with the intent of joining the/a community as some stage.

We currently have two young American volunteers, Melissa and David. They have been helping me a great deal with the garden. We are planting seedling and seeds, making cutting and generally just planting plants all over the garden, soon we will have enough food to cater for the other group of visitor, namely wwoofers.

 

 

Melissa (right) and David helping me make new mulch beds

Wwoofers (World wide opportunities on Organic farms) stay and eat for free, both groups come from all around the world (including South Africa, we would actually love to see more local people take an interest). They either have experience in alternative lifestyles or they want to learn more about it. The wwoofers obviously do more of the physical work, because they stay and eat for free. Wwoofer does not often join a community, their aim is more to work their way around the world. What a wonderful and affordable way to travel, see the world and learn new skills. If you want to know more about wwoofer or are interested in becoming one, here is a link to their website –  http://www.wwoof.org 

The worm farm, is actually not a whole farm full or worms (earth worms), just something the size of a bathtub, full of them. The reason for a worm farm is two fold. Firstly your catch the worm “tea”, which is like a concentrated liquid compost. Secondly you can also use some of the compost from inside the bath, but first you have to separate the worms from the compost. This process is real simple, you put a plastic sheet on the ground and empty the container on the sheet. The worms hates the sun and will move to the bottom of the pile and you just scoop from the top.

 

Riaan harvesting from the worms

Melissa got all creative and cooked lunch, time to go and eat..

DOING THE RAIN DANCE

 

Just to add some color to a cloudy and rainy day.

Raining again, but this time it is extremely welcome, you see, we ran out of water. We have been using rainwater since we got here, but we ran out and then found out that the pump to the borehole is on strike, might have been for a while.  So we where without water, no fun I tell you. The reality is that anybody that has ever lived on a farm or small holding and  was depending on borehole water, will sympathize with this situation, the things are costly and fickle and always lets you down at the worst of times.

We (Melissa, David, Riaan and myself) decided that we need to do a rain dance.  That was on Friday night, by Sunday it was pouring, it is still pouring, I am starting to wonder if we did not overdo the dancing a bit. We made a big fire in the fire circle, played drums and danced like crazies, why not, we had nothing to loose.

Gratitude in advance is the most powerful creative force in the universe.. This dancing for rain again made me realize the power of gratitude. I actually called the dance a “thank you” dance, because “thank you” creates acceptance and gratitude and we got the rain we asked for! While “please” creates a need or a want  –  a Very small change in words, but a very powerful shift in mind.  So the ritual of dancing was great fun, but the real creative power lies in the thoughts.

It might also have been pure luck, because the Weather services did predict rain for Monday…

 

 

Tim testing the waters…

We might soon have to do the “sunshine” dance, if it carries on raining like now… Tim just told us that our low water bridge is under water, so we are going nowhere today. Nobody seems to mind, accept that we are waiting for some new guests, a couple with four children, they are going to stay in one of the other houses on the property. I guess we will see them as soon as access is possible.

 

 

 

FEEDING THE FEAR

 

 I know all about the Illuminati and greed and reptilians and 911 and so the list goes on….all thanks to Facebook and other Social Media. Actually I knew all about it before that.

I also know that the conspiracy theory can very well be the conspiracy.  There are just so many contradictions and theories, some of them downright silly (you have to wonder what they are tripping on), while others are very scary and others are well researched and informative.
Does illuminate exist?  More than likely yes, but  greed is the real problem, so I think there are  lots of  “Illuminati’s”, like  Nestle, Coke, Federal Reserve, Royals etc. Any group or company where it is all about profit for the few at the cost of everybody and everything else, is just plain wrong, but we cannot really blame anybody but ourselves.  As long as you keep on supporting (by buying/using) their product you are feeding the greed and you are as much to blame as the greedy corporate families. Put your money where your mouth is, there is  seriously no point in shouting and screaming, yet you keep on supporting this system, that is nuts.

The fact is that this system we currently have is bound to fail, it is based on an endless supply of natural resources, which we do not have and this capitalistic system needs for you to buy buy buy, through away and buy buy buy some more, they need your money to exist, stop giving it to them.

I do not, however think we need to worry to much about  mother earth, she  is quite capable of looking after herself. She is being patient.

Bottom line, I don’t  worry to much about the evil Illuminati and their little plans, by doing that you only feed the fear.  Worry more about what is going on in your own head, what are you creating, for yourself and for the collective?
Then there are all the end of time/end of the world theories going around, and we see all the “signs” and again we fear. Very wrong thing to do, you attract what you fear.

One question –   are there really more disasters and wars or are we just more aware of them? The Japan earth quake is only the  8th biggest on record, there was a much bigger one in the late 1960’s in Chile, for example and  the Black plague killed Millions, in the  1800’s etc. etc., but we did not have Internet and 24 hour news channels to feed the fear. Fact is we mostly had no idea what was happening in a neighboring country, much less the other side of the world.

But that being said, I am convinced there are bigger forces at work, like a shifts in our axis toward a different kind of energy and you will either be able to adapt to this new energy, or you will perish.

All you need is love. Not the false face version, but genuine unconditional love and hating and blaming the Illuminati for everything is not going to get you there………. you will only end up perishing with them and their dark energies.

We must also remember that we are co-creating all the time and yes change is very necessary, but does it have to happen the hard way? Only if that is what we as a collective want. I am creating a peaceful, loving and easy transition, what are you creating for us ?

 

 

FIGHTING FIRE WITH FIRE

 

Burning bushes

We have been so busy in the garden and then we had some fire fighting to do. I am exhausted.

We have been having periods of almost drowning and then lately it has been very dry and this dry weather, combined with all the wind, (which seems to be normal for this area), makes it all to easy for things to go up in flames. I must admit we have also been very lucky, one of the neighbors just phoned to say one of his fire breaks got out of hand, so sorry! Lucky for us the wind direction changed and it was possible to get the fire under control before it got near the houses.

There are very many theories about why and how these fires start. One of the reasons are neighbors burning fire breaks and then these fires gets out of hand. The other reason is that the grass is burned down on purpose, to kill the old dry grass, so that new fresh ones can grow, this seem to be the work of cattle owners, wanting new fresh grass for their cows. This is all good, until the wind changes direction and then it becomes a problem.

Then apparently people collecting honey from wild hives use smoke from burning sticks to get the bees out and then just throw the burning sticks down.

We have had to fight 3 fires now, but these fires are also necessary, they kill off the old plant materials, which gives new fresh plants a change to come up. Some seeds also need the heat to germinate, so without the occasional fire, some plants will actually not be able to grow.

 

Fighting fire 

We have been so busy in the garden and then we had some fire fighting to do. I am exhausted.

 

We have been having periods of almost drowning and then lately it has been very dry and this dry weather, combined with all the wind, (which seems to be normal for this area), makes it all to easy for things to go up in flames. I must admit we have also been very lucky, one of the neighbors just phoned to say one of his fire breaks got out of hand, so sorry! Lucky for us the wind direction changed and it was possible to get the fire under control before it got near the houses.

There are very many theories about why and how these fires start. One of the reasons are neighbors burning fire breaks and then these fires gets out of hand. The other reason is that the grass is burned down on purpose, to kill the old dry grass, so that new fresh ones can grow, this seem to be the work of cattle owners, wanting new fresh grass for their cows. This is all good, until the wind changes direction and then it becomes a problem.

Then apparently people collecting honey from wild hives use smoke from burning sticks to get the bees out and then just throw the burning sticks down.

We have had to fight 3 fires now, but these fires are also necessary, they kill off the old plant materials, which gives new fresh plants a change to come up. Some seeds also need the heat to germinate, so without the occasional fire, some plants will actually not be able to grow.

The best way to control these fires are to burn a piece of field in the way of the fire, this (already burned) field stops the fire from going further. It is exhausting work! and mostly guess work, because the wind can change direction any second and the fire can go into a whole new direction.

The best way to control these fires are to burn a piece of field in the way of the fire, this (already burned) field stops the fire from going further. It is exhausting work! and mostly guess work, because the wind can change direction any second and the fire can go into a whole new direction.

 

 

FOOD AND THE FERRIE

I just dropped Melissa and David off on the N2, they are hiking their way through to Coffee Bay.  It has actually been quite a blessing having them here with the bore hole pump on strike. David studied Civil Engineering, so this was “engineering” 101 for him, but a big blessing for us.  One of the problems was the fact that there was no converter on the connection from the solar to the pump, big problem because you get fluctuating currencies, which can cause major headaches and broken pumps. Well, problem solved, thank you David. We also had a very American dish last night, called Chilli’s and corn bread, good stuff, we all ate too much.

 

Melissa and David cooking up a storm

Melissa seem to have a big interest on all sort of herbal teas and the remedies associated with them, we have had Oregano, Lemongrass, Geranium, Stinging Nettle, and a whole list of other teas being brewed, tested and tried.  Luckily there is a book here about the subject, so we managed not to poison ourselves.

I am busy developing a serious passion for gardening, maybe my nurturing instincts are finally kicking in, bit late. The fact is I love planting and caring for plants and it is quite special to see how they grow from a little seed into something totally different and something you can eat and all you really have to do is to stick it in the ground and give it a blanket of mulch and lots of love. We need a bird bath or a pond in the garden, but I not sure where yet, I am sure the birds will tell me soon.

 

Progress in the garden, Spinach is doing very well

I am all alone here today, Riaan went off with Tim to go and meet Tim’s cousin, regarding the walking trail. All the sudden quiet is quite strange, but at least I have some time to write again, but my head is not really here, it is in the garden, where there is 101 things I still want to do.

The cooking experiments are also in full swing, Riaan used to do most of the cooking, now I insist on having my fun.  Fennel root, quite nice stuff, I made a Fennel and Bean Stew, which came out great. You actually use the bulb (just above the ground) of the fennel plant. It is great fun to go into the garden, see what you have and go find a recipe for it or just create a new dish.

Although I have been vegetarian for about 12 years, you could still buy a lot of convenience products, like the Fry’s range (that has just become very pricey by the way, gram to gram, more expensive than meat). Now we make our own burger patties. Riaan is the patty King, we call them Riaans Nut Burgers. I will share some recipes later.

Also very interesting to note that it is just past the middle of winter and not a single soul that has been here, since we arrived, including ourselves, where sick (colds, flu, etc.), maybe that is because we are not reminded by TV ads that we are suppose to get sick and run off and buy medicine, or it could just be our diet or a combination of the two.

We went to Kei Mouth last weekend, we have been  here for three months now and this was our first opportunity the get away for a day. The only pond (ferrie) left in the country is at Kei Mouth, it used to link the old Transkei to South Africa, still does, but now it is all South Africa, although you can still see the difference, Kei Mouth looks like a typical small coastal resort town, but on the other side it is wild, even the sea that side seems to be wilder.  Got myself all muddies up trying to take some good photo, ended up in mud up to my knees.

 

 

The ferrie at Kei Mouth

 

MINDFULNESS AND MEDITATION

 

300 Year old Aloe Tree on the edge of the garden

Some people spend considerable time in meditation, where you practice mindfulness. The fact is that this all means nothing if you cannot bring that mindfulness back to planet earth and everyday life.  Be in the moment, but so often we dwell on the past or worry about the future. Mindfulness becomes a habit, just like worry and living in the past.

The trick is to break those old habits and become mindful. Be in the present, be here now, but what to do if something severely disturbs this, what if you have thought of worry that will just not go away.  You cannot simply deny their existence and it keeps on disturbing your present.  Here is an example. We share a kitchen with various people, lately this has been costing us a fortune and my fear of “not having” kicked in.  I was feeling abused and I kept on going over and over this in my head and I was getting angry at people based on previous experience.  We packed most of our stuff into boxes, yet my fears remained, I was still fighting with people (in my head) about thing that haven’t even happened yet, attracting fear, knowing it, but seemingly impossible to stop myself.  This all probably sounds a bit crazy, but we have all been there.

Now my Chi is badly disturbed and I cannot be in the moment.  What to do.  Denial does not work, “just letting go” doesn’t work, “all you need is love”, does not work, besides what about love for myself and my well being? The solution was to face the situation and confront the other people involved, which according to me was expecting to share all evening meals, which (in my experience) means they bring a potato and I give the rest to feed 4 – 6 people.  I simply and calmly explained that I cannot afford this situation and that I do not want to and do not have to share every meal.  It is not what you say, but how you say it.

Yes, it took guts to confront the whole situation and the people involved, but it was the only way to get it out of my head.  Now I feel clean and in the moment again.  I guess my point is this – sometimes your fear can be very strong and denying their existence does not make it go away, it just keeps on eating and eating at you, you have to face them and deal with them, only then will you be able to remove them.  Not all the mindfulness in the world will do that for you, only your own actions, mind full actions.

 

 

MUSHROOM MISSION AND MORE

 

Irene and Nicholas, our current volunteers

We all got onto the back of Tim’s Bakkie (pick-up) and we went to visit an Organic farm called Peas on Earth. It was nice to meet other people in the area, doing similar things.

It is dry again at the moment, but that is not so strange, it is the end of winter (actually it is spring day today) and the rains should start soon.  Once you are aware of exactly where your water comes from, you are less willing to waste it.  I try and keep a fine balance between keeping my plants happy and not wasting water.

Something in the garden loves cabbage, everything seems to be fine, accept the poor cabbages. This created my first challenge in the sense of getting rid of or rather deterring whatever is eating them.  I tried the ash method; you simply sprinkle the fine ash from a dead fire in a circle around the individual plants and crawling insects (for whatever reason) does not cross that circle. It does seem to be working, there are no new bites today, so it must have been snails or worms; obviously a ring of ash is not going to stop a flying insect. This method is also very labor intensive, you have to sprinkle a new circle everyday.

I would also like to plant with the moon, meaning you mostly plant at new moon. It is new moon at the moment, but the soil is just to dry. So I have decided I will not be intimidated by the moon, I will plant when the rains are here and the plants are happy to be moved. We are preparing new beds at the moment.

 

One of the Rondawels (thatched hut) where the volunteers stay

Our community seems to be growing by the day. It has been a rather busy period, one of the old members (Kevan) is back, another three is expected back in the next month and we seem to have a steady stream of volunteers. We also received word that another couple, who comes for regular visits, are keen on joining the community on a permanent base. That will mean that there will be kids here again and I know that a lot of the people are missing the sound and presence of children. There use to be eight kids here at some stage.

We created a wish list at the last meeting, it is simply a list of what every individual considers important, for instance, Niki needs a new fence around her garden, the poles are old and the cows are just pushing them over and getting into her garden. The problem with cow is not so much that they eat your veggies, they just walk all over everything and destroy a lot of the plants in the process. Kevan also needs a fence; otherwise he cannot even start a garden.  We need a Trellis at the kitchen otherwise we will be cooking in there this summer, in more than one way…

The idea is that we will just tackle these projects as a group, but are not really getting around to this because most of the crowd is involved in setting up a mushroom growing industry, lab and all. I really hope this works for them, they are putting a lot of labor and love into the project, but it is taking longer than anticipated so everything else is pretty much at a standstill, accept for the garden. All in good time and projects like the mushroom mission (as I call it) are very important, because they create ways of creating income for individuals and for the farm.

Gervaise and Meduna in conversation

We did manage to plant 9 trees with companion plants this week, thanks to the help of our volunteers, Gervaise and a young American couple called Irene and Nicholas. We also discovered a small plantation of Yellow Wood trees; we took some out, because there were just too many of them to close together, most will die. It is never the less such an amazing sight, these tress are indigenous but rather rare at the moment because the wood from these trees makes amazing and expensive flooring and furniture. Great to see them making a serious comeback.

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