Bone Sauce and Alternative Preparations for Biodynamic Farming

Bone sauce… is precisely what it sounds like, a tarlike substance that is painted or flickered onto the bole, trunk, branches and base of trees to deter those herbivorous fauna that often frequent their grazing hours in a crop garden or fruit forest orchard. This is a preparation used for protection and acts as a chemical barrier to deter damage on vegetation. The product of bone sauce in fact separates the organic (marrow/blood) and the inorganic (bones), and renders them alchemically using the ashing technique espoused by Steiner. The result of which yields perfectly black bones, which supple the carboniferous, phosphoric, and calcined material for fertilizer fortifying, and the organic subconstituent of the bone sauce tar or Dippel’s oil. This is done by destructively distilling the bones using fire, from outside the vessel in which it is store. Made famous by Sepp Holzer, I make no claims to this idea as original, and stayed true to the ‘cooking’ recipe, the information about bone sauce however is gleaned elsewhere.

By heating up the bones without oxygen to temperatures in excess of 600 degrees C, the bones that are laid up in the vessel will ‘crack’, and melt out the marrow inside. I recommend using large cut bones, such as those acquired from a cattle butcher, femur and tibia bones would be optimal from a large mammal. To put together the bone sauce stove, you need two iron pots, or fireproof vessels, that fit on top of each other, one upside down on the other, a clay flu or crock may also work, in one pot the fresh bones are placed, these can be taking directly out of the cooking pot after making bone broth  but would yield less sauce because the marrow fat would have dissolved a little into the broth, or they can be placed in completely frozen, there is still moisture and ice crystals on the bone and so this will allow some water when they melt out. The other pot/vessel remains empty. One should cover the bone pot with a chicken mesh or other fire proof metal mesh, and flip it on top of the other. Then dig a hole and bury the pots halfway so the seem between the two pots is at ground level, and fill in with dirt while trying to tightly seal the seam between the two pots so no air can get into the chamber, hard packed dirt or mud works. Build your best tipi fire about 2 feet high around the pots, so now the top one is surrounded by wood, light it up from beneath and let it burn down to coals. Rake the coals onto the pot, and stack another tipi fire around it, and let it burn again, this took me six hours for the complete burn even while it lightly misted/rained outside, and I used mostly hardwoods like ash. Pictures are below in the slideshow of each stage. Leave it overnight to cool off, and settle, then unearth the pots while being careful to not scrape any dirt into your bottom submerged pot which is holding the tar. Just brush around it under the lip before pulling it out, and take the mesh off with the bones. They are now very fragile and should be black, with a slightly silver shine, this is almost pure carbon, and if the filaments and pores can be seen, it has been done perfectly, and no oxygen entered the chamber. If the bones are white and ashy it means there was fire in the pots and the bones were pyrolized and came in contact with the flames.

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When you get the bone sauce, now what to do with it? Pour it in a glass mason for easy storage, I personally keep it in a treasure chest filled with dirt in a basement, along with the jar of crushed of bone char which was easy to powder once it came out of the fire. It can be used raw or mixed with sawdust which contains much of the same nutrients. You can also urinate on it, and use that in the soil. Urine is a strong deterrent and the marking territory tricks works the same for humans with animals. The dust will bring carbon and phosphorous to the soil or your fertilizer, and can be diluted using the Steiner methods of stirring in a bucket or using a Verbela flowflorm. The sauce will ooze and should be used with an old paintbrush to selectively target the trees and crop you wish to form the protective force on.

It is effective not only for domestic herbivores like sheep, bison, goats, cows, but also browsers like moose, deer, elk. It would not kill them but they would certainly not love eating it and the sauce is meant to mimic the essence of death, and can come out smelling more like carrion or like soot, depending on conditions. Use it in tandem with thick woody, or senescent mulches like dead sunflowers, chipped trees, or glass stone mulch as another physical barrier. If you have understory plants it is more likely to deter the animals from become desperate for what is growing above their heads which requires more energy expenditure to acquire. I don’t think this would work on birds, and you would not want to put this too close to the actual fruit. Timing is important too. Put it on before flowering and budding of fruit, like in midwinter, or early spring before there is greenery. This is extremely important because the bone sauce can burn the flowers/buds while they may die or deform. If leaves are already growing, only apply this lightly to the trunk, the way you would paint limewash on the base of the tree, and you don’t need to lather it, simple stroke it on lightly with the bone tar. It is made of volative compounds and is very strong, so rationing is okay. So far, there does not seem to suggest any species specific problems about applying the sauce to certain trees. The thick bone sauce can be cut with tallow, 50/50 the fat should be animal based. This also makes the less desirous parts of the cow, pig, goat, be used in an effective and farm health promoting way, as not everyone wants to make soap from the tallows. This may also not work on generalist/omnivorous eaters like rats, coyotes or vultures, as they seem to like the carrion scent on their food. That said, the later are primarily meat eaters, and there would be no worries about them scavenging from your paw paw tree, or your kale garden.

The other two preps which I have collected are horn dust and bear scat. The bear manure was found on a foraging walk while looking for ramps, in our woods, there are black bears, who feast on blueberries before hibernation and start their spring diet forage looking for roots, tubers, moths and edible plants. The bear, like the cow also has an amazing and unique stomach that produces a bile that is stored in the gall bladder, this has profound digestive qualities, and everything that passes through a bear uses some of this bile to break down its food, making its manure particularly pure. I decided to collect a small pile of sun dried bear scat, that had only a slight sweet odor, to grind up with a stick for use as a fertilizer ration. Like a homeopathic dose for small plants who need a pure boost of energy in their first stage as a seedling. The experiment can be done with plants before they have been transplanted, and applied surrounding or scattered onto the new seeds while in the single pots or trays.

bear scat and horn dustThe second one is horn dust, which is mostly keratin, the same material our hair, and nails are made of. These were the dusts that came off of the external parts of the horn while making drinking vessels, and carry the same forces as the horn. It needs to be cured first, by aerating it in the sun, and perhaps stirring the small amount of powder with a spoon, so no moisture remains while storing, otherwise the fats in the horn(dust) go rancid, and smell like sulfur and rotting flesh. This was learned the inconvenient way by opening an old jar inside the kitchen and the smell lingered for several hours. These are both experimental preps to add to our curio of biodynamic preps. I am interested in exploring other organic options of building soil using other materials like elk antler, or different types of animal hair. Only time and experience will tell the benefits.

 

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Agrarianism and the Preservation of Culture & Tradition

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When I became a farmer, I literally knew overnight this was what I saw myself doing for the rest of my life. As Christopher McCandless spoke in Into the Wild, “careers are a twenty-first century invention and I don’t want one.” Farming is the lifeway in which I primarily connect to the land, and the cycles of nature that mirror the inhabiting nature of my very own self, as one and the same. On the farm, it is easy to observe beyond the domesticated aspects of livestock, plants, and routine, and see the wildlife that dwells on the fringes, in the air, or in a square inch of soil, to witness diversity and abundance as primary elements of a healthy land. Every day I am so grateful to wake up on a farm, work on a farm, and understand my ecological role in stewarding nature’s processes, that are only lightly modified designs of their wild examples, especially in the fields of organic permaculture and biodynamic agriculture. I have always observed that the spiritual aspects of agrarianism has been preserved in the peasant populations. The backbone of the enlightened culture of India is because of peasant farmers, the Nordic people of Scandinavian have in tact a folk tradition of farming passed on by small frugal populations of people back on the land, from Australia to Mayan America, to the United States and Iceland, the spiritual continuity of farming has largely been left in tact because of the more humble class, and those who gleaned their education from the land, by watching, waiting, and learning from the soil.

I find myself reflecting in the crepuscular hours of dawn and dusk, on everything I am grateful for, that usually contrasts to other modalities of living, but gratitude none the less. Hearing amphibious music all night, gazing on star planets from the comfort of my bed, the absence of traffic sounds, the smell of petrychor after it rains, going to sleep in the same place every night, seeing my hands caked with dirt after a hard day, my sore muscles and the ease from the pain after my morning yoga sunrise sessions, having megafauna on the land and healthy chicken eggs, foraging wild plants, and morally responsible and sacred work to do. The glimpses of animals almost unlike this place reminding me of tropics or meso-american bio-regions; the hummingbirds good vibrations, the sweet citrus, and the dog days of summer. I thought I would share some of my sentiments about the other paradigms of farming that are important to me, as an instigation for further conversation.

Farming is the sole occupation which offers total independence and self-sufficiency. Urban life, capitalism, and technology destroy independence and dignity while fostering vice and weakness. The agricultural community, with its fellowship of labor and cooperation is the model society. The farmer has a solid, stable position in the world order. He has a sense of identity, a sense of historical and religious tradition, a feeling of belonging to a concrete family, place, and region, which are psychologically and culturally beneficial. The harmony of his life checks the encroachments of a fragmented, alienated modern society. Cultivation of the soil has within it a positive spiritual good and from it the cultivator acquires the virtues of honor, manliness, femininity, self-reliance, courage, moral integrity, and hospitality. These result from a direct contact with nature, and through nature a closer relationship to the Gods. The agrarian is blessed in that he follows the example of beauty in creating order out of chaos.

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Hunting Rites

We have few real rites of passage in our western civilization. When we are of the age of sixteen in Ontario, one can acquire a drivers license, and two years later, are of legal age limit to drink. At twenty we are generally considered an ‘adult’ and are given new responsibilities but what are we doing to attain these rites of passage and new privileges? I would argue, not a heck of a lot, and though  rites of passage, ceremony, and ritual is a topic that is dear to my heart, one I can write at length about, I will just give an annotated version of what that means for me.

People believe that things acquire for free or gained without effort intrinsically do not have value. To simply reach a certain age is not a requisite in my opinion of having reached a personal stage in ones maturity and development where they are capable of taking on new roles, embodying man/womanhood, gaining new privileges that may or may not be reliant on a persons emotional intelligence, behavior, skill ability, and common sense. The majority of people between 18-40, don’t know how to handle their drink, because they were never taught how to, as banal as that sounds, and the sense of entitlement that young adults feel still eschews so many juvenile and immature tendencies as to wonder, how they were given certain autonomous ‘rites’, and responsibilities. This is because we lack the proper techniques of rites of passage and coming of age rituals in this age. Fortunately there are some cases where these tenets have been preserved still. The training of a hunter and fisherman.

Most folks I know who hunt, and fish have it in their blood. Their father taught them from young how to cast a line, how to reel in a big one, how to skin small game, or fillet a fish, how to stalk, track and spend days out in the woods at camp, hunting dinner with old school weapons and your wits. This aspect of the hunting and fishing world always appealed to me, that there is still a sense of tradition, even if it may not be as savage as it once was, there is a continuity of practice, a lineage, it’s the art of manliness, man as hunter/provider, and allows a boy to become born in his hero/fathers image as he takes up a shotgun/bow/baitcaster, and goes out into the wilderness to procure himself a lot more than just dinner, but his reputation as a independent, and also aid to his legacy. Hunter education in the 21st century can be fairly cut and dry but there is also a wealth of practical insight, application and first hand knowledge from real world hunters. The outlet has changed, learning in a workshop or classroom, maybe not from your blood born father or grandpa, but someone’s for that matter, and one who has lived the reality and walked the talk before teaching you. It is still much like a guild in that sense. Here we have something called the Ontario Federal Anglers and Hunters Association, which is first a group of hunters, but largely a large conservation act, which ties in the natural truth that humans are part of natural ecology just as much as a moose, salmon, or deer can be.

I recently passed my hunter education and firearms safety course. Though the firearms training portion I have levied to take at a later date to get a pal license (license to acquire firearm for hunting), the rites of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthis particular course will open me to more freedom of acquisition of meat, fish, and game. While I intend to start with more intimate/primitive/skillful hunting using a bow, as the years progress I see myself opening up to using a shotgun or firearm for longer range and bigger game hunts. The course itself was engaging and laced with many relevant stories, comprehensive educational photography, tool/equipment handling, and thorough rules and regulations. As a celebration I cooked up a nice rainbow trout, with its brilliant red striping of scales for a reward to myself.

I have wanted to move into the hunting world for two years now and finally made the dive, after over a year of research, exposure, and dabbling with various hunting modalities on the fringes. To start I will probably save money for a used bow, and begin with small game, or deer hunting. I have always seen the deer as an icon of the wild, and it is one of my favorites animals, and venison, one of the tastiest protein rich meats in my opinion. I already feel very close to this animal, and the symbol of what it represents, to take the life of one would be hard, but also exhilarating and ancient feeling. From the forest to the table, this is where I believe our sustenance of meat should come from. Supplement mountain/lake/field, for this wild range, whence the living and breathing beasts of the land, share this space with us, and us them. We are all the descendants of hunters and gatherers, and this is the biologically appropriate diet I have come to realize we should be eating, as conscious omnivores. Knowing where your food comes from, and how it came to your hands, how it was slaughtered, and ultimately realizing that it too lived a full life, and life feeds on life. This is the first rite of passage in many that becoming a hunter of the land entails, and a ceremony of age that is determined by a keen sense of maturity, discernment, embracement of ones place in the universe, and awareness of our impact on the earth. To be a more sustainable human being, and actively involve ourselves with the nature around us, the way we always have from the time we peeked out of our caves, to the times of now, when we track, trail, and trust our instinct, that our instinct will not fail us, and in the end the encounter of predator and prey is the only thing that exists, and it is a fair hunt. It is there we realize just who we are as mortal creatures, and hunt to face another day.

A Plant Walk in the Carolinian Forest

Every new foray should bring back new experiences, new knowledge, and new understanding of our place in space, our role in nature. I try to carry this sentiment when I go out into the land, not as a separated observer of wildness, but as a participant in its ecology. This (Sun)day I was joined by a fellow plant sister, to take a slow walk through the woods of my habitation, in the lush and verdant Carolinian forest of the Hamilton escarpment. We started as we did any walk, meandering towards the patches of land which held diversity and abundant plant life, and quickly took a deep dive into the native and visiting wild flora that grow here. The first friend we meet was mallow root, not the domesticated marshmallow plant but the wild strain of which all parts of it’s body, both aerial,. grounded and subterranean are edible and used in delicious concoctions. The red flare of a young sassafras aroused our attention next, as its leaves seemed so contrasting to the still early color shift of the forest. The root of this tree is used in the original root beer, which today, the contemporary carbonated variety bear no use of. It is a lovely an ancient looking tree with mitten shaped leaves, thus it gets the folk name of mitten tree. Pig-weed and garlic mustard also crept up neighboring the stalks of corn, the latter of which I quite enjoy, and though not native to this eco-region, she slyly commented, neither are we humans.

Along a grassy trail leading through 75 acres of primarily hardwoods we lightly swaggered our way past several non assuming plant relatives. Rose hips budded in excess, though not as mushy and sweet as the beach side variety. Nightshades and dolls eyes, also shown that the landscape is not all for us, and these were not the focus of our edible forage. Down near the creek, we found golden birch, and cut to make wintergreen like sticks for oral use, and the spicebush, which is not a common presence here, but one fully embraced. Strange reptilian skin lichens sheathed the logs with their companion mosses on the saturated ground. Next we found the hawthorn apple, a gem of a fruit, though not as succulent as their sometimes domesticated cousins, holds a lore and a pleasure of its own. The perennial fruits were what graced our palette next, as we came to the autumn olive tree, which is not an olive at all, but a berry, and sweet around this time, yet astringent still in the summer.

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Circumnavigating our route, and our eyes less fixated on the branches and stems of trees, we found many good prospects growing betwixt the tall grasses and damp soils as we trampled through the trail almost missing them. The magic mushrooms of the psilocybin species were dotted between blades of grass, and ready for the taking, standing erect in piles of feral apples freshly fallen, perfectly tanned skin, and their supple nipples showing off to the world, their real magic. Sorry for the sexual metaphors but it’s true. These fungal hosts of psychedelic compounds, are light brown in sunlight, and have a kind of button or nipple that is used by mushroom foragers to identify them. Well yes, there are spores too, but we will save that for the mycologists.

We returned with a small bounty and pages full of notes, as soon this weird October heat become almost intolerable to sit out in, and migrated to our porchfront to converse about recipes, superfoods and medicines, while looking forward to the next outing, with more people in tow for the exploration. Until then, new life will grow and others will wither, and we can continue to be humbled by nature’s gifts.

Microsighting Wilderness

The common man thinks of wilderness in terms of epic landscapes, fierce predatory fauna, untouched tracts of land, and inhospitable mountains, or maybe something more humble like a boreal trail through the forest of his own memories of times spent camping on silent occulted lakes, and off lost hunting highways. Rarely though is wilderness associated with the small and subtle details of the natural features that mostly likely surround the modernized domestic man in his environment. When one looks to the patches of old growth left on the world, it is probably the purest symbol of wildness will young plantations left to go feral, standing broadleaf timbers on country roads, and fringe zones surrounding so many cities and towns across the continent have remnants of the past, and micro-ecosystems in place that can easily be appreciated, only on a different scale, one more easily seen with the naked eye up close than with a telescope or binoculars.

Mallard ducks and Canadian geese on the icy lake waters in winter ...

This scope of the wilderness may seem far fetched at first but as a seasoned traveler, and having some merit in the world of wilderness exploration, then returning to a more domestic lifestyle, (read: domestic meaning of the domecile or home), and prospecting the land for small pockets of intact wilderness, a lot of rich and impressive life can be found. They are the simple and overlooked phenomena; the lanky squirrels digging up old protein stores from before the winter, the first fungal growths on sogging wet pine logs, the litter of black oak acorns left unharvested after the thaw, the first saplings starting the race for the sol of the sun, the fuzzy branchlets of virgin trees, or the small game, that would be so perfectly snared for a spring feast. I am coming to notice the local weather very intimately, the time of the first thaw, and when the lake finally loses its ice cover. I feel the light increasing just a couple minutes each night, and its so beautiful. I admit to having traditionally being a big nature, big game kind of guy. I craved the open, massive spaces, and always will. Yet, there is a cognitive difference in the perception of these spaces, as they usually stand on their own as a kind of thing to be observed. Only few look at such a landscape and think about the individual valleys which may hide watersheds, the high crests where the experienced hunter can glass out for whitetail deer, or the possibility of springs and rivers from which to harvest wild water. It is in the micrositing of the large epic land masses that we see and experience the almost overwhelming beauty in its intimate refinity.

I think there is a particular kind of affirmation in seeking out this tracts of wild spaces anywhere and everywhere, because it is easy to feel you are cut off from the wilderness when you live in a city, or even temporarily staying in one, but I believe separation is a kind of illusion and is just put on us. I would urge people to get out and discover these microsites that might just alter their day, or their conscious perception of where they live and try to identify as many species of life that dwell there, which animals make their home in the trees or the ground? Which mushrooms latch onto the rotting logs? What plants seems edible?

This is just something I wanted to bring to the fore, as my priorities change from a life of constant travel, wildlands seeking, nomadic backpacker lifeway, into a more rooted, and bioregional style of thriving existence.

The Reservation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been about two weeks now at the cabin, and it is growing on me, even though I know I will probably only have it for a month. After I leave, someone elses energies will mingle in this space, a different fire will be burned in the hearth, maybe more efficient than my own, new foods will stock the fridge, and the aromas will linger into the wood grain. I think about all the sentimental aspects of cabin living, usually, silence and solitude, sometimes the company of a few friends. Within these walls are more than furniture, there are memories that go beyond this solitary hut, to all other dwelling places I have chosen to inhabit, visited, or spent a night in along the way. As another traveling writer friend of mine wrote about mileage, they are times-stamps of memories, and the most permanent aspects that have importance.

I feel that I could view the history of places I’ve slept and lived on like a timeline going back in a line, one that would number over 100 strong in the past 4 years. Often these places take on behaviors and energies of their own, or aptly titled names. My Icelandic cabin ‘Hvammur’ had a name meaning something like ‘by the Bay’. The abandoned pick up truck with no axles I slept in while picking apples in Nova Scotia was dubbed the ‘whiskey bandit’ because I used to drink fireball before sleep to keep my blood warm,
as the frost would cover the windows in the morning and create quite the chill. In Vermont, a Faroese style cabin held the moniker of the ‘Hyggelig Hytte’ or cozy cabin, in Norse. When thinking I wanted to christen this cabin with a name, instantly ‘The Reservation’ came to mind. There was already some signage on the gate with ‘The Living End’ which I thought too dystopian, but The Reservation rather exemplifies the metaphysics of this cabin. Semi-off grid, no running water, no indoor anything, just an outhouse and a chemical toilet, not fully adequate for winter quarters because of insulation, located in a rather wealthy area, but situated down a dirt road from said urban affluence, in a large wooded land in various states of disregard, cut down, neglect and development. Yes, it has its downfalls, and I think Trump would probably knock it to the ground to build some hotel maybe, because it doesn’t match the rest of the houses. The Reservation stands for the free land, where animals can still roam, and the human being can focus on the being part of human. But even on the Reservation, there are limitations.

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The reservations are plots of land given to the First Nations where they are allowed to carry out restrictive cultural practices, and community lifestyles. But they are not adequate for living off the land, there is little to no big game, no wild orchards or clean water sources, and they live in a semi-primitive state. These were given  to them by the government because they didn’t want them on ‘crown’ land because it had resources like coal, uranium, gold, diamonds and copper. Thus, you either lived on the reservation with little, or were forced back into the cities with a decreased quality of LIFE.

But this is my chosen Reservation for now. I know I can not live here forever, it would not sustain me, but it is a place where I can feel the Indian spirit, through the warping colors of the trees, and the foraged earth, the shallow minnow pond, and the fresh air. If I want to make a brew, then I have to work for it, collect the twigs, and appropriate kindling for the job, throw in some birch-paper, and some moss then patiently blow on the flames, heat up the hearth and fill the pots with water, it takes about 25 minutes to get a good heat while the pots sit on the metal, then another 5 to steep the coffee in filters. I add some Quebec maple syrup, and it is a fine treat. I use it as a kind of social medicine, to take the shy edge off my persona, if I want to go to town. I tried fishing, after over a year of not being out on the water, didn’t catch anything and I think my pond is understocked. After dark, the nights are long, and lonesome. I use this time to heal my body and mind, stretching yogic routines besides a hot fire, meditation, and contemplation. I’m currently reading ‘A Walk in the Hindu Kush’, so my  mind can travel to landscapes beyond what I see out the window. Sometimes I’ll listen to an old Jazz album of Sun Ra or Pharoah Sanders, the frequencies fit will within these walls. I try to relax, and not ‘do’ much, by take time for being here, before I can’t. If I am bold enough to turn on the radio, I hear how the government is trying to dam the Muskrat Falls and river system in Labrador, and risking the safety of the water and the health of the Indigenous Innu and Nunatsiuvut. Of course, this is almost commonplace now. The program switches, and the story of young Native  Americans at the highest threat to suicide in Newfoundland. Nothing good to hear from The Reservation, what else is new. More people complaining about health care, because their medicines are not working, or the people of St. Johns voicing political and social welfare issues. I try to help, to put myself out there for service, attend the Native Friendship Centre, offer work for the community, and I don’t seem to get anywhere.
I am forced to turn the radio off again and return to here and now. The smell of woodsmoke, the howling wind, a far of croak of a raven and a sight of a whirring blue jay. The knowledge of this endtime, maybe the original moniker was more of a satire? Would these be the last places people try to eke out a living when the cities are taken back by the primordial grasses  breaking through concrete, and civilizations fail. I put on a nature documentary from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and let him offer an opinion from beyond the grave. There are not many other worlds to talk to besides our own. I guess that’s a segway into next week. Life’s pretty rough without money, and I need to keep myself busy with something if I will ever get to Australia. I have been quietly mapping out this move since February, and I have until next July to make it happen, but I don’t want it to take that long. I sit in the cabin, thinking, watching the flames and I don’t know where I’m going next, but just know I need to wait.

Cabin Days

As I once heard it said by a young Irish boy, “city life is too fast for me, I’m not clever enough to keep up”. So I feel the undeniable truth that country life is the only life I want to live. Cities are more like voluntary prisons, you can always leave them, but once you are in, with your convenient routine, and your contracted existence, you start to feel trapped.
Fortunately I have native roots from the North and was born into small fishing, mining, Indian villages in Canada for the first 7 years of my youth. You know what Robert Anton Wilson said about this first ‘circuit’ of life and the imprinting stages. Anyways I diverge. Now I am staying in a small cabin in Newfoundland, so these are my cabin days, which I so cherish and need from time to time.

There is no internet, so I write my journals from home, and bike to the nearest town to get wi-fi connection via an old railway trail that runs through a broad-leaf forest, then a gorge, and over the Manuels River Hibernia, in Conception Bay. The same rail trail runs all the way to St. Johns, and back through the island to Port-aux-Basques. I have a small stack of books to keep me company if the weather is off, or later in the evenings,
and sometimes the morning, I just find it pacifying but also engaging. I’ll stoke the fire and take the cold edge off, but there is no frost or freezing temperature yet at night. There is no running water, so it is hauled here in carboys, and there is an outhouse in the woods. I have a loft, a balcony, two beds, and a porch, a small kitchen area, a bbq and always stock the mini-fridge with healthy food and stuff dragged from the sea. I like to bring in new or exotic things that I haven’t tried or don’t eat enough of like buffalo cheese, kombucha, kefir, frog legs, and chocolate. It is modest living, the routine is slow, but I find it really efficient and the solitude is abundant. Just watching the fire, sitting by the lake, listening to old music that I love, or writing. All the things one dream of. The downsides are loneliness, excessive daydreaming, and loneliness.

I have found a lot of junk just walking in the arboreal clearings, big iron machinery from the city that might be worth something, old shacks, consumerist crap, sometimes useful items, and a lot of different mushrooms. I am actually becoming a lot more ‘mushroom conscious’ lately, just keeping an eye out for them, identifying them, understanding their role, what they are eating, collecting them. The other day I found psilocybins, amanitas, and reindeer lichens, and possibly also pine boletes though I need a brush up with some of the other edibles.

My days usually go by without stress and I always make things to keep myself busy, thinking about how to fix the fishing rods so I can catch some lake fish, walking the dirt trails and being observant to what birds live around here, watch a documentary or movie now and then, listening to my favorite country music. There is also a radio, which I have checked out, and listen to the outside, what’s going on south of the border, stuff about the election, trump, or social commentary, not that it interests me much, I don’t feel part of it. I think about distant friends, future travels, and past mistakes, then try to remedy them and move forward with making things better here and now. It’s a nice diversion, however long it lasts, maybe a month, maybe until winter, not sure really. I’m wondering who will be my first company, or if I will have any life changing experiences here, and how I can be ready to integrate them in my life.

The cabin lifestyle can be challenging but I have been a man of a cabin several times before, in Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Vancouver Island, USA and Iceland, not to mention several other semi-primitive homesteads, so I am well acquainted with the modalities, and routine. Chop wood or be cold, gather water, learn to enjoy the silence, take lots of walks to stave off the boredom, make new hobbies and generate pastimes. Just keep yourself busy, it can be kind of isolating if one is not careful. You take high regard for your health and well being when you are living like this, without the distraction and constant infringement of noise, concrete, construction, traffic, crime, and congestion of cities. My heart beats to a different beat, I feel love that is non-personal, I open myself to new things and new experiences while partaking in the tried and true, and you get a lot of time to think things over. In the meantime I am trying to get work with the local trail maintenance group for the Manuels River and East Coast trail, or on a local hobby farm.
There is no farmers market here that I know of but I have seen stalls on the roadsides of people selling some fresh produce, or home-made goods, even right on the town roads. I want to make a few connections here, and find out what’s around. I’ll make another report when things get moving.

Grassroots Remediation

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Sometimes I think it’s me that’s crazy, until that is, I am in the company of those who remember… Those we call the tribe or the community, those working from the bottom up, out of the soil and growing to the high reaches of organic life building. Sometimes I wander as a man estranged, almost alien to the rest of the country, the wider modern world, and an ocean of questions pour through my mind, where am I? how did I get here? where am I going? what am I doing? The same mulling thoughts that drive my every day.

For the latter part of my life, from my late teenage years until now in my mid-twenties, I have always adopted a rather acquainted and old fashioned nature, especially when it comes to my work in the world, and my involvement with our fellow species, both human and fauna alike. I often define true ‘work’ to my friends as a voluntary involvement with a creative output that outlives even oneself, like a higher valued praxis of labor or service to the often altruistic and dynamic function of a collective project, directed towards an aim of success. I see this true work as something that by it’s nature is loved to be done for the sake of the reward and importance it gives and holds, where as the modern day workforce is mostly revolving around survivalism. Not the Darwinian kind of fitness for survival, although that has its use, but work as a means for so called ‘surviving’, which I actually use lightly as a means to; pay bills, rent, insurance, groceries, cell phone, habits, etc. None of these actually truly integral to life itself, and usually usher forth the supply of img_1137invented jobs, that are a dead end road, for no expanding purpose other than the profit of a company or to further an agenda that ultimately harms the maker. Since I was sixteen and found my first job selling pumpkins on a street corner in one of Canada’s busiest cities, I have never ventured to far into the world of several tier degree, university scholar level, academic, ‘professional’ workforce. Blatantly because I find this field so incredibly boring, and always leaves me in the same position, combing my whiskers in a rat race, trying to win out against everyone else for who has the most attractive resume, that never gets read, and losing out against someone with a piece of paper that I don’t have. The irks I have with this kind of system, should be evident but I will write a few reasons I don’t see this as a fluent, practical and efficient way of working in the world.

For the past 4 years, I have not used a resume to get a job, and it’s not something I believe in. I see the merit of grassroots work based on personal reputation, codes of honor, representational experience, and personal confrontation. I have traveled and worked my way onto small and large scale farms throughout U.S., Europe, Mexico, the British Isles, Scandinavia and Canada, into the heart of communities, the forestry commissions of Scotland & England, linking with activist groups, gilds, and indigenous peoples, all without a single piece of paper. Nothing more than a few exchanged electronic letters, references of character, photographic documentary of past work, relevant knowledge and experience, and personal encounters. Some of this partnership was in Mexico, I joined the Lemurian Embassy in southern Yucatan, after an invitation from it’s ambassador tumblr_nx3dynmdlq1s5roa8o1_500Guillermo. Some of my work here was to work with those fellow volunteers to build a spiritual community that revived old Mayan heritage and tradition, and used the grassroots archetype to kickstart new growth and innovative systems of ideas into a functional retreat, wildlife refuge, and spiritual nexus of this community ethic. A beautiful work I must say even in my short time here, I did promise to return some day, and continue where I left off. Actually all of my work in Mexico involved traditional, communal, and service oriented roles, from picking coffee in the cloud forest on a family plantation, to beekeeping in the Oaxacan mountains with a collective of young students and veterinarian, to co-running  a hostel from the 60’s on a pacific beach and renovating an earthship in Tepoztlan. There is a bloodline of continuity that has run through my work, and I can say the majority of my work I have not received a single dollar, euro, kroner or peso for, though I have kept the hospitality and humble company of farmers of the new and old world, entrepreneurs, small Nordic families, lone wolves, and spiritual charities. I have fond memories of every ‘job’ that has kept me in my later years, something I can not admit from my days working in a factory, mindlessly on a production line, a-socially awkward because of the language difference with the employed immigrants, and feeling greatly unfulfilled with my time.

This brings me back to my window, staring out again at maritime Canada, after a trip through Scandinavia. The myth of Canada’s working nation, bound up in old country tunes, museum plaques, fisherman’s tales, and pure romanticism is almost non-existent anymore. Returning back to old Canada, stationed out of St. John’s, I looked forward to what I might find, on the docks, and in the field, in the country, or on the fringes of the city. There is this outsider view of Canada, and even still to some of it’s residents, that we are all farmers, fishermen, miners, lumberjacks, and stevedores. Well, this is partially true, only I don’t see the individual character within that list. No longer do I find it possible to Image result for stevedoring old newjump on a ship, and prove your worth at hauling fish, or to merely show your prowess with an axe and timber-man skills, and certainly there are no modestly dressed chaps hauling barrels of whiskey, barley, and sugar onto skippers and schooners at your local wharf. Everything has become industrialized, mechanized, people replaced for machines, or they are sitting behind one pushing all the controls. Talking to the local fisherman here in St. John’s I was gloomily reminded of the ebb of small scale fishing because of the influx of commercial trawling, asian offshore fisheries, pollution, governmental regulations, costs, large scale harvesting, and so forth. Social and environmental factors have immensely influenced the way people make a living. The grief of those whose father may have taught them how to fish in deep ocean waters, down rivers and silent lakes now need endless permits, fees, certificates, training, and constantly updated gear to even pull their dinner out of the sea. The farmers words reek with the same depressing customs on quotas Image result for milkman picturefor production, illegal to sell raw produce or milk, code lists for barn building and infrastructure, expensive machinery, competition with big agricultural, and mono-cultural farms. Wherever I go in the so called ‘first world’, there is a heavy hand, trying to control the ins and out of societies breath. This myth of Canada’s working nation, the jobs that built our country; the railroad, fishing, hunting, mining, stevedoring, lumberjacks, farming, and building are hardly recognizable as trade skills, or resemble the grassroots ethics they first operated on. Why is this? Because there are too many people, and the public service sector has replaced all ‘real’ work. Now instead of growing up learning to build traditional log houses for their families, fully qualified men will take a job in an office, or work in city construction instead, and instead of midwifery or child care for the women, they will bartend or takes their clothes off for a living. A lot turn to drugs, because there is money there, and more and more people will sacrifice their soul just to get by. There is a false notion of abundance of work, and there will only be fewer of them as we get more industrial and ‘futuristic’.

All real skills from the trades are becoming lost, or replaced with automation, and everyone wants formal proof to even get anywhere in the once traditional work field. That is, a lifelong skill taught down from the fathers and mothers to their offspring to carry the custom to the next generation. The youth today don’t want to work hard, or even work ‘out’, by that I mean, doing practical field and trade jobs. They choose static, low pay barrista jobs as an excuse for ‘community involvement’. There is a kind of illusion and romance that go together for people like me seeking to merely ‘make a living’ in this modern world. I do not have any degree, or scholarship, no formally recognized documentation of training or certification in a field, no resume or cv, nor do I think it takes a computer to manage a farm, or four years training to harvest a crop. 1186426_1396281925-9118_multiI often find the irony when someone asks what my ‘highest level of education’ is, and they expect a grade or institution where I last studied. I usually answer with saying my education is from life. From real world experience and first hand knowledge. It is not about theory, and potential. What I do have is a range of stories from my travels, of what I have learned, because I have also failed, and learned more directly then. And of witness first hand the variety of methods different cultures use towards working on the same fundamental basics; food provision, shelter building, community involvement, social services, etc. I have the skills to show that I know exactly what I am doing when I am doing it, and if I don’t then I listen and watch someone who does.

Coming back to the Grassroots movement. The experience is becoming harder and harder to actualize, with increasing rules and a rapidly changing economy, where money is the new God, and it is worshiped at the peril of social unity, and quality of life. Attempts have been made, through outlets like ‘kickstarter’ or ‘indiegogo’ to create a sense of communal effort on a project but I honestly don’t see how these are actually functioning in the same way as an organic and cohesive community would in real life. Usually it is the wealthier part of society who don’t have the initiative to actually get involved in such a project who will donate their funds, and feel the comfiness believing they are involved with something heroic, without doing the work of course. And those without the money, the modern peasant class as I sometimes talk about are those who have the skills and the perspicacity of accomplishing it, but lack the funds. I also see a lot of fakes on here just pushing a product or idea of something that doesn’t always come out to fruition the way it was promised. It promotes a quasi-do it together aesthetic, but in reality, there is no dynamic or tribal like connection with those who support it.

People are scared of the sacred, indeed they fear to live, and those who try to preserve or retain a sort of atavistic lifeway into the sphere of now, are looked at as hermetic, outcasts, dysfunctional, and ultimately ignored. But in reality, these are the people building bridges between two cliffs, while others would rather try to jump across, always on the route of the silver bullet. They want to build a world but they don’t want to do the work on the details.

“God told me one time, nobody can bother you if you don’t open the door to let him in. A wise man never reveals his wisdom. And for what purpose other than money does most people exist. And once I don’t want the money, than those people don’t exist. They’re only existing as much as you can buy and sell them. They’re a commodity. And then you say, I’d like to breathe some soul back into your existence. So I have to pretend like I’m from another planet.”

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Does good old fashioned hard and honest work even exist anymore? Instead of waitressing, computer programming, and hotel servicing, why don’t we have more jobs focused on bio-remediation? roadside cleanup? habitat restoration? sustainable eco-housing projects? or permaculture farming? You don’t need a degree to pick up trash, and yet there are no opportunities to yet make a living for cleaning up the earth, getting people off the streets, and supplying healthy organic food, there is constant struggle, and you are not supporting yourself off this work, this is where I think there should be change.

The practice of grassroots bioremediation and regenerative earth work not only involves detoxifying and revitalizing the land by working with plants, mushrooms and micro-organisms; it must also include the powerful work of decolonization that seeks to deeply repair and enliven both the ecosystems and the communities that support thriving natural systems.”~Leila Darwish

All of the work in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and the majority of animal husbandry or sciences like botany and ecology is dying out with the older generations, and the younger folks are becoming estranged and no longer interested with the work their grandfathers and grandmothers did. This epoch must witness a resurgence, starting with your own individual work that cuts to the core of what this world actually needs, not wants, with the division of labor to more appropriate and necessary roles. I know personally from the stories of my elders, of what kind of life they had even five or six decades ago.With the division of labor to more appropriate and necessary roles. Just two generations back, my grandfather was cutting blocks of ice in the Quebec valley, then hauling it 3 hours through snow fields to trade for pelts, my family milked their animals, knit their clothes, cut all their own wood, hunted, fished, and lived in the bush. Today, these people are called ‘hard natured’, but are they really? These are the most humble persons I have met in my existence. We will certainly wither if these grassroots ethics of work of the organic community fails to reach the heights of importance that our world calls for, and those who hear the call to get involved. This is the only way we will thrive, but what do I know?

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Datvra & Henbane


12 :jeran: seeds have been planted below the sand, to spring for solar semen on the solstice of sunna. Solheim.Stream.Skywards.

Ov Datura and Black Henbane medicine, carried for 2 years in dormancy until the right time. Now sheltered in shade on the banks of the Kettle River.

May the Gods of our Germanic faith look upon this favor, and observe the flowers uncringe their beauty, and let them spread prodiciously through the forests

Hailigaz, Sowilo!

 

 

Heathen ᛃ Farming

If anyone out there is a Viking enthusiast like myself, and take particular interest in the archaeology side of pre-European culture, you will probably agree that much of the relics we have preserved in our museums from the Viking age are either weapons, or tools. This is because the Viking peoples (both men, women and childen Vikings, not only the masculinized version of our model barbarian), but real Vikings lived in an aricultural age. Yes they had to fight, and had well established warrior bands, governed by the Kings, but the people of 793-1000 circa. Scandinavia were fundamentally a farming society. The warrior band depended on the peasant blacksmiths for the best forged swords, and their tunics and birkas were woven by the huswife, from hand washed lanolin merino sheeps wool, all the food in the cabins on the clinker ships would have to be from their locality, of a small part of a fjord coast, somewhere not too far from a port, but with optimal climate for growing vegetables. With only limited means of preservation like root cellars, and cool rooms for keeping produce from going bad, the Vikings would have chosen to go on their raids between harvest time and the winter when the crop was abundant, and big game was in full season. The Jarl’s roving warband could not fight and raid as they did for long distances over the sea without this surplus. This is also attested to in some of the sagas like Eric the Red’s saga and the Greenlander saga. For the Viking age, and other agrarian cultures of this era to be successful, there central tenet of farming had to exist, as a means of survival, but also as a means of lifestyle.

To reiterate this information in a different cultural accent, living in todays world, that is highly industrial/technological, we no longer fully depend on traditional farming the way it was done in the pre-millenial age. The vast majority of the worlds farms are no longer organic or tradition preserving in any way, they are monoculture, big business owned, and globally providing, which introduces an entire slew of different operation methods, machines, techniques, marketing, and ultimately failures. Gone are the days when one goat was worth 50 pounds of potatoes, and items could be traded fairly between different countries, without having to worry about the quality of the product being given. What I am getting to come around here is to ask the question what it meant to be a farmer in the Viking age?

A boy in the Viking age, let’s say around the age of 13 was very quickly introduced into his father’s way of life. Around this age he was taught to fight, and protect his siblings and his mother, he was taught how to take care of the goats, sheep and horses on his othal land, and given responsibilities, modern families today would not introduce into their household until ones young adulthood. At a little older he may be given his first sword, and taken on a raid. It was Leif Erikson that was a mere 19 when he sailed to Iceland and was given his own fleet of ships, then discovered Vinland in his twenties. Before this, Leif probably served his own time on a farm, like most Vikings did. This intitation of a boy becoming a man is aspiring to me no matter which way you cut it. A man could not be separated from his farm, when he returned from a raid in England filled with loot, and scars, he went back to the tilling and toiling of his precious soil.

In my life, I have my own set of dreams of persuance. One of these is to own land, and a farm, take care of animals, and provide a small tribe of people with healthy food, and a communal off the grid lifestyle. All of this was more or less a given in the Viking Age, there were no pre-requisites or degrees required to work the land. If your father spoke highly of you to another, then you may earn yourself some money making hay, or shearing sheep. This is what I am largely attracted to from this time period, is the governance not by authority but by reputation and idrottir (skills). The Vikings did not have to ask themselves whether what they were growing was 100% organic, fair trade, localized, and devoid of animal cruelty. Their livestock were treated as family members, their vegetable harvest was down with hand tools, and if their food came from Norway, and sold in Sweden, you can assure it was literally shipped, as is, from the ground to the hands of the buyer, without the standardized over-safe quality control on global food marketing.  I am using the term Viking to be synonymous with the word Heathen in this respect because I am contuing to reference specifically the age of the pre-christian Northern peoples.

The Heathen Vikings worshipped Frey before the harvest, and Frigg for the bounty. They kept their domestic life to the country and their business life to the villages. Thus heath-en, the world going back to the meaning of heath-dweller, or referencing one who lived in the country, the utangard of the hustle and bustle of the commerce centres. A Heathen in that age was someone who went against the grain of the infringing imposing society, in this respect, the Christian King’s rule. Many Viking age farms have been found just in the last century, we know they grow very certain species of plants, and even knew the tricks of producing different cultivars of the same genus of plants. They also grew medicines and product producing crops, like hemp and flax. The Vikings knew how to plant the seeds of their livelihood, and tend to them all the way through, with the sovereign help of the Germanic spirit. This is something I wish to cultivate in my own life, which I feel compelled to speak further on..

I desire to re-instigate a new curriculum of heathen oriented farming techniques, indiginous to a landscape that I can call my own othal homelands. Using hand tools to cut, till, toil, plant, reap, groom, tend, and harvest. The heathen method would use ancestrally native animal species for meat creation, wool harvesting, milking, food production, work, comaraderie, and creating a biodynamic relationship with the earth. A heathen approach to farming is something I have been gradually experimenting more and more with on my wide travels and varied farmstays, and I can say I have experienced the gamut of different techniques used through lower Scandinavia, upper Scotland, the English isles, and the coasts of Vinland, ranging from inorganic monoculture to fully traditional , non-chemical, hand worked, and communaly provided permaculture. A fully heathen farm, would take the time to acknowledge the spiritual, and the personal. Freyr, Thor, Frigg and Jord would take immediate involvement in the cycle of the seasons () The runes of man would work through the day, teaching him the way of the soil, the animals, the weather, and the land. All work in the field, fells and mountains would not be directed for the gain of the individual profit, but for the tribal whole. An accomplishent much greater and sacral, passed on through gildship and traditional teaching, tracing back to our own forefathers long before us. The Vikings were an independent people, Sjálfstætt fólk, but they were also a whole, every aspect of their lives was integrated together.

But this is not a re-enactment of a way of life, temporally bound in experiment and demonstration. It is a continued and growing mode of being, an ancient memory, that is NOT lost on us yet. Does this already exist in the contemporary world? I believe the closest thing we have is the rising permaculture movements throughout greater Europe and North America. Why is this? It is because it is eeded. Our world is calling for it, and certain groups are choosing to remember that the ways of yore actually worked quite well for us, and our modern methods of living with the earth, animals, air, and water is not going to sustain us. The modern day farmer must be Heathen in order for the Tribe to survive. We must not ‘start’ but continue to nourish a praxis known to our elders, for our blood, and our soil to thrive.

For Heritage.

WhiteWolf.

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