The Man Who “Did Nothing” in his Garden

There was an old Japanese rice farmer Masanobu Fukuoka: The man who did nothing | Food Freedomwith a cone hat, that used to live in the mountains, he also grew citrus and grains, but was most well know for his “do nothing” approach. An approach to agriculture that mimics the natural way of tending and farming the land. What less can I do?, he said, and sought out a way to develop a new Japanese methodology for growing crops. He scythed, gardened amongst the weeds, did not dig, broadcasted seeds covered in clay, and did not flood his rice, or terrace the hills. Along with Geoff Lawton, Bill Mollison, and my friend Steven Martyn ‘The Sacred Gardener’, Masanobu has been one of my biggest inspirations, not for his extremism (or relative simplicity by ancient standards), but for his ease of approach. The zen of gardening. Now, of course, this kind of gardening may have a special place in Japan, but there has been good evidence and experimentation that is has been able to remediate other lands, in several other countries, so I thought I would give it a try.

So this year I decided to build a small garden plot, under 800 sq.feet with these principles as a research garden. On a fallow hay field, I scythed with an old Croatian blade, dropped the hay in situ, mulched with maple leaves, old hay and straw bales from the land, rotten wood punk (redrot), worms, and some light chicken tillage. I did not have to hurt my back, or scrape or weed anything. When the ground had baked sufficiently and started to smother the plants underneath, I planted into the thick mulch by opening a hole with my hand, and putting the plant in. I chose some miner plants to send deep stalks down through the clay; dinosaur kale, and a variety of cabbages and lettuce, other brassicas and nightshade or solanaceous plants like purple cauliflower, romanesco, heirloom tomatoes, tobacco, wonderberry, peppers.

In the beginning, during three separate seeding trials indoors, the flux of weather above and below frost, even until may caused two die offs, of nearly a third of my seed stock. Some things were hardened off too early, and others wilted in the cold, became sunburned, or became eaten by birds, or chickens or a hungry goat. Some species simply didn’t take to the raw field, which has remained uncultivated for over a decade, and only ever grown hay and pioneering plants. I imagine these would be similar issues my ancestors would have faced before fancy technological innovations for even the small scale producer. Dealing with cold shocks, overcooking in the greenhouse, vegetarian animals who nip a bite from every plant, seed viability, and the malnutrition of rocky, clayey fields. We don’t only learn from mistakes, but they are definitely a teaching towards how to do it right the next time.

So far, my garden is not ‘doing much’, but what I can report is that some of the weed composition has changed, and this feels like change. Many of the kale plants have endured severe pendulum affects in the weather, and have established themselves from 1in. starts to more robust leaves, the lettuce seems to be thriving on the periodic rain that falls which is more than last year at this time during a drought. A few rare tomatoes are fortifying themselves but not yet showing fruit, a few tobacco and zucchini starts escaped the hungry eyes of the ruminant goat, and still have a chance, and I have introduced some Shisito, Doehill, Chinese 5-color, and Banana peppers. My chicken flock have loyally tilled the ground on the north side of my garden and opened space for me to broadcast quinoa, amaranth and chia. Not much is sprouting yet, and I wonder if the ground is just too compacted, grass matted or is being eaten by the fliers. On the good side, a few sunflowers have sprouted from the seeds that did not get eaten by the chickens that I throw into the chicken tractor every day.

I expected action to be very slow, and there is change, at least to the soil composition, and biology. Many spiders have moved in, and over time the pH will shift when more organic matter is mixed in to the plot. I don’t know if I will see the fruits of this garden, and it is easy to see how the domestication of growing food means a lot more work, but usually a higher yield. The moral and spiritual question is how much to interfere?

Another lasagna style garden, growing adjacent to the masanobu fukuoka plot is thriving with a little more involvement. With triple layer sheet mulching of cardboard, hay and maple sugar leaves, a longer aging process, the ground underneath is more willing to accept to younger seedlings. Vermiculture, aged manure, mycelium and minerals have been amended to this garden. Though my involvement with this plot so far has been bare minimal, and is primarily the focalization of a friend who is more skilled in soil biology as her primary study, it is another research project, and showing better success rates in these circumstances. I am learning a lot from this garden as well, on how to amend soil with native earth minerals, how to passively bake the weed seed bank in the ground, and soften grass mat. I am also humbled by its easy approach, and simple science, on something that I may not have intuited in 100 years of gardening. There has been a serious effort in this garden to convert the soil microlife, with yield as a second priority. It is to prove that there does need to be a remediation and transition phase from old ground to productive market garden, and one can not miss steps, but we don’t have work violently with the earth either.

To supplement any harvest from the gardens, I have been invested in the foraging and gathering tradition, learning from a wealth of different sources, my main teachers right now being Samuel Thayer, Daniel Vitalis, Euell Gibbons, and the matriarch of this farm, Johanna Koeslag. This is primarily what I have been bringing to market and what has filled my tables. Initiating the season with will tree saps; maple, and birch, then with the first thaws, gathering fiddleheads, ramps, young horsetail, nettle, and trout lilies, giving way to pheasant back mushrooms, morels, and kentucky coffee beans from the forest, amaranth, dandelion root and lambs’ quarters from the compost zones, milkweed from the meadows, and cattail and marsh marigold or bullrush from the swamp. I was lucky to find a few abandoned eggs, of the robin and turkey, but only enough for my breakfast, and I’ve had my eyes on some maral root for medicinal tinctures.

When I gather, I do so in a respectable way that I feel my ancestors would do. Not often taking the first plant if there are few, or if they are ephemerals like mushrooms, practicing not lethal harvest of the wild leeks and cattails, and studying several sources of plant i.d. and conscience foraging practices of wild herbs and forest vegetables, learning to only take a small portion of the most edible parts. It is one tradition to offer pieces of oneself in return to the land, like hair or some genetic material, this also makes me feel more rooted and grounded to place, I collect my hair and leave it in trees for birds to gather for nests. Prior to a lot of my foraging experience, I planted one quarter of a million trees of varying species in four countries, and carried rare, medicinal and shamanic plant seeds to give to several more. I think it is important for there to be a reciprocating relationship with the planetary habitat, and everything is equal karma.

So that is where I am at now, and I am taking each day with a dose of sobriety of the evolution of this project, and what becomes of it. Most of permaculture is design and observation, and less about what you are actually doing, because by its very nature, permaculture is mimicking nature. This is my relationship to farming, as a steward and active participant in human ecology, in lessons on living not only lightly, but more capably with the land I inhabit.

Earth Haven Vibrations: Chapter of the Spring

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The moon is in an earth zodiac sign, that means today is a planting day, good for the roots, and the life below ground. My hand steadies over a polyeurathane seedling tray, as I carefully and methodically sink the solitary seed into the sweet smelling black soil. This seed was saved, and its ancestor was also a saved seed. This is how farmers always used to do it, preserving the best of the best seeds after harvest ensured a promising crop next year, one more adapted and genetically thrivable to their unique neck of the woods, or in this case, the plot of land on which I inhabit. As I ponder how this seed came to being and its fate to be planted, my mind went deep. This was the direct descendant of it’s nearest relative that once gazed sunwards in its passive solar pursuit of nutrients. This seed that grew on the stem of a medicinal herb, or staple crop or fruit, that then fell to the ground or was otherwise collected, dried and extracted, then put away for the winter months to be planted next year, an annual seed, that bore the genetic memory to make hundreds more seeds after its own growth spurt. Now it was finally time to dig it out of the seed bins, and its unique packet and sow it in the greenhouse. March 2018. With one final contact before it was relinquised to the chaos of nature and the mystery of the soil microbes, I pushed it into the dirt with a kind of prayer and good luck, added a dampening of fresh well water, and put it beside all the other trays; Brassicas of different kinds, Salvias, Ginseng and other Russian medicinal herbs, Tobacco, Tomatoes, Spinach, Leeks. Some of these may not thrive, but I am fixed on growing things and wanted to try my luck. Others would be so abundant in just a couple of weeks and by the end of harvest, I would probably grow tired of seeing and handling them all.

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Such is the life of a farmer, and a candid account of the kind of existence it is my personal conviction to live out, as the living archetype of the farmer, but this involved the symbiotic mythos of many other archetypes in tow, the pastoralist, the gardener, the medicine man, the philosopher, the astronomer, yes, even at this farm, the man who could read the stars and the celestial bodies elevated him one step above his merely terrestrially conscious neighbor. To live bio-dynamically with the earth, that is to say, to dynamically live with the biology of our planetary habitat, and more locally, the 200 acres of farm, feral and wild lands that engage our stewardship is an oath of place. To live and love one space for a long time, and to understand the complex relationships then are loaded with meaning from the moment they are encountered. On a bio-dynamic farm, nothing is quite what it seems, the fresh manure in the fields that are deposited after the cows lunch, is the future soil that will nourish the crops, fruit orchards, and the high field grass that will then again in turn feed the cow in the lushness of spring. What Salatan calls a ‘mobbing, mowing and mobile fermentation tank’ as the cow eats the grass that streams skywards by the sun, which is fermented and processed in the rumen, stored away as fat, fur, meat, protein and horn, then when optimal, the spirit leaves the body and we fill the freezer will all available cuts, that go into literally hundreds of meals, curried stirfry, maple marinated beef hash, bone broth soup, browned marrow, spicy burgers with wild food garnishes, and not only the choice cuts get eaten but all the edible meat, including organs, the ‘dynamic’ part of the cow. The cattle is a mainstay of this farm, and they are also the most noble companions, trusty coworkers, humble entertainment, ambassadors of wisdom, and they just look handsome, with their shaggy manes, perhaps an aesthetic trait as much as practical for the long cold Canadian winters.

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We have been busy as bees, coordinating the timeline of the annual farming hustle. When and what to plant, when and where to transplant, how much to have for harvest and who will reap the fruits of the bounty when it is off the field. How many CSA members are there this year? This is what coffee is good for, mingling in the morning when the long day of work is not readily embrace on the minds of others, we plan and map out a general routine of what we can get done before dinner, luckily we are three, and this is not our first rodeo, so we are all dedicated, talented, and can profer good ideas when progress and production must be made. Weeding tends to be interspersed with the labor, like the careful pruning of an apple tree, or the shaving of a winter beard. The seeds you plant, end up being the minority, and sometimes methinks the seeds of weeds just sow from the aether, to have lived so long under the frost and frozen snows all season and to appear again when the desired plant breaks free into its new home, only to instigate the others to rise before him and race for the light. Weeding is stoic, but also mindless. It is an emptiness, before an emptiness, after an emptiness, in a Buddhist tone, it is meditative yet numbing. It teaches plant distinction however, and I wonder how the visual acuity promoted by pPsilocybin mushrooms might help in this humble endeavor, to pull the weeds from ones garden.

All farming is really about sex, and everybody is obsessed with sex, so am I, even if its kale sex, or flower sex (true to admit they are not as seductive, but interesting nonetheless). It is all about the stamens and the pistils, the birds and the bees doing their mating dances in the sun, or of pollen grains sifting the wind and impregnating another vegetable with their floral semen. The cows come in heat and the bull has a field day, female fruit trees await their suitor, and every plant, animal and mushroom is giving birth to new life. To grasp the nettle, the mint, the leek, and the lily, and place them bulb side down in a leather or hemp pouch, to gather and forage the wild goods for the market, and those cultivated vegetable greens that had their early beginnings in a greenhouse, such is the nature of picking day. Else on other days is prepared the berry patch, the vineyard, the food hedge, and the bee hives, sitting patiently for their turn in the season. Their time will come, when the transplants have been made, and the cows have rotated to the prizest patches of grass first. Beet, potato, squash, bean and kale, such with the strong will to live, poking their heads above an inch of soil and greeting the ancient sun, the same that shines on the pyramids at Giza. Roots go deep, and the flowers of fruit bud, while the tipi needs for its new spring skin, so ceremony and sweat lodge may manifest their experiences. Rare is a storm but the charge is left in the soil, thunder and nitrogen, fire and cosmic rain. At night, the chickens retire to their boarding room, for fear of predator. No longer the jurassic scaled reptilians as they were their ancestors, still formidable animals. Today I watched two cocks fighting over a promiscuous hen. Their manes flared with bouts of explosive leaps into the air, wrangling with talons in mid jump, and posing a formidable display of primal avian violence to the other. One went the winner, and the other, left to the coop to harry in the dark.

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Kept in the dark are the preparations, dandelion, quartz, manure, bone char and tar, horsetail picked from the fen. They are plant fortifiers and herbivorous deterrents, rain callers, and sun prayers. A group of locals walk the land, looking for edibles while a maiden leads them at the perimeter teaching herbal wisdom. The cats make their home in a wood shed nook, while the dogs bark into the night sky at the detectable odor of a distant hare or badger. Evenfall, the a chorus of amphibian music lurches and rebounds over the organic architecture of hay field, hardwood grove, and crater ponds, then the night meditation of the owl, and the ushering of the whippoorwill. The feralness of the night’s mood lends a calmness to the chaos of the days dealings. All constellations in the afterglow, beaming their light down to earth, country, province, town, this land, my eyes, as they lend their celestial frequencies to my sleep and synchronize with my brain as I sigh the relief of another good day.


This upcoming spring I will start work on a Biodynamic Steiner farm in Tweed. The principles of the farm obviously espoused from the late and great Rudolf Steiner, who also invented the Waldorf schools, Eurythmy movement therapy, Naturopathic medicine company Weleda, a branch of philosophy called Anthroposophy, and designed several architecturally beautiful buildings throughout Europe. His lecture and subsequent book Agriculture held in Berkowitz has come to be a seminal sourcework for those integrating a biodynamic farm. It is a blend of permaculture, organic farming and astrological/astronomical cycles to build a holistic healthy farm. I decided to build up a permaculture cv of the last five years of my experience in the world, from my work varying from small scale homesteads, embassies, eco-communities, guilds, and permaculture farms. This does not stand alone as a summation of my experience but is a representation of what can be done with a lot of hustle and some creativity in the world of permaculture. I intend to use this to further my involvement in the organic agricultural circles, and add to it over the years for a future business. Click through the picture to view.


Why I Farm

Subjectively speaking, I don’t think farming today arouses the interest of the majority of this human population, nor do I think it could be adequately defined in a cohesive manner by several different cultures simultaneously, as one can observe the radical differences between American farming, Mexican farming, Moroccan farming or Icelandic farming. But this is not an attempt to define the niche of farming into a scientific field, they are the musings of someone who IS a farmer, and knows what that means, at least in my own way, and why that is important to me.

A lot of people would describe me as an atavist, seeking ideals lost in the old world, preserving archaic religion and spiritual abstractions that are peculiar to so few, as to have almost little significance in the current community ethos. I would say they are right on the surface, but wrong to the core. For me, I see farming as a pathway into tradition. A force of creative labor that uses the libidinal energy, in a ritualistic AND habitual manner towards the fertility of the earth, and the production of abundance, both of sentient life, and vegetable life, which by this I mean to incorporate all things that can grow from the soil. Farming uses soil as the alchemical prima materia, or so we can imagine for this metaphor I want to give. Each soil is different in its humus content, its clay deposit, its minerals, or bio-matter, its life and organics. From the soil can be seeded the microcosm of an entire ecological habitat, or it can be depleted in a bad Image result for zapatista corn paintingexperiment. In the smallest of seeds, protected by it’s husk of armor, the entire biological existence is already mapped out, to come into fruition with all the order and beauty that unfurls. From these very seeds, a culture can grow, one of maize, or coffee, rice, and potatoes. We think of the Irish or the islanders of PEI and their world renown spuds, or the golden corn and blue agave of southern Yucatan that are so ingrained in Mayan and Zapatista lifestyle. We honor vicariously the coffee culture of old, from it’s roots in South America every time we drink a brew. I for one have picked the ripe cherries in the cloud forests of Oaxaca, to be transported away by donkeys, and sorted on sun drying racks. Every time I caffeinate myself with a dark bitter cup, I think about these times.


Farming for a connection with the source, with the past, and with an integrated culture, but also with the future. Being a provider. I often think farming is a form of altruism and meditation. There are no mass profits, unless it crosses the threshold of commercial industry, which I witness to be more of a factory like labor than real farming. You make enough to get by, and support your kin. Small scale farming, centered around the family, community, or clan, is for the most part where I focus my labor and time in the world. Image result for coffee picking oaxacaThough my four years of experience on the ground do not stack up to the multi-generational farm-steaders I have met in my travels, this only leaves me with something to aspire to. This is perhaps the second reason why I see merit in farming life, for it’s longevity of spirit, and the fact that there are families who have known nothing else, not because they couldn’t have integrated into a modernistic society or business profile life, but because the tenets of life on the land were satisfying enough to the soul to allow a continual feeling of satedness. The modesty that accompanies most farmers is something of a lost human countenance. You don’t meet anyone who brag about their grandfather who worked as a stock exchange man, and his grandfather before that, and the great-grandfather before. It just doesn’t happen, because there is no pride, no learning process, and honor in that field, and above all no growth, literally, and spiritually. I find especially in sustainable small scale farming, there is no need to go big, or to have large amounts of excess surplus because the minute you start producing multiple times more of your fodder, your produce or your product, then you start working for someone else other than yourself, or the extended self, being the family. Your abundance is only abundance in so far as it is now tracked and portioned out, marketed and controlled. Now you have met with the expectations of a society who can not fend for themselves and are parasitically dependent on your work for their sustenance.

I was recently co-erced into working on a rather large dairy. Living in Newfoundland, thinking I knew a fair amount of the heritage here, I went into it with open arms. Tending a 500 cattle herd, milking routine twice a day, right up my alley. But my expectations fell quite short, and the illusion of the matter came out in the wash so to speak. I was hired as a dairyman, and with any sense of truthfulness I was told I would be in doing the milking routine. Well, after three days of being around the cows, morning and evening, not a single drop came from my work. Instead, the cows were auto-milked, and the whole human interaction was missing. Powerful sucking machines placed on the utters for mass production of milk. I thought with a touch of humility, sure you are getting more from the cow, but what about the talent? and the relationship? and the actual work of the body? It all seemed backwards to me. It felt like a factory. Instead I spent my idle hours of work moving manure piles, scraping stalls, moving cows, cleaning the ground, shoveling shite, and nothing else. Nothing with the cattle themselves. There was no work outside, it was all in several barns, and I thought, these are just like my production line days when I lived in French Canada, completely pointless and directionless. I have not learned a thing, and my health was suffering from constantly inhaling the scent of ammonia. I did not get the sense that the other workers cared much for my well-being, and it all felt more slavish than anything. I had a jolt of reality, and realized I could not do this, I couldn’t even bear it or trick my mind to thinking it was still farming because it wasn’t. I had to remember who I was, where I cam from, and why I am. The objective had changed, while these cows were not treated cruely, they were not allies in the sense of other sentient beings worthy of interaction, they just represented a tag, a value, a commodity to be moted about. Besides the fact that I don’t even drink the milk coming from this farm, so how could I support the production of it. Personally I prefer raw free range, goat milk, or some of the alternatives to milk like almond, oat, or rice milk, but that is another tangent. Needless to say I could not continue here, and it brought to the surface an old paradigm of keeping one’s integrity, even in the face of survival.


As a traveler, I am always looking for work, I am kind of an international hobo in that way, but instead riding airplanes and buses, less than hopping trains. The field of labor generally intrigues me and interests my higher self, because I see a limitless potential there so I am genuinely interested in work, and when it comes to farming, I want to have as much archived experience as I can bottle up until the day I have my own land to put it all into practice. I left the farm, and now i’m jobless, but none less the farmer. Because I see one to be not only a provider of the people, you may have heard the adage ‘farmers feed cities’ but also a kind of hero of the land, cultivating it’s worth and artistically rendering the earth to produce nutrients, proteins, and vitamins for the great cyclic system of life, and recycling.

Rather new to the agrarian lifestyle are the agendas of ‘Rewilded farming’, Perma-culture, and Bio-dynamic farming. The latter, a spiritual agricultural disciplined invented by the genius Rudolf Steiner. It’s like sustainable farming with ritual, and moon cycles tied in, which really is a kind of throwback to the Farmer’s Almanac. The former two of these are reactionary, and somewhat archaic types of farming. Rewilding farms to smooth off the hard edges of industrial mono-culture, and seeing the land in a more primal, gaian manner, that can be let to go feral, and still yield abundance. While permaculture is ultimately a counter to intensive agricultural practice as well, global warming, resource availability, politics, and neo-community building. There are amazing principles in each and I have dabbled with all of these, both personally and communally. But the tenets do not change.

I like to see farming in the scope of it’s effect on the consciousness, or more simply put, on the methodology of why. It is one of these past times that preoccupied our ancestors, and farming really means, living in tune with the cycles of nature and is a kind of symbiotic relationship between biology and the people. It represents a society who are dependent on agrarian principles. One must be knowledgeable about the seasons, about ripening times, about pest control, about harvest schedules, about the weather and temperature, about soil health, planting periods, and I can run the gamut, but these are some basics. You can even get more intensive about it, when permaculture is involved and talk about things like; grafting, animal co-workers, hybridizing, hydroponics, soil building, and so forth. These days, these concepts are no longer really seen as important
in mono-culture. The dirt is already robbed and growing one crop in over-tilled soil, seasons do not matter when vegetables can be grown all year round, and we can find something like peppers or cherries in the market even when they are out of season, the state of the food is compromised by a slew of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides, it seems all knowledge and wisdom of natural ecology is thrown out, and there is a single pointed focus on production instead. Even now 3D printed food is a thing, and I consider it almost a marker of a new age, a bizarre one to say the least.


So if farming can mean draught horses, black earth, strong bare chested men, and potato harvests, but can also be chemically induced, genetically modified, big CAT tractors, laziness, destruction, cruelty, and stock shares. I just wonder for the future of farming if I as a holder of the tradition by the very work of my own hands will not be able to place it into the arms of my forebears, if this is the last generation to see real farming. It is a scary thought.

Organic Lifestyles for Travelers

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The term organic has become somewhat of a metaphor these days, taken under wing of the 21st century, the label of organic is used push a brand than a qualitative descriptive noun. Eating organic is probably the most addictive of the consumer side of this lifestyle, that is if you can read between the lines. But beyond the certified organic hemp milk, ‘fair’ trade cocoa, and rare amazonian nut crops that you may find in your health food store, there is more to the organic way of life. It takes a bit of universal knowledge, interest in biology and botany, intrigue into ecological issues, studies of anthropology, product awareness, conscious negation of modernism, disciplined use of substances, and well, I guess you really need to cultivate this type of lifestyle like a farm, with all aspects of your existence working coherently and balanced towards a sort of unified holistic machine, an organic primordial force, rather, that is, You in your fullest potential.

Beyond the diet, the hygiene, and yoga classes, there are deeper ways to go into a sustainable and ‘organic’ lifestyle. Everyone has a hygiene ritual of some kind, but some let it become habitual, then sporadic, then neglected, then not at all. If you have ever tried to monitor your hygiene, speaking from a travelers point of view, it is a tricky thing when on the move. The water you are drinking and showering in, the air you are breathing, what you are putting on, and in, or around your body, as in scent, are all factors to your personal makeup.Also think of all the plastic accessories you might be using on your body, like your toothbrush, comb, hairbrush, and the fire retardant chemicals and plastics in your clothing. As a traveler, you pass through the urban megalopolis of the worlds cities, staying in hostels, showering in chlorinated water, drinking the same, cooking on dishware that has been washed in chemicals, sleeping on bed sheets and pillows that have collected the essences of thousands before you, on spring filled mattresses, and probably compromising your diet to eat the continental breakfasts of sausage and battery cage eggs, or buying some inconvenient superstore foods. This is the average European or British hostel. There is an illusion of cleanliness, abundance and proper facilities. The instant resources in every building are attractive, until you start to question. I won’t shy from saying I have spent my own nights in hostels on last resort, but I never stay longer than a couple sunrises, and I always pack in my food, and quick out of the crowded rooms.

At all costs, I am not a tourist, so I prefer to seek out the locals in the countryside, with access to clean well water, fresh breathing air carrying scents of woods, plants, and livestock. Health to me is sacred, and I don’t care if I pay 5 euros for something that would cost me 2 for the heavily processed version on sale. And I would rather walk 5 km for a couple pints of free range goats milk than buy the vitamin-d deficient pasteurized variety in a store. When I look at the labels of modern industrial food, I see to myself, this is not even food. If you took all the individual ingredients of modern food for example, and you imagine them separated on a table, sometimes over 20 items of unnatural flavors, preservatives, sulphites (poisonous), colors, starches, sugar and derivatives of sugar, modified milk, acids, salt, chemicals, syrups, and pasteurization of perfectly nutrient animal products, then you mix it together, this is no longer even recognizable as food. Why can’t something just be essentially what it is, instead of long lists of unpronounceable ingredients. So people are buying these, and because the label on the front is lying to them on what the label on the back says, they are deceived, thinking, it is all one and the same, consciously neglecting their health for a sale, cutting the minutes off their life, and actively killing themselves by depositing these things in their body. Then throwing away a lot of packing. I think individuals just become apathetic and no longer regard their health as vital, so sometimes it is not a question that they know what they are eating, but rather, they have lost the care. This is when it is important to educate. Many people seek a kind of ‘alternative’ source for food when they want to eat clean, and this can be useful, but I don’t like this term. The alter-native denotes something that would have pertained to our indigenous ancestors and is no longer used, an alter native method is proposed, instead I like to think in terms of original sourcing. The ur-product that one always has to start out with, and what is readily available for nature. Nature is the greatest health food store, medical cabinet, supermarket, and pharmacy on earth, if you know how to benefit from it.

It is of extreme importance to me when I img_2307travel to forage, whenever the opportunity provides, even in central Europe where there is limited species available for foraging, you can find abundance. I have been able to find tens of species of berries and wild fruits, leaves, and even roadkill meat some times. This is something I hold belief in, that one should not waste perfectly good life. Not by consuming less than nutrient food, or by buying meat. This is why I have only collected, grew, or traded or caught my meat in the last 4 years, though I have found vegetarianism suitable to a routine diet, in reality and biologically, I am an omnivore. I will eat a dead pheasant, deer, or squirrel found on the roadside if not bloated and still fresh, I think there is no disposition in relating this to an organic lifestyle, and I think there should be no taboo surrounding this in the mass population. It is wild, and free meat, so travelers take note, this is some of the finest dining you can get. Cooked over a fire, at your camp, I have even found fish brought up from the lake shallows by gulls and other seabirds, then dropped on rocks, salmon still with the eyes dark, barely hours old, that ended up on my iron skillet. I see the importance of foraging as well for the connection it brings to our most primordial nature. This form of organic living is a proponent I want to propel into anyone reading this. I have yet to be on a hunt, but now in Newfoundland island, I have prospects out for the annual moose hunt, which I hope to procure some high quality proteins for the autumn, though I may have to start small first, the odd squirrel maybe. Hunting is the natural progression of foraging I think, and is not a question of morality or sympathy, but empathy and understanding of ecology.

Beyond food and what I put in my body, I try to advocate for those seeking a simpler and more natural existence, a life without plastic. Yes, this laptop I write on has plastic elements, and I listen to music on a plastic ipod which is a decade old, but I have chosen deliberately to live a life almost completely devoid of plastic. I am always looking for better, more sustainable and reusable products. I have even been investing into a laptop from Africa, running completely off solar energy. From the hygiene products I use made from wood and bamboo, to the surfaces I sleep on and in, a down filled sleeping bag, clothes made from hemp, pure cotton, wool and tweed, my tools and instruments, footwear and even the rucksack I carry everything with on my world travels, built from waxed sail canvas. It is easy to acquire gear and not think about these things, like cheap tenting equipment, books, clothes, and self care items. Often I have rather spent the time building a temporary shelter or sleeping out in the open with just some warm wool sweaters and a goathair blankets under shelter of some broadleaf trees when on the road, for want of not carrying around a plastic house. The modern tents are manufactured with petro-chemicals, polyplastics, fire retardants, dyes, and inorganic fabrics, that are not only claustrophobic, but also carcinogenic to breathing, not biodegradable, not aesthetically pleasing, and stressful to the movements of the person within. A plastic free lifestyle is closer than you think but you have to start from almost nothing. Strip down, naked, and carefully select everything that could be useful for a traveling lifestyle, then work at refining your stock, until everything you own actually brings you joy, rather than just ephemeral use. website is a source I found out later, but seems a pretty good start.

Besides being a traveler, I am a farmer, so the fusion of nomadism and agriculture is my main means of survival, and thriving in this world. I find it harder and harder, in the modernized and industrial ‘first world’ countries like those of Northern Europe, Canada, U.S. and the British Isles, but also in the Mediterranean, the prospects of finding good img_1757fertile land. And by that I mean, soil that has not been deprived, and manipulated to only grow a few select crops in the millions, or diverse grasslands that have not been mowed down and seeded with one type of greenery for the specific grazing of one variety of livestock. I wish it were not this way, and I don’t feel any pride saying even my home country is hugely guilty of this. With the loss of cultural tradition, subsistence small scale farming, the shifting of age demographic to older generation groups, and the rise of big-ag. there is increasing difficulty to find work, not only for me, but other young travelers I meet wanting to get back to the land. I have been stuck volunteering for the bulk majority of my work, I would say 8 out of 12 months of the year is spent working for free. Romantic and altruistic maybe, but it is because I can not even find a meager living with a sustaining wage on any farm that uses permaculture principles, multi species grazing, diversity of crops, variety of landscape, traditional slow paced practice, hand tool ethics, and manual labor. People are being replaced my john deere tractors, sorting machines, auto-tillers, and massive equipment, and the people who run them are pressing all the levers and buttons to make it all go. Modern farmers aren’t really working hard, or efficient, they are just getting more done because they have more money behind it, and they still have time to live completely modern lives, watch the news, drive gas guzzling trucks, and live in futuristic houses. To add to this, I do hitchhike often, but I have never owned a care, and I advocate highly for riding bicycles, rollerblading or just walking, it is our bipedal feature after all, it would be embarrassing if people forgot how to do it and had to start learning the basics of walking in survivalist workshops. Last week I called a farmer on another part of this island, known for its prestigious farm heritage and pioneering. I was answered by an old man, who upon hearing that I was a traveler looking for work, looked past all my experience with old world breed animals, diversity of gardening experience, self style work ethic, and huge curriculum of experience, and exclaimed his disinterest in even greeting me. This used to be the running creed. Young people are now moving away from life on the land and forced into city lives, working barista jobs at starbucks, or marketing. These dead end routines do not conform to an organic lifestyles, and I see no honor or merit in them. Thus I would continue to urge those dirt worshiping feral men and woman to continue to push towards the farming life, there is untold beauty in it’s embrace and one that I can wholly backup.

With work, hygiene, and diet covered, you can think about your housing, most of the population live in cheap housing. Modern carbon copy houses, insulated with fiberglass which carries asbetos, surrounding by brick, or cinder block walls, chemically treated wood, carcinogenic painted rooms, plasticized furniture, gypsum rock which often has hidden black molds, bacteria carrying carpets, and grimy cooking, eating and sleeping surfaces. All for the sake of ‘public safety’, zoning permits, codes and governmental rules. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out when you spend a few nights in a drafty cabin in the woods, how much better your health will be even after 72 hours. You may get a draft of wind, the odd spider or insect, or even a drop of water through the roof once in a while, but the benefits of submersion in raw nature far exceeds the over-safe cocooning in element proof housing built into concrete wastelands. A week in the jungle even further proves this, you are not competing with unwanted destructive sounds like cars, and sirens, no walls of glass and steel outside your windows, in fact you don’t even have ‘windows’, just mesh screens to keep mosquitoes out, the air is not dead and stagnant inside, and there are plants growing just outside your door. I think the earthship movement is quite radical and worth its salt for how it’s adapting to climate change, and available ‘waste’ materials, to build homes. It is localized and skillful construction on mostly organic principles. Try moving into the wild, and just taking shelter in a natural setting, see how it affects your mental health, your sleep, your dreams. Analyze your thoughts during the day, do you have a long list of chores, or are you content with just sitting in your clearing or on your mountain peak and just being for awhile? There are no cafes nearby to get your morning brew, but fresh air, and unfiltered sunlight are adequate enough to wake you up, and get you going for the day. Then you can even think about bringing others into your company in a set and setting that are attractive to anyone.


Your impact on this world is not only for you, and to paraphrase McKenna for a second “we are the meaning of our ancestors lives”. Such a sentiment should be carried everyday, and I would extend to that, we are the progenitors of our descendants meaning. To follow an organic lifestyle, recognizing your health as sacred and uncompromising, your spirit as sovereign, your hygiene is the way you present yourself to the people around you, and yourself, your work is ethical and important beyond filling your ego and your bank account,  culture is not your friend to rap on McKenna again. You need to build your own. You can be unconsciously naive, and never grow, pleasantly idling in ignorance until your shell breaks from revelation, but then you have the responsibility to shift to consciously choosing, what and how you become, as you rapidly adapt to the changing ontology of this game of the fittest.


Hedemora Chickens

I met a chicken farmer recently in Gamla Uppsala, with a particular flock of birds unlike any I have seen or farmed with myself. Naturally I took curiosity, and knocked on the side door to ask about his chickens, to which he was overwhelmingly informative on his birds, and told many stories and information about the breed.

Called Hedemora Chickens, they are a native Swedish breed, that he has kept for three decades on a small tract of land beside an ancient Viking settlement. The breed itself has been around since the 17th century Medieval times. One of his oldest chickens was seventeen years in age. He also has interesting looking Musk ducks from south America with a red mask of feathers around the eyes. He told me about their unique feathers which are nearly like fur on some of the lower parts of the body, and have both normal plumage, and down, like that from eider ducks. This is the warmest natural animal material you can get, and he also was highly enthusiastic about the meat quality, being only second to a type of wild Swedish forest bird, related to the grouse.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They are extremely cold hardy and can free-range in -20c, or lay eggs at -5c. They live in a part of Sweden that is close to the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska. Besides this, their color variations are many. You can have a completely black bird, with black beak, wattle, comb, feathers, bones, and meat, by carefully crossing the birds with the bluish/purple features. Though he said farmers in Sweden never breed for the looks, rather for the quality of the eggs, and the meat. I was given 5 eggs, which are just waiting to be boiled and eaten.

I have looked far and wide for chicken breeds that I would like to own, and have bee favoring towards Icelandic chickens, and possibly guinea hens, but before now I had never known of this breeds existence, and would love to have a few in my future flock, whenever I can build my own farm. Until then, I will have to stare at these beautiful birds, and learn their ways, while they scratch and peck on another man’s land.


Against the Use of Big Machines in Agriculture

I feel a heavy hand tonight, to write this piece because it has been fermenting in my mind for some time now, actually since I wrote the post about hand tools. This is something I want to speak with clarity and coherency about the use of machines on the farm, mostly I am referring to the large machinery like harvesters, tractors, tillers, weed badgers, farm vehicles, etc. I think I can talk with some authority here given my extensive study of permaculture, traditionalist agriculture, and my world work on different ethnic farms. Having also been doing this steady now for 3 years.

In the world of monoculture farming, you are sure to get one thing, by necessity, one crop of whatever was planted, in long row upon row of the same fruit, grain, cereal, vegetable, or nut, and that’s it. Sometimes these farms can swell to immense proportions, in the hundreds or even thousands of acres. The crop is planted once in the case of an annual, and then reaped of all it’s bounty at the end of the season, using powerful machines, then they lie dormant and must be planted again after winter. All the product is shipped far off, probably to another country, and a laborer of the farm may spend years in this field and never even consume what comes off the plant, because it is cleaned, processed, and packaged exclusively for someone else. There is something wrong here.
Now the root problem of this comes in when you ask how you can sow 1 million seeds of rye, or 50,000 blueberry bushes, or half a million heads of corn, then you must also reap them when they are ready to eat. The machines that are used make a lot of noise, consume petrol, are dangerous to operate, they break down and need hard to find parts shipped from Japan, they are ugly and do not fit with the landscape, they damage the crops extensively, break water lines, compact the soil, leave permanent scars and ruts in the fields, need sometimes several people to operate, and are only good at doing one job at a time, during a short window of the year. The aura of different problems can continue but I will posture these as some prime examples. One must ask why there is need for this? Why do machines have to come in the game?

Because sustainable farming does not have anything to do with producing a vast amount of crop to provide a city with their groceries, it means first taking care of yourself, and making sure your closest family, and maybe your small community will be provided for, of course this is most efficient when solo, for then only one person needs to be taken care of. When an entire suburb needs their greenhouse kale every day of the year at their local grocery store chain, there is no possibility of these foods being sustainably grown, and nurtured into existence without machines. When you bring in the big metal, you cause more damage than good, and the attention to quality in work depletes.I have personally experience the gamut of different farming techniques from smallholding front yard gardens to permaculture, biodynamic principles, organic community gardens, monoculture, polyculture, silviculture, and every other culture you can name, almost. When an individual or collective of green minded people put in the conscious energy of planting a garden that is dymamically active, or establishing a food forest that actually mimics nature, and generally sowing a small scale plantation, or orchard of some kind, then there is no use for the big machines. There is nothing quite as dexstrous as the human hand when a blueberry bush needs combing, nothing as efficient as a ladder and a long reach to get every walnut or hazelnut off a tree in fruit, and almost nothing more traditional in the ethnic history of agriculture than good old fashioned shucking of corn. There is no mutilation to the plants that have worked so hard with the natural elements to thrive, no broken branches from awkward machinery, no missed berries, and a more subtle appreciation for the actual food you are receiving from nature. It is slow pace, but does not mean thousands or millions of dollars in investments.

One lazy beer gut can run over a field of barley, and not give a flying fuck where it goes, what it is making, or what it does to the earth, so long as he gets his pay and can afford his bills. He is not a farmer who switches gears, presses buttons, pulls levers, and moves tyres over the soil, killing all other life to keep a few hundred of the same, ignoring the importance of diversity. When you stand barefoot on black earth, or crawling near the shade of plants breathing in the microbes of the soil, and the fresh air, in the elements, with 4-5 others doing the same, carefully digging each potato out of the ground, allowing yourself to be alright without aesthetically perfect food, then what is gained from the work is not only a yield, but an experience, a challenge, and a lesson of teaching. You may find 10 or more plants that you chose to identify that you have never known before, you may see wildlife, in their macro-or microfauna varieties, you don’t need to be closed in a metal box with earplugs, and safety protection, you can forage all day, and not have to take 3 square meals, which is so unnatural anyways. Even weeding can be a catharsis, when the same task is repeated, you no longer have to think about it, and your mind can tackle those pent up problems you have held on to for so long. You can use the weeds as a metaphors for those issues in your life you want to defeat or take complete control of. This idea came to me while weeding a field of shrubs, moving down the line, row by row forever, but at least I kept my dignity, and I had my night planned out before me already in my mind. Through seeing the sacred in the mundane. You connect to if not a wilder instinct, at least a true understanding of agrarian lifestyle. A dependency on the soil that humbles the human nature.

There is no need for the big guns, the crows and the wasps are not vermin, and the winged or shelled ones pose no real danger, no is no such thing as weeds, it is mankinds inventioned farming and his fossil fuel burning behemoths that are the real problem! Can I pose a solution? Think of a pig as having a tiller on the front, and a manure spreader on the back, think of the chicken as a mobile pest control vehicle, think of the dog as an off road sheep herder, the cow as a furrow cutter, and the workhorse, or work moose for all you Canadiana folk out there as a winch trailer for those buff logs to haul from the woods.