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408my introduction

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  • Ryan
    Feb 23, 2002
      Hello all,

      I found Fukuoka through Permaculture, which I found through Biodynamics. My
      interest in sustainable agriculture is both a practical and ethical
      interest; it seems to me to be the cleanest pursuit we can make in this
      world, as the Chinese saying goes, wearing only one hat, letting go of
      extraneous desires and pre-occupations.

      At the time, I was living in Asturias, in north western Spain, and we had
      little trouble growing anything year round. The agricultural divide in Spain
      is great, and it is very easy to see the impact agriculture has on its
      environment. If Spain allows the desertification to spread through the
      northern mountains, I think Europe will be threatened much more
      dramatically. Unfortunately, these lessons are easy to see almost anywhere
      we live or travel in this time.
      Fukuoka's name began to echo and dry references to rice-barley-clover
      cultivation still managed to draw my attention. Once I found a copy of The
      One Straw Revolution, I felt I had found a teacher who was the best of
      teachers, striving to make himself redundant, looking at more and less than
      creating a food factory.

      The world is comprised of many layers of environment; I see the world
      visually, I comprehend it mentally, feel it emotionally, affect it
      physically and socially, and can feel other undercurrents of perception all
      of which are environments surrounding me. I don't think we can
      institutionalize or affect a peace from an authoritative standpoint, but
      through affecting our environments more effectively, from the inside out. We
      can look and see what we are not, what does not have to be defended or
      sustained with effort and tension. This not-doing is what Fukuoka inspires
      in me, and I wish I could have the experience to absorb how he flows with
      his other environments. Being around such teachers is a transformative
      experience, and I think that equanimity transmits in every direction they
      affect the world.

      "When a person is fairly enlightened, they can transmit -- actually
      transmit -- that enlightened awareness through a touch, a look, a gesture,
      or even through the written word. It's not as weird as it sounds. We are
      all' transmitting' our present state to each other all the time. If you are
      depressed, it can be 'contagious,' depressing others around you. When you
      are happy, others tend to get happy. Just so with the higher states. In the
      presence of a psychic-level yogi, you tend to feel power. In the presence of
      a subtle-level saint, you tend to feel great peace. In the presence of a
      causal-level sage, you tend to feel massive equanimity. In the presence of a
      nondual siddha --these are often very ordinary people -- you simply find
      yourself smiling a lot... We are ALL transmitting our own level of awareness
      all the time." - Ken Wilber

      Now I am in Richmond, Virginia, where I grew up, trying to look for a farm
      in West Virginia, helping start a compost-coop, a community garden,
      hopefully working more to revitalize the Farmers' Market (we're trying to
      get city funding to make it an indoor market, so they can sustain themselves
      year-round), and a few more fun projects like designing and orchard and
      helping my mother work her garden in the country. It feels busy sometimes,
      but I'm actually pretty lazy.

      Out in the country, there are a few cat-ravaged raised beds; only the mache'
      has survived. I'm waiting for one of the new beds, which is actually a
      beautiful giant compost pile right now, and building a hugelkultur next to
      it as an experiment. For anyone who doesn't know, a hugelkultur is a mass of
      sticks and twigs, then leaves and compost finally covered by some soil. The
      mound decays and collapses with time, holds a great deal of moisture, and
      helps start potatoes and other veggies a little earlier because of the
      higher temperature.
      We have famously solid red clay in Virginia that is making friends with a
      family of daikon and clover, and I think we'll try some buckwheat also this
      summer. Most of the efforts are now on herbs and annual flowers, but I'm
      trying to win my mother over with healthier soil and more perrenials, and
      more vegetables in the back field.
      Does anyone have any advice for deterring cats? We have packs of wild cats
      that tear up the beds unless they are packed thick with vegetation, and
      needless to say, catpoop isn't the healthiest for digging around in. Most
      fences don't cut it.

      Also, does anyone know a resource where I can find out what fruit seeds are
      not denatured?. I have been planning an orchard, but I prefer not to use
      rootstock, and most seeds will revert or produce unpredictable results. Nuts
      and hardwoods are easy, but we've spent so long breeding most fruit trees.

      In response to an old question from Souscayrous: most vegetables will love
      you in a Mediterranean climate, since most of the vegetables we eat are of
      Mediterranean origin. For the rest of your yard, I would follow Fukuoka's
      advice and dig in with some clover, buckwheat, mustard, daikon and build the
      soil, then put in some trees or shrubs. And if you need some help digging
      some swales, let me know, I'll probably be back in Asturias this fall.

      I've enjoyed listening into this community, I hope to participate more.

      Thanks to you all.

      Leave everything as it is in fundamental simplicity,
      and clarity will arise by itself.
      Only by doing nothing will you do all there is to be done. - Dilgo Khyentse

      A human being is part of a whole, called by us the 'Universe,' a part
      limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and
      feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion
      of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting
      us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
      Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles
      of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its
      beauty. - Albert Einstein

      Sometimes, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a
      reverie, amidst the pines and hickories and sumacs, in undisturbed solitude
      and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiseless through the
      house, until by then sun falling in at my west window, or the noise of some
      traveler's wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the pass of time.
      I grew in those seasons like corn in the night, and they were far better
      than any work of the hands would have been. They were not time subtracted
      from my life, but so much over and above my usual allowance. I realized what
      the Orientals mean by contemplation and the forsaking of work.
      To some extent, and at rare intervals, even I am a yogi. - Henry David
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