Good Morning, Robert,
Please forgive my jumble! As I thank Don for the important
understanding of the characteristics of the earth that forms under
evergreen cypress, I mean to thank you for the crucial information on
what plants are safe, even nutritious, in the schoolyard, where we
never know who will suddenly take a taste of the herbaceous border.
As we are required to interfere with the natural habit of the
trees by raising (cutting) the lowest branches, to about adult knee
height, the toddlers walk right under, & the older children love the
sense of enclosure as a meeting place. The tree becomes their
habitat. From beneath & within, we study bird's nesting patterns, one
nest woven with an unfurled cassette tape lasted years in the tree.
After two years of continuous picking parties (including an annual
parents on ladders event), we finally overtook the bagworm
infestation. We learn the danger of the wasp's nest, to look out for
the spider's web. These are ways that the hearts, eyes & hands of the
children are readied to Mr. Fukuoka, even when urban school security
compels sawing off the lowest branches. The beautiful sweeping boughs
had created a habitat for the most unsavory nocturnal activities in
the park, the leavings of which were dangerously unsanitary, as in the
case of discarded hypodermics. The complexity of the issues here is
undoubtedly no greater than any other project. The mention again of
distressing issues that we deal with as a school is not meant to
wander too far off topic, but rather to give note of the range of
applications for natural gardening, which includes coming into sites
where nature must needs suffers disruption. Where groups of children
have the opportunity to be part of nature, nature prepares multiple
meanings of the term nursery. If there is a place designated for
children's investigation of these subjects, we hope to contribute a
realistic metropolitan example. If anyone else has a focus on
children's education, please tell us a story of how, until they are
trained to ignore, they observe.
Robert Monie wrote:
> Hello Everybody,
> To Robin, Maya, and Napi: I had hoped the pink purslane would work
> for you (see archive 906) when you said you would try it as an
> "experiment...among shady podzols, ...cafeteria water...on Cupressus
> lane." Pink purslane is a true "understory" plant that likes to
> linger in dark places under vegetative arches and bowers--the sort
> of plant Wordsworth loved, small, but making its presence known
> under the bigger, more imposing overgrowth.
> To Justin: Yes, Fukuoka is nothing if not practical. He wants us not
> to contemplate our navels, but to become immersed in the lives of
> the plants that have co-evolved with us. In tending to their needs,
> ours are served as well. It is hard for "industrial man" (or woman)
> to connect with nature in this non-analytical, non-conceptural way.
> Fukuoka says to trust him, jump in, and you will see the way. I
> suspect that the Way has many entry points, and some may need to
> start with a more mechanistic approach, such as the "guilds" in
> agroforestry that Toby Hemenway introduces in his "Gaia's Garden."
> The "guilds" are attempts to engineer one's way into nature by
> laying down patterns suggested by "complexity theory," in the hope
> that nature will then "self-organize" the patterns as her own.
> Sometimes, at least, this works! So, mechanical man (or "Gutenburg
> man" as Marshall McLuhan used to say) does companion planting, with
> root crops--like daikon--and deep accumulator plants--like
> dandelion--at the bottom. Over these are planted nitrogen fixing
> plants, like clover. Over these are creeping vines--like strawberry
> and winter squash. Over these are nitrogen-fixing shrubs and
> trees. With luck, a synergistic balance occurs and each plant group
> takes care of the other, supplying shade, opening root pathways,
> forming symbiotic relations with microbes, retaining moisture,
> repelling insect predators, and so forth.
> To Larry: More categories would focus and clarify the website. One
> category for Fukuoka interviews and writing, another for our own
> experiments, extensions and adaptations of Fukuoka, another for
> books recommended or reviewed. You might also have a bulletin board
> to keep up with conferences concerning natural farming, such as the
> one at Shiva's school that occurred the first two week of October
> this year. (The silence following this event is deafening. Did any
> anyone on this list actually attend? Did Fukuoka get the tree seeds,
> were transcripts or videos made?)
> Bob Monie
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