Noah Figg

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since Dec 14, 2011
DFW Area, Texas
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Recent posts by Noah Figg

I also found it to be a wonderful book, although its very long and emotionally awkward at times. I think it shows how the world would be a better place if people valued themselves and dealt with others with honesty. It goes against the idea that there is a magical pie of all achievement, success, wealth, health and happiness, and you should use force to make sure its split up evenly; a sort of plunder upon everyone mentality. This plundering mentality of society at large in the book grows more psychotic and delusional the more power it holds until society is collapsing under a tyrannical but self-proclaimed humanitarian US government.

The author argues that individuals have to actually have goals, focus on them, work toward them, ignore people who just want to complain and react with jealousy to achievement, and follow through in order to make change in the world and build a more just society. It also argues at great length that love should be given to those who deserve it, not as an automatic duty to others; love is your reward to those whom you value in some way, put simply. Furthermore, the author's view on art in general is that it should inspire the viewer to be a better person and show how, so I believe she is trying to show how a person might handle living in a largely corrupted society with heroism.

If we all build our gault's gulches, maybe one day we can tell stories about how people used to complain that the food at the corporate food store wasn't very good stuff, before we just took responsibility and built a better food system. To whatever extent we each can, we know about the problems, we know about solutions, so I would be proud to be a part of that response to the many common issues facing humans. That's the kind of inspiration just thinking of the book makes me feel anyway.
I'm not very experienced with tree care, Mr. Perry, but I have a few thoughts that may help.

First, I didn't notice if you said what kind of slope exists in the mini-orchard area. If there is any slope (or really in any case), I would consider if water catchment of some kind could be of benefit. Plant water as they say. Paul Wheaton typically has only good things to say about at least giving the land some variation, even if it is generally flat. Some dips and crests will create some shelter from wind, moist spots and give the opportunity for more diverse communities with the polarized cool/warm, dry/wet regions that the variations create.

If you would to delve in further, in a recent podcast "292: Review of the Permaculture Orchard" (of the DVD):
Paul /Wheaton discusses his philosophy about orchard systems. Some points I captured:
a) provide a ground cover or grass will be it
possible solution if you have grass, let it grow tall and chop and drop--smothers future grass, creates soil, feeds the trees
c) only 1 in 10 trees should be a single species
d) maybe every 1 of 3 trees a nitrogen fixer, 1 of 3 trees a fruit tree, 1 of 3 tree a nut tree.
e) don't plant in straight lines because wind has an easier path through it

Sadly, this usually means perhaps taking out trees that are already there, but perhaps given the existing variety and spacing, you may be able to add between and to the edges of the fruit trees to accomplish something close to this.
As far as I have heard, some of these support species can thrive nearby to fruit trees, but I guess with more mature existing trees, the roots may prevent planting too close.

Good luck, I'm sure more experienced persons can drop by and help more.
8 years ago
Hi Ted,

I would think it could still be made part of a productive system. Maybe you can focus on further reducing incoming wind by planting trees strategically. You can also try Marsha Hanzi's technique to keep moisture in the bed starting out, "we put half-rotted tree trunks around the edges to keep the moisture in." You could also consider how to collect water toward the bed so some of it can infiltrate up into the bed, if you have access to a shovel.

The benefits of a tall bed is that it will block a lot of wind. If you could place multiple of them in a good pattern, you could probably create more moist, less windy spots. Good luck with your place.
8 years ago

Kevo Jurkowski wrote:(clipped ...)
What I really wanted to piggyback on was the topic of logical fallacies and critical thinking. Not being able to identify fallacious arguments is a very big problem in western culture. I just wanted to leave a few resources for people that may want to study up a bit more. I also would like to introduce the concept of the TRIVIUM.( I will leave a video below) Learning about logical fallacies and the trivium is like "kung fu for the mind,or intellectual self-defense". Jan Irvin of Gnostic Media and Tragedy and Hope Communications have done a mountain of work concerning these topics. I hope they are helpful to some of you. I know they were helpful for me. I also have attached a list of logical fallacies in PDF below.
People desperately need to be versed in this stuff. To many people wind up being duped by the talking heads on the boob tube. If you find yourself thinking that the arguments on the evening news make perfect logical sense. THIS IS FOR YOU!

Keep up the great dialogue!


I, too, want to applaud the critical thinking tone and looking at an issue from multiple perspectives rather than through a combative mindset of this vs that. Second, I want to highly stress how valuable the links mentioned by Kev here are. Critical thinking is just a phrase until one learns and employs the methods and techniques that make it a reality, similar to how "skeptic" as a label can be slapped on many things as an intellectual badge of honor without substance. I perceive critical thinking be a strength of many permaculture practitioners, I think since it is by definition an "out there" idea, and it doesn't represent either "side" of some simplistic dichotomy defined by others. It is searching for a better way, based on what works in reality.

The Trivium method mentioned above also, if I may explain it briefly, is a helpful model for how our mind processes and acts on information. By using a model, the steps of thinking can be better understood. Here are the parts of that model: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Grammar is made of everything that exists: ideas, objects, animals, the world, etc. Logic is the process of understanding the connections of those things (the grammar) usually by removing any contradictions in the grammar. Rhetoric, lastly, is the formulation of logical understandings into communicable language that spread and impart the knowledge, but it involves knowing who the audience is and using the best way to communicate specifically to them.

The Trivium is also a name given to certain historical school systems where a proscribed grammar, and perhaps a proscribed logic are used as a platform to impart pre-defined knowledge and beliefs in the student. It is confusing given the names, but this in many ways is opposite to using the Trivium method, which takes reality to be the source of grammar and that logic must be used to eliminate and remove grammar that logically contradicts other firmly grounded grammar. The schooling tradition (The Trivium) has a given end-goal, while the clear thinking method has no end-goal, as that is the decision of the human doing the thinking.

When using the trivium method to evaluate debate presentations, you see a lot of failure to ever critically evaluate the facts or logic that the rhetoric is based on. Many people only use the rhetorical aspect of grammar in debates, with the apparent mindset of "I know the truth, how can I convince others I'm right?". I would imagine a trivium method based debate would focus heavily on word definitions, multiple perspectives, and logical relationships, much more than rhetoric, and would result in each side giving credence to valid facts and arguments that must be considered, whether they support one conclusion or another.

Thanks, Paul, for the intriguing discussion! And please check out Kev's links, there is actually a mountain of good information about many topics within those sites.
Lemongrass - tall perennial bunching grass
needs: sun?, 3-4ft space?
yields: flavoring, repelling snakes?, preventing the encroachment of other grasses?, biomass?
Yerba Buena - I think this may refer to a number of different species, but if it is a mint, then:
needs: probably a moist spot, partial shade?
yields: tea, insectary, ground cover
Wormwood - I don't know this, and it depends on what specific plant
Lemon Verbena - shrub that can take some shade, leaves for flavoring

After looking at all the properties of these plants and the space you have to work with, you can start making connections between these elements.

What roles might the plants you have play?
Yerba Buena: ground cover, insectary, biomass
Lemongrass: provides shade
Wormwood & Lemon Verbena roles: shrub layer

What kind of roles are missing from this ensemble? Some I can think of are:
-Nitrogen-fixers - peas/beans might fit in a small system like this. there are a variety that grow in hot or cool times. From small annuals to trees.
-Dynamic nutrient accumulators - yarrow, comfrey, and many plants perform this role, with different nutrients and elements (such as N, P, K, and all the minor ones)
-Tap-rooted plants - these can break up soil to allow better water infiltration
-Matt-rooted plants & ground covers - stabilize soil and prevent erosion
-Vine layer - what plants or structures could support a vine of some sort?
-Tuber layer - what could be growing under the ground amongst these plants?
-Insectary - get a variety of these to attract different insects, different times of year, etc.
-Biomass - produces a lot of material over the year, good to contribute to mulch & composting

Much depends on your climate, your land form, what you use, etc., but hopefully this will help out some to get started thinking of it.
8 years ago
It looks awful similar to this picture of the caper fruit and seeds. The bud is normally pickled as the caper, but the caper berry shown is also eaten in Greek cuisine, IF it is that plant. Looks cool, hope it is something useful.

I keep changing my mind.. there are a lot of differences besides the similar overall appearance.
8 years ago
These look a lot like a petunia variety. There are bush type and annual type petunias I think, but I'd check for what the native petunias to your area are if you can. It could be something completely different too.

Second look, no I don't think they're petunias. I didn't notice the bottom two long petals.
8 years ago
Further thinking on this, perhaps given the size of a 5 gallon bucket experiment, this amount of air and pressure would probably be a good fit for keeping a cooler or small box cool.
8 years ago
I've been researching this type of system as well and I wanted to share some thoughts of what I might try with them. First of all, I don't have access to normal flowing water, so I am considering how such a system could be used for occasional flow to build up compressed air during those times for use in other times. The first topic I looked at was what is a cheap airtight container. I found 5 gallon buckets are a common airtight-sealable container if they have the lid on right. A rain barrel might be able to be used as well, not sure. Second, a standard rain gutter off a house seems like a good place to start in building a trompe. Altering the downspout to increase air draw is one thing I was considering (silly but I think straws glued along edges of downspout would function), but I think it would suck down a decent amount of air without modification. Third, roof runoff is something I would like to use to water my gardens, so the pipe could be directed after the trompe to drier beds or a rain barrel for later use.

If these elements are put together, I think a system could be built that during every rain stores up pressurized air in a 5 gallon container, as well as fills a rain barrel or redirects water somewhere (or the redirection could be after overflow of rain barrel). The slightly pressurized air would be piped to the back porch or somewhere else people gather to cool that area in the summer.

A few other thoughts I've had are that putting a 2x4 or other material should block flow along the bottom of the airtight container to encourage the flow upward by the compressed air pocket. Also, I wonder if this size may not generate enough pressure with the fall of a single story house, but I would think it might generate enough to be somewhat useful, not to mention free operation.
8 years ago
I'm not sure if DE will kill it, but as to what eats and will naturally control viburnum beetle, apparently lady beetle, lacewings and spined soldier bugs (mostly larvae) feed on this beetle and can naturally control it:

So I would try to find ways to draw more beneficial insects to your bush, if at all possible.
8 years ago