S Haze

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since Feb 14, 2012
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Scott is living on a ten acre farm in a small town with his wife and two children where he is building a house and bringing in more plants and animals every year.  Permaculture has been of major interest to Scott ever since reading Gia's Garden around 2004 and in 2011 he completed a Permaculture Design Course through Midwest Permaculture in Stelle, IL.  He studied art and manufacturing engineering technology at MSU, Mankato receiving a BFA and a BS in 2004.  He worked at Minnesota's largest apple orchard before returning to his hometown to become a partner in a family farming operation.
Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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Recent posts by S Haze

Both of these poems moved me to tears when I recently heard them recited.  They seem to fit well with the theme here.

The first is written by Aubrey Marcus and is inspired by Alison Nappi's: A wild woman is not a girlfriend. She is a relationship with nature, which is also copied below.  Enjoy!

A wild man is not a boyfriend, he is a force.
Can you love me in the blinding heat of a birthing star, when I shower warmth on distant moons?

Can you love me in the hole of the cosmic Black, where no one can reach me? Not even you?

Can you love me then too?

Can you love me when I drag buffalo skulls through the dirt for days, to the rhythm of an ancient drum?

Will you love me if my beard hides the scars in my heart, from battles I cannot explain?

WIll you love me when I lack courage, when I am defeated, when I won't let you patch my wounds?

WIll you trust me when I smell of sweetgrass and sage, and when I stink of whiskey and sweat?

When I drink from the cup and play in astral light, will you anchor me to Home?

What happens when my words don't work, and I can speak with only my eyes?

Can you love me enough to let me go, without asking me where I'll be?

I am no poodle to lay groomed on a leash at your feet. I am the wolf that fetches the bones of truth.

A wild man is not a boyfriend. He's not built for animal husbandry. He is a force. He is a cause for an effect. He is a mission.

Are you afraid to let me inside you? Not just my flesh, but my soul. The wild man is neither burglar or vandal. I will not take anything from you. I will not trample on sprouting seeds or pick flowers as a trophy. I am the sun on flooded fields and the fire for tangled webs.

Don't be scared, lover, mother, maiden, crone. Take me as I am.

Even if I have the power to destroy worlds, I will not destroy you.

A wild man is a protector. A father. A warrior for all that is good.

When the chaos seeks to obliterate you, sheering your flesh from bone, I will hold all the pieces together in love, until you are ready to reassemble.

When your seas boil, and your winds throw cars at corn fields, I will wait patiently for you to catch my eye, so that both of us can laugh.

When Hell opens up the fiery gates, and sends all the cosmos against you, I plant my heels deep in the ground. I lay my shield low. My sword is sharp then, my love. The steel sings sweetly. With a smile, Hoka Hey! My last breath a farewell kiss. Today is a good day to die.

For ours is the oldest love affair. The greatest story ever told. Cupid and Psyche, Shiva and Shakti, You and I.

Same same but different. Would we have it any other way?

A wild man is not a boyfriend. He is a force.



Allison Nappi's poem:

A wild woman is not a girlfriend. She is a relationship with nature.

But can you love me in the deep? In the dark? In the thick of it?

Can you love me when I drink from the wrong bottle and slip through the crack in the floorboard?

Can you love me when I'm bigger than you, when my presence blazes like the sun does, when it hurts to look directly at me?

Can you love me then too? Can you love me under the starry sky, shaved and smooth, my skin like liquid moonlight?

Can you love me when I am howling and furry, standing on my haunches, my lower lip stained with the blood of my last kill?

When I call down the lightning, when the sidewalks are singed by the soles of my feet, can you still love me then?

What happens when I freeze the land, and cause the dirt to harden over all the pomegranate seeds we've planted?

Will you trust that Spring will return?

Will you still believe me when I tell you I will become a raging river, and spill myself upon your dreams and call them to the surface of your life?

Can you trust me, even though you cannot tame me?

Can you love me, even though I am all that you fear and admire?

Will you fear my shifting shape?

Does it frighten you, when my eyes flash like your camera does?

Do you fear they will capture your soul?

Are you afraid to step into me?

The meat-eating plants and flowers armed with poisonous darts are not in my jungle to stop you from coming. Not you.

So do not worry. They belong to me, and I have invited you here.

Stay to the path revealed in the moonlight and arrive safely to the hut of Baba Yaga: the wild old wise one, she will not lead you astray if you are pure of heart.

You cannot be with the wild one if you fear the rumbling of the ground, the roar of a cascading river, the startling clap of thunder in the sky.

If you want to be safe, go back to your tiny room the night sky is not for you.

If you want to be torn apart, come in. Be broken open and devoured. Be set ablaze in my fire.

I will not leave you as you have come: well dressed, in finely-threaded sweaters that keep out the cold.

I will leave you naked and biting. Leave you clawing at the sheets. Leave you surrounded by owls and hawks and flowers that only bloom when no one is watching.

So, come to me, and be healed in the unbearable lightness and darkness of all that you are.

There is nothing in you that can scare me. Nothing in you I will not use to make you great.

A wild woman is not a girlfriend. She is a relationship with nature. She is the source of all your primal desires, and she is the wild whipping wind that uproots the poisonous corn stalks on your neatly tilled farm.

She will plant pear trees in the wake of your disaster.

She will see to it that you shall rise again.

She is the lover who restores you to your own wild nature.



Beautiful looking place!  It reminds me of church at Boy Scout camp only a hell of lot cooler looking!

Here's one photo of the "chapel" at Big Island state park in MN.

9 months ago
ADD strikes again!

The house work continues on and on and ON!  Smaller and more simple would have been really nice!  But life is complicated and messy, just like the bottom photo.  We have the needs and desires of loved ones to consider and then there's all the other REALLY COOL STUFF life hurtles us through.  It would be so nice if the house was completely done but all in all I wouldn't trade it for anything else!  Soil health initiatives on my family's conventional corn and soy farm, agroforestry, raising mangalitza hogs and cattle, and lots of other fun and exciting things have pulled me away from this forum and the at times from the house project.

Progress does continue though!  We've finished interior walls, prepared for exterior stucco, finished the roof and facia, brought the upstairs bathroom to 85% completion, and will soon completely finish the spare bedroom.  Over the next 6 months I hope to at least quadruple the pace of the previous 6 months.  This will be accomplished by keeping myself accountable, enlisting the help of family members and holding them accountable, hosting another cob workshop to wrap up some details, and putting my money where my mouth is by hiring some help from part-timers, handymen, and professionals.  Some of the finishing woodwork details can be outsourced and I've found a local who's really good with a trowel.

Halfway through the winter of 2014-2015 we started "camping out" in the new house, still cooking and showering in the old one but now this is our 2nd full winter.  The firewood supply is growing without effort so it must working! I think we're using about 2-3 cords per winter and it will only get better as we add efficiency measures such as thermal window drapes and seal air leaks around the ceilings.

Hope everyone who reads this finds their own personal best way to make positive impacts on the landscape!
1 year ago
Glare is a fact of life in a passive solar home, at least it is in mine that I'm on my 3rd winter in.  Trombe walls could work but I can't share any personal experience there since I don't have one.  Summer sun is mentioned in the comments here but with good design that can be minimized or almost eliminated.  You probably already know to try to keep it fairly long and narrow East to West and of course the proper overhangs are critical.

Some of the finer design details:  Pay attention to finishes on floors, window sills, and furnishings.  My wife put a clear vinyl table cloth on the dining table and it bounces a bright glare into the kitchen.  Floors can be tricky since smooth and shiney is easiest to clean but relatively matte finishes help out.  We have a tall counter halfway through the house separating the dining from kitchen and this does deflect most of the glare from the floor.  Colors are important too.  As we know, dark colors absorb more and convert to heat while lighter bounces more light off.

Most passive solar architects now know not to over-glaze.  Just having a 5-6 ft wall section not glazed creates a nice pocket to place a reading chair or something in.  Of course the shaded areas farther from the wall shift throughout the day.  We have a living area with a ceiling that goes to the upstairs with the window up high.  This keeps the sun from that window mostly on a dark painted wall halfway through the house or upstairs.

Hopefully by next winter I'll be able to report back how an attached solar greenhouse impacts the performance.  We have section 12 or more feet long with no windows that will be inside the greenhouse, there's a doorway to one side and a double-hung window to the other that can let extra heat into the house if we choose to open them.  I imagine that the greenhouse will reduce the glare we currently get through the door since it will be diffused through the greenhouse glass first.

I see that someone mentioned various curtain arrangements but I can't report on that either since I don't have any yet!  Getting insulating window drapes to close at night should help out a lot though!

Nothing's perfect but I will say that I'm extremely happy with the performance of passive solar in my climate.  Over Christmas I was gone for 8 days and with no supplemental heat in MN I came home to 55 F downstairs and 60F upstairs!
Good luck!  Hope this helped!
1 year ago
Hi Starr,

I still check this out occasionally, missed the notification this time.  I'm not very close to Duluth, much closer to Iowa.  I know of permie groups in the twin cities and there has been a get together around labor day at harmony park north of Albert Lea for several years now.  I'll mention to that they hosted the north american permaculture convergence in 2014 in case you missed it.
2 years ago
Did you end up using something like this?  Seems like a good option in many ways!
2 years ago
Time for a new photo! I'll try to add a few more this week. Construction continues, we now have a few walls finished and I'll finally get that stucco on this summer. Even though it's still a construction zone, living in the new house has been great! We only used two chords of wood to get through the whole winter and this will get better yet as more improvements are completed such as thermal window shades.
2 years ago
This sounded strange when I heard it, but a friend told me sometimes he'll load up a sow and take it for a ride and that works!
2 years ago
I don't know much about horses. I rode one once. Never owned one. Never had a friend who owned one. Don't even know if I really like horses.

But here's the thing. I work at, and own part of a big conventional corn and soybean farm. 1400 acres, spray, GMO's, and all that lovely stuff. On my homestead, in stark contrast, no poisons are used and I strive for a regenerative, beyond organic approach with my livestock, so naturally I don't want to put my own animals out on the land at the conventional farm. I'm looking for other avenues such as working with livestock people using more conventional or "natural" methods and setting up custom grazing on the large farm to begin to integrate animals.

If I get my own larger chunk of land what I'd really like to do is take a conventional field and profitably restore it's ecological functions, ideally even treating contaminated runoff from neighboring fields. I could and probably will take the custom grazing/ finishing approach I mentioned above but ethically I still have a bit of a problem with this especially when dealing with contaminated runoff areas. Part of me says, "not my animals, not for my customers, not my problem" and they'd probably end up better quality than CAFO animals anyway. Would horses, that no one is going to eat be a better option in at least some cases to use for the restoration of agricultural land?

I don't know the facts but it seems like there could be a large problem with unwanted horses in the US especially with restrictions against using them for things that they might frequently be used for in other parts of the world when a horse gets too old to do whatever horses do.

Hope I haven't offended any horse lovers here, if you are one please share your thoughts. I'm looking for any way I can to take land away from the corn and bean machine to better care for people and planet.
3 years ago
A question for Grant or anyone else who cares to chime in.

What are some unique ways you've come up with to keep the animals, hogs or cattle especially, from ravaging newly planted trees? On small acreages it's hard (mentally and maybe economically) to give up areas for many years while trees grow up enough to stand on their own. Temporary fencing can be used to squeeze in tighter but takes time and material especially if the area has the usually desired irregular edges. I plan on using some large (about 20" dia.) plastic tile sections anchored with T posts, not too quick or economical with large numbers of trees though.

What are your ideas?
3 years ago