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Annette Jones

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since Nov 28, 2013
Schofields, NSW. Australia. Zone 9-11 Temperate to Sub Tropical
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Recent posts by Annette Jones

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:We know that "Nature abhors a void" so I'm through trying to keep the area surrounding a tree "clean". If and when I get a volunteer, why not transplant it there? Last year I had a yellow flower about 3 ft tall growing about 1 ft away from the trunk of an apple tree. I never knew what it was but I noticed that my bees liked it, so I didn't remove it.

I didn't know what it was and I may never know, but how about flipping the paradigm, and instead of removing everything that messes the looks of the garden we forced ourselves to keep it and destroy it only after we identify it and determine that it is bad for the goals we have? A kind of "First do no harm" approach.

I bet we'd have more pollinators if we were no so obsessed with having a clean garden.

I was a student of Bill Mollison Father of Permaculture in Australia. One of the things that always stuck with me was his trying to get through to people to not obsess over "neat" when practicing permaculture, rather try working with nature, and nature at it's most productive is messy. We certainly do get more pollinators and less pest problems if we 'mix' rather than 'match' our plantings. I also find that the best, strongest plants are the self-seeders, - the ones I want to save and swap seed from.

Thanks Cécile, a great post.
I can't think of a single reason why libraries aren't relevant and so many why they are.

On a permie level they fit the bill for so much in our lives, the principal reason is they are a hub where all people can meet to learn, socialise, be part of community, train our children and ourselves, have parts put aside for meeting and gatherings for different interest groups, access to media for those without computers.

Those who are isolated by illness or distance can also be included by mobile library units, or just simply the preference to handle real paper pages and linger over them instead of relying on "powered" modes of reading is so much more satisfying. Obviously there are many more reasons, but YES, libraries are more relevant today than ever before.
4 months ago
I teach permaculture and was taught by Bill Mollison back in the 80's. I am also a seed saver teacher. One of the things that never seems to get a mention among all the "big topics" like soils and water is the fact that 3/4 of our world - that really needs to learn and understand sustainable systems - are those living in urban areas. The backyards, community gardens, schools, etc who operate at smaller, local scales.

We should never be reliant and dependent on larger scale properties for our needs. The more local smaller food growing areas we can get urban populations to contribute to the better. Not everyone can afford to develop large parcels of land, nor should they have to. Working together to simply be as productive as possible is do-able for all, even those with balcony gardens!

Permaculture should focus quite a bit more on people care and Zone 0 - the home as well, not just earthworks. Showing how to translate permaculture design on smaller scales and building this into any courses taught, will help empower ordinary folks without much land to still do their bit to keep things local and manageable by all people. Permaculture should be shown as inclusive and able to be practiced by all, not just the lucky property owning few.

I've found all the suggestions here amazing and am continually impressed at the community and 'permie' spirit shown on, but find it doesn't seem to translate so well when taught at university. I think Bill Mollison was right when he said permaculture should be kept ot of uni, it should be taught by experienced permaculturists - there is no substitute for 'permie life experience' IMHO.
Love this thread and James Juczak's book. Anything that is saved from going to landfill is great in my opinion.

Piece of Trivia: Here in Australia researchers found that the people most likely to dumpster dive were not the homeless but were school teachers. Makes sense, many of them would be exposed to the latest info on why it's important to reuse, re-purpose and recycle and intelligent enough to follow through on doing just that.
6 months ago
I grow the common blue Nigella sativa known here as Love-in-a-Mist. It produces an abundance of seed which I use as ground black pepper. The flavour is of black pepper with a touch of wild oregano. I believe it's also called Black Caraway or Black Cumin in some areas.
7 months ago
Welcome Tomas, I am very much looking forward to your visit
8 months ago
The Japanese cotton panties versions, are the only pants listed on here to date that are totally made from cotton.

The pattern shown for the mini bloomers could become 100% cotton if you folded the material at the top of the mini bloomers over a couple of inches and sewed around leaving a gap at the front. This would create a hollow band a material tie could be threaded through to act as a belt at the waist, or you could use button tabs on each side of the panties that would help them sit flat, instead of using the elastic they currently have.

All the others saying they are 100% cotton are not. Cotton DOES NOT STRETCH naturally or have "give in the fabric. Those panties show that they cling to the body so they MUST have some type of lycra or similar stretch fabric incorporated into the cotton, wool, silk or bamboo fabric, otherwise they could not cling to your shape like these are shown to. Not so ethical as they claim to be, but many people get sucked in by the word "ethical".
9 months ago
I actually haven't met a vegetable yet I haven't liked in some form or other, but for so many different tastes, their versatility, and availability, it would have to be tomatoes.
10 months ago
Perhaps I can shed some light on why we ferment tomato seeds (and eggplant and cucumber). I am a 6th generation heirloom vegetable seed saver and seed producer.

Basically, seed fermentation is just the process of letting seeds soak in their own juices or “gel” until the juices start to show mold. This is a sign that fermentation is going on. What the fermentation does is turn the tomato’s sugars to alcohol that then destroy a germination inhibitor that’s natural to the seed. Why has the plant evolved with reproductive seeds that have a component that inhibits the process? To prevent them from germinating too soon. Think of a tomato left to its own devices in nature. The fruit matures and falls to the ground. Without the inhibitor — and with everything it needs to sprout — the tomato seeds will start to germinate in their own juices even before winter has set in. The inhibitor sees to it that they don’t.

The fermentation process also has other benefits. The alcohol and other products produced by fermentation will kill off any seed-borne illnesses that your tomato seeds may carry. It's also a chance to go carefully through your seeds and pick out any that are just no good AND it also kills Clavibacter michiganense pv. michiganense a Bacteria that affects the unfermented seeds.

Most important is to know your tomato, even wise growers can mix up tomatoes after they're picked, so be sure to track the ones, usually heirlooms, that you want to save seed from. Fermenting the seeds is easy. Choose the best healthiest looking tomatoes for their superior genetic traits. One tomato of each kind will do most gardeners unless you’re growing rows of tomatoes or want to share seeds to neighbors and friends. Slice them in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds with their accompanying gel into a glass jar. Leave it in a not-too-cool, dark place for a day or two. Check it regularly. As soon as a mold or scum covers the top it is time to clean your seeds. (Leave too long and your little seeds may sprout or rot).

What you’re doing is creating the same conditions the tomato would have if left to its own devices. When the fruit falls to the ground, it slowly rots - ferments - with the seeds inside. Weather, in the form of rains, drying sunlight and winter, will eventually decay the fruit to nothing, leaving behind only the seeds. But during the tomatoes first days on the ground after ripening, the fermentation process occurs naturally, there is also a better strike rate when you come to plant them.

Once the mold starts to form in 2 or 3 days, scoop it off with a spoon, place seeds in a kitchen sieve and very gently rinse them off under the tap until all the gel is gone and just clean seeds are left. Let them dry on a plate or tray somewhere where its warm (but not too warm) and dark with good air circulation, and run your hand through them every so often to turn them to dry thoroughly. Be sure to keep your seed labeled all through the process.

When they’re fully dry, I usually wait 1-2 weeks to be sure, store them in a cool, dark, dry place inside a tightly closed LABELED glass jar, NOT in a hot garage or kitchen drawer near a stove. Then, at the tail end of winter, 6-8 weeks before the last frost, they will be ready to start off under cover ready to plant out in spring. The reason we use a plate or tray is so the sees don't stick and pick up bacteria from the paper. Many brands of paper towel use toxic chemicals and bleach during processing and shouldn't be placed next to seeds - just a tip if you are trying to grow healthy organic plants.

Hope this has explained the science behind the reason we ferment some seed types.
10 months ago
Hi Travis, I'm so sorry to hear you have cancer and that you are battling depression also. The depression seems to have been covered very well by a few others, so I'll add my 2 cents worth with what worked, and is still working  for me. I had cancer, am now 4 years on since firstly getting it out, then looking around for options. I chose to not go the path of chemo and radiotherapy and instead decided to use food as my medicine, so far my recovery has been very positive. I occasionally feel tired but not that deep exhaustion you talk of. I did have that about the first 8 months but it has now passed. I occasionally will feel like a mid afternoon nap but that may only be once a month.

Being a permie I looked to my garden and for clean food, I pretty much eat from it now with occasional swaps with other members of my permie group. I chose to go on a plant based diet and use hemp oil supplement, 1 teaspoon under the tongue daily, also use the 100% hemp oil with balsamic vinegar as a salad dressing. I had a lot to learn about balancing my food correctly so I didn't lose energy. My body has recovered slowly but surely and I am still 'cancer free' as my specialist calls it. I found a website called Forks over Knives which had a lot of suitable plant based recipes. Occasionally I sneak the odd eggs or piece of fish, but usually only crave them around once a month or less now. There are lots more sites I have found since, but it was my starting point as it had everything all laid out to follow which made it easy enough that I didn't give up.

I haven't seen anyone else mention the importance of clean food when fighting cancer but I firmly believe the saying 'let food be thy medicine' is valid. So much of our food has been interfered with and negatively impacts our health. By growing and eating my own food I feel better than before I was diagnosed with cancer. The way you found out about your cancer after your accident, to me, means you were meant to find it in time and now you need to simply trust in God and just know you are in His hands, so can feel positive.

I do hope this can be of some help as do all the lovely people here. It could be helpful to pick out bits and pieces of their suggestions and adapt them to suit your own needs. Get the depression seen to also, and keep in touch with positive others here and around you, I've personally found state of mind DOES matter with cancer. Choose to relax and listen to your body, your wonderful wife and positive friends, nature and let go, and when your body says rest, then rest it helps you heal. Love and strength to you and yours.

10 months ago