Lucia Moreno

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since Jan 27, 2014
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Recent posts by Lucia Moreno

When we went out of the gift circuit my brother came to me and ranted about the pressure he felt to buy things for everybody, the money he spent on it and the stress it was for him. He said "I end up buying things I don't like and I know the recipient does not need and will not like just because I have to buy *something*".

It was very important to me to hear that and I think it was a change in the way he looked at my choices. He understood them better and somehow admires me for putting my foot down, something he doesn't dare do.

It helps that I never have a holier-than-thou attitude, since I truly respect his choices.

The bottom line, it takes courage to follow your own path.

Cheers,
Lucía
2 years ago
We went out of the "gift circuit" years ago, as one of the first measures to downsize. We just called everybody in early December and told them we did not want gifts and we will not buy gifts. We did the same every time we travelled or someone travelled (in my familly when you visit a place you have to bring gifts from that place), in birthdays, etc. It took some years but now there is no problem.

Both my brothers are big executive type guys and they make easily 20x what I make. Even my father, with his retirement makes more money than I. I am the only one that has savings. I am the only one who owns the place they live in. Ironically, in my familly I am know as "the rich one"!!!

When there is an issue about money, I say "You chose to make money, I chose to do what I like. Both choices are adecuate."  Also, there are sometimes issues of envy (on their part) because I actually have time to do what I like and spend time with my children.

Bottom line is, your life is yours to live up to your expectations. Other people have a say in their own lives, not yours.

Cheers,
Lucía
2 years ago
Hi all,

I've been asked a really good question and I pass along to you. If you cut plants, like say grass, they're green, so they're nitrogen for the compost. But if you leave them around a bit and they dry, they're yellow, so they're carbon for the compost. What happened to the N? Alchemy?

Thanks,
Lucía
2 years ago
- Put apart the tube under your sink, the one that takes grey water away. Put a pail under the tube. Use that water to flush the toilet. (We've done this and it increased our awareness of bad stuff in soap).

- If you are a man, pee on a big bottle (using a funnel helps). If you are a woman, pee on a cup, then put the pee in the bottle (funnel still helps). Use the pee diluted in water to water your own plants or someone else's, or the city trees and gardens.

- If you are a woman, swith to cloth pads. Soak in cold water before washing. Use blood/water mixture to water plants.

- Switch to toilet cloth instead of toilet paper.

- Have an earthworm farm in your kitchen or bathroom. Feed it your vegetable scraps. Use product and excess worms to feed the city soil randomly.

- Get all your neighbours to consider investing in good whole-building insulation and more efficient heating.

- Get a trombe wall just for your appartment.

- Hang a simple solar panel from your window. The kind with no inverter. Use it to recharge the batteries in your toys and for lighting that one room.

- Get a camping shower, the king that's a black bag you can suspend form a tree. Make it hang from your sunny window all day. Shower with it when you get home in the evening.

- Start a used clothes exchange with your friends twice a year: spring for summer clothes and fall for winter clothes.

- Invite skeptics for an informal dinner and movie in your house. Show them good coumentaries on climate change, peak oil, etc.

Love this thread.
Hugs,
Lucía

2 years ago
James, I see what you mean. Now the question is, is your land as it is right now already in its native ecosystem or is the lack of soil the result of degradation? If your land is a desert naturally, you should aim to preserve and boost it. If your land is this way as a result of degradation, then what you are stepping on should be buried under feet of soil. The key is not to dig swales, but to build soil. Don't go down, but up. Build barriers on contour: stone lines or tree trunks on contour or whatever you can get cheap, and plant uphill of those, you will build up soil faster. Plant trees that break down rock and nitrogen fixers.


Good luck!
Lucía
3 years ago
James, I have a problem with rock and shallow soil in my land and I can't do swales, either. Do you know about African rock lines? They work a little like swales and you lay them on top of the soil. Here's a blog entry on that in my blog: http://unasuertedetierra.blogspot.com.es/2014/06/erosion-en-el-prado-grande.html. It's in Spanish, but just scroll down to the video and you'll get a clear idea. I'm doing it (but with old tree trunks) in my land.

Cheers,
Lucía
3 years ago
I'm glad Greece got so much rain this year! We are learning a lot about our land and our water-saving choices this year, so even if everything dies, we will not have wasted our time. It is still very hot: the tomatoes are not fruiting, as the pollen is not viable in hot temperatures. I have shaded the vegetable patch. However, plants in our new terraced bed are doing great so we now know to keep building them. We are designing a way to use our old swimming pool (not in use) as a water reservoir and other ideas. We have also commited to getting as much vegetables and fruit in fall and spring and limit, or even eliminate, summer crops entirely. Nature here was two growing seasons: spring and fall. In winter, it hivernates and in summer it estivates. We are basically planning to do the same, maybe we will keep a small summer vegetable patch in zone 1.

Lots of strengh, faith and luck to everybody,
Lucía
3 years ago
Hi,

I just popped up to report that most of the 130 trees we planted in the fall have died from a very cold and dry winter followed by a very hot and dry spring. We planted forestry quality 1 year old trees of local species (from local seed). The few almond trees that sprouted from seed from our old almond trees (wonderful almonds) have also died from the lack of water. We are only watering the new trees in zone 1 (twice a week) and have left the rest to their own devices. So far, only P. terebinthus (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistacia_terebinthus) seems to be surviving in non watered areas.

We had to start watering the kitchen garden in May this year. Chances are we won't make it to the next rains in September/October with our water reserves (27K liters). This only watering selected plants in zone 1.

It's discouraging, but I refuse to be discouraged!!

On a happier note, the whole of our land is working on succession after we removed grazing animals (and grass cutting machinery) from it 3 years ago. Both plant and animal species have diversified and we are seeing new plants everyday, lots of then biannuals and short lived perennials. We also have lots of new insects, specially butterflies, and a family of lizards has moved it. In the spring we also saw taupes.

My strategy for next fall will be to try pioneer trees and shrubs instead of local forest trees (that need shade when they are young) as well as to increase the water stores, since we do have plenty of water in the winter.

I'll keep you posted.

Lucía

3 years ago
Hello Tim,

the plant looks a lot like Crataegus. I can't see the leaves well, but that's my guess from the picture.

Cheers,
Lucía
3 years ago
Steve,
I saw that thread about the tree and I don't think it's a retama, either. It might be called "retama tree" but it does not look like in the retama family, at least as I know it here. Is it a legume? It'll be nice to see some pics of the flower and fruit/seed. A good place to ID plants in the Infojardin forum (Spanish language) http://foro.infojardin.com/forums/identificar-especies-vegetales.6/ There are lots of knowledgeable people in this forum and they have helped me a lot.

15ºC difference is not too bad, specially if you don't go under 0 ºC. I have recorded a max of 46 ºC during the day and - 2 ºC min at night in the same spot, the same calender day in my land.

I don't know the plants you mention too well as they don't grow very well (or at all) around here. But I do know that Tamarix (if that's the salt cedar you refer to) is good for making honey. Honey bees are a good way to make money in places where climate and soil do not allow for other crops. If you can find native and/or tough plants that can make it in your land and have flowers year around, you could make some money with honey and other bee products. If your land does not have enough rain to sustain lots of trees and water hungry plants (like most vegetables), aiming for a maquis of bee friendly plants might be a good idea.

How much water do you have per year?

Cheers,
Lucía
3 years ago