Sarah Owens

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since Oct 08, 2014
Salem, Oregon
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Recent posts by Sarah Owens

I like the idea of a less-than daily email, whether it's weekly or daily-ish.  The daily is, uhm, for me, kind of much.
daily email (since it is a daily email) (I know, but "To come up with a really good name, I think we need to start with really terrible names.")
I really enjoyed this podcast. (I've listened to several dozen over the past couple of months and got something out of every one, but this one was different.) I'd grown used to hearing Paul talk to peers and experts, and benefited from their exchange of ideas, to the extent I knew enough to follow what they were talking about. I really appreciate Paul's critical thinking abilities, willingness to challenge accepted ideas and overall respectful attitude (his salty language notwithstanding). But hearing him confer in this podcast with a "regular" person for over an hour, someone who (to me, with no visual cues) did not always seem to be tracking what he was saying, patiently, persistently, cheerfully and naturally, not sucking up or condescending, was just very instructive. I've so often heard Paul refer to himself as an SOB or worse, but, to me, this podcast proves the contrary. Nicely done. Not sure he meant it to be a "how to talk to people" podcast, but that's surely what it was to me.

Susan [it's Sarah, actually], you suggest that it is an assumption that producing our own means we make less demand on outside resources - correct?



Yes.

But in that you are assuming that people who grow their own salad makings are then going out and buying - something - that replaces their former purchase of salad makings.



I'm not assuming anything. I'm just saying the mere fact that someone grows salad doesn't necessarily mean that person's overall consumption is lessened thereby. It might be, or it might not be. It's not, IMHO, a linear relationship.
On page 12 of the second edition, Hemenway addresses the native-only vs. natives+exotics divide:

Certainly, natives should be included in our yards, but native plant gardens won’t reduce our depredation of wild land very much unless we also lessen our resource use. A native plant garden, while much easier on the environment than a lawn, does not change the fact that the owner is causing immense habitat loss elsewhere, out of sight [by consuming food and other resources produced in mass quantities]. But an ecological garden can change that. Every bit of food, every scrap of lumber, each medicinal herb or other human product that comes from someone’s yard means that one less chunk of land outside our hometown needs to be denuded of natives and developed for human use.



I have heard him repeat this analysis in podcast and video interviews, too, and I have the feeling it’s a point he often feels called upon to make. But, there’s just one little thing that bothers me about it; I think it assumes too much. Specifically, it assumes that one’s garden produce reduces one’s overall consumption of resource-squandering products. That certainly might be true in a given case, but I don’t think we can assume that it’s true in every case; there are too many factors involved. And keep in mind that what drives demand in the U.S. is not consumption, but waste. http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf. See also http://www.americanwastelandbook.com/. Therefore, it seems to me, that the native-only gardener who eats what’s in her refrigerator (i.e., does not waste food in the typical American fashion) might have a more positive impact on the environment overall than a natives+exotics gardener whose garden did not actually reduce his or her overall consumption. I’d be interested to know what Hemenway thinks on this point. If he were to agree, and I think he might, it might be helpful to speak to the question when addressing the native-only vs. natives+exotics divide.
Paul mentions in this podcast that he lost his footage of a restored camas field. I'd never seen one before I came west from North Carolina, so feel pretty lucky to have one right here in town (Salem, Oregon). Here's one view, for those of you who might never have seen one.



Agree serial/chapter/section audio reviews are a good learning tool. (And thank you, Paul and Jocelyn and others, for taking the time to do and share them.)

Reviews can help interested persons decide whether or not to read a book, or what parts, can help readers focus their reading (if the review is read first), and can help readers reinforce, retain and sometimes examine more critically what they've read (when the review is read afterward). The latter can lead to the reader to question something they'd read that s/he might not have otherwise, which, in turn, could lead him or her to post a possibly interesting question in the podcast forum thread, and further discussion/learning, which, I assume, is the whole point .

Using self as an example, the podcast reviews reissued through the daily-ish emails over the past several months led me and my partner to buy and read Gaia's Garden and Sepp Holzer's book on permaculture much sooner than we would have otherwise. And, I think I might even post a nagging ? I have about Toby's assertion, "every bit of food, every scrap of lumber, each medicinal herb or other human product that comes from someone's yard means that one less chunk of land outside one hometown needs to be denuded of natives and developed for human use." (Page 12, 2d ed.)

My only concern, and I don't know what one does about it, is the tendency we all have to feel as though listening to the reviews is somehow a substitute for reading the book. The reviews aren't a substitute of course, and aren't intended to be a substitute, and I guess listeners should probably just keep that in mind.
In Paul and Joceyln's review of Toby Hemenway's book, Gaia's Garden, Chapter 6, Paul mentions that the wild edibles chart on page 142 (2d ed.) inspired him to want to make a video, presumably to help others be able to identify wild edibles. I don't know if he's done by now that or not, but even if he has, maybe he and other permies would like to know, if they do not already, that there is an excellent set of (free) electronic flash cards "out there" that is perfect for this job.

I started using e-flashcards several months ago as a language-learning tool after a friend in Norway recommended it and told me where to go to get started. All one has to do is download the flashcard software (http://ankisrs.net/), open the program, click on "Get Shared", search for a deck called "edible weeds", download it, and start learning your weeds. You use the program on your PC and there are also apps for smart phones (if you use both as I do, the decks can by synchronized through Ankiweb). Although the photos in the "edible weeds" deck are of Australian specimens, they seem to me to be valid for the NW (I live in Oregon). The user is able to edit the decks however s/he chooses, add to the deck, etc. The Anki electronic flashcard program provides a great tool that I sure wish had been around when I was in school. If you find them useful, please show your gratitude to Anki in some tangible way, just as you do to Paul for all the great material he provides the rest of us.

FYI, I am in the process of editing my "edible weeds" deck to include the information from GG (e.g., that "cleavers" pull Ca from the soil, botanical name Galium aparine, leaves = edible), and would be happy to share it to the Anki site if anyone's interested, or you can just edit your own cards -- editing a deck is a great way to learn the material

(This information was also posted under "Podcast 55 - Review of Gaia's Garden, Chapter 6", where it's doubtful anyone will see it.)
4 years ago
Paul mentions in this review that the wild edibles chart on page 142 (2d ed.) inspired him to want to make a video, presumably to help others be able to identify wild edibles. I don't know if he's done by now that or not, but even if he has, maybe permies would like to know, if they do not already, that there is an excellent set of (free) electronic flash cards "out there" that is perfect for this job.

All one has to do is download the flashcard software (http://ankisrs.net/), open the program, click on "Get Shared", search for a deck called "edible weeds", download it, and start learning. You can do this on your PC and there are also apps for smart phones (if you use both as I do, the decks can by synchronized through Ankiweb). Although the photos in this deck are of Australian specimens, they seem to me to be valid for the NW (I live in Oregon). The user is able to edit the decks however s/he chooses, add to the deck, etc. The Anki electronic flashcards are a great learning tool that I sure wish had been around when I was in school.