PIP Magazine - Issue 19: Ideas and Inspiration for a Positive Future
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Simon Foreman

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since May 18, 2022
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Weirdo, computer nerd, aspiring ecosystem co-creator, I've lead a strange and unlikely life. I dropped out of highschool and was homeless for several years. During that time I learned Reiki, and how to operate and program Linux computers. I decided to get a job as a programmer, so I created a project and presented it at CodeCon 2004. That led to a career as a computer programmer. I worked at several startups (including Etsy) and eventually as a TVC at the Google campus in Mountain View. Since then I have been semi-retired, and I've turned my attention to my other passion: gardening and ecology.
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Recent posts by Simon Foreman

Hey Tereza! Thanks for the tips!  I sprayed the kale tree yesterday with 6:1 water:milk and I got a good look at it.  The "pups" are dogs now, they're sub-plants a foot or two tall!  I think I might try breaking some of them off and putting them in moist sand or water like you said.
1 month ago

Have you ever tried spraying watered down milk on the leaves? I've heard it discourages powdery mildew, but I haven't tried it.

I haven't tried that, but I will tomorrow, thanks!  The kale plant is still there, growing leaves from it's "trunk".  Most of them have the powdery mildew.

I've heard of using diluted milk as a soil amendment (the theory is that the soil microbes eat the milk.)
1 month ago
Just a little update on the eve of the new year.  We've been holed up in the city for the last three months.  Things got pretty tight but we made the payments on the land and my sister got a great new job, so we're more-or-less back on track.
1 month ago
Just a wee update:  I did managed to collect a couple of ounces of seeds from this awesome kale, but they got a little moldy when I left them out to let the little bugs bail and it rained on them.  I cleaned them up and dried them out but they smell funny.  (I'm not actually a very good gardener at all at all so far.  At least plants are so chill, they don't mind at all, but I feel bad for messing up.)

The neat thing about the kale plant is that the entire "trunk" has started to put out more leaves!  They are pretty tender too!  Unfortunately we have the powdery mildew here and that seems to be attacking the leaves faster than the plant can grow them.
4 months ago
Since you liked them, here's two more.  Enjoy...  
5 months ago
I took some photos of the crew this afternoon when they were playing in a sunbeam, here's one of the best ones.

In re: the eggs, they laid another one (three total, one got eaten) but that seems to be about it.  We have been turning the two eggs but we haven't started incubating them.  We're still not entirely sure what to do with them.
5 months ago
This is pretty much my first attempt to sell something online in a long time (fifteen years or more, not counting odds and bods on Craigslist) so please let me know if I'm doing it wrong.  Advice is welcome! (Mods: I read up on the "Promoting Your Stuff on Permies for FREE!" thread and others and I think I'm doing this right?  Please let me know if not.)

A couple of years ago I saw this "how to make your own grow bags" video (I mentioned it on this thread) and I tried it out. The weed barrier fabric worked well, but I wanted to experiment with air-pruning, so I tried making them out of fiberglass mesh (the kind you use for screen doors and window screens) instead.  This worked really well, and the mesh stood up to the elements over the last two years.  (A couple of holes were nibbled in one of them by mice or something, but it held up.)

I've decided to try selling these online as a way to make extra money to fund my nascent Permaculture farm.  I sew them myself on our living room table.  It takes about fifteen minutes or so, including the cutting, and the raw materials cost about $2.00 per gallon bag, so I've set the retail price at $7.95 per bag, which might seem a little steep, but you can reuse them more than once.  (If you would like to buy some but can't afford ~$8 per bag please contact me through Purple Moosage, eh?)

I have some small trees that have been growing in these for the last two years (waiting to be transplanted) so I'll take a video of that and we can see how the roots have grown.

The idea with air-pruning is that the root of the plant grows until in encounters the air and then it stops and a new root grows in a different direction.  This prevents the plant from becoming root-bound and leads to a nice "puff ball" effect with lots of small roots radiating out.  This is supposed to give better results when transplanting e.g. tree saplings, etc.  There's a lot of information on the web about this.

My sister has put up a Gumroad page to take orders:
Handmade reusable air-prune mesh grow bag - 1 gallon (gumroad)

Thank you for reading this!  I appreciate it.
Warm regards, ~Simon
5 months ago
I don't know what we'll become, or how it will happen, if humanity survives this environmentally destructive phase of our civilization, but I figure one way or another we would move out into the rest of the Universe eventually.

In the meantime, yes, living with minimal impact on the life around me is very important to me.  I hope and believe that it's possible for humans to return to a harmonious relationship with the natural world around us, to properly belong to nature ourselves.
5 months ago
Cheers!  I can't tell you how much I appreciate the info and support!

I'll talk to my sister about it again this morning.  I don't know about Tiny Omelette, but I'm pretty sure this isn't the right time to try to hatch this lil guy (the egg seems pointy to me), we're still in the process of moving all our stuff from SF to Redding.  (And we're running out of moolah, but we have some ideas, but that's another thread.)

Thanks again!  More photos soon...
5 months ago
Thank you for all the advice and support!  I really appreciate it!

I found another egg today, undamaged!  Whew!

It was just laying there on the floor of the run.  The birds seemed to be ignoring it.  It was already dry and cool to the touch so it must have been there for at least a little while, eh?  I'm guessing that they come out at chicken body temp?  Like I said, no one seemed to be paying the egg any attention.  I gave it to the cat to guard for the moment.

I wasn't sure what to do with it.  The obvious thing to do would be to make a tiny omelette, but I feel really weird about eating this egg.  I'm assuming it's viable.  It's a very centering and sobering feeling to have this living "unit" in my care, it feels like a huge responsibility.  I've incubated eggs before with a simple homemade incubator.  I'm not sure that this is a great time to have more little chickens running around, but my sister says we should and I like the idea.

My understanding is that the eggs will keep without dying if they're not sat on right away, so that the mom can collect a few and have them all hatch at about the same time, is that right?  If I build an incubator and put eggs in it as they are laid won't we get a stream of chicks hatching one-by-one?  Or will they somehow sync up on their own?

I can look this up, but it's comforting to ask you good folks.  
5 months ago