Category Archives: Life

Designing Life vs Describing Life

Today I have struggled with the design. It was a cloudy, hot and slow day and my mind would just not wrap around the concept of designing. Drawing something that later would be made real, take a physical form, is not within my repetoir of thinking talking watching listening. Instead I read, took a walk to the beach to see the sun set beautifully on the pacific, casting purple pink shades on the clouds and the dark sand. And I though “oh I would like to go home and write that novel now, I don’t want to finish the design. I just want to write that novel.” And I looked down on my feet that hade three different shades of sand and thought how I would like to write that down.

This is really what this blog is about, trying to get me out of myself and my mind. Because it is necessary, it is if you want a just world and a full life, you have to work for it. I have to transform the world through my work not to be alienated and to be intuned, intouch and connected. Why then is it so hard? So hard to look at the paper and see the same tree on the paper that is right in front of me in the non-mental world? Why do I keep dividing? How can I see the transformation already happening, transcending in an inbetween? How do I change who I am? How did I become me? Will practical, physical work change me? Better me? Or does it really not matter? Should I leave it up to Rachid altogether and bake a cake instead? I mean that’s also phsycial, practical work. Should I accept that there are roles to play, a part for everyone? Maybe I’m not meant to garden, at least not in such a professional way. Maybe this is just me doubting myself, feeling like a fraud cause I didn’t read all of Bill Mollisons bible on permaculture. For not knowing about scale, about what plant goes where and so forth. But this is what I’m here to learn I guess. And if I just can’t get that practicality to compete with my soft fuzzy mind then so be it, I will write that novel instead, eat that cake and be content that my husband loves me for just exactly that.

Tomorrow I will post my surfgarden design, and it will be spectacularly impractical. But pretty.

Good Night!

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Omagad we’re back again…

Yes, it is a Backstreet Boys song and yes I am back and yes and yes and yes! Why on earth did I just stop blogging those of you who googled sloeberries and have no idea about my withdrawl from the blogworld, might wonder. Well I got pregnant that summer, and was nauseas most of the time and had no interest in growing anything but baby. Although the old plot was quite beautiful that last summer, my own plot however was just filled with dandelions and so Rachid won that war but I won the who can give birth without any painkillers war. Now the old plot is but a memory and evened with the ground. Sad yes. So why am I starting the blog up again those of you who get an email whenever I post might wonder. Well, I have a new exciting new plot challenge to fail at and of course I want you all to be a part of it!

I am in Ecuador! In Puerto Engabao on the coast were my good friend has opened up a hostel.  She wants an edible garden and who do you call when you want a garden? Me so I can tell Rachid. And so here we are, in som sort of dry tropics (contradictory I know) by the sea where you can grow practically anything that is delicous. Rachids dream come true! (This blog is sponsored by Rachid) So yes, and I’m here too, pretending I know and care but really just getting lost in litterature and hammock hanging. And childcare of course. But still, looking and thinking at an about the garden is filling me with joy, let’s see how the work feels. So it’s gonna be a permaculture garden, of course. It actually already has a banana circle and Rachid went and picked donkey poop and dried grass from our extremely ugly surroundings consisting of just that. But soon the rains will fall and appearantly everything will turn green in accordance with ones image of south american coast lines. So first thing to do, as always in permaculture is to design and mulch.

I have already started a design that’s inspired by the surfwaves that roll by on the beach since this hostel is basically a surf shelter (although anyone is welcome! This post is also brought to you by Hostel Puerto Engabao). Pictures of the plot before can be seen below and this time I swear to produce some kick ass after pictures! Or as kick ass as a tropical permaculture garden can get after three months.

Stay tuned!

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Pond disaster + hybris

My feet are inflamed so I can do nothing but sit inside and have intimate moments with laptop. I ran a half assed marathon, only 5K, a christmas present from my brother. Stupidly I put on shoes that were way too big and ran like a maniac, flaying my own skin in the hunt for a good time. Good time as in a good running time. These events are so weird. I can’t seem to escape thinking in system-theory lines of thought. Almost all of the women, it was a women only race, had their Ipods tucked into some sort of Ipodholders on their arms, even though this was a “party” and a collective event. Everyone still wanted it on their terms, with their music so that they could stay in their own worlds. Meanwhile a disgusting guy (Peter Siepen) in a cowboy hat who kept showing of his aged six pack of a stomach talked about the importance of physical exercise and how there now are apps that can help you with that. How can there be apps helping you to get out more? Are you really outside if your actual being outside is dependent on some small machine that cost a few peoples lives in the making of it? Then as I ran passed everyone, or a whole bunch anyway, everyone were wearing t-shirts of companies who conduct services. Meaning no physical work what so ever, just services and that is just what the neo-liberal notion of a great mechanized society should be like. Machines do the real work (meaning poor asians) while we live strictly on a platonic level. And so the body crumbles under the weight of apps.

So the pond, yes I was very happily sealing it another time and then very happily filling it only to come back the next day to find it completely empty, dry and cracked again. But eventually it will heal itself, as my feet are at the moment, creating a new skin for itself. Some water has appearantly been staying my sources tell me.  On my very own plot a design is emmerging quite spontaneously while I dig like crazy. It will be beautiful. Well this was a meaningless post, mostly I just wanted to post these pictures of myself sealing the pond. Look at my giddy face in its naive presumption that this will actually work….

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Another plot for independence + pond update!

Yes, finally I have my own small parcel of laaaaand! I was sent the letter with the plots available about two weeks ago, there were only five! The demand for allotments is really high right now and I take full credit! Haha no but really, it is amazing seeing all these people working really hard to produce their food, every single allotment is occupied on the sunny weekends, everyone hard at work planting, sowing, even mulching! And a whole bunch of young people are invading to the veterans of the place great amusement. My plot is beautiful! One we were thinking about chosing over the one we did chose before when we could choose the first time, but this one is 130 square meters and not 150 as the other one. Therefor this one will be more of a leisure garden as the other one is under intensive cultivation, there’s not even room to sit. My plot alreaady has a full grown and producing apple tree, strawberries, rhubarb, morrocan mint, lots of raspberries, chives, wormwood and what I think is lovage (libbsticka). So there’s not a whole lot I need to do to make it a perennial garden. I will plant more herbs, the benifical flowers that I presented in this post and sneak in some vegetables in between. A greenhouse has to be built as well, we have a ton of tomato and chili seedlings, some pepper and eggplant that need the warmth. And of course I will dig a pond!

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So what happened to the other pond on the other plot? Well I soaked it with water and used its own soil as plaster so that when it dried it would be like the wall of a mud house. This worked very well except for the fact that I didn’t return the next day to fill it up so it got all cracked. But cracks aside I will fix this today and make another layer and fill it in and I’m sure it will work great! Other news on the other plot is that the garlic is growing like crazy, looking really good and healthy. The husband planted comfrey, and he and Nick have been sowing lots of leafy plants and some peas and carrots while I was at home writing an essay about Detroit and about reclaiming the power over food. The husband was in a bit of a hurry in the beginning of the season and planted peas that died instantly and sowed leafy plants and carrots that never came up, this was a month ago. Now the weather is fantabulous and there seems to be no risk for frost so hopefully they will all emmerge through the mulch. Meanwhile at home, we are drowning in seedlings, and they just keep coming!

And here’s a dish the husband made out of nettles, pine nuts and raisins that was amazlingly yummy and almost free!

Today is a great day for digging! I will keep you posted on pond activities and new design for new plot! Meanwhile, grow with god!

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Spring is here! And so are edible and benificial flowers

Oh ma gad oh ma gad oh ma gad!! Spring is here!!! With the promise of new life, love and general fulfillment (unless it rains all summer, then you have general suicidalness, but let’s hope not…) And a new growing season promising an abundance of life, love and food (unless it rains all summer…)! So I hope you have all planted your chilis and your artichokes and are ready for the intense planting that is about to take place these coming months when we pre-cultivate like maniacs to get a good start at the growing season! In our sunnyside window we have artichokes, chilis, celeriac (the root kind, appearantly wont grow unless you pre-cultivate it), sugar peas, comfrey, spinach and salad. And we tested radish seeds that we saved from our own crop last year and they all came up!  At the alotment the husband has bravely sown some different types and colored carrots, onions and radishes. Problem is the water is not yet turned on by the city and wont be for another month or so and it hasn’t rained for days…All the more reason to pre-cultivate inside where the water-supply is never ending.

I’m so excited about this season since it will be my first real one where I’m actually present, observing, harvesting and planting planting planting! We have decided to precultivate almost everything and keep on doing so throughout the season so that when one plant is harvested it is immediatly replaced by another. This way the garden will always be full of edible plants! But not all edible plants are vegetables and berries, we also have our edible and benificial flowers. Some of which an organic gardener can’t live without. Check it out! (And if you don’t want to read about these fascinating plants, please skip ahead to the motivational speech below.)

 

Borage is actually classified as an herb but has lots of blue edible flowers. Borage is great for your garden as a companion plant to tomatoes and brassicas among other things. It’s also edible and have many medicinal uses, it is said to help with PMS!

Calendula is very well known for its medicinal properties. It is a great flower to put in your salad, it dyes your food yellow and can be dried and used for tea. Very versitile plant and very pretty. Technically it’s a perennial but usually cold winters kills it. Good companion plant that brings out the neighbouring plants own repellents.

Marigold/Tagetes very well known plant that you can’t live without if your planting organically. It is very benificial since it repells bugs and nematodes which is a parasite worm, and supress weeds. Some varities are edible, like the one in the picture.

Flax/Linseed an amazing plant that gives very healthy seeds and makes a great fibre of which you can make almost anything from building materials to clothes. It’s also very beautiful and a good companion plant to potatoes and carrots.

Evening primose/Sun drop this beautiful flower blooms only at night! It is highly edible, the entire plant from root to seed can be eaten. The flowers for salads, the roots must be cooked and are said to have a similiar taste to parsnip and salsify. Very medicinal, oil from the seeds treat PMS, thrombosis, hyperactiveness, rheumatism and acne. Tea can be made from leaves and stalk to cure coughs and creams can be made of the same to treat eczema. Quite a tremendous plant that grows in poor soils.

 Echinacea very famous medicinal plant that is extentivly used in both modern and traditional medicin. Also a pretty flower and a perennial!

Marsh Mallow not to be confused with fluffy candy (althought it could be used to make it…) this is maybe the best example of a plant you should, you must have in your garden! It’s a perennial and that is always good for your garden, it is highly edible and medicinal and can be used for all kinds of stuff. The root can for example be used as a toothbrush! See link for all the gory details of this amazing plant that also has pretty flowers!

Doesn’t this just want to make you jump out of the window and start gardening? The sun is high up in the sky, the birds are singing frenetically and seeds are bursting with longing for that damp soil. So are my fingers, my hands my spirit. The garden is not just a good excuse to get outside and be active, it’s not only a provider of healthy food but it is also a direct connection between you and nature. A connection that has long ago been lost in our modern world but that we need to revive, despite the systems devious ways to keep us seperated. I strongly encourage any type of connection to the soil. If you don’t have a garden, an alotment or a balcony. The windowsill will do and if it gets to crowded, get out and put plants in places where you see a need for some aspiring life. It will make you and a lot of other people happy!

Garden power! Garden lust and love

Garden garden garden

A postponing post and a new challenge!

The word procrastinate fits me eeeeeeeew like a glove (two words: Ace Ventura). I’ve been meaning to post a long list of seeds that we bought and the design for the plot and some wise words about stuff I know absolutely nothing about, but nothing happens and now I see why. I can’t have a garden blog. A garden blog is for gardeners, biologists or retired housewifes niether of which I am even close too. Ok maybe the gardener is quite close since I do have a garden, and I’m about to get another one, but I have no right to actually go around calling myself a gardener as if I knew anything about manipulating nature.

On the other hand the whole point of this blog is to make people see that you don’t have to be a specialist to take care of your own needs like food. You don’t have to know anything or even be inclined towards gardening and still have a succesful outcome and an empowering experience. The thing is I have a lovely well red, natural science kinda husband who very well could qualify under the expert tab. I get no say in nothing because all my inputs about anything else but the aesthetics just proves how much I don’t have a clue about anything that has to do with creating life (in the non-human world that is).

Thats why, ladies and gentlemen, I’m getting my very own garden plot! Me and the beloved husband will have a show-down, allotment style! I am completely confident that he will win because I can’t abandon the original plot that would be like leaving your child during its first year when all the exciting things happen to it and when it needs you the most. But still, I shall prevail and be the proof to you all that with no, or very little knowledge, you can grow your own food! It’s not rocket science, it’s not even science, it’s pure survival baby.

By the end of this growing season you won’t have any excuse, so start growing basil on your windowsills and get some batik clothes cus come 2013, you are all bound to be a tad selfsufficient! WOHOOOOO!

and look, here’s the design! Pretty cool eh.

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Back and hungry for revolution!

Yes I know, I must’ve given you all quite a scare disappearing like that. Well I’m back now as a better, more noble me since I nowadays attend the very distinguished Lund University where I spend my time watching movies like this and wishing my professor would spontaneously combust after presenting his 60th slide on his powerpoint presentation that mainly consist of his half assed theories and google searched pictures.

That movie is amazing though, you must all watch it and that’s an order! It brings you back to the romanticizing days of Che in the jungle. This is just like Che in the jungle only much, much, much, much better. It’s called The Coconut Revolution and tells the tale of resistance and the first ever succesful eco-revolution. Very impressing indeed. And the most impressing thing is not how the inhabitants of the island Bougainville overthrow a powerful british mine company and kick them out using nothing but good old sabotage and then fight the Papa New Guinea army with homemade weapons and later win independence, no this is not the most impressing thing. And it’s not the fact that they live on a blocked island and manage to be completely self sufficient in fuel, medicine and all other things using only what the island has, what the mine company and various soldiers left behind and lot’s of creativity and will. This is very impressive, but it’s still not the most impressive thing about this movie.

What threw me the most was the pure and truly genuine feeling of responsibility these islanders had for their environment and coming generations. The guerilla leader worked for the mine company at first but when he saw what it did to the jungle, how it kept ruining it making the mine bigger, polluting the riversystem and moving the people from their homes into shantytowns where they saw none of the million dollar profits the company made of their land, he decided to take matters in his and his peoples hands. It started with sabotage and then continued with an armed conflict and ended up in a whole new society built by the islanders themselves without anything coming in from the outside. They have huge gardens, their own alternative medicine practice (that to me looked similiar to homoepathy) and even their own hydro power system that gives electricity 24hours a day. They are using the most unique gift of the human race; their creativity. And they fuel their own joy of living by putting this creativity into practice and making up life as it goes along. By their own rules and by their own belief, and all the while they are happy that they were blockaded by Papa New Guinea or they would still be kept in the chains of capitalism.

So why can’t we smart and amazing westerners feel the same thing about our environment? True we don’t have that much visible environmental problems that really visualize the extent of the pickle we have put ourselves in (and when I say we I mean our parents, bastards!) but still, we are fully aware and we keep cutting down forest, polluting streams and oceans and think nuclear is the answer. Why don’t we realize, like the Bougainvillers, that we must live in union with nature because we depend on it and our children depend on it? It is so simple and yet we wont lift a muthafuckin finger to do a god damned thing about anything. Well I say ENOUGH!

GO GROW A GARDEN FULL OF NECESSITIES AND GIVE YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR GRANDCHILDREN, YOUR GRANDGRANDCHILDREN AND SO ON A CHANCE AT A BEAUTIFUL, HARDSHIP FREE,  EXISTENCE IN A CLEAN AND BEAUTIFUL WORLD FULL OF LIFE!

Fade out professor-style with a googled image of a forest garden in Bougainville.

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This is my mans plot (but it would be nothing without me!)

Salamu Aleikum! Now that winter is here and we are all dead from the inside and out, it is time to plan for better things to come. Like spring and a new growing season. In these theoretic times that acquire knowledge and a hunger for information, I am so lucky to be married to a natural science interested teacher! And to share our plot with a soil expert is another bonus. I just can’t stand natural science! As soon as I here the word my ears switches on the mute button and my mind drifts to the fuzzy and warm world of the Humanities. Aaah…people. Knowing about plants and what they do is a must, and unless you are willing to spend the rest of your life getting all the emperics and then pass on the knowledge to your grandchildren, you better start reading. I don’t, my husband does all that for me!

Wherever I go in the flat there is a bunch of papers with plants written on them, or drawings of the plot and which hour the sun sets in which month and so on. On every paper the sides are filled with scribbles about the natural world. He reads about every plant and remembers it! In this very moment he’s writing about polyculture that he thinks we should try. Thank god for him!

He is the one who, well actually we both have designed the plot but he is the one who knows what we are doing and why. It’s not like I’m completely clueless, but I find myself wondering what I would do if it was my plot and mine only. Strongwilled as I am, I don’t think much would be different. Except for example, Rachid thinks we should have alot of edible perennials, I agree but would I do the research to find those perennials? No! Would he? Oh yeah! I’m gonna try to force him to write a post about it all, so that I don’t accidently learn something.

News from the plot: we bought berry bushes! At this place, which was awesome! We go four raspberry bushes, two yellow and two red. And two blackberry, without thorns! One gooseberry, one blueberry plant which is very exciting. And one white currant and two black currant. We planted them along the sides, to shield a bit from the wind. Slideshow time!

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On the way home we passed a yard sale and Nick bought a huge glass thing in which we hopefully will brew beer from our own hops. Does anyone have any information about beer brewing? I went in to the swedish beer brewers organizations website and they we’re all like “yeah it’s real easy, as long as you know about…….” 5000 things I’ve never heard about.  So I don’t. But I am very excited nonetheless! Someone will do the necessary research, and it wont be me!

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Grow your own food people!

So since I started this blog I’ve been getting alot of compliments on my writing in the post where I don’t mention the plot. THE plot! The plot that will free me from corporations deciding what and what not I put in my mouth. The plot that will show all of you how easy it can be to grow your own food and how little you need to do it. The plot that, after having spent hours in front of the computer, gets me out of my brain and into my body and out again to the real world of living processes.

The tool most people seem to lack in this society of virtual realities is time. But for yourself and all of your lovely unborn grandchildren, take that time! It is worth it and it makes you feel wonderful to see what type of plant a good old swedish cucumber comes from and how many seeds one single radish gives you. It is really an essential thing, growing your own food, and something we all should be a part of. It is only recently that we are so seperated from our food that we don’t even know where it comes from and how it has come to be in the first place. And it is mostly in this part of the world. I have grown up on (poisonous and imported) supermarket food and I had no idea what a cucumber plant looked like until a few years ago. I thought that milk came from grass! Because that’s basically what they told us in school. Now I’m feeling the old vegan twitching in me; we drink breast milk! It’s really quite disturbing. And what’s worse is that we buy the milk from what cows now? We have no idea! Even though the package shows cows gracing and have interviews and phone numbers to farmers you should never trust these cheap tricks to get you to consume whatever they are selling. You have NO IDEA what kind of food this cows are getting or in what environment they live in or if they’re calves are locked in a basement or already slaughtered or how many shots of whatever drug or hormones they have gotten. We buy the food from the supermarket because we think we have too. Because we submit to the state of things. I strongly encourage you to watch Stefan Jarls movie Underkastelsen about all the chemicals we have in our bodies, we don’t want more do we?

That’s why I started this blog, to inspire young more or less healthy people like myself who live in the city to start growing their own. You have to eat, you do it everyday, why then is food such a small concern to you? It should be your top concern! So please keep reading my posts about the wonderful garden plot and start one up yourself! If you don’t have the time, start it with friends and take turns, grow on your balcony or in your window sill do whatever just to see that process. One seed in some soil turned into a harvest of fresh, non-toxic and free food. It’s pure poetry. And by the way, cucumbers come from this plant:

Isn’t it beautiful?

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