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did you guys play a game as kids where you'd all boogie around, and on teacher's command would all have to 'freeze', stop in mid movement?

i have the same feelings these days, like a giant teacher is about to give the command.

like this whole oil era, nasty brutish and short as it is, and more specifically what it has meant for motility, is the equivalent of most of the human race whizzed in a blender, culturally speaking.

among the many ills it has benighted us with, i count this as a blessing, as although it has also uprooted and decimated much tradition and wisdom, it has also allowed us to see and feel just how differently centenary cultures have evolved, what they have in common, and what they don't.

this has been a dodgy but effective antidote to the poisons of stagnation that have accumulated as by-products of millennia of limited circulation, and has detoxed many petty and parochial mindsets.

it seems we are probably destined to be content with a digital equivalent in the future, if we're lucky enough to keep global communication going, (costs a lot less to fly electrons around than people), and to return to living with our roots actually in (what's left of) the earth, instead of stretching them to snapping point and beyond, on our mission-to-know through the badlands of hubris.

fine with me, though certainly cheap travel was a thrill, the reality is that it only seemed cheap.

and i'd rather see healthy children where i am, rather than go and stare at them abroad, especially when doing so imperils their future.

we really need to get consciously creative regarding our future food supply, really getting italian here, lol! cuz while we eat such a huge majority of foods that we won't have around PO, we don't want to go back to regular famines, etc...

and while you can't eat oil, you can't eat electricity either, we run (mostly) out of one, we may create access to much of the latter, if we get smarter faster...

electric tractors, an idea whose time has come...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 11:54:04 PM EST
... grain driers and renewable energy cycle fertilizers to be more likely first steps down from petroleum fed agriculture than electric tractors ... while we certainly can't produce enough biodiesel to replace the current gasoline fired commute in the US, there is no reason to doubt we can produce enough biodiesel to fuel tractors.

Of course, that means that its a Net Energy Yield versus Labor Productivity race between tractors and horses, in terms of which will lead to the least increase in cost of food, but the US has a massive increase in food productivity up our sleeve due to our absurd over-production and over-consumption of meat, and in any event I prefer two options to one in this kind of situation.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Oct 28th, 2007 at 12:31:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, planting winter rye and buckwheat, vetch and clover.

yes again, these are first steps that do not require such radical change to have immediate benefits.

i agree that biodiesel will be abundant enough to keep old tractors going, but i still thin we should plan the next-gen of farm tools to be electric...much lower maintenance.

the US has a massive increase in food productivity up our sleeve due to our absurd over-production and over-consumption of meat,

 just splitting up the meat production into smaller units should do wonders for pollution, not to mention the smaller travel distances and the lowering of medical bills.

great points, bruce, thanks.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Oct 28th, 2007 at 01:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good points, Bruce and melo. Smaller, less fuel-dependent processes and somewhat decentralized (regional) production centers will be important features of more sustainable systems.

melo - was your reference to "winter rye ... clover" concerning green compost for gardens? If so, consider leaves for winter cover. They are my main humus (no hummus, thanks) sources. Earthworms love them, too. By Spring the leaves are quite fragile and are ready to spade in. Just have to be a little careful as to type. Oak leaves and black walnut leaves are essentially somewhat poisonous to a lot of plants. In the Pacific Northwest I use Western Maple and Alder leaves, which are ubiquitous.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Sun Oct 28th, 2007 at 11:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, what some call 'green manure'.

leaves work well, here i use chestnut and oak mostly, some hedge maple.

if i followed your method, i think most would be carried off by winter winds here....

composting them and digging in the compost before planting works best in this region. i recently bought a machine that renders up to 1" branches into mulch, but i'm not using it till my panels are installed, as it sucks a lot of wattage, and my electric bill is over the moon, even being hyperfrugal.
i tried it out though and it works really well, fluffs up the pile and helps it all break down aerobically.

thanks for the info paul, how about a gardening diary or two?

with pix!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 04:00:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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