I don’t know shit

I was in the garden last week, digging a new bed with the aid of the two WWOOFrs, Mike and Karen. We excavated to the usual depth — that is, until exhaustion stopped us — then installed a hardware-cloth “basket” before refilling the bed. When we amended the soil pile of rocks by adding horse manure and kitchen compost, it became clear I don’t know shit.

Or, more specifically, compost. The kitchen compost in the composting container was little decomposed after more than a year. The 10% or so in the middle was beautiful, but the rest was too dry. I’ve been at this a few years now, and it seems I should know more than I do about practical matters. Such as how to make compost with a mixture of kitchen scraps, chicken manure, and horse manure. How to mix it. How to store it. How to turn it into dark, nutrient-rich, crumbly compost until the neighbors ooh and ah.

On the other hand, I just made a deal with one of the neighbors. We’ll trade our inadvertent roosters — a side-effect of incubating eggs to produce “replacement” laying hens — for horse manure. Formerly, we didn’t get shit for our roosters. Now, it seems, we will get shit for our roosters. Clearly, our skills at bartering are improving, even if we don’t know compost.

While I’m on that particular topic, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this line, which I observed on an unknown contact’s Facebook wall: “The shit is no longer hitting the fan. The fan is covered in shit. Now the shit is hitting the shit.”

There are many other unknowns, too, about our future. Although American Empire has been declining for more than a decade, we cannot yet confirm the accuracy of dozens of pundits predicting completion of the ongoing decline within 17 months (and by the time we can confirm the predictions, there’ll be nobody to brag to). My own take, consistent with the old cliché: Better safe than sorry. I doubt it’s wise to abandon the empire and start growing a garden the day before economic collapse visits you. And, while I’m trotting out adages, the time to dig a well is not when you’re thirsty.

Another thought came to my ears, courtesy of Mike’s brain and mouth, as we were digging that garden bed: What a salesman! We spent the first couple million years of the human experience as happy campers, living close to the land and avoiding human-population overshoot. Then one heckuva merchant sold us civilization. Instead of spending most of our personal time playing and otherwise doing many things, suddenly we were spending essentially all our time doing one thing. Is there any question the transition from hunter-gatherers to farming was the worst idea ever? And yet, here we are. And we make a bad decision worse, here in the land of Big Ag, when we turn the lion’s share of our corn into ethanol. As I’ve pointed out several times before, we are willingly choosing our means of death: starvation, in a traffic jam.

This bizarre set of choices, and the strong sense of entitlement underlying them, point to the United States as the last place I want to be standing within the next few years (and now, for that matter). Here in the United States of Advertising, we’re “all in” on a set of living arrangements based on environmental disaster and headed for economic disaster. We base our entire industrial economy on oil and the wars that provide it. Although I’ve often expressed my personal preference for a country characterized by agrarian anarchy largely devoid of fossil fuels, such as Belize, almost anywhere beyond the borders of the U.S. will prove superior to this country in the months and years ahead.

Compelled by marital and familial ties, I’m mitigating in place for environmental disaster, including climate change, as well as completion of the ongoing collapse of the industrial economy. As it turns out, the lessons we learn should prove valuable to the few other people interested in making other arrangements: If we can make it work here, in the harshest of desert environs, you should be able to transition just about anywhere. Perhaps you’ll join me in avoiding the life of “should” by living a life true to yourself. In so doing, you’ll avoid the first regret of the near-dead, living a life others expect.

Even if I don’t know shit — and the mountain of evidence grows daily — at least my death comes regret-free. Maybe it’s merely another case of blissful ignorance. Apparently, I wouldn’t know.


This essay is permalinked at End of Empire News.

Comments 162

  • Flooding on the Missouri River 2011…

    During the last half of May, the upper Missouri River basin received nearly a year`s worth of rainfall. In addition, the estimated snow melt runoff was 212 percent of normal across the upper portion of the river system. These conditions resulted in Missouri basin reservoirs across eastern Montana and the Dakotas nearing their maximum levels. Record releases are ongoing at Gavin’s Point dam located to the west of Yankton, South Dakota. Current releases are at 160,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). At this time releases of this magnitiude are expect to continue well into August. The previous high release at Gavin’s Point was 70,000 cfs in 1997

  • “What caught us off guard this year was not predictable,” General McMahon says. “It was a tremendous, historic amount of rain that nobody anticipated and it set new records going back 114 years.” Releases from the dam were cut from 160,000 cubic feet per second to 150,000 over the past few days, and the releases will be further cut to 90,000 in a few weeks.

    Given the heavy rain and the melting snowpack, McMahon defends the Corps’ management of the river, saying natural events beyond anyone’s control created the flood. “Certainly, the system was not designed to accommodate the event of 2011,” he says. “That’s well-documented with over 46-million acre feet of runoff between March and July. The system was designed to handle 40-million acre feet, based on the 1881 flood. So, that’s an example of the dynamic that’s at play here.”

    So, humans are not to blame for rising levels of greenhouse gasses, building in floodplains, and paving over land so it cannot absorb the rain. Not our fault………….. just victims of acts of an unpredictable world (formerly God got the blame for these acts but now he just gets the praise when a few of the victims get rescued)

  • seems I don’t know s**t about the Onion

  • Sarah, thank you for the onion story !!!

    Honestly, and sadly ???) the Onion articles really are closer to reality than most of the MSM.

    I am starting to suspect the MSM is mostly made up of “bots” – just like the fiction known as the financial markets.

  • I am starting to suspect the MSM is mostly made up of “bots” – just like the fiction known as the financial markets.


    You might be closer to the truth than you think… ;-)

    I’ve found the Onion to be pretty reliable most of the time.

  • Terry

    I’m glad you got a laugh from that line.

    I think you nailed on the “enlightened ones” being precluded from ‘elite’ (i.e. “above the law”) power. I don not know if the rest qualify for “insane” – although I suspect that would be their plea in court ;). Some may simply be “incredibly evil,” but for some reason I am having a harder and harder time with the whole concept of “evil.”

    Dumb animals are not evil, are they? And when the “elite” (lawless) are cornered I think their brains revert to the level of dumb animals – all brain stem, no cortex.

    “Forgive them for they know now what they do,” or, “salt and pepper them, and put them in the stew pot” ?????

  • Frank and Kathy –

    I lifted and posted some of your links at “The Big Picture” blog, where they are usually focused on small pictures (often small pictures of themselves).

    I’m just posting this to follow my own sense of proper link-theft etiquette.


    If anyone follows this link, note that some posters there (e.g. Mark E Hoffer, others) are really looking at the BIG picture.

  • Ed

    I think the elder is spot on. And like Robin Datta said, it is even better the second time through (I watched it twice in a row).

    Again, thank you for the link.

  • Victor,

    Maybe we should start a store – call it “Build a Bot” – and market it to newborns, toddlers, etc and their mothers…

    “Get your kids started in cyberspace now for only $19.95 – do it now before it is too late – do it now before they are even aware they exist – or they might decide for themselves later, and miss the Big Bot revolution !!”.

    If we don’t do this, someone else will, so we might as well…right ??? I think…. ?!?!?

    Someone here posted this gem here recently:

    Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world


    Time to fix the tomato patch that is turning into a jungle and my wife is getting tired of my excuses.

  • The problem of solving Increasing Human Energy was solved a century ago.


    The World of mankind has not listened because we are all divided by Greed.

  • You are all idiots with feeble minds that had been programmed with ugly half truth education. Your logics are all WRONG, you all will only continue to live BETA perception in the same way of conditioning and bring about an-avoidable amenable catastrophe to the Human specie and all other earthlings.

    Learn to clear your perception of ill malicious conditioning and operate at Alpha wavelength. It is the only way.


  • If you truly want to make a Change in the World that we all call our home.

    Please Change yourself first. Learn Ultramind Esp. Help yourself first.

    Download the Ultramind Esp.

  • SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Politicians lie. Bankers lie. Yes, they’re liars. But they’re not bad, it’s in their genes, inherited. Their brains are wired that way, warn scientists. Like addicts, they can’t help themselves. They want to sell stuff, get rich.

    We want to believe they’re telling us the truth. Silly, huh? Both trapped in this eternal “dance of death” controlled by programs hidden deep in our brains, telling us what to do, telling us to ignore facts to the contrary — till it’s too late, till a new crisis crushes all of us.

    Click to Play Dow ends at 2 1/2-year highJoe Bel Bruno explains why stocks climbed to 21/2-year highs and extended their winning streak to a third consecutive week.

    Psychology offers us a powerful lesson: Our collective brain is destined to trigger a crash before Christmas 2011. Why? We’re gullible, keep searching for a truth-teller in a world of liars. And they’re so clever, we let them manipulate us into acting against our best interests.

    In fact, behavioral science tells us that bankers and politicians are lying to us 93% of the time. It’s 13 times more likely Wall Street is telling you a lie than the truth. That’s why they win. Why we lose. Because our brains are preprogrammed to cooperate in their con game. Yes, we believe most of their lies.


  • Listen to yourselves people, and realize how wretched you are. You are the detritus of a fallen civilization, a people without great myths, visions or hope. You are a miserable rabble, and I despise you all.

    The world belongs forever to the conquerors, the empire builders and the myth-makers. If you are not the masters of such things, then you are slaves. If you can do nothing but react negatively to every expression of power, order and will, then you are little more than savages.

    New empires are coming, even as the old ones fall. New myths are being born which will inspire future generations to greatness. You are the last generation of this wretched Judeo-Christian civilization, and soon you will be gone. Today the Galactic Empire exists only in the minds of the visionary, but tomorrow it will begin to take shape. The stars are ours, but for you there is only the earth underfoot.

  • Navid: You are most welcome. If you like that you might also enjoy:

    Sam: We are using a shurflo 12 volt 2088-44-144 with a 125 watt panel. I went back and checked on otherpower.com and he was using a 75 watt panel. He added a few bells and whistles because he was filling a tank for his house, but we don’t care because whatever overflows will go to another catchment area. He was getting 45 ft vertical and 450 feet horizontal. Hope that helps.

    Kathy: Carol was drying the squash inside in 4 days, which is about what Buffalo Bird Woman was doing in the full sun. She always had a fan blowing at the drying racks. She opened the windows at night and closed them during the day. When they were leathery they were done. We have dried around 60-80 pounds of squash so farm. It dries down to around 3 lbs. For your bug problem, have you tried visiting a farmer’s market? We farmers are so happy to let everyone know how smart we are, that if someone has summer squash they are more that likely to tell you how they are beating the bugs.

    Started the root cellar today, pictures, costs and other thingies coming soon.

    SMS: Don’t take this in the wrong way but that was just about the stupidest thing I have read on this blog. There used to be someone named “one eye open” on Kunstler’s blog that said virtually the same thing. “They will always win because the want it more.” We have played that game, and unfortunately my children are playing it now as well. It’s a hopeless dead end street. OK wasted more time on that than I need to.

    All the best to you NBL folks.

  • Ed,

    Interesting reading about your pumping experience, especially since I was reading about the shurflow 2088 not three minutes ago in a solar products catalog. We are setting up a really small 12-volt PV system here today (not for pumping) but water is always on my mind and I am already thinking about the next step. Question—did you consider using an 110V AC surflow 2088 and an inverter? If so, what led you to go with 12 volt?

    Michael Irving

  • Ed, I have been gardening for almost 40 years. I have gardened in WNY, California, Georgia, TN, North Carolina and here. I have had to adjust with every move. I am not a novice at this. The last few suggestions I tried were from Southern Seed Exchange who cater to Southern Gardeners and are sure to have suggestions from Southern Marketers. They didn’t work at all….

    I have this theory, the more different solutions you can find on the web to a problem of any sort, the more likely there is no good solution. If there was a good solution then it would be selected by many crowding out the bad or less good solution. No doubt that is why there are a gadzillion solutions to arthritis on the web.

  • thanks ed!

    michael the loss of an inverter to 115v is significant; & they are expensive. if the grid is available…. but for a more simplified system 12v is what i believe the numbers will point to. with water, intermittent sunshine usually isn’t a problem if storage is the initial goal.

  • Speaking of regret-free deaths, Guy: Tonight, for the first time in perhaps a year, I happened to check Dan Treecraft’s blog. The last post, written two days ago, said he would be committing suicide today: http://www.feistylife.com/deadmantalking/. Whether it happened, I don’t know—but I thought you and your readers might like to know, since he once was one of your regular commenters.

  • @SMS
    They tried and failed in USSR. The Elites are nothing but thieves.

  • Sith Master Sean:

    If you could move the “h” in the first name of your title from the last place to the second place, you could be Dr. McPherson’s mentor!

  • I have this theory, the more different solutions you can find on the web to a problem of any sort, the more likely there is no good solution.


    This is a good bit of insight – and probably true for most things. Of course, there is always the old adage, “There are many ways to skin a cat” as well. But my instincts tell me that what you say is mostly true.

    A corollary to that might also be that on the Internet, if a “fact” can only be verified from a single source, then it is probably not a fact. I have seen this many times for product reviews or news stories. When you really dig into them, you frequently find that all the corroborating support comes from the same source in the end – big warning sign at that point.

  • An interesting article on pacification of the young:


    You need not be reminded that the elite own all the media outlets and nearly all the content providers. I’ll leave it to you to guess whose views prevail and if it could really be true that today’s youth are the products of intentional social engineering.

    Do we live in a Matrix far beyond what even Orwell conceived?

  • Kathy: I know you aren’t a novice. Didn’t mean to suggest you were.

    Sam, Michael: Yup 12 volt is the way to go. Inverters do take alot of power. Start looking for RV type appliances. We are installing a 500 watt display. We have a neighbor that gets by on 350. For us it seems the most complicated thing is the water. Our plans are a hand pump into a RV pressurized tank. We are going to try to heat our water with a small wind turbine and a 12V heating element. Could be complicated or not, we won’t know until we try it. I have some details somewhere that suggest you might want to put a small battery between the windmill and the water tank. The hot water would be a stand alone system.

  • I was thinking, there is some really good stuff here. In the comment section I mean. I was wondering if a few of you more experienced gardener’s/preppers might consider opening up your own websites/blogs and demonstrating your techniques and knowledge on line. I think it could be a real benefit to people. I’d read them.

  • The onion’s solution to the defict Grab life by the Balls bill – live faster, die younger


  • Brent/WTI are in full decline this week. WTI is around $90, Brent at $111. This coinincides with a significant drop in the markets over the past ten days or so.

    I wonder if the oil prices we saw last month — WTI flirted with $100, Brent $120 (IIRC), were “THE” numbers at which the next Leg Down would begin, as $147 was in 2008. Concurrent with this, as it was then, is a slew of bad economic data that even the propaganda machine can’t completely whitewash.

    Perhaps we are seeing a kind of cyclical ratcheting down of the industrial economy, whereby oil prices rise to a certain point, until the pressures they create — exacerbated by the Ponzi economy’s inherent weaknesses — generate a blanket collapse overall, until (as in 2008) a temporary “bottom” is reached, and the cycle begins again.

    Are we at that next leg down — maybe the next “Recession-within-the-Greatest-Depression?”

  • Sam, Ed,

    Thanks for the comments. I was thinking that AC would take some significant amount of stored energy and a set amount of amps to run a pump (i.e., my AC pump runs at one speed and power level all the time or not at all), whereas pumping DC-direct is supposed to allow slower speed pump operation if a lesser level of power is available. Your comments have emphasized the value of concentrating on learning more about DC (equipment, wiring, expenses, etc.). Ed, does the 2088 require a charge controller?

    On the bright side (pun intended), we’ve got PV power, WOOT! Just a little, I’ll admit, but now we have to see what we can do with it.

    Michael Irving

  • Christopher,

    Interesting thought about THE number (120 vs. 147) and the ratcheting down. It will be interesting to watch.

    Michael Irving

  • Michael here is the original article. http://otherpower.com/danf_waterpump.html

    As you can see he does have controls on his. So far its just a eureka moment for me to see how this all works. I’ll start refining things as we go forward. Right now we aren’t getting the motor start up without some really good sun, a problem that is fixable. I still have a box from wholesalesolar.com with all sorts of things that I need to get into and understand. One other thing on the 2088, the inlets and outlets are 1/2 inch you will need adapters to make it work with standard hoses.
    This is fun working through this with others that aren’t slapping down 20K for a system that they will never understand.

  • Christopher, I think you’re onto something, as I indicated slightly more than two months ago: “I suspected it was game over, within a matter of weeks or months, when the per-barrel price of oil hit $126 in late April.”

  • Christopher/Guy

    Your supposition is correct, I think. Certainly this is the pattern things will take as peak oil takes its toll on civilisation. We just don’t recognise it yet. Do not be surprised if oil takes another turn upwards, however. But I think that the peak price at which the economy will be adversely affected will continue to be lower and lower over time. At some point, however, production will be seen to be clearly falling. It is then that we can expect Collapse to happen within a few years (or even sooner). I expect that terminal decline in production to happen somewhere between 2012 and 2015. A lot depends upon the economy, however. A persistently poor economy will result in slightly lower oil demand, putting off terminal decline by a bit.

    I still say that 2012 will be a most interesting year in many ways.

  • ed/michael
    yes lots to learn w/ 12vdc. i’m having to rewire circuits in our 80’s diesel car as relays are $100 a pop.
    one thing i’ve learned is wally mart[+ auto places] has some of the switches/fuses etc. for the car stereo crowd that are high amp 12v like we need at a good price.

  • Ed, one of the things we will have to do post collapse is decide what things are worth the effort. In other words, we need to be aware of the ERoEI of what we choose to grow. Drought is pretty much the norm here and although I have a hand pump in a drilled well, the thought of pumping to irrigate is daunting. To hand pump to irrigate a plant that takes 10 times the care and 10 times the water for a similar yield as more hardy plants, makes absolutely no sense. Thus post collapse I WILL NOT grow yellow squash. I will grow cukes that seldom have problems with squash bugs and which have never had problems with vine borers. I will grow seminole pumpkins which put down roots at every leaf junction that touches the ground, thus having a large area to draw water and nutrition from and what is more can grow from any leaf junction if the borers destroy the vine at the base of the plant. No those are not as delectable as yellow squash. However after hours and hours killing squash bugs and destroying their eggs you can have a healthy looking plant one day and overnight it collapses and dies from the borers. That is hard enough now. Had I watered it by hand pumping ….

    The reason I am bothering with this detail is because I think this is an important point in post collapse planning. Some things gotta go. The sooner we stop trying to grow fussy plants (for our part of the world and country) the better luck we will have in growing enough food for survival.

    Another note, the vine borer problem has been getting steadily worse and the same for all the gardeners I have talked to. However this year the cabbage moth problem was non existent. The mexican bean beetles absconded about 6 years ago never to return. Japanese beetles are almost gone, and I have seen not a single June bug. While a variety of things may play a part I have a feeling that climate change may be the main reason for these mysterious happenings. I would like to claim that whatever I was doing the last year we had these pests was the cure, but for years and years I hand killed cabbage worms and every year they were back. I doubt that I was more effective last year. Ditto for the other mentioned pests. We all may face the absence of some pests and the advent of new pests in the coming years. As climate changes we may have to change our diets as well, or starve trying to grow food that is no longer feasible to grow.

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

    By Paul Craig Roberts

  • This was published on August 1 so I suspect many of you have seen it, but if ever there was hard proof that the peak for oil has been past, this is it . . .


    “Most European major oil companies posted a surge in quarterly profits last week, but their results were overshadowed by a trend that continues to trouble Wall Street and corporate boardrooms: Nearly every major oil company reported year-to-year oil-and-gas output declines, often in the double-digits.

    “Big Oil is throwing huge resources at the problem with more open embrace of unconventional petroleum developments, high-risk exploration in frontier areas and corporate restructuring. But even if these strategies work in some cases, there is little doubt that anemic petroleum output signals a long-term challenge confronting the sector.”

  • But even if these strategies work in some cases, there is little doubt that anemic petroleum output signals a long-term challenge confronting the sector.

    Stating the obvious….Welcome to Peak Oil, folks.

  • For all who are interested, Dan Treecraft has moved on. We have lost a powerful progressive voice in our local (as well as online) community.

  • The Root of the Problem

    New research suggests that the flow of carbon through plants to underground ecosystems may be crucial to how the environment responds to climate change.

  • Judy, thanks for letting us know. I find his essays on life and death quite moving and insightful. He spoke of something that has become almost unmentionable in our culture with wisdom, courage, and humor.

  • Sue Day: I don’t think this site lends itself to what you are looking for. Mother Earth News, Backwoods Home, Permies, Garden Forum have excellent search functions where you can learn about specifics. We have a blog but it tends to be a bit cutesy, though we are going to change that with the root cellar, and maybe do something more with the PV with Sam and Michael. The beauty of NBL is that its people who are doing whatever they are doing for the same reason. Not so with those websites listed above.

    Kathy: EROEI, totally agree. Do you risk, because of your environment having limited options? We figure, every year we can grow corn, beans, potatoes, and squash, and then forage nuts, wild rice (hopefully), wapato, and a bunch of other stuff. If one crop fails or we have something go wrong with the forage crops then we will still have plenty. Personally, I don’t think things will ever get this desperate but we prepare anyway.

    Dr. Thanks for that article, I had not seen it.

  • Kathy, thank you for that. All of us who knew him found all of those qualities and more. If you haven’t seen his protest of Alberto Gonzales’ visit to Spokane(which was a secret meeting with law enforcement here, obviously uncovered), you have missed out. The original uncut version has been scrubbed from the web, but here is another version:

  • The Monkeysphere

    “One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic.”
    -Kevin Federline

    What do monkeys have to do with war, oppression, crime, racism and even e-mail spam? You’ll see that all of the random ass-headed cruelty of the world will suddenly make perfect sense once we go Inside the Monkeysphere…


  • at least dan doesn’t have to put up any more with perverse ‘public’ policies which impel the righteous to protest and be manhandled by the police for their trouble. hopefully now he’s free from all pain and anxiety. i’m selfishly sorry he’s gone, but he’s probably better off. i second guy’s last comment to dan’s blog: peace, dan.

  • Rest in peace, Dan. You were a warrior of the finest kind – integrity and honour to the end. Your life was an example to us all, as was your death.

  • TEPCO has discovered locations on the Fukushima plant site with lethal levels of
    external gamma radiation. Fairewinds takes a close look at how this radiation
    might have been deposited and how similar radioactive material would have been
    released offsite.

  • Finally, the pressures on the planet’s resources are escalating so quickly that “the problem is running away from the solution”, he said.
    From Data Shows All of Earth’s Systems in Rapid Decline
    By Stephen Leahy article at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=56685

  • With thanks to Andy R…….

    A New Look at Population Bombs and Bulges


    A fresh look at humanity’s cresting growth spurt and its implications, for good or ill.

  • But OhMyDog if we provide free family planning it will be the end of our civilization
    KING: We have people that are single, we have people that are past reproductive age, we have priests that are celibate. All of them, paying insurance premiums that cover contraceptives so that somebody else doesn’t have to pay the full fare of that? And they’ve called it preventative medicine. Preventative medicine. Well if you applied that preventative medicine universally what you end up with is you’ve prevented a generation. Preventing babies from being born is not medicine. That’s not— that’s not constructive to our culture and our civilization. If we let our birth rate get down below replacement rate we’re a dying civilization.
    Unfortunately its too late to save our civilization by providing free family planning, but we can at least limit the number of new humans who have to endure (or not) the collapse and subsequent dieoff.

  • http://soultutor.com/pdf/

    Just looked at this real quickly. Folks like Sue Day might find it particularly interesting.

    Sam and Michael: Wind-sun.com Forum seems to be particularly good. Best place to buy batteries, Costco or Sams? Apparently their deep cell marine and/or golf cart batteries are very inexpensive. Do your own dd.

    Too much to digest right now. Kind of wish there was a foot of snow on the ground.

  • Ed,

    “Do you own dd.” ???? I don’t know that reference.

  • Michael, “do your own due diligence.”

  • S&P just downgraded the US to “AA” from “AAA.”

    Monday should be iiiinnteresting…

  • Ed, Thanks very much for the info.

  • Judy,

    Thanks for that. I was thinking in terms of some acronym used with direct current and had something to do with Ohms Law. I did not even connect that it was just a language term. Sometimes I’m dumber than a box of rocks.

    Michael Irving

  • Michael,

    “Sometimes I’m dumber than a box of rocks.” From reading your posts, it appears that your statement applies very infrequently.

  • Grow comfrey. Recommend this hybrid Symphytum x uplandicum, see wiki. You can make several cuts a year if you have enough rain.
    It is high in N and K and it will pull water from the deep to the surface. It composts very quickly. Also Tanacetum vulgare, yellow buttons the cut bodies can be used to accelerate composting. Search compost tea. Comfrey makes a good c_tea. Comfrey will call in worms to break soil also, they will pull in the leaves. You can put horse manure direction on the comfry as well. The seleted hybrid is not invasive, no seed. You can outline or border your gardens with it. You have then a ready made source of fertilizer and support for any kind of fruit production.

  • (shameless promo) My books, on Amazon and at many libraries, “Beyond Compost” and “Mas Alla del Compost”, may be helpful for medium-sized vermicomposting.
    I spend my winters in Costa Rica, one of at least 21 countries that have no standing military. There is the possibility that I will be stranded there when the world economic collapse shuts down air transportation. “Don’t throw me in that briar patch”.
    Desert-dwellers should be studying the ancient practice of Terra Preta (biochar – see http://michiganbiochar.com ,etal)

  • You have forgotten your own title. nature does bat last, even in matters of decomposition. If you want compost to be finished quickly, you have to tend it. Moisture throughout and aeration are critical, along with the correct mix of carbon and nitrogen. Moist but not sopping is correct. The natural resident microbes will take over and heat a properly constructed pile (has to be big enough too) to over 140 F. When the pile starts to cool, you turn it with a spade fork and check for moisture again. It will heat up again and then cool. You keep doing this without adding too much more too it (or it will never finish) and in a couple of weeks you get compost, very dark and gelatinous. A passive pile will do the same thing but take a lot longer. it is best to have several piles started at once and in various stages if you are using active composting.
    You could also try sheet mulching which is putting a layer of organic material on the garden bed (kitchen scraps) and covering with several layers of newspaper or cardboard, weighing down and leaving to decompose and compost over several months. this also kills off the weeds and grass temporarily, you would then no-till plant through holes you dig in the mulch layer.

    Good luck!

  • I also prefer Belize, but Belize has struck oil. Watch the slide into degradation of that formerly beautiful little country. They are now an oil nation and proud of it, unfortunately.

    I enjoyed your interview on Radio Ecoshock recently. If you have any other talks or recordings that you don’t mind sharing, I’d like to listen to more of your ideas.

    By the way, composting is easy enough for even me to do — you just have to make sure it stays pretty wet!

  • I just found your list of interviews here. Great!

    Keep talking… Radio Ecoshock was the first I had heard of you though, and I read the mainstream climate news all the time.