Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Global Economy Collapses

I have not been posting stories about the current global economic melt down because I figure everyone already knows about it. Since 2005 I have been going round talking about the end of industrial capitalism and the coming crash. At the time I was accused of being nuts and of wanting a pol pot style great leap backwards. Whilst this current crisis could just be a hiccup for global capitalism and could result in global agreements similar to those set up after world war two I think it is more than that.

I think the current economic crises is closely tied to very real limits to growth. I don't think its coincidental that this crises intensified sharply after oil and mineral prices shot up sharply a year ago. I think a rise in the price of raw materials combined with a very shaky economic situation which had been obvious for years was enough to trigger and intensify the current crises.This society is so complex and fragile with supply chains snaking the globe that even relatively minor disruptions such as strikes or shortages of key materials can cause major disruption world wide. Once we really get into this crisis it will be very difficult for the global economy to recover.

On a broader level I think peak oil and a couple of other factors will mean that instead of a temporary hiccup we will be looking at the long term decline of industrial society. Whilst we probably have another few hundred years of industrialised society ahead of us I think our global society has peaked. I believe this because I think we are hitting peak oil right now and I think that from here on in the energy which drives the industrial system will become more expensive and harder to get.

So go outside plant your gardens, talk to your neighbours begin building the new world right fucking now. If you get your hours reduced consider working part time and slashing your expenses. Work out what is really important to you and do it. This is what I am doing and I have never been happier. Even if this crisis is just a hiccup I want to use this chance to begin creating the world as I want to see it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oyster Mushrooms

My friend has been growing/cultivating oyster mushrooms in buckets. He bought the initial spawn to get them going, mixed it with some woodchips and put the mix into buckets, misting the buckets daily to keep moisture and humidity up. These two photos were taken about two days after the first flush of mushrooms appeared.

Oyster mushrooms are remarkably adaptable and a good mushroom for beginners to try. They can be grown on a wide range of substrates including, straw, woodchips, paper, coffee beans etc. If anyone is interested in mushrooms I can highly recommend checking mycelium running out. This book is awesome, it blew my mind and the minds of everyone I know which has read it. Basically Paul Stamets outlines the world beneath our feet and how fungi are crucial to the functioning of ecosystems. He then shows how fungi can be utilised not only to produce food but to heal damaged landscapes. Paul Stamets website is here

Update in response to a question about where to get spawn I would reccomend checking out these two sites for NZ suppliers, Mytopia and Mushroom Gourmet I think my friend got his from one of these but I am not sure which. If I see him soon I will ask him.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Huge Guerrila Garden

We were driving back from the winter gardens last week when my friends mentioned this huge garden they had seen near the motorway. Of course I wanted to go and check it out, as you can see from the pictures the garden is massive. Most of the garden is Kumera but there were also Corn, peppers, tomatoes and a bunch of other plants.

While I'm not sure I think this is a guerrilla garden which makes it all the cooler. The kids at the house next to it ran out when we turned up worried we were going to harvest veges but I asked if I could take some photos and they were ok with that. They were justifiably proud of the garden and gave the kind of ambiguous answer I expected when I asked who's land it was.

Anyway this kind of semi market garden scale growing is awesome. I really wish all permaculturalists and organic gardeners were this serious about growing food. Though given my recent hiatus from serious food growing I am no longer one to preach :) Gardens are becoming increasingly common all over the suburb I live in and I'm sure its the same across Auckland. Its definitely an inspiring time to be growing food. In south Auckland where I grew up there was always some semi-subsistence growing happening but it is becoming far more common with the current recession.

Winter Gardens

Nothing much to say about these photos, I took em at the heated indoor, winter gardens at the Auckland domain last week. I really like the winter gardens, they often have cool tropical fruits and veges growing in them.

The winter gardens are kept warm and humid year round so you can walk out of a grey miserable Auckland winters day into a warm tropical atmosphere.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Acorn Bread

So I have done some pretty depressing posts over the last while but I don't want to give my readers the impression that life is all doom and gloom. Indeed as I sit here drinking wine made out of fruit from a tree I planted a few years ago things seem pretty bright.
Anyway I spent this afternoon making acorn bread. I have been looking forward to making acorn bread for quite a few months and though I had forgotten how much work it is the reward is most definitely worth it. I took photos of much of the process so any avid readers in NZ can go out and make there own acorn bread over the next couple of weeks. Any northern hemisphere readers will need to wait until Autumn and go and find some acorn trees.

For an introduction to how acorns have been used historically and a more exact recipe read the great article my friend wrote last year here

The first step is to collect acorns, get any decent looking brown ones which aren't obviously cracked. You don't have to be very picky as you cull out the bad ones in the next step.

In this step I whack the acorns in the bag with a hammer splitting them, I then pull the husk off and chuck the kernel into the container. This is where you cull out the bad ones, any bits that are black should be removed or the whole kernel discarded. As these acorns were blown down in heavy wind last night all were in good condition and I think I only chucked a couple away.

Here I float off any husks as they aren't very please ant to bite into. Surprisingly I only let a few pieces of husk get through.

Next I boiled the kernels on a low heat for about 90mins or longer changing the water two or three times. This is to get the tannins out of the nut, I will try soaking nuts in water for a couple of days at some point but I didnt have the patience to wait today.

This is what they looked like once boiled, kinda grey and crumbly and edible though strong tasting.

I then mashed these thoroughly and mixed 50/50 with regular white flour, oil, soy milk, golden syrup 5 teaspoons of baking soda and some water. I didn't really follow any recipe I just mixed ingredients until it looked right.

Next I baked it for about 40 mins until it wasn't too moist when I cut a small piece off.

Here is the finished product, two and a half hours later. It tasted great and went very quickly.

This will definitely be the first of many loaves.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Petting Zoo

There was a petting zoo at the Waitangi day event I was at today, I found it pretty depressing. While it can be argued that its good that kids have an oppurtunity to interact with animals I think running round harassing stressed animals isnt the healthiest of interactions. The petting zoo was set up as entertainment which I obviously have a problem with. While I was taking these photos some teenage farm kids were joking about how they treat the animals on the farms they came from. While these kids were joking round the footage and photos stories I have heard and seen mean I know that these kids probably were'nt making it up. After hearing them talk of kicking pregnant ewes in the stomach I walked away sickened.

No suprise that wherever I go I see evidence of the fucked up nature of our culture.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Praying Mantis

Tamil Protest Phots

More Garden Photos

Here are some pics I took in my friends garden today. I'm really happy with how they came out.