Watch “The Hidden Life of Trees By Peter Wohlleben (Book Review)” on YouTube

Do you want to know the secret for having a healthier environment? Baby, it’s trees. I know it doesn’t seem apparent at first. That’s why you’ve got to read this book about the life that trees live. It will change your entire paradigm about forests and city landscapes. It will also give you a deeper understanding of permaculture.

It’s not going to be easy to sum this book up. [I wish I could read the whole thing to the whole world.] There are 36 chapters. Each one has a gem of an idea that shines with brilliance.

First off, trees can communicate. Via their ectomycorrhizal fungi they form partnerships with amongst their roots and they can disperse molecules in the air to warn other trees of impending danger. They are also very caring and feed each other. Even evergreens feed deciduous trees and vice versa.

Second, we find out the odds at which trees are up against. The unforgiving elements [wind, lightning, flood and how that shapes there genetics], parasitic fungi, [animals], poor environment (too many
rocks, too wet, too cold, too hot), and pests like wood boring beetles. We learn how they stand up and form a barrier to protect each other from the wind. And that each specie of tree has it’s own design to manage water and growth patterns via a memory.

[3rd] Then, we learn of their potential. That trees left to their devices do not grow old at 100. Instead some can live 300-1000 years old. The older and Fatter they become the more carbon they absorb. [But deciduous trees do not breath carbon in the winter when no photosynthesis is going on. They breath oxygen just like animals through their roots].

[4th] Interestingly enough, we learn that forests of trees naturally move over time. The next generation of trees creating the new boundaries of the forest. Creeping like the slowest creature across the planet. Rogue seeds catch a ride in the river and in the feathers of a bird. seeds can emigrate on a migrating animal to a more favorable area.

[5th] The big take home, though is that trees provide more valuable services and products when they are alive then when the most of the
forest is harvested and a monoculture forest in put in it’s place.

I love this book and found there is even more fun in the bibliography. You will learn about the behaviors of individual tree species from an experienced forest ranger in Germany. If you own property or help make decisions about trees in your community this book will give you an understanding on how to investigate which trees would be best suited for your area and better care for then in the long run. Get this book and enjoy the hidden life of trees. If you enjoyed this video or learned something new give me a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe for more information about permaculture. I’m getting a text book about permaculture in the mail, so we wont
miss an idea. Now I can do this by the book. 🙂

Thank you for watching [and/or reading].

Save money [make money], save energy, and save the planet [so we can save the humans] 😉

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How an Image Critical Girl Can Love Herself

Now, probably more than anyone realizes, there are girls coming of age who are devastated because they do not look like they think a woman should look, they may even notice they are not  developed like their mother. Dissenters will use these insecurities like this as a cheap shot at invalidating. But in reality, no physical part of a body on anyone has to be considered a flaw, because that would only be an opinion. No one can prove for a fact that any body part should meet certain properties beyond being able to function well enough to enjoy a quality standard of living, and even then there are people willing to compromise in those respects to make the world a better place anyway that they know how or to enjoy their favorite hobbies, etc. That is, how you look shouldn’t effect the value of the life you get to enjoy.

When looking for a mate you don’t have to worry about how you are developing because sometimes the things you hate about yourself are part of the things they love about you. Not as many guys as you think are obsessed  with what you think is the ideal of beautiful, and chances are you have assets that no one is going to tell you because that would be kind of weird (that’s for date 50).

There are so many things to worry about that you don’t want to worry about things you cannot directly control. But chances are there are answers to the question of why you are developing the way you are. The sooner you find the answers the more likely you’ll enjoy better health and youthfulness longer in your life. Follow these steps to get started in balancing your health:

  1. Our modern environment is full of pollution and processed unhealthy foods. Many contaminates can collect in the body effecting our next generation. So this is an important task: providing your body with quality simple food from leaves, roots, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, and in moderation- meats. The people of Okinawa, Japan have a high rate of quality of life well into their 100’s because they eat copious amounts of vegetables that they and their neighbors grow. So get those veggies even if you have to go into your back yard and eat a dandelion or pick a bunch of leaves and dry them in a dark place, store them in an airtight container, and then enjoy them as a tea in the winter time.
  2. Always get 8 hours of sleep at minimum. Developing people may need 9-11 hrs. This is the time when the immune system comes out to fight, so if you’re feeling really awful when you wake up that means your body has been through all out war. But nighttime is also a time to restore, heal, and memorize the important things you have been learning all through the previous day. Always get enough sleep so you can heal, grow, and develop.
  3. Avoid any form of simple (granulated or added sugars). Science has shown us that sugar is addictive like alcohol and drugs. The liver makes triglycerides from excess sugar in the blood, and it causes the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce sebum at an increased rate. Also, our bodies are more than just human cells. Our bodies contain more cells of bacteria, fungus, and other little uncanny creatures that love sugar. There are even some scientists that have noted that cancer is similar to fungus. When you eat processed sugar, you are not getting all the energy from it, the fungus and bacteria enjoy some of it too and enjoy you for desert.
  4. Balance your omega 3s and omega 6s. Omega 3s are really great to have, and they offer your body lots of healing, learning, and energy potential. Not only does seafood have this but nuts and seeds as well. Don’t blow the seeds off the dandelion for a wish, make it come true by eating the seeds 😉 The more you learn about natural oils (fat of the land) the more tools in your beauty kit you will have to be beautiful inside and out. Natural oils are your friend, especially when you finally decide that it’s time to start the next generation of awesomeness. You’ll find the last couple of months are the most important time to religiously apply oils (2-3 times a day) to help the skin expand with minimal stretch marks. Fats are a macro nutrient. 30% of the calories your diet can be fats making your meals satiating, and giving your body another form of energy.
  5. Get enough protein. An adult female needs 45 grams of protein everyday, especially when doing strenuous work. Make sure you eat within an hour of getting up and include a good source of protein in your breakfast so your body can create all it’s going to need for the day. This will keep you feeling good all throughout the day. Don’t go overboard though, because too much protein will cause the body to make ammonia.
  6. Get a good amount of exercise. Sometimes just doing some chores and caring for others is all the activity you need. All that scrubbing, shoveling, massaging, and maybe doing push-up every day is all you need for a great upper body. A part time job, gardening, sports, and even putting all the wayward items in your house away (especially when you are lucky enough to have others misplace things for you) is a great way to keep those legs being awesome. Get out and about helps your body get vitamin D  which is essential for healthy bones.
  7. Challenge negative thoughts. Not all thoughts are awesome, and are downright hurtful. Let yourself enjoy singing, and let yourself enjoy being you. Don’t believe the hype. Find a way to relax from stressors that you have no control of.
  8. What’s causing your immunity to not function correctly? If you are doing the first five steps and you find you still have a problem with an imbalance of fungus (called candida) or bacteria (called disbiosis) try to figure out why your immune system cannot keep it in check. Do you have a bacterial or viral infection? Has chemicals been introduced into your body?. Some bacteria is helpful for you and helps you create and absorb vitamins and minerals, and build your immune system. Is their a silent poison in your home such as black mold under the toilet, or lead from old flaking paint or pipes. (Do note that cilantro has been found to chelate lead, and that chelating should be done before deciding to have children to avoid birth defects.) Do you use proper ventilation when cooking? When the body is burdened with fighting and trying to heal from these kinds of stresses it seems logical that the priority of the body would be to keep itself alive and then if it has time maybe develop the reproductive system. Make sure you are getting plenty of nutrition before you have children. The first month is the most important for the proper development of your baby.

So when your mother says you can only love others when you love yourself, this above is what she means. The hard part is affording all that healthy food and avoiding everything that could poison you. That’s why permaculture is so important. We need more people growing and creating real food without destroying the integrity of it’s nourishment. You may have to do this for yourself. If we are to create a culture of permanence, we’ll need to know how to live in harmony with natural systems and not in spite of them.

Forget the small imperfections, and enjoy all that you have.

Me 10 years ago. This is when I realized I was not happy with the way I was caring for myself.

Here’s me in 2014 when I was avoiding gluten, enjoying all the veggies and different kinds of low glycemic grains and fancy oils. We spent a lot of money on food I was working full time, reading , doing yard work, cleaning house, spending time with my family so this is one of the two close ups I could find.

 

Here I am in 2017. My diet is not perfect and neither is my face. But I am feeling productive and happy when I eat quality food and not empty calories.

Resources:

The Candida Cure by Ann Boroch

The Candida Directory By Helen Gustafson

Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau

The Okinawa Program by Bradley Wilcox,  Craig Wilcox, and Makoto Suzuki

Homebrew Wind Power

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Do you live next to an open field?  Are you someone who enjoys building things by scratch or learning all the what, whys and hows of a mechanical system? Wind Technology may be a great path for you. Here is a book that was recommended by my professor: Homebrew Wind Power, A Hands-on Guide to Harnessing the Wind. The Authors Dan Bartmann and Dan Fink found a Scottish wind generator (by Hugh Piggott) that could stand up to the punishing North Colorado winds. They have an amusing website called otherpower.com about making your own electricity from scratch.

Even if your goal is just to learn the basics about electric and wind power, this book explains all that. It goes over how to find a good place, measure the wind, and rate how much energy is expected to be had. It also goes over common problems and how to address them. You’ll learn more than you could ever expect about magnets, generators and alternators (there are diagrams galore!). Plus, you will know how the built in protection systems on the turbine work.

After the physics basics are explained, the fun part begins with safety. Be prepared for working with electric, metalworking, rare earth magnets, chemicals, and woodworking. The “Dans” show you how to create a mold for the rotor and stator (parts of the alternator). You’ll see how to make a coil winder for stator (the stationary side of the alternator). Their is a chapter on the frame which holds the blades and the alternator to the yaw, the part that helps the turbine turn. Then there is the chapter on how to build the tail. The next two chapters cover how to put together the rotor and stator. They even show how to make a rectifier, or a component that changes the alternating current to a direct current that can charge batteries. And you’ll learn how they create and assemble the blades to the rotor.

In the last part of the book the turbine is ready to be installed on a tower. This book covers everything you could ever want to know about towers: from buying a tower to making your own, to raising and lowering them for installation or maintenance. It doesn’t end there though, they go over mounting and wiring for all the components in the control system from turbine to dump load. This book is like a wind bible except you may need a NEC code book or an electrician to translate that for you.

This book gets a 10/10. Dan and Dan have a simple and hilarious writing styles that most people can appreciate. So whether you are a homeowner looking for a way to charge a battery bank, a student willing to dedicate your time and concentration to create energy, or an experienced builder/mechanic with all the tools needed you will enjoy this book. One thing to keep in mind, many skills are needed to build one of these from scratch, so it would be helpful to have a network of people to build one of these. But even if you goal is just to understand how to harness the wind, and what each component is and what they do, this book brings your through the entire process.

 

How Many Trees are in Your Family?

Trees have been here longer than the 200,000 years humans have been crawling and zooming around this planet. We have been effectively removing them though. And as a result the largest, fastest mass extinction is happening right as we’re busied by flairing tempers over our poor economy. John Denver could not have been more correct: “Now is the time to realize all a tree is worth.”

Tree do innumerable things for us, this list is by no means exhaustive, but just a few things I am most thankful for. Trees absorb the carbon we put into the environment. They are water collecting, and purifying machines! They provide food, clean air, tea, and tannins that can clean and heal us from the outside in, medicine. They are alive, and pulsing with energy. Each leaf a precious gem of life. Our place is by their side, burying their fallen branches and fermenting their leaves to feed the soil so the soil can continue to support our lives.

So, what trees do you have in your family? Who is greeting you as the wind whispers through their leaves as you go about your life? Who is your Grandpa/Grandma tree who welcomes you and waits for your hugs, and who is your little baby tree that makes you so proud?
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This peach tree receives my care. As result it fruits nicely, and I am thankful for this tree. I pick the grass around the base. I put down shredded tobacco to chase away pests, and I put spiders on the tree to eat coddling moth that lay their eggs in the fruit. I mulch with organic matter from my yard, cardboard, and branches to hold everything together. When I see any ants, I eat them, they taste like sour candy. Plus, I keep the peach tree trimmed and clear of past due fruit to remove a place for pests to get to the tree.💟

A Favorite Book: Adapting to the End of Oil by Maynard Kaufman

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Get the book at Amazon:

Adapting to the End of Oil by Maynard Kaufman

Understand the political, economic, ecologic, cultural, and religious background behind where we are today. Get a clear picture of what needs to be done to be ready when the reality of peak oil sets in, and to be able to live without harming the the environments of the earth.

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Maynard Kaufman has been successfully powering his electrical power needs with solar and wind sice 2001.

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His house also includes solar thermal panels, and his fire place is built so efficiently with thermal mass that the heat lasts for 48 hours and copper pipes carry heat to other parts of the home. The south facing windows collect passive solar heat and the north side is insulated with an earthen berm.

Maynard Kaufman is a leader in Michigan. With a Ph.D. from Divinity School of the University of Chicago, he started as a professor at Western Michigan College teaching courses in Religion and Environmental Studies. Next, as a creator of a School of Homesteading in the 1970s. This has lead to successful organic and environmentally sustainable certified farms currently operating. Then, he organized the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance in 1991. And presently, he writes, speaks, and educates about organic food production, landscaping, renewable energy, and soil enrichment. This proves that it can and is being done in Michigan.

Opinion Commentary: Once Fracked We’re…Not Pure Michigan

People pay thousands, millions, billions of dollars to vacation, hunt, fish and live here in the most beautiful places in Michigan. But apparently one industry has tried to get a discount on their auctions of our public state forests and leased property here. “Fracking” is just code word to identify the tip of the iceburg easily. Let’s zoom out and look at the entire picture. Let’s talk about unconventional shale oil and it’s byproducts like natural gas. Granted we absolutely need energy to cook, shower, get to work, to make the baby diapers and other things that keep things clean and dry or wet, and for people to not be an icicle in January… But, there are problems with the way we attain the resource called unconventional shale oil.

Collecting signatures to get a ballot question: “Should We Ban Fracking in Michigan?” I’ve talked to people on all sides of the issue. People on the zoning commissions, nuclear powerplant workers, farmers, muscle car enthusiasts, retired chemical plant employees, previous employees of oil companies, landowners, even veterans.image

Their stories surprisingly prove to me there is good cause to find the truth and let people know. The greatful people keep me going.

But, many times I’ve walked with petitions, with pain in my stomach and no hope, and feeling dizzy and full of nausea looking around wondering who is going to heckle me, who is going to call me stupid this time? I go back to researching whenever someone says “NO, that is NOT true!” Sometimes people confide they are invested in those technologies. So I’ve learned you have to take a neutral stance and just ask the question flat out to anyone walking by, “Would you like to sign my petition to help get the ‘Ban Fracking in Michigan’ question on the ballot?”

Many people just don’t want to talk about it. There are cars zooming all around, each tire took 7 gallons of oil to make, oil being burned at breakneck pace. One guy was laughing his butt off. My shoes are made from oil, my pants are polyester (OIL) the cotton on my back would have never gotten to my hands without oil, 80% of the food I eat these days (OIL). So essentially in his eyes, I would have to be dressed in locally sourced hand made fiber, be a full time local farmer, and be feeding a horse from my neighbors hay field at that moment to have any credibility.

Still he had great ideas to recycle all plastic and other oil products and turn it back into oil. We have the oil locked up in tons of plastic and polystyrene now so if we could keep using it with minimal impact to our planet, well it could be a good thing, maybe? Next I get people who ask me questions:

Why is it so bad?  My answer: I explain the energy return on investment. For each barrel we burn getting the oil about 3-7 barrels are created. Wind energy fares better, with 1 barrel we get 15 barrels worth of energy.

I talk about aging infrastructure leading to leaks, and millions of gallons of water that are needed for each well.

I show them pictures of how they change the landscape when they create numerous frack pads.  5-10 acres of land must be clear cut for each well, with roads leading to each one. There are open pits of dirty frack water waiting to be drawn up, (processed and recycled) used somewhere else, re-fracked with, or stored in containment barrels. That water contains contaminates from 2 miles deep within the earth like radon, thorium, lead, and polonium. Studies are being released showing that these contaminates are escaping into local surface waters like lakes and rivers in places like West Virginia. In North Dakota landfills keep Geiger counters at the gates of their entrances to block heavily contaminated frack wastes from getting dumped there. We just don’t have the technology to deal with this amount of added radioactivity yet.  

Hundreds of semi truck trips are taken to deliver water, materials, maintenance, and removal of water. This will help hasten the rate at which our already aging network of roads deteriorate.
Holes are drilled 2 miles down and then 2 miles horizontally. The shale in the horizontal shaft is exploded and shattered, the water is laced with silica (to keep the fractures open) and hundreds of “secret chemicals” are pumped at high pressure to hydraulically release the goods. Any of you who have taken a technical physics class that appreciate the power of hydraulics and how a little force on water can move many tons of mass (hmm…why are we having so many earthquakes in Oklahoma again?) Many accidents occur at the surface of well operations or in transporting chemicals. Another reason is that our infrastructure that uses this natural gas needs billions of dollars of repair on a nation wide scale, not only that but our water pipes need mass repair as well!

No one wants to live near these operations, it’s noisy, smelly, and they use high intensity lighting at night that disrupts the animals nearby, these operations work 24/7. Dust storms being reported, OSHA wants workers to wear face masks to prevent breathing in silica. no one wants to insure property near these operations. These resources are finite, our great grandchildren will probably never have access to them. It’s expensive, each truck alone costs a million dollars, plus it takes millions of dollar to abandon and remediate the land, so once the cat is out of the bag…uugh!

What do you expect us to do instead? I even get people who say they’ve been working on this problem for years, as a writer, and there is no solution. Even composting releases methane. Where do you expect us to keep the compost pile? I do remember Ira Flatow’s Science Friday where he interviewed the scientist who was part of the Biosphere project. It had to be canceled because the composting system was depleting the oxygen and releasing methane in the dome and that made the air in the Biosphere not fit to breath. But in Grand Junction, Colorado the wastewater plant is reducing it’s release of methane from sewage by turning it into energy for their city utility vehicles. To add oxygen, we also need to grow more plants and trees, that would also help moderate the climate.

I’ve talked to a gentlemen who liked to hunt. Who had traveled to Pennsylvania to go turkey hunting and was dismayed to run into oil pipelines across their hunting grounds. He also talked about how Sweden is using their trash to make energy and are even importing trash to create more energy.

I’ve talked to people who live in Pennsylvania; who’ve experienced questionable water, afraid of what is coming out of their taps. If they can’t directly prove that they were impacted by oil and gas, (which the EPA does not have the proper equipment to test for the radioactive materials at levels in which it is present) or if they do not sign a non-disclosure agreement the expenses are their’s alone to bare when it comes to water testing and filtering. In the end, I feel I’m helping by talking to people about solutions and their first person experiences.

Renewable energy is taking off. First, I’ve recently read an article about how Japan completed their 5 MW biomass plant that uses wood chips. And now there are plans to build a 50 MW biomass energy plant. Also, here is a break through in Alberta Canada that uses giant fans to capture carbon in a liquid that absorbs the carbon and it can then be combined with hydrogen that was produced by solar or wind power to create a hydrocarbon. Plus, Michigan State University had developed clear solar panals. And most of all we can also move past our disdain for cannabis and start creating with hemp. I keep reading good news from cities, and entire states (like Hawaii), and small countries that are using sustainable and healthier technologies. Even if it takes 90 years (we really need to do that in half that time) there plenty of work to be done to create a different culture with energy use. As environmentalists, informed citizens, voters, volunteers, producers, and consumers we are doing something meaningful with our investments of time and money. Thank you for reading.

If you want to learn how you can make a difference, visit www.letsbanfracking.org

Resources:

Environmental Working Group,
DANGER IN THE AIR: HEALTH CONCERNS FOR SILICA IN OUTDOOR AIR, http://www.ewg.org/research/sandstorm/health-concerns-silica-outdoor-air, September 25, 2014

http://letsbanfracking.org/index.php/resources/let-s-ban-fracking-brochure

The Fracking Facade: https://youtu.be/IPIEzSwPwT0

Gary Cooley From Grayling, MI
http://www.tricitytimes-online.com/Articles-News-i-2014-05-07-218250.112113-Dream-home-now-a-nightmare.html