Establishing A Self Sustaining Garden : Grow your own produce!

A self sustaining lifestyle is very attractive to many people! Many of us are tired of being part of the program that has lead us to the dangerous point in history we now share. I hope that everyone reading this understands that the days of relying on others are almost over. It was a cool illusion while it lasted, yet no fruit from this illusion gave way to better nutrition, or ways to feed a growing world. There are many programs out there, yet they only address specific problems. I am not into problems, but solutions!


What I mean by this is that often government programs, and those of individuals of good intent, very frequently try to address a huge social problem with a carelessly worked out scheme, which often backfires sooner or later, and is likely to contribute little to nothing for the well being and nutrition of those involved. For example, as an attempt to introduce a high protein food source to developing African nations, we instigated mass cultivation of oyster mushrooms. It really was a good idea, and I’m sure there were many who benefited. However, though oyster mushrooms are very nutritious, I would not suggest them as a staple source of protein. Why, because they are also medicinal. Oyster mushrooms are a naturally occurring source of the potent statin drug, lovastatin. Eating oyster mushrooms frequently would be a great idea for people suffering from high cholesterol/triglycerides, but you can over do it. I wouldn’t recommend making a large meal of them daily! So what will these people eat besides oysters? Yea, big hole in a great theory!


Another example:


When we learned that apple snails were incorporated into the diet of many Asian countries, and were informed of how quickly they breed, and reach maturity, we imported vast amounts of these critters into our swamps, marshes, and waterways. Oops! We neglected to consider a few things. First, many people do not like escargots! So, cultivation of the snail in general, is a limited market. Secondly, apple snails, though I like their flavor, are considered inferior to other snails. They are not gourmet! So the market for apple snails is slim. To make things worse, these snails eat great amounts of vegetation, making them a threat to swamp and lake ecosystems! In the Everglades, apple snails can clear native water flora in staggering amounts. I breed apple snails for food, and can vouch for their aggressive feeding behavior. Twenty snails can crush a large head of lettuce in a day! Oops!


Don’t get me wrong, I believe that those ideas were good, and have their place. The problem is that we are generally looking for answers in all the wrong places! There are plenty of animals and plants that we can include to our diets, which could advance our health and perhaps financial well being. The thing is, that we as a world are not cultivating self sustainability as a valuable resource. It in fact, is our greatest resource!


In many places, downtown Wilmington included, it is against the law to farm in your front yard, and in some places, at all. We are prohibited from using time tested methods of plant and animal cultivation because it doesn’t fit in with the scenery! What kind of garbage is this? Since when has posturing advanced our health and nutrition? We are stating that it is a priority to remain static. Of course, as usual, big money profits, by selling us as quaint and happy residents of a richly historic town. Meanwhile, we pay crazy high prices for inferior food, that we could have grown ourselves, and done a much better job!


This being said, I must warn you that most of the advice I’m giving may be most helpful for neo outlaws:] Just joking. I hope not! Self sustainability is though a crime in many places of the world, and I’m promoting it! If the people of the world refuse to learn how to take care of themselves, then they have just sold their power, their children, and their souls! No government or institution of any kind will ever be able to replace sound judgement, hard work, and personal pride for innovation. You alone can become aware of the needs of your community. Tell Big Brother to take a nap, while you invent your life!


First thing first!


Plan your garden. How much horizontal room do you have? Unless you own a large farm, inventing new grow space is imperative. Do you have trees in your yard? If so, great! Hanging gardens are very possible. Garden towers are good anywhere to take advantage of vertical space. Buckets and tubs are great for this. Do you wish to invest in aquaponics? It would be a good idea, providing not only great produce, but fish to your table. Want to grow mushrooms? We can work out plenty of space for this! You need to have some sort of worm farm, at all costs! They will be very low. Trust me, as we continue, this will all make sense.


Let me share my previous garden, in a former home, as an example of what you can do for yourself, and expect. I live in a semi tropical region, so we get cold in winter, but it doesn’t last long. My yard was only a driveway, approximately 12 by 30 ft.


In this small space, I had a fish pond, stocked with mosquito fish, apple snails, and some catfish. There were a few trees in the back, a magnolia, a mulberry, and a cherry. Outside of their fruit and medicinal properties, they provided hanging room for mushrooms, beans, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and much more. On ground I grew arugula, collards, okra, asparagus, and asparagoides, lettuces, cabbages, including bok choy, and more. I grew great shiitakes, turkey tails, reishis, button mushrooms, and many others. At that point in my life, I didn’t need to invest in food, just growing supplies, though most of them were free. I’ll get to that soon.


So how was I able to accomplish all of this?


I used my trash. Everything I threw away went to my garden. Paper products, cardboard, vegetable scraps, bones, and much more transformed into food rapidly. I never used Miracle Grow, or any commercial fertilizer. Instead,  used fermented urine, which is high in phosphates, and humanure. Hey, I was growing produce for myself, my family and friends. Donate, eat, and donate. Why not? Many commercial fertilizers contain treated sewage, but when you invest your own waste products into future food, you know exactly what has been put into it. This is really the best way to grow food! Yes, you hear reports siting it as dangerous. These people are idiots with hands on cyberspace. Establishing an input/output relationship with life is all it takes to sustain yourself. My countries accept the use of humanure. The United States in general, is still too prissy. Why would anyone, or any institution, not take advantage of our greatest renewable resource?


So I covered all available ground with a deep mixture of cardboard, trash, and aged humanure. I watered the yard very well, which took care of any smell. Afterward, it occasionally smelled as if horses had been there, except not as strong. All kinds of mushrooms popped up, including psilocybes! Once a week, I watered the grounds with fermented urine diluted with a lot of water.


During that period, I never bought any produce. In my yard, I had everything I needed to be healthy. Tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, asparagoides, arugula, artichokes, lettuce, pinto beans, peas, cabbage, collards, spinach, turnips, carrots, beets, sun flowers, arnica, lichens, spirulina,  snails, fish, and still a lot more! It was a humble investment, with a great return!


Now, I live in an apartment,


which means I have to modify some of my growing practices. At this point I no longer use humanure, as I have no place to cure it. Doing this safely and correctly is a long process. If I ever am able to live in the country again, I will resume. Without a doubt, I could grow much more, and better produce with it!


BTW!


Anyone interested in growing produce with humanure? I strongly recommend reading “The Humanure Handbook”, by Joseph Jenkins. It is a guide to composting human manure. Although I’m very much a free spirit, composting waste is a subject that requires some study. You can’t just shit all over your tomatoes, and expect good results! The trouble will probably start with food poisoning, or long hours in court. Both are expensive. Using humanure is a terrific idea, so learn to do it right! This book is one of the best reads I have encountered. Joseph Jenkins really knows his…er… subject matter:] He is a terrific author, and philosopher as well. Anyone seeking the wisdom of a self sustained life owes it to themselves to seek his tuition. He’s so funny too! I don’t have enough words to praise this guy!


So,


Humanure is one of our greatest compost mediums, but there are many others! Coffee grounds, food scraps, leaves an most yard waste, cardboard and paper products, [excluding glossed, and many color inks…these are toxic], egg shells, old pet food, spoiled left overs, all have their place in growing the best produce you have ever seen or tasted! There is a secret that brings all these things together.


Worms!


Remember I said that having some kind of worm farm is a must? It is. I’m speaking of earthworms. They are the employees of my personal food factory! They turn my trash into state of the art growing medium the likes of which no garden shop can compete. How do we make this happen?


Get a large plastic tub, with a lid. 2×5 feet works perfectly. You may purchase more if needed. Drill 1/4 inch holes all along the sides of the tub, starting near the top, make descending rows, each about a half inch from the previous row. Do not drill holes in the lid. It’s purpose is to protect the worms from drowning in heavy rains. Do however drill about a hundred 1/4 inch holes in the bottom of the tub. These will allow drainage, and prevent sour compost as well as death for the worms. Now lay some sheets of water soaked cardboard on the bottom.  Upon that add layers of shredded newspapers, leaves, and cardboard scraps. Do not use a lot of coffee grounds yet. Worms like them, but they can lower the ph to unhealthy levels if you over do it. Cover with a layer of leaves, and water well. You do not need to fill the tub. Fill it to just about half way.  Set your tub in a place outdoors and out of direct sunlight. You may place the tub over cinder blocks, or over another tub with holes drilled in the lid, if you want to collect compost drainage. I use the leachate as a water in fertilizer. Since I did a nice post on vermiculture some time ago, I will skip a lot of details now, but I have provided a basic outline here for making a productive worm composter.


Just add worms!


I have been asked many times, what kind of earthworm is best for composting. Many folks hope that they can buy worms from a bait shop and dump em in. I will address these questions again. For most applications, red wigglers are your best bet. These are small worms, seldom exceeding three inches, and usually much less. Don’t underestimate them though! They eat almost anything, and are very sturdy. If things go wrong in your compost bin, wigglers will be the last to die. They have been used to treat sewage! Also, they can tolerate temperature extremes that no other worm can. They will begin to die at 105F, and have been known to survive freezing! They reproduce so rapidly, that a few pounds of these guys can easily colonize a large compost bin. You can buy one thousand wigglers for about $30, give or take. They are a little expensive, but well worth it. I bought three thousand wigglers over ten years ago, and I still have them!  South African night crawlers and blue worms are also terrific composters, though they have some drawbacks. They cannot tolerate cold, and will begin dying in temperatures under 50F. Secondly, they may wander. Storms scare them, and often send them off in all directions. In spite of this, they can turn pounds of trash into compost, almost daily! You will need to keep them inside during winter, unless you live in the tropics. I keep my blues inside, except in summer. Don’t be surprised though, if you do this, to find one crawling on you one morning during a heavy storm! I love worms, and have grown over being skittish of them. Just warning you though, it happens.


Last and Least!


Worms you buy from a bait shop will work in compost bins, but I won’t recommend them. These are usually Canadian Night crawlers or lob worms. These worms are very nomadic, and hard to confine. They are great in garden compost heaps, but their health is poor in captivity. Canadians begin to die in temperatures over 60F. Unless you live in a vey cold place, forget about it! Lob worms are similar, except that they can tolerate cold and heat pretty well. They move around to places of greatest comfort all the time. They are the common earthworm we see in our yards. These guys don’t make good composting worms, unless you have an outdoor compost pile. The reason being is the care it takes to keep them happy and healthy. If you really cannot afford a good composting worm, sure, go ahead and use lob worms. They will do a great job, if you make sure to keep the soil ph near neutral. Low ph will get these worms taking off, or dying, whichever comes first.


The reason I said to not fill the bin to the top is, that we will be adding things to it daily!


Add paper products, anytime you have them, within reason. Add washed egg shells, and or chalk, to raise the compost ph. So give your worms most of your egg shells. Produce scraps, such as carrot, bell pepper, lettuce, and cabbages are great on a regular basis, as are melon rinds. Coffee grounds are acceptable infrequently. Worms love them, but they lower ph. Meats, pet food, tomatoes and manure, should only be added occasionally. Again, worms love them, but they foul a compost bin if over loaded. this can kill worms.


One day your bin will become quite full. What to do now? Start another, or perhaps two other bins. Remember, cardboard, leaves, etc. While doing so, you can now utilize the compost that has been produced. Dump the bin onto a tarp. Scoop handfuls of the compost, making sure to drop worms. Add your compost to buckets. Continue until there is little left but worms, and add these to your new compost bins.


You may build worm composting towers if you wish to skip this step. Worm towers are compost bins stacked one on top of another. So when one bin is filled, add a lid with multiple holes drilled in it. Set a new bin on top of it. as the new bin is filled, worms will migrate upward, seeking food. By your third bin, there will be few worms left in the first. Remove the first bin, and enjoy growing in the best soil available!


Beware the Hammerhead Worm!


Hammerhead worms are terrestrial flatworms. They frequent soil where earthworms live, and also live between gaps in stone and concrete. They love a high ph environment. They are predators of earthworms! They look a lot like stretched out slugs, usually having a brown body with black stripes. They roll along much like a snail, with a smooth white underside. See one of these, and you could have trouble. Remove and kill it quick. Often when you see night crawlers inching along the sidewalk aimlessly, it is because they were attacked by hammerheads. They not only are parasites, but lay eggs inside the earthworm. Their weakness is that they will die quick in dry conditions. See one,


 kill it!


This concludes my post. If you have any questions, please ask. Comment anyway, I want to know how you feel about all this stuff. Peace!



The Day All the Colors Came Together

SteadfastThe rains were relentless since early morning over all of down town. It was one of those days that one would be tempted to go for a mentally stimulating walk through all those familiar streets transformed by the downpour. The escapist aspect of my psychology admittedly relished the idea of these streets washed clean of my problems, imagined or otherwise. Just keep it coming, please! That was my mantra as I walked out into the shower.


Getting soaked is actually a multitude of experiences crammed together, the nature of which varies I guess, according to personal disposition. It’s almost summer now in downtown Wilmington, but the torrents freeze me to the bone! I can barely see, as my slightly staggering gait takes me northward on third street. I make up my mind to take refuge under the heights of the First Presbyterian Church, only a block away from my house, yet the walk seemed so long!first presbt


This church seems to me one of the most beautiful and mysterious buildings in Wilmington. Made from grey stone, it towers into a steeple sporting a rooster. Since childhood, this puzzled me and sparked my imagination. It still does! Right now, sitting on the steps, taking a moment to remember earlier days, I’m content to gaze at the raindrops splashing on the sidewalk, and the large number of snails roaming the rocky stairs. Is it time to move on? Not quite yet, but soon.


Let me take a brief trip down memory lane, to all the places I’ve experienced in my youth, and what they mean to this present moment. I’m not, nor was I ever a member of this church, though it’s appearance was always very appealing. My youth was spent at St. James Episcopal Church, and later, the St. Mary Catholic Church, both of which are other examples of amazing architecture. Now There were so many memories there, good and bad. Cherishing those days spent in innocent wonder with my mom and dad, the rain washes away my tears, so I too, move on.


Rains briefly subsided during my walk to the riverfront. Holes in the clouds radiated brilliant sunlight into the water drenched streets, giving the illusion of ice in a winter wonderland. Even the trees, grasses and rooftops proudly displayed their micro-suns, projecting a varied succession of rainbows and light rays, joining the ground with the sky.


The Cape Fear River looks ominously beautiful in it’s reflection of black and slate grey clouds and shafts of brilliant light. Several large pelican sentinels perch upon wooden rails cradling the water’s edge. Suddenly multitudes of fish skip through the water, going in all directions haphazardly. They have announced the arrival of a large shark, snaking along the surface, snapping on something while doing a zig-zag and disappearing into the murky unknown. Sitting at a bench nearby, an old man drinks from a huge bottle of wine, while tossing doughnuts at hungry seagulls.


Walking southward on the river walk, I am aroused with awe at the beautiful women sitting on benches, walking around, or jogging, most in very short, tight shorts or yoga pants. I am reminded of just how much an outsider I feel at times. Honestly, I know that my feelings are delusional. Sure, it’s probably true that many of these women would find me too old for them, but in my youth, what was my excuse? Never was a big fan of dealing with real people, I loved their movie prop episodes! Couldn’t deal with a grouchy wife with bad breath and floppy sweatpants, I lusted the big booty daydreams! Wanted to live in a sexy reality, outside of everyday life. Hmmm. What’s changed? Oh well, seeing who I am, I accept it!


The rains begin again. Slight drizzle gives way to torrents, making the riverfront barely visible. People scatter, except for those like me, who’s destination is unclear. Lightning rushes through angry clouds, cracking mental wandering with a shocking arsenal of percussion. My eyes burn from water running down my face.


Anyone ever asked you what blue sounds like, or how yellow feels? Well, I’ve been asked such things a time or two. I would just smile and give a silly answer like I didn’t get what they were talking about. I must admit though, I know what blue sounds like, and how yellow feels. One who truly doesn’t have some perception of such things should be pitied! How would you feel toward one who only sees in black and white, or can’t taste their food? Higher perception of color comes easy for me. In the least, it is similar to the background music in most movies dating from 1950 to 1980. What’s going on in my life at any point in time is announced by a commentary of color.


For example, when I set out on my walk this morning, I felt very yellow. Yellow is interesting to feel unless it gets too brilliant, at which time it becomes an intense religious experience! Kind shades of yellow are great for adventures. They provoke me to try new things. Sitting on the church steps, the yellow slowly faded to light slate grey, as the grey stones of the church merged with my wandering memory. Walking to the riverfront, light pink prevailed. This is a super cool color, releasing inhibitions and instigating very productive, yet detached social interaction. In a nut shell, light pink allows me to appear correct for the given situation regardless of what I’m thinking about, or feeling. Lusting after some beautiful women, yet heeding restraint, a very light blue wrapped around my head. It advised me to sit at a bench, and enjoy carefully. Thinking about the situation, the color changed to navy blue. It feels like a slightly troubled but comfortable isolation. As the rains resumed, all of reality splashed with lavender and indigo. Emotions are shocked into near silence, and my body becomes one with the situation. Though my eyes didn’t feel good, I was content in a cringing way!


Once again the rain subsides.


Most of the clouds have passed, and it’s time for me to move on. Despite being soaked to the bone, all the sunlight is burning! Wish I knew what “fun in the sun” was, it’s just not my thing. Two little children run to the water’s edge with fishing poles, casting into the river. So wish to be fishing too. It is prohibited right here, but I hope they get away with it, and get some big fish! Toward Market Street, looking for something to do, my shoes make loud squishing noises. Being passed by tourists trying to pretend they don’t see me, I switch into a light pink with a white stripe.


Many feel that white is a color of purity, but I beg to differ. White is a great defense shield! That white wedding dress says so blatantly, “I’m yours baby, and I’ve kept my goods new just for you!” Is it a truthful color? Sometimes, but rarely for wedding dresses. Actually, white is forced to lie a lot. It may not intend to, but still does. I walk down water street, thinking white, and I’m confident. Wearing a white headset, one can do many an odd thing, and it comes across as “one on a mission”.


Red is to be greatly admired. It never shows itself in pretense. Be the situation good or bad, red is not scared to flash it’s shade! So admirable would be a kind person who displays “their red!” Red is a fierce, loving, and honest color.


Being in nature, making love, my art and writing, making money, as well as good times with good friends, brings out my red. Sometimes it even shows up at work! It is there when I truly rejoice in my being and oneness with the world. It announces my passion for the Scarlet Lady, The Universe!


Black Is The Color Of True Purity!


It projects nothing, unlike white, or any other color. Many artists claim that it is not a color. I disagree. For me it is the one true color. The entire spectrum of colors excluding black, arise and return to it. They are the dreams of black, supporting variety and imagery. Some may argue that White is universal as well, and therefore it is unfair to designate ultimate purity to Black. True, white is the origin of all colors besides black. Think very carefully though, because white only exists within black. I can’t say “and vice versa”!All other colors are produced by the limitations of white to progress in flowing through black.


Have you ever seen a white sky at day, dotted with black stars? You most likely won’t! Light does not house the darkness, but exists within and because of it. If you disagree, show me logic to the contrary! Black is the ultimate expression of The Goddess. Every thing exists within her, and nothing exists without her. She is known for her receptiveness, which defines her as the ultimate destiny of everything. By the way, this is true! What some fail to comprehend, is that though she is our universal home, she takes no prisoners. She returns us to “The World”. In this aspect, she is white!!!


The sky is dimming, the hour is late, and I have to go to work.


So today I took a short walk down a long path, from my house to work. It’s raining again. Now I am laughing! Why, because this is the greatest day I remember. Nothing of worldly significance happened, but it was the day that all the colors came together. The one and true Lady Of The Universe, took me for a walk. She threw my short comings in my face, and taught me how to accept myself for who I am. No words, no profound messages, just the truth revealed in practice!


All my love to The Goddess, in whom I seek refuge, love without condition, desire to return to, and pray for our betterment in the infinite worlds to come.


Have a blessed life!

It’s Alright: A meditation On Universal Design

Some days ago, a friend texted me about her concerns and observations about climate change. She said she noticed strange weather patterns in the Wilmington area, which in previous years, she has never encountered.


Yesterday, I received another text from a friend noting unusual fog in our area. the concern being that the land is cooler than the sea. Over the years, I have noted many accounts of rising sea levels, and the threat of global warming to wipe out the coast!


I’ve done my own research, and yes, over the years, the ocean is rising. Not by much though. I put a polyurethane treated ruler into Burnt Mill Creek, a tidal creek running into the Cape Fear River, back in 1986, and checking it last week, high tides are only two feet deeper, at most. So yes, something is happening, but much of the hype is hysteria.


In other parts of the world, the situation may be becoming a lot worse! I know that even two feet could matter much more in certain locations than others, for sure. What I’m wondering about is two fold. First, why has no one decided to react to this information earlier? Second, is there not a chance that these changes could solve some of our problems?


What!???


Please be honest with yourselves, how long do you see our current approach to life being able to sustain life? Our main approaches to living include laziness, greed, and desire to procreate. I want to address the latter.


Planet Earth is definitely feeding more people than are feeding her. “All is good while supplies last!” How long can they? Why are we having all these kids we will be unable to feed? Why are we not teaching the value of self awareness over that of raising our out of control population? Where are we planning to put our kids, and into what jobs? Listen close and hold your breath, because sometimes the truth stinks!


Unless things change, meaning that we change them, then we are sentencing countless children into a horrible life, with little hope of change. What can we do to prevent this terrible future? I don’t know. That meaning that I don’t know what the world will listen to. Forget the fairy tales, our gig is our responsibility! Note: We are creating killing fields!Prelude To War

Where is our space program right now?



If we continue to populate as we do, where do we plan to put all these people? I’m sorry to say, that questions such as these often plague my mind. I’ll venture to say that I don’t think I’m alone. What is happening is that we feel threatened by change, and so frequently assume the worst!There are two major problems with thinking this way. First, we panic and spread our panic to others. Instead of solving problems, we create more. Secondly, we make ourselves feel absolutely miserable, possibly to the point of severe depression. This robs us of the personal power we need to act constructively, and make change a positive thing!

Most people who really care about the world they live in become activists. This can be a really good thing, or not so good at all, depending on the driving perspective of the activist. Fortunately, most of our activists are change embracing, bold and loving individuals, seeking to relieve suffering and create new opportunity. [ Martin Luther King, Jr, Mother Teresa, The 14th Dali Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, The Prophet Muhammad, Minnie Evans, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon, Bob Marley and so many others!]


Some activists however, embrace their fears, and because of this, become hate mongers. Their initial concerns could be identical with the enlightened people I mentioned above, but unfortunately, these folks indulged the wrong thoughts. They were lead to panic, and caused others to. Their rise to power was paid for with blood and hysteria! Wrong thoughts will always produce wrong conclusions. Be aware that “I want to make my world a better place”, can be a great thought, or a terrible one, depending on what your next thought is.


I feel sorry for Adolf Hitler. I really do. I know this sounds weird to say, considering the terrible things he is responsible for, yet I do, and here is why. I can tell from his writing, and the feeling he put into sharing many deep and personal thoughts, that he really wanted to create a beautiful world. I think he probably envisioned happy families, brave soldiers, and young children waking to a new and wonderful day. Something went wrong though, and he let it! His rise to power was paved in fear, feelings of inadequacy, and paranoia. I’m not being a ” bleeding heart here”, any good psychologist would evaluate him in similar ways. He chose fear as his co-pilot, and so hate became his god. As always, hate destroys all, even it’s prophets!


Adolf could have really conquered the world. [Not the way he intended though] With his ability to move a crowd, his charisma, and his ability to make successful changes quickly, he could have made Germany a super power, not to be feared, but idolized. He could have boosted the economy for the whole world, by causing all nations to await his next expedient decision. Commissioning the design for the Volkswagon, was such an idea. It was a great idea! The world needs energy efficient transportation, both then and now. He was big on environmental conservation, and could have taught us a few things. He could have left this world a beloved man, and a teutonic saint. Instead, he created a living nightmare for the entire Earth. We have as of yet to fully recover! His payment for all his efforts came down to taking a bullet in the mouth by his own hand.


It could have been so different!


This is what I hope to confer to everyone, especially all activists, world wide. At the beginning of this post ,I  threw some pretty hard stuff out there.  hoped that you would become engaged, worried, hateful to someone/something else, and hopefully me! Why? I really needed to show what a dangerous perspective to life looks like. I’ve had many of them. There is no shame in this. I didn’t let my enemies change who I am! I viewed my concerns, yet chose not to panic. They were just thoughts anyway.


In closing


I wish to deliver the true message of this post! This is what I’ve observed about ultimate reality.


It’s Alright! All of the experiences we are having are just waves of reality touching our personal nature. We are experiencing the Big Mind thinking and evolving. Reality will be here long after we are gone, but it will never exclude us. We all are steps on an infinite stairway, leading to higher worlds. It is up to us to choose what kind of step we want to be. True practice is 100% subjective. Someone/thing will do the job,  do you wish to do it?

On this great stairway, there will be prophets, saints, business people, vagabonds, hustlers, homeless people, buddhas, drug addicts, hate mongers, politicians, preachers, house wives and husbands, killers and healers, doctors and pornographers, plus everything  else. What do you wish to be. Be that!


One day, I was crossing a busy street, headed for a bus stop. On the way I was greatly stressed by all the traffic. I felt panicked and clausterphobic, because I knew I couldn’t cross the street soon, without risking death. After crossing, which took about 15 minutes, I sat at the bus stop, quite shaken. Traffic roared by. Suddenly, I got this feeling, that everything that was happening should be. The street turned into a vein, and the cars into blood cells. I prayed to Mother Earth for answers.




My prayers were answered in this way. The awareness came to my mind that everything that was happening, was ok. All that I am experiencing is the flow of life. What needs to happen will. My purpose is to observe and add my input as I see fit. We are all pieces of higher being.


In The Beginning: Journal of the Art Of Sam Celia

Wow! This image is so beautiful to me. It easily could be my favorite painting! So what is it? It was based on a dream in which this object was the tutorial for “In The Beginning”.


What that means, I’m really not sure, but I see it to apply to so many things! In a nutshell it represents the formation of something new, and yet undefined. I believe my site here is the epitome of this! I’ve often told my commenters that this isn’t just my site, but something we build together. This is how I want it to be!


For now though, I want to take this to another level.


This shape is almost formless, yet threatening to become something. I see it as a possible stage before the evolution of anything. Art is the manipulation of lines, rays, curves, and space. Before this can occur, something must allude that it can.


Within our minds, shapes appear, and from them the generation of universes! Once again, I will state a little acknowledged truth. Whatever we dream about, we should be able to paint, perform, or in some way replicate without flaw. Why? We create all of the dream characters we have. So, we really know what they look like. Our problem is knowing ourselves! If we can’t face what we are doing, or too lazy to try, then of course, we will find it hard to replicate the images in our heads.


Surrealism to the rescue!


This is the purpose of automatic drawing, accidental art, psychedelic art, and exercises such as ” The Exquisite Corpse”. All these are merely an attempt to access our own personal power. It’s a great mystery that we find it so hard to do this, but it’s the case! It appears that our minds are reluctant to being understood, even by themselves.


This is why we imbibe in all the ways we do. Life outside of the “Free Flow”, it painful and basically pointless. Within the “Free Flow”, all things are in reach, and life makes sense. Surrealists look at the initial outflowings of reality, and attempt to stay with them, because we seek maximum reality! Not being dead is far from enough, we wish to experience life first person.


I pay careful attention to my dreams. Even though I seek to find meanings, this is not the ultimate purpose of dream work. Being, in dreaming, conscious, and acting with sobriety will bring the truth to fruition. We really need to understand that we are


dreaming all the time we are alive. What we gain from our dreams, and our entire experience of life, is as much as we are willing to engage in it. Outside of the dream is only birth and death, if even that! The rest depends on our clarity and fluidity. We have to accept life as being a dream to wake up and learn how to live it.


There are some really sharp individuals in the world! They used to intimidate me greatly! What I found is that these people live consciously in their dreams, so they have full access to their own minds. Though we might think so, they probably don’t personally understand us at all, but they respond to images in a way their dream directs.


It is imperative that we all act in such a fashion.


Getting back to my painting: what thoughtforms does it provoke, what is it telling you? This polymorphic form could become something tangible with the slightest hallucination! I’m thinking soon of creating sculptures of images such as this. I would love to feel this image with my hands. Would it be hard and cool, warm and soft, rubbery, slimy, smooth or rough? Just this image alone could yield possibly ten sculptures, all appearing the same, yet feeling different.


A new perspective!


Could this not be a pillow, a chair, a sex toy, a window, a toilet, a vase, a garment? It could be anything! My challenge is to make it into as many things as possible. It would have so many applications in modern living rooms, as wall art, in bed rooms, bathrooms, and offices. It could be a flowerpot.


For those of you dedicated to self sustaining lifestyles, think of it’s awesome potential in an urban vegetable garden layout! See, in many cities, it is actually illegal to grow produce in your front yard. In some places, it’s illegal to grow your food at all!


There is no law I know of against floral art!


This could be a nice vegetable growing container, and even a hydroponic, or aquaponic system.


I’m going on and on about this so much to give value to an idea I have concerning art. Let me call it a theory. By reducing an object to it’s most primal form, we can expand it’s awareness to the upmost potential. What was once a cool concept known mainly by hippies and psychology students, can now become a part of ordinary life for many. The benefit of this is that as long as the form remains truthful to itself, there will be a transmission of awareness to all exposed to it. It really doesn’t need to matter why.


NLP devotees take heed! These images are very powerful. Unlike hand signs and what not, such images translate directly to the mind, and root themselves quickly. Connect an idea to such an image, and it will be lodged in every part of the mind provoked by that image!


As a tool in hypnosis, attaching a suggestion to this image will drive that suggestion to anywhere in the mind the image stimulates!


Now, follow me carefully here…


By increasing the points in the mind the image stimulates, you will increase also the potential of that image to induce massive changes to thinking, and society as a whole. All that needs to be done is to apply the image to as many points of life as possible, and then attach a suggestion to it.


Right now, I won’t even bother to tell you why,


Use the force for the benefit of all!


Please try these techniques out in your art, psychology, NLP or whatever, and let me know how it goes. I would love to collaborate with like minds!


Remember!


Connect with your dream imagery… Purify by simplifying it… Expand it to the max!


Be Good!

Growing Oyster Mushrooms At Home

Close to 20 years ago, I began growing mushrooms. I always had a great interest in the fungus, and began purchasing mushroom kits. These provided me with years of educational fun, and a constant supply of fresh mushrooms! Unfortunately, mushroom growing isn’t usually easy. The growing medium you need for your preferred fungus is often also great for growing fungus you don’t want, like mold! Providing a nutritious growing medium, free of contamination, can be a real challenge. Times are changing.


In 2001, I bought a small booklet titled:


Growing Mushrooms The Easy Way


Home Mushroom Cultivation with Hydrogen Peroxide  Volume 1

R. Rush Wayne, Ph.D.


That book was a real game changer for me. First of all, I learned that many mushrooms grow great on cardboard and paper products. Growing media can be sterilized using hydrogen peroxide, which most mushroom spores are immune to. I advise anyone interested in growing mushrooms to check out this book, and also:


Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms


by Paul Stamets.


Paul Stamets is a true authority! He can make any mushroom grower a professional, if they heed his teachings!


Ok, so now straight to the point. I will share with you my experience with growing one of the easiest mushrooms to cultivate: The Oyster Mushroom![pleurotis ostreatus]


I choose to talk about this mushroom because not only is it quite easy to grow, a great source of protein, a delicious gourmet mushroom, a naturally occurring source of a powerful cholesterol lowering drug, but it’s a terrific gateway mushroom. Once you know how to grow these well, you will find it much easier to grow any mushroom!


Growing oyster mushrooms can be easy!


This is really all you need.


  1. fresh coffee grounds

    2. shredded cardboard


    3. Some cardboard pieces, about 3by7 inches


    4. some Tupperware to house growing mycelia


    5. a very sharp knife or razor



    6. a good cluster of oyster mushrooms bought at a store. [you can make your own spawn!]


    7. Hydrogen peroxide 6%



    You may grow oysters indoors, or preferably outdoors, either in a container, or on compost prepared ground. The latter yield the most potent and flavorful shrooms! Also, when growing shrooms on the ground, you can feel free to add grains, urea, rice flour, without excessive sterilization, as the outdoors takes care of most of that.


    oyster clusters emerging from holes in bucket



    You may grow oysters in a container, such as a perforated bucket, or a plastic bag. The container is stuffed with hydrogen peroxide soaked cardboard, coffee grounds, and any other media used. The peroxide will give your mushrooms a winning chance over other fungi! Whatever container you use must be punctured with holes, both to let the mycelia breathe, and to let the shrooms grow from.oysters growing on buckets


    What you are creating here is in effect, an artificial log. Oysters grow on dead and dying trees. They consume the nutrients and cellulose from the wood. It is fairly easy to recreate these conditions. For example, a perforated plastic bag filled with inoculated cardboard and coffee grounds. Perforated plastic buckets achieve the same effect. [note: Do not perforate the lid to the bucket. Heavy rain could waterlog your growing medium. The lid also helps to retain moisture in between mistings.]mushroom growing bucket


    Whatever method you choose, the media should be sterilized with peroxide, wrung out until just moist, and mixed well with oyster spores, or better still, mycelia.

    Cardboard and coffee grounds coated in oyster mycelia

    How To Grow Mycelia From Oyster Mushroom Cutouts


    Presoak the 3″ by 7″ corrugated cardboard pieces in peroxide. wring out to just moist.  Place on a clean plate or cutting board. Peel each piece of cardboard in two. place small pieces of mushroom tissue on one piece of cardboard, and cover it with another. Each layer should alternate one smooth and one ridged piece. You may stack three or four layers, then repeat the process to create a new stack. It is like making lasagna.


    How to get slices of mushroom tissue?


    Purchase a clump of fresh oyster mushrooms. Usually, many individual caps will grow from one base. This base is often dirty, with some mycelia still intact. Cut off the caps and stems. Save these for dinner:] Now, using a very sharp knife, make slices from the base. Cut away the dirty outer part, leaving thin slices of white mushroom tissue.


    So you now should have a few stacks of moist cardboard, each containing mushroom tissue slices.


    Place these in a Tupperware bowl and cover. Keep this in a dark area and wait about a week. By the end of the week, open the bowl and lift a layer off a stack or two.  You should see some fuzzy white growth coming from the mushroom slices. It looks somewhat like mold. the cardboard should have an unmistakable scent of almonds. That smell is confirmation that your project is going well. Mist slightly if drying out, but not much. Recover and allow mycelia to cover the cardboard. If mold should begin to grow, throw away and begin again. You may use these pieces in a compost pile though. They still might work. Just keep them far away from mushroom growing buckets, logs and bags. Definitely remove from indoors and sterilize everything.


    Cardboard strips well colonized. Its time to run mycelia through the peroxide treated cardboard shreds and coffee grounds!



    Use clean scissors, and cut each colonized cardboard strip into little squares. If you are growing on the ground, add a layer of cardboard-coffee grounds in the growing area, and place some of the squares on top. Cover these with more growing medium, add more squares. Repeat until all squares are used, add the rest of the cardboard growing medium, then cover with leaves and cardboard. Water well and cover with a tarp for about a week or so. Choose a shady location.


    If you are growing in buckets or bags, follow the same instructions, lightly packing layer upon layer of growing medium over mycelia squares until your container is full. Do not add leaves or other non sterilized material though! Close your bags and hang in a cool growing room, or outdoors in a shady place. Buckets should be misted and covered. Either should be misted daily, but not soaked.


    Hint


    Both buckets and bags can be hung from tree branches. This provides a good shaded environment, while also limiting insect infestation.


    Under ideal conditions, you may begin to see mushrooms growing within three weeks. Mushrooms growing on a compost pile are often large, with very short stems. Those grown in containers usually have longer stems. When grown outdoors, oysters usually are much bigger, and more flavorful. Their medicinal value is also much higher than most indoor grown shrooms.



    You can easily see the difference! Oysters grown indoors usually are white, and the clusters are smaller. One or two dominant caps will get large, while many shrivel.



     Most oyster mushrooms grow best in cooler climates, which is why in nature, you will usually see them in spring and fall. There are exceptions, the pink oyster mushroom for example. As for p. ostreatus, temperatures above 50F and less than 80F are favored. if outdoors is too hot or cold for growing, you may grow oysters indoors, but must observe certain concerns. For one, like mold, oysters usually produce a lot of spores. These can cause severe allergies in many people, so you will need a grow room. I would not recommend growing these mushrooms in your living room, or bedroom, interesting as that concept is.


Secondly, growing mushrooms will attract fungus gnats, and though they are harmless to humans, they are very annoying, and can damage mushrooms. There is a partial cure for this…


Parasitic Nematodes!


You can purchase these from Amazon, and Ebay. You need to water these guys into your spawn, and they will kill gnat larvae. Recognize though, that oyster mushrooms are somewhat predatory and carnivorous. They prey on nematodes, and will kill many. You probably will need more than one batch.


Growing oyster mushrooms is a great exercise in self sustainability. They are a great source of protein, and the media they grow in, once spent, becomes terrific for growing other mushrooms, or for garden soil. I encourage organic gardeners to grow oyster mushrooms first, and continue! They are a first step in establishing a self sustaining lifestyle.


Please experiment for yourself!


I’m sure you will find, that by growing oysters, 1. you will have a steady supply of a great gourmet mushroom, 2. By eating these, your “bad” cholesterol levels will lower. 3. You will have a supply of spent compost to run in your gardens.


For Free!


Also, growing oyster mushrooms is very fun, and educational.


Give it a try! Continue reading Growing Oyster Mushrooms At Home

Surrealism, Symbols, And Dream Interpretation


There are thousands of dream dictionaries, dream oracles, and works on dream interpretation. Most of them are influenced by symbols used in psycho analysis, or the studies of collective conscious.  On the lower end, [in my opinion,] are those ” One Million Dreams Revealed!”, kind of books and online programs. That being said, I caution the student of dream interpretation to avoid snubbing any of these, as they each reveal some very interesting things on many levels.


Bias undermines the effort to understand the subconscious language.


Simple dream dictionaries interpret dreams 1. according to authors opinion, 2. the opinions of a peer group/segment of culture, 3. according to myths, folk lore, and allusion. They provide good collections of cultural symbolism. I used to love reading these mainly for the pictures. Still do! I would dwell on the images in the books which frequently entered my dreams. My opinions on the interpretations taught me a lot about where I come from, and relate to the world.


Psychology based dream interpretation systems offer a wealth of rich symbolism and roadmaps into the unconscious, and  often are quite on point! This is proof that careful research often yields great results. These kind of studies require both in, and out of the box thinking. For this reason, I cannot recommend Freud over Jung, just to give a classic example. Though their research lead each into nearly opposing directions, they complimented each other greatly. My perception of their work is that of an illumination of the mind in the micro and macrocosm.


Religious symbolism plays a great role in creating subconscious imagery. These images are culturally constructed versions of collective conscious icons.


Collectively seen objects become collectively viewed pictures.


The origins of these icons being the result of our primal impressions of self and world, they continue to evolve when we do. They are the dream entities of a culture, and the parents of future dream entities. We can reduce these to the conscious and subconscious mind.


In music, there is an interplay between sound, and the spaces between sounds. This interplay gives birth to rhythm. What we have really done in creating music, is to manipulate a phenomena we witnessed in nature to serve our subconscious vision.


Many new creations arose from the music we created. Dancing, concerts, festivals, battle hymns and more filled the air. Music lead to cultural movements and revolutions! Shamanic trances connected dream worlds together, both past and present.


The Conscious And Subconscious Mind!


I recommend that every student of dreams writes their own dream dictionary! They could use all the meanings they find in others work that they feel apply. I say this because definitions of dreams have to be so subjective that your best data will always be your own.


As far as schools of dream research, feel free to choose one that works best for you, and it may be your own. Please check out the writings of, 1. Fredrick Peris, 2. Carl Jung, 3. Calvin S. Hall, Jr, 4. Sigmund Freud, 5. Alfred Adler. These folks have defined the study of dream interpretation for a long time! I think it is fine to choose any school of thought on this matter, as long as it coincides with your thought process. Honesty here is very important!


I have an idea of my own to include here, and it has been my preferred method. This is a method best suited for lucid dreamers. Within the dream world, we have guides, though we have to invoke them. They will guide you to the meaning of your dream. Having your own dream dictionary, as well as journal, will speed up the process. I must say, that this technique is much slower than most. Usually. The accuracy is 100%!


Dream guides are found while dreaming, or in altered states. Once invoked, they will set up a strategy for the meeting. What I like about this, is that you get your dream explained to you, by itself! You will not need further interpretation. All that’s needed is supplied! The drawback is the necessity to have a strong background in lucid dreaming, as well as invocation.


Dream guides come from a place overlooking, but not inside of dream reality. So to speak, they are with the guys who write the script, except that they stand alone. They are interpreters. Dream guides may be invoked in dream states, or in conscious reality. I usually invoke them by painting.


My surrealism almost always begins with hypnagogic imagery. By asking a question, I am soon to be delivered an image, video, etc. By painting, or deeply imagining the image, a dream guide appears. The rest is personal. My paintings are gates to expanded awareness, by which I may access a present state in heightened awareness, and bring it home to reality.


Picture a Charcoaled head, glowing in it’s embers, facing it’s shadow. The sun shines on all, but points specifically to the head. Within the sun, an abstract phoenix symbol, indicating renewal through the process of contemplating the head, which is also a brain, jellyfish, and mushroom cloud. It’s shadow below connects with the waters of the subconscious. lips emerge from the waters, a periscope looking straight into my psyche. To the left, a dock harbors the questions of the waking mind. A figure reaches to the sun.


The whole scene comes across as under water. The periscope emerges from below the scene, “The Eye Asking Why?…” Note the separation of lips above and below.


Can you see the separation of mind states, as well as objects in the painting? If so, you must understand the apex, uniting the duality. It always comes down to the apex, where all contradictions are unified. The sun rises twice, and the head sinks again. Works of the mind continue to go down, seeking rest but finding excitement. Son of above, is sun of below.


Interpretation:


Going through a period in my life where I sense a strong division between my conscious and unconscious mind. Recovering from an illness, that division has been somewhat breached. Questions arise, regarding my self concept, and plans for the future. The head appears sleeping, though facing it’s shadow. An abstract phoenix of golden luminosity within the sun, corresponds to the internal glow within the head. There is renewal here! I am trying to “paint” myself back into health, and meanwhile, aspects from my shadow world are observing my intent.  The dock covered in objects of every day life stands over the subconscious and astral, while they are below my conscious perception, yet there to perceive. My gut instinct coaches me to wake up, study and evaluate every day life carefully.


Please try using this model along with your personal dream dictionary. Let me know how it goes!


p.s. Painting will be posted as soon as fully complete:]