I saw this question on Quora, “Is digital painting killing art?” I have quite strong feelings to this question, because I have lived in the art world all my life, and generally have loved it. One thing I really hate about it though, is the arrogance and bigotry that seem to follow most artists, and their movements. Many beloved artists have shown their share of ignorance when it comes to defining what art is. This is a shame! I wish my profession was free from the back stabbing, ankle biting ways of other trades, but it is not!
What do most artists argue about? Technique!
“Her technique is inferior to mine”, “his art is wrongly motivated”, “he just copies and pastes”, “oil painting is an anachronism”, “watercolor is for kids”, “acrylic is an inferior medium”, and the list of crying just goes on!
Wah, wah, wah! Are we talking art or mush?
All art mediums are just that, a mode to accomplish art. Each have their sets of advantages and drawbacks. There is not a one, in past, present, or future, which is superior, or inferior. Art technique, is simply the way an artist chooses to represent their art!
Digital art is no exception. It does not give anyone the ability to produce better art, nor does it lessen the accomplishments of a master. All it does is covers space in an artist’s vision. How that space is covered is the only concern.
So, in digital art, we can capture an image, and merge it with another. Is the same not true for collage, or photo montage? I strongly believe that digital art is capable of fulfilling the dreams of painters such as Salvador Dali, and many other surrealists, myself included!
There are drawbacks!
One good example is that the images in digital art are formed by pixels, and not solid sheets of color. Therefore, enlarging the image beyond a certain point reveals that it is composed of many little squares of color. Not always a bad thing, though it could present problems for some. Another potential problem is that since digital art is not physical, artists would be wise to create a number of backups, to insure the safety of their work.
Furthermore, much of the art world is still a little backward. Artists used to rely on art dealers to market them, much as musicians are marketed by record labels. Many art dealers would prefer to work with expensive physical property, so digital artists might do best to market themselves, or hire a website manager.
This being what it is,
I still strongly believe that digital offers a great future to artists who enjoy presenting their work in cyberspace. The tools are out there to produce quality art equal to the talent of the artist.
there are definite advantages!
1. Ever heard the term starving artist? It is very hard to make good money being an artist. Using physical media, one very expensive piece must be sold at a time, ad someone has to both want, and be able to afford it. This greatly narrows one’s clientele. Digital art may be sold as downloads, so one piece of art can be sold over and over. This opens an opportunity for an artist to pocket a steady income, if they have talent. Sure, downloads are cheap, but in quantity, they add up! I will venture to say that a good artist could make more money on one piece using digital, than a traditional master was ever able to! Van Gogh more than likely would have established great success…um…, before he died, if he was willing and able to market his works in cyberspace.
Just telling it like it is!
2. Art is about much more than money! It is “a relationship to life”, “A science and religion”, “A calling from God”, “A conduit for evolution, physical, cultural, emotional and physical”, “A great psychological therapy, without the need for prescription.” To all this and more, I greatly agree.
What I do have problem with,
is that so many dismiss the importance of getting paid for our services, since we really need to! To have a profession is to offer value to others. In order to stay alive long enough to do so, one must get paid! [not too crazy a concept, huh?] I believe the artists of today stand a beautiful chance of being able to communicate their vision to the entire world, at a price that even a rough economy can afford.
By doing so, they may offer value to billions of people, who really need what they have to offer, but until now, could not afford it! This is a win/win for all. The catch is, artists will have to evolve along with the rest of the world, or have problems. We already do, so what’s to lose? :]:]:]
3. Paints take time to dry, and eventually deteriorate. True statement. Digital is dry immediately, and a finished work will remain as long as the device it is housed in. Say you put your art on a flash drive several times. Unless all copies are destroyed, your work will remain alive, untainted, and potentially viral! Ain’t that great news?!!!
My father, Saant Celia, definitely one of the greatest artists who ever lived, painted in oil. He was very concerned over atmospheric conditions, such as extreme humidity, heat or cold. These could ruin what he spent months to build! I see some of his work today, and it brings tears to my eyes to see it has changed somewhat, due to age. Everything changes, that’s fct, but digital stands a good chance of lasting a very long time, at least as long as cave art. Drives and cd’s will likely be able to be read hundreds of years from now, and be converted to the latest technology, as time demands. Just a thought.
4. One of my favorite perts concerning digital art, is that it opens my sphere of communication to anywhere the internet can. Right now this means Planet Earth. I have so much to say, and so little time to do so. It’s wise to embrace what extends your life!
digital art is not for everyone, and that’s fine. It does offer some great advantages to artists.
All I really ask is that those who wish to judge an art form become well acquainted with it, before they speak a word. It is common of humans to abuse what they don’t understand and therefore dismiss what discomforts them. We artists are not common people. Accept all and think for yourself!
As an introduction to this post, I want to offer a dictionary definition of “The American Dream”. It is a beautiful one, and most accurate! I found this definition while doing some late night book browsing. I hope it reaches you as it did me.
“The American Dream is the ideal that every United States citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.”
So true! What I really love about this definition is two-fold. First, it clarifies that the dream is really that there can be a place and government where hard work and initiative pay off. Secondly, that in this place, we have an equal opportunity to make our dreams come true, if we are willing to work for them!
Sadly, these days,
“Work” is a four letter word!
Yes, it is a four letter word, but far from a bad one. Work is simply the way things get accomplished. Accomplishment is good… Right? Here is another most wonderful definition by James Truslow Adams, the writer and historian who coined the concept.
“The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.”
I recommend that everyone create a plaque with these words on it to view in a special place in their homes. If they did so, perhaps they would approach their dreams with more reverence, and a realistic world outlook. I fear that as of now, we are breeding a new race of lazy, hopeless, and stupid beings who believe that their lives and country are worthless, and therefore exist only to satisfy their empty whims.
I hate to say it but it’s so obvious, that a great percentage of the U.S. population hate working for anything at all, and consider their country at best to be the evolution of their mom’s tits. If this outlook is catching, we are, as a nation, doomed! If I offend anyone, I’m not sorry. I love my country because I took the time to research and explore the dreams of those who handed this great nation down to us. They did not intend for our country to be a huge daycare unit for the mentally impaired. They were women and men who lived through extremely hard times, and wished for everyone a chance to be able to work hard to make their dreams become reality.
There are many places where one may work hard all day long, and still come home with little or nothing to eat. Many prosper in lands like these, they are the elite! The blood, sweat and tears of the common man put dinner on their plates. These disposable masses live in anger and resentment sometimes, but usually have to accept their place as pawns, or become outlaws.
In the United States, it is amazing how spoiled many of us are, yet more resentful and lifeless than a starvation victim in a third world country! Something is going awfully wrong!!!
It is a blessing that should you lose your job, you probably can collect unemployment. It is a blessing that if you become disabled, or were born that way, there are programs to assist your survival. I see these as beautiful gifts from good, hard working people who didn’t want to see others fail due to tragedy or dis opportunity. I support these programs, because I know that bad things can happen to anyone, good people are not exempt. If one day I find that I can no longer work, I will be most thankful for public assistance. but
It enrages me to see a huge number of people on welfare campaigning against our country, and throwing up gang signs, when most of them would starve to death if they were living anywhere else, because they are lazy, depressed, devoid of dreams, and are just fine with that. Eventually, they will sink into the abyss of a hell they created for themselves, and most will wish they were never born.
This brings me to the main point of my post!
Our biggest problems come from a far and distant world. This place has long passed, but our genetics have not caught up yet. We still have “Hunter/Gathers” in our society. These people oddly, are gaining new ground due to our charity, but their place in evolution has been filled. On another level, but just as bad, if not worse, are those who live their entire lives, just for their children. They hope for them, a better life, and transmit their sickness to them, so they will do the same!
These people may seem kind on the surface, but careful observation reveals them as “lost souls”, who attempt to live the lives they wanted, through their children. Of course, this never happens, they die bitter, and their children usually repeat the cycle. So what happened to “The American Dream”?
It is not dead,
it just has of yet to reach the masses!
Think about this…
We are cranking out babies at an ungodly rate, before we create ourselves, and our personal mission statement. When we decide to become adults before we are, this will happen. Sometimes I really can’t blame the “Welfare Nation” for existing, because it was so enabled. We have kids cranking out more kids, yet there are very few guidelines for these kids to live by.
When one really understands the concept of “The American Dream”, they will most likely find it unavoidable to start working on some project they see as very important. It will overtake their apathy, and they will protect their ideas from failure.
How will they protect their ideas from failure? They will work hard. They will develop passion for their own lives, and think twice about procreating before, and if ever, this challenge will further their cause. They will get it together” before they pass their genetics. They will understand that their lives, their future, and reason for being, are theirs alone. So solitude will be relished as an opportunity for personal growth.
Remember the dreams you had as a child, the great things you planned to do to prosper and make your world a better place? Make these your children before you decide to make babies. Bringing another into an aimless world is sentencing them to suffering, and uncertain hells. Would you wish this for your kids? Procreate yourself, before others.
The wilderness and oceans are the lungs of the world. Everyday, we are polluting the seas, and destroying the forests to make more homes for our babies. When we run out of these resources, we will all die! We are now scared of eating healthy fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna, because we have poisoned our world with mercury. We are running off cattle ranchers for new developments to house our growing population. The price of beef and dairy is skyrocketing!
So tell me, when is a better time to get our priorities right than now? The old school rednecks advice” not to breed, what you can’t feed”, is actually great wisdom. It is time for those in the world who want a future, to build one for themselves, and just enjoy it!
1. Love your world! Thank it for the gift of identity by contributing to it’s evolution, which begins with you.
2. Avoid sexual partners whose aim is to have babies. If they are not about their own dreams, and supportive of yours, move on.
3. Do not rely on any form of welfare unless you honesty have to. Save it for those who do. Become a conduit for prosperity by creating dreams, and destroying inadequacy. Create prosperity in your own special way!
4. Understand that your life is the most important aspect of your reality, and work constantly to build it. Be selfish! You will help others more in this way than if you gave charity to them. You will also be much more likely to find fulfillment and happiness.
The gift of life is a beautiful and sacred thing. Idealistically, we think about young children, filled with hopes and dreams, oh so happy to be alive! We glorify ourselves with the premise that we can make a difference in the lives of our children, and they will succeed in life to degrees that we could only imagine.
Often, our biggest mistakes in life come from our tilt to letting our imaginations run our lives, instead of us running our imaginations. As a result, many glorify what they should humble, and repress that which they should exalt! This is more than a pity, it is extremely cruel and dangerous.
So what am I getting at?
I am beginning a series of posts about Population Control. It is my hope that readers will read these posts carefully, but with open minds. I challenge you to! On the surface, the idea seems repulsive to many, and this is because it has been misrepresented so often by lunatics, dictators, and conspiracy theorists! This sad bunch has brutally scarred a terrific idea!
When I speak of Population Control, I want you to understand that this should have no ties to ideas like genocide, abortion, poisoning water supplies, or any crazy, evil schemes, real or imagined. I am speaking of taking control of our number one base drive, that we may honestly “give the gift of life”, instead of the curse of “slow tortured existence”, to our children! Is that so bad?
This post is an overview, and as such, I don’t want to take up valuable time with loads of statistics. On succeeding posts, I will share more on this. For now, let me share the following:
1. There are over seven billion people in the world
2. Half of these are living at or below the “poverty line”.
While it is important to understand that the “poverty line” was set according to U.S. standards, and that throughout the world, impact varies; It can be understood that half our population will never “make it” financially, or possibly at all! Further, we are a Global Economy, meaning that poverty gets around just like money does. As a result, all will suffer from the disease of poverty, until we cure it. Doing so is necessary!
3. Approximately 40% of those living at or below the poverty line are children. In the U.S. alone, nearly one third of the children live here.
These kids will have to work over twice as hard as their richer counterparts, just to make it in life. The odds are brutally stacked against them! They will, [if lucky], begin their lives on welfare, or else some other form of donation. They will live in unfit, moldy conditions, which will probably leave them with a lifetime of physical and mental illness. School will be hard, and common sense, even harder! Many just don’t get that it takes personal miracles to grow a successful mindset, when such was never provided in the early years. One’s outlook, which is greatly determined by nurture, will automatically be attracted to pre programmed situations and choices.
Jesus was profoundly right when he said that “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”
The hell of the poor begins at birth, when their minds are deprived of the scenery of success. Even if they are cared for well, [fat chance, by the way], they will not be exposed to awareness of the reality of success. When they have to care for themselves, what can they base their choices on?
4. Many of these children will never grow up.
The infant mortality rate is much higher for those living at or below the poverty line. Why?
A. Their living conditions are usually terrible. Frequently, poor kids, even in rich nations live in substandard housing. [no climate control, compromised hygiene, mold problems, domestic and or gang violence]
B. Exposure to the outside world is limited to donations. Welfare doctors, welfare education, good intentions, and circumstances.
5. Environment: We are eating up our world!
Should these kids overcome all of these obstacles, as well as many I probably forgot to cover, they still will have great hurdles to jump! For example, where will they live? As our population grows, the need for housing obviously does as well. The problem is that in general, the outlook of humanity has failed to consider that Earth is more than a place to live, it is an organism. Conditions for our survival were placed here long before we were, but we won’t last a second without them. Important as housing is, food and oxygen are much more! As we de forest our world, turn farms into communities, pollute our land and water, we will have less air to breathe, less food to eat, and less resource to anything. Wow! Such a bad time for such problems!
What enrages me, is that with all the politics going on, not one candidate is addressing these issues as a primary concern! It seems to me that the majority of humanity is asleep behind the wheel! Build better fences, stricter gun control, increase minimum wage, get rid of welfare, feed the hungry, teach “Planned Parenthood”, Bomb the fxx4$% world, sit and think about it. What suicidal crap!
6. There are certain oddballs like me in the world, who want to live the realistic life. What does this mean? It is about solving problems in a way that will work. It means that it’s time to reevaluate our outdated notions about reality. For everyone, we will need to leave our comfort zones, if we ever want to return. If we fail to put our planet into our highest list of concerns, we are shooting ourselves, and our kids in the face! Gun control or not:]
7. “Planned Parenthood”, is a great ideal, but a poor practice. It is underfunded, as many important things are. It relies too much on birth control, passing out condoms, and crap like that. Face it! People hate to use condoms. They will accept them, if it fills their need for welfare! Will they use them? Hmmm, statistics say not… No sex before marriage? that might work if anyone gave a fxx547! We don’t:[ Right wing religious, don’t lie. Your kids are knocking each other up at embarrassing levels! Then you throw them out! more lives to welfare! BTW, can we afford this?
8. We have to restructure our concepts of reality, as well as society, in order to save our lives, and those we love!
9.Don’t blame yourself, or your mentors, you have been living n your times. Now, “the times are a changin.” What worked hundreds of years ago, just won’t cut it today. “Saving the world”, isn’t just a nice idea, but an essential practice. Face it!
10. Control over global population is the only way to assure happiness on planet Earth. We are running out of options! In the last part of my post, I will introduce the idea, and give a few solutions. If you have stressed over this issue, please read and comment on my post, and well, donate some ideas. We need them!
Population Control is an essential concept to understand in any growing society. It is so much more significant to life today. Regarding “Planned Parenthood”, I’m so curious about why they spend so little time on this subject. This is what needs to happen.
A. Huge tax cuts for couples who decide to remain “child free” for a given period of time. Possible home ownership for those couples.
B. Great Medicaid bonuses for couples that choose to remain child free.
C. Government grants to anyone who declares not to procreate for a given time.
Make home ownership possible for anyone who chooses not to procreate. Make welfare benefits available to anyone who agrees not to add to the debt.
D. Programs offered from kindergarten to 12th grade, emphasizing the importance of personal growth over procreation. Build Your Life 101 to infinity!
E. Fund thee programs, and any government will save millions!
F. Immediate loss of grants to anyone who abuses them.
Put these practices into effect, and we can truly solve most of the world’s problems. Will you?
Before all else,
open your mind to understand that all of your nightmares originate inside, and not your physical life. Once you free your mind, you are completely free! The Illuminator challenges us to display our nightmares up front, even to the point of wearing their gore for all to see, and then going beyond them.
When we take a good look inside, many will notice a strange and terrifying place, inhabited by legions of intelligences in constant conversation and display, horrifying visuals and ominous landscapes. Of course, we are likely to find great beauty and angelic beings as well.
Some will believe that these voices are coming from the outside everyday world, and they will likely be deemed insane. Sadly for them, they will probably not reap the benefits of their illumination, due to a slight but serious misunderstanding. In a certain way, they are right, as the “dream of the universe” feeds our inner reality. Their problem is that they take the voices at face value, instead of interpreting their messages as guides to discovering higher reality.
For example, it is very easy to dream of a dead relative or friend, and then begin taking their advice to multiple questions on the basis that you believe they “are in Heaven now”, so must know the answers to everything! It is true that they existed, and so not only were, but are, a part of the world. It is also true that you receive their energy vibration because they are a part of you! If they were not, than without extreme rituals or heightened awareness, you would not recognize their voice.
In any case, they are, and always will be their part of the universal plan, but cannot speak for the entire universe! Neither can you. What you can do is spend your life gathering awareness, which is what we all do, like it or not, and extend this awareness forward through time. This is also why you have voices in your head:]
Now, by rectifying the pains of the so called “infernal voices” within, so may you purify your life of past errors which held you back from experiencing the joy and wonder of being alive. Now, this is not an easy job, and I’m not sure that anyone has completed it, though some come very close. I make it an everyday practice, which is one reason why I carefully study my dreams.
Facing The Illuminator
Keep looking within, past your life experiences, beyond the physical, astral and spirit worlds. Take reverent tuition in each before you pass them by. Leave gifts for all who you pass, but don’t stop until you reach a place of silence. Look at the world now from this place. Study the patterns of existence, and study yourself. I will not discuss what illumination you will find, lest I forge a lie from truth. I also will not speak the name of The Illuminator. I hope you won’t either!
“The Illuminator” is a description of a great and beautiful force and being, the nature of which is shrouded in amazing displays of phenomena. To some, this being is pure evil, [the sadly misinformed], to others, a god or beautiful angel, but the mystery of The Illuminator cannot be solved by words. To witness is the only way to know.
How to witness The Illuminator?
The outline is formed by “the shrouds of phenomena.” Look at it this way… The place where reality is no longer spoken of, or matched by description. Even the self melts away. All becomes a deep and personal love, without a focal point. Noone to think, to place or take praise or blame. Life goes on as usual, though nothing will ever be the same again. Spirits speak, bills come in, holocausts and romantic nights happen, but they are just part of the shroud of an eternal light, guiding the beloved, and this is you!
When you meet The Illuminator, present your perfect offering!
Offer no sacrifices, except for one, that being yourself! By this I mean to promise to keep the name silent, and to live a life “under the lamp”. You will live a normal, humble, but guided life, beyond the agencies of thought, emotion, and reason. You will follow your bliss as all do, yet better, as you offer it all to the light that guides phenomena and pattern.
To end this post, I offer a poem!
“Gone are the days of wondering what to do. Where I will go is where I will go. My anthems are simple and humorous, for what need is there of rationalization? My food is delicious, just as my bed feels great, and all between are just a slide. As for passions, there are many, underneath that wonderful tree, a chorus of “Merry Christmas!”. Pleasures of the flesh are my obvious miracles, though I seek to be a saint, offering myself to the light in all I do. Keeping a little secret in all I do. Becoming aware that I am a miracle! Spirits clothe, and rub me to orgasm, now I am the zero before one!”
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!
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!
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!
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.
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,
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!
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.
- 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.
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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.