20 FLF Gardens Planted!

i planted the eight new FLF barrel-gardens with rhubarb, horseradish, sun choke, air potato, some have mallow, some have nettles, some have strawberries… its all here in this spreadsheet. ready to be turned into a videogame.

 

they’re certainly overplanted in terms of plants/sqft, but they’re also each a container-planted experiment – so, we’ll let our rooted friends get real friendly with each other, and collect the data on who really gets along.

 

it’s looking like we’re going to burn through the woodchips we have on hand. the pile continues to shrink as it vermi-composts. i made tiny cards to put on mulch trucks. “we want your chips.”

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most of my time lately has been poured into the situation of having too many sheep and no grass, because drought. it was a great year for grazing except for this fall brittleness. rotation went really smoothly with the new central barn. but with the rapidly diminishing grass and also having plowed, levelled, fertilized and resown my largest field, i have been dealing with an increasingly irritable herd.

in fact, in the past week the flock realized they could leap over even my most taut and well-strung electronets, if they moved as one fluid river of sheep. even if i had just put them next to  fresh grass 100′ away, they would stand and stare at the fence for a while, then flow over it. the bastards.

 

so i killed a couple. good work, but intensive, even with a lot of help from friends and curious aquaintances. and two is not nearly enough. more young rams are scheduled to go to the slaughterhouse in a couple weeks, so they can be sold to restaurants. hopefully i can break them of the fence jumping habit, but it looks like they’re going to be locked up in hard fence for a while yet.

 

they have fresh hay and grain. but they’re also in timeout. if electro-net fences don’t work anymore, then neither do sheep. hopefully the sheep and i will come to an arrangement.

 

FLF-wise, we mostly just need to source more wood chips. gonna have to take more action on this soon. the wood chips combined with fertilizer and worms are a force-multiplier for soil creation, water retention, weed prevention, nutrient distribution…. used well, wood chips are a carbon sinking powerhouse that also make a nursery really labor efficient.

 

so.

from underneath

the aliens invaded from underground.

 

they were us all along, which,i guess, counts for something?

 

the symptoms were the last thing you’d notice. weeds. really big weeds. but who looks at weeds?the riot and tangle looked no different even to planty types for a good while, though more vigorous than usual. blame global warming, all that c02 is good for something.

 

after a couple years, though; them that was paying attention noticed these faster weeds weren’t an artifact of the aging gardener slowing, or some rampant whathaveyou in the climate. whole fields of different forms started to show the same root, grass and vine and moss were eruptions along the same woody mass, lying just under the soil.

 

just here and there, at first. there was no connection, at first between the carbonaceous protrusions, scattered over the globe. for a year more or sometimes years, they were just local oddities. known to a wanderer or two in isolated spots. when they started getting talked about on the internet, it was just too implausible and strange. plants were, what? teaming up? forming communist colonies? the were suddenly defying all clades and clans and becoming unified, like a dream of a hippie love fest in one root?

 

well, yeah, no, maybe, kinda. no one had a better idea or explanation, and they were right there, to touch and taste and poke, and more and more regularly spotted and recognized, and unavoidably accepted. still small but rising mounds of wooden root mass, covered in a diffusion of plants, but with all stalks and stems leading directly, bizarrely into the central rising trunk.

 

some got cut down, for science, or because they were in the way of progress, or sometimes out of simple fear of invasive species. sometimes they’d re-emerge, more often they’d shoot sideways underground, a hundred feet, or a thousand, and then come up in a dozen spots, or a hundred. almost universally, they’d simply exhaust and outgrow their attackers, growing fast, and tall.

 

and fast. and tall. they were measured to grow faster every year, five feet in a year, then ten the next, and twenty the year after. they’d grow right up to cement sidewalks, and roads, and buildings, and then slowly through them, pushing  over poured stone with slow force measured in newtons per day, over weeks and months and years.

 

on a mountainside, they’d grow giant mats of woody planking covering hilsides. beneath their photosynthesizing mats of greenery, grasses and herbs perviously understood to be different species, were now growing in sprawling unified homunculi.

 

humans were simply outgrown. the powers that be could form no real response whatsoever to the bizareeness of the woody mounds, the fbi had no arborist corps. local libertarian anti-arboreal-aberation corps simply couldn’t get traction. the things grew too damn fast. they were everywhere, and not doing anything exactly. you could, with a little effort and denial, just go about your business. so people did.

 

so we lived, cohabitating with our new guest, who didn’t talk much. there was nothing said. explanations ran dry. the quasi-trees grew taller, like strange vertical meadows of herbs and miscellaneous flora. species now completely impossible to classify or quantify, since they were all evidently the same entity, growing at bizarre and unbelieveable speeds, upwards.

 

but still, it takes a long time to go up. after ten years, there were mounds that rivaled sky scrapers, but only just. and we fought back, in our way, carving into the giant woody stalagmites. the housing bubble crashed, but there were houses everywhere, almost ready-made for anyone with time and a chisel.

 

it was a time of great plenty for the hungry. vines tumbled down the strange wooden mountains, and the experimental found it all edible; starchy, sweet nodules and tubers, plain hardy fruit and crisp leaves. many people walked away from the cities, from debts and families, from everything, in those days, into the freshly generous wild.

 

for a while, the world seemed a New Eden, the carbon-sequestering sequoyah-like forests-protuberances were like a gift from the divine, a panacea for the problems of civilization. for a while. until the mounds started to move together, swaying and reaching together towards some unseen point in the sky…

 

(treeintospace)

ober apoc: a million ways to die

the center of the problem is this: we’re headed for the bullseye of worst possible apocalypses.

libertarian egoic greed-pocalypse is the single worst apocalypse. think of the end-times hipsters of mad max. humans turned to individualist locusts. fighting for the right to consume. without doubt, the worst conceivable scenario. we die by our own hand, by a thousand, thousand, thousand cuts. the total failure of humanity as a species, more loathsome than cancer.

asteroidal impact has the egoic apocalypse beat by miles. sure, we may have ignored the copious forewarning by ancient peoples, with their obsession with the skies (observatories being frequently the ONLY THING they leave behind) but at least we can say “we weren’t looking.” “it took us by surprise.” not like dying with your knife in your neighbors back. not at all.

personally, i like the esoteric apocalypses. something cosmic and mundane and invisible, like a solar flare big enough to turn all those high tension power lines into antennae that overload and explode every power transformer on earth. not a leaf has stirred, but your civilization just got ctrl-alt-deleted.

and then where will you be? 7,000,000 people and all you can talk to is your neighbor? no more truckloads, no more deliveries. goodbye humanity, thats what. 65% dead in four weeks, 80% dead in 8 weeks, and then where are you? dying of lack of oxygen as firestorms eat your cities, that’s where. tsk tsk, and you seemed so promising.

of course, if i had my druthers, i’d take a nice humane apocalypse, like plague. 30% (2.1 billion) dead in the first year, but we can struggle on. no one is to blame, no human hand caused this, we are not monsters. 60% (4.2 billion) dead after five years, but we are united. your neighbors have saved your life, and you’ve saved theirs. governments per se are forgotten in the ongoing ad hocracy, but hoarding is abhorrent, and life is truly revered. we’re learning lessons. the greatest generation isn’t in the past, it’s the children we’re raising.

 

(treeintospace)

pastoral 1: drone herdsman

civilization continually entices it’s hostages with the idea that it can really honestly stop screwing up and turn over a new leaf, if only people will act different/be better/whatever. this has yet to pan out. verbal monkeys remain remarkably immune to attempts to “improvement” (though they’re remarkably willing to go in the other direction). ungulates, on the other hand, turned out to be quite programmable.

after a just a handful of seasons of training, a hurried generation or two for relatively short-lived animals, it was shown that with some intention, lots of attention, and the regular addition of DMT laden grasses to their diet, you could radically alter the instincts, or “culture” of a flock of sheep.

effectively, we used electric shock and psychedelics to teach sheep they were only ‘safe” when they were flocked closely to the Big White Sheep. the BWS, was, of course, an ATV with an oversized sheep-like cowling. we drove the BWS, slowly, aimlessly through the fields, at a sheeps pace, regularly stopping in shady spots for the sheep to rest and regurgitate. pacing was a minor challenge. so was making the BWS pilotable as a drone.

with it’s camera stalk, it was a simple matter to herd from a laptop, across town or anywhere at all. in fact, it was easy to pilot a dozen, simultaneously, or even a hundred. the BWS carried and dispensed water and feed, and when it’s tanks ran low, it simply herded the animals to a refilling depot. predator attacks, even on the open plain were rare, and when they occurred, heavy surveillance made tracking the offenders straightforward.

with on-the-ground tracking of pasture regrowth, herd rotation and grazing patterns could optimized down to the day. the grass grew faster than usually possible, and it’s repeated cutting combined with hoof aeration and manure fertilization meant that it was socking away huge amounts of carbon each season.

seasonally, the BWS would lead the flock to the slaughter house, to harvest a percent of the flock, then it would continue on its way.

 

(treeintospace)

gaian 1

everything you think of as sky, rain, clouds, weather, wind, all that; it stops after just ten miles up. ten miles up, a warm day is -60°F.

for perspective, we’re headed 200 miles up, to low earth orbit. to start.

ten miles up, the tree’s tallest branches sway like tentacles. but to say “tree” gives the wrong image. at this moment the “tree” erupts from the ground in a hundred thousand places, sending shoots skywards. plotted on a map, the shoots locations lay out recursive nested curves reminisecent of the mandelbrot set. the hundred thousand swaying stalks grow and climb towards the sun, then twine one into the other, becoming ten thousand twigs that twist and grasp and cling, growing and consolidating into a thousand branches, that grow and spin and reach again and again for their neighbors, until there are ten giant woody braided arms, swaying above the clouds.

this clever vining is designed, but it doesn’t happen unattended. the tree is infested with subordinate organisms, the largest of which (though not to say the most intelligent) are the monkeys. on the ground they live much as ordinary monkeys, but up near the stratosphere, their fur grows until they look more like fuzzy, standing caterpillars. not visibly humanoid at all, from the outside, with no skin whatsoever exposed to the air, the thick fur so deep that arms and legs are indistinguishable, the monkeys exist in a unique uber-canopy, where their lives consist of pruning, eating, and braiding.

the pattern is nearing completion, now, all the branches are approaching their convergence. when the penultimate trunks sway and collide, the monkeys are ready with vines and clever hands, climbing back and forth wrapping tendrils and tying suckers, until all the trunks are captured and the many streams of growth converge into the one great river of the Tree, flowing up.

the monkeys have climbed and grown with the tree for ten miles, but they wont be climbing any further. the end of the troposphere ends the utility of even our mutant, optimized mammals. the monkeys will continue their lives in the tree, tending and mending and resting in their woven hollows, in sleeping piles of snoring monkey fluff. stranger creatures will take up their work.

the tree, united, continues its topsy-turvy lifestyle, it’s branches reaching down to bedrock, it’s trunk growing through and past the sky.

optimal 1

the human walks from the cave where it has been talking to it’s body for 40 days and nights.

it walks to the lakeside and sits. it places it’s hand in the lake and talks to the microbes, fungi and bacteria there. it removes it’s hand from the lake.

for hours, nothing seems to change. slowly the lake surface loses it’s luster, becomes dull matte green. the ripples on the surface slow, and become more viscous. by the next morning, a thick film has covered the surface of the lake.

the lake is covered by what looks like a filmy flossy green lichen. the tendrils layer and cross and climb and compact and climb and cross again. green candy floss slowly reaches from the lake into the shore. at the end of the second day, you might mistake the mossy lake for a meadow.

on the third day you would notice the bulge. the lake has become swollen in the middle, a small smooth hill.

on the fourth day you would call the lake pregnant, with a full, hemispherical belly. a slow green eruption of translucent green

the fifth day sees the surface thicken and harden. still mossy and fibrous but now the bulging lake is taut, pressurized beneath it’s fuzz.

on the sixth day, the bulge will have a taper, near the ground, like a monstrous mushroom. from a distance you might guess that it’s becoming a balloon. the lake bed shows no sign of the body of water, instead it is a basin of lacy green cobwebs.

the seventh day witnesses a giant green fuzzy balloon. light passes through the balloon a dim yellow green. the thick cord, still hundreds of feet across has roots and tendrils expanding far beyond the circumference of the original lake, reaching into the surrounding forest, and climbing up it’s trees. the balloon moves in the wind only slightly.

on the eighth day the balloon has risen, the cord has stretched and thinned, while the tendrils continue to climb and layer, ever growing and ever stretching

at the end of the second week, the balloon of hydrogen is fully risen from the pond, held by the vine of organic polymers. it drifts slowly, 100 feet in the air, like a giant inverted pendulum. it has developed a keel, and aerodynamic cowling. it carves through wind. by the third week it is creating it’s own lift in the fast moving wind at skyscraper height.

the cord is fed from the ground, from the lakebed hollow of moss and its spreading roots anchored across the forest, stretching up spiraling strands of sticky carbon, but after 200′, even its optimized mutant vascular pumping no longer functions, and the rope and balloon become become cut off from the water table. the balloon is no longer green, it has hardened to an amber brown shell of layered lichens the texture of lacquer, attached to a meters thick rope of fractally spiraled carbon surrounding hydrogen vesicles, a cable lighter than air and stronger than steel.

 

 

(treeintospace)

the Food Liberation Front.

The Food Liberation Front is the gamification of radically decentralized perennial agriculture. with a little code and some really amazing plants, we can regrow the gatherers landscape.

the ultimate vision of the Food Liberation Front is a multitude of small and tiny garden plots growing low maintenance, high abundance, perennial food plants, freely available to the public and tracked via a database with a mobile game interface, allowing users to publicly log their gardening contributions in order to receive public recognition in the form of points, badges, and unlockables.

 

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the Food Liberation Front is farmville IRL. grow food for the good of all, while creating an alternative pattern for food prodction. get points, and share it on facebook, feed your community, win the game.

the purpose of the Food Liberation Front is to make food free again, by refilling our outdoor spaces with hardy food plants, but also by rebuilding our connection to personally growing and harvesting food for ourselves, our families and everyone. the Food Liberation Front’s vision is a new Eden.

Phase 1 of the Food Liberation Front needs only two things to continue growing; 1. Food Grade Plastic Barrels

2. Wood Chips

 

Phase 1: Creation of micro-gardens in half-barrels, using vermicomposted wood chips as the primary growing medium. this design allows us to create micro gardens at negligible cost. the barrels are planted with a variety of easily propagated perennial vegetables, multiplied at minimal cost as a byproduct of nursery operations at EverBear Farm in Swannanoa, WNC. micro-gardens are tracked via an online database.

Phase 2: Distribution of these established micro-gardens to friends, family, supporters and local businesses. their growth and harvest, as well as any problems, are recorded on a shared, moderated database.

Phase 3: The process doubles. almost all of the plants we’ll work with can propagate by cutting or rhizome, which means that every micro-garden is also a nursery capable of multiplying itself. this allows for truly exponential scalability. meanwhile, on the back end, the database is developed into a mobile app, capable of tracking gardens, user contributions and their the corresponding rankings. neighbors can compete to feed each other more, while reducing or eliminating our dependence of destructive, toxic and insecure food systems.

 

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