A new way to look at conservation.

When most people think of predator animals like lions or wolves in terms of their environmental impact, they might associate them with functions pertaining to population control and not much else.  We’re starting to see  that the impact  and necessity of the predator is much more profound than we realize.

Science is finding that predators influence the world around them to such and extent that they can even alter the course of rivers and reverse drought conditions.

The effect predators have on their environment is called a “trophic cascade”   According to Wikipedia:

“Trophic cascades occur when predators in a food web suppress the abundance or alter traits (e.g., behavior) of their prey, thereby releasing the next lower trophic level frompredation (or herbivory if the intermediate trophic level is a herbivore). For example, if the abundance of large piscivorous fish is increased in a lake, the abundance of their prey, smaller fish that eat zooplankton, should decrease. The resulting increase in zooplankton should, in turn, cause the biomass of its prey, phytoplankton, to decrease.

This theory has stimulated new research in many areas of ecology. Trophic cascades may also be important for understanding the effects of removing top predators from food webs, as humans have done in many places through hunting and fishing activities.”

Further evidence for the importance of predators can be seen in the Documentary series “Earth A New Wild” where Dr. M. Sanjayan shows us how predators prevent the desertification of landscapes, halt the spread of disease, and more.

Going back to the topic of desertification, Conservationists used to think that the only way to prevent over-grazing (and with it soil erosion) was to cull herds of grazing animals.

They’re finding now that culling animal herds isn’t necessary.  When big herds are kept on the move (by avoiding predators), they don’t have a chance to over-graze and erode soil.  In fact, it’s been found that keeping herds on the move actually has a revitalizing effect on the landscape.

Predators fill this natural role of keeping herds on the move, and it’s a tactic we can utilize to help bring back endangered species and regrow our grasslands simultaneously.  It also gives us another way to approach farming cattle that is better for the environment.

Here’s the description from youtube:
“Produced by National Geographic Studios in association with Passion Planet, the series is hosted by Dr. M. Sanjayan, leading conservation scientist, who takes viewers on a stunning visual journey to explore how humans are inextricably woven into every aspect of the planet’s natural systems.

With 45 shoots to 29 different countries, the series features spectacular natural history footage from the most striking places on Earth, filming encounters between wild animals and the people who live and work with them. With up-close looks at a range of species, from giant pandas to humpback whales and African lions to Arctic reindeer, Sanjayan reveals that co-habitations with animals can work — and be mutually beneficial.”

You can see the whole series on YouTube, here are a couple to get you started.  It is well worth the watch, especially if you are looking for something to inspire you and restore faith that there’s still hope of reversing some of the damage we’ve done.

 

This is simply awesome; turning plastic into oil.

Plastics are derived from oil, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that they can be converted back into oil.  I guess the real question is why hasn’t this been implemented on a broader scale?

I like this, I think we should look into it more, it’s a good step in the right direction toward protecting our environment from dangerous drilling and pollution.  However, I am still hoping to see our society switch more completely to alernatives that don’t involve oil and non-renewable resources.

 

Storing and Preserving Food without Electricity.

Recently, our freezer stopped working.  (Turns out we needed to defrost it).  We were lucky that it wasn’t a huge problem however, it did get me thinking about alternatives.

Is there a way we can ditch the freezer for something more sustainable (Or even better, regenerative?  Why sustain the crappy status quo when we could perhaps make it better than we found it?)

The first thing that sticks out at me is the fact that we live in Wisconsin.  If we really want some refrigeration, we just have to go outside.  😛  Unfortunately, that option only works for part of the year, what can we do when it’s not 30 below zero?

Well, lucky for us we have plenty of other food preservaton methods at our disposal, some of them which we already use.

#1) Chickens (and other poultry) For those meat eaters out there who have a little bit of land, raise chickens!  Unlike cows, pigs and other large animals, if you decide to make a chicken into a meal, you don’t have to worry about preserving the excess, its small size makes it easy to work with.

While the chicken is waiting to become dinner it can also serve many other valuable functions like providing eggs, feathers, manure for your garden, heat for your greenhouse, it can reduce pests, and the habitual scratching in the dirt chickens do works great to prepare the soil for planting your garden.

(Better yet, let the little cluckers live, they’ll do lots of great stuff for you in return and they’re kind of hilarious.)  🙂
http://www.small-farm-permaculture-and-sustainable-living.com/chicken-powered-permaculture-design.html

#2)Fish…they’re like water chickens.  😛  They can perform many similar functions while they wait to make it to your dinner plate.   Consider starting an aquaponics garden and the fish will help provide food for your plants and vice versa.  You’ll have a sweet little ecosystem in no time, and none of it will need to be refrigerated.
However, you will probably have to use some electricity to aerate the water, fish need oxygen too; or you could always raise bettas…but that’s not much of a meal.  :/
http://www.permaculture.co.uk/videos/greenhouse-aquaponics-diy-system-farm-fish-vegetables

#3)Sand Storage. Sand has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years to help preserve fruits and vegetables.  I found an awesome modern twist on traditional methods of sand preservation here.
http://www.notechmagazine.com/2012/01/saving-food-from-the-fridge.html

#4) Root Cellar.  Another oldie but a goodie is the root cellar.  Root cellars have also been combined with sand (above) for use in preserving food.  We have an insulated room in our basement which we use as a root cellar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_cellar

#5) Nestled Pot Fridge.  By nestling a terra-cotta pot inside of a slightly larger pot, and filling the space between them with wet sand, you can effectively create a DIY, no electricity refrigerator.  The wet sand has a cooling effect on the inner pot, studies have shown the space inside the smaller pot to maintain around 40 degrees farenheit.
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pot-in-a-Pot-Refrigerator

#6)Canning Food.  Everybody’s grandma has done it.  There are two methods for canning food, pressure or a hot water bath, just remember that if you are using a hot water bath, you will want to stick with foods with a high acidity, such as tomatoes or pickles.  Other foods might run the risk of spoiling and should utilize a pressure canner instead.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/canning.aspx

#7)Drying food  Using a  food dehydrator will extend the life of many different forms of food, including meats.  (Jerky anyone?)  You can also use them to dry fruits, and even make your own versions of fruit roll-ups. (Minus all the gross unpronounceable chemicals)  You could buy a food dehydrator at the store or make your own:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/build-a-food-dehydrator-zmaz93fmztak.aspx

#8)Going with the flow.  Eat sensibly, seasonably. Eat local food that is in season in its natural time.   In this way, when you’re hungry, just pick it and eat it.  (Being from the cold north, I know that’s sometimes easier said than done, but it’s not entirely impossible, especially if you’re equipped with some of the awesome methods of food preservation listed above.)
http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalguide/seasonalfoodguide.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do with all those Green Tomatoes.

This year was rough on our tomato crop.  The cold and damp conditions made it difficult for them to ripen completely.  This appeared to be the case for everyone around us too.  When we would go to the farmers market we would hear the same story over and over again, “The tomatoes just weren’t doing so well this year.”

So…what to do now that it’s October and I have a bushel full of unripened green tomatoes?  I don’t want to let them go to waste; luckily, there are other options (and I’m not just talking about frying them.)

I want to share a trick my Grandma taught me that can make yer “mater’s” blush, and quite possibly give you tasty tomatoes up till Christmas…  (It’s super, duper simple.)

You’ll need:

A cool, dry place, like the basement.
A stack of newspapers or brown paper bags.
Green Tomatoes
A large flat surface that will be undisturbed.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes on the right ripe after about 1-2 weeks.

So, all you have to do is lay out a few sheets of newspaper, or flattened paper bags and place the tomatoes on top.  Make sure they aren’t touching, give them a little bit of space.

After you have all of your tomatoes placed, cover them with a few more sheets of paper or brown paper bags and check them every few days.

When you see a tomato starting to form a little bit of a blush, remove it from the group and bring it upstairs to finish ripening.

 

If you want to ripen a bunch of them at once, leave the blushing tomatoes there for a while.  The ripening tomatoes produce a natural plant hormone called ethylene, which will help push along the ripening process for the other ones.  If you want to slow down the process, make sure to remove the tomatoes that show signs of ripening right away.

You’ll want to make sure you keep an eye out for any tomatoes that might form mold and remove them right away if you spot any.  If they go unchecked it could spoil the whole batch.  (You know the saying, one bad apple spoils the whole bunch…or tomato in this case.)

That’s all there is to it!  I’ve been doing this with our tomatoes and it works very well.

In my next post I’ll show you what we’re doing with all our ripe tomatoes.   I’ll share our recipe for home-made roasted marinara sauce (It’s soooo good!!!), and how to preserve it using a canner.

 

Permaculture Project Maps

I’ve mentioned before I’m taking a permaculture design course and right now I’m working on the class project.

We have been asked to create an idea for a permaculture business, or organization (the details and what that looks like are up to us to decide).  The project has to reflect all these different aspects of permaculture, such as community, ethics and social impact, along with the physical stuff like site design, zones and sector mapping.

While the class project itself is based on design and not implementation the instructors do stress that it’s something that would serve as a really good starting point for doing your own real-life permaculture project in the future, which is great because that was my plan anyway!

I plan on starting an organic farm/greenhouse business.  The business will be modeled after permaculture ideas, and will help to show people in my area what permaculture looks like.   I plan on donating a percentage of all the produce and crops I raise to shelters, food pantries or just people and families in need.  My hope is that I can inspire other people in the community to do the same while at the same time helping people to start their own organic gardens and pursue their own permaculture ideas.

Before all that can happen, there’s a lot of work to be done.  I’ll need to have a  good design in place first.  To make a good design, I need to know what I’m working with, what things will be a benefit and what potential challenges might I face along the way?

propertymapTo help me answer some of those questions, I’ve created a few maps.  I’ve put them together in one image, much like a transparency.  I’m using Adobe Photoshop to create the maps so this allows me to play around with different layers, having a different “map” on each layer.

There’s a map of the property, it includes all the buildings, fences, trees, and permanent or semi-permanent structures.  Some of these structures I plan on moving around when I get to that stage, but first I need to know the rest of the details.

There’s a flow map(the gray lines) that shows the way the landscape flows, the high points and valleys.  It will help me to see where water might flow, what areas might get flooded, what might dry out, etc.

There’s a zone map (the curved red lines)which marks out the boundaries for stuff we might want close to the house, or further away.  Elements that require more attention will be closer to the house.  Elements that require less attention will be further from the house.

Finally there’s a sector map that lists different variables to consider when designing; like traffic, winter and summer sun, wildlife, wind, flood zones, neighboring farms and more.  I’ll use these maps when I start working on the future design and it will help me decide where I want to place different elements within the system.  While I don’t consider these maps to be complete just yet, they’re a good start, however there is still much work to be done.  You can be sure I’ll continue to share this project on here as it develops. 🙂

Save the soil, save the world. | Spirit Science

Howdy Howdy!   Today we’re going to talk about soil and why it’s so important, along with some ways you can improve it.  Soil can make or break not only a garden but entire civilizations.  Please understand I’m not just talking about dirt, but dirt that contains life, microbes, bugs, worms, water, organic matter, that’s soil and it needs our help.

Soil erosion is a huge environmental challenge in many places and it is often exacerbated by modern agricultural farming practices.  Luckily for us, permaculture can help. With permaculture, we can reverse the damage we’ve done to the planet, as well as grow our food in a way that is actually smarter and regenerative (instead of just sustainable)

Permaculture crops are known to produce higher yields while taking less work because permie people restore the land and the soil. Some people will say just add fertilizer and who cares… Well the thing is, most conventional fertilizers only give you a few different kinds of nutrients. Your plants will be bigger maybe, but they won’t be as healthful or as flavorful because those nutrients aren’t available in the soil, healthy food comes from healthy soil.

Restoring soil is actually pretty easy when you look at the big picture.   Good soil has lots of life in it and it’s fortified with Trees and plants that protect it from wind, rain and heat while massaging and enriching it.  The more trees, life and organic matter you have, the better your soil will be.

While our farming practices in the recent past have been absolutely backwards when it comes to abundance and environmental responsibility, we are very lucky in the fact that permaculture can reverse the damage we’ve done.  Permie practices can take a process (building good soil) that takes nature years to complete and do it in a fraction of the time, simply by adding organic matter and life back into the soil.  That said, we’ve done a lot of damage and it will take a lot of work to fix things but, on the bright side, nature can do most of this work for us if we work with her instead of against her

If we want to repair our Earth, some of the things we need to stop doing ASAP include plowing, using pesticides and herbicides and GMO products, and planting rows and rows of one crop. Our current practices wreak havoc on the ecosystems and natural functions that are meant to counter things like erosion, diseases and pests.

-Not only are these practices bad for the planet, they aren’t very economical. We could be utilizing so many renewable resources that would turn problems into solutions if we allow Ma to do what she does best…

Blow us away with her ingenuity and the amazing healing abilities. We can help her with that, and she will reward us with less work, and more abundance, higher crop yields, and more food….everywhere. If we can prevent soil erosion, and improve the soil, we can bring a beautiful vision of abundance and vitality into focus.

Preventing Soil Erosion

One of the biggest things you can do to prevent soil erosion is plant trees, it is their network of root-systems which help to keep the soil in place and of course, they will help the improve the air quality as well. These trees and plants also create habitats for animals who help to enrich the soil. As an ecosystem grows, the cycles of nature create more biomass and activity which enhances the soil and improves it. Trees are like the backbone of these ecosystems, they perform many vital functions and without them, all we’re left with is blowing wastelands. Not to be all dark and stuff, but I really want to drive home the importance of trees. Hope remains, as long as we decide that every day is Earth day. :)

soilcycleThe other big thing that will help us prevent soil erosion is to stop plowing! When we plow the soil, we are actually devastating all the little microbes and life, all these fungi, bugs, worms, microbes, and organisms are what actually transform all that organic matter into nutrients your plants can live and thrive on.

When these organisms are allowed to flourish and do their jobs, they form little communities that perform a variety of tasks that help the whole system thrive.   They help to transfer nutrients back and forth among plants, protect against disease, and a whole lot more.

The other necessary ingredient is water. We all know life needs water to thrive, in order for the life in your soil to thrive, it needs water too. One of the goals of permaculture is to help keep and store water (and other resources) in the system. Keeping the soil hydrated helps to protect against dry spells and droughts and there are a variety of ways to achieve that task.

hugelkulturOne of the best things to do to keep your soil protected and hydrated is to utilize mulch and organic matter that retains liquid well, like straw, little pieces of wood and twigs even grass clippings.  Another great option is called Hugelkultur, essentially they are raised garden beds which are great for water retention.

They utilize big logs buried under sticks, organic matter and soil that is piled up high, kind of forming a wall. The logs act like huge sponges storing water in the garden and break down over time providing nutrients and habitat for bugs and other critters.

Huglebeds are a lazy gardeners dream and  famous for the fact they don’t require much if any watering.  In some places, a hugelbed only needs to be watered once, the saturated logs will then hydrate the garden for 10 plus years.   It’s best to use old dry logs that have already started breaking down a tiny bit; after you create the bed, give it a good drink once and you’re set.

Another thing you can do to conserve water in your soil is utilize sunken beds, they will protect your garden from evaporation and wind better compared to raised or ground level beds. These are ideal for arid dry conditions.  You can also add ponds at different places in your garden, they don’t need to be very big.  I have two small ponds that are about the size of an ice-cream bucket and a coffee can and they do a pretty decent job of keeping the soil around them hydrated.

It’s good to have some rocks around the pond to prevent water evaporation.  The water can condense on the rocks and drip back down to the pond.    Not only do ponds perform all these neat functions, they can also open you up to raising aquatic plants and animals, and they look freaking sweet.

Alternatively, if you live in a very wet climate, you can utilize raised beds to give your soil proper drainage. You can also utilize raised beds if your only option for planting is something that is low ground and has the potential to flood. In that case your garden would turn into an island, but at least it wouldn’t drown and it wouldn’t need water either. ;)

Obviously composting and adding kitchen scraps and yard clippings will improve your soil, along with letting some of those weeds grow for a while so they can do their jobs. If you notice how many different weeds seem to spring up in places with poor soil, you’ll see that those plants are there performing functions that are meant to improve soil conditions in those areas.

sheet-mulchIf you want to improve your soil and never weed again but you’re picky about what’s growing, you can do sheet mulching. For this, you just layer lots of organic matter and cardboard and newspaper and let nature take care of the rest. the cardboard not only blocks the sunlight (preventing weeds) it also provides biomass which will break down and feed your plants. It’s multi-functional! If you want to plant something, just cut a hole in the cardboard; it’s that simple. :) You can also soak the whole thing with water and you won’t have to worry about watering it for quite a while, depending on where you’re at.

Other options for soil improvement are getting chickens, they perform a lot of useful functions such as pest control, massaging the soil (natures way of tilling), and they provide great natural fertilizer in the form of manure. Chicken poop is great for plants because it contains a ton of nutrients, chickens eat a lot of seeds and seeds are rich I these nutrients which go to the plants and then back to us in the form of food. It’s the great circle of life…

.and it moves us all. ;)

These are a few ideas for improving your soil, hope they help and thank you for reading.  🙂

Check out the link below to see a bunch of of awesome video lectures on soil, climates and plants.  They are a little lengthy but very worth the watch.  You might have to sign up on the page but it’s free, and it will give you access to view all the permaculture videos and information.

http://www.openpermaculture.com/plants-climates-and-soils

I originally posted this article to Spirit Science, you can find it here

Permaculture Can Save the Planet. | Spirit Science

With our modern world full of rampant consumerism, pollution, and the destruction of the environment  happening at a dangerously rapid pace, it’s becoming painfully clear we need to start doing something different.  I could go on and on all day listing the stuff that’s messed up with this planet right now, but this post isn’t meant to bring you down sooo…   Let’s focus on the positives!

What we can do about these problems we face today?  What are the solutions?

wemeThat’s where permaculture comes in.   The word Permaculture comes from the words “Permanant” and “Culture”, it means what it sounds like; creating a permanent culture.   I hope to share with you the same feelings of hope, inspiration and determination that studying permaculture gives me.

Permaculture is based on the ideas that we are all connected, that we can look to nature to find solutions to the problems we’re facing today and we can conduct our lives in a better way that is not only sustainable, but regenerative; healing the planet and promoting abundance and health.

I started my permaculture journey after stumbling upon a really great website (openpermaculture.com)  dedicated to the subject.  I started watching the free videos they offered and fell so hopelessly in love with the ideas presented that I enrolled in the Permaculture Certification class they offered, deciding this was the direction I wanted to take with my life.

In my studies, I’m seeing examples over and over again of how our “modern” approach is often counterproductive and backward compared to the beautifully simple and effective strategies used by permaculturalists.   Many of the designs implemented in permaculture are actually thousands of years old and have been used by indigenous populations all across the planet with great success.

(I’ve already shared one of those designs with you in a previous post, I plan on sharing more in the future.)

The things I’m learning have made me think a lot about our ancestors; how they were living fully aware of their intimate connection with nature and each other.  I think about myths of magic and druids and elves and all the other endless fantastic tales we’ve collectively passed down over the years and I believe there might be more truth to some of those tales then we realize…

2758425_origYou know that phrase, “Magic is just a  higher form of science we don’t understand? “.   With that phrase in mind, just imagine the things you could learn if you lived  fully immersed in nature like our ancestors did.

If you’re stuck in a rut, feeling like you live in a dull,  mundane, grey world hopelessly devoid of magic and wonder, then you will love learning about permaculture!!!    😀
Studying this subject will sort of zestfully slap you in the face and wake you up to just how beautiful and magical the world around us truly is; if we can get past our egos enough to see it and connect to it.

In one of my classes on permaculture, I learned how people can learn bird-language to such a fine degree that they can tell who/what is approaching even if that thing is out-of sight.  I also learned about how you can get wild animals to eat right out of your hand.  This class is making me feel like I’m in a real-life Hogworts or some kind of Druid School.   :D

So…What is Permaculture all about?

At it’s heart, Permaculture could be considered the “Art and Philosophy of Observation and Connection.”   It’s all about observing systems, cycles and patterns in nature, and mimicking those patterns in our designs and living.  After all, Mother knows best.  🙂

Those designs can be for farming, engineering, construction, medicine, education, even social structures, the applications are pretty much endless, but the goal is the same,  to live in a way that harmonizes, instead of harms…

The beauty of permaculture is that it helps us to work smarter instead of harder.   Nature is inherently intelligent and abundant, finding ways to flourish even in the most extreme conditions and circumstances.  Through observing what works in nature, we can apply those same concepts to our own designs in a responsible way that brings abundance to everyone and restores the Earth to a state of balance.

To help achieve these goals there are a few thinking tools we can use which help to ensure we’re going in a healthy direction with our thoughts, designs and actions.  If you were to take a permaculture class, these are the first things you would learn, since they form the core of what permaculture is all about.

Permaculture Thinking Tools

3 Core Ethics
Permaculturalists follow a very simple but important set of Ethics.

1. Care for the Earth
2. Care for People
3. Share the Surplus.

Permaculture is a regenerative design practice.  One of the biggest goals is to improve the health of the planet and it’s people through careful observation and thoughtful design that takes these ethics into account.  The ethics of permaculture are all about recognizing our connectedness and coming from that space in the way we approach all kinds of things in our lives.

12 Permaculture Principles
Along with these ethics, there are 12 design principles that are used as guidelines to ensure  successful systems, happy people and a healthy planet.

Each principle for this section is linked to an awesome website,  http://permacultureprinciples.com/ it’s a fun way to learn more about permaculture thinking tools and gives some great real-life examples of them in action.

1) Observe and Interact.  Take time to observe the world around you, see how all the different parts work together.  Set aside opinions or preconceived ideas of what you think is the wrong or right way to do things.  Observe and go with the flow.

2)Catch and Store Energy: By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant we can use them in times of need.

3)Obtain a Yield: “You can’t work on an empty stomach.”  Design systems that provide an immediate yield as well as establish future growth.

4)Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback. This principle is about observing what does and what doesn’t work and changing our practices and habits to go “with the flow” instead of against it.  In other words, it’s about evolving,

5)Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services: Make the best use of natures abundance to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources.

6)Produce no Waste: By finding use and value in all of the resources available to us, nothing goes to waste.  Timely maintenance and thoughtful preparation prevent waste and preventing waste promotes abundance.   Composting systems and eating local are just a couple of great examples of waste prevention.

7)Design from Patterns into Details.   Design systems like you would design a drawing, laying down the basic patterns, shapes and structures, then adding details after the big-picture idea has been established.   Just like with drawing, this gives us some perspective to see if our system or picture is in proportion.

8) Integrate rather than segregate.  ”Many hands make light work”.  Nothing is isolated in nature. When you integrate many different things, the whole becomes stronger because it is more versatile and adaptable.

9)Use small and slow solutions. Take baby steps, you’ll get there without over-stepping and falling on your face.  It is easier to identify if something you do works or doesn’t work if the changes are small and add up over time.

10)Use and value Diversity.  ”Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique environment in which it resides.  Diversity offers us insurance against the variations of our environment.

11)Use edges and Value the Marginal (Fringes). ”Don’t think you’re on the right track just because it’s a well beaten path.  Edges are where the most interesting events take place.  These are the most valuable diverse and productive elements within the system.

12)Creatively respond to and use change.   The problem is found in the solution.  We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and intervening at the right time, seeing problems not as roadblocks, but as stepping stones and opportunities for success and learning.

In my next post on the subject of Permaculture we’ll take a look at some permaculture designs, and the specific and  technical reasons why they are so bad-ass.  We will also talk about making things multi-functional, ways you can trap and store energy and resources, as well as different permaculture ideas that can make your life much, much easier and the Earth much, much happier.  Thanks for reading!  🙂

I originally posted this article to Spirit Science, you can find it here.

How Biophotons Show That We Are Made Of Light. | Spirit Science

(Note*   This post was originally written for a website called spirit science, back when I worked with them briefly.)

biophoton or Ultra-weak Photon Emission, (UPE) is a kind of light particle that is emitted by all living things. Though it exists in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum, in order for us to see it, our eyes would have to be about 1,000 times more sensitive.

While we can’t see them with our eyes alone, technology has given us a glimpse and what it’s shown us may have a profound impact on us all.

Biophotons were first thought to be merely the byproduct of metabolic chemical reactions. That idea is being challenged with an exciting theory that claims biophotons have a much larger role to play when it comes to our physiology and quite possibly our consciousness as well.

Experiments are showing that biophotons (UPEs) can be captured and stored inside of cells and can even travel through our nervous system; suggesting that biophotons might provide a way for cells to transfer energy and communicate information. It’s has also been suggested that UPEs might even have properties which help us to visualize images.

This makes sense, considering how we create computers.  All computers are is silicon crystal chips which we pass light through to relay 0′s and 1′s. (Light on, Light Off). The first computer was literally built with a lightbulb and these punch-cards which had holes in them, which is how we would program computers.

Today, our computers are far more advanced, and yet at the core, the electrical information we are passing through computers today is still a form of light. Now our sciences are revealing humans work the same way, and Light carries information through our brain, nervous system, and even our DNA.

C9547C97-AD78-415E-998B-0E0BBBCA0BA8Yep! Scientists are finding that our DNA is a strong source of UPEs, it communicates with and is created from light itself! It’s been observed that DNA produces extremely high biophoton emissions and has excimer laser-like properties. Excimer lasers (or exciplex lasers) are special lasers consisting pseudo-molecules that only exist in a highly excited state and emit light in the ultraviolet range.

If that wasn’t cool enough already, scientists have also discovered that not only do we emit light, we have the ability to effect it with our thoughts alone. In a recent study, participants were placed in a darkened room and asked to visualize a bright light. When they did this, they were able to increase their levels of biophoton emissions significantly, showing that our intentions have an influence on light itself!

In conclusion, Light appears to be a fundamental part of our being. It’s hard-coded into our very bodies to function directly with, and through – light. On top of that, the fact that we can affect light with our intentions alone… outstanding! It would appear those new age hippies are right when they say we are all beings of light.

Article sources:

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/biophotons-human-body-emits…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2707605/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15947465
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20584615
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6204761
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excimer_laser
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22343311
http://thespiritscience.net/2014/03/14/biophotons-secrets-of-the-human…

 

Druids and Permaculture

Something that draws me to permaculture is the way it evokes a very similar feeling to when I’m studying Druidry and nature based practices, some of the ideas and beliefs have striking parallels. I guess it’s not really too surprising, many permaculture designs and concepts are actually thousands of years old and were adopted from indigenous practices around the world.

I see the downright amazing things people are doing today (I’ll share a few in a moment), the way they are so connected with the land and the reverence they show for mother nature and I wonder what it must have been like before our “so-called modern world” took over with all its distractions.

Imagine the things the ancients must have observed!

It’s pretty safe to say the Druids and ancient Celts were a lot closer to nature than we are today.  Because so many of their traditions were passed down orally, we don’t know all that much about them.  What little we do know, is that they had a strong reverence for observation and wisdom.

It’s been said that a person would have to spend 20 years in training to become a druid.  Each year they would have to devote to a single tree, observing it over the course of the seasons.  Druids were said to have incredible command over the elements.  I have my suspicions that a Druids power came not from commanding nature, it came from understanding her.

(Druid means “Oak-Wise” by the way)

I see in permaculture this same reverence for observation, and similar downright amazing abilities.

They say you should find a “sit spot” a place you visit every day and observe the world around you.  Be still and take in all the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations that come to you and observe, relax and sorta melt into your environment.

After about 15 minutes the birds and animals you disturbed while getting to your sit spot will come back out and do their thing.  Some people can get wild birds to eat directly from their hands by returning to the same place every day and showing the animals they are not a threat.

You can learn basic bird language which will tell you a great deal about what is happening in your environment.  With patience and observation, you’ll be able to detect people and creatures who might be approaching just out of eye and earshot, by discerning the different calls from the birds.

You’ll find that they might have a specific call for the cat, and another for the dog.  You’ll be able to tell when a predator is approaching like a hawk, one of the best thing to listen for is silence.   You can also follow bird movement.  Is something stirring up large groups of birds?

Perhaps there is a disturbance in the force.

It doesn’t work as well with birds of prey like hawks and eagles, it’s also best to avoid using Corvids like crows and ravens.   The crow is known as a trickster in many indigenous cultures around the world for good reason; it is a great mimic and will often give you “false data”.

I can only imagine the wild and wonderful kind of things Druids must have learned from the birds and trees ages ago, before we drowned out their voices with machines and cars and electronics…

I prefer to end this blog on a positive note.  I think the birds and the trees are still talking to us.  There are people around today who are helping to restore that connection with the natural world.   I want to share something beautiful I found last year, it’s a perfect example of modern-day Druidry.

A professional photographer, Mark Hirsch visited an ancient Burr Oak in Wisconsin every day over the course of an entire year and photographed his journey with the tree over the seasons.   The pictures are absolutely breathtaking, I’m a sucker for Oaks.  Check it out!