Rialian's Realm

Thoughts and Considerations

Gadening tactics…

by rialian - May 20th, 2011

===Well, it looks like I have a day or three of non-deluge, so I get to get more stuff done for the garden.

===I have cardboard to get, so I can finish the sheet-mulching of the paths between the rows of corn I planted.

===I also want to get a large raft of soilblocks started up of my next interplant of the garden.

===I do some direct-seeding in the garden, but the method I am using to supress the weeds caters more to putting started plants into the garden…just part the straw mats a bit, poke a hole in the underlying cardboard, and put the seedling in.  Make sure to add a bit more nitrogen into soil to balance out the nitrogen being used to decompose the straw/cardboard/covered over weeds. 

===I also use the soil blocks as a soil-enhancement method.  I amend the soil blocks with a few things to help the young plants (mostly greensand, perhaps some blood or bone meal…), and the peat moss in the block is great organic matter for the soil.  The added compost is also quite good.  So, I get my plants in with a good start, I improve my soil at the same time.  I think this works. (grins)

===As I harvest things, I place new plants in, or I let grow some of my edible weeds…(or transplant some over to the empty spots)

===I should note that this is for the more “formalized” garden…I am also working on some scattered guilds and plantings about the land, which are essentially permaculture forest gardens.  Once I get this main bit done with the main garden, you will be hearing more about those experiments.  (for example, I am impressed with the Good King Henry, so I will soon be working on placing some of these near the black locust woods I am letting develop.  I will also be working on an autumn olive plant guild, I think..)

Perennial greens…

by rialian - May 19th, 2011

===Ok, just one at the moment : Chenopodium bonus-henricus – Good King Henry …my two plants have finally established themselves well enough that I am able to harvest a bit.  This one was grown so that I could try it, as it is not easily found anywhere here to sample it. (edited to add: Plants For A Future site on this plant)

===I was rather pleased with it.  It has a bite when eaten raw (but not a bad one, I could eat the young leaves in a salad, but I think it is better cooked.  I had a bunch that I cut up and put in with eggs, and it was excellent.  I will definitely be growing more of it and placing it in some of my more wild gardens.  I like plants that stay about for a while….and I am a fan of a number of this plants relatives (I rather like Lambs Quarters, and have a bunch of re-seeded plants in my garden.  I will soon be harvesting the early lettuce from the main bed that it is in, so my staging there is going well.  (I planted some young lettuce there early on to get a crop, and then I have the Lamb’s Quarters to harvest later, as it gets warmer than the lettuce likes. 

===It looks like I will be getting a short break from the rains we have been having…so I have some time to get the chickens better situated, perhaps move their main coop a bit over so that the ground gets to recover a bit. (the tarped roof held up reasonably, but we have had a LOT of rain, so the ground is more damp than i would like for them.)

Upcoming events and other notes…

by rialian - May 18th, 2011

===Note the first: Walking the Thresholds is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER.  It would like your registration, please.  TIt is not dressed in a pin-stripe suit, it is not your FAERY GODFATHER (of SOUL).  However, it would like to know who is attending, and if folks would like to pay using Paypal, that option is only available for about 2 more weeks. 

===(This reminder is of course par for course, as folks tend to register this month.  Please let me know your status, and let me know who is showing when.  Some folks I only hear are coming through others…(chuckles)

===It sounds like I will have a storytelling/bardic workshop happening…along the lines of how to tell tell tales better, and a probable workshop/discussion panel on how to immerse yourself in learning a skill. I would like to thank the bardic sorts (which are the folks that have actually let me know they want to do a workshop) for stepping forward. 

===I am still hammering out my workshops….I will probably be organizing a group discussion on otherkin social dynamics…which will be mostly focused on the more functional ones, since that is the sort that tends to attend Thresholds..(chuckles) I have one or two other things I am still thinking on, which I will talk about as we get closer to the event….possibly one on elven magical styles. (grins)

===A number of folks are doing interesting exercise/martial arts things…I will have to see if we can encourage some pick-up workshops along those lines. (Last year we had some Yoga, and I am doing Tai Chi….there may or may not be some demonstrations/workshops of these things.)

===A number of people have been doing interesting homesteading/sustainability things…

===So….let Rialian know you are attending (rather than assuming he knows or that someone else has told him)…..and remember….pre-reg rates end soon.  (grins)

Gardens, Weather, and Purslane!

by rialian - May 12th, 2011

===Well, I am currently waiting for the bread to finish baking before I go out and work in the garden…I picked up a few nifty plants at the asian market I used to go to in my old neighborhood.  Some Malabar Spinach, Bitter Mellon, some sort of squash, some peppers, and a basil.  Also picked up seeds for Edible Amaranth (Yin Tsai, Chinese Spinach)…which is a tasty green, if you have not tried it.  I still need to get the corn in, and I hope to get some of it in today. (my instincts were telling me to wait until this week to plant, honestly…hopefully, my instincts were right).

===We now have the meadow a bit better under control….we have a rather nice neighbor who is working on his version of a Scottish manor, who has a brush-hog.  It can be difficult to do such things such as a this…as we actually like things a bit more wild.  However, we do want to keep the ecosystem in the meadow as meadow.  I am experimenting with leaving a swath of the meadow uncut, as I do need a windbreak and the black locust trees seem to want that area.  I have a fondness for these trees….when they are full grown, they have really good flowers for honeybees, the trees fix nitrogen in the soil…and the wood is one of the more high-btu woods for the woodstove…not to mention that you can get some rather good fenceposts from them as well.  A number of animals also really do well being fed from them (Goats like them for fodder).

===This morning weather was fascinating.  We are on the western side of a mountain here at Mithlond…so I do not see the sun quite as early as folks on the eastern side would.  But I get to see the effects of the temperature and the moisture in the air have from an interesting vantage.  The mountain on my side was heavy in cloud, and you could see the dance of temperature and airflows in the mists’ behavior.  I stood outside watching it for a good while, until the sun got high enough over to begin warming the air on this side enough to clear up the ecology of mist.

===So, on the agenda for today is gardening, clearing the gutters for my neighbors (not the Scottish manor, but the fine folks at Hillside, my “next door” neighbors), stealing a few purslane plants I have seen (no, not all of them…I want to propagate this very tasty plant for my wild foods garden), and a few other things out and about here.

Pleased…

by rialian - May 11th, 2011

===Well, I have switched over to CrunchBang on the laptop, and it is working quite nicely.  I had thought about possibly using some of the repositories for Debian Sid in order to get XFCE 4.8, but I will wait until it hits the backports. (For those not linux inclined, I switched distributions from Ubuntu to Crunchbang.  Both are Debian-based (Debian is the project that they draw their base from).  Ubuntu has shifted a bit towards a direction I do not like, so I decided to try a different distro.  Crunchbang is essentially a fine-tuned Debian, without the bloat that Ubuntu has been going towards.) Crunchbang is based off the Debian release “Squeeze”…but they have their “hey, this is what we are working on…it may very well break your system” available, which is known as Sid.  ” Backports are recompiled packages from testing (mostly) and unstable (in a few cases only, e.g. security updates), so they will run without new libraries (wherever it is possible) on a stable Debian distribution.”(Debian pages)

===Around Mithlond proper, we have gotten the fields brush-hogged a bit to keep the meadows manageable and actually be meadows. This behooves me to get the chicken tracktor up to snuff, so that I can get them out there and keep the ticks down.

===I think coffee is the next thing on my morning agenda, though,,,,

Dungeons and Distos….

by rialian - May 9th, 2011

===I have been looking at the direction my linux distribution of choice (Ubuntu) has been going, and I think I am going to be trying out a few others now.  I upgraded the desktop to 11.04, and I do not like the feel of the new interface….yes, I could just use a different desktop, (I have a great fondness for Xfce), but there has also been a shift in feel with this most recent release.

===I tend to consider the more “non-logical” aspects of things when i make decisions….in my view, logic has its place, it is a wonderful tool, but it is not that which controls everything I do.  If something “feels” off, and I can find something that will work for me that feels right…I tend to go with it.

===So, I am looking about at distros, and I think I will be testing out #! (CrunchBang) , I will let folks know what I think of it.

Raise a glass?

by rialian - May 6th, 2011

===First, the REAL reason that all-glass anythings in fairy tales are not visited often:

Million rainbow all the way across the sky

===Anyway…I was amused.

===Moving on, a friend of mine on LJ posted about Simon Baron-Cohen and autism, and I am going to tangent off a bit from what she has to say.  (I commented on it, and I will state that I do not think that autism=likelihood to be evil, which seems to be the way that folks like Simon Baron-Cohen really see things, when you get through the psychological language…but I have not read their stuff yet, so take my view with a grain of salt in regards to the specific person, but not the expressed ideology, which I have bumped into slightly) Their journal is excellent, by the by…and they work with the autism concept quite well.  My difference of opinion in no way should be read as a disrespect of their life and what they do….

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===Over the years, I have encountered a number of folks that have decided that they are autistic/Asperger’s/whatnot.  It is usually a self-diagnosis, and they build their identity around it from there and then. A number of folks have said that it is rather descriptive of elven sorts.

===Eh?

===Now, some of us might have aspects of some of these patterns, but I do not consider Elven to be categorized as a mental illness.  I really do not see a point to getting myself diagnosed as mentally ill or possibly needing treatment. If you are looking for a label that is not elven….try eccentric.  I can do eccentric.  I do not see a reason take the mental illness dictionary that folks have written to put folks in treatment boxen, and then try to fight my way OUT of it to redefine it. 

===(Oh, and please do not take this as an attack on those that work with the labels….they do have their reasons, and I have a fair bit of respect for a number of folks that work with them intelligently.  I may disagree with them in using them, but they have my respect.  I do not consider what they are doing to be damaging to “what it is to be elven”….and they have some EXCELLENT insights.  I have more issue with the folks that define themselves this way as an excuse to not function, which I have also encountered.  Using “I am Otherkin” or “I am Autistic” as a reason not to function is not acceptable.  Using them as descriptors and as a way to communicate/work out better ways to adapt and function?  You have my respect, and thanks for the heads’ up. (grins)

===I rather suspect my bit of twitchiness about using said terms is that i have worked with the folks diagnosed with serious versions of autism and apergers….and they need help to function in society at all.  We are not talking eccentric, we are talking non-adaptive.  We are talking levels that have folks who are diagnosed really NEED to have a minder to make sure that they live…and they do not have the awareness to know this. 

===Most elven sorts I have encountered?  They KNOW their areas of non-adaption, and what is healthy/not healthy for them.  The ones that use the autistic/apergers nomenclature are using it as a communication medium because it seems to get the general information across….folks seem to respect medical terminology rather than “look, I have a few differences with how I interact with the world”.  The problem is this: Use medical terminology to describe yourself, you are saying that you are broken. Trying to describe others as “neurotypical” is not really doing much more than reinforcing that view. 

===Personally, I would rather have folks look at my life and say “oh, so that is what it is to be Elven…looks pretty good.  Maybe I can learn from that”.  I do not want them seeing elven as part of a mental illness that one “overcomes”.  I am not succeeding “in spite of” this….it is something that informs me, and can be seen as manifesting the more I work with it. 

===More later…I still have a post to work on about patterns and patterning in life…(chuckles)

Coffee and fine mornings…

by rialian - May 5th, 2011

===It is shaping up to be a beautiful day out today…I have finally gotten my coffee, did some Tai Chi outside, laid down more straw in the garden….(I am getting ready to plant a bunch of corn.  I am hoeing out the rows, and laying a lot of straw between the rows to smother the areas between.)

===It looks like the poison ivy has begun its’ leafing out process….and it is looking to be an entertaining year.  I will likely be taking the slow and steady path to dealing with it, which will be a case of mulching down the areas it is in within the fence boundaries of the garden (including the bee-yard area), and I will be hopefully shifting the environment to a state that does not encourage it in the field areas.  From my readings, it looks like a raising of the soil fertility might help.

===The fields were fallow here for a good number of years before we got out here, However, the soil was probably rather well farmed, as this area was big into tomatoes…I had not realized that West Virginia was KNOWN for tomatoes back in the day.  The soil up here would be good for them, as it is rather acidic. (my well water is quite Alkaline, though…very interesting thing to learn through my aeroponics adventure…).  It has been interesting getting used to the soil qualities up here…When I was in Maryland, the soil was very much made of clay, and held water very well.  Up here, it is much more sandy, and has good drainage…and is also thinner than I had down in Rockville.  I am working on getting a lot of organic matter into the soil.

===I will be needing to get the meadow mowed (probably brush-hogged, as it is reasonably thick) I will be leaving a section untouched so that the incoming black locust trees have a chance to grow.  I will need to make those arrangements soon, so that it remains manageable until I can have it kept reasonably with the chicken and rabbit tractors (which are still being finished up…)

(Raised Eyebrow)

by rialian - May 4th, 2011

Wednesday, May 04, 2011
The Opinions of a Pencil-necked Weasel-thief…

===I highly recommend reading how Mr. Gaiman, a man made of awesome, handles a politician of choice wordings….

Faerys, Felines, and Farming! (grins)

by rialian - May 3rd, 2011

=== ( You thought I was going to add a 4th F, due to May 1st having been? )

===Saturday saw us at the Spoutwood Fairy Festival…we had a great time, met up with a number of our friends there, and obtained some nice pottery (Dancing Pig Pottery are great folks…)

===Sunday was dulcimer lessons, making a few connections for possible future readings, (I have been known to do tarot readings, and my current favorite deck is the Shadowscapes Tarot…amazing artist.) We also go more plants for the garden.

===Monday, we retrieved a feline from some friends who needed to re-home a young girl-cat.  She is a very sweet thing, who will eventually be introduced to to the other cats once the stitches come out from her being spayed last Friday.

===So, plans for the day include getting some plants into the garden and working with the various animals about Mithlond, (I will also be doing another hunt for Morels, I think..(chuckles)