Storks on power lines. One about to take off.
Category Archives: nature
Simple Living: Food Pond Permaculture, Talking to a Tree Rat & Homemade Beehive
Putting my new camera to use around the homestead. My new pond should give me greens all year round, and when I have enough fish I’ll expand further into outdoor aquaponics & grow all kinds of fruit and veg in the water on floating foam rafts. If this experiment is a success, I plan to put more ponds between the trees in the orchard.
I made a path (hand-mixed concrete poured over a hacksawed rebar frame joined with wire) and new raised beds to go with it. Hopefully some of the visiting bees will take up residence in the very basic beehive I put together. It doesn’t have trays so harvesting of honey is a no-go, but bees need the honey they make to feed their young, so that’s just fine.
Mosquito fish are likely the best fish for hot climate aquaponics systems, especially if you’re not interested in eating the fish (tho they are edible if you’re so inclined). They can survive all kinds of calamities unfazed, don’t need a pump, breed like flies (they’re one of the few live-bearing fish), and even survive in a few cm of wet mud when the waterways here dry up in the summer. The ideal permaculture fish. Tho I’m trying other fish in the pond, I’ve kept mosquito fish most of my life and doubt anything can top them.
I sunk holed bricks and cages filled with stones in the pond to allow fry to hide. I also added some driftwood.
Simple Living: Hare Droppings, Papayas in Raised Beds & Wild Olive Tree Adventures
It’s December 25th. The tomatoes have completely overgrown their beds and are almost ready to be pulled, the celery is loving all the rain, and the sweet winter fruits are ripening. I find a surprising new source of free fertilizer right under my nose. Papayas I planted from seed just a few months ago are growing and flowering in their raised bed (compost over gravel).
I then venture into the wild looking for olive trees, and find plenty. Avoiding the ardent mushroom pickers down below, I also stumble onto an old abandoned olive grove on the mountainside.
Please excuse the poor video quality, the new phone I’ve been using is really not cutting it – Had to leave a lot of great stuff out because the video was too dark/grainy/motion blurred, making this a personally disappointing instalment. I’ll try to get another video device before continuing.
This is the companion video to the ‘making quick water cured olives’ vid I posted earlier today. I decided to separate them since most people looking for olive curing guides aren’t interested in the other stuff.
Simple Living: Wildflowers, Fruits and Errands of Spring
A compilation of clips taken between early March to late May. Mustard straw is cut and used as mulch, wild flowers such as rock rose and lavender are in bloom, the raised beds are hooped and shaded, and spring fruits bloom, fruit and ripen.
Some of the edibles featured in this video: Mizuna, Rocket / Aragula, Early Peaches, Loquats, Red Mulberries, Collard Greens, Pak Choi, Purslane, Cucumber, Medlar, Pears, Celery, Rainbow Chard, Sea Beets, White Mustard.
Some of the wildflowers: Spiny Broom, Iberian Milk Vetch, Dandelion, Star Thistle, Terebinth Blossom, Rock Rose, Lavender.
Simple Living: Picking a Wild Salad
While foraging, I make a quick wild salad consisting of sea beets, corn marigold greens, yellow mustard leaves, mallow leaves and flowers, dandelion greens, prickly lettuce, smooth sow thistles, sourgrass, wild water-cured olives and lemon juice (from a street tree).
I wrote a brief article about a bad experience I had with Youtube’s
automated copyright violation system, and a company called
Basically, their system identified this video as containing copyright
infringing music owned by Rumblefish. They put ads on it, with the
proceeds of the ads going partly to Rumblefish, partly to Google.
Since there’s no music in my video, I disputed the claimed copyright
violation, and Rumblefish was sent a link to my video to check it and
see if Youtube’s automated system had made a mistake.
They checked the video, and told Youtube that there was no mistake,
and that they do own the music in the video. So the dispute was
closed, and there was seemingly nothing else I could do.
But I wrote an article about it on Slashdot, and somehow it went viral
today, spreading all over the web, and Rumblefish backtracked,
released my video and sent me an apology.
This is the notice Youtube sent me after Rumblefish reviewed my dispute:
“All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their
claims to some or all of its content:
Entity: rumblefish Content Type: Musical Composition”
I did email Rumblefish to complain, and posted a thead on Google’s
help forum, but they didn’t do anything until my article on Slashdot
went viral and woke them from their slumber.
So they’ve now released my video and removed their ads, but for a while they were making money from my video. I think if this were made more public, Google would be forced to change their system and this would stop happening. Rumblefish and other similar intellectual property companies have been gaming the system like this for a while now, and this is just the first time the public outcry has been big enough to force them to correct their behaviour.
Simple Living: How to Build Raised Beds on Compacted Rock
This is how I make modest raised beds on a particulary rotten corner of my land that’s almost solid rock, using all kinds of free materials from the forest and beyond.
Simple Living: Simple Mulching With Leaves, Rocks and Weeds
Mulching some trees for the winter with whatever leaves, weeds and rocks I have available close by. Paying for mulch is silly.
Simple Living: Picking Pomegranates in the Old Jungle Garden
It’s Pomegranate season again in my old Mediterranean jungle garden. It now thrives without any care. There are papayas, apricots, dates, pomegranates and grapes growing alongside wild and planted trees, herbs and shrubs that self-mulch the ground and feed the fruit-bearers for me. There are even self-seeded young pomegranate trees under the canopy that have never been watered or fed even once. Mulch can really do wonders.
The many date palms volunteered from seeds I spat out randomly years ago. They should be making their first crop next year.
It’s somewhat of a guerrilla garden since I don’t own the land it’s on. It was a vacant lot no one was using behind my parent’s house, that I decided to experiment with.
Initially the lot was covered with towering tumbleweeds on compacted and extremely saline soil, with big chunks of concrete and rebar sticking out of it. It’s unrecognizable today.
There’s an aviary hanging into the garden, and the bird manure falls into the garden, supplying even more nutrients.
Note that this video was made in early October.
Simple Living: A Stroll in the Forest, Foraging Mastic, Carob & Strawberry Tree Fruit
I experiment with using cardboard boxes as mulch in the orchard and touch on some frugal uses for September’s gifts from the forest: leaf mould compost to start seeds, and moss for rooting cuttings.
I also sample a hearty selection of wild Autumn fruits as I wander the woods. I even come across some tree-cured olives still hanging on their trees many months after ripening.
I stumble onto a strawberry tree that has ripe fruit already; an astounding mutation considering that all the other strawberry trees I’ve seen won’t ripen their fruits until December-January. Just another example of the diversity apparent in wild seedling trees.
Finally, I happen onto another naturally-occurring edible tree guild, and before I head back to the cabin, I take a look at four ancient olive trees that were planted in the same hole. Truly the epitome of efficiency.
Wild plants featured in this instalment:
Golden Oak Tree “Quercus alnifolia” – (Acorns edible after leeching)
Mastic Tree “Pistacia lentiscus” (Edible berries & gum)
Strawberry Tree “Arbutus adrachne” (Edible berries)
Olive Tree “Olea europaea” (Edible after processing)
Sicilian Sumac / Sumach “Rhus Coriaria” (Edible / Drinkable)
Carob Tree “Ceratonia siliqua” (Edible pods)
Simple Living: Foraging Wild Grapes & Blackberries
The European grapevine growing wild in its last native range. Also, a wild blackberry bush.