jump to navigation

Tull Me Meet Again 09/02/2017

Posted by zoidion in fruit, History, homesteading, Long Emergency, Mundane, Photography, urban agriculture.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

img_4665

Twin Cities ephemera: What a joyous occasion it was, last week: the start of the gardening season. And how appropriate to be under a Taurus moon, rising over the eastern horizon, as a bright sun on a (unusual) seasonably cold day crossed the zenith. After my labors, after putting away the step-ladder and piling up the clippings, my reward was to doff my hat and loosen my coat to bask in the warmth on the south side of the garage.

The main task was pruning the cherry tree, about to begin its sixth season of growth and fifth of fruiting a few feet away from where the trunk of the huge and contorted elm tree stood. After a brief refresher on principles — consulting the good old Rodale’s All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (1992) — I had at it, circling the tree, clipping downward- and inward-growing branches and shoots, removing growth that crossed or touched, opening up the space at the center. It was hard work, with hand pruners and small hand-saw: cherry wood is hard, which is why it is prized for making furniture.

Before that, as moon was actually crossing the horizon, I clipped a half-dozen bud-dense shoots from two of the black currant bushes that sit under one of the pear trees. This is a good time to start rooting them indoors, so I can get them in the ground out front two months hence.

They were enjoyable tasks, performed outside, the quiet broken only momentarily by the stupid dog across the street: barking at me, in my own backyard!

The Jethro Tull song “Heavy Horses” came to mind and voice, with images of working animals and simple tools supplanted by fossil-fuel-powered machines. But there’s the reminder of what is timeless:

“And one day when the oil barons have all dripped dry
And the nights are seen to draw colder
They’ll beg for your strength, your gentle power
Your noble grace and your bearing
And you’ll strain once again to the sound of the gulls
In the wake of the deep plough, sharing.”

These days, I’d question the wisdom of the deep plough, but still . . . 

It got me thinking about a moment, long ago, when this country, the USA, in a period of evident crisis shaking its economic foundations, came perhaps closest to acknowledging the nature of its greatest problem: not yet a predicament. Back then, in the late 1970s, the occupant of the Oval Office was someone who seemed to have some grasp of the nature of the “energy crisis”: who saw with some clarity and called on the country to take another path away from disaster.

In Pres. Jimmy Carter’s “crisis of confidence” speech of 15 July 1979, he made statements that ring even more starkly true today:

What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well-financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends.

“Sacrifice” — an orphan word in today’s society.

It was not to be. Six months later, Carter stood before Congress in his final “State of the Union” speech and reiterated what had been national policy since at least 1945: The USA would endeavor to be the boss over the disposition of the oil wealth of the Middle East.

Uncanny is how, in several respects, then resembles now, astrologically.

Primary among them, Neptune was then in the first house of the most commonly used “national” chart derived from the sky of 4 July 1776. Neptune had been there since 1973, when the first “energy crisis” hit and the nation was plunged into chaos. The term “malaise” was attached to Carter’s 1979 speech, though he didn’t use the word. But it was apt. Saturn, representing the pressure to face facts, was at a right angle to Neptune (in 1979).

07041776_crisisconfidence

[The calculated time for the speech is speculative.]

Now, Neptune is a quarter-cycle along, and Saturn is in that same first house position: Again, Saturn is at a right angle to Neptune.

In the interval, little has changed, except the country is far deeper in the mire, furiously digging the hole deeper.

Take a look at the outline of the nature of our collective predicament, summarized on Albert Bates’ Peaksurfer blog. But here, to my mind, is the kicker:

“The only problems society does not acknowledge, or discuss, or act on, are the only problems that matter: species extinction, limits to growth, debt, overshoot, resource depletion, climate change, sea level rise, fisheries collapse & ocean acidification, nitrogen imbalance & tree decline.”

It’s a sad story with plenty of supporting evidence.

It’s why there’s a bit of comfort to be found in the music of Jethro Tull, many of the songs having themes of loss and dysfunction. The band named, mind you, after a seventeenth-century agricultural scientist and inventor.

-<zoidion>-

Advertisements

Winter’s Wiles 14/10/2016

Posted by zoidion in forecast, fruit, herbalism, homesteading, urban agriculture, Weather.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

oldhwy61

[Old Highway 61, Red Wing, Minnesota]

And he said yes I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61
– Bob Dylan, “Highway 61 Revisited,” 1965

Twin Cities ephemera: The cycle of the yard landscape continues, gradually becoming bare. With some help. The ferns, long since dried up and turned brown, are now a shadow of their spring lushness. In their midst, the three ironwood saplings that I transplanted in early spring, now show that they have taken root.

The paved path through the backyard is passable again, without goose-stepping — especially since harvesting the spaghetti and  Amish pie squash: fifty-two in all. Too much for home use, many have gone to a local food shelf. The volunteer hybrid butternut squash — with a mottled dull-orange-and-green skin in the familiar bulbous shape — that took over one of the compost bins yielded fifteen.

Another obstacle is now temporarily tamed: the great leaves and sagging stems of the two clumps of elecampane, started from seed last year. I dug up one clump, washed and dried the roots, and started another tincture.

The view toward the alley is slowly returning, as the elderberry bushes drop their leaves, and especially since I clipped all of this year’s growth of the hops vines back to the ground; it’s amazing how much shade the hops give, as they grow as much as twenty feet in this northern climate. I hadn’t used any of the hops before, but after offering their aromatic strobiles — that’s what their papery scaly globes are called: neat word, eh? — via a community gardening listserv and having one young man come to harvest a bit, I was properly motivated to begin brewing. My first one-gallon batch, using the “apple crisp ale” recipe in the Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book, is ready for bottling today.

Oh, and did I mention the pear harvest? Back in August, when I found one of the three fruits from one of the two trees on the ground, I picked the others but found them juicy but mealy. Week after further week went by as I monitored the one fruit on the other tree, said fruit being dark brown, rough-skinned, fissured — and hard. At last I figured it was high time to pluck it. Then it sat on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. When I finally braved learning the inner truth of it, I discovered it to be both juicy and tasty. Juicy fruit from both trees I expected: Thus far, 2016 has been the wettest year on record for most places in the upper Mississippi River region. (No surprise there, thanks to astrometeorology.) But tasty, from one at least, has been a relief. I’ve been talking to both trees about greater production of quality fruit next year. For pear cider?

What are the prospects for winter, you wonder? Well, in several crucial respects, the indications are similar to those for the summer just past.

That’s because the meridian and horizon in the winter solstice (Capricorn solar ingress) 2016 chart are nearly identical to those in the summer solstice (Cancer solar ingress) 2016 chart — and those for the spring equinox (Aries solar ingress) chart. Why is that? I don’t know, but it’s typical.

(A couple of years ago — a couple of years into my study of astrometeorology — I put together a table of such information, starting with the year 2000. I found that with great consistency, the zoidia — Greek for zodiacal signs, plural — on the meridian and horizon are the same for all the ingresses in a given year, with the exception of the Libra ingress, when the previous zoidion appears on each.)

Thus, once again for the coming winter, the water zoidion Pisces appears on the lower meridian of the chart cast for this location, and the water zoidion Scorpio appears on the ascendant (eastern horizon). In addition, Neptune — another indicator for wetness, from fogs to floods — is in Pisces and close to the lower meridian.

cap-ing_2016
[The chart is rendered with Placidus houses, rather than with whole-sign houses generally used on this site, in order to make meridian and horizon more readily apparent.]

This time, Mars is also in Pisces, near the meridian, making for a more interesting — probably in the Chinese sense — mix of phenomena. George J. McCormack, in his 1947 classic Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting, wrote:

“The Mars-Neptune configurations . . . are more extreme [than Venus-Mars combinations] and productive of freak changes. . . . Temperatures rise, peculiar calms ensue and are followed by squally storms of short duration . . . Barometric pressure falls rapidly.”

Since in the season chart Mars is approaching Neptune, and eight degrees away, such phenomena will be more prevalent during the period from the solstice through the first days of January. Not a good time for travel in the midsection of the continent. Freezing rain and temperatures hovering near the freezing point will be more problematic than usual: Snow and cold we can deal with, but ice is treacherous.

The general forecast: a wet, chilly, but not particularly cold winter — not in the same category as the most recent “real, old-fashioned” winter: 2013-14. (Neptune was exactly conjunct the ascendant in the chart for that season.)

The wettest portion of the winter will match the period when Venus moves through Pisces: early January through early February.

Another notable interesting period: late February – early March 2017, around the time of the New Moon (actually, an annular solar eclipse) on 26 February. An unseasonable warmup is likely to result, in northern regions, in flooding, while in the south, unusual atmospheric turbulence challenges business as usual.

Times to be risk-savvy.

-<zoidion>-

[ Currently reading: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water (sequel to A Time of Gifts), recounting his journey, mostly on foot, across Europe in 1934. ]

Into the Ruins

The best in deindustrial, post-industrial, and post-peak science fiction

gaylaellis

photos and words

Demystifying the Aquarian Age

© Copyright Terry MacKinnell All Rights Reserved

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

Family Yields

one family's approach to permaculture

Stormstalker

The weather junkie's fix.

ClubOrlov

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

weathersage

Home of Long Range Weather Forecasting

Small Batch Garden

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

Autonomy Acres

Tales From the Anthropocene * Urban Homesteading * Permaculture * DIY Living * Citizen Science

Turkeysong

Experimental Homestead

Paul Douglas Weather Column

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

22 Billion Energy Slaves

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

Strong Towns Media - Strong Towns

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

The view from Brittany

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

The Archdruid Report

Reports and Musings about Weather, Climate and the Long Emergency

%d bloggers like this: