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  Tuesday, 28 March 2006

EMDs. Environmental Management Devices

As I've mentioned before there is no TV reception where I live and as a consequence I have lived without TV for several years now (longer than I have been blogging). I find it no hardship to go without, in fact my life has improved as a result. Having weened myself off 'the box' one thing that really bugs me now is TV that is on without anyone really watching it. Airports, bars, shop windows, even the fish and ship shop I frequent has a TV going. 

Today I found the TV-B-Gone. I ordered one right away. *evil laugh*

Reclaim those public places and enhance your life. Get your EMD today!

7:57:14 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 26 March 2006

I apologise if your were eating... this is what goes on inside a rotten apple, inside my worm farm.

Today I've been pottering around the garden, preparing it for winter. There's been compost to spread around, donkey dung to collect, and crops to harvest. One job was to turn the contents of the worm farm. Doing this once every 6 months or so helps ensure the worms move around the whole farm devouring (processing) every scrap of food. Its an interesting job as you gets to see the inner workings of a worm society. In the photo above for example you can see how they go about eating an apple. This rotten apple seemed to be in one piece with skin intact, but on poke with the fork and it burst apart to reveal a fistful of tiger worms and not much left of the apple. Fascinating. I was also very pleased to see my minions have been working hard producing a large quantity of castings. The bottom half of the tub was solid, well processed soil conditioner, ready to go on the garden.

You may remember I was growing some potatoes in old car tires. These went pretty well. Of the three varieties I tried two gave good returns. They were what I think were the 'rocket' variety of potatoes, and an odd type of purple  tuber that looks a bit like a yam. Although they look black they are actually purple inside. I grew all of these from one little tuber I got from a friends garden (thanks Anne). The best advantage about growing spuds above the ground in a stack of tyres is it makes for very easy harvesting. No digging required, just lift off the tyres and pick up the spuds.

12:20:26 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 24 March 2006

moon light
the blossom pink wind

Haiku by Yuko Miyazawa (15yrs) found at  The Children's Haiku Garden

7:03:54 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 20 March 2006

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(Click for 1024x768 or 1280x1024 desktop wallpaper)

It's hard to believe that a seed could grow to support so much...

7:47:46 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 19 March 2006

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. "
Edwin Teale

I harvested 36 gourds today. I still have about half a dozen large bottle gourds on the vine. I'm giving them one more week to get a little bigger... I just hope the frosts hold of till at least then.

Each one was washed, carefully towel dried, then place on a warm, dry, dark, shelf to cure. Over the next several weeks I will check them, and turn them regularly, removing any that show signs of decay. In 2 or 3 weeks the outer shells should be dry. Some weeks after that I will know the insides are adequately dry when I can hear the seeds rattling inside. By then I should have some idea of what I will craft with the shells.

7:54:08 PM    Comment []

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6:38:44 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 16 March 2006

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8:32:19 PM    Comment []

  Wednesday, 15 March 2006

I caught up on some overdue weblog reading today, including Baghdad Burning. If you haven't read the writings of River yet, try it. It's a clear and personal view into life in Baghdad today.

If you just read one post at BB ... make it '>this one

7:40:27 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 14 March 2006

It seems the peak oil message is making the mainstream news more and more lately. When Matt Simmons, (CEO of Simmons & Co Intl, author of "Twilight in the Desert", and energy adviser to the Bush administration), says to "...fasten your seat belts we're in for a rough ride ahead", he's a little harder to ignore than your average peak oil "doom & gloomer". Last week he spoke at the New Zealand Petroleum Conference and it sounds like he got their attention.,2106,3602571a1864,00.html

The issue has made it to NZ current affairs program 'Close-up' also...

I have to say though that the way the topic was covered on this program was pretty disappointing. It started out well in the first half with some pretty good reality checks from people like Matt Simmons. But hang on... right at the end of the first instalment they bring a guy (who remained nameless) to tell us its OK because we are sitting on a black "gold mine" here in NZ. To quote this mystery expert, "there are people who think there are hundreds of million, perhaps even billion barrel oil fields down there, or trillions of cubic feet of gas, in other words, prospects that are comparable to or even bigger than Maui." Very comforting, but hardly conclusive. There are 'people' who 'think'  many different things on the subject; they are not all right.

They second part then goes on to suggest if we can just convince overseas oil companies to come and explore here, we will be fine because as a little country we don't need that much oil. It suggested that the Maui field has completely filled our energy needs for decades (why have we been we importing more than half of our oil then?) and we just need to find another field just like it. Pipe dreams. Overseas oil companies are already exploring here, and have been for years. They are looking for scraps. One commentator on the video clip at the link above suggests that because oil companies are prepared to come a long way and spend a lot of money to look in our back yard, there must be a lot of oil down there. As one industry insider with 30 years experience in exploration already exploring in NZ told me, it simply means they are getting desperate. And even if they do find something significant, the international demand for oil will soon be so great that we won't be able to afford to keep it anyway; it will go to the highest bidder (or the biggest army, which ain't us). At least we don't have any WMD's here in NZ to warrant an occupation... but then neither did Iraq.

Personally I hope they don't find anything major. Not because I want to see an economic crash, but because I think clinging to false hopes of continuing this consuming way of life are dangerous. All this talk of more investment, more exploration, more technology, is just a futile attempt to (slightly) delay the inevitable. The sooner we come to grips with the reality of the situation, the sooner we can all just get on with the huge task of preparing for a lifestyle that ISN'T predicated on cheap fossil fuels. CHEAP fossil fuels are a thing of the past... regardless of how much effort we put into pretending that isn't so.

The first thing you should do when you find yourself stuck in a hole is, stop digging.

1:19:37 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 11 March 2006

The Slivereye or Waxeye is a pretty common bird in NZ. This morning I was watching a flock of them feasting on a fennel plant that has gone to seed by the river in front of the house. They seem to always move about as a group. I watched them flitting about on this fennel for over an hour, then abruptly they all moved onto the poplar tree nearby, where they feed on a certain insect that hatches its larvae on the back of the poplar leaves. Not one of them stayed behind to keep eating the fennel seeds even though the group was only a few meters away. Safety in numbers I guess. This usually very wary birds allowed me quite close today and I enjoyed watching their energetic seed gathering.

(Poster available)

2:12:02 PM    Comment []

No it's not another action movie - it's much worse than that. Terminator gene technology is a serious threat to farmers all over the world and to the environment. Next week the NZ Government has a chance to address this threat. We need to urge them to take strong action.

Did you know that over 1.4 billion people around the world depend on saved seed for food? Seeds from each year's crop are saved for planting the following season.

This age old practice of saving seed is under threat right now from US seed and chemical corporations and a tiny number of countries - including New Zealand. They want to introduce a selfish and short-sighted new technology that is a veritable ticking time-bomb.

'Terminator' technology is an extreme for of genetically engineered seed that produces sterile offspring. It is specifically designed to stop farmers saving seed and so must buy new seed each season. This directly threatens the livelihood of the communities who rely on saved seed for food.

Over 120 countries and the world's biggest aid and environmental organisations are calling for the current de-facto moratorium on 'terminator technology' to stay in place.

At present New Zealand is one of only four countries pushing for this ban to be overturned.

Now is the time for action. The issue will be debated at the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity meeting in Brazil later this month. Please take a few minutes to defend the right of all farmers to save seed and particularly the 1.4 billion people who depend on this by sending an urgent message to the New Zealand Government here

Thank you for your support,

Greenpeace Aotearoa NZ

10:36:04 AM    Comment []

  Monday, 6 March 2006

I bought a new wheel barrow to use around the garden. Of course it came in kit-set form. There were no assembly instructions with it. Not to worry I thought, I'll just go by the line drawing on the box. It did help me identify all the parts but I'm a little worried that my new wheel barrow didn't come out looking like the picture on the box... In fact the picture on the box is impossible. The artist obviously skipped the lesson on perspective when he was at design school...

9:09:47 PM    Comment []

8:52:14 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 5 March 2006

Seen on a bumper sticker, stuck on an SUV, parked outside the a big department store on Sunday afternoon...

"On judgement day you'll be meeting Father God, NOT Mother Earth."

The second thing through my head (after WTF?) was, what if the first thing he asks me is "What have you done to my creation?"

10:26:22 PM    Comment []

Highlights from last night's light-show over Nelson Haven...

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For the first time ever, this year my work computer has two screens and dual-monitor desktop that I can stretch one 2560x1024 image across. This looks very cool but the effect is completely lost if you have a repeated image for wallpaper. Having a nice big panorama that continues from one screen to the next is the only way to go. I'm finding its interrupting my work-flow as I keep stopping to admire the view when I should be working ;)  If there's anyone else out there using a dual-monitor setup here's a couple just for you.

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(Click for 2560x1024 dual monitor desktop wallpaper)

10:04:18 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 4 March 2006

I came across this refreshing little distraction this evening...

7:12:58 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 3 March 2006

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11:26:55 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 2 March 2006

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"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again."
Henri Cartier Bresson

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10:09:33 PM    Comment []

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