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April 14th, 2008

07:59 pm - new lhitg glob on blogger
For ease of use by us pre-LOLcats-generation bloggers, Sharqi & I have created the new little house in the ghetto.
Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: sacred dub podcast transmission 036

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January 27th, 2008

06:20 pm - brief rant
I keep marveling at how trivial things like zoning laws are propping up the international  industrial-agriculture-corporate-profit-world-destroying machine.  Why shouldn't we have frickin' chickens?!  Or humanure or handbuilt dwellings of materials at hand?!  I keep trying to console myself that at some point they won't be able to patrol or enforce all those codes and people will probably be having to just do what they can with what they have anyway.  So figuring out how to do that and bit by bit disconnect from the Leviathan/Matrix/Grid before the crash ... maybe that would prevent our experiencing the crash as "crash" to begin with.  Universal relocaldiversification!
Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: Bonobo, "Walk in the Sky" instrumental

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January 25th, 2008

09:08 am - Permaculture Defined, And Its Use
Now there is a cat sitting on the book I was going to type from. 

This is from the "bible" of permaculture, Permaculture: A Designers' Manual by Bill Mollison.  I include a brief excerpt below, but the part I particularly want to emphasize is this: "The word 'permaculture' can be used by anybody adhering to the ethics and principles expressed herein.  The only restriction on use is that of teaching" 

That is, you don't have to have a certificate from a Permaculture Design Course in order to call what you do "permaculture".  You need only follow permaculture principles (which, IMHO, make a lot of sense anyway). 
Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: furnace

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January 14th, 2008

03:57 pm - herbal kombucha
Since we're running out of black tea in the pantry, I've been looking into what other herbs we can use for kombucha.  Found some advice.  I'm thrilled that we could sustain kombucha production without (importing) camellia sinensis (i.e., tea).  We could do kombucha with stuff that grows in our yard, I mean, our developing forest garden.  I have, however, seen tea plants growing in Illinois, and heard of someone in Michigan growing tea.  I understand it requires special attention to overwinter.

But as far as alternatives for kombucha:

Teas to Avoid

Don't use teas like Earl Grey that use essential oils (Bergamot in Earl Grey) to add flavour. This can upset or even kill the kombucha culture. Smoked teas like Lasang Suchong are best avoided too. They make a very odd tasting kombucha. Herbal teas should not be used on their own unless they are a blend of real tea and herbs. You can add herbal tea bags to real tea to add a flavour to the kombucha. But make sure they don't contain essential oils or artificial flavourings or sweetners. They should only use dried herbs and dried fruit.

Using Herbal Teas and Plants - A Quick Word

Traditionally, black tea was always used for brewing and maintaining kombucha mushroom culture.  There are reasons for using black tea that aid in the longevity of the cultures vitality working as a nutrient solution.  When using herbal teas or plants to brew kombucha with the main concern will be with the amount of oil contained within the plant in question.  Kombucha does not like herbs or plants with high amounts of volatile oils, an example would be peppermint tea.  Herbal teas that contain high amount of bitters should also be avoided.  The medicinal herbs used when preparing kombucha tea can greatly enhance the beneficial properties of the kombucha tea tonic. 

An great alternative to traditional tea is dried rose hips and dried elderberries.  This is a very old traditional recipe as both ingredient could be gathered in most area with very low cost, if any, compared to imported tea.
However, herbal teas with high amounts of volatile oils are not recommended for brewing kombucha tea beverages. 

These include but are not limited to - Sage, peppermint, St. John's wort, chamomile, ginger, or plants within the pepper family.  Adding a little black or green tea within your herbal mixture gives the kombucha the needed nutrients without to much unwanted tea. You can also add a little green or black tea from time to time.  One other draw back to using herbal tea are that they contain more germinal spores than does black tea.  This make the kombucha culture have to compete more for food and space.  In short, there may be a higher chance of contaminating your kombucha mushroom culture by using herbal teas or plants.  Always use properly dried plants and never use fresh organic matter or sources.  See our recipe page [below] for more brewing flavors!  You can mix or match any combination of herbs for medicinal value or for taste.

A good list of herbal medicinal that may be used without worry follows:

Aniseed, blackberry or raspberry leaf, chicory, club moss, dandelion, elder flowers and berries, fennel, hibiscus flower, nettle leaf, oat straw, rooibos(red bush tea), plantain, rose hips common, yerba maté leaf, and valerian.

Kombucha Recipes

Traditional No Tea Recipe # 1

Kombucha tea was traditionally made from sugar and black tea, but an even older recipe calls for sugar, elder berries, and rose hips.  For a gallon size batch use 1 1/4 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons of elder berries and 3 to 6 teaspoons of rose hips.  This makes a very nice fruity kombucha drink with lots of vitamin C !  Brew as per normal instructions and remember to use a back-up/extra culture when experimenting with new recipes.

Traditional Seasonal Recipe # 2

Try this recipe in the spring when the raspberry and blackberry leaves are young and fresh.  You may choose a mixture of equal parts of any of the following berry leaves; bilberry, raspberry, blackberry, or black current leaves.  This can make a very medicinal kombucha tea blend.  Try adding an equal part of rose hips to add more flavor to your mix.  For a gallon batch use your normal amount of sugar (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups per gal) and 1/2 cup of fresh leaf total.  Allow leaf to steep for 10 to 20 mins to infuse into the sugar solution.  Strain out leaf and organic matter and add kombucha culture when cool.

Herbal Recipe # 1

This is a recommend recipe from Günther Frank's book, 'Kombucha - Healthy beverage and natural remedy from the far east'. He highly recommend this for those who would like to make kombucha without
caffeinated teas.  It goes as follows:

3 parts Yarrow flowers/tops
2 parts Dandelion leaf or root (cleaned)
1 part nettle leaf
1 part club-moss or plantain leaf

Make the KT as normal substituting this herbal blend in the place of the tea.  The mixture is said to give a pleasant tasting beverage.  You could get this made for you by an herbalist or get the herbs from an good source.  Remember to use double the amount for fresh herbs over died herbs. If collecting your own herbs clean them very well.

Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: City Lounge Vol. 3: CHEEZY

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10:03 am - Our Plans ...
A couple people have inquired about our plans, as far as permaculture goes. I figured I'd just post my little piece here.

We live less than a half mile from what is officially deemed the "inner city" of Springfield. We live within sight of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. It's a poor neighborhood, with both poor black people and poor white people, and old poor people and young poor people. We like it. Kids play in the streets. The hoss across the street mows everyone's lawns. We find alcohol bottles in the street but no needles or vials. The occasional plastic wrapper from a blunt wrapper. Lots of junk food trash. We do live in a food desert. But we're doing something about that! Which, to me, is more important than anything you can see on TV.

We have an 800 sq. ft. house on a corner lot of about 1/4 acre.  A giant old American elm rules the realm. 

Our plans ... lots of gardening. Putting in a woodstove. We had some severe weather events that brought down some big ol' trees in our yard; we're keeping the wood for fuel. We have a big sheet mulched bed overwintering right now. We have six cherry trees and was it 8? other fruit trees. All too young to produce anything yet but in a few years we'll be up to our ears. We think we have a workable place for a little coldframe/greenhouse type structure.

Currently, besides the sheet mulch, we have a few modest beds where we grew tomatos, broccoli, and a weedy jungle last year. We have a couple piles of stuff composting. Tons of firewood stacked, and tons more to split and chainsaw. We have an awesome raspberry patch that has provided us with delightful wines for two years now. And the usual snacking in the yard. Raspberries are divine. sharqi planted some garlic last fall. And other bulbs around some of the fruit trees.  We relish the edible food forest that spontaneously grows every year:  dandelion plantain lamb's-quarter garlic-mustard violets burdock redbud ... Spring is delicious!  And more nutritious than almost any food you can buy.

After the PDC we both spent a lot of time doodling on maps of the property and daydreaming. We could put in a little tiny pond. I thought of doing a sort of outdoor room of food li'l K likes. I imagine a sort of south-facing box with sweet corn, raspberries, and mint and lemon balm stacking down to the inside. And grapes trellising on the corn stalks. Catnip and oat grass in the middle for the cats to frolic in.  I'd love to get some vines on these walls!  I think we have a spot we could turn into a sort of shadehouse to cool air to draw into the house in summer--ironically, where the central A-C unit is. 

We should really insulate the walls, too.  That would be really good.  Not as flashy as a shadehouse or forest garden, but worthwhile! 

And I should finish chainsawing down the giant log of ours that's been on our neighbor's property for a long time.

And, of course, chaos never died and plans can become laughable in a moment.  It's an infinite game
Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: pandora.com, Noiseshaper, I rather like it

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January 11th, 2008

10:19 pm - What Do We Do?
My brother wrote:
my friends at school or colleagues at my internship ask me, "So, what does your brother do?" I explain to them about unjobbing, how you're a stay-at-home dad, etc. Then, they ask, "What does his wife do?" Then I say, "Pretty much the same." Nobody up here talks about permaculture, and surely nobody ever mentions--nor has the slightest clue--what unjobbing is....  I get quizzical looks and polite comments, like, "Oh, well that's interesting."
I started thinking about "what we do".  I made a list.
  • So what do we do?  Besides unjobbing and unschooling (and unchurching and ungoverning)?
  • We’re simulated patients for the local school of medicine.  Part time, erratically.
  • I have been selling blood plasma (which gets made into medical products for people).
  • We’re also experimentally permaculturing and rewilding our 1/4 acre patch of land in this poor city neighborhood.
  • We also brew wine and kombucha, and bake bread with a sourdough culture (it makes flour more nutritious).
  • We garden and forage.
  • We like to hang out–all else proceeds from this!
We read, listen to music, do art with the kid, go to the library, go to the park, go for bike rides, walk to the neighborhood grocery store, we also surf the web and do email and blog.  More than is good for us!
Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: WQNA Dub System

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January 3rd, 2008

11:02 am - kombucha
Long ago, before tribe-mates Nyotok & Mr. B left zomba for Mountain Gardens, they were reading up on kombucha.  Nyotok asked if I would make some while they were gone.  Sure, I said, wondering where I'd be able to get a mother to start the culture.  (Not wanting to spend much money on anything.)  I figured maybe if I concentrated on it, affirmation-style, some would appear from somewhere. 

Months later, our friends return, and they brought ... kombucha!  They'd been experimenting with various fermented goods at Mountain Gardens.  So they showed us how to start some, and ... DRINK IT!  It's tangy.  It helps get toxins out of the body.  It's better, and better for you, than soda.  Though less caffeinated and less sweet.  I suppose you could stir some more sweetener into it before you drink it.  You can warm it, too, but then it loses its effervescence. 

Our favorite new radical cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, says NOT to use caffeine, alcohol, or white sugar--but they DO recommend kombucha even though it has traces of alcohol, and is made from caffeinated tea and white sugar.  So, we still drink wine, and coffee, and use white sugar in things, but we ALSO drink homebrew kombucha now. 

Searching the web on kombucha, I find sites that want to tell you about it so they can sell it to you.  And, worse, some people want to sell you an expensive workshop to learn how to brew it.  DON'T PAY MONEY FOR KOMBUCHA!  Brew your own!  It's easy!  It's mostly a matter of waiting and observing.  Ah, that permaculture principle: observe.

We've been using EQUO Organic Masala Chai tea bags for our kombucha, because that's all the black tea we have at the moment, and it turns out good.  I'm having to keep starting more and more jars brewing 'cause we keep drinking it!

The chai also makes good chai, and good chai nog, which is where you make some strong chai tea and, instead of adding milk, add eggnog and keep warming it and stirring it until it goes down warm and makes you feel good.  REALLY good.  We've had windchills below zero the past couple days!  Welcome to January!  But it's expected to be in the fifties in a few days ... weird?
Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: recording of WQNA's Eastern Hemisphere show

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December 26th, 2007

12:41 pm - CreatorCreatingMinutesMomentUsEarsPraise
was gonna write a river a while ago but my flow
got attracted by some Moor
Flow 'n now i'm candled in a peal
of kid footsteps and a knock to my glasses crooked
to the floor, no, just
to my nose
but isn't that the way these things goes
round and round and now the sound is
laughter in the Templedom of Zomba,
stone, "U"saw it too
the shift of the drivelized devil mask to another
facemaskwearingthedevil'roar though
it was allways one big piling and one big landslide top eye
conditioned gravity crunch situation your meals
rely upon those wheels'
petroleum lipstick kisses smelty smudge on
your face 'n botox promises of
better face box fox;
Rowdy wow pox kicken' it back
hear in the ghetto with Astray sound spinnin around and
Kaliha's occasional leg foot on my shoulder
when Sharqi is back in the stiches did
mending and purling knit and purl and  the
sound of slather as lotion rubbing---
Hakim Lollard's palms returned earthward with the digs
the tunes channel from rooms to the
room of my Ear' sacred soul channel sound inward outward and
back, gotta say Roomi hear gotta say
Radio Head taking me in their arms' flow
or so that what it sounds like he sang
in sinuous arabesques sways up and down up up
down praising along with All the room
Your Way Ooomzingsingings
Current Music: see above

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December 16th, 2007

09:57 am - Wintry dayze
Kid Khalila has been sick with the flu for a few days.  She's perking up today, but still staying on the couch so far. 

Yesterday, Sharqi made granola.  666 came over and he and we had a delightful time hanging out.  He made up the "good li'l filly tarot."  The Fool is the housewife, the Magician is the Magic Chef salesman.  Wands are mops, cups are measuring cups, etc.  You get the idea.

The other day Sharqi threw some old bread out on the snow for the birds.  A flock of starlings ate it all up pretty quick. 

Sounds like our official total snowfall for Springfield is 8".  Our yard looks like it's more in the four-to-six zone, but no one's been out there with a ruler yet to measure it today.  I do NOT miss having a car!

Snow is blanketing everything.  It's so beautiful. 

Cardinals hop around on the branches.
Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Music: pandora.com again, an old Enigma song I haven't heard in a while

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December 2nd, 2007

10:16 pm - and will not go back
I meant to use Little House in the Ghetto to post updates about our unjobbing, unschooling, urban homesteading, permaculturing, incrementally less unsustainable, post-civilliesed lives here in the, well, little house in the ghetto.  But I keep posting quotes from Ran Prieur.  Here we go again.

December 1. There's a lot of buzz about the Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization Whatever Act. According to the script, we're supposed to respond, "Unthinkable! Outrage! Constitution! Fight through usual channels! Oh no, usual channels not working! American reality different from American ideal! Protest! Ow, stop hitting me!"

If we respond this way, we are going along with the abuse ritual. To an abuser, there is nothing sexier than when the victim expresses shock and outrage and fights back in a way that's totally ineffective. The next sexiest thing is to grovel in submission, and next after that is total numb defeat. These strategies not only don't work -- they actually feed a demon that inhabits the collective consciousness and many individuals, and they encourage more abuse.

So what can we do about it? As Thaddeus Golas said, "A great deal, if our heads are clear." The common mistakes of abuse victims and political dissidents correspond exactly to the first four of the five stages of grief. It's time to stop fucking around and get to the fifth stage.

America has passed from Republic to Empire, and will not go back. We are living in an authoritarian state in rapid decline. The federal government will pass more and more repressive laws, because that is what declining empires do. By all means, we should pay attention to hostile moves by government and business, the same way you would pay attention to rising floodwaters. You don't get angry at the water. You don't say "the Constitution forbids water getting this high." It is not a good idea to march through the water holding signs demanding that it recede. But you might be able to channel the water to where it will do less harm, or pile up sandbags to protect critical areas, or at least evacuate to higher ground.

Moving from metaphor to reality, we can fight big domination systems with little systems that are still democratic. Your vote for president is now worth less than your vote on Reddit, but you could make a huge difference by starting a group to run a candidate for city council, or to connect responsible squatters with vacant houses, or to fix and give away old bikes, or to turn an abandoned parking lot into a garden.

Another thing we have to understand is that the law is a distraction. The highest and lowest classes already know this in their bones: the only thing that matters is what you can get away with. The police will invade your house, kill your dog, and steal your computer if you run a perfectly legal website that scrutinizes the police too closely. But you can flagrantly violate the law by occupying an empty house, raising chickens in your back yard, and providing unlicenced medical care, as long as you maintain good relations with everyone who knows you're doing it.

Current Location: zomba, springfield
Current Mood: tipsy
Current Music: massive attack on pandora.com

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