ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Monday, November 21, 2016

Resistance is Fertile

My work involves building soils. The reason I have put so much effort into this process as I have has not been because that is where the money is, but because, it is where I can do the most good. In fact, as I have found, there is so little understanding about the difference between soil and dirt, that there may never be money in healing soils, or making them healthy, but that is not enough to get me to quit. There are more important things than money. I know that saying those words in our current culture may seem silly, naive or idealistic, but they are true. Life has very important things, like support, security, abundance and relationship. when we feel integrated with the larger whole, that in and of itself is important. We are designed to adapt to our surroundings, but a toxic environment, or one that has been stripped of resources often creates adaptations in us that validate, support and perpetrate behaviors that are not healthy, not sustainable and not able to offer anyone true security.

It seems that many are finally asking the questions that I asked myself four decades ago. My sister may have summed it up best when she told me that she wanted a bumper sticker that asks simply, Whom do you serve? My first post asked that question and it continues to burn itself into my world view every single day. Every dollar we spend, every moment we squander is playing right into the hands people we may never see, or know, or want to believe that we are "serving". It turns out that this is a very deep question with such distantly removed answers that many of us can barely scratch the surface of meanings that it holds. They say, still waters run deep and this year, perhaps we all need to sit a little more still and just appreciate the moving target that is the rise of fascism in our nation. Many of us continue to serve the needs of well entrenched power brokers, but more and more are finding their way toward truth and real justice.

No security can come from staying still, although taking a breather, to get your head on straight is always helpful. The active engagement that creates change is probably the most important aspect of resistance and leads to revolutionary changes that can last for generations. I heard a story this week about a child. Not a bad child, but one exhibiting the behaviors of a bully. This child has been born into a family structure that offers him very little in the way of attention. There are basically only two phases to his existence. He is either taken along and required to have only grown-up experiences, or left to his own devices, which in his family means retreat into his computer. There are no child appropriate activities, questions, discussion or relationships for him to grow through. In many ways he has been faced with a choice, face abuse and neglect in the company of the adults in his life, or retreat into the altered state of digitally mediated experience. One cannot blame him for the cocoon of distraction in which he chooses to live, but what others are experiencing is that the young child becomes easily frustrated and lashes out at others as a result.

When actively responding to our environment becomes commonplace, we can build, create, learn and grow in ways that are not possible when working within a framework of digitally mediated sub-routines and face time with our computers. I have been writing blog posts for over seven years now and not one session at the keyboard has "created" anything that has not first been experienced in real life. Not one concept or idea was born while sitting here typing away at the keyboard. The over six hundred posts have come from actual-factual real-life experiences in which I was paying attention, sharing myself openly with the world around me and participating in a relationship with a large and sometimes scary world. don't get me wrong, life is certainly not all about abundance and security, there are serious problems that abound as well. That is why resistance becomes necessary.

Many, when confronting those of us who are active participants in the revolution that has never been televised ask the same sorts of questions. What about violence, do you see the revolution turning violent? This is because they can fathom nothing but serving their own violent slave masters. Yesterday at Standing Rock, the "police" (which many in the revolution that has not been televised call pigs) attacked peaceful protesters with water cannon, rubber bullets and sound cannons. When bullies meet frustration, they can only resort to violence. They serve the existing system of power and control tactics, belief in violence and for their limited understanding, those are the only options. On the other hand, what people who ask this question do not realize is that, "We are peaceful loving people, and we are standing, standing for our lives!". Those of us who have been walking our talk for over thirty years are astonished at the level of ignorance required for people to even ask about violence. Those who think that violence can solve problems, are in fact, the problem.

I have made conscious efforts to resist oppression by enhancing soil quality. Our ancestors handed down so much knowledge that we would be foolish to ignore it, but on a daily basis we still do forget. embedded in the phrase, and concept that a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link begs the question, where can we find a weak link in the chain of life? it is perhaps so obvious, that most people never even look, but the soil under our feet is one of the links that has been treated like dirt from the beginning. In most areas, we had reduced the fertility and health of the soil even before we knew that it was a thing. We have been so busy serving faraway interests that we neglected and abused the very land upon which our lives and health are determined. In many ways, the most revolutionary act that we can participate in is to feed our neighbors and ourselves healthy food. That requires healthy soil.

I have seen the riots, the property crimes that have been perpetrated by mobs in the past. I fully expect that there will be riots again, but they are far more likely when a team wins the Super Bowl, a Major League Pennant or a trophy. It is fairly rare that people riot because they cannot feed or house their families. There have always been agents provocateur and false flag attacks designed to make the public thing that anyone willing to stand up for their rights is a threat, but that is completely different that wanton destruction that the current powers that be are willing to perpetrate to "protect" their perceived interests. rebuilding the soils that blew away during the dust bowl days can be done, it is certainly possible. We have the tools and technologies, we even have millions of displaced workers that with a bit of education and training could recreate soil that is healthy and productive virtually anywhere on the planet, what we lack is the will. As long as we continue to serve the fossil energy interests, as long as we allow the military industrial complex to operate their destructive shell game, as long as we let the big money ride on the funding of destructive boom/bust cycles, we will have dislocation, loss and despoiled landscapes to leave future generations.

The classes that ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. offer allow individuals to become caretakers of the soil, double their agricultural output, reduce the need for irrigation and sequester carbon in healthy soils, healing the planet literally from the ground up. a complete series of classes, lasting thirteen moons, three hours thirteen times over the course of the year cost only $200. Single classes are twenty bucks. The classes are taught by real people in real time each full moon at our base camp here in Green Bay, if distance is an issue, I am working through the digital realm to teach the same material through online courses. Please contact us directly in one of three ways. Call, (nine 2 zero) double eight four, triple two four or use snail mail by writing to ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. 1445 Porlier street Green Bay, WI 54301-3334 or e-mail me directly at tnsaladino42@hotmail.com.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Democracy

A huge blow to this ancient institution has been struck. Now we are being told that we must live with the consequences. The most recent numbers I have heard are still not finalized, that won't happen until the end of the moon , however the "loser" of the most recent election will have nearly two million more votes than the declared "winner" of The recent election in the U.S. of A.. Adding insult to injury, this is only the fifth time in our relatively young nation's history that the Electoral College will install a President who has received less votes than their opponent. It happened three times in the first century and this will make twice in the second half of our 240 year history. Here is how that works. In the early days, rural Americans knew that their voices would not be heard until and unless they had more say in who got to be President. As a result, a system was designed that unfairly weighted the "one man, one vote" system that existed before to give people living in less populous states more power. Perhaps the most egregious is the state of Wyoming, although there are others who are not far off, see, each and every vote in Wyoming counts as heavily (in the Electoral College) as 3.62  votes in California. the winner take all nature of the states guarantees the same lopsided representation that has crushed democracy on a local level. People are finally seriously discussing how we can have such an unfair system that penalizes people by their zip code, or state of residence.

In terms of raw numbers, as I mentioned before, the "loser" in this race is looking to have amassed over two million votes more than her opponent, yet, when the electoral college meets, after the votes from all jurisdictions have finally been certified, they will hand the most powerful elected office on the planet to the person who got less votes. I know that I have a huge following from around the world, so let me try to explain just a little about how this is even possible. First, and perhaps foremost, the old way of doing things had at least two primary purposes, perhaps three. First, transport was very slow when the system was designed. States had a major undertaking on their hands when it came to the logistics of taking a vote, even greater distances lay between the remote parts of the country and the seat of power in the East. Distances were great in many states and roads were poor or in some areas non-existent. Having electors in the nation's capitol made the tabulation possible and each of these people was directed to make the will of the people of their state known in a final tally. It seemed to make sense in 1787. Why the rural areas had more say was a combination of two more things. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, even back then, populations in cities had been growing and people living in the hinterland knew that they would be summarily ignored with a one person one vote system. After all, why would any candidate go to out of the way places like rural areas on the "frontier", if they could secure the votes needed in the largest cities easily. The way it was explained to me in grade school,  "If the rural landowners ever wanted to see a candidate, there needed to be a system that made their votes more valuable than those of folks living in the cities." If they were ever to have their concerns get any attention at all, they would need more power. This is also a holdover from the old way of determining who was eligible to vote. The landed gentry, the 1% of their time did not want the vast majority of poor folks directing the affairs of our nation, so this system assured that more power would reside in the votes of relatively underpopulated areas.

Why wouldn't they think that rural votes should be worth more? After all, at the time we were a primarily agrarian nation. Those who owned the most land were fully expected to have more say in the affairs of our nation. We could argue about why that system penalizes city folk, but that would make no sense to people from 1787. In modern times, we can look at a few elections that will help make sense of the numbers. More votes were cast for the, Electoral College determined, "loser" in this race than Barack Obama received when he became President just eight years ago. She will have won the raw vote by a greater margin than either Nixon or J. F. K. Continuing protests from around the world point to the fact that people concerned about democracy are not willing to stand for this archaic system any longer, especially when it leads to a professional theft of a nation, a corruption of the highest elected office on the planet and/or the terrible example of a human being that is being exalted by a relative handful of extremely powerful people in Washington D.C. 538 people will determine who the next President of the United States will be. The system that continues to work against the will of the public is being called out very vocally this time and we can only hope that the process by which we hand over power in our nation will change because of the disastrous consequences that will come from installing such a terrible candidate.


I have said repeatedly that sloppy language is an indicator of sloppy thinking and anyone who has seen The Donald speak knows that his thought process is crippled. At last count, I read that he has changed his mind on eleven policy positions that he attempted to make clear during his campaign, that was several days ago so I'm sure that other commitments have fallen by the wayside since then. heck, he changed his mind about at least three major policy points just from meeting with the current President for an hour and a half. He remains completely insulated from reality up there in his tower. for all his rhetoric about helping the "average" American, he has not the first clue about what our lives entail. so much for a system of, by and for the people.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Most Recent Biochar

This week marked about three moons since beginning this most recent batch. Beginning as about five pounds of char, to which I added rock dust, nitrogen, minerals and finally finished compost rich in biological life. Finally, I added about twenty pounds of expanded mica...(vermiculite). It finally came into a status that I feel emulates healthy soil after being aerated several hundred times, over the course of several moons; it has been kept moist, allowed to stay about the consistency of a wrung out sponge, warm and under shade, so the sun's UV has never touched it. Adding this material to the top few inches of soil and continuing to protect the surface from the harsh sterilizing rays of the Sun has benefits that can last for centuries, even millennea.

There has been a longstanding rule in business, they say that to succeed, never sell what you don't have and never over promise. Biochar has the potential to double production of crops when applied at the rate of two pounds per cubic yard of soil. (1 kg to one cubic meter) The raw material that biochar is built with is pure carbon which is inert in the environment. It never degrades, nothing eats or dissolves it. instead, it provides structure upon which microbes can flourish. The waste products of these microbes are actually what healthy plants need to most easily absorb their nutrients "food" from the soil. When you say, "Doubles biomass production." people tend to think that you are over promising. To prove the point, I will send anyone who wishes to do a side by side trial of biochar enough to enrich one five gallon bucket of soil. (.2 cubic meters) If you are the type of person who cooks using recipes as guides, not as gospel, then think of char this way. Every handful has fourteen acres of surface area. when first moistening char, it is best when kept just dry enough to squeal a little, like singing sands do when you walk on them. I have made really good char that almost felt like I was stirring tiny shards of broken glass. The carbon is essentially vitrified, like firing clay, it makes it more like stone than cellular tissue that it began as. However, the carbon remains a scaled down version of the original plant tissue.

Much of the nitrogen for this batch was from blood meal and as such, this biochar has been made for the pinery and blueberry beds. This material has the effect of slightly acidifying the soil.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Another View

Last night, I took a long, slow drive out to the north end of the island, the sacred ancestral home of the Annishinabe, to the beach where I have been singing, dancing, and praying for decades. Along the drive, a mama deer darted out into the road, and took a leap to get lost in the woods again. Deer = compassion.
When I arrived, the cold wind was reminding me, "take warm clothes!" I had already packed my winter coat, so I bundled up and made my way down the banks to the water's edge.
I remember what my First Nation's friends tell me: pray to be grateful, pray to be humbled before Creator, pray to be a servant of Mother Earth.
After weeping all day while watching the live stream, I stood on the shore of one of the last great bodies of fresh water in the world with two small prayer bundles I got during the mining fight in the Penokees. I could not help but be humbled. I thanked all of creation, and I thanked over and over the brave people who stood up yesterday against the US tyranny of people who will destroy us all. I prayed for all the peoples of the world standing up against US tyrants. I asked to be humbled before my friends and neighbors and for the strength to do the right thing.
Over the course of the mining fight, I met many of my Native American neighbors: Bad River and Red Cliff, LCO, Lac du Flambeau, Ho Chunk, St. Croix—so many descendants of the families who have been murdered, abused, abducted, sold into slavery, kicked off their land (some of which is my home now)—the awful things that have happened to my neighbors does not just go back generations, but it is alive and well today.
Since I was young, I was fascinated with the story of our First Nations. I read every book I could get my hands on. Over and over I re-read those books—Black Elk Speaks, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Lame Deer—and they always ended the same: in tragedy for these amazing people and their masterful culture. Every time, I sobbed, as if, maybe this time the story would end differently. It never did.
Today, watching them take down the Standing Rock Sioux with guns, LRAD, concussion bombs, rubber bullets to the face, tear gas, I felt like I was living that ending all over again. How could it be that these people are once again being driven into despair, their grandparents' graves and sacred sites being torn up by Corporations while the jack booted law enforcement protect the tyrants? How can this be happening? Silly me. They know it can, is and does still happen in 2016. Standing Rock is just the veil being drawn back for all the rest of us people of privilege to see and experience like never before.
As much as I have educated myself on the First Nations history, yesterday I felt as if I knew something I never knew before.
The only way for me to respond is to vow never again to allow this to happen. While I cannot seem to stop our reign of terror in Syria, Iran, Iraq, I can stand up here at home. It is my bound duty to help undo the injustices that have come before. As a white person living on the land of the First Nations, it is the least any of us can do.
Go to Standing Rock. Get there. Now. If you can't, please, educate your friends and family on what is happening.
Donate to their legal defense fund.
Send them the supplies they ask for.
Call the White House, ND gov, media, senators, congresspeople, call over and over and over and do not stop until the pipeline is stopped.

Thank-you, Barbara With! Ho!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Beating Weapons Into Plowshares

Some of my readers should be familiar with the Ploughshares Foundation, this group has been around for decades and has been instrumental in pushing international conversations about the immorality of war, especially using nuclear and inhumane means of killing more people faster and with less discrimination. The recent Obama Administration's release of kill numbers for drone strikes pointing out the fallacy of a "just" war. The lives of thousands of non-combatants don't matter one whit to the war machine. When you reclassify young men as "enemy", simply for reaching the arbitrary age at which you expect them to be able to carry a weapon, the demonization of people whose eyes you never need to ponder, is complete. There was a great rallying cry for the Revolutionary war propagandists that supposedly dates back to the Battle of Bunker Hill. "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes." This was to conserve powder and increase the kill rate with their notoriously inaccurate weaponry. Today, we use such overpowering force as to make even a heat signature on infra-red sensor a "target". Can our animosity extend even into the realm of hating someone simply because they have body heat? The thought of getting to know that we are all people, with hopes, dreams and aspirations, people who love their children and hope for them to have better lives than we have had seems so alien in acceptable political discussion as to be lost amongst the calls for "extermination", "nuclear war" and deportation or putting up walls around the people of this world that are one giant human family.

A woman, proudly displaying a placard that said: "You can keep your science." is far more willing to follow along flights of fancy, in which 1/3 of the world population is demonized, and "eliminated", than to understand fact. The vast majority understand that the likelihood of the other 2/3 settling for what would be left, after another World War, rather than finding some other division to exploit, is almost as silly as the initial prospect of killing off 1/3 of the Earth's inhabitants simply for their beliefs. A well-meaning and sincere man said to me just the other day that, "Anyone who reads the Quran needs to be deported. They are all terrorists" Little did he know, the same day, I had read a story about a Muslim, from Syria, he is a devout follower of his "God" Allah. As a recent refugee, he received a piece of furniture to start his new life in this country. His reading of the Quran spoke to him in a different way. When he opened a drawer and found fifty-five thousand dollars, and the personal information of 1500 private citizens, he turned it over to police, saying that: "Allah would not want me to profit from the labor of someone else. If we could only convince our oligarchs of such truth! The ignorant are not the ones who need to be condemned, but those who see their profit flowing from uneducated folks just falling into the line of stupid stretching to the horizon.

I would like to explain the reasons that understanding and being educated about history is such an important starting point in moving forward. My young neighbor girl looked at me very coldly when I spoke of important lessons in history (herstory). "I hate history." she said. If we imagine the current time as a lens, future can and will only be an upside down and backward representation of the past. Only things that are in the consciousness of people living right now, today are based on their beliefs of the past, their knowledge of what is real and possible that gets passed down effortlessly through generations. The uberwealthy have expunged virtually all stories about self-determination or fulfillment, any inkling of satisfaction and abundance, except in the peculiar stories about "crazy artists", "mad scientists", "inventors" (who are often said to have to forego satisfaction or acceptance in their lifetimes) or lottery winners (beneficiaries of the nanny state). There is a similarity of understanding here to things they teach in military academy, CIA training and diplomacy. Every story we tell about the past, expands our possibilities for tackling the future.

Before my time, there was a strong socialist tendency amongst my ancestors. Public Service, the local electric company used to use their extra electricity to power an electric trolley, transporting people from their residential areas to the commercial areas. This was a true public service. most people from my generation don't even know that in Old Green Bay, you didn't even need a car. Another socialist plan was scrapped because of the "conservative" ideas of our fore-bearers, One of the major paper companies knew that as part of their processing, massive amounts of waste heat (in the form of hot water) would be generated and they wanted to run a cooling loop under downtown sidewalks and roadways, so the city, and residents, would have never needed to shovel snow in the downtown area. The cost of fifty to a hundred years of snow shoveling was hundreds of times more expensive than just installing the pipes to allow the heat to become useful.

Knowing that, in the old days, large corporate entities had a conscience and worked diligently for the good of all, rather than just the tiny slice of the public deemed "stockholders" changed the way we see the oligarchs. From these facts alone, we can see that at least two corporations were ethical once upon a time. Knowing that there were better ways...(I could ride the train, leaving from Green Bay, Wisconsin as recently as April 30, 1971) The train that used to run from Chicago all the way to Ashland, Wisconsin (on the shore of Lake Superior) we need to understand that the costs of tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of car trips back and forth to the Northwoods could have been eliminated, just by continuing the line. Instead, the corporate climate has changed, to one of heavily subsidizing the benefits that are realized by the fossil fuel industry and requiring the rest of us to pick up the costs. The weapons corporations use to eviscerate communities are many and understanding the long-term effects of cutting services, increasing dangers and risks and the inevitable ecologic destruction of making the wrong choices have impacts that will last hundreds of generations.

The forge upon which we create the new future is fired by the longing in our hearts and souls for our progeny to have at least as much as we were granted. The materials we have available are the massive military industrial wasteland, rife with attendant bust communities, our own intellect and creativity and the sense of community that has reclaimed some of the areas in our nation that have been reduced to rubble by time and neglect, and the knowledge that there have been ways for everyone to live a better life at far less cost, to our families, our communities and to our own health and welfare as well. The anvil, far too often, is the hardheaded people who do not care to hear the truth, no matter what words we use to speak it.



Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Puffballs!

This year was one of the best in years for puffballs!
several massive specimens have been found this season. Plenty for eating fresh, plenty for drying, plenty for putting up in other ways for the coming cold season!
 

Monday, September 12, 2016

PayPal.Me/congressrepairteam


[/congressrepairteam?ppid=PPC000628&cnac=US&rsta=en_US(en_US)&cust=324GWCS7WF2D4&unptid=90ae8fca-795f-11e6-a130-441ea14e9560&t=&cal=d7f0ab81552d2&calc=d7f0ab81552d2&calf=d7f0ab81552d2&unp_tpcid=ppme-social-user-profile-created&page=main:email&pgrp=main:email&e=op&mchn=em&s=ci&mail=sys]PayPal.Me/congressrepairteam


Although I have suspended this campaign until the next cycle, I will use donations to further the work of ECO-Tours and to teach people how to make and use biochar. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Whole Kit And Caboodle

My days as an artist have been filled with materials, consumables, the materials that flow, through a process into becoming other things, making my art possible. Even the image I have conjured of an artist as a 3-D printer of sorts aptly describes the materials within the caboodle. Posterboard and felt tip pens were the "liquid" materials flowing through the creative force of my friend Wesley Willis. At once, his caboodle could fit in a single bag for his pens and a garbage bag full of posterboard that allowed him to make his kit useful. Another favorite artist, Joseph Beuys managed to pare down his caboodle (materials) to blood, lard and wool. The kit that operated on the materials was both experience, adroit skill and the specific "eye" for juxtaposing the familiar with the sacred and/or profane.

Some make the mistake of thinking that the kit is just a series of objects, but it is not just that. Of course, if I wanted to draw a circle, a compass might be necessary, but knowing how to use it, or make due with a string and a pin attests to the fact that the intellect becomes just as important as the physical object one carries to the process of creation. The artists mental state, creativity, insights, thought process and skill in making objects from what they have in their caboodle are all essential parts of the creativity puzzle. One teacher I respected a great deal once said that the difference between art and craft is that a crafts person knows what the finished product will look like before the creative process begins. artists allow their creative process to morph, often resulting in things that were never planned or imagined at the start. I am not completely convinced, but it does present a fair starting point into the meanings I want to get to with this post.

To save our species from itself, we must get on with the process of educating as if our lives depended on it, because in fact, they do. all lives matter is not the refrain, necessarily of self important bigoted fools, (although if the shoe fits wear it.) but a plain and simple fact. today, for instance, even I froze up when a person suggested deporting anyone who reads the Quran. The same day, I had read of a Syrian fellow who returned 55K in cash that he found in a donated piece of furniture he was given along with personal papers covering about 1,500 individuals. He said that Allah would not want him to benefit from the fortune that others had built. this rep[resents the vast majority of people in any religion. You know the type. People who are honest, compassionate and helpful. Trying to act as if 1/3 of the planet's population is inherently "bad" or even to be suspected for having a different "God" is absurd. We need to, each one of us, throw whatever we've got, both kit and caboodle, into speaking truth to power in this respect as well as others.

Collective evolution can only take place when we talk to strangers, spread the word, continue sharing what we have learned and spreading both the materials and techniques we have each developed for making creative contributions to society as a whole. This is most often accomplished by giving back to individuals. Break out whatever might be languishing in your caboodle, heck, even if you have things in your kit that you have forgotten or that have become rusty for lack of use, break those suckers out! The same is said for the other side of the process, if you were holding something back for just the right time, get it out! The world is ready for it, now! and if there are skills or tools that you have been hoping would one day become important, unleash their power now! We must use all that is at our disposal to evolve past fear and hate. Prove once and for all, the value of peace and creativity, we will call this evil deception and it will wilt in the light of day.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Week-long Intensive

ECO-Tours of Wisconsin offers week-long intensives as well as one day tours/classes covering a variety of topics. Welcoming people to our facility includes having a private space in which to stay. We have been and continue to convert our facility into a living classroom for such diverse retreats as Art, Biochar, Compost, Dirt vs. Soil, Energy, Food Systems, Green Living, Habitat Improvement, Investing for Seven Generations, waterfall wanders, writer's retreats, etc. Our accommodations can be booked through Air B&B, or if you are willing to camp out, we are able to offer reduced rates for Leave No Trace campers.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

3600 Views

It has taken some time, but this blog finally has as many individual views of this site as trees that we planted our first year! The power of a single act, much less 3,600 of them has amazing power to outlast the moment in which we find ourselves. I would like to think of the ideas stories and activities that I share here will blossom and grow just as the forests that we have cultivated over the years. I may not know about the preferred climate, soils conditions and moisture requirements to make each of my readers thrive, but I do know those things about most trees and many native plants here in the Western Great Lakes Region. If I could think of, or find a way to grow my audience more or more quickly, I would do it, but for now, I will content myself with reaching this amazing milestone.

I have been writing "here" a bit less than usual and that is because I'm also running for the U.S. House of Representatives. As those who read my blogs often will know, I'm a strong Bernie Sanders supporter and friend of the environment, of course. What they may not realize is that all of my activities, training and concerns are for healing the planet, her people and the economic system that often rewards bad choices with regard to both people and the planet.

Without this form of communication, there would be less opportunity for me to spread the word about ECO-Tours, that they exist, how they work, what they can teach and ultimately how the revolution that is not being televised continues to gain both speed and diversity right under the noses of those who have always denied that we are a force to be reckoned with. It seems that as we grow and develop as a culture, like with the rest of our lives, the little things matter most. Knowing that so many people still find these posts informative gives me great hope for the changes that are yet to come!

When I write about planting trees, or inner city beekeeping or when I go on and on about political or social factors that affect and create the environment that we all share, it brings me joy to know that others have been inspired and informed by the posts. The tree planting we did our first year in operation took place in about four months. This writing has taken four years. The forest may remember our loving hands, but the culture does not always understand, or feel the work of those who massage and inform their development.

Like the many hours we spend at the breast as babies, those influences and building blocks are lost to time and oft' forgotten, but their power and the grace required to nurture are reflected in every act later in life, just because we do not have as long a memory as trees does not mean that we are not to be taught, or fed, or nurtured. In fact, perhaps, we need these things even more! My writing seeks to feed the souls of my readers, enlighten their minds and nourish their own drive toward finding balance between themselves and nature. I hope that the next 3,600 views come more quickly, but I also understand that you cannot rush a great thing. The Universe is unfolding as it should. Thank-you all for reading my words and may they bring you insight and comfort. your interest in my words gives those things back to me and for that I thank you all! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

When 50-50 means 100%

There is territory on our bodies that we supposedly "own". In fact, some far out liberals say we should have dominion over our entire bodies. "Self determination from within" is how we described it at one of the Yoga Institutes that I have lived communally with. When we take the hypothetical idea of genital mutilation, it is abhorrent, but about half the population gets surgically altered, genitally, within hours of birth and there is no valid reason for it to be done. There is no way to describe the intimate pairing of violence and intimacy that men bear in relation to their indoctrination to our U.S. of American culture. (Most cultures around the planet have now  disavowed genital mutilation) Another way We the People have remained like the very barbaric groups who still practice female genital mutilation.

For the purposes of my message, I want to confine my discussion to the male part. Most men do not even realize consciously, that they have been "circumcised". Such a clean word for such an obscene business! I am motivated to point out to half the population that if your junk looks like a mushroom, you were cut. if it looks like your hand, jammed down a sock at the end, you are intact. The message should, or could be easy, if it were just a matter of skin.

This seems to only apply to the half of the population whose genitals would, or could be involved, however, this is never the case. Abandonment issues often arise from being taken away from adoring mothers only to be cut savagely. How many men have unresolved abandonment and or mommy issues? Doctors claimed for years that boys "didn't feel much"; they said there was a natural anesthetic from the birth process. Newborn organisms in need of nurture can't be compromised with anesthetics, so it validated the lie. Children feel it, yet, the cutting continues, for no good reason.

When one considers and understands that sexual assault can even be perpetrated by men in white coats, it changes the discussion. Just because you were cut does not mean your child's penis should look just like yours. The entire culture bears the legacy of all that betrayal, guilt and shame. None of that would occur and nurturing could continue right through the formative years.

Ask the child at the age of adulthood if he wants the end of his wanker whacked off and my guess is that he will tell you to step off!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Egg On Their Faces

I found my way to a site that claimed to have research on bio-char. They supposedly found that loss rates can be as high as sixty percent in their "test plots", with the majority being lost to runoff and a significant amount just blowing away. I personally have worked with char for about three years and I can imagine scenarios that might approach those numbers, but only an ignoramus would leave the char sitting on top of the soil, on a hill in a rainstorm, or try to top dress a windblown prairie that has had virtually all organic matter produced there removed from it for decades. The ultimate refutation of this "scholarly" work lies in the fact that 2,000+ year old fire pits are frequently nearly 100% intact and that the most easily recognized element in them is carbon. Human-sequestered carbon. In this age of anthropogenic climate change, looking to the options we have for removing carbon from the atmosphere, especially the simplest ways that require virtually no special equipment or heroic new technologies just makes too much sense for our oligarchs. They always want to overdo things.

It has recently come to light that some scholars are willing to doctor their research or tailor it to meet the requirements of big donors. This is not to call all science into question, but when you know what you are trying to describe, and how it is supposed to look, the mere thinking that you know what you are doing can have drastic consequences. Advancing human understanding is difficult enough when we bring to the table a huge number of assumptions, expectations and rules that have been established for centuries. Looking at the here and now often challenges us to let go of what we have been told.
There are several things that are terribly wrong with these pictures. I can only imagine that there are ulterior motives behind why giant corporations owned by multi-billionaires would want to prove that char does not work.
I received this picture of a page from a magazine from a friend, who is learning about using biochar and was interested to show me that the message is being echoed in the press and there was no credit given. (Please forgive my not having the name and issue number of the magazine it came from.) My presumption is that the image comes from National Geographic magazine because it is a thinly veiled advert for them, designed to sway the hearts and minds of casual viewers to believe that the institution, now owned by Mr. Murdoch and his Fox Entertainment Group Inc. has the best interests of Costa Ricans and tropical farmers in mind as they massage their public image. This information is intended to be used for educational purposes only. I am sharing it to hone to a fine point my concerns about the inhumanity of capital against humankind. Billionaires and corporations owned by nameless faceless corporate boards, like oil giant Shell or corporations owned by oligarchs from overseas, like Rupert Murdoch, want the World's population to see them as benevolent. Whether they are or not can only be determined by looking critically at their actions and the results of those actions.

The photos above raise more questions than they answer in that regard. Optimal sizes of biochar particles are 2mm or less, far smaller than the pieces being buried in the photo. Natural processes in the soil will never break down the relatively giant chunks of char that are being buried in the photo above. The char pieces pictured above will suck moisture out of the soil and keep it out of reach of the roots that char can benefit if used and prepared properly. Since the picture shows people adding raw char to the soil, they are creating a massive sink for nitrogen, which will deprive plants of that important nutrient as well. Trying to think like a microbe is difficult enough without letting industrial minded donors push our attempts to benefit humankind push short sighted use of appropriate technologies in inappropriate ways.

It is difficult enough to make positive change. Cooking the books and offering help that hurts only complicates the issues and makes adoption of appropriate technologies less likely to be adopted. I think that this sort of activity does more harm than good.

TLUD technology is an acronym for Top-lit, up-draft, which is a fairly simple way to drive off the volatile gasses from organic material while preserving the carbon that has been heated to a glow in an oxygen deprived atmosphere.
http://www.biochar-international.org/sites/default/files/tlud.png
Courtesy of Dr. Paul Anderson of the Biochar Working Group in Seattle. Image helps explain how easily we can make char.




Friday, February 12, 2016

Biochar and the Five Principles

My pagan friends know the Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit connection well. These forces and qualities permeate, entwine and give substance to all that surrounds us. all of these elemental forces are alive in soils as well. Biochar can help to heal and nourish our environment, our soils, our cells, our selves and our spirits, but only when we take the time to honor the fundamental parts, the char itself and the life giving nutrients and minerals that we add to it with love. I have been part of this process since before time began and my ideas will continue to be passed along centuries after I have passed the veil. That is one of the things about charmaking that has become infinitely clear to me.

The Earth, supreme mother and womb of all terrestrial life is the structure, the latticework upon which life thrives. The fundamental basis for biochar involves roasting organic cells to purify them, pyrolyze them down to nearly pure carbon. As you can easily see and understand, the roasting involves fire. During the actual roasting, it is important to deprive the char of air, otherwise you will be left with mineral ash only, the beginning of making lye. The black char acts as a structure upon which soil organisms thrive.

The Air comes later, once the char is heated to glowing hot (about 450 degrees) and left to cool, the char becomes highly absorbent and can be allowed to, should be allowed to breathe. Interestingly, the surface area of finished char is over fourteen acres per handful and the smaller the bits, the better. most experts recognize a maximum size of 2mm, or about the size of a grain of rice, but my work is finding that smaller seems to always be better. The smaller the particles, the more surface area that can later hold moisture and nutrients.

Fire lends an energy to the char that lasts literally for many decades, almost like clay, once fired is as permanent as rock, but the cellular structure of the parent material is preserved as a microscopic latticework upon which life can thrive. We invest time energy and thoughtfully prepared substances to the char to make soil faster than the Earth ever does. Our efforts are rewarded over time.

Water, is part of the magic as well. Char holds 6X its own weight in water. Although char is extremely light, biochar is relatively heavy. Once it is nutrified, primarily with organic nitrogen fertilizer, and mineralized (typically with rock dust or other mineral-rich substances), it can hold even more moisture. finally, when a safe and secure habitat is created upon the surfaces of the char, healthy soil microbes are introduced that will colonize and fill the char with microscopic life.

Finally, you ask, What about Spirit? This is the part that is most difficult to speak of. For me, after five years of making char, caring for soils and building my garden beds, I am only beginning to grasp the spiritual depth of my commitment. Giving our lives for our children or a cause only take us so far, but gibving our life force to the healing of the soils upon which we grow our food, upon which the forests rely and upon which future generations will make their way, now that is a profound gift.

We are stardust.




Sunday, January 31, 2016

501(c)3 Status

Years ago, Eco-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. was established to further my tree planting hobby. I always loved to take people out into relatively wild areas, discuss a bit about what we were seeing, what the natural history of the area was and to teach by example, inviting their reciprocation. Our mission was to help them learn, to plant trees with them and to help heal the rift between humankind and nature. Ostensibly, I told myself, this was "our mission" at ECO-Tours of Wisconsin. As we developed, organically, we found our lessons to be more about soil regeneration. See, planting trees is not enough, you need healthy soil to have healthy trees. ECO-Tours always had very good survival rates, as long as we were in relatively healthy soils, but when clients asked us to plant on pure dirt, by the time we discussed what would be needed for trees to thrive, the landowner's eyes would glaze over.

When we assembled our bard and formally organized, we spent the majority of a full year of donations to hire a lawyer to help write up our articles of incorporation. Then, over the first year or so, we worked on filling in the many pages of forms for getting our Federal Non-profit Status. We finally got the whole package together and the entire thing came back to us with a notification that the information had to be in digital format and that only three companies were allowed to format it for the IRS. This is just the kind of sign that we here at ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. take seriously.
After calling these places and finding that we would have to sacrifice another year of donations to pay faraway people for the privilege of having tax exempt status, we felt that the powers that be were telling us to just back away. since that time, we have still been able to plant tens of thousands of plants and millions of seeds across Northeast Wisconsin, but we are getting more and more donations as well. Not for the tax break, not for a deduction, but because it is the right thing to do. We plant trees. We build soil, it is that simple.

Our efforts have remained HIP (my readers know I'm all about the acronyms) characterized by Honesty, Integrity & Passion. My becoming a charmaster was in part because of my relentless quest for increasing the soil building potential of our work. Without putting time, effort and money into our efforts, we would eventually become irrelevant. The microcosm that is ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. has organically grown in leaps and bounds, reaching more and more people over the years. Sometimes we have growth is people locally, at other times we get more response from people via digital means. Evolving into the future often requires breaking traditions that we didn't even know we had established. when we initially formed, our vision allowed us to have impact in a relatively small georaphic area, planting trees, mulching, composting, building fertility with a few dozen pairs of hands or less, to help on our tours, helping the Earth flourish by our passing.

Through digital means, I have taught four teachers in Africa how to build soils in their areas. I am being asked to provide many more classes for them and to teach what might eventually be hundreds of people in Africa to do what I am teaching here. It is amazing to think of thousands of people building soils every day, not just when they are on tour with me! If, one day, an ultrawealthy donor wants us to get that 501(c)3, I'm not sure that it would ever be worth as much as realizing that the entire world is going to be turning a corner here, real quick, and those I have been teaching, for over a decade now, will be better off for having learned to heal the Earth and that in response, it will heal you. When I started this Odyssey, I did not expect to have herbal healing classes become part of our ECO-Tours, nor did I think that we would have people from around the world on board so quickly. You see, I had been preaching this for twenty five years already, but only recently has it all seemed to catch the mainstream awareness. Each new person needs to become adept at seeing the ecological consequences of every action, something bioneers like myself have known implicitly for decades.

Sometimes, deciding what might be relevant to newbies becomes hard. In my own world view, many things I have learned have become so deeply understood that I would hardly know where to begin. The pranayama, (breathing) exercises that I learned while going to Middle School, The experience of laying roots into contact with the Earth in ways that will make them happy, restoring biodiversity within the soil itself are all things that have become integrated on a cellular level into who I am. Some people will only learn these things by doing, others by hearing about it, others through reading, still others will only know it when all the sounds and smells of tools and roots in the Earth lodge in their nasal passages aural canals and brain. However we learn is our style, our superpower if you will, but how we forget is sublime. It can be our undoing. Imagine getting deeply into the subject of natural history and the abundance of certain foods native to your area, before learning that all foods, even wild foods can concentrate toxic chemicals as well as nutrients. Or learning that introduction of non-native plants can be bad for native species and habitat, after having learned to like exotic species.

ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc. will be sponsoring all of my campaign appearances. In fact, I will be taking this opportunity to speak to as many people as possible in Wisconsin's 8th District
This is the region that is covered by the seat that i am running for. This area pretty nearly covers all of what we call, Northeast Wisconsin

A At each of my campaign stops I will be teaching local people how to make and use biochar. Through all 10 and 1/3 Counties. This way, even if i were to lose, they would be able to heal soils in their areas. When I win, there will be places we can point to to show others what will flourish under our care!