Filter_Noise – zone , localise, breathe

originally posted October, 2012

2017-2018 more than ever– especially if one is bombarded with news from television, radio and web feeds– over what is happening “over there”. this group and that group, and globalisation.
Are the going-ons of “over-there” really more important.. during the entire course of a day.. than, going-ons right in the air one breathes… his wellness?
does the ” happening over-there” really apply to oneself? How would he know? his expertise is what and where HE_is over the course of a day.
In practice, breathing and zoning enhances a localized approach in thinking and doing. a practice  that is more economical to ones personal ecology;
without invading th ecology of “over there.”
it is not avoidant, excessively selfish or xenophobic, to organize ones influence, affect and maintenance from a localized center zoning of importance.

In his work ” Introduction of Permaculture“, Mollison explains his use of “zoning” to allocate areas of gardening and agriculture in a landscape. “Zones”, are prioritize by importance and demand of work. most important and/or work/time intensive crops are located closes to the dwelling area. Un-farmed areas are designated as “the wild”.

Mollison’s (and fellow permaculture father Dave Holmgren) application of zoning is, essential, the act of organizing one’s environment — in the case of permaculture — the garden or farm, around and including living-space. In the image above the living quarters in graphically centered; the most labor intensive and important areas of the garden are kept close .. the least important tasks are pushed to “the wild” or unmanaged land.

I’ve been thinking about the Permaculture method of zoning in gardening and agriculture and I have wondered if one could apply (pattern, if you will) zoning to managing the flood of stimuli and information that seems thrown at us in our day-to-day busy lives.
So many things we sense or think about  in any moment of our consciousness, One could easily feel overwhelmed and overloaded.
I am wondering if i can make a connection with Gestalt talk as well, as one visualize  zones as figures formed out of a ground (what Mollison calls the wild) by designers.

Could one organize, or garden , his rough consciousness landscape of raw stimuli, senses thoughts, worries, brainstorms and activities? Keep the meaningful tasks, ideas and concerns close and push meaningless data to the background?

From Dischord find Harmony

— Albert Einstein *

Image, senses and thoughts arise as Gestalts, figures from the background of constant noise, discord… It’s up to you and I to decide what is meaningful, important at a given moment, and reject unimportant information, zone back to “the wild”, or background.

info-zone-jpg

so how can i improve my abilty to “zone” the flood of information each day?
one way could be to create a simple todo list:
here is one: Pennsylavania Echoes — Todo List.

I keep a todo or task list on my computer, also a calendar — and I have learned not to worry about them until I look at them again.

Another way to learn how to stay relatively “mindful” of important things in the moment and filter out the meaningless to “the  wild ”  or “background”:
Sit or stand somewhere in …

  1. relax, be confident, be square in posture.
  2. breathe in and out from the belly
  3. become aware of your breathing
  4. when you catch you mind thinking of some else return to step one

I like this breathing exercise and practice often. I am less distracted by unimportant thing in the present- centered moment.

……breath_and_background.jpg

When being mindful of only breathing, breathing fills the whole of mindfulness, a single zone, while all else is ignored and left to the background of wild data.
Overtime, breathing exercises and meditations are helpful in developing an intuitive ability to zone:
cognation and doing what is important at the moment, and letting go of the unimportant.

Its a great way to reducing stress, feeling more organized, focused and at-peace.

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Putting it to Bed — elevated gardening

This week I am staring up a journal on home gardening as a keep track of my garden.
Some thing’s I’ll will be tracking are the health of an elevated bed, and irrigating it efficiently.
the following is from a homework assignment for a Class I took in Permaculture Design:

Beginners Permaculture and experimental Raised Bed

This spring and summer, I ventured out on several projects, two of which, interrelated, were small scale work on growing vegetables and fruit. One project was in my back yard, I wanted to,see if I could revitalize a small area of land that did not appear to have much growth. The other project was a Permaculture design workshop on building raised beds. Although my initial work in my backyard project started the previous Summer, I was enthusiastic to apply what I learned in the early summer permaculture Workshop.

Early Experience with Permaculture

I first came across the permaculture design concept 5 years ago… I was looking to find a niche for my future, one that was would be meaningful. I investigated avenues such as college for agricultural engineering programs. I was intrigued by the rather non industrial approach, to growing that I found in Bill Mollison’s “Permaculture: A Designers Manual” . I would follow that reading up with Dave Holmgren’s “ Permaculture: Principles & Pathways beyond Sustainability”. Both books will be cite more in this presentation.

Permaculture design, applied to growing vegetation, aims to achieve two primary goals:

  • revitalization of poor growing conditions
  • long term self sustainable growth and good growing conditions. They are what

Designer–– Ben Faulk alludes to as “resiliency and regeneration” in his designer manual  “The Resilient Farm and Home Stead”. In method, permaculture design contrasts the typical engineering and industrial age thinking. Industrial thinking tends toward reductive and universal process orientation, Permaculture focus on whole systems, each site treated as unique. Permaculture approaches each project from establishment to sustainability as wholly integrated and contextual. Ben Faulk has criticized modern approaches to agriculture for only being concerned with yields of biomass. In his design opinion, yield should include both biomass out of a system and biodiversity within a system.

Approaches like this have been used in other fields. For example, Humanistic psychologist Carl Roger’s created his “client-centered therapy”–– treatment with the intent of focusing on the unique conditions of each client. This contrasts the main stream psychoanalytical theory at the time, which rested on a broad set of universal theories pertaining to clinical psychology. My personal interest in Humanistic psychology’s holistic and contextual insight had also peaked my curiosity in Permaculture Design.

My Back Yard Project

https://echopen.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/dig-dig.jpg

Trench Work

Beginning in early fall, I started to work on revitalizing an area of land between two fences, 60 ft from the house, 5 feet wide, about 80 feet long parallel to the house. I had not taken PDC class yet, so there was some “winging” it and experimentation. The localized approach of permaculture is implicit in Dave Holmgren’s statement “the landscape is the textbook” ––a slogan he relates to “Observe and interact” . Whereas, reductive and industrial thinking is concern with universal processes, Permaculture is concerned with observation of details in a specified system, and of all details as they interact over time. While its understood that growth in soil follows the universal processes stated in Biology and Physics, time was spent by me observing the amount of sunlight, wind and water flow over a period of months; the squirrels who used the system to bury their acorns; the insects; the ground temperature ; the pet cats , rabbits and skunks wandering through the area. I considered what tools, water, fertilizers, and soil.
I would need to establish the area as a food garden, what maintenance I would have to do. Following a few rules of science cannot cover the complexities of a unique system, I needed to know what parts are in the system and what flows in and out of the system. The essential skill to be practised is observation. Another sub-slogan of Holmgren’s principle of “Observe and Interact “is “Top-down thinking, bottom up action”. Observation is a passive action. (more accurately interaction, since the designer is considered part of the system he is designing.) This means patient, prolong, non judgemental study of detail (the metaphorical bottom) while being mindful of the totality of the system (the Top.) Any “thing” or “happening” in the system, including the establishment of the system, and sustainability of the system ; is a component of the system. With this said. It became apparent to me that developing experience is very important in permaculture design.

My backyard project was experimental, non essential and  distant from the house. It is a zone 4 project of the entire property. My hope is that it will become a zone 3: supporting the household with some extra tomatoes, cucumbers, leeks, and anything else I can grow. The extra fence on the perimeter was removed except for vertical 4x4s. Refuse scraped from a barbecue grill, left over potting soil, food waste were scattered over th soil. Red Crimson Maple leaves and twigs that fell and dried during Autumn were used as a mulch. Nature worked the decomposition with snow and rain over the winter.

https://echopen.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/fork-elevated-bed-pennsyvania-echoes.jpg

Elevated Garden

The Elevated Bed Workshop–– Early Summer of 2014, I participated in a gardening workshop on installing intensive raised garden beds… The monetary price was cheap, since we participants paid mostly in labor into building of the beds. In return we gained both experiential know-how and the hands on teaching of experienced certified permaculture designers. This is typical of the holistic and localized permaculture approach in a broad sense, from my observation.. The price of services: whether labor, learning or teaching are decided by what each individual participant thinks its worth. Prices and worth of services are subjective This kind is bartering- of services parallels free markets.

I am also reminded of of a basic ethical question of working together: “What does this person, or land, have to give if I cooperate with them “ postulated by Bill Mollison in his book “Permaculture Designer Manual”. A great ethical consideration for individualists like myself.

The class participants numbered around 20 people who gathered on this property in Pennsylvania –– An ideal location of the beds that we were to work on, had already been decided. This was part of a bigger project that included the dwelling and entire property. we informed that the overall project included the concerns of neighbors, such as their rainwater run-off intake… implicitly the whole system included the bordering neighbors. Grass was already killed off the bedding area by cardboard coverage. I have used this method of grass kill myself in other small projects. After tape is removed from the cardboard, the sheets are layered over the ground in overlapping fashion and is usually covered with mulch. The cardboard itself, eventually breaks down and becomes part of the soil. This method was already completed for us.

The process of building the elevated beds were as followed

  • Marking off three to four foot rows across the soil.
  • Using a 19 inch broad forks, the top soil was loosened. In some projects the broad forks are used to go deeper and break up the clay under the top soil.
  • The 19 inch broadfork, was specially designed by a permaculture designer to replace “double digging”, a method that uses far more manpower.
  • Double digging and the broadfork methods are used instead of tilling. This is because tiling can turn over the clay beneath the top soil. This can disrupt the natural microbes in the soil and make the bed less sustainable over a long period of time.
  • The top soil of every other row, previously marked off, was shoveled carefully on top of the next row. The result are trenches, soon to be made into a walk way, beside and a tall top soil mounds, soon to be molded into elevated bed.
  • The trenches would be filled in with wood chip. We used wheel barrels and raked the whole thing was a teamwork effort. Once the trenches were filled with three inches high of chip, they were stable enough to be the pathways for walking and working around each bed.
  • The mounds of top soil would be shaped into elevated beds by hand by the workshop instructor
  • I would find this part difficult later when I mimicked it in my backyard project.
  • Straw was raked carefully over the beds as mulch.
  • The end result was an ergonomically useful bed to plant a salad garden, mint garden, spinach, mustard cale, peppers, onions, etc., .

Raised beds also useful because it is easier to control water flow through the soil since the pathways are also trenches, waste biomass can be used as fertilizer under the woodchip. The instructor recommended planting plants so that the leaves barely touch to form a canopy. The canopy and the bed design it’ self together are called “intensive gardening”, a method to make the most out of a given space.  The work of about 20 participants over 2500 square feet (that is an estimate) was completed in three and a half hours. That time does not include full transplanting of crops, which was done at a later time. The tools included three broad forks, a dozen or so shovels, a dozen or so mulch rakes, two wheel barrels.

My own raised beds.

Back in my experimental system I installed three raised beds. I simply mimicked what I learned at the workshop. I planted leeks, cherry tomatoes two varieties of larger tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers and green peppers, a hybrid oregano transplant and apple mint. The bed is not terribly self sufficient with the fruit and vegetables I planted and I have to carry water a long distance. The only sustainable transplant was an apple mint that is growing very tall. Since mint self seeds very efficiently I may regret planting it there next year.
Maybe I use the area to grow only mints leeks and onions.

My tomatoes and cucumbers have had a modest yield, this I believe is do to insufficient sunlight. They will be rotated to another location next year. I have no complaints on the quality of the tomatoes or other produce that I grew in these beds.
Ultimately, my first permaculture experiment has had mixed results so far. Do to lack of experience and knowledge, it is not in anyway self sustaining yet. However I was able to yield a lot of produce this year from what was only patchy grass and dry soil two years ago. If there is one thing I have enjoyed learning about gardening, its to expect the unexpected.

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wetlands photo 3

Its about meditation, love and family… and waterfowl.
A usual spot I visit on walks with cheap camera has become a place to practice observation – some field work for a class I am taking. Home work for my Permaculture Design class demands that I work on passive observation. observation is a passive form of interaction and a type of experience.

This class encourage, in part, sitting an ecosystem (ie. a neighborhood, park, farm, pond) and letting go of presumptions and subvocalization (my word choice for thinking in spoken language) and sensing the close proximity world. If that sounds like meditation, yes its close. Zen, Phenomenology, and the permacultural observational practices of meld well. I will talk more of in upcoming posts.

One thing I have pleasantly seen around the local ponds and man made reservoirs these last couple of months is a growing number of Herons and a new season of young Canadian Geese.
So a couple pictures from yesterdays walk and sit with my camera:

Clicking the mosaic image above will reveal the slideshow.
Have a great weekend!

Zone Mapping with Gestalt Perspective

I was on my way to a gardening class this weekend, when I got to thinking about “Zone Maps”.
Zone Mapping is a graphical method in permaculture design that is used to organize and compare systems (most often ecosystems, landscaping, sustainable gardens, and conservatory area regeneration,etc).
After intensive observation of a system, One drafts a zone map with concentric circles. The simplest zone map would start with something like this
Zone 0 – basic necessities of people and dwelling areas.
Zone 1 – areas of ecosystem designated as support of basic necessities
Zone 2 – semi-wild. this is areas with lots of edges.. where system meet (i.e Ecotone)
Zone 3 – the wild. untamed or unknown areas or areas not of use.

Zone maps can be applied to more than just landscape or conservatory projects. A designer can use them to graphically map out communities, business models and just about anythings. This is an application to aid the study and comparison of things and concepts as systems.

Which lead me to thinking about the Gestalt perspective, which includes the study and comparison of “wholes
So I experimented with some zone-mapping with Gestalt:

Permaculture

Gestalt Contact Awareness

o basic necessities basic needs
basic responsibilities
esteem
meaning
1  support of  basic necessities “nourishment”
cultivation of skills
growth, learning
2  semi-wild
edges
interaction of systems
contact
new interpersonal activity
interacting with environment
3 wild
unused or unknown
Withdraw
expulsion  ideas and activity
that is either “toxic” or
“no longer fits”
letting go

 

This is what a ‘zone map on gestalt perspective’ might look like:

Gestalt-Awareness-Zone-Mapping.png
 
My zone map is a comparison and between: a simplified organization of a ecological design ;
and an organization of developing awareness from Gestalt therapy perspective. Note these are just my conjectures just for zone mapping practice.
I am starting to learn how to use zone maps, so this one is rough… missing a few components.
I hope to post improved experiments later as I learn.

Swimming between Systems

swans-near-ice1
 
Today I learned a new word: Ecotone.
An Ecotone is an area where two ecological systems or communities meet, transition and integrate.
That to say: Enough differences between meeting systems or communities to observe a boundary , however resources are constantly exchange enough to to describe any “boundary” as permeable. A simple example would be beach and sea, where minerals and small life are constantly be deposited or eroded.

I cannot help, but to think of my new word “Ecotone”, learned in my permaculture class and compare it withthe word “Contact” from Gestalt Therapy. Contact is the meeting of differences, where resources are exchange between. And so is an Ecotone.

It does not surprise me (anymore, that is) to find similar, if not synonymous terms in both Gestalt and Permaculture. Both approaches merge science and holism. Gestalt therapy places weight on one’s awareness of his/her real-time experience ; Permaculture places heavy emphasis on one’s observation and interaction with ecological systems.
What first peaked my interest about permaculture as an approach, is that permaculture may be far better suited to empirically support holism.
Permaculture design is anchored, concretely, in observing ecology.

I have other ambitions and curiosities with permaculture. Besides I am only beginning my course. None the less, I welcome any personal synthesis between the gestalt theory, permaculture, science and holism , as I continue to learn.

On a completely unrelated topic: It’s still cold here in Pennsylvania, It was sleeting when I left my class for home. I feel like I am swimming between seasons, much like the Swans in the picture above.

Filtering Out Noise with Information Zoning

In his work ” Introduction of Permaculture“, Mollison explains his use of “zoning” to allocate areas of gardening and agriculture in a landscape. “Zones”, are prioritize by importance and demand of work. most important and/or work/time intensive crops are located closes to the dwelling area. Un-farmed areas are designated as “the wild”.

Mollison’s (and fellow permaculture father Dave Holmgren) application of zoning is, essentialy, the act of organizing one’s environment — in the case of permaculture — the garden or farm, around and including living-space. In the image above the living quarters in graphically centered; the most labor intensive and important areas of the garden are kept close .. the least important tasks are pushed to “the wild” or unmanaged land.

I’ve been thinking about the Permaculture method of zoning in gardening and agriculture and I have wondered if one could apply (pattern, if you will) zoning to managing the flood of stimula and information that seems thrown at us in our day-to-day busy lives.
So many things we sense or think about  in any moment of our conciousness, One could easily feel overwelmed and overloaded.
I am wondering if i can make a connection with Gestalt talk as well, as one visualize  zones as figures formed out of a ground (what Mollison calls the wild) by designers.

Could one organize, or garden , his rough conciousness landscape of raw stimuli, senses thoughts, worries, brainstorms and activities? Keep the meaningful tasks, ideas and concerns close and push meaningless data to the backgound?

From Dischord find Harmony

— Albert Einstein *

Image, senses and thoughts arise as Gestalts, figures from the backround of constant noise,dischord… It’s up to you and I to decide what is meaningful, important at a given moment, and reject unimportant information, zone back to “the wild”, or background.

info-zone-jpg

so how can i improve my abilty to “zone” the flood of information each day?
one way could be to create a simple todo list:
here is one: Pennsylavania Echoes — Todo List.

I keep a todo or task list on my computer, also a calendar — and I have learned not to worry about them until I look at them again.

Another way to learn how to stay relatively “mindful” of important things in the moment and filter out the meaningless to “the  wild ”  or “backround”:
Sit or stand somewhere in …

  1. relax, be confident, be square in posture.
  2. breathe in and out from the belly
  3. become aware of your breathing
  4. when you catch you mind thinking of some else return to step one

I like this breathing exercise and practice often. I am less distracted by unimportant thing in the present- centered moment.

……breath_and_background.jpg

When being mindful of only breathing, breathing fills the whole of mindfulness, a single zone, while all else is ignored and left to the backrground of wild data.
Overtime, breathing exercises and meditations are helpful in developing an intuitive ability to zone:
cognating and doing what is important at the moment, and letting go of the unimportant.

Its a great way to reducing stress, feeling more organized, focused and at-peace.

Permaculture: the ethics of gardening (Reposted)

Reposted
Permaculture: The ethics of Gardening was originally posted on 6-14-2011
I reposted this as a reference for the next post –>, tomorrow.

 

A couple weeks ago  I took a class on soil, and I learned quite a lot. One definition of soil, pertaining to growing and gardening, is a “The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants”.

Did you know that plant roots “decide” the type and levels of microbial life in their symbiotic soil relationships?

The  form of gardening that I am becoming more interested in is called Permaculture Design. Permaculture is in fact more than gardening. The name permaculture is derived from “Permanent Culture” and “Permanent Agriculture”  The definition as  definition as stated put by Bill  Mollison:

“Permaculture is a system of assembling conceptual, material and strategic components in a pattern which in a pattern which functions to benefit Life in all forms. Its aim is to seek a place for organisms.”

“Intro To Permaculture” , B. Mollison

The design principles and methods of Permaculture include an eclectic range of ideas that mirror other important  philosophical systems

  • Taoist themes such  as patterning,  flowing with and harmonizing with Nature; and Wu Wei,
  • Holistic ideas such as diversity, long or self sustainability and self regulation,
  • Conservation concepts such recycling and renewing of resources, ethical concerns of environment-
  • Sciences  a wide range including Topography, Ecology, Biology; observation and data collection

Ethics in Action

File:Permamandala.png

Permandala

I, personally  find it very  interesting , that certain philosophical principles and ideas found in   Taoism, Holism and conservation theory maybe empirically testable, observable and possibly provable, in the form of producing complex organic gardens.

Mollison states that “Everything Gardens”, I wonder if we could say everything IS a garden,metaphorically.

For some, permaculture is paradigm for solving societal problems;  scarcity and  economic problems,  and it serves as an Ethical base for humans regarding society and nature. It address the need for science to have ethics. Its an Ethic in action. Its ethics for  science and science gives it validity.

However, at its kernel, permaculture is a design system, incorporating ethics and problem solving, for gardening, horticulture  and agriculture.

Food for thought

Right now I am just interested in gardening and being creative.

but I can’t wondering: “can a diversified designed garden “make decisions” as whole? If so can I draw conclusion about self regulation and self autonomy in other non gardening systems? Perhaps I’m being a bit ambitious in thinking that gardening can answer age old philosophical questions about “Free Will” and “determinism”  by demonstrating relatively self-autonomic ecosytems.

I am barely a novice gardener anyway.

Bill Mollison is credited by many as the person responsible for kickstarting the permaculture revolution. His 5 core principles are:

  • Work with nature… rather than against nature.
  • The Problem is the Solution
  • Make the least change for greatest possible effect.
  • The yield of a system is  [hypothetically] unlimited.
  • Everything gardens.

These principles mirror Ancient Philosophies such as Taoism, Mollison conceptualized the core concepts after his years of studying organism and symbiotic relationships as a biologist and his study of Tribal farmers in the Pacific. Mollison and others draw upon the laws of physics, biology,  Natural Science with admitted affection for self-reliance, care fore the earth and Care for life,   Aesthetics and wisdom and the willingness to study and pattern other design theories objectively.

Food for Fact

Some real problems that real permaculture designers are working on:

File:20080708 Chicago City Hall Green Roof.JPG

A Green Roof in Chicago

  • Food Scarcity – Designers  use strategy to create long sustaining agricultures in many areas and reinvigorate  land for new areas of food growth. Permiculture has been used to grow orchards and gardens in desert climates and mountains, without the aid of heavy machinery.
  • Supply problems – With the growing cost of fuel to transporting food, Permaculturalist focus producing for local markets and consumers, growing food inside urban neighborhoods  and towns (even on roof tops!), with a diversity of produce. A designer always has community in mind.
  • Conservation – Permaculturalist Use and value renewable resources. A basic ethical  principle is “Care of Earth, Care of people, and the  Reinvestment of those Ends” . A designer wastes nothing if he can.
  • Teaching  awareness – permaculturalist teach and demonstrate a healthy relationship between people and ecosystem and ingenuity in solving problems that the layman can learn. The Teaching of  people to grow there own food Is the teaching of people to be more self reliant.

More thoughts

So right now I  have been learning about gardening and I have been learning about soil. It would not be surprising to me in the future if most people here in U.S grow their own  food gardens, whether they live in Rural, City, or suburban areas in the future.   Permaculture is a new way to use  old ideas . With the need for solutions for such problems as rising food price, as well as the need to fill the void of ethics, Permaculture  as a way of thinking, becomes one more tool for the consumer. One that is potentially here to stay.