Comments on: I Don’t Believe in Market Fairies: The Tinkerbelle Economy Starts to Falter http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Thu, 04 Dec 2008 01:41:05 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: Stephanie http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5810 Stephanie Tue, 20 May 2008 20:31:22 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5810 I'm not sure if your lack of faith is in market forces or simply in overconsumption - the demand side of a market economy that has been pushed hard in media and government messages since Keynes. But I suspect it's the latter. I’m not sure if your lack of faith is in market forces or simply in overconsumption - the demand side of a market economy that has been pushed hard in media and government messages since Keynes. But I suspect it’s the latter.

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By: Sharon http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5785 Sharon Tue, 20 May 2008 11:48:35 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5785 Personally, I'm not that impressed by Solomon's GWIC book, and among the many things I'm not impressed by is his take on sheet mulching. Weeds are actually really easy to handle in sheet mulch, for example. And people throw huge quantities of newsprint or cardboard out daily - no one actually has to go buy it. As for organic material - best use ever for rained on hay and straw which can't be used for animal feed. Mike, I agree, solar panels are not worth it for most people, and time is a tough nut to crack. Do you have a partner or could you take in a roommate? Have property values fallen enough that you can get your property reassessed? Property taxes are tough - but as the market falls, they hopefully will get a bit easier for some of us. Sharon Personally, I’m not that impressed by Solomon’s GWIC book, and among the many things I’m not impressed by is his take on sheet mulching. Weeds are actually really easy to handle in sheet mulch, for example. And people throw huge quantities of newsprint or cardboard out daily - no one actually has to go buy it. As for organic material - best use ever for rained on hay and straw which can’t be used for animal feed.

Mike, I agree, solar panels are not worth it for most people, and time is a tough nut to crack. Do you have a partner or could you take in a roommate? Have property values fallen enough that you can get your property reassessed? Property taxes are tough - but as the market falls, they hopefully will get a bit easier for some of us.

Sharon

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By: Leila Abu-Saba http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5777 Leila Abu-Saba Tue, 20 May 2008 03:29:34 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5777 Re: solar panels - my really smart, environmentalist friend the Ph.D. in physics has posted on my blog that she thinks it's bad social policy to subsidize solar panels. They cost too much for the benefit we get. I think she has a point. Conserve first. Hey, in the summer, put up awnings over your south and west facing windows - keep the house cooler. A LOT less money than solar panels to run the A/C. Try just not having A/C. Do all the other things suggested here and everywhere to cut energy use radically. Colin Beavan at No Impact Man went off the grid in NYC for a year. He only had a teeny solar panel to run his laptop. Check him out for tips on how to save energy. Build a solar oven from boxes & foil. Recipes easily googled. Good luck with coping, Mad Mike and all. Re: solar panels - my really smart, environmentalist friend the Ph.D. in physics has posted on my blog that she thinks it’s bad social policy to subsidize solar panels. They cost too much for the benefit we get. I think she has a point.

Conserve first. Hey, in the summer, put up awnings over your south and west facing windows - keep the house cooler. A LOT less money than solar panels to run the A/C. Try just not having A/C. Do all the other things suggested here and everywhere to cut energy use radically.

Colin Beavan at No Impact Man went off the grid in NYC for a year. He only had a teeny solar panel to run his laptop. Check him out for tips on how to save energy.

Build a solar oven from boxes & foil. Recipes easily googled.

Good luck with coping, Mad Mike and all.

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By: mad mike http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5768 mad mike Mon, 19 May 2008 22:00:54 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5768 as the u.s. economy depends on the 8 hour day and my body on 8 hrs sleep, i have 8 hrs leftover. to do things like prepare for work. and i have to chop wood for the winter, clean house, do laundry,buy and prepare food. maybe next year i will start a garden. which will mean dedicating time to that. but.. local property taxes eat up 25% of my income. the town aint gonna care if go green and local. if i dont pay my quarter taxes they take my house, garden and all. get ready for a shock. my 3 month quarter taxes are $1720! i cut the cable tv. save $50 a month. everyone i know thinks i am nuts. i got solar panels. what a waste! make $60 a month but cost $25,000. figger out how long pay back is. that is why i chop and burn wood. more cost effective. maybe i will bicycle to work if the weather ever gets warm. gasoline is $3.81 a gallon today. up 4 cents from yesterday. but i would have more time to chop wood and tend a garden if i was unemployed. the great state of new jerky where i live, had a $3 billion unemployment fund 3 years ago. now they have $160 million. i wonder where the money went? answer: into crooked politicians pockets. a man enslaved to wealth can never be honest. there is no limit to human greed and folly(tm). i dont believe in fairies but things look mighty queer to me. as the u.s. economy depends on the 8 hour day and my body on 8 hrs sleep, i have 8 hrs leftover.
to do things like prepare for work. and i have to chop wood for the winter, clean house, do laundry,buy and prepare food. maybe next year i will start a garden. which will mean dedicating time to that.
but.. local property taxes eat up 25% of my income.
the town aint gonna care if go green and local. if i dont pay my quarter taxes they take my house, garden and all. get ready for a shock. my 3 month quarter taxes are $1720! i cut the cable tv. save $50 a month. everyone i know thinks i am nuts.
i got solar panels. what a waste! make $60 a month but cost $25,000.
figger out how long pay back is.
that is why i chop and burn wood. more cost effective. maybe i will bicycle to work if the weather ever gets warm. gasoline is $3.81 a gallon today. up 4 cents from yesterday.
but i would have more time to chop wood and tend a garden if i was unemployed. the great state of new jerky where i live, had a $3 billion unemployment fund 3 years ago. now they have $160 million. i wonder where the money went?
answer: into crooked politicians pockets.
a man enslaved to wealth can never be honest.
there is no limit to human greed and folly(tm). i dont believe in fairies but things look mighty queer to me.

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By: Leila http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5744 Leila Mon, 19 May 2008 05:45:59 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5744 Hah, Sharon, you know I couldn't run your blog for two minutes. I have been paying attention, however, and I seem to excel at *summarizing* your blog. Hah, Sharon, you know I couldn’t run your blog for two minutes. I have been paying attention, however, and I seem to excel at *summarizing* your blog.

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By: Shane http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5742 Shane Mon, 19 May 2008 03:35:33 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5742 To Heather- Sheet mulching isnt the panacea it is made out to be. To start you need an abundant source of mulch, and unless you can grow your own you will be exposed to the rising costs of someone else buying, processing and hauling it. If you grow your own you need to factor in the time spent planting and managing the mulch patch. And for either source many types of mulch can have weed seeds in them, so you could be importing a new weed problem. Secondly you need massive amounts of newspaper. Not exactly eco friendly and sustainable. People in centuries to come will wonder that people could just mulch with something as refined and manufactured as paper. If you skimp on the thickness the longevity of the paper rapidly drops, so it is an open door for the weeds. Thirdly, no matter how thick the paper and how deep the mulch you will get some weeds growing through or on top of the layers (brought there by the wind or your feet). For the ones that come up through the paper, it is difficult to remove them without making larger holes in the paper, opening the door for more weed seeds underneath to come through. Some weeds, like creeping perennials, will spear through quite thick paper, but the crown or runners hide under the paper, making removal a complicated mess. Every hole you make to plant seeds or seedlings is another weak point. Fourthly the paper and mulch is pretty nutrient poor. So you still need a lot of fertiliser, especially to supply nitrogen. Adding nitrogen accellerates the break down of the paper and mulch. Lastly you need to haul all of this material and lay it out, usually while bending over, or crawling. So it is definitely not a physically easy thing to do, and I personally know of many people (including myself) who have been knocked around by the process. Seriously- read "Gardening when it counts" by Solomon before doing huge amounts of sheet mulching. The traditional alternative is to kill your pasture sod nibble by nibble with a shovel (though I cheat and use large sheets of black solarising plastic, though that requires preplanning and patience) then dealing with emerging weed seeds with a sharp hoe, never bending over. The only other tool is a strong fork to gently aerate the soil (no turning). You increase soil fertility with green manure crops and careful application of small amounts of minerals (mostly lime). Let the plants do the hard work of bringing carbon and nitrogen into the soil. And better yet grow the right plants for your climate at the best time so you dont need to haul water to them as well. I have been using this approach and it works! To Heather-
Sheet mulching isnt the panacea it is made out to be. To start you need an abundant source of mulch, and unless you can grow your own you will be exposed to the rising costs of someone else buying, processing and hauling it. If you grow your own you need to factor in the time spent planting and managing the mulch patch. And for either source many types of mulch can have weed seeds in them, so you could be importing a new weed problem.

Secondly you need massive amounts of newspaper. Not exactly eco friendly and sustainable. People in centuries to come will wonder that people could just mulch with something as refined and manufactured as paper. If you skimp on the thickness the longevity of the paper rapidly drops, so it is an open door for the weeds.

Thirdly, no matter how thick the paper and how deep the mulch you will get some weeds growing through or on top of the layers (brought there by the wind or your feet). For the ones that come up through the paper, it is difficult to remove them without making larger holes in the paper, opening the door for more weed seeds underneath to come through. Some weeds, like creeping perennials, will spear through quite thick paper, but the crown or runners hide under the paper, making removal a complicated mess. Every hole you make to plant seeds or seedlings is another weak point.

Fourthly the paper and mulch is pretty nutrient poor. So you still need a lot of fertiliser, especially to supply nitrogen. Adding nitrogen accellerates the break down of the paper and mulch.

Lastly you need to haul all of this material and lay it out, usually while bending over, or crawling. So it is definitely not a physically easy thing to do, and I personally know of many people (including myself) who have been knocked around by the process.

Seriously- read “Gardening when it counts” by Solomon before doing huge amounts of sheet mulching. The traditional alternative is to kill your pasture sod nibble by nibble with a shovel (though I cheat and use large sheets of black solarising plastic, though that requires preplanning and patience) then dealing with emerging weed seeds with a sharp hoe, never bending over. The only other tool is a strong fork to gently aerate the soil (no turning). You increase soil fertility with green manure crops and careful application of small amounts of minerals (mostly lime). Let the plants do the hard work of bringing carbon and nitrogen into the soil. And better yet grow the right plants for your climate at the best time so you dont need to haul water to them as well. I have been using this approach and it works!

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By: BioDiverseCity Land Co-op » Blog Archive » Sharon Astyk: 10 Things Americans are Doing to Deal with Energy & Food Prices http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5740 BioDiverseCity Land Co-op » Blog Archive » Sharon Astyk: 10 Things Americans are Doing to Deal with Energy & Food Prices Mon, 19 May 2008 00:45:05 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5740 [...] As usual, Sharon Astyk’s blog is worth reading: [...] […] As usual, Sharon Astyk’s blog is worth reading: […]

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By: Kerr http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5732 Kerr Sun, 18 May 2008 18:43:34 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5732 Good, the glamor is working! Good, the glamor is working!

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By: michelle http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5731 michelle Sun, 18 May 2008 18:40:50 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5731 Not that kind of market fairie Kerr....(: I don't think you're evil at all. Not that kind of market fairie Kerr….(:

I don’t think you’re evil at all.

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By: Heather Gray http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5730 Heather Gray Sun, 18 May 2008 17:27:25 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/16/542/#comment-5730 Hi Chile, good post on sheet mulching. I thought about it for this year but strange as it sounds, we didn't have the time -- or more precisely, have it at the _right_ time. Sheet mulching is something we should have either started last fall or at least halfway through April. Last fall we were moving to the farm, and then it snowed. This past April we were finishing up sugaring (with an unplanned management/team changeover thrown in) plus getting a bunch of other stuff done around the farm, plus L has been working overtime for the past couple of months (telecommuting, but still...). We've literally only had real free time in the past week or two. So, not enough time for sheet mulching, but at least I can mulch after the fact to keep in moisture and keep down weeds. Most of the fields did get manure at the same time my FIL or husband did the tilling, except one spot, but that was on purpose. Potatoes, carrots, and parsnips apparently don't respond well -- potatoes like pine needles, straw, etc., and carrots and parsnips will fork when they contact manure. And of course all the mulch will stay in the garden after the harvest, and we can dump some compost on it in the fall, maybe before I plant garlic! Hi Chile, good post on sheet mulching. I thought about it for this year but strange as it sounds, we didn’t have the time — or more precisely, have it at the _right_ time. Sheet mulching is something we should have either started last fall or at least halfway through April. Last fall we were moving to the farm, and then it snowed. This past April we were finishing up sugaring (with an unplanned management/team changeover thrown in) plus getting a bunch of other stuff done around the farm, plus L has been working overtime for the past couple of months (telecommuting, but still…). We’ve literally only had real free time in the past week or two.

So, not enough time for sheet mulching, but at least I can mulch after the fact to keep in moisture and keep down weeds. Most of the fields did get manure at the same time my FIL or husband did the tilling, except one spot, but that was on purpose. Potatoes, carrots, and parsnips apparently don’t respond well — potatoes like pine needles, straw, etc., and carrots and parsnips will fork when they contact manure.

And of course all the mulch will stay in the garden after the harvest, and we can dump some compost on it in the fall, maybe before I plant garlic!

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