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Why 1 Insult Seems to Erase 100 Compliments

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A fellow I went to church with (UU) had been a professional in the mental health industry.  He gave us a talk about how one negative can seem to erase hundreds of good things.  Here's what he explained:

We have two levels of brain:

1.  Lower "lizard" brain
2.  Higher, cerebral brain

The lower brain is ancient.  It's so old that it's mostly located in your neck and the back, lower section of the skull.  We share attributes there with almost all vertabrates.  It is VERY fast and takes priority whenever activated.  This. Is. Survival!

The lower brain reacts to any, ANY kind of threat.  When a threat is perceived, even if it is just a mild insult like, "That color doesn't suit you", the lower brain takes over.  It knows that any hint of a threat can become life-threatening in an instant!  So it grabs this incident and will not let you forget it.  The lizard brain believes that recognizing these threats is part of surviving.  And it's right, or would be if the mild insult (or creaking twig) were coming from an enemy or predator.

Our higher brains work at a much more leisurely pace and always gives way to the lower brain's focus.  This is where positive information is understood and stored.  It's all nice-nice.

We CAN get these two sides to work together and become more conversant.  The way to do this is meditation.  In meditation, we focus on the positive and repeat it.  It takes approximately 6 repeats of a positive to overpower 1 negative (five to one is equal, so six overpowers the one.)  And meditation creates lots of pathways and understanding between the lower and higher brains, so that the higher brain can communicate safety to the lower brain after something like a mild insult is given.

Knowing this has made my life better.  :)  I hope this is helpful!

The Hobbit

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Saw a movie last night!  It was called "Lord of the Rings: A Phantom Menace."  They dug up a few power players from LOTR, plus a cutie-pie messenger boy who later tries to keep Arwen on the path to the Gray Harbors.  There were some story elements from the Hobbit, but I'm not sure why, since basically it was "The Transformers Go Camping."

HONESTLY.  I've read D&D modules with better writing.  If Gandalf passed that staff before his face one more time, I'd have expected him to do a baton twirl and toss.  Yes, I remember he did that when he reunited with the Fellowship as Gandalf the White.  There's no reason to take that incredibly eloquent moment and slather it all over this film.  That wasn't the only screen treasure they wasted, either.

The LOTR films weren't exactly true to the books, but they were true to the _sense_ of the books.  When the only reason I cared about the action on screen is because the french horns have kicked in again and the strings have picked up the tempo?  That's when I realized it was just another average adventure movie.

Yoda - I mean Gollum, however, was base, quick, and terrifying.  Perfectly and BRILLIANTLY done.

Maybe Fili and Kili were destined to fight over who got to be R2D2 and who had to be C3PO.  If Thorin "Hey, do you think I resemble Viggo at all?" Oakenshield had been allowed a range greater than a light switch, that would have helped.  Instead, he went from Damn I'm Handsome pose to Damn I'm Angry glare, and back again.  Turning Balin into a Greek Chorus was unnecessary too.  "And then I saw him..."  Really?  I half expected him to put his elbows on his knees and say, "No shit!  There we were, surrounded by orcs!"

Hey, I'm not saying it was bad.  Kids who went to see Phantom Menace will tell you it wasn't a bad movie, either.  This is just a great book that's been turned into an average film.  It's not a sin to turn wine into water, but it is something of a waste

It could have been worse.  Galadriel could have wriggled her nose or snapped her fingers.  Gandalf confronted by a monster on a bridge…well that turned out differently!  Boo-ya!  The pine tree domino effect, however?  I have nothing good to say about that

Oh well – at least I can still look forward to Ender’s Game

p.s. Apparently, Ringo Starr fathered about half the dwarves. But I'm OK with that.  He was a Beatle!  We expected him to get around

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Perennials

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Had an exciting weekend with a book on perennial vegetables, a book I've owned for about, ohhh, 10 years?  (9781931498401 May 2007)  When I had first attempted to use this book, it exasperated me.  About half of the plants presented are perennial only in Hawaii, the toe of Texas and Florida minus the panhandle. 

This time I "read" the book in a way that often works for me:  backwards.  I don't know why, but it helps me a lot to use a reference book this way, or just by dropping onto random pages.  I cannot fully explain why this is so;  maybe I have to explore facts haphazardly? 

Regardless, I began to find vegetables that will grow perennially in my area, and I noted their pages with slivers of sticky notes.  I left out items that have poisonous parts or require a lot of care, and favored indiginous plants.  When I got to the beginning of the book, I jotted all of my selected vegetables in my notebook, including sunlight requirements and the nature of the vegetable (greens, roots, tuber). 

To the author's credit, "weed" plants such as dandelion were included.  I was sad to see that pigweed was left out.  I think I have it growing wild, just need to get someone experienced to positively identify it for me. 

The list:  Ramps, Black Salsify, Wapato, Good King Henry, Lovage, Sea Kale, Nopales (spineless), Chicory, and the dandelion that already abounds.  This should leave me with 3 or 4 beds for annuals, including the 3 Sisters and flax, and passionflower vines on either side of the gate.  I may also put in heirloom rugosa roses, if I'm feeling brave.  Those are the ones I've read produce the best hips (part of my home-grown tea/tisane project).  

Then I charted my future garden beds and pencilled in the plant names.  I was excited to have found in descriptions of ramps that they prefer shady spots.  They will be welcome to my western-most bed, which is closest to the fence and tree-line. 

My newest edition of Mother Earth News arrived in the mail the next day, and on its Editor's page was a listing for a plant-finding app on their website.  Serendipity!  I plan to run my list thru their app to find sources for these plants.  As much as I love All Natural Lawn & Garden, I doubt they're going to carry ramps or Good King Henry.  I'll bring them my list anyway. 

I have renewed my idea to build a water feature on the southwest corner, right below my south kitchen window, where the downspout heads into the garden.  The purpose of this will be for growing wapato or "duck potatoes" as well as cattails.  They'll be my only tuber vegetables unless I get foolhardy enough to try the very invasive air potatoes.  (Author notes that the edible air potatoes aren't as invasive, probably since we eat their attempts to reproduce and spread.) 

I wonder how much digging I can get done before Spring? 

Kitchen Greywater Plans, and Garden Update

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Thinking again about trying graywater from the kitchen.  Kitchen graywater has more gravity working for it than my laundry water would.

If I ran it thru two barrels first and then out to a salt-tolerant marshy planter, it could be wonderful, beautiful and productive.  I think there's just enough space to do this.  Two barrels with sand filter would give enough time to cool down hot wash water, and give bacteria time to break down a lot of the gunk.  The planter would get rainwater as well, which would cut down on the salt load. 

What plants to use: 

http://voices.yahoo.com/7-outstanding-salt-tolerant-shade-perennials-2303963.html

Daylilies are #1 for shade- and salt-tolerance!  WOOT!  Also astilbe, ferns, hosta, and periwinkle.  I would love to have a planter full of daylilies behind the house.  Hostas might survive if they were on the north side of the planter?  It would get 3 hours of mid-day sun.  If/when they drew slugs, the ducks could clear them out.

I could make the planter out of a small pond liner and castle wall blocks.  Daylily buds are edible too, of course, but soapy-tasting.  Too bad I didn't grab that old jacuzzi from Gypsy_Raihana when she moved. 

http://landscaping.about.com/od/landscapingproblems1/a/salt_tolerant.htm

Prickly pear cactus is another salt-tolerant, it's edible, and it would handle full sun!  Not sure how it'd handle wet feet.  Also, have not yet tasted it.  One site says:  "How it tastes: Cactus fruit has a taste similar to raspberries or watermelon, with a slight bite like kiwi fruit. The fruit is filled with small seeds which make it grainy to the tongue."  Ohmygods that sounds yummy. 

"Beach rose", Rosa rugosa!  And I believe that rugosa is the very rose that's best for getting good rose hips.  :)  :)  Again, not sure if it'd handle wet feet. 

Cattails can be salt tolerant!  YES!  Typha angustifolia is moreso.  Cattails are one of the most productive food plants in the world!  Bonus:  it's considered a vampire deterent by Serbians.  (oy.) 

I think I do want passiflora incarnata vines for the garden fence.  It's native, beautiful, produces fruit, and will enjoy the full sun.  Will need at least two vines for cross-pollination;  can put one on either side of the gate. 

I hope it plays well with trumpet vine.  Of course, the ducks could keep the trumpet vine in check if it gets too big. 

I am pretty sure this could work.  But before I bask in my newfound permaculture brilliance, I will need to measure the yard and see if these grand plans won't get in the way of my clothes dryer or crawl space access.   The entire back of the house is only 30 feet long, after all. 

Last weekend, I dumped the contents of my rolling composter onto what will become a raised garden bed.  Plan is to have several that are about 4 feet x 12 feet.  This compost mound is currently about 3 feet x 6 feet, so once the wall is in place, a round of double-digging should really make it an excellent bed.  Hopefully it will get filled up with worms before long.  They should appreciate all those coffee grounds I'm getting from work. 

I raked leaves and piled them on top of the mound, but the next two days saw high winds.  Might have to do that again, and water them in this time. 

Also re-filled the empty rolling composter with raked leaves, most of which are from hackberry trees.  The composter was then ridiculously light and easy to roll, the leaves weighed so little.  That will change! 

Can I just say that I was ridiculously proud of myself for this work?  I got the composter emptied!  Onto a future garden plot!  I got leaves raked and put into the composter!  I rule!  I rock!  I rock-n-rule! 

Last thing, and why Permacultureismynewbestfriend: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nLKHYHmPbo  
This gives me a whole new point of view on growing food, and on the Paleo diet.  Horticulture, not agriculture. 

Nevermind.

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SO...anghora bunnies cannot live out of doors in the Southeast.  Consensus from the Pagan_Homestead, a breeder in Indiana, and a woman in VA is that they'll overheat even if trimmed, and likely suffer flystrike and fleas as well. 

If I stayed at home, I could freeze large water bottles for them and replace them 3 or 4 times per day every day that the temperatures were over 85f.  Of course, to supply that many would require a deep freeze, and if I had room for one of those, the rabbit could just stay indoors. 

If my house were bigger than a post-it note, I'd be able to make room for them indoors.  Alas, that is not the case.  I use all the furniture and we need what open space we have. 

Maybe next year I'll save Princess' fur when we trim her in May.  If we don't mind orange yarn that smells like dog.  Seriously tho?  Back to flax. 

Mulling Some More over Home Grown Fiber

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I want to be able to produce fiber on my property.  Hemp is illegal of course, so I've read up about flax.  Flax looks quite labor intensive, and also I would not have much space for it each year.  I have yucca, which can make cord, but I want to make clothing not just rope. 

Looks like my best option might be angora bunnies.  They would have to be out of doors, so I have to find out if they can tolerate any heat.  Maybe you just shave them in May - that's what we do with the dogs!  But apparently you harvest the fur 3 to 4 times per year, so how would they handle August? 

Ryk built a tractor for my ducks, but instead we enclosed the orchard for them.  So now I have what could be a good tractor/hutch, if I could finish it and actually get it to roll properly.  I have a corner of the carport where they could stay in bad weather.  If we get the tractor to roll, we could move them around the yard for fresh fodder and keep them safe from the doggies. 

They would require grooming at least twice a week - I could handle that.  Some require daily grooming - I could NOT handle that. 

There is a breeder of French Angora (easier to care for but the fur is not as soft) in Indiana and one in Mississippi.  I might have to travel 4-5 hours one way to get bunnies.  http://rabbitbreeders.us/

Need to learn to process, spin and ply their wool.  I think that would be OK.  Then I'd have my own yarn, which would be fabulous.  That of course is the goal. 

The question is, could I handle this?  Getting the ducks has been wonderful but it makes travel more difficult.  Rabbits would make it that much harder.  I love the ducks, they are adorable, wonderful, beautiful, and we enjoy the eggs.  It's still a lot of work, feeding & watering them twice a day every day without fail, regardless of weather.  Minty Lou requires at least one hour of attention every day, and supervised freedom in the house.  Dogs need attention, grooming and walks.  Not to mention the child and Ryk.  And I'm still thinking about helicaculture (snails) for fresh meat and building a cob & wine jug greenhouse. 

And I work full time.

But I STILL want to produce fiber on my property. 

So...I'm a Firebender after all

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http://quizfarm.com/run.php/QuizRunner

I figured I'd be Earth, but scored 64% Fire, 50% Air, 43% Earth an just14% Water (each question had 3 point rating).  The HP Sorting Hat used to put me in Slytherin, which is the element of Water.  I cannot grok all this ficticious inconsistency. 

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Yucca fiber used to make twine!

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Ermahgerrrd!  Yucca leaves can be used as fiber source!  Maybe I'll try this before attempting flax.  I have yucca in my garden right now

http://stoneageskills.com/articles/yuccafibers.html


Just need a couple of good rocks, one as a "pounder" and one as a "scraper."  Also, apparently, need a tree trunk.  It remains to be seen how fine this fiber is, and how well it will spin. 

Flax

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In my quest to make Sundog Manor & Fae Gardens a miniature of self-sustainability, I want to grow something that can be made into cloth.  Things traditionally used for this are:  sheep, alpaca, yak, cotton, flax, hemp, angora rabbit. 

My options are fairly slim;  I don't have time or space for more critters, so no alpacas, sheep, yaks or rabbits.  Cotton is notorious for stripping the soil, is hard to protect, and requires perfectly even humidity to spin.  Hemp is illegal, which maybe stupid but there it is.  That leaves flax. 

http://www.jeffersoninstitute.org/pubs/flax.shtml

This gives me hope.  My first readings had told me that flax is only cultivated north of 45 degrees latitude, but this report says it can be grown in TN.  Woot! 

I have seen flax fields in Indiana, grown on historical preserve Connor Prairie.  I've broken flax chaff and combed it thru 3 different grades of flax combs.  I kept that twist of fiber for many years.  So flax being my best option also brings up my memories of visiting Connor Prairie as a teen.  I LOVED that place!  There was a potter and a farrier and a blacksmith and they had butter churns and candle dipping and draft horses & plows... 

Anyway.

If I can get flax to grow, I might rotate it into my garden.  If I can harvest it, then I'll need to dry and prepare its natural threads.  Then learn to spin it, which shouldn't be hard with two friends nearby who spin. 

Then, I shall have a source of my own yarn for crochet, knit, maybe even some weaving.  Ok, probably just crochet & knit.  But as I said, it'll be something I've grown and made from my own land and garden.  I like the idea.  Now to figure where to get seeds for a fiber arts-oriented variety. 

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