To help transition Japan to a peace promoting post-carbon country while enjoying every step of the process.
僕のビジョンは、祖国日本で、平和文化を育みポストカーボン(Post-Carbon) 社会を促進してゆく事です。

Monday, December 20, 2010

300 Years of FOSSIL FUELS in 300 Seconds

A simple brief journey about Peak Oil by the Post Carbon Institute.
Definitely worth watching even as a resource for how to engage others on this topic. Yeah Richard Heinberg and the Post Carbon crew. They are doing awesome work! You can sign up for their newsletter on their website if this topic is of your interest.

ポストカーボン研究所(Post Carbon Institute)が制作したとってもシンプルな化石燃料時代とピークオイルの解説です。映像で簡単に説明しているので、英語が得意でなくても内容がつかめると思います。ポストカーボン研究所はとっても大切な研究と活動を行っていて、もし時間があれば是非とも日本語訳をしたいのですが....maybe in the future.

Politik Interlude

An invitation to resist corporate and government control over information and civil deceit. Avaaz has an online petition with the goal to get a million signatures supporting WikiLeaks. Whether you sign or not, I highly recommend reading up about the WikiLeaks spectacle. Its impressive that they took on many world governments, especially the US.....a government unfortunately now famous for bending and breaking their own laws and values, torture, and "accidental" deaths. My hope is that WikiLeaks does not get shut down, and that freedom of the press is protected and strengthened. But, thats my view and you must have your own. I can say with confidence that this is a major historical event that will have serious implications for all of our futures. If you haven't seen it yet, check out Noamy's Manufactured Consent video (available to view online) and/or book, as it is related to the WikiLeaks situation and is a great source for reinforcing your media literacy skills. Plus Noam Chomsky is just a cool dude as far as academics go.

Here is what Avaaz has to say:
The massive campaign of intimidation against WikiLeaks is sending a chill through free press advocates everywhere.

Legal experts say WikiLeaks has likely broken no laws. Yet top US politicians have called it a terrorist group and commentators have urged assassination of its staff. The organization has come under massive government and corporate attack, but WikiLeaks is only publishing information provided by a whistleblower. And it has partnered with the world's leading newspapers (NYT, Guardian, Spiegel etc) to carefully vet the information it publishes.

The massive extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks is an attack on democracy. We urgently need a public outcry for freedom of the press and expression. Sign the petition to stop the crackdown and forward this email to everyone -- let's get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!

WikiLeaks isn't acting alone -- it's partnered with the top newspapers in the world (New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc) to carefully review 250,000 US diplomatic cables and remove any information that it is irresponsible to publish. Only 800 cables have been published so far. Past WikiLeaks publications have exposed government-backed torture, the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and corporate corruption.

The US government is currently pursuing all legal avenues to stop WikiLeaks from publishing more cables, but the laws of democracies protect freedom of the press. The US and other governments may not like the laws that protect our freedom of expression, but that's exactly why it's so important that we have them, and why only a democratic process can change them.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether WikiLeaks and the leading newspapers it's partnered with are releasing more information than the public should see. Whether the releases undermine diplomatic confidentiality and whether that's a good thing. Whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the personal character of a hero or a villain. But none of this justifies a vicious campaign of intimidation to silence a legal media outlet by governments and corporations. Click below to join the call to stop the crackdown:

Ever wonder why the media so rarely gives the full story of what happens behind the scenes? This is why - because when they do, governments can be vicious in their response. And when that happens, it's up to the public to stand up for our democratic rights to a free press and freedom of expression. Never has there been a more vital time for us to do so.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

里山 Satoyama: Japan's Secret Water Garden film

There is a beautiful film called Satoyama that has supercharged my excitement to explore sustainable living culture in Japan. I think of satoyama as a harmonious ethno-ecological area that includes managed woodland/forest, village, and rice paddies and/or a garden.

There are two films (1998 and 2004) both narrated by the voice of Planet Earth series David Attenborough, and each follow an area of the satoyama through four distinct seasons. The earlier video follows the terraced rice paddies above Lake Biwa. The second one follows a Japanese man and his village as they live interdependently with nature. The beautiful cinematography (like Microcosmos) zooms in on the various life-cycles of the creatures (lots of bugs, turtles, fish, birds, etc) dependent on the man-altered ecosystem. The film effectively illuminates the interconnections that exist between various organisms and how we are also a part of that beautiful cycle of life and death. I highly recommend it as an introduction to understand permaculture and ethnoecology, and to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and life-styles of traditional rural Japan. Both videos are wonderful journeys into the depths of little known Japan. Great for kids too!

Ah yes, the interconnections and interdependencies of life.

Below is an excerpt from the 2004 film, from a website that you can watch the film as a live stream, but i highly recommend trying to get a hardcopy and watching it with high resolution and on a bigger screen. It makes a big difference. If you google satoyama you'll probably get websites that stream it or that you can download from.

"Each home has a built in pool or water tank that lies partly inside, partly outside its’ walls… A continuous stream of spring water is piped right into a basin, so freshwater is always available. People rinse out pots in the tank and clean their freshly picked vegetables. If they simply pour the food scraps back in the water, they risk polluting the whole village supply. However, carp can scour out even the greasy or burnt pans. They do the washing up in Satoyama villages. This traditional arrangement is called the riverside method. It’s used all over Japan. Cleaned up by the carp, the tank water eventually rejoins the channel.

Imagine a realm where the season’s rhythms rule, where centuries of agriculture and fishing have reshaped the land, yet where people and nature remain in harmony. Sangoro Tanaka lives in just such a paradise. At 83, he’s the guardian of one of Japan’s secret watergardens.

Over a thousand years, towns and villages have developed a unique system to make springs and water part of their homes. From inside their houses, the stream pours into Japan’s largest fresh water lake, near the ancient capital of Kyoto. This is a habitat so precious, the Japanese have a special word for it, satoyama, villages where mountains give way to plains. They are exceptional environments essential to both the people who maintain them and to the wildlife that now share them."


面白い事に、Bullocks Permaculture Homesteadも里山の一種だと感じています。最近、里山のハワイ版の絵も見かけました。お米の変わりにタロイモが主作物になっています。世界中に似たような民族生態システムがあったのですね。日本へますます惹かれてしまいます。

やっぱりDavid Attenborough ( プラネットアース)のナレーションは格別です。

「田んぼ、小川、ため池、雑木林…人々が長い年月をかけて古くから作り上げてきた、ひとつながりの暮らしの場は「里山」と呼ばれる。里山の自然環境はまた、 多くの生きものたちを育んできた「かけがえのない豊かな自然」でもある。琵琶湖畔の「里山」を、写真家・今森光彦さんの撮影とハイビジョンカメラの撮影で 1年間定点取材し、情感豊かな映像で綴る。

国際的にも高い評価を受けた、NHKのドキュメンタリー番組「映像詩 里山」をBD化。田んぼ、小川、雑木林など、人々が年月を掛けて古くから作り上げてきた一連の生活スタイルや、多くの生き物を育んできたかけがえのない豊かな自然を収める。」


滋賀県・琵琶湖畔には、水と深く関わった昔ながらの 人々の暮らしがある。集落の中には網の目のように水路がはりめぐらされ、人々はその豊富な水を利用し暮らしている。その水路を棲家にする生きものたちもま た、人々の暮らしと密接に関わりあってる。春を告げるコイのもんどり漁、初夏のよしず作り、水辺で人知れず羽化するオニヤンマ、晩秋のヨシ刈り、やがて やってくる冬…人と自然が織り成す、命きらめく水の里。

国際的にも高い評価を受けた、NHKのドキュメンタリー番組「映像詩 里山」のBD化第2弾。滋賀県の琵琶湖北部を舞台に、鯉の産卵や漁師の生活など、水と密接な関わりを持つ人々と生き物たちが織り成す世界を斬新かつ美しい映像で描いた珠玉の映像詩。」

Here are the Hawaiian satoyama, Ahupua'a, in picture form for your viewing pleasure.

Oooo, graphics with words.

I would explain more about the Ahupua'a system but basically I'd probably end up reading Wikipedia and a few other sites and rephrase it on the blog, so its probably better if we all do our own research.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter Plan 2010: Big Island and Japan

Return to Japan: a call for support and help!
I'm about to head to Japan via the Big Island with the intention to find allies and network with those passionate about sustainable living, permaculture, and peace-building. The current plan is to be on the Big Island for December, followed by Japan (mainly Tokyo and a bit in Kansai) for a few months, then back to the Bullcoks Permaculture Homestead for a final West Coast permaculture immersion.

By next summer or fall 2011, I will most likely be back in Japan with the intention to settle and activate there, super-charged with permaculture nerdyness.

I'm hoping to get some solid possibilities for a job/trade related to permaculture and peace work, a community to learn and grow with, and hopefully hopefully very hopefully land to continue my practice of natural farming and edible forest gardening around Tokyo. The megatropolis, Tokyo, is still a daunting place for me to attempt to live in, but since my family situation is luring me back there for at least 4 years, I'm hoping to transform my perspective with some help:)

My leads so far are:
-Permaculture Center Japan and Transition Japan in Fujino
-People in Andy's book A different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance, CLICK HERE for more info
-Azby Brown, author of
Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan
-Natural farmer Mr. Kawaguchi
-Bullocks' friend Mayumi Oda
-Old skool Japanese hippies in Izu
-a bunch of wonderful friends I met here and there
Any other suggestions?

I'm also considering the Sustainability Science Masters program at Tokyo University. A very new program taught in English that seems to be quite open for students to find their own direction. I'd like to pursue something along the line of community resilience and cultural regeneration (human ecology). At Nihon University there is a professor I met in Totnes England who runs a permaculture lab and is involved in Permaculture Center Japan, so I will definitely look into that too. My time learning and organizing at UC Santa Cruz was life transforming, and universities are a major hub for resources and change-makers.

If you can help me please contact me.
This is my Passion.
permacultivator (at) [please put @ in place of (at)]

I'm feeling good.
I hope you are too.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Buy Nothing Day (無買日?)

Happy Thanks Giving!!!

A day of appreciating each other, spending time with family, and giving thanks.
Who/what do you have gratitude for?
(for those who are passionate about the Native American condition, livelihoods of industrially produced turkeys, and other issues also associated to Thanks Giving, lets share that with more and more people in a nourishing way so we can water the seeds of compassion and understanding that everyone can participate in:) I'm working on it.....its definitely an art that I am not that good at :( yet.

Tomorrow (for America) is Buy Nothing Day!!!! Woohoo. A day to continue to appreciate family and human values, and take a pause from the shopping frenzy (now known as "Black Friday") that has become a recent addition to American culture. Is not the greatest gift we can give to each other to BE with them? To love, and truly be present in each others lives? To channel our passion into a "gift" that we can share with those we love? And remember that before things were made cheaply in China (and other countries) out of plastic, we had a culture of making things ourselves? Our grandparents probably remember a time like that.
Its worth a few seconds of thought and reflection. One day of non-buying is symbolic, and a daily practice non-buying is a way of life. Perhaps this will become a populist movement. Buy less Make more. Taking back culture from corporations and an economic system that is too complex for most to understand. A cultural regeneration is a foot.

For all other countries, lets call them un-American countries:),
Buy Nothing Day is the 27th.

There are creative, fun, charitable, revolutionary events all over the world, probably one near you. Or you can start one.
To find out more about Buy Nothing Day and to find an event near you:

Last year I had the opportunity to volunteer for the Freeconomy Feastival 2009 in Bristol, UK. I think we ended up feeding over 250 people with foraged and waste food. a 3 course meal of spontaneous homemade cuisine. We had workshops, speakers, documentary screenings, clothing swap, free store, and lots of cool people. Very inspiring event.....reminds me of San Francisco.

Here is the main organizer, a man who lived without using money for one year, Mark Boyle's commentary on the event:
The BBC presents a little more dry version of the event for those who like the mainstream view 'Freegan' Mark Boyle hosts a feast of foraged food -CLICK-



*I think the graphics are from Adbusters and related people, thanks:)!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Solar Living Institue ソーラー生活センター

I got to do a short visit to the Solar Living Institute on my way down from the Frey Homestead/Biodynamic Vinyard up at Redwood Valley, CA. The Solar Living Center is "a 12-acre renewable energy and sustainable living demonstration site that is visited by 200,000 people annually." Unfortunately I don't know much about them, but they host workshops/courses related to alternative energy and permaculture, have a biodiesel fuelling station, organic farm and orchard, 160,000kWh PV system, alternative living store, and SolFest celebrating all that good stuff. It reminded me about the Center for Alternative Technology in Wales, UK. That place is in a very beautiful place in Snowdonia. Their website is:

Since I'm way backed up on pictures and entries, I'll just do a quick slide show and at some point explain a little bit. Enjoy:)

北カリフォルニアのホップランドにある西海岸では少々有名なソーラー生活センター。ここは、4.9ヘクタールの土地に作られた再生可能エネルギーと持続可能な生活のデモサイトです。彼らの主な活動や特徴:再生資源とエネルギーやパーマカルチャーについてのワークショップ、バイオデーゼル販売、有機農法ガーデンと果樹園、16万キロワットのソーラーシステム、お店、ソールフェスト(太陽祭り?)などです。ウェールズにあるキャット Center for Alternative Technology([石炭石油化学エネルギー]代替技術センター)と似た様な事をしてますね。因に、キャットのホームページは、


Agave cooling tower...under renovation?
Outdoor shower

Straw-bale structure

Cob gnome hut

Solar cooker

The Great Wall of Hopland
Straw-bale wall with stone gabion foundation to allow floods to diffuse through

Cob cob cob!

Fancy cob wall

Solar Powered Carousel

Picture is taken from the South facing the North

Flow form

Strawberry tree fruits beneath the flow form. The site was covered with strawberry trees and other drought tolerant plants in this dry area.


Tree house tea house

Interior of the greenhouse (northern) wall

The Hops Tipi

Biodiesel fueling station

Check out their website tour,
Maybe that was too many pictures....I have tons more too. Ahhhh, the tragedy of abundance.


Nut Quiz 2 クイズ (ナッツ編第二段)

More nuts to be quizzed on!
These are all grown on the homestead.

Lets start with an easy one....

Hint: Make a guess before you read on..........if you look at the brown ones in the picture you'll probably get it.

This next one is my favorite nut. Especially good in cake:)

Hint: well the cake is called Mont Blanc in Japan but is originally a French invention, probably in Paris. I think this nut has the highest carbohydrate content for nuts that grow on the West Coast. I also love the Asian street vendors selling bags of fresh hot X-nuts.


This next one is quite exciting. Yes they can be grown in the North West! Strong amaretto flavor...mmmm.


So, I figured I need to put answers up somewhere in case you just needed confirmation. But, I do want to invite you to utilize your mental faculties and figure it out:)

1. TOP nut 上
2. MIDDLE nut 真ん中
3. BOTTOM nut 下 (no wikipedia for this one so its raintree nursery)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tree Planting Ingredients 木の植え方:土壌改良材

How are trees planted at the Bullocks?


I guess the proper answer would be,
it depends! (most common answer for questions here).
It depends on where you are planting, what you are planting, when you are planting, and various other elements.

I might have mentioned it before and I probably will mention it again, for many of the trees I've planted on the homestead and for landscaping projects with Sam, we have often added:


1. Water absorbing polymer crystals (top of the picture), which I have been referring to as soil gel. There are lots of "it depends" elements for its use, but for dry area tree plantings I generally put a small handful of pre-HYDRATED gel at the bottom of the hole. You would use much less if it is not pre-hydrated.


Is this permaculture? Well, some might say no. Some might say, it depends on the design process and what considerations were made. Some might say, who cares what is permaculture and what isn't. I've heard the soil gel in our case referred to as a transitional technology. Something we are using for now, to speed up our development efforts and increase effectiveness, but we are not depending on it for the long term. A tractor/excavator might be another transitional technology we use. An important element here is HOW you use such technologies. This is a tricky area since we humans are skilled at rationalizing just about anything, and desire, greed, impatience can overpower the values we try to live by. I think deep reflection is essential when we employ tools and technologies, so whenever you feel like it take a moment to think about how tools and technologies affect you and the world. Just remember its not about guilt, its about healthy growth.


One last thing about soil gel is that during the PDC one of the instructors mentioned throwing a used diaper in the planting hole. Diapers have the same or a similar product to absorb the liquids we produce. Since diapers usually go to the landfill packed with nutrients (pee and/or poop), why not give it to a tree! Yes yes, what about the plastic. Well, for one there are the "eco" biodegradable diapers and two, throwing plastic away somewhere else isn't any better for the world. So, just think of it as a soil amendment package that has a high water holding capacity and is a rich fertilizer, and its abundant and free! Ok, next.......


2. Crab-meal (the white powder) I've been throwing in a small handful of this too. I mix the crab meal into the soil to spread out the concentration of nutrients just a little bit. Several of the garden beds at the homestead are also amended with crab meal each year. Someone told me our crab meal is a crab industry byproduct that comes from a factory not to far from Orcas where they process it. Down to Earth lists their crab meal as NPK 5-2-0.

蟹の甲羅の粉末(写真の中の白い粉)。これも穴に一握り撒き、土の中に軽く混ぜ込みます。ガーデンの畝にも撒く人もいます。聞いた話では、私たちが使っている蟹粉末はオーカス島の近くにある蟹肉工場の副産物らしいです。ある会社は蟹粉末をNPK 5-2-0と表示しています。

A little bit more about this nutrient, "crab meal is made by kiln-drying the shells, and then grinding them down to powder. This powder can be added to other fertilizers, lending the benefits of chitin, or the protein specific to crustacean shells. It can also be used by itself as crab meal fertilizer. The chitin provides slow release nitrogen to the plant and soil, granting the leaves deep green color and strength in its stalk fibers.

Another benefit of time-released crab meal is the protection from nematodes. Nematodes are the species of organism more commonly known as ringworm. It’s the chitin protein in the crab meal that provides this service and, as a result, your plants are parasite-free for most of its maturing, if you have used time-released crab meal." (according to


3. MycoGrow Fungus tablets from Fungi Perfecti. According to them, "Mycorrhizal fungi are fungi that have developed a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the root systems of living plants.....Networks of mycorrhizal filaments envelop the seedling’s root structure, supporting the plant’s own ability to utilize water and nutrients in the soil." These tablets contain 12 ecto and endomycorrhizal fungi.

I throw 1 in a hole for a bush/shrub or 2 for fruit trees. They have a recommended application chart based on the height on the tree (definitely a website worth checking out, and next time you are at the library or bookstore, I highly recommend looking through Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets (founder of Fungi Perfecti).

ファンガイ・ペルフェクタイ*(製造会社)のマイコグロー錠。商品名のMycoとはラテン語で茸、Growは英語で育てる)。Mycorrhizal Fungi(菌根菌)とは生きている植物の根と共生的(相互に有益)な関係を持つ様に進化した菌類です。これらの菌と植物は互いのニーズを満たしながら存在しています。菌の繊維状細胞ネットワークが植物の根を包み、水や栄養の利用力を強めます。各錠に12種類のEndo-(内)とEcto-(外)mycorhizal Fungiが含まれていて、その錠を果樹の穴に二つ入れています。ファンガイ・ペルフェクタイのホームページにはもっと入れる様にと説明しています。詳しくは、

*ファンガイ・ペルフェクタイとは、アメリカの茸マニア(専門家)大物ポール・スタミッツ(Paul Stamets)が始めた会社で、あらゆる画期的な菌類の商品を作っており、様々な菌についての面白い研究をしている上、菌を用いて未だ未解決な環境問題の対策(bioremediation)に取り組んでいます。彼と会う事が一回あったのですが、茸を深くリスペクトしており、茸を愛してる事が感じられました。私も彼とであっていらい茸への興味が覚醒されました。また、彼の講演は新しい世界への招待状のようでした。植物、森、土、そして人間がどれだけ菌と共生してきたかはっきりと思い知らせられました。彼が書いたMycelium Running: How Mushrooms can Help Save the Worldはかなりお勧めです。写真だけでも見れば、興味がわき出すと思います。彼の環境活動は一流!

4. Sometimes we'll sprinkle some pelletized chicken manure as a top-dressing for an immediate nitrogen boost.


Then the usual, making a basin around the tree, watering the plant in, mulching, and putting drip irrigation. Don't forget the "it depends" clause still applies to all these techniques:)


So, the easy thought that might come to mind is, "I'll just do it like how these guys do it," but its invaluable to come up with your own combo of amendments (or no amendments) and reasons for them based on your observation and understanding of the situation you are working with. Then you might start answering questions with, it depends.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pedal Powered Grinder Mill ペダルパワー製粉機

Hi everybody. I have left the Bullocks homestead for the winter and have been doing an action packed journey South toward Santa Cruz, CA. Right now I'm at my friend's home at the Frey's Biodynamic Vineyard in Redwood Valley. It is an amazing place and I am always impressed by their aesthetics, practices, and musical community. On my way down, I also had the chance to do a bike tour of CityRepair projects in Portland, plant a food forest at Hood River Middle school, and see magnificent redwood trees (my favorite) in Humboldt County. Huuuuuuuuuge!!!!

To get me back on track, I'll start with a simple article on the topic of appropriate technology.

This is a pedal powered grinder mill that I saw/experienced when we visited some friends on the other side of Orcas Island. They found the pedal parts at the Exchange and joined it to the mill. Simple and effective design for home grinding.
Here is the grinder in action. We are grinding wheat berries for fresh bread, yeah.

This is the hot tub they have on the property. Its basically a large barrel that could probably squeeze 5 people, and is heated by a snorkel wood stove. Again simple design.

Basically just a metal box (marine-grade aluminum) inside the tub with a lid and chimney. These are manufactured but with some welding experience you could make your own. Here is the website for the product. 

I remember images of oil drum bathtubs that probably were somewhat common in rural Japan. Just get a 55 gallon oil drum, cut the top open, put a wooden floor to stand on, then elevate the drum (eg with cinder blocks or bricks) in order to have a fire pit directly below it. I think the tricky part is that this system seems to depend on another person tending the fire and keeping it at an optimal temperature. Here is a link for those images via GOOGLE

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The War Industry 戦争産業

Apologies for not updating much but I am about to take off to my next adventure. Lots of half written pieces.....also know as clutter.

Anyways, doesn't this seem crazy?!
BBC today

US confirms $60bn plan to sell Saudi Arabia arms

State department official Andrew Shapiro on the "tremendous significance" of the sale
US officials have confirmed they intend to sell $60bn (£38bn) of arms to Saudi Arabia.....If completed, it could be the most lucrative single arms deal in US history and could support 75,000 jobs.

The military-industrial complex in your face.
and who will be the target for $60bn worth of weapons?

and also in the news.....

China is trying to prevent a report which says Chinese bullets have been used against peacekeepers in Darfur from being published
The report says that a dozen different brands of Chinese bullet casings have been found in Darfur, some at sites where attacks on UN troops took place
The panel has previously claimed that large amounts of foreign arms and ammunition are being trafficked into Darfur and fuelling the conflict between the government and rebel groups
The UN says that about 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and more than 2.6 million displaced since rebels took up arms there in 2003.

Weapons for wars in developing countries are made in our country and sold to corrupt governments and militant groups. Please just think about that for a second, because it just doesn't seem to me like we can dismiss that reality and continue on with our everyday lives. Does this not warrant a pause? A desire? An action and then a chain of actions?

And what happens to those jobs when they finish making the weapons for the Saudi's? In this design, peace in the middle east or Saudi post peak oil will lead to the loss of 75,000 jobs (of course its a simplification but perhaps with some truth in it).

If you are interested in more about this subject, check out
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Also, if you haven't already seen the documentaries Why We Fight and Blow Back, I highly recommend it to put perspective on this issue. They are quite well done.
You can watch it here
Super cool site where you can watch tons of amazing and mediocre documentaries.

I want to recommend a bunch of documentaries but I feel like planting seeds for WE: Arundhati Roy. Also available at She will take you on a journey of heartful lyrical eloquence about our world and expose the injustices while elevating our souls for a better future. We.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nut Quiz クイズ(ナッツ編)

Both these nuts are sold in US supermarkets, and you most likely have eaten them.

First nut

Rasta nut! Fierce like a lion.
That would be my vote for a name.

Goes well with chocolate.

A relative to poison oak and mango. This is a picture I took while living in the tropical dry forest of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The howler monkeys who hung out all around us, sometimes coming right by our screen (we had no windows), loved the fruits above the nuts. We went straight for the nuts and threw thm into the fire to burn off the toxins and access the nuts. It was a very intense involved process and all the locals that we met only had interest in the fruit.


There's the plant.

1. TOP nut
2. BOTTOM nut

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PDC in Hawaii Feb 5~19 2011


そういえば、映画「the men who stare at goats」のインスピレーションとなったジェフブリッジスが演じた不思議な先生も登場するかもしれないそうです。



Here is a course that Doug Bullock, John Valenzuela, Tom Baldwin (owner of Uluwehi) and Dave are planning to teach on the Big Island. I bet it will be a lot of fun and excellent learning, but of course I am biased (I mean who isn't.....the Buddha).

More info at

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dependencies: Oil 石油と依存

An invitation into thought.

What would happen to your life if tomorrow morning gas prices doubled indefinitely?

Then, eventually became unavailable?

What would happen to your community? How will your life change?
Is this a problem for you or an opportunity?

Its time for Resilience thinking

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chinampa II  チナンパ(第二)

*See entry below this one for an introduction to chinampas

A young chinampa with a visible foundation of branches and twigs. Like a floating cold compost pile.
Interns and a guest moving a pile of brush across the marsh from a chinampa island. Brush piles like these become the foundation of chinampas here. As Dave was explaining to me the other day, many of us toil in the soil to increase organic matter. It is fairly common practice to then burn that organic matter (like branches and leaves) or more recently to send it to industrial composting operations instituted by the city. Building chinampas is a way to not only utilize this valuable resource (aka waste) but to also increase biologically productive land. Its also a fun activity that stimulates our mind's sense of wonder.

These are pictures from the chinampa peninsula that extends from Doug and Maria's garden. An example of how the early stage of a chinampa looks like. A coarse fabric of brush with willow plantings and volunteers (aka "weeds") along the edge. This one still feels like a trampoline and the entire chinampa seems to bounce up and down if you get into it.


A mature chinampa peninsula with willow established on the edge for land stabilization.


This is the chinampa that we all entered the marsh from to work on one of the chinampa islands during the PDC. A solid chinampa peninsula with a fire pit and canoe landing at the tip. This peninsula, unless you were told, would be hard to tell that it was permy-made. The edges of this well-established chinampa are lined with an oak, paw paw, hazelnut, edible fruiting hawthorn, basketry willow, polygonum (giant knotweed), aronia, timber henon bamboo (left side of the picture), pear grafted on quince rootstock, highbush cranberry and a few others.

Here is a side-view of the fire-pit chinampa. You can see the Henon bamboo to the right. On the left side of the chinampa you might be able to spot the highbush cranberry and pear on quince.

This chinampa has a wikiup built out of cattails, a replication of what the native peoples' built for a quick dwelling in this region. 100% compostable.
A bunch of permies crammed into the wikiup during a tour. I remember last year a course participant decided to setup camp inside. An important consideration about thatch roofs and structures such as these, is that they are slowly composting above you. They are also great habitat for insects, mice, rats, etc. Frequent fires inside for heating or cooking will help preserve the natural material and keep creatures away.

Doug mentioned to me that this chinampa is 28 years old.....I think its the oldest one that the Bullocks initiated here. It has a cool structure that hovers above the marsh. The picture above is after we cleared most of the willow along the peninsula recently, and below is a more beautiful presentation of this picturesque setup taken in the summer.
Another thing Dave mentioned to me about Chinampas is that when resources become more seriously limited, for instance if we cannot find a replacement for the solar pump that is essential, and the pumps are no longer functioning, chinampas will become a more essential element for food production here as they are subirrigated. He painted a picture of a series of peninsulas and islands with canals inbetween, much like how the Aztecs did it.

Its also quite beautiful to have a system that is not dependent on plastic pipes, complex materials, and electricity. If you have a site appropriate for chinampa, try it out! Call your friends and have a chinampero party! Orale!