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。

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