My Hugelkurtur Mound is Finished!

Building the first Hugkelultur mound

Building the first Hugkelultur mound


I built it, tore it down. Gathered more material … branches, dead logs, newer branches, leaves, compost… then rebuilt it.. and then noticed it was pointing in the wrong direct. So I tore it down and rebuilt it. Then realized I should have kept it in the first position. So I left it… and decided to build another one East/West. Because I’ve learned from struggling with the first one.

Fall has finally arrived in North Carolina. Growing here has different challenges than in California where it was easier. My 10 acres used to be a 22 acre working farm. (I’ve even found a hidden room in the front barn that was no doubt used to hide illegal moonshine during the 1930s.) The land was not worked for over 7 years prior to my buying the property. The soil is hard and sometimes a bit rocky. White granite is everywhere. Less than two inches beneath the topsoil is hardpan red clay. But… it’s my land. It produced before… and it will again.

In the meantime, I’ve built raised beds. That too was a learning experience. I’d ordered four yards of compost/topsoil mix. Toting it from the pile into the raised beds was tougher than I thought … because I did it this summer and summer here in North Carolina is hot. Hot is bad enough, but the humidity! Oh man… I would work for 2-4 hours and then stagger into the house and lay drenched on the kitchen floor… eventually forcing myself to get up and drink some water, for as Les Brown says, “if you fall down, pray that you land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get back up.”

It’s not the biggest accomplishment in the world… but it’s one I’ve dreamt of doing for years. I’m 61 years old, tired, and bruised. Recently I’ve discovered that my central nervous system was all but shot. I’m going to have to commit to three years of yoga and exercise. I’m going to have to change the way I think about desire… for desire is a hell realm, different from passion. I suppose that it’s also a lot about WHAT you desire. As a black man, I learned a lot of whack ideas about sex and desire. What I learned, can shorten a man’s life, erode his mental health, and leave him open for sickness. (NOT the ideas an 18 year old… nor even a 25 year old is ready to accept.) But just as age is a gift, it’s also a season to reap the karma of all the choices, thoughts, and actions of a lifetime… and I feel them lodging in my body.

“Every problem is an opportunity in work clothes.” (~Henry J. Kaiser) So I could run to the VA and ask for some pills that will do nothing but mess me up more and hook me into Big Pharm, or I can reevaluate my diet. Give up the coffee and the sugary cakes and pies I love so much. By deciding to follow my passions … writing, gardening, and travel… I will have to get back into physical shape to do so… and gracefully, in doing so, extend both the longevity and the quality of my life.


Sustainable Agriculture

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 11.12.30 PM

Many people give up their dreams for lack of knowledge. Not only is there money out there to assist you in learning how to farm, but there’s also grant money to train you how to operate (not buy) farm equipment, raise organic crops, and even buy seed and livestock. The average age of the American farmer is 55, but regardless of your age, new farmers are needed.

While traditional farming is labor intensive, there are many ways to enjoy growing food, experiencing the natural rhythms of the land, and the life cycle of healthy, well-cared for animals other than over-burdening yourself beyond your limits. I’m more of a “Large Gardener” than I am a farmer. I don’t have to “farm” for a living. I grow only what I want to grow. I enjoy the land and watching nature work her wonders. I enjoy raising chickens, and facing my fears around touching, and caring for livestock. A grand, empowering feeling comes over me when I sit in the seat of a John Deere tractor, raise the front bucket, and scoop up a load of fresh organic compost that I know is rich and healthy, and that will nourish healthy, large, great tasting vegetables.

So it’s wonderful to YouTube a video and learn something new about plant production. SARE Grants come under USDA funding and are intended to fund innovative ideas that demonstrate new sustainable techniques that enrich the lives of farmers and the communities they live in. SARE assists with farmer development, education, and increased agriculture profits turning that otherwise would have ended up only as a forsaken dream.

Click to view a SARE video on grants–>

Washington D. C. — “New Rome”

washingtonDC-cherry-blossomsArriving, you automatically know Washington D.C. is both the capital of this powerful nation, and also a Southern city—moving swiftly and slowly—simultaneously. Acres of concrete, grand monuments, and suits are everywhere. Buildings with names like,  “Fulbright, Mellon, Geraldine R. Dodge, Corcoran, Luce, David and Lucile Packard, and Annenberg” jump at you… names that have channeled power and influence for a very, long, time.

Hot and muggy, with a thunderstorm threatening, men in short sleeves and women in summer dresses mingle in casual-tenseness around and with the many uniforms that inundate The District. Metro City Police, the Park Police, the Secrete Service Police, Homeland Security are just a few.  Members of every branch and rank of the military are present in such numbers that it is impossible to forget where you are.

But “New Rome” also carries every social issue present in each of its states. Poverty, mental illness, addiction, homosexuality, prostitution, crime, domestic abuse, and illegal aliens are tips of the iceberg. This blog will attempt to free readers of a few of the mental and spiritual chains that bind us negatively to these problems.

Is homosexuality a “problem”… or the attitudes our social engineers tell us to view this issue from? And why is the religion of Peace currently shaped into a spear wielded by preachers inciting us to “Kill Muslims,” instead of practicing the Love that overcomes all evil?

This week, the International AIDS Conference is being held in Washington. African Americans continue lead all ethnic groups with new rates of HIV infection. Doesn’t it strike you as a giant,“FAILURE” that black churches aren’t leading the ranks of volunteerism in caring for our own people? Needle Exchanges, Hospice work, and meals for the sick are just a few of the ways the African American church could demonstrate Christ at work today. Instead, it seems to be letting the CIA-sponsored Religious Right Wing-nuts  dictate marching orders of shame and cowardice in the face of all these opportunities.

Mainly this blog will discuss what I see as I travel. Not only the opportunities masquerading as “problems,” but I will seek to raise the reader’s awareness of how he or she can increase the quality of life in various parts of the world.

Adventure + Travel = Healing

It’s been awhile since my last post and there’s a lot to talk about. It’s an exciting time for many of me as well as many friends my age. The two major directions my posts will take are:

  1. Eating healthy … which includes growing your own healthy food
  2. Travel… focusing mainly on S.E. Asia and Africa, and answering questions that blacks and veterans tend to ask.

Life without new goals is basically suffering. It’s estimated that 85% of Americans walk around with untreated past traumas. Many of the behaviors we attribute to racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, addictions, and economic greed are linked directly to untreated traumas. Traumatic events tend to turn into Personality Disorders … like being anti-social or seeking attention in ways that harm ourselves and others. So we self-sooth with anything that works… but luckily we are living in a wonderful time, and as we travel and eat sex, and meditate our way over the earth, “we” will post ways to heal ourselves and find deeper meaning in our yesterdays. It’s a great time space travelers… for everything. No need to fasten your seat belts, just … open your minds… and relax. “All is well.”