“I wish it would rain again,” bumbled the King – his hairy feet dangling, and dripping then toe laughing in the old cistern behind his cob house. “Yes, feet can laugh and even tell the lady bugs where to go! The roof panels need a watering.”
Water nourishes the plants and animals in his tiny urban garden kingdom like the blood pushing through his heart. But the soil gets long rows of shallow ditches that collect and percol water to the corn and squash and beets and the all of the green beans and pole peas in 6” deep thumb pressed canals or arteries.
The King grows his metaphor patch, too, and routinely speaks of the many interconnected systems that makes up his sun powered biosphere when children and adults come round.
Truth is, some of the neighborhood peeps snicker when the King rolls up his jeans and prances on his compost pile, but they buy the goop ASAP when the old bio-chemistry professor bags the stinky slue for their roses and lemon trees.
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One thing the King always wanted to tattoo to his forehead: “This is not gardening.” His little neighborhood permie ranch is better experienced as a year round sustainability map. Each season means new plants and new mulch, fruits come and go. Meals race with the Sun while the compost just keeps on kissing the soil.
Teachers and their kids from area schools with their rubber gloves and digital cameras, looking for easy Earth Worms and complicating easy eco-concepts. A sign dangling on the cob house dissects permaculture as unique among alternative farming systems (e.g., organic, sustainable, eco-agriculture, biodynamic) in that it works with a set of ethics that suggest we think and act responsibly in relation to each other and the earth.
The ethics of permaculture provide a sense of place in the larger scheme of things, and serve as a guidepost to right livelihood in concert with the global community and the environment, rather than individualism and indifference.
The King always grabs a serious tone when relaying the ethics of permaculture with his subjects:
* Care of the Earth – includes all living and non-living things – plants, animals, land, water and air
* Care of People – promotes self-reliance and community responsibility & access to necessary resources for existence
* Setting Limits to Population & Consumption – gives away surplus – contribution of surplus time, labor, money, information, and energy to achieve the aims of earth and people care.
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Permaculture is great fun. There are many festivals and workshops for all ages: The bi-annual Seed Swap helps to safeguard against GMO or toxic seeds from the bad corporations.
The Lattice Tie Party to tie-up creeping vegetables like snap peas and beans. Come on, lets’ pruning the apple trees and then eat through the berry patch and take home a quart for Mom!
The King and his older friends are constantly fidgeting with the grey water pipes – filtering and watering the crops with little City reserves.
The Permaculture King loves his solar topped cob hut, the seasons and the compost stains on his feet and legs. His challenge isn’t in the constant weeding and planting and harvests but the struggle to get the word out, to get out of the garden and tell the planet’s peeps how to do the permaculture!
Alas, we are all like the King – shining; running round and round in our local days with an Atlas-like dream.