How to Make Ortiga Fertilizer

Patricia gets a lot of ideas for cool permaculture projects from El Guardian de la Tierra, a YouTube channel created by Lander, a resident of Mallorca and self-professed adicto al permacultura.

A few weeks ago, while I continued to plane and sand boards for the tool shed, she went over to the one of the abandoned yards where she saw a mass of ortiga, stinging nettle, to start preparing some homemade plant fertilizer.

The whole process takes about one-two weeks. Filtering the blanched nettle is a bit unpleasant for the smell, but now we have ten liters of concentrate, which is diluted and used on plants for fertilizer, insect repellent, and fungicide.

Deanna from Homestead and Chill wrote up her process:

Fresh stinging nettle leaves are loaded with high concentrations of vitamins A, C, D, E, F, K, P, and vitamin B-complexes, as well as large amounts of minerals including calcium, selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium and more. As a leafy green, stinging nettle is also high in nitrogen, chlorophyll, and plant polyphenols – all of which bolster plant health and stimulate growth. Plant polyphenols in particular are potent antioxidants, fight cancer, and boost the immune system.

While plants may not get arthritis or cancer in the same way humans do, plants do have an immune system – and can get sick! Therefore, the same compounds that make nettle awesome for human health provide many of the same benefits to plants. For example, plants treated with stinging nettle fertilizer are less susceptible to certain diseases due to nettles’ anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Plants with a strong immune system are also less negatively impacted by pests or stress, such as drought, heat, or other unfavorable conditions.

The concentrate should be good for about sixth months.

It Looks Like Apartheid Because It Is Apartheid

B’Tselem executive director Hagai El-Ad on Democracy Now and in The Washington Post:

It’s not proportional. It’s not temporary. It’s not legal. It’s not equal. And it’s not complicated: Believe your eyes. Follow your conscience. The reason that it looks like apartheid is simply because it is apartheid.

The bittersweet feeling of the West finally realizing we are dealing with, and financially backing, a settler-colonialist apartheid regime but at a tremendous cost of more and more Palestinian lives (and yes, a much smaller number of Israeli lives) makes me ache.

Letras Galegas: Xela Arias on Rosalía de Castro

Source: Real Academia Galega and Xulio Gil

Happy Día das Letras Galegas! Poet, writer, and translator Xela Arias will be honored. Since I’m (currently) a non-Galician speaking galegophile and this blog is in English, here’s a section of her poem A de Quen Comprende translated courtesy of Canadian poet and translator Erín Moure.

The 17th of May brings a new personality and figure for us to get to know. I hope next year, with a better understanding for Galician, I can dive more into the original writings of both Xela and next year’s homage.

I

That of the one who realizes is no
glad word.

That of the one who transmits is
terminology, useful.

If every day its blast
does not detonate stupidity into shatters
what use are intelligence and feeling.

II

They made you immaculate. You were needed.
They make you inmaculate. You initiate the long trail.

Look how they crop you,
throttle to the last your right to detonate.

Nothing new, immaculate Rosalía.
It’s how women are always shut into the construction
of others,
you realize:
your own weapon turned against you.

That of the one who realizes is no glad word.

Spanish Thatcherism in Madrid and Tomorrow’s Regional Elections

I never thought I’d be as interested in Madrid politics as I have been for the last month. Basically, the Trumpian Madrid president, Isabel Ayuso, is trying to capitalize on some unstable political alliances throughout the country between her Partido Popular and the centrist/center-right neoliberal Ciudadanos. Ayuso handled the first wave of the pandemic terribly, but has leaned in to this hands off approach by calling it freedom, as opposed to the evil, tyrannical left-wing coalition of PSOE and Podemos in the national government.

She called for elections and to everyone’s surprise, Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Podemos and one of Spain’s vice-presidents, announced his resignation from the national government to run for president of the region (comunidad) of Madrid.

Since then, there has been political violence at rallies, envelopes woth death threats and bullets sent to prominent politicians, a multitude of references to 1930s Spain and the civil war, as well as a normalization of the fascist party Vox and their ideology by the media.

Madrid has been a PP stronghold for 25 years while being known for corruption and privatization.

Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín in the Nation:

For the past quarter-century, politics in the Madrid region have been spectacularly corrupt. All four of Ayuso’s predecessors have been investigated or indicted on corruption charges. Meanwhile, the region has become a laboratory for neoliberal economic policies. — Sebastiaan Faber and Bécquer Seguín in the Nation

Brendan Boyle from his article in Jacobin last year:

Ignacio Sánchez-Cuena of the Catalan-based daily La Vanguardia believes that Madrid is a relative outlier in terms of capital cities across Western Europe. London, Paris, Berlin, and Brussels have long been viewed as bastions of diversity and progressive thinking, but the substantial vote in Madrid for the far-right Vox (16 percent) bucks this trend. “The capital city is today the epicenter of an uncultured and exclusionary Spanish nationalism,” he says. “With the security and arrogance that economic well-being produces, the dominant discourse of the right wing in Madrid states that the capital represents modernity and globalization, as well as a proud, liberal, universalist Spain.”

Tomorrow is the election. The left parties (PSOE, Más Madrid, and Unidas Podemos) only stand a chance if participation from traditionally non-voters in the southern working-class cities and districts of Madrid is very high and they gain enough seats to outnumber Vox+PP and form a coalition.

Meanwhile Ayuso has much better odds but will probably need Vox’s support. I’m seeing the Bernie problem again: the only way to change things up is more voices but those voices are small and at a whisper.

Nanín Unió California y Madrid

La Región journalist Paula Palomanes wrote about my partner and yours truly last week:

Lingüísta y profesora de inglés reconvertida a emprendedora y artesana -ha creado una firma que se llama Macramano- pero, sobre todo, trotamundos ambos, el viaje de Jimmy y Patricia para llegar a Nanín, un pequeño pueblo de Allariz, hace más de año y medio, no se hizo en un día: desde California y Madrid, ambos se conocieron dando clase en Mauritania, en 2014.

You can watch the clip on YouTube from our veranda or create an account on La Región to read the whole article (it’s free plus you’ll find all the news from Ourense).