Flashback: Ali’s Worre

In late 2012 I was preparing to leave Sierra Leone. School was out for the holiday, the secondary school was almost finished, and I started taking my small digital camera around with me throughout the day.

This is from Ali’s family’s worre: a Fula ranch where the extended family lives in circular thatch roofed huts surrounding the herd.

Inside the myriad huts, you could see the smooth floors and detailed walls that the women of Ali’s family meticulously sculpted from mud. You could also see the pots the family uses for milking the cows.

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.

Downriver Miño Near Cabo do Mundo

Much of our homestead progress is punctuated by half victories.

  • Toilet installed, leak in the shower
  • Kitchen sink working, still no tile or stovetop
  • Filling in ditches in the yard, perimetrical fence will take another month and Alqo naps in the street.

Both of us feeling exhausted, Patricia rightly suggested we take a break yesterday to do a hike. Though we didn’t really hike, we did park at Igrexa de San Martiño da Cova not far from the town of Escairón (O Saviñao) and walked down the paved road to praia fluvial A Cova for the first time since moving here.

We had the beach to ourselves, and on the way down caught glimpses of Cabo do Mundo, a famous bend in the Miño river a bit like Horsehoe Bend in Arizona. Here’s the left hand side of it.

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.