Alfalfa Walking

When you rely on animals brushing up against your seeds, or pecking at them, to knock them to the soil, it’s best to fall over with the weight of your flowers, so your seeds are a whole body’s distance away. After all, right down in the middle of beautiful you isn’t going to work so well. Alfalfa is great at this kind of walking.

In this way she marches a whole body’s distance away, every year. What’s more, because clear ground has no dry stalks of vegetation to hold her up (and prevent her from falling over), it’s exactly there, where there is space for her, that she walks. We too.

Humans and alfalfa share an ecosystem and go out walking there together on a summer’s day.

Midsummer Autumn

Celebrate the season!

It’s a colour palette for rejoicing.

Art without four seasons. Life without four seasons. Life with dozens, often two at the same time, passing through each other like clouds!

What a beautiful dance.

Oh, Grass, My Beautiful One!

Grasses are the children of a warming earth, and this is their season. I’ve been talking of science lately, but a science based in poetry and in ancient earth knowledge, so I thought today, walking out in the grass, hey, why not show you the magic of the grass? Have a look!

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There is More Than One Sun and More than One Earth

In 1543, Copernicus published this book and changed everything:


De Revolutionisis Orbi

Before he did that, the Earth was considered the centre of the universe. After he was done, the sun was considered the centre of the solar system, and the stars, well, they were out there.

514px-Nikolaus_KopernikusCopernicus, the Priest Who Started the Scientific Revolution

His model of the solar system looked like this:



It is an elaboration of the medieval image the poet Dante made of the universe in 1320 — a change of perspective but not much else…


In turn, that image goes back to the Greek tragedies, which were stages to represent the zodiacal codes of the Art of Memory, which eventually was codified like this:


Giordano Bruno’s Memory Map

A Solar System, or a sun, by a different name.

Such maps were incorporated into theatre in the Elizabethan age. Shakespeare’s theatres were built on the model of such maps. His plays place consciousness in the middle of them. Kind of like an updated Dante. Here’s Dante:


Dante and Virgil Looking Up to the Heavens

Dante’s world was a stage. (I think ours is too.)

We stand on the threshold of a similar revolution, or extension of old patterns, should we wish to take it. Today, I’d like to suggest that the earth is a planet with many suns, not just one. Here are two.


Two Suns at Dusk in November

One fuses hydrogen into Helium. Its particles take 100,000 years to get from the core to the surface, and then a few minutes to get to the earth, where they reform the sun in many shapes, which are very slow and bind sun, water and earth into complex organic, self-replicating patterns. The other, this sunflower, one of those patterns, carries particles of that sun through the winter into the spring, for the reaction to continue on earth again.

Meanwhile, deep within the Copernican version of events, humans eventually started doing this:

P1070439Torturing the Last of the White Sturgeon in the Columbia River

Four hours to haul it up out of the radioactive sludge, then you let it go and see if you can do it again. These most ancient fish have mouths full of hooks from previous torture events. This is called sport. yes, That’s 2 of 9 weapons grade plutonium reactors watching. The Cold War was largely conducted here. It still is.

We are inside the reaction. It completes itself when it strikes matter. You could say, we are inside the sun. Everything we see and touch, and every way in which we think, are the result of the imaging of the sun in the material of the earth. Copernicus was only presenting a perspective based on the traditions and knowledge of his time. It has evolved into a powerful scientific and engineering tradition. It is only part of the story. The story has evolved. There are so many earths…

P1360227Choke Cherries in November Rain

There are so many suns …


Wild Grapes After the Birds Were By

There are whole worlds and technologies here, far more capable of healing us and the earth than the Copernican one.


Mariposa Lily: an Indigenous Food Crop Reborn

In open agriculture, indigenous crops take their rightful place as efficient water farmers on dry hillsides. One of the most beautiful of these crops is the mariposa lily. In most parts of its range, it is a white lily, with a dark centre, but here it has a colour all of its own …

Mariposa Lily with a Green Sweat Bee, Bella Vista

This plant maintained early Mormon settlers in Utah during through catastrophic years of crop failure and hordes of grasshoppers. It was a staple of the Sylix, here on the northern edge of Plateau culture.

By mid-summer, once they have farmed the water that is moving through the ecosystem of the hills, mariposa lilies look like this…

Mariposa Lilies

Their seeds scatter at the lightest brush of their pods.

These plants are hardy perennials, with low water requirements, which fall in the wettest months of the year. They have trouble seeding themselves in mats of cheatgrass, but even on cheatgrass slopes, they readily find vole gardens to sprout in, and do very well when planted out as bulbs. In fact, many varieties are commercially available as landscape flowers. They are also well-suited to extreme drought conditions. The bulbs have a mechanism by which their roots flex and lower them to the optimal depth (about fifteen centimetres down). Once established, they last for years. If you don’t eat them, of course! Mariposa lily bulbs are starchy, and not unlike potatoes. The seedpods taste similar to fresh peas. They can be confused with death camas, so have a positive identification. Because of their perennial nature, mariposa lilies can be grown as a starch bank, to be used in years of need, and then slowly built up again in years of plenty. This is a plant that could support an agricultural industry supplying indigenous food crops, as healthy alternatives for the growing North American indigenous population.


They would fetch a pretty price and create a lot of culinary excitement. What’s more, with the renewing capacity of fire removed from the hillsides, extensive replanting would be of tremendous benefit to the ecosystem, especially to its most beautiful bees but also to the honey industry as a whole, and your neighbourhood vole would love you. Hey, love is good, right?


Open Agriculture, Day 1

Welcome to the idea of Open Agriculture, farming for the future made in cooperation with the planet. I have been collecting seeds and making notes about new crops for the coming drought culture. The good news is that there is enough water to grow a rich diversity of crops. Here’s one:



This spice thrives in the cool, wet climate of the spring, and in our wettest month, June, when its new leaves can be harvested for cilantro, then it can be left to go to seed in dry weather and harvested a second time, as a spice, in August or September. Some plants can be set aside and harvested for their intensely-flavoured roots, in support of Thai restaurants everywhere. It self-seeds and grows in spaces between other plants (I had some growing unobtrusively in my roses and in my potted rosemary).

An Okanagan spice industry? You bet.

Last week, I introduced the first draft of my completed project as a slide presentation at the Okanagan Institute in Kelowna. I am reproducing that event for you. I’ll have the opening for you tomorrow, in video and pdf.