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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Improve your gardening results with microclimates.  There are ways to make things wetter, dryer, warmer, or cooler as needed in addition to changing the soil chemistry.

One not mentioned in the article is using individual hugelkultur pits.  Dig a hole and fill it with logs.  Backfill with dirt to cover the top end of the logs.  Water until soaked.  Plant a tree, bush, or whatever you want over the pit.  Fill in the rest of the way, then top with mulch.  As the logs rot, they will become spongy and hold a great deal of water, the way rotten logs stay wet inside even during dry weather.

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I found this recipe for Red Heart Tea.  This would make a perfect "red drink" to go with soul food.  (It literally seems to be any  red-colored beverage, though it leans toward fruity flavors.)  With hibiscus and rooibos, it touches on traditional Afro-Caribbean ingredients before people started thinking of red drink as Kool-Aid or soda.  

This is why it annoys me when I see food pyramids that say only "drink water" without any healthy beverages listed.  There are lots of things that give you nutrients or other health benefits more than plain water.  Why shouldn't we take a cultural tradition and do something with it that is both delicious and healthy?

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Here are some tips on working with nature, instead of against it, in the garden.

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Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those.  This is the current list on self-awareness.

2. Do you engage in activities to escape your reality?

That is literally my profession.  Not only do I visit other dimensions, I bring back instructions for replicable ideas that other people can use if they, too, are displeased by this shithole society.  It is proving quite popular.

I also like to escape society by going outside and socializing with nature instead.  Dear assholes of the world: you are actually much less interesting to me than a fallen log.  I would rather talk to birds than you.

Reality is ... a lot more variable for me than most people.  I'm aware of so many layers.  If I don't like one of them, I can just switch.  Some are harder to evade than others.  Climate change, for instance.  But a lot of what people think is "real" is actually stuff that a bunch of humans made up and say  is real.  Bad laws.  Money.  Religious dogma.  Hell, I'm even aware that matter is nothing more than a bunch of whizzing bits of energy pretending really hard to be solid.  The core of reality is self.  Wherever you go, that's where you are, and you can't get away from you.  So try to make sure that you like yourself, even if you're stuck in a shithole society you don't want to be in and constantly work to escape so it can't belt you again.

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Here are instructions for building and siting barn owl boxes.  We used to have barn owls here, but later the great horned owls moved in.  I don't imagine the much smaller barn owls would like to be around the greats.

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Here are instructions for making pots to start seedlings from various household items

I don't start seeds indoors, I suck at that.  But I do spend time in spring cutting water jugs into greenhouses.  Take the lid off.  Cut the bottom off.  You can stop there, but if you want to put these around woody things, you should cut through the spout so it will split as the trunk grows.  If you'll be putting these over bigger plants, you may need to cut the spout off to make the hole bigger at the top.

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There are natural ways to garden through a drought

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You can fit adaptive gardening to anyone.   

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 ... tell a lot about a plant's needs, benefits, and possible allergens.

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Do you hate factory farms and global megacorps?  If so, encourage seed saving and local seed companies.   They produce varieties that are better adapted to each area's unique conditions.

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Gardening improves mental and physical health.

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Today is sunny and warm.  I saw a squirrel at the hopper feeder this morning, and a blue jay flying when I went outside.

Round One, I planted 7 scilla in the wildflower garden. 

EDIT 10/17/19 -- Round Two, I gathered wildflower seeds from partridge pea, blackberry lily, and northern sea oats.  Some I saved in envelopes for a friend.  Some I sowed in the prairie garden.

EDIT 10/17/19 -- Round Three, I planted 7 more scilla in the wildflower garden.  This concludes the currently purchased bulbs, although I may get more if I find any.  The places I usually shop haven't had many this year, and at least one Wal-Mart didn't get any at all.  :/  I never did find time to get up to Prairie Gardens and buy a cartload of small herbivore-resistant bulbs.  Mostly what I put out this year were scads of narcissus from Dad.  I'm looking forward to how those bloom in spring.  :D

The blue jays were screaming at each other in the prairie garden.  I heard at least three, maybe more.

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Here are some ways to improve clay soil on a large or small scale.  TL;DR -- add compost or other organic matter, plus sand if you can find and afford it. 

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