Mulching Day | Garden Update

Yesterday was mulching day. The sun came back and there were no clouds in the sky, so took the opportunity to work in the garden as well as soak in the sun :) Loads of wild plants are growing everywhere now, including in our garden. I love them and am constantly learning about their names, their roles in the ecosystem as well as if they are edible and/or medicinal. I avoided cutting too many of them as most are flowering now and therefore are super important for a variety of insects, including bees. So with my sickle, I tried to leave most flowers behind but still get enough green mulching to cover the soil around our crops.

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Mulch is extremely helpful in the garden, since it helps not only to enrich the soil with nutrients but also cover it in order to protect it from erosion and keep the water down, therefore avoiding evaporation. It’s especially important in Summer, when water is scarce and we want to keep the soil moist as long as possible.

We don’t have a greenhouse here. However, as the temperatures had been quite high during day and night, we thought that our seed trays were fine outside, on top of the water well. They received sun and we could easily care for and water them there. Now… as you know, there was snow a couple of night ago, and we weren’t expecting it at all… in the morning, when I looked at the seed trays covered in ice, I thought we had lost them all to the cold…

Well, I am super excited to say that our baby beans survived to the snow and are germinating just fine! Their “little heads” are coming out of the earth just now and they look super strong and healthy :D It’s such a beautiful moment to see them coming out of the earth, shy but with so much courage to putting themselves out there, even though they are so fragile…

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Regarding our other seeds, such as of melon, watermelon and pumpkin, so far no plants showing up… let’s hope they managed as well and will germinate soon. I can’t wait to eat my own garden watermelon when the peak of Summer strikes! ehehe

Besides our seeds, our fava plants are looking great, they bent a little bit with the snow but seem to be fine again. Our garlic plants are looking fantastic, only the onions suffered a bit last week when our neighbour decided to come with his brush cutter to our garden and “chop” the tops of some of them by mistake… let’s hope they manage to survive! We also have parsley and coriander growing, but no photos of them… Maybe next time :)

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F*ck Earth Day

Sorry but not sorry.

The initial idea was great… but the first campaign was in 1970. People, 1970!!! We are in 2016…

Is environmentalism made to last forever? An ongoing series of actions that give us the illusion we are moving forward when we are actually losing the battle… yes, because the Planet is collapsing and has been for many centuries now. The question is… until when can we afford to pretend everything is getting better when it clearly isn’t?

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Biodiversity declining, fresh water contaminated and misused, whole species driven to extinction, climate change, air pollution, soil erosion, clear cuttings, monocultures, bees’ extermination… When will we say enough is enough? When the air is no longer possible to breathe? When our water source is so full of chemicals that our children die from drinking it? When forests are no more than monocultures for the paper industry? When all soils have been eroded? When all dirt will be covered by concrete? When all our rivers have been damned? When our food supply will be cut half because all pollinators are dead? When??? What is your/OUR threshold?

We are on the verge of complete biotic collapse. (…) We are out of soil, we are out of species and we are out of time, and catastrophic climate change has already begun. We really need to start thinking as a resistance movement, because this is a war (…) and if anyone is left to look back 100 years from now, they are going to wonder ‘what the fuck was wrong with us that we didn’t fight like hell when our planet was going down’. Now you love something or you wouldn’t be here. Whatever you love, it is under assault. Love is a verb, we got to let that love call us to action.

Lierre Keith

(full talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLRr3yBZj-k)

You turn off the lights and recycle, I hear you say? Great! Really, any small action is important. However, we need a bit more than that. We need both a resistance movement and a regeneration movement. We need both to act against the current destruction cycle as well as work on the regeneration of natural places that have been destroyed. We need to find alternatives to the current system instead of trying to figure out how to “improve” it. Make no mistake: the current system is the one perpetuating ecocide and there’s no way to improve it because it is basically based on “development” and “constant growth”… and these always lead to violence, both against Humans (e.g. indigenous peoples) and all life on the Planet.

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Many people are working on alternatives to the current system, such as the permaculture movement. There are many regeneration movements happening at the moment, about which I can write on a future blog post. There are also many who work on other kinds of activism, such as protesting, lobbying, raising awareness and being present on conflict zones. The important thing here is that we need to unite. Doesn’t matter race, nationality, religion, we are all Humans of Planet Earth, and that should be enough for us to stop with horizontal conflicts (i.e. people losing time disagreeing on minor things, therefore being distracted from the real problems) and start looking up where the powerful and main destroyers of the Earth are.

I hope to write about this again in the future, but for now, make sure to take a look at the links below:

http://permacultureprinciples.com/

http://deepgreenresistance.org/

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=permaculture

Okay… rant is over! I know, not my typical post… but this is way too important to simply stay inside my head. And I have to add that my background is conservation biology and so I deeply appreciate all the efforts that all my “colleagues” (I don’t work on the field) as well as environmentalists on other fields are making in order to save species, spread awareness on the public and lobby against the further destruction of whole ecosystems. Nevertheless, I believe it’s very important to question if your work is making the necessary impact in order to actually stop the collapse of life on Earth. After learning that 93% of the Great Barrier Reef is bleached… anything less than that is simply not enough.

Filipa

Double Exposure | The Woods

I am the mountain and the salmon
I am the great oak and the sleepy bear
The river flows inside my body
And a million stars shine in my eyes
Any sense of separation is a mere illusion
Oh, we are told so many lies

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Text and Digital Art by Ana Filipa Crow

Maria “Piranha”

An evening out in the garden with Maria. While the sun was setting on the horizon, we played together. I find the following photos so funny because they really represent Maria on so many ways… wild, free, happy and… always trying to bite something! Yup, that’s her… Maria “Piranha”, as we call her :) ehehe

I like to think Maria is a very happy being. She is herself all the time, never ashamed of who she is… and that makes me smile a lot.

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In the Garden

Sunny Spring Days are… Gardening Days! It feels so good to be outside in the sun, making my hands all dirty :) Yesterday I selected seeds of watermelon, melon, two kinds of pumpkin and two kinds of beans – some were heirloom seeds from Pedro’s mother and others had been saved by us from the organic produce we buy locally – and placed them in small containers outside. Hopefully they will grow during the next weeks, so that soon we can change them to the land :)

Last season, due to the fact we had to move to a new home, we lost all our garden and had to start it all over again here. However, when we moved, the Summer had already started and we didn’t manage to grow that much food, unfortunately. Still, we did grow a lot of green and red beans, which was very rewarding! This year, though, I’m putting more effort in the garden and sow the right seeds every month, trying to go with the season and with the moon cycle. According to what I’ve learned so far, yesterday wasn’t actually the best time to sow because the moon was waxing, but… oh well, I did it nevertheless. I think it’s important to try and test for yourself what you read somewhere else, so let’s see what happens :)

Below you can check out some of yesterday’s gardening photos. Hope you enjoy them, and let me know if you also enjoy gardening where you live :)

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Exploring a new trail

Photos from yesterday’s walk with Maria. We decided to explore a new trail, actually very close to our house… I’m surprised we never noticed it before! It’s amazing how a single place can offer so much even after so many months of exploring it. And if we pay attention to the smallest details, then we will be surprised by the same wild place forever :) Hope you had a beautiful day!

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Do mountains and trees have personalities?

Personality

the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character

Do animals have personalities? Most people would say that many have. But… what about weeds, trees, mountains, wind, bacteria, rocks? Do they have personalities too?

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Every day I look at the mountains facing my living room, and every day they are different. They don’t move like humans, or talk like humans, or have eyes or mouths like us… and yet, they are alive. For many, this simple thought might be seen as ridiculous, a product of my imagination, an illusion of my eyes. Perhaps it is… perhaps it’s not.

However, personally, I don’t believe the mountains and trees facing my living room have personalities… I experience on my daily life that they have personalities, which is something quite different from simply believing it. You see, I am not a religious person. Perhaps spiritual is a better word, but still I prefer not to label myself. My background in science made me a critical person, and yet, I came to understand that science alone was not enough for me to truly understand and live on Earth. I had to experience her, come to know her personally, truly feel deep on my skin that I am family with the trees and animals and bacteria and rocks and stars. And so I decided that I would experience life on Earth – by observing carefully the small daily details, by spending time sitting on my balcony in silence and watch the leaves move with the gentle breeze or observe how the mountains change from brown in Winter to green in Spring or how the clouds caress their rocky tops. How dandelions colour our garden, how bees and beetles and ants and butterflies come alive and fill the air with their buzzing music, how birds sing and come greet us in unexpected ways.

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To observe the same mountain ridge and the same trees every single day for almost a year has definitely been an eye-opener for me. I got to know them. A whole year on the same wild place means you can see and experience all seasons and their in-betweens. I’ve experienced many days and nights here, some hot and some very cold, some with full moon and others with a sky full of stars, some with strong wind and thunderstorms and some with no breeze at all… I’ve experienced the fig tree full of ripe figs and the fig tree completely naked. I’ve experienced the trees lush green and then completely naked and brown and covered in snow… and then green again. And the mountains… now the sky is cloudy and the mountains are dark and gloomy… but this very morning, they were bright and light green and breathtaking.

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Winter

As I said before, all of these observations stand for nothing for many… they are not science, just observations, not enough to take conclusions. Besides that, how can we ever say something like “mountains have personalities”? Personalities are for people, and mountains are not people… right? Well… many indigenous peoples would disagree.

To become civilized has meant to divorce ourselves from the Earth and what who sustains us. No indigenous person living in total dependence on Nature would ever divorce him/herself from who sustains him/her. Nevertheless, we can’t actually do that either, no matter what our society, technology and TVs have led us to believe. If we truly wish peace, abundance and a life in harmony with Nature, we definitely need to come back to our roots and once again get to know the land we live upon and the living beings with whom we share it. And for that, we need to open our eyes and observe, we need to experience life and give value to those personal experiences. To see other beings – animate or “inanimate” – as having personalities, and therefore consider them as people, opens a gateway to a completely different world from the one that we are used to live in. It completely dismantles the idea that subjects and objects exist. As Graham Harvey wrote: “All that exists lives” and “all that lives is worthy of respect”.

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Once we change the way we perceive the world, there’s no way we can ever keep on believing what civilization and society have taught us since we were children: that we are separated from Nature and allowed to take and destroy as much as we need want, whenever we please, without ever showing respect or paying back.

Earth Jewellery

After a long break, I’ve decided to bring back my Earth Jewellery :) All the necklaces, pendants, headpieces and bracelets are 100% natural, handmade (by me) and biodegradable. Stones were found by myself while walking around local beaches. Hemp cord is used to make the jewellery. I am inspired by Nature, her simplicity and her colours. I am inspired by indigenous ways of living and by my ancestors that lived lightly on Earth. I am deeply honoured when someone purchases my Earth Jewellery because they support me, my family, my work and my creative process.

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There have been some amazing Spring days around here lately. Warm sun, 22ºC, a gentle breeze, few clouds, the trees and the mountains getting greener by the day, dandelions colouring the dark soil, insects buzzing, birds singing and flying around, fava beans and parsley growing strong in the garden…

Oh, I love Spring so very much! Everything is so vibrant and full of life, I feel more alive too! My hands are not cold anymore, nor are my feet. I can walk barefoot and wear a dress and feel warm and cosy. Today morning I spent a couple of hours just sitting in the balcony, admiring life around me. Just observing, just experiencing how everything is alive, from the trees to the rocks to the birds. I don’t want to just learn from others, I don’t want to just study theory, I want to experience how life happens and exists, and how cycles close and connect, and how I am so connected to that bee, that mountain, that dandelion…

A couple of days ago, on another amazing sunny day, I went to the bush to take new photos of my Earth Jewellery. Maria loved our walk too, and she photobombed – as usual – a couple of photos with her local friend, which we call Ivana (another black dog that looks so much like her! :D ) because we don’t know her name. We arrived back home so tired that neither of us left the couch that evening (except to eat, of course ehehe) :D

All my Earth Jewellery is available to be purchased at my online shop here. Hope you enjoy the photoshoot! :) Please share this post with any friend of yours that might be interested on my handmade art!

Muito obrigada!

(thank you very much in Portuguese) :)

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