A talking 229-year-old tree? + the thirsty dozen (of cities) …

Hi, this is Geoff.

Let’s jump right into this week’s Friday Five.

What I’m reading: Tree, by Melina Sempill Watts. An intriguing book that actually started out as a successful Kickstarter campaign. From the book’s synopsis: “Tree is a novel about a tree written from a unique point of view: the chief narrator is a tree. Tree uses magical realism as a key to access the interrelated emotional realities of the many species that share one pristine valley …. one California live oak whose 229 years span the evolution of four human civilizations, Chumash, Spanish/Mexican, Yankee and new money Hollywood, which each leave their mark upon the landscape and upon Tree. The author’s obsessive botanical, scientific and historical research give substance … Take a journey into the heart of the woods where every plant shines Tree will change how you see nature.” And if you’re the watching type and have 30 minutes to spare, you can check out a conversation with the author here.

Useful tool: I think one of most useful instruments to have in your kit as permaculture practitioner is the refractometer. It is small, simple, and easy to use and understand.  Not only does it give you a good indication of nutrient density, but also plant activity through starch increase and gives a good indication if your organic soil application is having positive results. You can pick one up here, and get a rapid 2-minute intro to its usage here.

Garden plots for rent: I love what Edmonton is doing here: “A City of Edmonton pilot program will rent out vacant city lands to gardeners for the 2018 growing season. For a $100 rental fee, gardeners who are approved can grow food or or flowers on municipal land starting April 1. The licence expires after seven months. Kathryn Lennon, a principal planner with the city, commented: ‘We could potentially change the landscape of the city and integrate edibles and flowers more widely into the environment that we see everyday.’” Go, Edmonton!

Cape Town, part 2 (and 3, 4…12?) Remember the previous Friday Five post about Cape Town’s water crisis? From the BBC: “According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that Cape Town is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other 11 cities most likely to run out of water.” The article then proceeds to detail an additional 11 cities that — unless something is done quickly — could be facing the same imminent crisis that Cape Town is facing, cities like Cairo, London, Tokyo and … Miami? Sobering.

Networks: It is impossible to understand permaculture without understanding networks, and this is a fantastic place to start: A must-read 3000 word thought-piece by Stanford professor Deborah Gordon. The tagline sums up the piece concisely: “Networks regulate everything from ant colonies and middle schools to epidemics and the internet. Here’s how they work.” If there is one long-form piece to read this week, this is a worthy candidate.

That’s it for the Friday Five. As always, if you have comment / reactions / a different point of view, please share below.

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,


2018-02-12T07:57:11+00:00Blog|0 Comments