Gary’s Blog: Encounter with a snake and small sermon etc….


Gary terracing

Gary terracing

The dogs love being with us in the shed.

The dogs love being with us in the shed.

March 28, 2015

From: Gary


This morning we finished carving the last garden terrace, in the lower downhill section along the creek. Yovany the neighbor kid showed up and was helping, chattering happily with Tami, as they dug with hoes. I was around the corner digging a through trail in a small landslide area, out of sight. Suddenly I hear them getting excited, Yovany had dug up a snake in a leaf-cutter ant hole. He told Tami to get back, and she saw that he was afraid himself as he shu-ed her away. They called me, and I got my machete, asked Yovany where it was and what color it was etc. he told me it was a toxic snake.

I finally spotted it in a hole in the carved bank and levered it out with the machete and hacked its head off. Tossed the body and buried the head etc. It was a “Vivera” (local name) and was orange-ish red in color with a brown-ish pattern, the head was small like a coral snake, but the body was a little fat, which is often common on toxic snakes. Then I had to yell at Tami to get away from where I buried the head in the loose dirt from digging, she didn’t realize that just the head could bite you. This particular type of snake is the most feared in this area. Our neighbor Daisy’s father, who homesteaded this whole valley, was killed when his foot went into a hole and one of this type bit him.

We looked in Tami’s tropical animals book, and it is not listed. Which isn’t uncommon. We often see things not in the books here.

So this was a fun way to finish off the garden terracing, making it a more memorable morning. And Tami was very appreciative of Yovany, who is her little buddy most of the time, and this morning may have saved her life.

She is learning more Spanish from Yovany than from anyone. He comes over most mornings when not in school, and they chatter away together, learning each other’s words..

Yovany also asked me if I gave his cousin Monica a homework assignment. It took me a minute to remember, and yes, I had written “Volunteers in technical assistance” (VITA) on a slip of paper and asked Beto to get it looked up, as a turn-on to their web site, so they would be able to see how low tech devices could be built for small agricultural projects like they want to do in their local co-op group.

If we can build the hydro powered vacuum food dryers, I would like to do a write-up for VITA, as it would be an appropriate technology in many places on the planet, and could be used to help alleviate some of the affects of the food crisis planet wide..

I have been thinking about the design, and have come up with several concept improvements in my head. Which is something I am addicted to; thinking on designs long term, until I get to what I call an “Absolute Design” where I can no longer think of any way to improve it. Usually after several epiphany steps.
I am also thinking on ways to get numbers on my experimental models, in a place where finding a vacuum gauge might be difficult to come across.

I have been a physics student since before I could read. I used to look at the drawings and pictures in physics books and figure things out.

Anyway, I am hoping the local co-op folks check out VITA, as it’s an amazing group and site. They have done much to empower people living in rural situations that are often ignored by their own governments. To me it is amazing that people can forget who grows the food, or let them live in poverty, whilst those who eat their produce live fat and with all the amenities.

“Tis the “human condition” usually caused by egocentric thinking or ignorance of the on- the-ground reality. I find it surprising that so many can be caught up in vanity and materialism, when life is so very short. What kind of legacy does self centeredness leave?
A house several times bigger than you actually needed? That you glorified in eating delicacies while children went hungry, that things passed though your hands from slave labor factories on the way to land fills, And that you drove around squandering fossil fuels and destroying the environment for the vanities of normalcy etc. Yeah-yeah, I know, nobody wants to hear it. And I am a rude jerk for even mentioning these things.

But if we do not look at ourselves, we are collectively blind.

Anyway, I am happy the terraces are done. Tomorrow we will start hoeing the slopes and planting corn etc. It’s another hard enough job, working on the slopes removing brush clump roots, and hoeing under the lighter stuff and under the chopped brush, but it will go faster, and soon the garden will begin to shape up into something very pretty. Tami has started planting manicillo, and has been keeping her herb plants watered. And soon we will be able to start propagating them. After planting, we will be working on the dog fence and getting the drive way rebuilt and rocked. And somewhere in all that, I need to get the tarps up for shop expansion of the shed, and eventually get tarp shelters up in the valley bottom and start working over that area into the permanent living area, so we can turn the shed into the cottage industry shop.

This piece of land could easily support a dozen humans at a subsistence level, and do so at a surprising standard of eating, due to climate and soil. But I think it is also wise, to be able to create things, or manufacture for sale etc., to be able to go beyond subsistence.

Plus there is so much unused potential here and over-looked logic, as in most of the developing countries, They go for things in an out of order priority because they see what they don’t have on the TV etc. and don’t realize that Americans didn’t get rich playing service industries, that there was a period of industrialization based on an agricultural foundation, and people who made things rather than bought them. So development tends to be patchy, and disjointed, and not an evolutionary process. They try to buy rather than make, accept rather than think for themselves, And they are often unaware of the current problems in the first world, caused by a society that has gone beyond practical into obvious decadency. They want what we have without realizing that we have made many very grave mistakes. And they don’t often realize, that they even have an opportunity to do something better.

Industrialization is not Nirvana. Credit is not wealth, and if you don’t build from the bottom up, structures tend to not hang in the sky.

We in the first world have some backing up to do. We are lost in the maze of our own lesser motivations. It would be good if we could do so very quickly, so that others would realize in time. With power comes responsibility. And we have been anything except responsible. Oh! Well! Huh? Certainly a cause and effect universe wouldn’t really do anything unpleasant to us? We are so special and wonderful! And so what if there are so many less fortunate. They must have made bad decisions, right? It couldn’t be that we were too piggy!

Anyway, that’s the news from the trenches here, along with the usual sermon. Hopefully by now people who don’t like what I write, have quit opening it. I don’t consider myself in a popularity contest, and mostly I write as a form of self expression, just as I wrote a journal for many years. Some of those notebooks are being digitalized by my son. Thoughts, drawings of inventions, something fun for the grandkids to dig through. I think maybe 40 notebooks…


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