Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Change the World Wednesday Challenge - 16th May 2012 - Permaculture, part 2

Following on from last weeks challenge of learning about permiculture, it is time to put the theory into practice for this weeks challenge:

Now that we've observed the area around us, let's use that knowledge to plant something. Choosing a location which considers rain fall, sunlight, "pests", etc., plant something using sustainable methods such as double digging, companion planting and natural pest control. Use natural compost instead of fertilizer. And
then ... come back and tell us all about it.

Or ...

If you've already planted, tell us all about the process ... did you choose the garden's location based on natural elements? Did you prepare the garden using double digging? Did you make use of natural compost and companion planting? How do you control pests? And, knowing what you now know about Permaculture, will you make any changes next year? We want to know everything.

Every year is a bit of an experiment, growing different varieties in different locations with varying results.  I have found that the factor which influences results most is the one we can least control: the weather.  Other factors, such as pest control and feeding the garden, are more controllable and I wrote about some of them here. I guess it comes down to not bringing in unnatural or unpleasant things and allowing nature in around the edges.

I must be getting something right because the garden is teeming with life. My daughter has been learning about mini-beasts at school and she was fascinated by this critter that she found under a stone:

I'm not sure I fancy the chances of the newly planted out turnip seedlings (below) with it and its friends about.

And it isn't only the creepy crawlies, this rather sociable little chap stopped by for a visit:

He first landed on the handle of my trowel a couple of feet away from me before moving to this stump by the time I took my phone camera out of my pocket. I had another couple of visits over the afternoon, not for my company but for the freshly dug soil and its bountiful supply of dinner!

And so on to the last task of the day, earthing up the potatoes we planted a few weeks ago:

These were the first earlies. The second earlies planted in the last week of April are just starting to break the surface. The potatoes in a sack that was in the west side of the garden has grown faster than the one on the east, but they may not have been planted as deep. I will continue to observe.

Last Weeks Permaculture Challenge:

Post script: Came home today to find not one, not two but three robins in the garden at the same time, so it may not have been the same one being very sociable!

Not all Metro Employees are Bad

Via @MedivalMetro After my 15 min wait, I was greeted by the sight of this lazy bastard reading in his folding chair. #WMATA http://yfrog.com/kffs4oyj

I've spoken to a lot of Metro employees over the three-plus years of working this blog. A lot of them are good people who are embarrassed by how far Metro has sunk. A lot of them feel helpless to turn the tide. They're just as frustrated, if not more, than all of us.

Moreover, if you think it sucks to ride Metro twice a day, imagine working there--all day!

Some of the crazy, bureaucratic stuff I've heard from employees is simply mind boggling. I wish I had a green light to publish all I've seen and heard, but alas, these people need their jobs, and Metro will punish them for talking to the media.

Yes, the fundamental right to freedom of speech is basically bullied out of a lot of Metro employees by an insecure management that doesn't trust them or want to hear any of their ideas.

But a few are brave enough to come forward here, and I take my hat off to them.

Lately, however, there's been a tendency, on Twitter at least, for riders to take pictures of every Metro employee they see who's not actively turning a screw or hammering a nail, labeling them as "lazy bastards."

More troubling, however, is being openly hostile to a Metro employee actually doing their job. This is from a Metro employee:
I had someone start yelling about Metro sucks this and blows that when I was offloading a train. He was at the far end of the train and was raising hell, "I ain't getting off this train, f*ck Metro" and so forth. Well, as people were exiting the train, I started toward the screamer. He saw me coming and turned toward me and took a posture of "lets go!" He looked like he was ready to fight. I kept walking toward him, and as he saw I wasn't going to run away, he turned and got off the train. As the doors were closing, and he was a mere five feet away (I was inside the train he was outside.), he tells me "f*ck you asshole, I should kick your ass for making me get off this train."
Seriously, don't do this.

This guy is simply trying to do his job. It sucks to get offloaded, but it's not the employee's fault.

Yes, there are "lazy bastard" employees and outright a-holes who work for Metro--too many. We should continue to call the bad apples out. I'm happy to put them on this blog.

But a lot of the "lazy bastard" employees you see out there may be sitting idly because Metro management can't get their act together.

I've run into Metro workers who seem to be milling around, and every time, I've gone up and struck up a conversation. Inevitably, it's some sort of SNAFU with management or some kind of interdepartmental squabble (and here) that's holding them up from getting the job done.

Next time you see a Metro employee "lazing" about, strike up a friendly conversation, ask them what's going on. Chances are, they'll tell you something that's much more interesting than meets the eye about how Metro operates. When they do, let me know.

Other items:
Two-city transit perv busted (Patch)
Dulles rail board spends $1 million studying itself (Examiner)
Purple Line funding uncertain (WaPo)