We Dragged out Another Bale of Hay

The horses were delighted, and what we learned is that it takes them about two weeks to eat one bale, even though the bale is small.

During that two weeks, all kinds of progress has been made in my lifelong effort to “catch up,” whatever that is. Probably the only way to catch up is to throw it all away and start over, but then we could be accused both of irresponsibility and of wastefulness, so we keep on trying.

Maybe we should judge progress by the reduction in the numbers of bales of hay. You will be happy to hear I’m not going to list everything we accomplished in the past two weeks, but maybe you will enjoy a few of the pictures I took at the Red Wasp Movie festival. Several photographers worked the show, so you will have to go to the Face Book page, about the time the next bale of hay rolls out. There will be more photos there — and around the middle of November the next hay-bale picture I hope will not include weeds in the background that are higher than the horses, I will have elected a President, and my health will be perfect. How’s that for a plan?

The Book Has Come!!

My test copies have arrived if you want to see one at the clubhouse. They are excellent. Small goof, two cover pictures, but hey, you can tear one off and give it to a friend. Or maybe I’ll fix that. The concern was color management and layout and all that kind of thing that needs to be moved from InDesign to a pdf to BLURB and then to the book. They did a great job on this little book, and affordable too. An excellent stocking gift if you order the soft cover.

It lists for $15 plus tax
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3631026
Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary
Photos by Lynn

Bare Bones Biology 129 – Community III

Community is a big deal these days, and community building is a hot topic. So lots of people are out there building communities; but what I hear them talk about – do they really know what a community is? And if not. How can they build one? I don’t see communities; I see dollar signs and dominance relationships, and while I’m sure you can’t have a community with no source of support and no defined relationships – also I know that dollars and dominance are not enough for a sustainable community. You can build a “network” that way, but not a community.

That’s a problem for humans, because humans are a social species. We cannot fulfill our deepest, inherited needs without community, and how can you build something if you don’t know what it is?

The social sciences. and the dictionary. define community as a group of people. Different definitions talk about different sorts of groups, but basically, they say a community is a group of people. Oxford American Dictionary – “A body of people living in one place or district or country and considered as a whole.” Well, OK, if that’s their idea of a community, then there is no reason for community building. We already have several billions of people in various groups on earth. That should be enough people, and enough groups. Clearly we need a better idea of communities, or we wouldn’t keep trying to build them.

The problem seems to be that we all have different ideas, and we all keep doing more of whatever we were taught to do – or not do. That’s what got us here in the first place, and I’m fairly sure you can’t cure a problem by doing more and more of what caused the problem in the first place. I think there is a different word for that – addiction, I think if we had a real human community we probably wouldn’t need addictions for a substitute.

The biological definition of community is very different from the social sciences definition. Biologically, a group of any one species (such as a group of people), the biological word for that is not community – it is population. The population of humans in College Station. The population of goatweeds on my ranch. The population of a certain kind of mosquito in the Brazos Valley.

The biological definition of community is: “all the plants and other organisms that live in the same area and interact with one another.”

So biologically, a community is ALL the organisms. Because they all do interact with each other, either directly or indirectly. All the populations in the Brazos Valley. The population of goatweeds and of mosquitoes and of humans – all those populations of organism together form the community of the Brazos Valley, along with all the millions more populations of organisms. When I say millions, we must consider the good rich soil of the bottom-land and all the other places where there are – yes – millions of different kinds of micro-organisms contributing to Life, if we haven’t killed them off, and all the plants and all the insects, the spiders that used to live here and everything else that is alive. That is the biological definition of community.

So it seems that everyone who is using the word community is not talking about the same thing – but we all are right. Whenever everyone is right, and they are all using the same words to mean different things, that is a perfect setup for arguments. But why argue? We do want the same thing; we only need to know what it is.

I believe a human community is a group of people who interact with each other in emotional and social ways very much like the organisms of a biological community interact among themselves in biological ways. Why? The function of biological communities is to promote the welfare of Life Itself. The valid function of human communities is also to serve Life — so that Life may provide for us the earth, air, fire and water that we require to maintain our human communities.

By that definition, I see very few human communities in this country. And very little community building.

LynnLamoreux@Yahoo.com

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing
this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at

Tags: community_building, biology, addiction, population, social_sciences, social_species, networks, community

Recommended References:
Previous Bare Bones Biology in this series on community
Bare Bones Biology 127 – community
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/
Bare Bones Biology 128 – community
https://factfictionfancy.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/

Odum, Eugene P. Fundamentals of Ecology, any edition, the “bible” of ecology
Krebs, Charles. 2008. The Ecological World View. University of California Press
http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520254794

David Suzuki

Oh, yes, finally you get to see the fruits of my labor. Two horses, approaching thin, delighted to be digging into that puny round bale that I dragged out for them. I was a little concerned they wouldn’t like it, as happened once or twice before, but no such problem here. I think they probably need a little help getting rid of worms and botfly larvae, and they will be in fine shape for pasture horses. Next step will be to spend a weekend mowing.

Tomorrow is the big day we place our offer for the place in Chama that has no name; it’s on the other side of the mountain from all those bears I told you about; and then we will take the lid off the pickup and take our horse trailer to someone to check the bearings and what-not. By March I will be more caught up and ready to roll than I have ever been in my life, and it’s taken only 13 years of retirement to get there.

Tonight, super tired. At my age we are supposed to be just hanging out, consuming medical things (that would cost half as much in Europe) to enrich the corposystem, and just generally being pitiful so the do-gooders can think their doing good is worthwhile.

Wait! I thought we women were liberated! Didn’t we bother to liberate old people at the same time? Or do we women stop being liberated when we get old? I didn’t hear anything about that in the contract. I do remember being liberated, and now – well, we Americans will do ANYTHING to force someone else into the position of pitiful so we can feel good about saving them. (Helpful hint if you really are pitiful, there is someone waiting for you out there who wants to be better than you – all you have to do is – well, this is a family show).

I suppose my time will come when I actually qualify for that kind of help, and clearly the corposystem, and a whole lot of ordinary folk, are doing their very best to make me believe it already has, but they haven’t convinced me yet, and every time they give me a phony reason boosts my ego just that much. The latest is that, since I have a hearing loss, and damn I can’t wear that hearing aid because of my chemical sensitivity – therefore I am in danger of becoming senile and depressed. Just because the birds don’t sing as pretty as they used to sing. Nothing I could do to prevent that, of course, other than buy one of their hearing aids.

I do have to admit, though – after spending an hour hauling out that round bale and then another hour boosting the dryer into the pickup – my body really does HURT!

But it’s not a bad hurt.

Reminds me of the days when I could do anything I wanted to do.

Well Finally

Finally found my long chain by the oldest method in the book. I bought a new one. It still took me about an hour to drag out that teeny weeny (about 600 pound) round bale, as my system involves also the availability of comealongs, both of which have also disappeared. But I guess it’s progress, or I hope the horses think it is. No pictures. Too busy trying to load the dryer into the pickup.

Finished the Bitsy book (see her below, that’s on the title page), and I’ve started a page for her, listed in the upper left corner, but there’s nothing much on it yet. You could help if you find her book on BLurb and send me the link. BLURB seems to send my computer somewhere else.

Bare Bones Biology 128 ¬ Community

Life, the living earth, has been created within the universe.

We humans are only one species out of a multitude that are parts of the sustainable phenomenon of Life; we are the “temporary living,” but we are not Life itself. To emphasize the difference between temporary organisms and sustainable Life, I capitalize Life. This distinction is more fully discussed in Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook, which is freely downloadable from the right side of my blog under the heading of “Chapters.”

The primary function of Life is to nourish and support the ongoing process of Life.

That’s why every part of life, whether or not it is aware, supports every other part. The output of one part of life is the input of others. Around and around, the process of Life functions sustainably, for its cycles never run down. They can be modified, according to the conditions of the internal or external environments, but Life itself never runs down because the cycles of which it is composed are all balanced. Each material is available when needed to maintain the balance, and every bit that is not needed at that time and place is mopped up and carried away to where it is needed.

Oxygen, for example, and carbon, and hydrogen are cycled and recycled, together and separately. The organisms, in their variety, serve as catalysts for all the processes that nurture Life. They capture the necessary energy and carry the information to operate the cycles of Life.

Life is a unique, integrated, interconnected process that humans, in spite of all our technologies, cannot emulate. Or maybe we could emulate it if we were trying, but we don’t try to support the processes that are necessary for Life. What we do try is to conquer, to win, to defeat, to subdue life using the power of our will and our magnificent brain.

We are an amazing species with a nervous system that ties us to each other and to all of Life through our emotions, our social interactions, our capacity for reason and manipulation and compassion, that have been created by the God-imposed process of evolution as a part of the living earth. The process of Life, moving through time carries us along as an integral, living, supportive part of Itself, but only so long as we accept what we are and enhance our position as a component of Life.

Our job on earth is to support Life.

Life and living organisms uniquely carry the code for their own replication. One might say that God bestowed upon matter and energy the code of Life, which gives Life the ability to sustain Itself by responding to the changing environment within which It exists. Life exists at the confluence of evolution, time, energy and the natural law of cause and effect. We humans are living organisms, subunits of the process of Life. That is, we are not Life itself; we are only temporary manifestations of the process of life, and we therefore cannot exist in the absence of the orderly and balanced processes that operate together to maintain Life itself. Life itself, so far as we know, is uniquely the living planet earth. We are not It.

But we are a powerfully endowed species that could easily destroy Life as it is now manifested (Life as we know it) if we continue to believe that we must fight for dominance over life in order to survive. Perhaps that was true in some distant past time, but in our present evolution our own lives and perhaps Life itself on earth depend on our ability to understand how to live in accord with the laws of the universe as they are manifested in the unitary Life, rather than trying to change the laws of nature and bring them to heel like a conquered enemy.

To do this, to understand how to live in accord with the laws of the universe, we need to grow an intimate understanding of our power as communities.

This blog is an expanded version of Bare Bones Biology radio program that is playing this week on KEOS Radio, 98.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. The podcast can be downloaded at
http://www.BareBonesBiology.com
(Thanks to Joe Smith for editing and feedback)

Recommended References

Bare Bones Biology Energy Handbook – freely downloadable, no strings

Click to access pages_std-portrait-barebonesecology100627-finalfinalprinter.pdf

Bitsy Says — What About Me?

And the answer is, Bare Bones Biology is more important, but I will eventually get caught up with Bitsy’s Dog Park Diary, and it will go on sale — when? ASAP.

I keep getting emails about how to launch a book, but I haven’t had time to read the emails because Bitsy is yapping at me, and I’m too busy trying to finish the book. And after that the very long awaited story of my journey into the future (which has already become yesterday) called “Outside the Circle.” But that’s maybe in a couple of weeks. Right now — here’s a preview:

Bare Bones Biology 127 – Community

Now that I am back from my trip, you will not be surprised to hear that I did not find any answers to the big questions. The biggest thing I learned is that nearly everyone I spoke with uses the same words to mean different things. Words are almost the most important things about being human, and the whole point of having words is so we can work together as human “communities,” because cooperating groups can accomplish more, working together, than any one person can accomplish alone. But that effort all falls apart in frustration and irritation if we are each using our same words to mean different things.

So I want to talk about community, because we humans are all hepped up right now about community-building. Maybe defining the words I used above, human and community, might be a good start, but let’s go back even farther. I have met people who do not know the meaning of the term earth, and there could be no humans and no communities and no life without the earth. So let’s start there.

One meaning of earth is a rather upscale word for dirt, isn’t it. Just plain old dirt that could be good dirt for growing food, or mountaintop dirt, or even the clay in the Brazos Valley. That’s the dirt we must have to stand on, build houses on, and grow our food. That is the first meaning of earth, but it’s not what I want to discuss.

What I’m talking about now is the whole planet Earth, the big blue and green and brown living marble as it is seen and photographed from a space ship. That earth is a living, breathing bit of life, floating in space. In fact, that earth is the only complete, self-contained unit of life that we know about in all the universe.

The whole living earth has several names. Biosphere is a term used in The Ecological World View, written by Charles Krebs. Krebs says: “Ecosystems consist of communities and their physical environment.” And he says that: “. . . they can be aggregated to include the whole earth ecosystem, or biosphere, which is sometimes called the ecosphere.” So the only complete unit of life that is not part of some other bit of life – the only one in all of space that we know about – the words that describe that amazing thing, are the earth or the biosphere or the ecosphere. Sometimes I like to call it the whole earth ecosystem, but the term ecosystem can be confusing because the whole earth ecosystem is made up of subunits that are also called ecosystems. And besides that, the same word has been widely used by the corposystem to apply to all sorts of combinations of things that are not really ecosystems. So no wonder we get confused some times.

A non-technical term for the whole living earth is Gaia, the concept introduced by James Lovelock. Sometimes I use this term to emphasize that the whole earth biosphere is a complete, stand-alone living thing within the universe.

The earth is not the universe. The universe is everything. All the stars and planets and moons and space and sun and energy and matter and everything that we don’t know about. The planet earth is only a small part, a tiny part of that, but the planet earth is important to us because it is the place that gives us our own lives. To do this, the planet makes its own food and water and climate and atmosphere and all the living things. It does this to stay alive.

The basic function of life is to perpetuate life.

And so the next question is, what has all that to do with community?

Bare Bones Biology is a completely nonprofit project. This edition aired on KEOS radio, 89.1 FM. The audio is available at http://www.BareBonesBiology.com. We use the .com because we also refuse to become or behave as an integral part of the corposystem that is destroying both our lifestyles and our place in the communal life of earth.


Recommended References

Krebs, Charles. The Ecological World View.
Margulis, Lynn. Symbiotic Planet. Amherst, MA: Basic Books, 1998.
Lovelock, James. The Vanishing Face of Gaia. New York: Penguin Books, 2009.