This is My Entire Broccolli Harvest


So —

Of course I have just been asked to make a demonstration organic gardening plot in Dulce.

Bare Bones Biology 210 – Garbage In, Rule 3

You know the old saying about computers: “Garbage in, garbage out.” This is also true of our human brains unless we think carefully about what we choose to believe — and compare our world view with reality. Reality, as Michael Dowd says in the video below (link), is what “doesn’t go away when you stop believing in it.” Death, for example, is a reality.

This is another reason why it is so important to learn how to effectively discuss the important realities in our communal lives. Death is only one of these important realities. How can we make sensible decisions about any reality if we refuse to see it? If we cling to the fantasy that the glass is always half full, when the reality is – it’s also half empty? If we don’t believe in the reality that all problems and their solutions have both the yin and the yang – both good and bad — we cannot do a good job of discussing and solving problems. We are likely to end up like Beatrice in Dick Francis’ novel Bolt, whose pleasures were: “a way of passing time that had no other purpose: a vista of smothering pointlessness, infinitely depressing.”
What is the purpose of your life? Mine is to help grow a reasonably comfortable, sustainable, human community within a healthy Biosystem on this earth. For the grandchildren. It’s good to know what your purpose is, because if you don’t know what you are trying to do, then you can’t really enjoy doing it. Discussion rule three is to ask the right questions, and you can’t ask the right questions if you don’t know what you are trying to do.

For example, I was asked to participate in a discussion related to a post on FaceBook, that claims we could get a lot of energy from wasted space by using the paved surfaces in the country; roads, parking lots and the like. Apparently there is a way to remove all the old pavement and replace it with a new material that can collect solar energy from sunlight and change it into electrical energy that would be sufficient to fulfill all the energy needs of our country. I was asked if this is feasible?”

The question left me tongue-tied because I do not see how that question relates to our common purpose, which is to help grow a reasonably comfortable, sustainable, human community within a healthy Biosystem. Furthermore, the question implies that we have a right to do anything we want to do so long as it is feasible, and I certainly cannot except that assumption.

What is the right question? The first question I would want discussed is: “Will that technology help us accomplish our goal?” And then, will it accomplish the goal more effectively than some other technology that is already well developed? Do we already have solar energy resources that are sufficient to fulfill the energy needs of our country if only we would use them? Is there time? In making this solar asphalt, how much petrochemicals are needed? Is this just another scam to sell more OIL rather than to solve energy problems? What are the energy problems of humans on earth today?

This requires some deeper inquiry. I suggest Lester Brown’s web site and books, and in the meantime, I can very confidently tell you that our biggest energy problem is not about electricity or even petrochemicals. Our biggest problem for a humane life on earth is a shortage of food for humans and other species on earth. That leads us to inquire about why we humans cannot exist without the healthy Biosystem, and that answer is easy — because only a healthy biosystem can make our air, water, soil and climate. (download free Bare Bones Ecology Energy Handbook) linked under “Chapters” on the home page of this blog,

And finally we get to the real question– if we pave over all the earth in order to make electrical energy – how can we possibly promote a healthy biosystem to make our air, water, soil and climate – and food? If we want to survive, we must stop interfering with this process.

Rule number three – if you want the right answers, discuss the right questions; that is, questions that are relevant to your overall long term purpose. If you don’t have a purpose, discuss that.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas.

A copy of this program can be downloaded at:
Michael Dowd –
Dick Francis, 1986, BOLT

For Discussion

Michael Dowd has stated my belief system perfectly. That is not a reason to not discuss; more it is a reason to discuss, challenge, research and wonder if maybe he is right and all this human argumentation that’s been going on is pointless and harmful to the future of all of Life.

I am going to save this one and watch it from time to time because it is what I have been trying to say all along.

Bare Bones Biology 209 – The New Ethic

“When I see real discussion, I see the new ethic. Inquiry and discussion. Because with inquiry and discussion eventually comes understanding, agreements and win/win solutions. “It’s human nature and it’s as simple as that. Anyone can do it.” That’s what I said last week (

Hah! You know as well as I do that inquiry and discussion are not simple. Far from it. But I only have about 600 words here, and my point was that I hear roars and echoes of complaints from people who could instead, in their very same social interactions, be discussing and solving problems. What good is all this complaining and blame-placing and “aint-it-awfulling?” (Games Eric Berne, People Play; Bare Bones Biology 072-More corposystem games,

Of course, these games fulfill our human need for community. In fact, I will claim it is how the corposystem models our behavior in its program to “divide and conquer” we-the-people. This is bad and that is bad and someone should do something about it. It’s also time wasted – whole lives wasted complaining. Our human need for community could be very much better fulfilled by discussion and problem-solving, and in the end we would have something to be proud of. So that’s the point, isn’t it. There is nobody to blame. “We have found the enemy and it is us.” Or rather – just do it. It’s the least you can do, and probably it’s also the most you can do.

As humans, we are not responsible for behaviors we cannot do, but we are responsible to try to model our own behaviors to do more good than harm on this living Earth. If we remain stuck within the “old ethic,” (the corposystem ethic, which is old only to people under about 30 years of age), we can’t see how to achieve our goal because the corposystem ethic blinds us to the self-evident — that is the purpose of the corposystem ethic – to dominate, divide and conquer we-the-people.

The corposystem ethic of obfuscation, manipulation, growth, dominance and profit is not, in fact, the human ethic. Humans are not so simple-minded, nor so unprincipled. The human ethic has not changed very much since the axial age, but that is another story you might want to research and discuss (Karen Armstrong, The Case for God). The “new ethic,” the human ethic, has been alive and well on earth for several millenia. I mean discussion around the campfire or the dinner table for fun, companionship and problem resolution, a behavior that humans, as social creatures, instinctually crave. I do not mean sitting around the campfire, dinner table or local beer joint complaining about problems that we are not trying to resolve, and blaming other people that we can’t, which is the divide-and-conquer behavior that the corposystem models.

All we need to do is study and evaluate how the same-old, well considered ethic can be applied to modern circumstances, and we begin by ignoring propaganda and proceeding directly to problem solving by inquiry and discussion rather than by domination, obfuscation and manipulation. (Bare Bones Biology 150,

The New Ethic, rule number one, inquiry and discussion (Bare Bones Biology 208 – The New Ethic, Rule number two is not to curl up in a little ball and wisp away when your opinions are challenged. That’s not discussion. If the first step in the discussion does not seem to fit the question or the need, or the two of you disagree, then comes the most important step in the discussion. You both need more information. Find a library, or a university, or another person who has a different perspective. That’s inquiry, and it’s not really that complicated. It’s not about your background or your existing expertise. You simply learn how to ask the right questions, and if you ask the wrong question – try again. And LISTEN to the answers.

Expand the discussion from where you are right now when the questions arise. You can even do that all on your own if you are able to check your facts and visualize various world views. But it’s better to begin with three people because no problem has fewer than three possible solutions. If you can think of at least three possible solutions, you are on your way to become a problem-solving genius.

In the next two weeks I’ll have examples from viewer feedback, and then I’ll give you rules number 4 and 5 of the “New Ethic.”

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM, in Bryan, Texas.

The podcast of this program can be downloaded at:

The “New” Ethic Rules:

1. The “New Ethic” is our individual human responsibility to the welfare of the whole community of Life. At the root of the “New Ethic” is Inquiry and Discussion of issues that are important to the welfare of the human community. Anyone can do this because it is an inborn human capability, but it takes practice to do more good than harm in discussion. The sooner you begin the more practice you will have.

2. If the discussion falters, ask questions and listen to the answers. That is the inquiry part of the equation.

3. No person is responsible to do more than she can. The enormity of problems is neither an excuse to do nothing, nor a reason to do short-term fixes that cause more harm than good. If you can’t be the hero, you still have the obligation to do what you can do. If you are causing more harm than good, you are doing less than nothing and working harder for it. This is an important reason why plans of action should be thoroughly discussed among people with various expertise.

Karen Armstrong. The Case for God. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Eric Berne, Games People Play

Meantime, Somewhere Above 7000 Feet

An average day consolidated from an average week if there is such a thing.

We have moved into the faithful travel trailer for sleeping, because it is devoid of toxic man-made substances and mostly lacking normal environmental challenges. In the cabin, we were attacked by assassin bugs. This can be serious. So now we park at least 300 feet (or is it yards, as far away as we could get without being sideways on a hill like one of Dr. Doolittles creatures.) It is very pleasant. We can watch the sun go down in the warmth of its own lifegiving light, cooled by a nice breeze consisting entirely of clean air that is God’s gift to the commons. Or it was until we the people decided we should use it to dispose of our toxic trash.

140608-Canyon-ASC_9321RLSss copyAnyhow, all that aside, we wake up whenever it’s time. Time seems to be sunrise, except that our personal sunrise is about two hours later when it finally tops out over the highest cliff in our area. The one in all the pictures. But, Bitsy and I both know when it’s time to get up, though we don’t know why or how, and so we do. Usually, until this week, it is frosty, so we have plenty of warm clothes ready to jump into, except Bitsy, who has lost both of the sweaters I bought for her.

We are parked right next to the road, but as there are only two people living beyond, we usually see no one. Last evening Bitsy invited Denver to stop, and he came down to carry the old stove out of my way at the cabin, and then drove on another half mile or so to his place.

Today we jumped in the car and drove back down to the cabin, which is still warm from yesterday, opened up the opposing doors to clear out yesterday’s air, fed Bitsy, reset the solar panels and the solar oven, shut the gate to keep Bitsy in until the sun comes over our peak, and sat down to desk for a couple hours of work.

Bitsy, all excited again, I thought Denver must be leaving because she was giving a full-on happy human wiggle, but it turned out to be a mother elk and new baby, walking across our front yard where the water used to be (I guess I need to get a new tub, this one seems to have sprung a leak over winter) and then up the road to the gate. I know this not because I saw them but because I put on Bitsy’s harness and lead and followed her up where there were tracks in the dust of the road, and then down to the gate.

140613-lilacs-ASC_9380Rss copyI had shut the gate, because of the cows that I told you about previously, and of course not thinking that a baby elk would not be able to get over it. The tracks showed that they turned back at this point, so I opened the gate and see if that helps. They only need to go a quarter mile southeast or northwest, where the fence ends, so I’m not worried about them. Except for no water, they are safer on my place, but of course the mother needs water. By this time, the sun was creeping down the hill past the trailer toward the cabin, and so I turned Bitsy loose and, still with my red coat and pink stocking cap, I went to sit on a rock, checking carefully for rattlesnakes, just where the front edge of sunlight struck the side of our hill, and watched these pretty little flowers bobbing in the breeze. There is almost always a breeze morning and evening as the canyon opens its pores to breath.

On this particular morning, a low-flying private plane, not an oil company plane, it was noisy and had square wingtips, accompanied the sun, rising over the top of the cliff and flying very low to it. “What is this?” I said to myself, shading my eyes to watch it circle overhead, and it did circle when it saw me, right around my position and back again over the rim of the canyon and disappeared from sight and sound.

“What on earth? How long since I have been on line? Are my friends worried about me again?” Then I remembered balmy clear evenings on my front porch in Bryan, listening to planes flying overhead without lights. But those planes were even more quiet than the oil company ones. And it was actually the next day that the elk went by with her child and then I finally put two and two together. Hunters. Out of season, out of sight, except for me. I have perhaps become guardian to my mother elk. Better replace that water trough.

And I got up and started shedding garments and set up the solar panels facing the sun and put some water in the solar oven to heat up for coffee, and generally began the morning chores, hauling water, watering our wimpy garden, washing things, following Bitsy around to locate the latest mouse/rat access into the house, and blocking it off before sitting down to the computer again to finish the podcast.

Later in the day, Bitsy cornered a rattlesnake in the back yard and stood guarding it while she barked her special rattlesnake bark, for me to come and deal, which I did, (no I did not throw it into the stew that was brewing in the solar oven, but of course I should have) and then back to the computer again, recycle the chores, and off up the hill to bed.

And there is the occasional trip for food, drinking water was $1.15 per gallon refill this morning. Egad. Yesterday we went up to Pagosa Springs to Abraham Solar, because now that I have internet access I have not enough energy to use it (they told me that modem uses 4 watts, but it seems to be more like 40, which is about twice what I could use and still store some energy for later) and this morning I went over to the Jicarilla reservation Laundromat because I have been for two weeks ace’d out of my regular Tuesday laundry facilities by a bunch of tourists. Smog, too, all around, but the canyon continues reasonably comfortable, and so that is where I will plan to be most of the time. I am having a rather impressive lesson in microclimates.

The Annex is for sale: Perfect for two horses and big enough for a family – fenced in 2 x 4 woven wire.

Bare Bones Biology 208 – New Ethic

I believe the corposystem is actually moving, just a little, at the bottom levels, which is where it must move if we are to make any real changes. And I see more and more people who understand that we humans have painted ourselves into a lethal corner. I see that our urgent need now, if we are to survive, is to concentrate on describing the new ethic, or world view, that we must grow if we are to save ourselves. Trying harder within the old corposystem ethic will only increase the problems that it has created.

We take it for granted, our world view. All humans do; it’s part of how our brain works. But that’s our challenge now. If we want to take responsibility for growing something really fine out of the old mess, we need to question and discuss everything we believe – especially everything that we take for granted.

140608-Canyon-ASC_9321RLSss copyThis last part, individually taking responsibility for the new ethic, I do NOT see happening. What I do see is the same old cycle and recycle of past mistakes – the yin and yang of the corposystem world view, around and around, back and forth from one extreme to another, neither extreme sustainable. It is true that more people are asking good questions, but unfortunately it seems also that more people are coming up with bad answers.

The only way to change our ethic is to discuss these ideas outside the box of the old ethic, and that is more or less what Bare Bones Biology has been doing for the past four years. But frankly what I also see is a lot of people who look right at the new ethic and do NOT SEE IT AT ALL. It is fascinating how people can listen to what is being said and not hear what is being said but simply convert it to something different that is not what was meant in the first place, but is inside of the corposystem ethic. That is one way a system (or ethic) maintains itself.

Our problems cannot be solved by converting every new idea into a different version of the same toxic corposystem ethic. It would be far better to convert the corposystem ethic into a new world view that is based in constructive communication and factual reality. We do this by growing our skills in inquiry, discussion and evaluation.

Our inquiry and evaluation should consist of comparisons. The toxic corposystem ethic is based on growth, debate, competition and dominance, either by force or by manipulation. Growth beyond balance is not an option because it unbalances all the other parts of Life. We can’t survive that. Does your new ethic espouse growth? Then it is not a new ethic, it’s the same old growth ethic, no matter how compassionate it may be. Does your new ethic involve debate, competition and domination by force or by hype or by dishonesty? Then what you are doing will empower the corposystem. Make it stronger. That is not the new ethic.

If we want to reach a common goal/vision we must overtly recognize it – and it must be: sustainable human survival within a healthy Biosystem. Otherwise humans won’t be here on earth, and whatever else we want can’t happen. Then we must at least try, individually and/or collectively, to research and discuss until we can find positive solutions to our human problems. That must be our new ethic.

I do not see us discussing anything. Dissing yes, ignoring unpleasant realities, arguing, fighting, lying in order to “win,” and trying to use human emotions to resolve problems that are not about humans but are nevertheless essential to our common goal/vision. But I do not see discussion.,

If I did see discussion — inquiry and discussion — I would be seeing the new ethic. It’s as simple as that, and anyone can do it.

For the podcastof this program,go here:

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS FM 89.1 in Bryan, Texas

Meanwhile, at the Simple Life – 140601

I think my solar oven has arrived ☺ !!

Hot water
Assam Golden tip Tea
Where did I put that cowboy cook book? As I remember it assumed one would have all sorts of ingredients that one is unlikely to have handy barring a refrigerator. Odd. Oh, refrigerators don’t seem to take much by way of amps – not like heating water — no, the computer is more important.

But not sure because of course the notice arrived in my mailbox on Saturday and I took it out of the mailbox after the PO was closed. ☹ So will drive out tomorrow and see. I am quite eager for some real food. Maybe a tuna casserole?

Also, my vegetables have started to grow.


Even though all danger of frost has obviously not passed, this morning it was warm enough to wear my red and white fuzzy Christmas shirt from Jo Ann, but unfortunately before noon it was so hot I had to take it off.

Otherwise, now have internet access on those days there is enough electricity, so the next and final addition to this property will be a couple more solar panels, and after that it will be subtraction efforts: rats, mice and assassin beetles. Rats have been very substantially discouraged, mice are about even (tell you that story some other time, Bitsy not keeping up her end), assasin beetles are a concern. I don’t know about the bear; someone claims to have shot her. I was happy with that one once I realized she didn’t want to talk to me any more than I wanted to talk to her. Rattlesnakes substantially reduced by mowing, but keeping the battery charged is going to be improved by additional solar. And yes, I would rather deal here than live nauseous, as I did most of last winter in Bryan, because someone else wants to use my air to dump their garbage.

— And my water – check out the Wellborn Special Utilities District (that now includes OSR) report of violation of clean water rules in Brazos County. Wonder how that trihalomethane got into our water supply. I bet that’s one of the ingredients they use in the fracking fluid !! ) If you don’t have a copy I’m sure they will send you one, and if they don’t I can. —

The rug might have to go, but perhaps washing will be enough. I tried to rent a washer but it didn’t mention how many watts of power it pulls, so then I came home and researched and found that watts equal volts x amps. We know the volts is generally always 120, and I think I remember the amps was 2. If so, 240 amps seems very reasonable for a monster machine. Must be wrong. My little plug-in coil that heats only one cup of water is about 240, and this is a monster machine. If so, the generator could easily run it, but I’m not sure I could get it in and out of pickup. It is a monster machine. And I would rather not run the generator.

So I bought a spray can of something that is supposed to clean up urine stains, but the problem with ALL modern sprays that claim to have no smell is that they very likely contain a chemical that attacks your sense of smell receptors in your nose and it MAKES ME SICK (literally, nauseous) and I can’t smell it, which I consider to be the most heinous attack on my well being, to create things that make me sick and I can’t tell I am breathing them until I get sick. Which, of course, is why I am sitting here in the pristine wilderness. Perhaps the substance has a name, but actually it’s not one of what they would consider to be the “active ingredients” so they very likely will refrain from listing it.

So, I have moved back in to the trailer and will do some work on the cabin in absentia. Can’t be all bad for me, but of course it is all bad for the pristine wilderness and everyone else who needs clean air to be healthy.

Almost caught up from moving to the point where the receipts get posted and whatever is in the mailbox gets dealt with timely

Bare Bones Biology 207 – The Philosophy of Common Sense

I have been listening to an entry level university course that can be obtained from The Great Courses ( Entry level means it’s meant for college freshmen.

“The Quest for Meaning: Values, Ethics and the Modern Experience.” by award-winning U. Texas professor Robert H. Kane. He discusses one of the dilemmas that we modern humans face: “Whether there are any objective values, or whether all judgments about good and evil, right and wrong are merely subjective expressions of personal feelings or attitudes.” And then he discusses “two of the most influential intellectual movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: positivism and existentialism.”

Positivism, he says, emphasizes science as the source of all knowledge, while existentialism emphasizes personal experience as the source of all knowledge. Yet, he says, “both tend to lead, from opposing directions, to subjective views about value.” Of course, he says a lot more than that, and eventually he emerges with the concept that there are levels (he refers to them as dimensions) of values.

Well, certainly I as a basic scientist can agree that nearly everything we experience is organized in levels of complexity ( Have I not been talking about levels of biological organization for some years? Do not most of the religions talk about levels of one thing or another? The concept of levels seems to be universal, and the concept of levels of organization is embedded in nearly everything biological, especially evolution, suggesting that we all are observing the same sort of universal organization of reality from the perspective of our different contexts.

Frankly I wish someone would force philosophers to take biology courses that stress the reality that: “Evolution is the ultimate explanatory framework within which everything about human behavior and mental experience has to be accounted for.” That from Thupten Jinpa Langri, the Dalai Lama’s interpreter (, who I believe to be one of the great modern philosophers.

The fact is that we all live in the same world, and levels of organization is a reality of that world, and at the highest level we humans are all experiencing our existence within the same realities that none of us can completely understand. I think it’s past time we sit down and discuss realities and facts, rather than debate lower-level trivia. And the first discussion would be – do we have an ethical obligation, as humans, to do something in response to those realities and facts.

But before we can do that, we need to somehow point out to the Western philosophers two things:

1 – At the highest levels of biology and of human thought it can be shown that humans are not the center of much of anything. We have already learned that humiliating fact quite a few times: humans are not the center of the universe, the solar system, or even the Biosystem,

2 – But we seem unable to conceive of the idea that the needs (values) of systems other than our own, such as the Biosystem, are not necessarily extensions of our own human values/needs.

The fact is that we are part of a network of interacting processes and influences, including both the Facts of how Life stays alive, and the realities of human needs. It’s a network of levels of organization, and networks do not exist on the basis of two-sided questions and arguments, nor on the basis of central anything. Either/or, either/or, either/or; I think that is a perversion.

As far as I can see, the best guide for what is right is the most good for the greatest
number, which is also expressed within another world view as reducing the suffering of all sentient beings. And the only way to accomplish that is to stop wasting our energies trying to win debates, and instead but ourselves to the effort to arrive at a sustainable, balanced world view — within the network of Life. I know one thing for sure, it is NOT good to increase the suffering of even just human beings, and that is exactly what we are doing every time we choose our win-lose approach to anything, over win-win-win solutions to everything.

Podcast address

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS FM Radio, 89.1, Bryan, Texas.