Soil sampling with Dave Smith

Today, Dave Smith from Applied Sciences brought down his soil sampling kit and he, Kat Dunlop and I extracted seven soil samples from both The Lions Gate and kitchen allotment sites. This work forms one of the scientific anchorings of the whole project, from which research can be baselined. The samples will be analysed for organic content, life, and toxicity. We’ll build up a soil profile too.

Auguring - if such a word exists...
Auguring – if such a word exists…

Huge thanks to Dave and his enthusiasm for the project on what was a very cold day and an even colder auger to continually hammer into the ground. Very much hoping that this spells an interdisciplinary relationship that enables many fruitful cross-school partnerships long into the future.

Soil sampling The Lions Gate and kitchen allotment
Soil sampling The Lions Gate and kitchen allotment

Permaculture Association’s LAND Certification for The Lions Gate

Today Kat Dunlop and I met at Merchiston with permaculture pioneer Graham Bell to go over our LAND certification application with the Permaculture Association of Great Britain. LAND certification anchors our project as a locus of permacultural activity and enables it to gain support from the Permaculture Association, whilst opening it up as a permaculture learner and demonstration centre – whereby interested groups and individuals can come and learn about our project and take part too.

Kat and Cal going through LAND Certification with Graham Bell
Kat and Cal going through LAND certification with Graham Bell

Bird feeders

It’s quite astonishing how little bio-diversity there is at Merchiston campus. It’s basically a series of concrete boxes, on a mono-blocked floor. There is almost no soft landscaping, everything is an angle.

We do however have a resident Robin (Erithacus rubecula) in the Lions gate, so I’ve hung up two bird feeders to encourage this avian companion to stick around and to encourage more birds to visit the site. One hangs on the Mahonia (commonly known as Oregon grape), so that the staff in the library office can enjoy the view, and another on the Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) so that staff and students in the main part of the library can share the same simple delight.

I’ve seen photos of a fox on campus and caught sight of a blackbird once too. Is that really it?

The installation of ponds on both sites should help to redress this poverty.

It’s crucial that early on in our design process we attract as much wildlife as possible to kick-start ecological processes that will aid good health in all its guises.

Bird feeder at proposed garden entrance/reception area
Bird feeder at proposed garden entrance/reception area
Bird feeder on Rowan in proposed entertainment area
Bird feeder on Rowan in proposed entertainment area

Nature, Technology & Modern Life

C.G Jung
C.G Jung

Reading C.G. Yung on Nature, Technology & Modern Life. Wonderful text from which I will post quotes here.

“The word ‘matter’ remains a dry, inhuman and purely intellectual concept…How different was the former image of matter – the Great Mother – that could encompass and express the profound emotional meaning of the Great Mother.”

“Without my piece of earth, my life’s work would not have come into being.”

“Man…is a top animal exiled on a tiny speck of a planet in the Milky Way. That is the reason why he does not know himself; he is cosmically isolated. He can only state with certainty that he is no monkey, no bird, no fish, and no tree. But what he positively is, remains obscure.”

“We need to project ourselves into the things around us. My self is not confined to my body. It extends into all things around me. Without these things, I would not be myself; I would not be a human being. I would merely be a human ape, a primate.”

“Civilised man…is in danger of losing all contact with the world of instinct – a danger that is still further increased by his living an urban existence in what seems to be a purely man-made environment. This loss of instinct is largely responsible for the pathological condition of contemporary culture.”

“The dream is a hidden door into the innermost recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night…All consciousness separates, but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of the eternal night. There he is still whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all egohood.”

“The dreaming function in mammals is approximately 150 000 000 years old.” (Anthony Stevens)

All watched over by machines of loving grace

I like to think (and
the sooner the better!)
of a cybernetic meadow
where mammals and computers
live together in mutually
programming harmony
like pure water
touching clear sky.

I like to think
(right now, please!)
of a cybernetic forest
filled with pines and electronics
where deer stroll peacefully
past computers
as if they were flowers
with spinning blossoms.

I like to think
(it has to be!)
of a cybernetic ecology
where we are free of our labors
and joined back to nature,
returned to our mammal
brothers and sisters,
and all watched over
by machines of loving grace.

Richard Brautigan