Biomimicry and Growing Hops

September 3, 2015

 Life started on Earth 3.8 billion years ago.  To give perspective on this:  if the entire history of Earth was condensed into one calendar year, life doesn’t appear until almost spring, on Feb. 25.  Sexual reproduction doesn’t come around until near autumn, on September 17.  Fish swim onto the scene Nov. 20.  Mammals with their warm blood saunter in on Dec. 13.  We proud Homo sapiens are really late to the party, not coming around until Dec. 31, 23 hours and 36 seconds. 


Then our great accomplishments: 

  • Agriculture:  Dec. 31, 23 hours and 59 minutes

  • The Industrialized Age:  Dec. 31, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 58 seconds 


That’s 2 seconds ago!  I guess this means that Apple, drones, and Elon Musk, etc. are not even the first gasp of an infant born just as the clock turns to the new year. 


My point:  we are truly babes in the woods of time.


During those 3.8 billion there have been a series of gradual and abrupt changes.  These evolutions are the penultimate twisting and fidgeting To Get The Damn Thing To Fit, occurring across insane timespans, through which all that exists on Earth now is as a collective point of surprise and pride:  “by golly, it works!”  (See DIY hops picker).


In other words:  we are the ones who’ve made it.   Whew.


Good to see you, friend.


Along the way, certain basic design principles have kept Life working.  These are the DNA of constant change, the Code That Repeats in Nature.    They are our Older Sibling Earth saying:  “seriously, This Is What Works.  I’ve been doing this for 3.8 billion, I’ve got a clue.  Waste your time on that other crap if you want.  I’m going to bed.” 


I’ve been toying with how to apply nature’s design principles to growing hops.  (Of course.)  Using nature as a “model, mentor and muse” like this is called biomimcry.  It’s leading me down some intriguing paths. 



For example:

  • Nature’s principle:  Tap a constant, free source of energy (the Sun):  My love of my home place, my family, and of working with the land are my free energy sources.  They move me to uncommon things.

  • Nature’s principle:  leverage the power of limits:  Don’t want what you do not got.  Work within your means.  Find your own way to do what you’d otherwise have to pay for. 

  • Nature’s principle:  Fit form to function:  Take the simplest path and don’t over engineer.  For example, hops in Nebraska do not need to climb coconut rope from Sri Lanka.  Just sayin’.


Between now and next start of next season, I’ll dig into these ideas further.  In the meantime, check out Biomimicry:  Innovation Inspired by Nature, by Janine Benyus.


See here for source of calendar.

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