Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cognitive Dissonance, Part II


One thing that the study of Cognitive Dissonance teaches us is to not take ourselves too seriously.

Every couple of months I write an epic post that does not get published.  These posts are filled with angst and predictions of a dire future.

Mrs ERJ worries about me. She calls it "Perseverating".

I do not have the perspective to know if my "perseverating" is because I get much joy from redneck skills like digging holes, planting and grafting, shooting firearms and fishing, running, boating, biking and get the picture...or due to real shifts of the tectonic plates the undergird our reality.  In the end it might not make a difference.

The reason for my uncertainty is that Cognitive Dissonance suggests that my paradigm will bend to create (i.e., selectively remember events) a past that points to a future where these things I enjoy are inherently more valuable than, say, power drinking at bars, playing golf, bowling, sporting about casinos,  watching TV...and so on.

Mrs ERJ and I discuss this every once in a while.  We have come to a peace.

I will not turn our house into a bunker until certain milestones occur.  For example, we will not discuss installing a wood stove in the middle of Mrs ERJ's living room until our heating bill hits $5000/year.  (Ed note: Last year's heating oil cost about $2000)  Since I believe that it may be difficult to get the proper materials after fuel gets that expensive, I have permission to buy one of these every couple of months as budget allows.

Inviting Mrs ERJ into my "reality"

Mrs ERJ and I toured our property to identify changes that can be made to enhance our resilience in the event of a dystopian future.  Her first observation was that I better be in a position to bring in sufficient firewood if she has to figure out how to live with a wood stove.

She proposed reducing the size of the pasture (currently about 5 acres) to plant more trees.  She also proposed replanting the windbreak to trees with denser crowns to reduce the heat loss from the house.  Both of those ideas are outstanding ideas.

I am also going to tweak the composition of the trees we do have.  I will thin out the Wild Black Cherry (P. serotina) and the hybrid poplar (NM-6, page 9).  The current plan is to backfill with Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), Chinese Chestnuts (Castanea mollissima), Nuttall Oak (Quercus texana), Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) and seedlings from our wedding oak.

It has been a poor year for this tree.  It usually bears $20 bills.

You see, we planted an oak tree the year we got married.  It was about six feet tall.  It is much bigger now.  We planted the tree as a nod to an old European tradition of planting a row of fast growing, high value trees for every momentous life event, like a child being born.  Then, the trees would be harvested to provide a dowry or to provide building materials for the son when he got married.  A lovely custom that I highly recommend.

The problem with our wedding oak is that it is not on our property.  I confess to harvesting many acorns from that tree and planting them, but I cannot walk up to any tree on my property and definitively state, "This came from our wedding tree."  So I will be visiting this tree on a weekly basis to ensure that I can pick up at least one hundred acorns from it.

For now we have a win-win.  I get to scratch my planning/digging/planting itch.  Mrs ERJ get her wedding oak (or a child of it) growing on our property.  We will be stockpiling fire wood on-the-stump and making our little patch of paradise even prettier and more attractive to wildlife.

Picture of Q. texana/nuttalli that goes with comment by Lucky

1 comment:

  1. Comment via email from "Lucky"


    I was gifted with acorns and scionwood of Q.nutalli ‘Macon’, this past winter.

    Think the ortet is located in Mississippi (near Macon, in Noxubee Co.?).

    While the species is noted for holding its acorns late into the winter – the photo below was taken on 14 March, showing a large percentage of the crop still hanging.

    (Picture inserted into body of essay at bottom)