Friday, February 17, 2017

We may lose the Y community garden

YMCA is getting bids for the land on which we've established the community garden/orchard there behind the former YMCA building. If no individual or group purchases that land in order to allow the garden there to remain, once again we who volunteered and donated (including the Heinz Foundation, which provided money to help establish that garden/orchard years ago) will have our efforts...

A similar catastrophe happened with the Hazelwood Food Forest, the construction of which was accomplished with all volunteer labor and a much smaller amount of money.

I call on everyone for support in keeping alive this community garden/orchard - with greenhouse, tool shed, raised beds, compost bins, tools, rain barrels, see-saw water pump, fence, and plantings. It was envisioned from the beginning as a community asset - not just for YMCA members.

Jim McCue
composter and biotech researcher 412-421-6496

Friday, February 10, 2017


People all want the same things, basically. Delicious food, refreshing drink, a safe/peaceful world, friendly neighbors, a pleasant natural environment - these are all parts of a common dream. We're dreaming the one big dream together. And I believe that each of us is playing our own unique part in building that dream, ever so slowly making a better world.

What would I do if I had a million dollars? One thing, I'd buy that lovely piece of property on Flowers Ave where we started building a garden. And I'd plant there...well, let's see. Hydrangeas would be nice, and peppermint and orange mint and apple mint and lambs quarters and marigolds and lilies and sunchokes and zinnias and French sorrel and sunflowers and purslane and bee balm and comfrey and tomatoes and tomatillos and hemp and garlic and lettuce and cantaloupe and squash and watermelon and roses and aloe and daylily and horseradish and thyme and flags and amaranth and gladiolas and strawberries and asparagus and dill and fennel and onions and chives and fern yarrow and papaya and bananas and........

Bananas and papaya!? I've been growing papaya here in Pittsburgh, but frost kills it. They're a warmer climate fruit tree. On the average, our weather is getting warmer, so who knows what will grow around here? The leaves of the papaya tree (I grew it in Miami) are where we get the enzyme papain for meat tenderizer. Indigenous Americans would fold fish in papaya leaf overnight before cooking it.

There's a tiny little stream coming down the hill to that garden. I'd have calamus (which is like ginger) and watercress (which has a nice, tangy peppery flavor) growing in that tiny little creek, along with other water-loving plants such as rushes (which have edible roots) and mints (which can stand too much rain or not enough and still carry on).

With part of that million dollars I'd set up an enclosed medium scale gravity passive solar composting system, somewhere where neighbors could donate cardboard, leaves, kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and paper, and then share in the healthy soil material produced from yard and kitchen organic waste.

I'd invest some of my money in a plant-starting business to supply Floriated Interpretations, which sells potted plants and related items on Second Avenue.

I'd set up a little manufacturing operation to build low-cost composting toilets, all certified of course with the Allegheny County Health Dept. There is a great need for this type of ecologically wiser human waste processor as our weather will perhaps continue to become more unstable as to and so power outages and plumbing functioning may fail more often.

With herbs such as mint and basil currently selling for more than a dollar an ounce, the revenue from the garden ought to easily start making more money with my money underbidding these big chains. Meanwhile, with all the need for jobs helping to transition the economy with green industry, I know some people uniquely qualified to train eco-landscapers to replenish/preserve Nature's ecosystem services such as pollination.

And, like at Everybody's Garden (which is at W.Elizabeth & Lytle Streets), I'd get peach trees going, and apricots and apples and figs and...

Aside from growing for food and medicine, we can also grow trees (and other plants such as bamboo) to provide building material for anything from greenhouses to bird houses to bee motels to compost structures.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Our Home

The little newspaper you're reading used to be called The Hazelwood Homepage. Now it serves a wider area and is simply called The Homepage. We chose that word Homepage because it feels comfortable and friendly, and because the internet word "homepage" (webpage) sounds hip too. The community of Hazelwood welcomes its better moments, anyway.

I remember being called Homey and Home a few times, and was called Pittsburgh once or twice when living in New York City. I always felt Pittsburgh was my city, not that I owned it but that I was one with it. Home is where the heart is. I remember saying, "The WORLD is my home." We could solve all our problems if we all realized we're one huge family with one even bigger home - The Earth.

How can we make our home welcoming and at the same time secure? I don't know, I guess it's a balance.

I'm glad Pittsburgh is a sanctuary city; there are so many in the world without homes. Some parts of this country are so expensive even people making good money can't afford homes. Were I Head Honcho, every soul would have somewhere to sleep, whenever they wanted, and with whomever they wanted.

If we humans don't work together to deal with the problems we all face, including climate change, we'll ALL be homeless. The winds, the heat, the variations in temperature, the turbulent oceans,...All will work together to remind us that Mother Earth is running things in THIS part of the universe.

Jim McCue
composter and biotech researcher 412-421-6496

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Everyday miracles

Everyday miracles

Life is a continuing miracle, from day one to whatever comes after this life. We've come to think of miracles as not requiring any work. We think of them as coming from elsewhere - Heaven or God or scientists. But the miracles come from the heart, and acting from the heart; that's how the Universe works.

I remember my Mom (an everyday miracle who raised 7 sons) singing that old song that goes "Well you laid around and played around this old house too long; summer's come and gone, winter's comin' on." Well, with global average warming, and its interacting with so many other environmental changes at this point in history - we may not get winter any more. Some say we waited too long to cut greenhouse gases to stop the catastrophe that's unfolding. I'm growing the tropical fruit tree papaya to contribute to a better future. There are others faithfully continuing positive work, such Rev John Creasy of Garfield Community Farm, where they're growing unexpected tropical fruits lemon, guava, and bananas. We have no reason to want to just lay around telling ourselves we're helpless.

We need to focus on all the things we can do to make the future better. Paramahansa Yogananda of India said, "Govern your mind well by dwelling on the positive aspects of life." Some Americans (self included) believe there are miracles associated with the lives of Christian saints. Yogananda's life (he passed over about seventy years ago), was full of travel (including to the United States, where he met with agricultural pioneer/wizard miracle-maker Luther Burbank). His early life in India was full of wonder, learning, and witnessing miracles. Traveling in Europe learning he met with and witnessed miracles of now-canonized Catholic saint Therese Neumann. His book Autobiography of a Yogi, free online, delves into thinkers alive at that time such as Einstein and concludes that not only is all reality miraculous, but that the laws of physics are more flexible than we realize. If you want to better understand modern science, read in this book his synthesis of both spirituality and scientific thought - quantum physics, and his integration of both Western and Eastern belief. Every checkout counter scanner uses applied quantum mechanics; But the logic that we're getting from from the math and the experiments seems paradoxical, impossible, magical thinking even to scientists today. But time and space ARE relative, and they DO bend and stretch; and we humans are learning to see this (apparently some few always have).

My core belief is that God is Love. It's that simple, and that beautiful. That is the original miracle, creation. Love is God. We can talk about self-organizing principles and emergent patterns and causes for this and causes for that, and how everything is connected to everything else by causes and effects and...but what about the original cause? What caused things to start happening in the first place? I say Love.

Another agricultural pioneer leader miracle worker was George Washington Carver. He talked with his plants. They told him what they wanted. It's gonna take the biggest miracle we've pulled off yet to help birth and co-create this new age we're all dreaming when we really sleep well. When was the last time you really slept well? My mom used to tuck us in with "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite." Well, that particular bit of wisdom my generation wasn't ready to learn...until now with the failure of all our wonderful weapons to wage war on nature such as ddt to kill bugs... bedbugs which had been pretty much eradicated in the United States...are back. Now I get it. Sleep tight meant keep the sheets tight. By the time we 7 boys were born in Greenfield, Catherine McCue had seen the more or less complete eradication in the United States. I had thought bedbugs were just some mythical scary tale.

The basic computer code 0 and 1 yin yang on off bad good up down love hate...dem repub,...They all spiral down to one decision: Do I love or do I fear? It's that simple and clear. If you fear you help make your own fears become a reality; this is a co-creation we live in. We have self-fulfilling prophecies in our individual spiraling tunnel realities. All our reacting in fear has helped create the bed bug problem by effects of all those pesticides has killed what birds didn't starve for lack of bugs to eat. Now there are not as many birds to eat the bedbugs and mosquitoes and other bloodsuckers . If you love, you attract the miraculous and, though you've a life full of work, struggle, wresting in this world of changes, you'll be happy, just one moment at a time.

Sunday, October 09, 2016


Our human culture has become so full of arrogant self-delusion that what we believe has become biased. Take our history books, for instance. Human society flourished in the area of the Earth's surface now called The United States for ( at the very least) thousands of years. Yet we have a statue right here in Pittsburgh that says that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. Aside from the absolute (and obvious, when you think about it) absurdity of this claim (which my generation was taught in grade school), research into the ACTUAL history of this country reveals that this man (aside from surely some good things that can be said about him) - when he first encountered native peoples here - wrote about how superior technology (such as metal swords) would allow him and other Europeans to enslave these indigenous peoples.

Our believed histories are also full of other distortions of fact that we were fed in school, such as that Guglielmo Marconi invented radio. In fact, the much more idealistic and conscientious Nikola Tesla was the real inventor of radio, while Marconi stole patents from him. Tesla's name is rarely mentioned in the history of invention, despite the fact that his work was instrumental - wholly or in part - for the creation of: the flourescent light bulb; radar; radio; the electric motor; television; and the electric grid that now covers the planet. Tesla's whole life demonstrates the miracles possible when we human beings align ourselves with higher values. Thomas Alva Edison was also a great good person...sometimes (not so much when he reneged on a verbal promise to pay Tesla $50,000 for some work Tesla did for him).

The fact is, none of us creates anything - we are only inspired by a Higher Power to co-create what comes into our hearts and minds. And every co-creation brings with it responsibilities along with its privileges. An honest recognition of the side effects of our technologies makes it clear that we have to shut down the combustion industry. We have to go to not only carbon-neutral but carbon-NEGATIVE activities such as nurturing photosynthesis. And to using co2 and methane in non-combustion production. And we have to eliminate all financial and legal hindrances to gearing up the better technologies, which have been suppressed on behalf of the status quo for over a hundred years. Tesla was thinking about pollution all those years ago and had an electric car. Why are we only now coming out with an electric car?

Alongside of the exploding quantity of catastrophic things going on now on Earth at this moment in history is an equally explosive amount of constructive scientific application and positive social change. Let's align ourselves further with the REAL power on Earth, the power of Love (with a capital L). This is how we will together co-create the Heaven on Earth we all know in our hearts is possible.

Monday, September 12, 2016


I've learned to be careful when I write. Each word you write means something different to each person reading. If I write, "dog", for instance, every reader will see a different dog in her or his mind. If I write "So many things are changing in the world.", I guarantee you each reader will think of a different change. Some will think the changes bad, some good. Some will say nothing major is changing and go back to sleep. Here are some of what I think are major changes I think are happening, and some I hope will happen:

There are people all over the world (including in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Hazelwood) preparing for impacts of the increasing rate of climate change that's happening by gearing up the local growing of food. The wiser of them are learning to grow more in harmony with the other life forms rather than fighting e.g. mold, grubs, "weeds", "pests", "varmints", "groundhogs "(woodchucks), and insects. We are learning to be more friendly with the other creatures; we have to stop making chemical warfare on Nature.

Hazelwood is blessed to be one of the most vegetated neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. And Pittsburgh is one of the most vegetated cities in the United States. Honeybees and other pollinating insects are flourishing here; they need to be protected and nurtured. Other insects ("bugs"), including flies, pollinate the flowering plants; we should appreciate their beauty and importance rather than be afraid of them.

And yes, flies are beautiful, and there are many incredibly beautiful varieties of them. In a healthy (complex) ecosystem there are not too many of them because they get eaten by birds and frogs and toads. They and other insects have their roles to play. If all the bugs die off, what will the birds eat? The quantity and variety of birds, insects, and many other life forms are in overall decline at this time on Earth.

If we want to be a destination, we need to be welcoming - not only to all different types of people but of the diversity of life.

The web of life on this planet (Mother Nature if you like), has been providing its human part with clean air and water and food all these centuries. We have to grow up as a species now and think much more about how to nurture all the other species. We should, for instance, think deeply before cutting down a tree. Do you really need to cut that particular tree down? There are forest fires burning out of control all over the world now because of the increasing global average temperature. You might find yourself grateful for the shade that tree provides some hot day in the near future.

There are many changes coming now, and the rate of change is increasing daily. Only by cooperatively managing these changes on behalf of life in general rather than only for individuals or groups of humans can we expect to thrive.

Jim McCue
composter and biotech researcher 412-421-6496

Tuesday, August 09, 2016



What am I doing in this world full of crazy blind beautiful people? They don't notice their own or other people's beauty. They call ME crazy.

Remember that saying we say about a person that "ain't wrapped too tight"? Well, I've described myself as "wrapped a little TOO tight". I have so many beliefs that limit what I can do I feel imprisoned.

What if all of us, who have been so desperately trying to be whatever has been described to each of us as normal, just decided to stop being afraid and be ourselves? We have gone insane. We're driving off the cliff and we're ACCELERATING. It's time to wake up into the REAL world again, see that we are part of it, and see that it is Heaven Becoming...eternally getting better (through catastrophe after catastrophe after catastrophe).

Let's declare, all of us, to the world: "We're free!"

Things are not the same. We have to consciously work to grow trees now; they're not going to just grow by themselves any more. We need to work together to feed the trees and slake their thirst. That's where we are. Go to work saving the ecosystem and replanting it, or die. It's like on or off; are we on?

The one-celled plants called algae in the ocean (the base of the water food chain) are in decline. We have to nurture them. We can culture them in clear fermentation tanks like fish. They or their byproducts can be used for non-combustion fuel. We have to nurture/domesticate/befriend animals we have been eating and start feeding the wildlife because they're dying of heat and fire and acidity and they're going extinct if we don't wake up and see their beauty, their value, their living presence, their sacredness.

Living things are going back to the ashes they were made from. They'll come again in new living things. Let's us look at our role in this ecosystem death. Those of us who are awakening are starting to create the better future now, even as we're slowing down our own destructive habits.

There are technologies capable of extracting energy from the dynamics of the environment. We don't have to burn anything for energy any more. I yearn for this wonderful new world we each are co-creating with the rest of God/Love.

Maybe we're ALL awakening. What do you say?