September 30, 2018

Beach Bench

I haven't done a post on benches for years, so when I saw a beautiful yellow bench overlooking a local beach, I thought it was a good time. 

This tranquil spot revealed itself while Linda and I were exploring our area in our van. I had just done some biking on a section of a rails to trails route, while Linda did some bird watching from our vehicle. 

We were wandering home trying to get lost when we discovered a beach we had not seen before. Wow.

We will be back. The bench faces west overlooking the ocean, so is a great place to watch a sunset.

It is good to stop. Stop, and do some siting and thinking. Or sunset watching.

Or just sitting. Just sitting is good.

September 28, 2018

It's Getting Harder To Impress With Stuff

Conspicuous consumption is "the act or practice of spending money on expensive things that are not necessary in order to impress other people". These days it is getting harder to do.

People are running out of things to buy in order to create an impression. You can only purchase so many $6,000 dollar shower curtains, or $10,000 suits before we stop paying attention and turn to more important matters, like the small, enjoyable things of living life. 

Or nuclear war, climate change and technological disruption.

If no one is paying attention to the crap you own and buy, why bother? If we ignore them, maybe they will stop.

Moving forward, the 2,000 plus global billionaires (and their aspirational followers), will have to spend their money more intelligently than throwing themselves $10 million dollar birthday parties, in order to impress anyone.

I have a few suggestions. 

Item                                                 Cost (B $U.S.)

Provide basic education for all students 6

Water and sanitation for everyone 9

Reproductive health for all women 12

Basic health and nutrition for all 13

Conspicuous consumption is so over. No one cares what you own. We want to know what you are made of. Greed? Selfishness? Foolery?

Or compassion? Empathy? Love?

What impresses now is being a good global citizen that practices conspicuous helping. Or inconspicuous. Helping is the thing. 

That would impress.

September 25, 2018

Pickled Beets And The Cosmic Confirmation

Harvest Moon rising over the Acadian forest from our window.

We have been canning pickled beets over the past couple of days for the first time. We finished our latest round of canning just in time to watch the Harvest Moon rise over the Acadian forest in our back yard.

It felt like some sort of cosmic confirmation as we continue to bring in our harvest and process the bounty.

While the potatoes we have harvested have all been small so far, our garden produced several contenders in the "Mother Of All Beets" category. It took only 3 of the behemoths to fill twelve 500 ml canning jars.

And we have about 15 more MOABs in the garden waiting to be eaten/processed. 

With all the beets still in our garden, this is just the beginning.

Pickled beets for all. It has been cosmically confirmed as the right thing to do.

Pickled Beets Recipe

Wash beets well, remove beet greens leaving 1" stem and root.

In large pot, cover with water and boil until tender. Drain, saving 1  1/2 cups liquid.

Remove skins under cold water, slice or if small leave whole.

Pack beets in sterilized bottles to 3/4 inch and add brine (see below) to about 1/2 inch from the top. Cover with lid, put ring on until finger tight

Process for 30 minutes in boiling water canner.


1   1/2  cups vinegar
1   1/2 cups beet cooking water
1   1/2 cups brown sugar
1   tsp salt

Bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes.

September 23, 2018

"We Don't Care" - Eric Bibb and Habib Koite

Do you know what is happening to our planet? Do you care?

When it comes to the plight of people and the planet, some don't know and don't care. Even worse, some know and don't care. Others don't know, but visit sites like this one to find out, because they do care. I keep this blog for all of them.

Lots of artists, like many of you, both know AND care. It's the best case scenario - to know, to care, AND to be taking steps toward making things better.

"We Don't Care" is a lament written by Grammy-nominated blues troubadour Eric Bibb and World Music artist Habib Koité. Bibb's Youtube page says that the song "with its funky groove, takes a sharp look at greed, ignorance and exploitation in our world today."
The song is the second release taken from Bibb's new album "Global Griot". Release date: Oct 26th 2018 on DixieFrog Records

We Don't Care
We love to fly first class
Someone else paid the ticket
We love our juicy fruit
As long as we don't have to pick it

We love our fast food

Don't care about heart attacks
We love to gossip
Don't care about the facts

We want the gold
Long as we don't have to mine it
Don't care who suffers
Or who's behind it

We want the cool running shoes

Don't care who made em
Don't care if they go to school
Or what the company paid em

We don't care, we don't care, we don't care

We want the cheap gasoline

Jump in the car and go
Don't care what the world agreed upon
In Kyoto

We heard to all save water

But we don't even try
Take thirty minute showers
While the well runs dry

We don't care, we don't care, we don't care

The gap is growing wider

Between the rich and the poor
We got everything we need
But we still want more

We don't care, we don't care, we don't care

Thanks to all of you that care enough to find out what is going on here on our planet in peril. And especially to those that take action toward building the better world we all know is possible.

And finally, thanks to Eric Bibb and Habib Koité for sharing their concern, and this song with the world.

September 21, 2018

Last Day Of Summer 2018

Our backyard woods are beautiful this time of year.

Today is the last day of summer. That kind of snuck up on me. 

After a summer filled with many sunny days and high temperatures and humidity, I don't think I am mentally prepared for the cool weather conditions that we have shifted into already. 

I am happy to not have permanent heat exhaustion any more, although it was nice not needing bothersome things like clothes or blankets or supplemental heat for a few months. 

That really simplifies things.

This was the second summer drought in the last 3 years in our area. Many of our neighbours had the unfortunate experience of having a well go dry, again. You can't run a household without water. No water, no home.

We had a bit of a deterioration in our well's water quality, but not in quantity. It came to taste so bad that we had to pick up an on-tap filter system.

Tomorrow is the Equinox, when day and night are roughly the same length. From then until December 22, the hours of darkness increase, while our time in the sun decreases. Temperatures will rapidly drop off. 

I am beginning to come to terms with the change in season, again. Fifty-seven times I have been through this cycle, and it still feels like a surprise... or cruel joke. On the other hand, the woods changing colours, and brisk, crisp days, are something to be cherished.

We will just have to get used to getting fully dressed in the morning, after sleeping in a bed piled high with blankets. Wood stove, coats, gloves, toques (wool hats), and snow shoes now all have to be made ready. 

Problem is, my head and heart are still lounging in the garden. Onions, potatoes, carrots, and beets are still in the ground. We will can pickled beets over the weekend, while the wind and wet blow around outside. The rest can stay out for a while longer, since average first frost in this spot is some time between October 1 and 10th.

Happy last day of summer to Northern Hemispherians. Happy last day of winter to our Southern Hemispherian friends. Welcome fall/spring equinox.

September 14, 2018

The Mother Of All Potatoes

First potato from this year's potato patch - not quite The Mother Of All Potatoes, but still sacred.

When I pulled the first potato out of this year's pioneering potato patch, I was not disappointed. I know that every potato is sacred, partially because of what a class of neophyte gardening gurus taught me when I was a public school teacher.

In my last year of teaching, I pioneered a school garden with my grade four students. Everyone loved it - we were out of the cage, in the fresh air, planting and harvesting not only vegetables, but also magic.

We planted in the spring, and watched our 10 X 10 patch start growing. When summer came, volunteer students and their parents cared for the garden over the holidays. 

In the fall I returned to work. Before I went into my classroom, I hurried to the garden to see how it fared. Did it grow? Would it be vandalized, or raided? 

Boom! There it was, in all its glory. Sunflowers as high as the roof of the school. Potatoes, carrots, squash, beans and peas all bearing fruit. Everywhere green growing life, overflowing on all sides.

The students returned to class. Everyone was excited about the garden, and we looked forward to throwing a Harvest Lunch for the green thumbs and their parents. 

We went outside on a crisp day, and engaged in the day we had all been waiting for - the harvest. There was a celebratory festival feeling as the 28 tillers of the soil amazed at how rich our little plot became over the past few weeks. 

Soon everyone was investigating, digging, probing and picking. All of a sudden, a shout went up.

"The Mother Of All Potatoes", exclaimed a student after digging up a tremendous tuber.

A crowd gathered around to witness this wonderful event - a potato coming from the ground, not a grocery store display. How alive we all felt at that moment, surrounded by the bountiful gifts of nature that we helped nurture into being.

The Potato Pooba raised the spud to the heavens and repeated loudly, "The Mother of all Potatoes".

The Spud Whisperer began marching around the playground with the sacred potato held high. We all joined in behind, creating a long line of chanting, dancing, rejoicing harvesters. 

To children a garden is a magical place of beauty and bounty. From what I gather from my years of teaching young people, they pretty much see life like that. 

Every potato is sacred, from The Mother Of All, right down to the palm sized ones. That is what those little gardeners taught me that day, a lesson I will never forget.

The harvest lunch with the parents was a success. Excess produce was shared amongst the families. 

September 10, 2018

Recovering From Trauma - Do What You Can

A Film by Bill Benenson & Gene Rosow. More at DIRT! The MovieVideo from KarmaTube

Feeling overwhelmed? If so, that would not be surprising. Ecocide is hard to watch. It is natural that one would feel a little PTSD'd, especially if one is predisposed to being sensitive to such things.

Mental health workers tell us that watching disasters can cause serious stress and other problems. What is happening to our Earth is like watching multiple slow motion disasters all occurring at the same time.

Repeated exposure can render one feeling helpless and hopeless. These are not emotional states conducive to getting things done. They can be paralyzing, making one feel even more powerless to do anything constructive, or even cope with the deluge of bad news.

Thankfully, our human heritage has made us incredible resilient. Recovering from traumatic stress is completely possible. 

Here are a few ways to make recovery happen, and return to a balanced, active and joyful state.

Recovering From Trauma

Minimize media exposure. It is harder to heal if you are constantly exposed to new nasty stuff.

Accept your feelings. They are real.

Take positive action. Even small actions can make a big psychological difference. Helping others and/or the environment is a soothing mental salve.

Get moving. Get your heart rate up. Several short bursts of exercise are as good as one longer session.

Reach out to others for support. Visiting NBA is recommended for mutual support - we've got your back.

Make relaxing a priority. If you don't make time for it, it won't happen. Being out in nature is a great natural stress reliever. If you can't be out in it, open a window, or hang a bird feeder where you can see it. Viewing videos and pictures of nature's beauty is also good.

Eat a healthy diet. We recommend fresh, plant based foods that are high in prana, or chi.

Seek help. If feelings of anxiety, numbness, confusion, guilt, and despair don't diminish by six weeks, you may need more focused help.

Another thing you can do to relieve negative feelings is to watch the wonderful video above. You may not be able to do everything to fix things, but that doesn't mean you can't do anything. 

We may not be able to control what happens to the world, but we can control our response to it. We can only do what we can, which is always better than doing nothing. 

Thank you to Terri for emailing us the link to this uplifting video. 

About the video: 

"When confronted with adversity, when the odds are stacked up against you, you can either stand aside - helpless, frozen with fear - or do the best you can.  
Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai stood up to seemingly insurmountable challenges all her life, and won. Like the hummingbird in this story; to give up was never an option for her.  
Her spirit lives on in the millions of trees she helped plant."

September 7, 2018

2 Million Page Views

In 2015 the Not Buying Anything blog surpassed the one million page view mark. It was 7 years after our inception. In no way could this be described as viral, but it is not insignificant.

We like to think that we have made at least a small impact with our work promoting ecologically sensitive lifestyle choices, and living in joyful, fulfilling simplicity.

Now, 3 years later, we have just recently passed the two million mark. This means something to us, and I assure you it has nothing to do with "monetizing" our site. At no point would that be conceivable, considering our anti-commerce approach to life. 

We prefer mutual aid to money.

I like to check our numbers occasionally to see what is happening with our audience. It is also nice to see that our stats put us in the small to medium size category. Small is beautiful after all.

Still, it is good to have goals, and our next blog goal is to get the next million page views in a year and a half. 

Thank you for visiting, and helping to make the NBA blog a place of learning, support, and refuge for Linda and me (and many others) since 2008. 

September 6, 2018

Corn-u-hope-ia, Corn-u-copia, Corn-u-nope-ia

This year's corn harvest has begun.

The first time Linda and I grew corn was when we lived in a housing cooperative in the middle of Edmonton, Alberta, the northernmost city in North America with a metro population of at least one million. It got cold there in the winter, but summers were warm enough to grow a nice crop.

We planted our mini-field of corn on the perimeter of our community garden. We were filled with corn-u-hope-ia. 

There was no fence, and people walking by could witness our plant's progress as we nurtured our first field to fruition. I wouldn't have minded if people wandered over from the sidewalk and picked cobs to take home for supper.

After a pleasant summer, our corn was ready to harvest. The following day was to be our celebration of filling our horn of plenty. We were looking forward to a cornfest with our neighbours, and sharing our sweet cobs far and wide. 

As it turned out, we did share our corn. All of it. Every single cob. Its just that we have no idea of who we shared it with, because the harvest was a clandestine event which occurred in the dark of night that evening.

When we went to harvest the next day, we found a garden of empty stalks. We never tasted as much as a kernel. We went from corn-u-copia to corn-u-nope-ia, and it took us by surprise.

"No way! This can't be happening." 

"We are so angry." 

"Maybe we can look for it, or offer a reward for the safe return of our unshucked cobs." 

"How sad." 

We progressed through the first 4 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, and depression) quickly as we stood there viewing the corny crime scene. Before long we entered into the last stage, and accepted our new cornless reality. 

A bit after that we were laughing about the whole affair. It was so outrageous - every single cob was gone. They did an excellent job of harvesting.

We hoped that whoever helped themselves to our patch enjoyed the corn, as well as the love we put into each and every kernel over the course of the growing season.

As it happened, we did not grow corn again until now. This year we have a small section of stalks bearing a nice selection of cobs. 

The kernels have passed the watery stage, and are showing a milky juice. Time for harvest. 

Finally, about twenty years after our initial efforts, we can actually eat fresh corn that we have grown in our own garden. It's back to a corn-u-copia. 

The stripped stalks we will leave until the pole beans are done, later in the fall. 

Let the cornfest begin.

September 1, 2018

The Free World Charter

Is the insta-teller the final destination in human evolution? Or can we do better?

It is easy to criticize our present system - there is so much wrong with it. Coming up with workable alternatives is more of a challenge. That is why when I see someone presenting a vision for a better way, I like to share it here.

The Free World Charter envisions that better world. Without money. They had me at that. 

I am also particularly fond of principle #7, because it sounds so much like the NBA community:

"Our community respects the limits of nature and its resources, ensuring minimal consumption and waste."

Here is more from

"The Free World Charter is a statement of principles that has the potential to optimise life on Earth for all species, eradicate poverty and greed, and advance progress. 
Neither political nor religious, these ten short principles could form the foundation of a new, advanced society that uses no money, is free, fair and sustainable. They are based solely on nature, common sense and survival. 

The Free World Charter is now widely considered a logical progression out of the failing mechanisms of today's society, and a natural step in our evolution."


1. The highest concern of humanity is the combined common good of all living species and biosphere.

2. Life is precious in all its forms, and free to flourish in the combined common good.

3. Earth's natural resources are the birthright of all its inhabitants, and free to share in the combined common good.

4. Every human being is an equal part of a worldwide community of humans, and a free citizen of Earth.

5. Our community is founded on the spirit of cooperation and an understanding of nature, provided through basic education.

6. Our community provides for all its members the necessities of a healthy, fulfilling and sustainable life, freely and without obligation.

7. Our community respects the limits of nature and its resources, ensuring minimal consumption and waste.

8. Our community derives its solutions and advances progress primarily through the application of logic and best available knowledge.

9. Our community acknowledges its duty of care and compassion for members who are unable to contribute.

10. Our community acknowledges its responsibility to maintain a diverse and sustainable biosphere for all future life to enjoy.

If we can imagine it, we can build it. Here is to a moneyless, less greedy, more balanced system to replace the out of control one we currently live under.

Or will we continue the madness until we see the world's first (and second and third...) trillionaire?

Learn more about the Free World Charter here, and on money here.