September 30, 2020

Sewing Buttons

Here is an underrated activity - sewing buttons on a shirt. 

What an enjoyable activity. It can't be rushed and forces the sewer to go slow and mindfully lest a finger (or worse) get poked.

Of course I put it off so long that one of my shirts was missing not one, not two, but three buttons. I guess some people would throw out the shirt and buy a new one, but not me.

Finally, with Linda's help, I got down to business. While sewing on the three buttons, I noticed most of the others were loose. That happens when you keep clothes as long as we do.

I fixed the three buttons, then reinforced the others. The shirt I fixed will wear out completely before it needs button love again.

What a simple, functionally useful, and meditative activity. You can't say that about many pursuits these days.

Sewing buttons - give it a whirl. We all know you have at least one item of clothing that could use a bit of button love right now.

Don't you?

September 29, 2020

Time To Get Serious About Unity And Wholeness

Everything around us is unified and whole. Except humanity. We have been fractured, separated, ripped and torn from The One.

How did this happen? How have we became so isolated from ourselves, each other, and the world that surrounds us?


That invention invited us out of the wilderness, where we once all lived seamlessly with everything else. What started thousands of years ago has lead to our modern fragmentation.

“The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts.” 

In our natural state it was just known as "life", or "everything". Then civilization, which by definition separates us from Nature in order to give us control over its workings.

Modern scientists and philosophers have tried to put it all back together, but have mostly just forced us more apart. 

Not the brilliant physicist David Bohm. His lifelong quest was to illustrate the underlying structure of reality, and he thought that structure was what everything in the Universe had in common. 

Through it, all mind, all matter was joined in a unified whole, and every part contained the whole within it.

But can we recapture our awareness of this wholeness when all we have known is social and psychological fragmentation? 

Our continued existence is what is at stake if we can't, as a race, transcend current fragmented ways of thinking and acting. 

“Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder, and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who have to live in it.”

One way to begin to put the fragments back together for ourselves is to watch the film "Infinite Potential: The Life & Ideas of David Bohm".

I highly recommend putting aside the ultimately unimportant mundane considerations of life that we are all so obsessed with for a bit, and view this mind-expanding work. 

It is time for the human family to get serious about unity and wholeness, and the only way that will happen is by transcending our current state of consciousness. 

Learning from "The Life & Ideas of David Bohm" is a good place to start.

September 27, 2020

I Want That

"I want that." 

It seems a natural, even harmless, phrase in an acquisitive world. 

However, it is the beginning of much suffering. 

Wanting eventually leads to frustration and stress, which lead to ill health. It is difficult to experience joy when unhealthy.

Happiness is only possible where contentment reigns. 

We can begin to experience contentedness when we sort out real desires from those manufactured by advertisers and their neuropsychologist nudgers.

Consumerism tells us happiness is found in endless desires and limitless stuff. Despite spending trillions of dollars trying to convince us of this obvious lie which was refuted thousands of years ago, the world is moving on.

We are evolving from an era of "I want that", to one of "I need that". 

When one has everything they need, and not much desire for more, a deep gratitude for what you DO have is the result.

Less Wanting - Gratitude - Contentment - Happiness. 

You won't become a billionaire selling this formula, which is why it is not more widely promoted, but that doesn't mean it isn't a winning arrangement.

In the end, the planet benefits, and who wouldn't enjoy less suffering in their lives?

September 26, 2020


I was checking the weather forecast recently, looking for first frost (not yet), and noticed that our days right now are 12 hours of sunlight, and 12 hours of darkness. 

Perfect balance.

This celestial event has been of interest to humans since ancient times. We call this moment the equinox, to reflect the balance we see in our sky. It is a recognition of the equal parts of opposing forces we see all around us. 

"Light a candle", wrote Ursula Le Guin, "and you cast a shadow." There is no light without dark.

Fall/Spring Equinox is a reminder for us to maintain our own balance as individuals. When we work on that we are able to help each other do the same for the human race, and the planet we all inhabit.

Without balance we are precariously perched.

“Let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise.” 


- Michael Ende

We can all use this time to deepen our personal commitment to equality and balance in everything we do. 

If we were all to make such a commitment, everything else would take care of itself.


September 23, 2020

More Satirical Art: The Illustrations of Pawel Kuczynski

Visual representations of our human predicament are often more effective than words. Sometimes these pictures of our folly are worth entire volumes of words.

Such are the illustrations of Pawel Kuczynski. His thought-provoking illustrations comment on social, economic, and political issues through satire, and the results are amazing and disturbing at the same time.

September 22, 2020

"The Way We Knew Is Over"...

I was watching an interview with a CEO of a major new company, part of the "sharing economy". Since the lockdown, the CEO's company has lost over 300 million in value. He was not one of those billionaires that is making a killing on COVID. 

This CEO will be lucky if his company continues. If it does, it will be in a much different, much smaller form. Or maybe it will just disappear. Maybe it should.

The CEO in question seemed like he was in shock, or on medication, or both. But he was facing his company's predicament with clarity. 

He was being honest with himself when he gave what I consider to be an essential quote of our times.

When asked when he thought things would "get back to normal" he responded by saying,

"The way we knew is over, and it's never coming back."

I think we can say that about a lot of things right now, maybe everything. And that might be a good thing.

The company in question had global effects, and not all of them were good. A recent analysis showed that "the economic costs to local communities likely outweigh the benefits".

This is true of a large amount of corporations that made up the pre-pandemic billionaire money making machine.

For the most part, corporations (and their owners) work against our best interests. It has been shown that if they were made responsible for all the damage they do, the great majority of companies would realize no profit at all.

A sense of justice would lead us to not only avoid the products from such entities, but also to honestly question whether they are worth saving in the post-pandemic world at all.

The world will be a better place without them. 

No bailouts for harmful companies and practices would be a good start in that direction. 

As individuals, we can boycott companies, organizations, and individuals doing harm, and buycott those that operate sustainably and ethically, while contributing toward a better world.

Cooperatives and worker owned companies may be the alternative companies that take over from the old model that concentrated wealth in individuals to the detriment of communities (the CEO I saw interviewed is hoarding over 4 billion dollars in his personal off-shore bank account). 

"The way we knew is over", yes indeed, "and it's never coming back" to be sure.

That might be a good thing for all of us.

September 18, 2020

Seasonal Neighbours And Nature's Calendar

As much as possible I like to live without clocks, watches, day-timers, and calendars of any sort. I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants. 

You don't need a calendar if you live close to nature and go slow enough to notice what is going on around you. Besides letting you know everything from when to plant to when to lay up stores, it is also soul soothing to experience.

Take our seasonal neighbours that flew in recently. Every year around this time, Canada geese drop in to the field across the road to muster. They eat, nap, eat, nap, poop, flap their big wings, and prepare for their southerly migration. 

After lounging in the field all day, dusk hits and they alight in a noisy notice of their short flight to a nearby lake where they spend the night.

The arrival of the geese coincides with subtle colour changes in the forest, amongst other signs that Nature's cycles are moving on, and will do so with us, or without us. 

Most notable and potentially distressing, is the drop in temperature, and the slow slide into the coming darkness. We have already lost 3.5 hours of daylight since summer solstice. 

On the other hand, we have 3.5 hours more sunlight now than we will have on winter solstice. 

I am also grateful for the pile of wood we have laid up in the garage for winter, and for the fact that there are only 182 day/night cycles to go until spring equinox! 

Our temporary honky neighbours will most certainly move on before the really cold weather comes. I would go with them, if I could, but I can only fly for about 2 meters at a time and it would be hard to keep up.

Flap, flap, flap!

Instead I will stick around these parts, clean our wood stove, and look forward to the first cozy fire that will inevitably come shortly after the geese leave.

Happy Fall/Spring.

September 16, 2020

Pesto Pebbles And Other Harvest Activities

After a long, hot summer in which we (and our garden) achieved a kind of sweltering torpor with all slowing seriously, the sunny streak slammed shut and Fall began to exert it's inevitable effects.

That means one thing - get active on all manner of harvest activities. After weeks of doing not much except watering a lot, a whole bunch of things needed to be done at once.

We harvested great bunches of basil, and made pesto with most of it. Instead of pine nuts we used walnuts for one batch, and sunflower seeds for another.

The first batch I put in plastic ice cube trays, but had problems getting the pesto cubes out after they were frozen. The next batch we made a little stiffer, with more basil, then froze it on a cookie tray. 

I wanted to call them basil balls, put pesto pebbles is a more appropriate description.

Instead of preserving tomatoes and cucumbers, we have been trying to eat them all fresh. What abundance! It is hard to keep up.

Not something we are used to when we buy them at the grocery store when rationing is more likely.

And the taste of just picked tomatoes and cucumbers is simply a wonder of nature. We have had them every which way, and especially like them together in a bulgur salad.

Alas, despite our best efforts, we just couldn't keep up to the cucumber patch. It outpaced our stomachs, so we canned pickles and relish.

A lot of what we grew this year was stunted by drought, and our purple potatoes were no different. There were many potatoes, but they were disappointingly small.

Our neighbour's six year old helped me harvest in the potato patch one day. We laughed because far too many of the potatoes we were digging up were the same size as peas.

We decided to call them "pea-tatoes" and giggled together, enjoying our silly gardening moment. Then we played marbles with a few on the grass before adding them to our slowly growing pile of peewees.

Our harvest activities have been very satisfying and busy. They will continue for the next few weeks since we are not done yet, and we are trying our hand at second crops of peas and kale. 

But we are already happy with what we have been able to grow and preserve this year.

Soon Fall will be here, and it will be time to plant our garlic and think of Spring once again as the cycle goes on. And on, and on, and on... 

Happy almost Fall. May your harvest be hearty.


Happy almost Spring. May your sowing be sublime.

September 13, 2020

Reading, Resisting, And Rebelling

The following is from the Corporate Watch website. Download the book for free at bottom.

Capitalism, What is it and how can we destroy it? provides an accessible introduction to capitalism and explores how we might bring about its ending:

What is capitalism? An economic system built on private property, markets, exploitation and profit, enforced by state violence. 

But also, digging deeper, a culture of fear and passivity, in which we learn to see the natural world, other people, and even ourselves, as objects to be owned and managed, bought and sold.

The first part of this book gives an introduction to capitalist economics in accessible, non-specialist language. 

It covers: the basics of economic systems; financial markets; the global economy and shifting world power; the roles of the state; crisis. 

The second part delves into how capitalism shapes our values and desires. 

Finally, it turns to resistance and rebellion. So how can we destroy this poisonous system, and start to create new worlds of freedom?

Download book for free here.

Happy reading, resisting, and rebelling.

September 10, 2020

A New Simplicity Movement Is Forming

People are staying home more. Cooking and baking more. Riding bikes more, spending more time with the family.

They are flying less, driving less, shopping less, working less, and running around less.

Will the pandemic be the beginning of a new simplicity? 

This could be the start of something beautiful that heals the planet and saves us from meaningless work and unnecessary consumption.

Here's my guess - after initially feeling like we have lost something, people will see this time as an historic moment during which we gained a new understanding of the collective consumer-induced hypnotic state we have been in since the end of WWII. 
I can hear them now:

"At first I didn't like it as I was preoccupied with a sense of loss and sacrifice."

"But then I settled into a slower, less busy, more simple way, and started to see it as an opportunity rather than a curse." 
"Now I wouldn't go back to the way things were pre-pandemic even if I could. I may have less money and stuff, but find myself happier than ever."  

Watch for simplicity to begin breaking out all over the place, in a mass movement that will first make us happier, then save our species and planet.

I see this arising as people become more aware of their impact and of the widespread efforts of many others who share their vision of more simple, less hurried, and sustainable ways of living.

It has to happen eventually, why not now?  


September 2, 2020

Do As The Creatures In The Field

Today I went to the garden to harvest some beautiful, red tomatoes. I listened as a singing insect soundscape filled the air. I felt fortunate I could hear any of it at all. 

As we age we tend to lose the upper end of the hearing range, which includes the frequencies of many of those singing creatures in the tall grasses. Some insects singers produce sounds that even the best human hearing is incapable of processing. 

If you can hear any of this chorus, you are doing something many people can not. Enjoy your special ability!

Each night, rural or urban, listen for the symphony of crickets, katydids, cicadas, and grasshoppers all sounding off joyfully.

Taking my cues from Nature, and learning from the wisdom of the insects, I am formulating a new short-term plan based on the message sent by the singers in our field:

"Enjoy the last warm days of summer,


sing to your heart's content!"

That, plus picking and eating the world's best tomatoes... and cucumbers and carrots, and purple potatoes, and beets, and so on.

We hope you are doing the same in your garden - harvesting and singing, and enjoying Nature's bounty.

Do you know what those yellow things in with the tomatoes are in the picture above? We had never seen them before, until they started showing up unexpectedly in our extension garden. They are funny looking, and very yummy.