December 27, 2020

This I Believe

I believe that most people do not want to live a life defined by work and shopping and what we own.

No one grows up wanting to be a worker drone stumbling along on automatic. 

Life is too short for that, and we can feel it in our bones. 

I believe people want to live a simple life with enough,

spend time in nature every day, 

go to bed when they are tired and get up when rested,  

live in vibrant, supportive, resilient communities, 

grow their own food, 

make their own art and music, 

spend quality time with loved ones, 

lay in the grass and watch the clouds, 

nap frequently and without guilt, 

sit in a comfy place reading for hours, 


actively follow their passions.

This I believe.


December 24, 2020

Simple Gifts

The world is in turmoil, but that does not mean that each day we have on this crazy planet isn't still a precious gift. With all the death around, this is more true than ever.

In spite of global uncertainty, in our quiet, little rural corner of the planet, every morning Linda and I wake up looking forward to another day. 

Each one we are given is a gift to be cherished.

We have no pain... that we can't handle. 

We are together.

We have nutritious, wholesome food to eat. 

There is wood for our stove to heat our home. 

Our simple life has allowed us to be as free as can be given the circumstances.

We have loving family and friends to share life with us. 

Each morning we are born into the gift of more time. How much more, we do not know.

At this point of the year we like to meditate on the priceless packages nature bestows upon us each and every moment. 

For these simple gifts we are grateful. 

When we treat every day as a gift, an adventure of curiosity and discovery, we wake up excited, ready to unwrap and savour each moment.

Nothing to buy. 

Batteries not required. 

Seasons Greetings to all!

December 21, 2020

Holy Xmas Shopping

How far Christmas has fallen over the last 2000 years or so. 

At one time it was a celebration of the birth of Jesus, and for some it still is. 

Those celebrants might remember that Jesus told his followers that they would be "complete" and "perfect" if they were to give up their possessions. 

I am not sure if this was said metaphorically, but it does speak to practicing a humble simplicity free of distractions. 

However, for most of us, it's a Corporate Christmas, and the only holy thing about that would be the profits that pour out of Santa's Sweatshops into hidden suit pockets.

At this stage in the collapse of consumer capitalism, we can assume anything that system wants us to do is probably not good for us, or the planet.

That especially includes the most common activity of this time of year - obligatory, unfettered Holy Xmas Shopping.

St. Corporate Nick says, "Buy It All", but that will never make us content, happy, complete, or perfect.

Best to strive to make wise, compassionate use of the gifts that have been given us, and not squander our time and energy chasing capitalist false promises.

I believe Jesus would approve that message. Happy birthday. I didn't buy you anything.

Note: To see more of Serbian artist Aleksandar Todorovic's satirical artwork from his "Buy It All, Eat It All" series, visit here.

December 19, 2020

Happy Winter Solstice Week

What is that, high up the tree in middle of photo?

I have decided to co-opt consumerism's proclivity to extend each and every holiday and celebration in order to maximize their profit-oriented possibilities, like when CyberMonday goes on for a week or more, or having a week of Boxing Days.

Therefore, I declare Winter Solstice Week, because one day just isn't enough. 

Now, new and improved, we can savour our northern approach to the shortest day of the year for a full seven days.

Winter Solstice every day.

Porcupine, which embodies faith, trust, and playfulness. 

That means a week of savouring sunrises, wholesome home cooked (and often home grown) meals, camaraderie, and the ample opportunities in each moment to become aware of the magical Universe, of which we are a holographic part. 

Think of the possibilities as we coopt the coopters. 

We're taking Winter Solstice back. 

It's real.

It's free.

Happy Winter Solstice Week.

December 15, 2020

Holiday Gift Giving In A Pandemic

Gift giving is changing. It may never be the same again. You can thank the pandemic for that.

The spell of consumerism has been broken, and you can thank the pandemic for that, too. 

There will be no returning to "normal", despite what we are being told. 

Was normal that great anyway? 

Do we really want to return to that?

Not when normal is wage slavery in order to survive. 

Not when normal is a declining standard of living for most... but not all of us.

Not when normal is rich people going for all the marbles in a global takeover.

Not when normal is the unleashing of violence upon people in other countries that have resources we want, as well as upon our own people... if they are the "wrong" people.

Not when normal is working harder for less, and not having enough time to live.

And certainly not when normal is buying people things they don't want or need because of feelings of obligation, misplaced love, a large dose of advertising arm-twisting, and an even larger dose of "it's the patriotic thing to do".

This gift-giving season, think about a more sensible approach, or consider no gifts at all.

A pandemic is a great excuse to take a break! Do we really want to think about mindless ritual gift giving with so many other more important things going on right now?

If you do give gifts, think of giving something appropriate for this pandemic holiday season. Highly appreciated by most would be things actually needed. And there is so much need right now.

That is the way to go this year, and every year.

Gift Giving In A Pandemic

- food, water, clothing, shelter
- toilet paper (this year's hot gift for sure)
- or better yet, an add-on bidet, or tabo
- tea, coffee, and chocolate provide a moment of respite in hard times
- rent money 
- books (the old fashioned kind that don't need electricity to work) 
- face masks, hand cleaner, disinfectants 
- help paying health care costs
- best is to give the gift of your time

And remember, the gift of nothing is nice if the person in mind doesn't need anything.

Sometimes nothing is better than something.


December 12, 2020

Storing Garden Carrots In Fresh Moss - Update

On the last day of October Linda and I set up a fresh moss bin for storing this year's carrot harvest in our unheated garage. It has been interesting to see how things have progressed over the last few weeks.

Having never done this before, I have been amazed every time I open the bin. 

What have I been seeing?

It's alive! It's all alive!

I open the bin and I see that the moss is still alive and growing. It came from the forest quite moist, and it is still that way.

The bin gets covered with clear plastic to keep moisture levels up, and I guess it lets enough light through so that what we have is a big terrarium. 

It still smells as fresh as the forest it came from. Since this moss is acidic, it does not support the growth of bacteria. 

When I go to the bin it is like pulling carrots out of the garden because they are still growing. What?

Most of them have new rootlets, and they are also sprouting from the tops. 

As I gently pull them from thier comfy moss bed they resist a bit before I overcome their tendency to want to stay and grow.

The best thing is that these carrots are as firm and fresh as if we just pulled them from the ground.

Our carrot harvest was not overly large, so we may only have a few more weeks of them left now. I wonder if everything will keep growing over that time.

If so, the carrots will be great into the new year, and when they are gone I am hoping to be able to take the moss back to the forest and replace the holes I left when I harvested it.

That would make for a great, sustainable method for keeping garden carrots fresh without electricity.

It is looking good up till this point, and I am optomistic that we have found our method for effective carrot storage.

December 8, 2020

Imagining A Better World

Today marks the 40th year since we said good-bye to John Lennon. 

He left us with his signature song, "Imagine", in which he lays out his better world scenario.

Today it is as easy as ever to find problems with the way our world works. Much more difficult is boldly outlining solutions that will benefit the totality of this planet.

John had some excellent suggestions, like living without being trapped by our possessions.

It is not a stretch to imagine that most of humanity would support a better world where everyone is taken care of, and war is a barbaric thing of the past.

The current system is past its best due date, and it is starting to smell bad. Now, more than ever, we need a radical imagining of something fresh and new to replace it with. 

"Imagine", Yoko Ono said today, "a world where we all live in peace".

That would be a great start.

Things I Hang On To - Glass Jars

There are some things that come into my home that don't go in the garbage or recycling. That is because they are not garbage, or recycling. In my house, they are useful resources.

Glass jars are in this category. I am happy I have a few stored up since there aren't too many glass jars coming into our home lately. 

That is because we are now making some of the things that we used to buy at the grocery store. Things that come in glass bottles like a wide variety of pickles, and jam.

Case in point are pickled jalapeños. Why buy them (unless you don't have a jar to put them in) when they are SO easy and fast to make? The same goes for all pickles, and lots of other things, too.

We pickle 2 small jars of jalapeños at a time, which will last us a few weeks. The recipe is for refrigerator pickles, so they do not need to be water or pressure canned. See below for recipe.

I find it very satisfying to make as much of my food from scratch as I can, and pickles of all sorts are an easy way of fulfilling that goal.

I did not taste an excellent cucumber pickle until I made them myself because I like spicy pickles and the store bought variety don't cut it in that department. 

About the only good thing about store bought pickles, in my opinion, is the glass jar they come in. I like the jars more than the pickles inside.

The best part for me is that by reclaiming self-reliance skills, I can reduce my dependence on the conventional economy. You know, the one currently breaking down. 

Reducing dependence on the system is always my overriding goal, and always has been. That is more important today than it has ever been in my lifetime.

Glass jars are things I have always hung on to, and now I can see the wisdom of that, with pandemic shortages affecting availability of official canning jars, although I know they aren't equivalent.

Has anyone out there tried hot water canning with reused store-bought jars?

I saw a video recently of an Italian family that has been growing/making and canning tomato sauce for generations. I noticed that none of the jars they used were official canning jars. 

All the jars they used were reused with reused lids. They had a humungous pot of boiling water on a fire out in the yard, and just tossed the tomato sauce jars into it haphazardly for processing. 

According to all official information, these people were definitely rogue canners.

We are told we should worry about botulism and breaking glass when using ordinary reused jars, but the grandma in the video had been using the same method for 40 years and was still around to share her tomato sauce with her grandkids.

I always hang on to glass jars, and they are very useful in many ways, but can they be used for canning? 

Is that Italian grandma crazy, or does she just like living dangerously?

Or are mason jar manufacturers overstating the importance of their expensive and now hard to get product?


Refrigerator Pickles: Jalapeños


- 4 or 5 medium/large jalapeño cut into disks
- white vinegar to fill jar half full
- water to top up jars
- optional ingredients include a pinch of salt, sugar, spices, or garlic.


Cut jalepenos, place in squeaky clean jars. Fill half way with vinegar. Top up with water, and add any optional ingredients.

Close jars, agitate gently for a minute or so. Set on kitchen counter for 24 hours. After that time, turn jars upside down for another 24 hours. Then put in fridge and enjoy. 

Good in fridge for up to 4 weeks. 

You may never buy pickled jalepenos from the store again. Unless you need a 250ml glass jar.

December 2, 2020

Rockin' The Lockdown

First off, let us say that we are very sorry about those negatively affected by the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. It sucks for a lot of people.

But let it also be known that billionaires are not the only ones that can benefit from what is going on right now. 

You know who has been rocking this lockdown thing? 

Linda. Because of that, I am doing pretty good, too.

For most of us October 2020 marked 8 months of various degrees of stay at home orders. For many it has been understandably difficult.

For Linda, October 2020 marked a full 12 months since she has been away from home, and she has no immediate plans to leave for any reason other than a toothache or medical emergency. 

In addition, she has been in a permanent lockdown in her wheelchair since about 2008.

More recently, she has become locked down in her own body. 

How can she be one of the happiest, most content people I know? How can she handle her multiple lockdowns better than someone losing it when they can't go shopping for a while?

It reminds me of seeing a meme after a major blackout showing a group of Amish men with the words, "Sorry about your electric... lol."

Linda, like so many others in a situation similar to hers, could say something similar.

"Sorry about your lockdown... lol."

It's kind of funny, kind of harsh, and kind of true. 

Learning from adversity is the key to being adaptable enough to turn any situation to your advantage. 

First you must recognize them as opportunities, not obstacles. 

That is how Linda is rockin' this lockdown, that lockdown, and all the lockdowns. 

She handles being locked down with equanimity and grace, joy even, because she has chosen to find the good in what remains.

It is inspiring to be with someone that is living proof that there does not need to be anything lacking in a tiny, beautiful, local, hearth-centred life. 

Indeed, millions of happy, content, simple living people around the world will attest to this very fact. 


Because it is enough. 

We both hope that you are rocking the lockdown, learning a lot about yourself and the world, and are committed to moving forward as a better, happier person.