April 30, 2021


There is much that is foul in the world today. That, however, should not blind us to all that which is fair.

Kurt Vonnegut, in his book Man Without a Country, urged us,  

"to please notice when you are happy, 

and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 

'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'" 

In the end, Vonnegut concludes something else that is nice, and has the potential to make us all happy. 

"We are here", he says, "to help each other through this thing, whatever it is." 

That is the nicest thing of all.

April 22, 2021

When Is A Tiny Home Too Tiny?

Too tiny - have to sleep standing up.

I read about a Hong Kong developer turning a former hotel tower into residential units. The average size of the units is 300 sq. ft.. 

A 300 sq. ft. average means some units are smaller than that, bringing me to wonder,

"When is a tiny home too tiny?"

One hundred years ago the average North American home was about 800 sq. ft., and they had more people living in them than the 2500 sq.ft. homes of today.

Because of that, average personal living space over that time has increased by 200% to just under 1000 sq. ft. per person.

Linda and I would like to downsize from our current 600 sq. ft. per person rental home. 

It is too big for us, and I can think of better things to do than spending time cleaning it.

We have been looking at real estate for several years, but accessible homes in our area are very rare. If we are going to get anything here, we are going to have to do it ourselves.

We actually began saving money to purchase land shortly after we started living together. We both wanted a little piece of nature to nurture and call our own.

That was back when classic rock wasn't classic yet, but over the years the opportunity never arose. 

It has now.

The current plan is to buy a few acres of woods in our area, and make a tiny dwelling suitable for our needs.

But how tiny? That is the question. 

As far as we are concerned, the tinier the better, but where exactly is that sweet spot that balances both the positive and negative aspects of living in a micro-home?

It wouldn't cost a lot to build a Hong Kong-sized super tiny home. It would be about the size of a garden shed, small cabin, single car garage, or walk-in closet.

People in other places seem to manage quite well, and we think we will, too. 

Way too tiny, but amazing setting.

April 20, 2021

Groundhogs In Love

Those brown smudges mid-photo are groundhogs in love checking each other out.

We have seen (and heard) a lot of wildlife around our home this spring:

- eagles in the sky, sometimes several at a time soaring with steady wings

- hawks flying low over tall brown grass looking for a mousey meal

- a porcupine casually nibbling grass

- a hoo-hoo-hoooooting owl

- tree frogs called Peepers have been calling from the forest

- many small birds returning from their winter homes

- geese feeding in pairs and groups

- large groups of gulls after a heavy rain gorging on earthworms

But our favourite sighting this spring? Groundhogs in love.

These animals are basically very large squirrels, known as marmots.  

Some humans call them "pests". That's both tragic and funny at the same time. 

As far as I know, The Groundhog Empire is not currently threatening the entire planet with nuclear weapons and such. 

But who really knows what is down in those underground bunkers of theirs. 

However, these rotund roundhogs could do some damage to my garden, if they could actually get in. 

I have serious doubts as to whether or not they could manage to wobble/climb into my raised bed.

But I digress. Back to groundhogs girding for love.

She roams around yonder field stuffing dry grass for nest building into her maw. She sports a large, comical straw moustache, but that does not deter her suitor. 

Mister Groundhog pretends to be eating a short distance away. But really, he is checking out the object of his affection.

If the two of them are successful, about a month after getting together, the result will be 2 to 10 hungry groundhoglettes. 

Little ones venturing out from the burrow will be something else that we will be looking for.

All the wildlife out here in the countryside of Nova Scotia has been a joy, but it doesn't get any better than groundhogs in love.

I think they've got it made, those funny, furry, care-free lovers. 

Do they know how good they have it?

April 18, 2021


This old world could use some help. Lots of help. Heaps of help. Hefty heaps.

This living planet, of which we are an inseparable part, needs somebody. 

Not just anybody. 

It needs you, and it needs me.

That is why the sweetest words are,

"I'm here to help. What can I do?"

In every conceivable situation we can ask  not what the moment can do for us, but what we can do for it.


"Right here, right now, what can I do to help?"

Humans feel happiest when helping, or being helped. It is the natural way of things.

We have all heard that internal voice when we witness someone struggling. 

It says,

"You should help. Go help. Do it now."

How often do we heed its command?

The Earth and its Peoples are saying loud and clear,

"Won’t you please, please help me?"

How are we responding?

Humans feel happiest in the act of helping.

For if we aren't helping, what are we doing?

April 13, 2021

Turning People Into Trees

“When we go out into the woods, we see all these different trees. And some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens, and some of them are whatever. 

And we look at the tree and we allow it. We appreciate it. We see why it is the way it is. We sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way. 

And we don’t get all emotional about it. We just  allow it. We appreciate the tree. 

The minute we get near humans, we lose all that. 

We are constantly saying, ‘You’re too this, or I’m too that.’ 

That judging mind comes in. And so, try practicing turning people into trees. 

That means appreciating them just the way they are.”

- Ram Das

April 8, 2021

This Isn't Working

Imagine if no one was trying to sell anyone anything.

The "economy" we are spending trillions of taxpayer's dollars trying to save is based on corporate beneficiaries wasting trillions more to convince people of one thing: 

Buying things will lead to happiness, and more buying equals more happiness.

We know that doesn't work, never has, and never will. It is time to quit hitting our bloodied heads on that brick wall.

Now would be a great time to stop pouring money into a system we know doesn't work, and start organizing ourselves in healthier, more effective ways.

There are many good ideas for how we can all move forward. What we lack is the will.

I admit, it is difficult to agree exactly how to proceed.

But that should not stop us from admitting one thing we do know about the way things are right now - and that is that this isn't working.

That admission would be the first step toward meaningful change.

April 6, 2021

Soy Beans, Oatcakes, and 32 Samosa

Soy beans and bean juice destined for the freezer cooling on the windowsill.

We try to make as much of our own food as possible. 

We try to do it in a way that saves money, tastes better, reduces waste, is cleaner and more nutritious.

For us it is a source of great satisfaction, mostly because we do it together. 

Linda is the brains behind our diet, and I am the body that gets the pot-banging done. 

I moved a chair into the kitchen and do as much as I can sitting next to her. 

I don't mind taking the weight off while working culinary magic, and think every kitchen should have a cook's chair. Or, more appropriately, a throne.

Oatcakes are a tasty, hearty use of rolled oats.

There is a reason easy foods are popular. 

Slow food is hard food. But it is good food.

Making good food happen is a never-ending process. 

You are always either:

1) Preparing to cook.

2) Cooking.

3) Eating.

4) Cleaning up from cooking, or

5) After a slight pause, see number 1. 

It can get exhausting. 

That is why we take the time to spend a day cooking and making things like soy beans, oatcakes, and 32 samosas. 

These are all things that can be easily prepared and stored for later if we do not feel like cooking, or need something quickly.

32 samosas right out of the oven.

We don't see the time spent cooking as getting in the way of life. 

It IS life. We are what we eat. 

There is nothing more important, or more deserving of our attention. 

It is much work, but any work that results in providing the requirements for a healthy life is a wholesome, vital, and joyous way to spend ones time.

April 3, 2021

Mars Or Bust And Lifestyle Creep

Beware of lifestyle creep, when the more one makes (or can borrow), the more one wants.

In the beginning, the walker is satisfied with walking until they see the person on a bicycle, and think they want that.

The cyclist is satisfied with biking until they see the person in a car.

The car driver is satisfied with driving until they see the person in the limo.

The limo occupant is satisfied with being chauffeured around until they see the person in the private jet.

The private jet occupant is satisfied with being flown around until they see the person in the space rocket.

5-4-3-2-1- Blast Off! Mars Or Bust.

Meanwhile, back on Earth.

Walker 1, looking up: "Why do the billionaires want to go to space?"

Walker 2: "Because Earth is too small to contain their egos?"

Walker 1: "Ha, ha. Also because guillotines need gravity to work."

Walker 2: "That's funny, but lifestyle creep is not."