September 26, 2021

I Do Nothing

Bird poops on my window.

I do nothing.

The rain washes it away.

September 23, 2021

2021 Gardening Goal

The first full day of fall is a nice time to harvest our ripe tomatoes.

We started our gardening this year with one, clear goal. 

Our 2021 Gardening Goal was: 

To preserve more food than ever before. 

It is a reasonable goal because after years of having a garden, we are still relative beginners at preserving. 

Up until recent years we have been experts at eating fresh, but haven't focused on preserving as much as we would like.

This year we wanted to exceed our previous personal preserving best, which was last year.

Adding to our success this year is the fact that it was a great growing season with lots of rain at regular intervals. 

Temperatures were not too hot or cold. In other words, it was a perfect year for gardeners in south west Nova Scotia.

Now we find ourselves at the first full day of autumn, and we are working at wrapping up one of our largest harvests ever.

So much food! 

How much cash are cucumbers or kale or even tomatoes worth when you can't even give them away? 

At times like this it feels strange that people are paying for vegetables at the store down at the bottom of our ridge.

Today we went out to pick our ripe tomatoes because things are beginning to cool off at night and it is time to begin to finish our 2021 garden for the season.

We had already done our cucumber pickles, relish, and strawberry jam earlier in the season. We also canned one batch of cooked chipotle salsa.

We have been eating fresh garden veggies for weeks, but when there is so much food, one can't keep up regardless of how ravenous.

Now it is time for the bulk of our tomatoes to be processed.

We will do another batch of salsa because the first batch turned out so well. For the rest of the tomatoes we will simply can them diced, something we have never done before.

Another goal of ours is to get off store bought canned tomatoes altogether.

Wouldn't it be nice to get off store bought food entirely? 

That is the ultimate goal. 

While this goal of goals may remain elusive, it is fun (and yummy) trying nonetheless.

Happy Fall to all Northern Hemispherians, and happy Spring to all of you south of the equator.

Next garden goal - plant garlic some time before winter. I have planted here as late as a beautiful day in December.

September 21, 2021

7 Effective Consumerism Busters

Consumerism wants us to aspire to have more. More everything. 

Along the way we are supposed to find happiness, which remains elusive as long as there is something else to buy.

In a consumer society, there is always something else to buy.

These 7 Consumerism Busters can help us get off that treadmill.

7 Effective Consumerism Busters

1. Humility 

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."

- C.S. Lewis

2. Restraint

“Maybe the greatest power of all is the power of restraint.” 

Craig D. Lounsbrough

3. Thrift

"The whole thing of clothes is insane. 

You can spend a dollar on a jacket in a thrift store. And you can spend a thousand dollars on a jacket in a shop. 

And if you saw those two jackets walking down the street, you probably wouldn't know which was which." 

- Helen Mirren

4. Responsibility

“Take responsibility of your own happiness, never put it in other people’s hands.” 

Roy T. Bennett

5. Patience

“Patience will bring more happiness than power.” 

― Amit Kalantri

6. Sacrifice

“Anything that you cannot sacrifice pins you. Makes you predictable, makes you weak.” 

Mark Lawrence

7. Austerity

“A lot of people measure others by what they've got. I've decided to measure myself by what I can give up.” 

Geoff Nicholson

When we practice these busters, the desire to buy things we don't need goes away.

There are other positive side effects, too, like joy, contentment, satisfaction, and balance.

Consumerism is on the way out, a victim of its own excess, but these things tend to die slow deaths. 

With the help of the 7 Busters we can make changes, end the waste, and find our freedom sooner.

Mother Earth thanks us for our efforts, as do the people in non-consumer nations that are negatively affected by our profligate purchasing.

Life shouldn't be only about hurrying to buy more stuff. 

When we stop this madness, we can return to the real reason for living - to help each other.

September 16, 2021

Peace Begins In The Garden

"Peace begins in the kitchens and pantries, gardens and backyards, where our food is grown and prepared. 

The energies of nature and the infinite universe are absorbed through the foods we eat and are transmuted into our thoughts and actions." 

- Michio Kushi

The home has been called the foundation of civilization, and this is true. 

But it is so much more than that. 

It is our axis mundi, a place where we gain an infinite view of the intersection of all things.

It is a place where order exists when everything outside of it looks to be in chaos or darkness.

Every morning we are born into our own individual universe, our home.

It is the center of everything, and requires only a few things to self-perpetuate.

A thriving garden. 

A happy, well-used kitchen.

A few books. 

And tranquility.

What else does one need?

If it weren't for the outer world telling me to think otherwise, my outlook would be considerably rosier.

In my individual universe, things are running smoothly, peacefully, and harmoniously.

This radiates out around me, enhancing everything. 

Live the changes you want to see, and eventually you will see those changes reflected all around you.

Peace in the home begets peace in the world at large.

It starts here.

September 14, 2021

The Buddha Is Simply Yourself

"Whether you are going or staying
Sitting or lying down,
The whole world is your own self.

You must find out
Whether the mountains,
Rivers, grass, and forests 
Exist in your own mind
Or exist outside it.

Analyze the ten thousand things,
And when you take
This to the limit,
You will come to the limitless;
When you search into it,
You come to the end of search,
Where thinking goes no
Further and distinctions vanish.

When you smash the citadel of doubt,
Then the Buddha is simply yourself."

- Daikaku (1213-1279)

September 8, 2021

"Bye Bye" to Buy Buy Buy

During the last 18 months many former consumers have said "Bye-Bye" to Buy, Buy, Buy. 

Either by choice, or by force, or both, many are joining the ranks of anti-consumer survivors across the globe.

If the power brokers ever succeed in "restarting the economy", many of those former consumers will never say "Hello" to consumerism again. 

They are finished.

Many can see that it may be prudent at this juncture in history to switch from being a consumer to being a survivor

Unless you are very rich, you can't be both. 

When you leave consumption as a way of life behind you, it is possible to see the way forward more clearly.

Survivors are focused on growing a garden and raising their own food. They are busy investing in social capital and their local community and economy.

Survivors look for ways of circumventing the negative effects of corporate and government control of our lives. 

They make changes that allow them to operate outside of the matrix.

Making a conscious choice to become self-reliant and resilient as a family, group, or community means becoming active survivors rather than continuing on as passive, dependent consumers.

Eventually we will all need to reject the mindless waste of the Buy, Buy, Buy propaganda we have been subjected to for far too long.


September 6, 2021

Why I Live Plain and Simple

Why live a plain, simple life? 

Plain living, as the Quakers say, allows us to listen for the "still, small voice of God". You don't want anything drowning that out.

Living plainly and simply requires one to discard the non-essential, or resist it from the start. 

Things that are not necessary get in the way of the things that are necessary. I have no time, effort or money for things that are not necessary.

When individuals become serious about learning more about themselves, the Universe, and their place in it, they don't usually go shopping.

They also probably don't go to movies, or restaurants, or the gym, or large entertainment gatherings. These all may be nice, but they are extra. 

And ultimately, unnecessary. 

One important reason I live a plain and simple life is to get rid of anything that gets in the way of that which is important.

When the still, small voice of The Universe speaks, I don't want to miss it.

It could be the buzz-buzz-buzz of the bumble bee going from nasturtium to nasturtium as I quietly harvest pole beans. 

Or the whispering of the wind in the trees  while I take in a solitary, contemplative walk.

It might be the bubbling and babbling of the brook, running to join the ocean (The Watery One) after a rain. 

Or the laughter of the new neighbour's  baby while I sit (not thinking, or worrying) on the patio.
In the cacophony of consumerism, and the lifestyle needed to support it, those peaceful voices are drowned out.

That is why I live plain and simple.

September 1, 2021

Opting Out - Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones has gone home for good. 

The drummer appeared on all the Stone's albums, and played at every concert and gig the band performed. All albums, and all performances since the early 1960s. 

Until the band's most recent tour, that is. 

Even though he was a hard working musician in a hard working band, he did not fit in to the wild and lavish rock star lifestyle. He opted out.

Mr. Watts reportedly liked to "stay home", proving that some people see the value in living a simple, low key lifestyle by choice. He never had a drivers license.

"I don't actually like touring", he said in an interview. Or driving, I guess.

"The one regret I have of this life is that I was never home enough." How many people, let alone a rich and famous star, say that?

When he wasn't rhythmically hitting the skins with sticks he was said to enjoy relaxing at home and listening to jazz. 

Another favourite wild activity he indulged in was watching sports on TV from a comfy chair. 

Unusual considering his friends in the band, who lived more publicly and notoriously, but it worked for him.

Charlie Watts showed that it is possible to resist the temptations and hedonistic delights that wealth and fame can bring.

Now he is permanently resting at our final home, sitting in the big living room in the sky, listening to music, and watching sports on the big screen cloud.

This is one rock star that did not say on his death bed, 

"I wish I spent more time on the road working and partying and spending money."

Charlie Watts opted out as much as he could, and wished he could have opted out more. And he still managed to become one of the best drummers in the world. 

In 1989, Watts was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He stayed home that night.