October 4, 2022

Indoor Climate Change





Get ready - climate change is coming indoors. 

Welcome to our brave, less wasteful world, where the 5 second rule has been increased to 30 seconds, and the official room temperature has been decreased from 20-25 to 18-19 degrees Celsius.

Some European countries are threatening to fine and jail citizens that heat their homes past 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees F.), even though it seems impossible to police such a policy. 

Fines are also proposed for people that "overheat" water in residential hot water tanks.

I'm predicting that hot water heaters will become warm water heaters as standard temperature settings are lowered. Or for the really thrifty, how about the new tepid water heater model?

You can see where things are going. It is quite the challenge we have before us.

After decades of encouraging consumers to waste as much everything as possible in order to fluff corporate bottom lines, we are now on notice that waste will no longer be tolerated.

I wonder if that means that cars will only be designed to go as fast as the speed limit? Or that planned obsolescence will be made illegal, punishable by revocation of corporate charters?

Will they make a setting for dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers that prevent start up until there is a full load inside?

I can see outdoor laundry lines going from "prohibited" to "mandatory".

How about showers that won't start unless there are two (or more) people in them?

I am all for improving the efficiency of life, but recognize that it is going to be very hard when human nature encourages us to take advantage of energy sources as much as we are able.

The transition before us is going to be difficult. Best grab a sweater, and designate who your preferred snuggler will be for the winter. 

And don't forget those natural heating units known as pets.


 

September 30, 2022

I Heart Potatoes





I found a special spud among my potatoes. It reminded me of how much I heart potatoes.

First of all, the are easy to grow, and easy to store. 

They are also nutritious, and delicious. Even better, you can do a million things with the lowly potato. I particularly like them mashed with bean broth gravy, and scalloped. 

One medium potato (skin on) has about 110 calories, and three grams of protein. It is an excellent source of potassium and 27 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is almost a half of daily requirements.

The top potato growers are China, India, Russia, Ukraine, and the USA. 

However, they grow well in many soil types and locations, which makes them perfect for growing in your survival garden.

Let's hope we don't have to, but if we did, a person could actually live off potatoes. It's science! 

Pair with a serving of milk and/or butter and we're talking about a near-perfect, humble, easy to grow and store survival food.

What's not to like?

I heart potatoes.











September 28, 2022

The Cookbook That Changed How We Cook And Eat







The one single cookbook that has helped us the most in the kitchen and in our diet is Laurel's Kitchen

This vegetarian pioneering book was first published in 1976, around the time that I had my first grain burger at the Renaissance Fair in Eugene, Oregon as a wee hippy-in-training.

Our copy of this solid veggie cooking staple was a gift, and already well used when we received it. 

Now, after hard use for many more years, it is split in two and rounded around the edges. A big, blue rubber band now holds this information treasure chest together.

Our favourite cookbook naturally falls open to certain recipes, well worn paths leading to stashes of whole-food nutrition magic.

Chapati, tortilla, soy spread, dhal, hummus, and other dishes have become staples in our diet, largely due to this one book.

We give it two yums up for its recipes and extensive information, and for how it increased our joy in cooking and eating.

What is your favourite cookbook that has helped you improve your cooking and your diet?




September 25, 2022

Conserve, Conserve, Conserve





If only we would voluntarily reduce our consumption we could avoid many bad outcomes as we move into our less energy intensive future. 

But NO! 

We don't do conservation. It has never been a solution in our waste-based consumer economy. 

It is our consumer given right to waste resources on things like ready-on televisions that use electricity even when they are "off". 

For convenience, of course. Who wants to wait 15 seconds for their TV to spring to glorious light-filled life?

Thoreau said "Simplify, simplify, simplify", but he could also have said, "Conserve, conserve, conserve". Same, same, same.

What if we did voluntarily promise to never use a lot when a little would suffice?

We could delay the building of new power plants, or might not need them at all.

We wouldn't have to continue to deplete all water, soil, air, mineral, and energy resources. 

We wouldn't have to worry and fret about waiting another 10 years for the fusion/modular nuclear/hydrogen dream to materialize. 

Old growth forests would stay standing and providing valuable ecological services to nature and humans alike.

We wouldn't have to flood valuable farmland and displace millions of people to build dams and reservoirs.

If only we would see the (sun)light and voluntarily conserve all resources. Be smarter about what we use. Cut all waste. Be as efficient as possible.

It would make an amazing difference to everything and everyone.

What if we don't have a resource problem, but a consumption problem? What would the answer be in that case?

Conserve, conserve, conserve!



September 23, 2022

Celebrity And The Big Beefmaster

It was a good year for tomatoes.


One of my favourite things about gardening is being introduced to the diversity and freshness of garden produce. 

Without a garden, never would I ever have seen such wonders.

I never would have seen or enjoyed eating these veggies if it were left up to my local big box retail grocery store.

Enter Celebrity. And the big Beefmaster. 

Not characters in a post-apocalyptic Hollywood dumb movie. No, they are the tomato varieties Linda and I grew this year.

They turned out to be hybrids. The Celebrity tomatoes were nice, medium sized round globes of loveliness. 

The hit of the season were the Beefmaster tomatoes. They are not smooth globes, like all other tomatoes I have seen up till now.

The bulging Beefmasters grew prolifically, and the largest among them were up to 1 kg in weight. Huge!

The biggest of them all deserved to be held aloft and marched around the garden and yard. 


1 kg behemoths.


It would join The Mother Of All Potatoes which I grew with my Grade 4 class after we pioneered the first ever vegetable garden at the school I was teaching at. 

The prize potato was as big as a football.

The MOAP did get held aloft by a student, and marched around the schoolyard. A procession formed behind the leader. 

As we snaked around the schoolyard, someone started chanting, "The mother of all potatoes, the mother of all potatoes."

Soon we were all chanting as we celebrated our successful partnership with nature, and the totally terrific tuber.

And this summer Linda and I grew The Mother Of All Tomatoes.

We honoured the MOAT and all our tomatoes by making tomato soup, and canning salsa (with the jalapeƱos we also grew), and stewed tomatoes with the rest.

We revelled in learning about the incredible variety of veggies that are possible when you are growing them yourself.

In the garden, every year is a discovery in the magic of nature, and the variety of foods available to the adventurous green thumb.


Canning salsa.








September 17, 2022

2019 vs 2023

We are going to have to switch these around.



"It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." 

This famous quote says it all, but I will go ahead and make a prediction about our common future anyway. 

The way things are going these days maybe prediction is not as tough as Mr. Berra said.

Here goes.

The future is going to look more like the past than the present.



2019

- washing machine 

- car

- fly to exotic beach 

- cruise ship

- waste




2023


- scrub board and laundry line

- bicycle

- visit to local natural area

- sailing ship

- thrift


What does your vision of the future look like? 

Do you see any flying cars in there?



September 16, 2022

Nature's Calander





After a summer of swarming our feeder, the hummingbirds have left. Washing dishes won't be the same. Until next May.

The barn and tree swallows no longer swoop through the yard catching insects on the fly. 

Today I rode my bike to the community mailbox 4 km down the road, and felt cold for the first time in months.

The sun is shifting in its path and will soon be halfway to its winter solstice position in the south.

Leaves are looking worn and are beginning to turn colours.

The winter squash are fattening under their green umbrellas.

We are enjoying the last few days of summer, and hope you are doing the same. 

We look forward to those sweet days of fall, which in our location in the Canadian Maritimes, stretch out longer than other places we have lived.

Often we do not see snow until the new year. I am not waiting, and have refurbished my 20 year old snowshoes already.

The crows, also noting the shifts afoot, are starting to cruise our yard again, looking for peanuts in the shell.

You don't need a wall calendar to see where this is going. 

Nature's calendar is showing us exactly when it is. It is now, and it is beautiful.





September 12, 2022

Bottled Air





The old model of consumerism is out. Instead of selling us resource-intensive things we don't need, companies of the future will sell you things you do need.

They will sell us rights to consume the most basic of things. 

"Do you have a Standing Pass? You need a Standing Pass to stand here. Extra if you also look around while standing here."

They want to be able to commodify everything, own everything, including the very necessities of life. 

When a small group of humans owns it all, they will sell it to consumers too poor to buy anything else.

This is not a mistake. Rather, it is the logical outcome of the late stage capitalist system we live under. 

Einstein thought there was no limit to human stupidity. It appears that our greed is infinite as well.

Expensive bottled water? Get ready for expensive bottled air.

And Standing Passes. 



September 10, 2022

The End Of Abundance?




Anyone that says it is the end of abundance is obviously not a gardener. 

If it is the end of the Age of Abundance, my garden didn't get the memo. It is teeming with tasty, life-supporting free food.

I have so many tomatoes right now that it is hard to keep up. I have already picked many kilos, and at about $10.00/kg for organic tomatoes, that is very bountiful indeed.

The purple pole beans have been prolific this year, and are still growing vigorously and pushing out flowers and bean pods this late in the season.

Beets, jalapeƱos, basil, peas, and winter squash abound. And the winter squash was a source of a totally unplanned abundance.

In the spring I bought a winter squash from the store. I didn't bake the seeds this time, so put them in the compost.

If you have a compost pile (another form of natural abundance), you will know that from time to time seeds will germinate, and things will grow. With no effort required from yourself.

One day I went to empty some scraps in the compost and notice a plethora of squash sprouts had emerged seemingly overnight. All I had to do was let them grow.

Eventually the squash took over the pile, and I started another one so as not to disturb them. What a rich boy am I! Two compost piles, and a bunch of squash starters I didn't have to buy or plant.

I left the squash to grow, and these plants turned into one of the success stories of our 2022 garden adventure. And nature did it all.

These squash will store perfectly well in the pantry for months. The dahl I make over the winter will benefit from nice chunks of this free and nutritious food. 

It was spontaneous abundance. You can't keep it down. I didn't have to buy it, or plant it. It just happened.

If you are missing abundance in other areas of your life, grow a garden. What results will be a salve for your stomach and your soul.

The end of abundance? I don't think so. Just the beginning of a different, more natural abundance.




September 8, 2022

It's All About Simplification Now





"We have just undergone a couple of centuries of the greatest complexification in our species history..." 

- Nate Hagens


We have reached Peak Everything. Now we are on the downside of the curve. 

From now on it will be all about simplification for those who have been living high on the hog for too long.


The Great Reset = simplification.

Green Energy = simplification.

Limiting international travel = simplification.


Tiny homes = simplification.

The Great Resignation = simplification.

The Rural Migration Trend = simplification.


Staycations = simplification.

Higher interest rates = simplification.

Pricy, unaffordable gasoline = simplification.


Less, more expensive food at the grocery store? Yup, simplification again.

Even if you don't feel you need to simplify now, why not do so in order to be prepared for the day that you will need to?

Because whether by nature, misguided elites, or authoritarian government mandates, simplification is coming.

The future will be all about simplification. 

Starting now.

Learn to love a life of less materialism and more authentic living, or learn to love being miserable and discontented. 

The good news? 

In my experience, there is much about a simple life to love. 

Many will discover that it is vastly better than the hyper-speedy, debt-ridden, work-a-day-shop-till-you-drop lifestyle that is quickly fading in the distance. 

Good-bye Peak Everything. 

Hello Peak Simplicity.





August 22, 2022

Kindness, Walking and Nature







From "Little Pocket Book of Kindness" by Lois Blyth.

Walking and Nature: 

 

“No matter where you live, spending time outdoors is one of the most precious things you can do with your time.

 

Even in the most built-up areas, something wonderful will be growing somewhere.

Plants have a regenerative quality. They give us hope. The fact that something is growing stills the mind and relaxes the body.
 
Try to plan your time so that you venture outdoors every day. 

Walk in a park and submerge yourself in the beauty of the different seasons.

 

Take a close look at the amazing colours and textures that mother nature gives us. 

If you have a garden or yard, love and cherish it.

 

 

Expensive plants are not necessary to make it beautiful. Wild cornflowers and poppies are stunning, as are bluebells and rock plants.
 
It doesn’t matter where you live, something will grow naturally. 

If you have no garden or yard, do you have space for a pot or two, or a window box? You can even grow herbs or vegetables. 

There is little as delicious as something you’ve grown and nurtured yourself.”





It has been a hot, dry summer of long outdoor days around our home and in the vegetable garden. 

We have been harvesting and cooking with food we have grown ourselves, and it is delicious and satisfying. 





Inflation makes us cherish it all even more. 

Today our supper was a big bowl of hodge podge, a local soup made with early garden vegetables. 

Linda's mom makes a mean peas podge, which is simply new peas, potatoes, water, milk, salt, pepper, and butter.







Tonight we went to the garden together and picked peas and purple pole beans, then dug red potatoes. 

We ate our big bowls of fresh garden goodness with homemade oat/sesame/herb crackers covered in soy spread and last year's relish.

It has been a beautiful, regenerative garden season, and as we slide into fall, we only expect more of the same.




 



July 30, 2022

The Three Treasures





What are the three greatest treasures?

Many in consumer-oriented cultures would say fame, power and money. 

Or diamonds, gold, and property. 

In a materialist based value system you can never have too much of any of them.

Not according to the book of Eastern philosophy, the Tao Te Ching. It has a different take on the greatest treasures in life. 

These are known as The Three Treasures. 

These basic virtues are infinitely more beneficial to the self and others than mere material things. 

They can't be bought or stolen or had by nefarious means. To acquire them is a lifetime of focused, concentrated practice. 

But the benefits!

Lao Tzu said he had "just three things to teach". The Three Treasures. 

They are:


1. Simplicity (an absence of luxury, pretentiousness, ornament, etc.; plainness)

2. Patience (to remain quiet, with steady perseverance, having even-tempered care and remaining diligence), and

3. Compassion (a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it)


The Tao Te Ching concludes,

"Simple in actions and in thoughts, 
you return to the source of being.

 

Patient with both friends and enemies,  
you accord with the way things are.

 

Compassionate toward yourself, 
you reconcile all beings in the world."


July 24, 2022

Emergencied




It's an emergency. So many emergencies. They are piling up so fast these days it's hard to keep them straight.

It's an emergency of emerging emergencies. How long before we get emergency fatigue?

Why so many emergencies? Because emergencies are useful to those in power. 

Declaring a state of emergency gives leaders special powers, and what leader doesn't like more power? 

This special state is the "one ring to rule them all" without the usual checks and balances. With a stroke of the pen they become little dictators that don't need to worry about messy, plodding democracy.

Two years ago the leaders of "the free world" slipped that ring on and like Bilbo, are now reluctant to take it off.

"A state of emergency or emergency powers is a situation in which a government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of their citizens." - Wiki

We should be careful or they will emergency us to death. Maybe that is the idea since they tell us we have an overpopulation problem.

Rest assured that the police will be bashing heads of citizens in the streets, and freedoms/rights will be suspended for our own good. 

It is not a stretch to think a government might manufacture an emergency or two just to get those juicy extra powers.

In Canada our government layered an emergency on an emergency in fine fascist fashion. 

COVID was the first emergency, and then they took the nuclear option (the rarely used Emegencies Act) to declare the mother of all states of emergency so they could crush peaceful protests protesting the first emergency.

Non-violent, lawful protesters found themselves being violently attacked by laws previously used to deal with foreign terrorists and wars. 

There it is. In my country (and many others) peaceful protesters are terrorists now. Domestic terrorists. 

Essentially, if you don't support the government narrative you are a terrorist. And a Nazi. 

It's a global Guantanamo in the making.

And how about the capitalists? Turns out they love a good state of emergency, too.

"Never let a good emergency go to waste," they say.

What will the next "emergency" be? There are so many choices it is hard to pick just one.

WWIII? Global food shortage? Diesel fuel shortage? Computer chip shortage? Baby formula? Eggs? Meat? Monkeypox? Supply chains? Fertilizer? 

How about the climate issue? Have you noticed how Nitrogen Hysteria Syndrome is threatening to kill farms and ranches around the world? 

Wouldn't that lead to a food emergency?

First we had 'global warming', then 'global climate change', then 'global climate crisis', and more recently it has been rebranded as what? 

You guessed it - a "Climate Emergency". 

Oh, no.

We are living in unprecedented times. With a little downsizing, hard work, and preparations you won't get emergencied to death.

And, as usual, we must resist and push back, or we can say goodbye to democracy, if we have ever had it.

Today is a good day to fight the system, and their false flag emergencies.






 

July 21, 2022

Gross Domestic Happiness



We measure GDP, or gross domestic product, like it actually means something. But NO. It is essentially meaningless. 

A higher GDP does not necessarily mean more progress, success, or happiness.

An oil spill will result in more activity and drive GDP up. Oil spills are good for the economy, but they are not good for anything else.

What we should be measuring is GDH, or gross domestic happiness.

If we did we might find that for all our electronic gizmos, big houses, fancy cars and foreign vacations, we are no happier than we were before we had all that. 

Perhaps less happy.

Who really lives in so-called "shit hole countries"? 

Consumer nations should look in the mirror before attempts to honestly answer that question.



July 19, 2022

Winning The Rat Race





Two business people, representing The Powers That Shouldn't Be, meet on the smouldering wreckage of civilization.

"Sure we destroyed the environment with our promotion of waste through planned obsolescence and excessive consumption.

Sure we crushed the family structure and social cohesion with our emphasis on individuality and inequality.

Sure we propagandized the masses into submission after tainting all notions of truth, justice, freedom and autonomy.

Sure we hit all public institutions with the wrecking ball of self-interest and corruption.

Sure we preached at the altar of the false Gods of Progress and Infinite Growth.

 

Sure we personally benefited from, and sometimes hastened, the deaths of millions and millions of innocents.

 

But for a glorious golden moment in time we created for ourselves a heap of profit!

Now, let us congratulate ourselves on a job well done."



They shake hands, then return home to their houses made of cash. 

Later, they settle down to a meal of cash.

Finally, they kiss their cash kids good-night, then enter beds of cash where they hug king sized pillows stuffed with, you guessed it, more cash.

They fall asleep thinking, "I'm winning the rat race!"