March 28, 2022

Save Money On Food And Energy... At The Same Time

Lately we have swapped our online time from The News to more healthful pursuits, such as Learning to Cook More Vegetarian Dishes. 

We are using the infinite cookbook that the internet has become, which is a much better use for it than being a conduit for mind-bending propaganda.

We have been very happy with the results. By cooking all our vegetarian food, and using the thermal cooker extensively to do it, we are saving money on food and energy at the same time.

What is in the thermal cooker tonight?


Baked curried spiced sweet potato, cauliflower, onion, and garbanzo beans so good that eating this dish felt like doing a round of yoga, or laughing, or being on a mountain top at sunrise. 

Or all three, simultaneously.

Yes, we like it that much.

This veg dish is flavoured with olive oil, paprika, cayenne, cumin, salt, black pepper, cinnamon, and lemon, all of which do wonders for vegetables. 

In our experience, the more spices the better, and we try not to hold back. We want this dish to take us right back to India, and it does when done right.

Plate up with a generous garnish of home made yogurt. 

We made eight pita bread to accompany our meal.

The result?

A guaranteed nutrient high. The light burn in the mouth, and general feeling of well being lingers as a reminder of what just happened in the kitchen, the mouth, and the stomach. 

It's downright transcendental.

The News NEVER has that effect on us.


Why a thermal cooker? 


There are many advantages to thermal cookery.

1. Don't have to watch dishes as no danger of burning, or boiling over. 
2. Foods done in the cooker almost magically reach perfection in cooking. We have rarely overdone anything.
3. Cooked foods stay warm and ready for serving for a long time. Eat at your leisure when you are ready. 
4. Save 50 to 80% in energy costs. This is one of our favourites. 


We use dry beans because they are the most cost effective. Using the thermal cooker to make our beans reduces the amount of time the beans must be on the burner. 

First we soak all beans to be cooked in water overnight.

Then we drain beans, refill water to 2.5cm above beans, simmer on stove top for an hour, then 2 to 6 hours in the cooker, depending on the bean and what consistency is desired.

We cook three cups of dry beans at a time, then use canning jars to freeze 500 ml portions to use later. 

Our freezer currently holds a few cans of our own 3 bean mix (white, chilli, and kidney), chick peas (garbanzo beans), and soy beans.

For the dish in this post we used a can of the cooked chick peas done in the cooker earlier. 

The beans and the veg was all mixed together then mixed with the spices in 1/4 cup olive oil. We placed it in a baking dish in the oven at 350 for 15 min. 

After that we put it into the thermal cooker to finish off and keep warm (30 - 60 min).

This is where we learned this vegetarian dish, which has quickly become a favourite. 

March 20, 2022

35 Springs

Not only is this the first day of spring, it is also my and Linda's anniversary. We have been formally wedded for 29 springs, but have been together for 35.

We would be old fogeys together, but she is younger than I am. On our first spring I was 25 and she was 20, so she is now approaching fogeyism, but not quite there. 

As she likes to remind me.

We formalized our union on a brisk first day of spring witnessed by a small group of family and friends. Our ceremony was held in the great outdoors at the Buffalo Paddock of Waterton National Park in southwest Alberta.

The air was crisp, and the ground we stood on was speckled with purple crocuses, the first prairie flowers of spring.

There was still snow at elevation along the front range of the Rocky Mountains that tower above the site.

On that spring day we became a team for life. State sanctioning did not matter to us, but the vow to care for each other in sickness and health did.

As things turned out sickness did enter into the equation when Linda was diagnosed years later with MS.

Now, as her full time caregiver, I can't imagine a better job in the world than helping her live her best life with the challenges of a disease no one knows the cause of, or the cure.

Luckily, from that very first spring together we were partners extraordinaire, like we were made for each other. We were ready for anything, and in spite of it all, we are doing just fine and enjoying all that life, and spring have to offer.

We hope you are well, too, and that those of you in the North are happily welcoming the crocus, daffodils, and snowdrops as the sun returns. May you experience the abundance of the mighty bison this year.

To our Southern friends, we hope your summer was great, you are ready for fall and winter, and you are enjoying an abundant harvest.

Today this fogey and his near-fogey partner are celebrating our first 35 springs together, as we look forward to the next 35. 

Or 25. 

Or 15. 

Or whatever we have in store for us as we carry on through this crazy thing called life.

March 15, 2022

Simple Living And War Resistance

"If we don't end war, war will end us." - H.G. Wells

Money has power, so the withholding of money has power too. 
So the practice of simple living (earning and spending just enough for a life that meets basic needs) withholds money not only from exploitive corrupt corporate entities destroying the environment, but also from corrupt violent governments perpetuating endless wars. 
Chances are your government is one of those using your tax dollars to wage war. I know mine certainly is. 
That is one reason I live simply, and have made do on a small income when I could have made more. 
Living this way I do not pay income taxes, and therefore don't pay for war. It is a way to resist not only the war machine, but also the corporate war on our planet.


"Simple living choices can be part of a lifestyle of nonviolent resistance. The more you examine your economic behavior, the more you learn of your entanglement with the military-industrial complex and of your power to untangle yourself. 

You can help build parallel economic systems based on cooperation and sustainable choices rather than on consumerism, resource depletion, and exploitation. 

By participating in such alternatives, you live the revolution in values that is necessary for peace with justice. Each economic choice you make can be a witness to your values." 

From the pamphlet: Low Income/Simple Living as War Tax Resistance

War resistance through not paying income tax is not the main reason I live simply, but it is a wonderful fringe benefit.

It is hard enough to pay for the essentials in life these days, why pay for war on top of that? 

When we make do with enough and no more, we join a revolution in values that has the power to end war and exploitation wherever it exists.

March 8, 2022

Last Snowshoe?

Down in the wintery valley the outer world stops and this is all there is.

This is a funny time of year in the Maritimes. About this point in the winter, I both hope and don't hope that I have just done my last snowshoe. It could go either way.

This winter has been one of the most trying since we moved to SW Nova Scotia in 2014 (which happened to have a record snowfall that first winter).

It has snowed a lot this winter, but it also rained a lot so the snow never reached the amazing accumulations of our first winter here. 

It was also very windy, and we experienced our very first ice storm. The power grid went down more times than any winter previously, which kind of sucked, but also provided us with the opportunity to do some "camping" in our own home.

So. Much. Fun.

But this winter we have had dependable enough snow for me to get out for several very good snowshoe hikes into the valley behind our home. Much better than last year when I logged a grand total of 1 winter hike. Just one.

So when the forecast last week showed that above zero temperatures and rain were on the way, I strapped on the ol foot platforms and ran for the woods to enjoy what could be my last snowshoe of the winter.

I guess it was fitting that on my way home after hiking down to the brook at the bottom of the valley, my 20 year old MSR snowshoes started to self destruct. 

Blowout! One of three. The wheels are coming off close to the finish line.

The rubber-like straps that hold the boot in the binding degrade over time, and it appeared that the time was up for several of mine. One after another, three of the straps on one binding tore, and my snowshoe fell off.

I had visions of a jalopy in a race with more and more parts falling off the closer it got to the finish line. I could actually see the roof of my home through the trees as my straps busted one after another.

Back in business, again.

Three times I stopped to do a field repair so that I could get myself across the finish line with both snowshoes on my feet, instead of carrying one and hobbling along with one booted foot sinking into the snow while the other rode on top.

Almost across the finish line, and home sweet home.

This jalopy made it home intact, albeit with jerry rigged strapping. If this does turn out to be my last snowy trip into the woods, it proved to be one of the most adventurous and challenging.

And how satisfying to find that I could keep things together long enough to cross the finish line successfully.

Victory, whether it snows again or not. 

March 2, 2022

Food Is The Best Medicine

I tend to look first to simple solutions to any problem. Why overly complicate things if simple alternatives are found effective?

One simple solution they should have been informing us of in order to save lives since March 2020 is "lose weight, improve your diet, and get regular exercise". 

Instead they locked us down and actually succeeded in increasing things like alcohol abuse and obesity, two situations that will surely have a negative effect on health.

"There is, in fact, a close association between the severity of COVID-19 and the quality of one's diet.

Conclusions: A diet characterized by healthy plant-based foods was associated with lower risk and severity of COVID-19." 



After two years of saying that vaccines are "the only way out of the pandemic", it might be time to consider other proven alternatives.

Especially since we have never vaccinated ourselves out of a pandemic before. Historically, ending pandemics has been aided by improved hygiene and improved overall health and diet of the population.

Whether you have been vaxxed or not, losing weight, cutting alcohol consumption, improving your diet with wholesome foods, and getting regular exercise are going to do wonders for your health.

One has to wonder why they haven't been saying anything about this. And still aren't.

When one out of every five deaths across the globe is attributable to a poor diet, more than any other risk factor, it is time for the "health care industry" to acknowledge the importance of a wholesome diet, whether there is a pandemic or not.

Simple solutions can often be the most effective, and least potentially harmful, despite what the for-profit technocrats say.

Food remains the best medicine. It is that simple.

Better to be proactive and get your food at a farmacy, than eat phood till one requires the services of a pharmacy. 


March 1, 2022


The iris pond has flowered
Before the old temple; 
I sell tea this evening
By the water’s edge. 
It is steeped in the cups
With the moon and stars; 
Drink and wake forever
From your worldly sleep.

- Baisao (1675-1763

The most important thing I have been striving toward in life is waking from the worldly sleep of mainstream life.  

Such a goal comes highly recommended by generations of teachers, sages and hermits. 

When we experience awakening, we are free of the illusions of the material world.

I wish to be free of things that would prevent this from happening, and simplicity is my vehicle for doing so. 

If humanity does not make this a collective goal, I fear we will find ourselves in a permanent slumber... as in extinct.

We are getting closer to this outcome with each and every day of our continued sleep walk through life. Time is short.


Is there any other goal worth pursuing?