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.


- washing machine 

- car

- fly to exotic beach 

- cruise ship

- waste


- 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.