October 31, 2022

Seeking Our Walden

I looked at a property this week that definitely could be our simple living dream.

It ticks off many boxes, and would be a place where Linda and I can ride out the final phase of our lives in peace and quiet surrounded by nature.

The property:

- very quiet, private location away from it all, but just as near to town as we are now

- 560 sq ft cabin with wood stove and wired for a generator

- 160 sq ft garden shelter with wood stove

- off grid, with some solar panels

- large garden area

- greenhouse

- fruit and nut trees 

- chicken coop

- composting area

- 33 acres of mixed forest

- close to where we live now

This place is as close to ideal as we have seen in a long time. That tells you everything about what we have been looking for. 

Nature, quiet, peaceful. 

And set up so we can take care of our selves and reduce our dependence on the system that is coming crashing down all around us.

Then I wonder if I am crazy. 

Henry David Thoreau was 28 when he started his two year project in Walden Woods. I am twice that age now, and have a handicapped partner to care for.

This may, or may not, be the homestead project that will work for us. But it does represent the way we would most like to live. 

If it's not the one, we will continue to seeking our Walden, because that remains the dream.

Am I crazy? Oh, yes, yes I am. Crazy for nature.

October 26, 2022

Subverting The Barcode

"Consumerism is the one thing that gives us our sense of values. Consumerism is honest, and teaches us that everything good has a barcode." 

— J.G. Ballard

Barcodes are on nearly everything. They are the very mark of the consumer beast.

So when subverting consumerism, what better target for culture jammers than the seller's sacred sign?

Barcodes entered widespread use in the 1980s after being invented in the 40s.

They resulted in a supercharged conveyor belt of commerce straight from nature, to the factory, and then to your shed, garage, basement, attic, closet, or drawer. 

Never before was wasting the planet's resources, our money, and time spent shopping so convenient, efficient, and fast.

The barcoders want to expropriate, own, and sell off everything in the known Universe. 

They know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

When all you have are barcodes everything looks like a commodity to sell for profit. Barcode everything! 

Good thing that people aren't barcoded. 

Thats's not because shady powermongers don't want to do just that to every single human on Earth. 

Less stuff - more freedom. That is what not buying anything is all about. 

Rethinking and refusing conspicuous consumption and waste is the best subversion of all. 

October 22, 2022

Three Challenges of The Locavore

At one time we were all locavores, or as I say, locatarians. The way the fossil fuel industry and global supply chains are breaking down, we may all become locatarians again.

Essentially, a locavore/locaterian is someone who eats a simple diet of locally grown and prepared food. See also related topics like "seasonal eating", or The 100 Mile Diet.

Being a locavore is a good thing to do for improving your relationship with your natural environment and with your community. It is also the freshest way to eat.

However, there can be challenges for those of us used to sourcing our foods from around the planet, and having basically everything available all the time. It has been that way my whole life. That may now be changing.

“Eat organic, seasonal, locally grown, and sustainable for optimal health - yours and the planet's.” 
                                  ― Annie Falk

Regionality Challenge

What if your favourite fruits and veggies aren't grown close to home? If you lived in a northern clime like I do, you wouldn’t eat a banana again. 

And what about coffee? Spices? Walnuts? Dates? 


Quitting cold turkey is a hard way to go.

In my home we have been trying to wean ourselves off bananas for years, but still eat them. 

What we did do was reduce our consumption of far away foods, including bananas, which is also beneficial.

Seasonality Challenge

In winter, you may not have any fresh vegetables at all unless you have preserved them yourself. To get over this, preserve as much yourself as you can, and look for local greenhouses that grow all year.

Cost Challenge

Buying locally might cost more, but food isn't the only thing you are getting when you buy local. You are also buying a more resilient, dependable food system, and a healthier local economy.

Eating like a locavore may cost more, but supporting your neighbours and community goes a long way if you ask us!

In our own locatarian adventure we have successfully dropped avocados and orange juice from our grocery list, but are very undecided about giving up our morning coffee. Not sure if dandelion root beverage will do it for us. But it might have to some day. Soon.

And what about my array of exotic, aromatic, and delicious Indian spices? Help, again!

Some things may have to be declared essential, but the fewer of those, the better.

Ultimately, many people used to live happily without bananas and a lot of other imported foods we take for granted now, and we may have to learn to do so again. 

That will be the challenge.

In the process of meeting that one, we will reacquaint ourselves with the beauty and simplicity of local living within a supportive, thriving community. 

Do we even remember what that was like anymore?

October 19, 2022

More Precious Moments

The view from Richie's Bridge.

If this is the end, spending our days living as beautiful a life as possible is more important than ever. These are precious moments.

We are at peak insanity, and anything could happen. Considering that, I have been asking myself how I would like to spend what could be our final days.

On line? 



Or out enjoying nature?

Nature wins.

The bridge over tranquil water is a nice place to spend some time.

If I haven't been around for a while, look for me down at Richie's Bridge that crosses the brook on his land

I will be the guy sitting on the bridge over tranquil water. 

Sometimes I sit and think, but most of the time, I like to just sit and savour the view. 

Less stuff, and more precious moments.

That's my plan.

October 7, 2022

Make Compost Not War

Everyone is offering up their peace plans to stop WWIII. Here's mine.

I propose everyone waging war switches to making compost and gardening. Is there a food crisis happening right now, or not?

Who is doing more to improve the world? Those waging war? Or those wrangling compost?

I suggest that everyone currently focused on killing, instead devotes themselves to making compost. To planting and nurturing a garden. And feeding people.

War equals death.

Compost equals life.  

The compost and garden teach of love, peace, harmony, and connection to the larger living community. 

War is the opposite of all of that.

Let's choose making compost. Let's choose growing gardens. Let's choose life. 

Let's choose peace.


October 6, 2022

The Beauty Of Decay And Death

Dead flowers. They suffer from ageism. Don't they have a beauty all their own?

Fall is a reminder that after the abundance of spring and summer, decay and death take the stage. They have their own special purpose and beauty.

If there is no death, there can be no life. 

The decomposing and the decomposers work to cycle the building blocks of life back into the system, to be reborn in spring. 

Eventually even the decomposers will die and  decompose.

Round and round it goes, as it has for billions of years.

All beautiful.

All necessary.

That is why when I think of death I try not to see it as the sad endpoint of a linear process. It is a joyful part of the circle of life, the wheel of change that sees things descend, then rise again.

Flowers die, people die, leaves die, stars die, institutions die, and civilizations die. 

Everything will eventually attain the beauty of death in the Fall and Winter of their cycle. Out of that, new life will rise in an exuberant release of new potential.

I have some cut flowers that I have been watching carefully. They are now well past their "best before" date, and are revealing a beauty and character they didn't possess when they were young and fresh.

Decay and death. They happen, and it is a good thing.

Happy Fall/Spring. 



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.