January 31, 2023

Steal This Book

"Democracy is not something you believe in or a place to hang your hat, but it's something you do. You participate. If you stop doing it, democracy crumbles."

- Abbie Hoffman 

Shouldn't books on anti-consumerism or anti-capitalism be free? 

Interested readers should be strongly encouraged to borrow them from the library rather than buy them from money and power grasping capitalist corporations. 

Or even better, steal them from those capitalists and their brother and sister-run independent small book store-killing big box stores.

"Steal This Book" is a book written by author Abbie Hoffman. In his day he was labelled as an activist and radical. 

If he were alive today, he would most certainly be identified as a domestic terrorist. Even in his day the FBI had a dossier on him that exceeded 10,000 pages. That is how much the establishment fears people like him.

Hoffman's book asked readers to reject the status quo, and was meant as a practical guide to the aspiring hippie hungry for much-needed change in the power structure.

Published in 1971, the book exemplified the counterculture of the sixties. 

It sold more than a quarter of a million copies between April and November 1971. 

The number of copies that were stolen is unknown, but it would be fitting if it were more than the number purchased.

After recent years of the complete trashing of democracies around the world, I feel like going out and stealing a copy today.

Or at least borrow a copy from that most democratic of places, the public library.

"You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists." - Abbie Hoffman

January 30, 2023

Monday Memes

Think like a dog. The present is where everything is happening.

When we "grow up" we lose something special. So don't grow up, at least not all the way.

Something wrong? Change it - you have the power. What kills happiness is refusing to change.

The band Red Hot Chilli Peppers sing, "Give it away, give it away, give it away, now", and they are right. It will all come back to you in surprising and delightful ways when you least expect it.

The QUALITY of information (misinformation, disinformation, malinformation...) may not be the real problem. It's the sheer quantity of information filling our heads that is hurting us. Life is simple - why complicate it needlessly? Maybe what we need is less information.

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”

- Charles Bukowski

January 28, 2023

Imagine Fewer Possessions

Imagine a life with fewer possessions 
I wonder if you can 
No need for clutter or excess 
In a simple living plan 
Imagine all the people 
Enjoying just what they need.

- my little ditty, with apologies to John Lennon

Imagining what we should do with our possessions is a question we all need to come to terms with, preferably before death so we don't leave finding the answers to others. 

Stuff, I have found, is annoyingly persistent. Once acquired, it is difficult to get rid of. 

In recent years even second hand stores have become very selective about what kind of stuff they are willing to take.

That's right - you may find you have trouble giving away your unwanted stuff. 

And what is stuff that no one wants? 

Generally we call that "garbage", and you may have to pay a fee to landfill it.

We pay to acquire stuff, pay again to maintain and store it, and finally pay one final time when we want to part with it.

I have concluded that the thing to do with stuff, unless it is doing important work in your life, is get rid of it as soon as possible, and eliminate the draw on precious life energy.

That is why one of my summer projects was filling my big black backpack and biking unwanted possessions out of the house to wherever will take them.

Returnable beverage containers went to the eco-centre. There I learned that the 125 flattened 1 litre juice tetra boxes in my pack would get shipped all the way to Asia for processing. That seems dumb.

This led Linda and I to question whether we need fruit juice in tetra packs, or if we need juice in our diet at all. 

Now we have eliminated it from our pantry, to be replaced by actual fruit.

Unwanted clothes were also stuffed into The Big Black Pack of Liberation to be whisked away right our of our closet and our lives.

Those I biked down to a drop box in the grocery store parking lot. The clothes collected there are resold to benefit a local charity.

Next I cycled 3 coats to a neighbour that volunteered to make sure they were distributed to people that could use them.

I also cleaned out our home and garage and came up with 5 bags of recyclables. Those went to the curb and were picked up on the appropriate day. 

A lot of people can't get stuff into their houses fast enough. They even move to bigger houses to have more room for more stuff.

I can't get rid of it fast enough, and it always feels awesome to be rid of it.

It is a work in progress, and we continue to unload the dead weight that holds us back. There always seems to be more, as if it spontaneously appears and hides until you notice it. 

This is living better with less in action, and it feels like the right thing to do.

The quantity of our possessions are only beneficial to a point, beyond which they are only annoying anchors that hold us back.

I am always imagining fewer possessions. It is easy if you try.

January 25, 2023

We Bought Something

"Wouldn’t it be fitting if your nutritious morning smoothie came with a side of exercise? Well it could, if you had this ingenious food processor designed by Christoph Thetford. Called the Kitchen Machine, the electricity-less appliance uses the physical force generated by pedaling a flywheel, and nothing else! And a range of different attachments make it super versatile — whether you need to grind coffee, mix, stir or chop."

We rarely shop for anything other than food. So when we buy something other than edibles it is a bit of an event. We had such an event recently.

A couple of years ago our 70s era blender, handed down to us from Linda's mom 30 years ago, blended its last smoothy. 

We researched replacement parts, but supply chain disruptions rendered parts impossible to obtain. Plus, how long can that motor actually last?

We lived without smoothies and hummus for a while (the things we mostly made with it), then decided to find a replacement. It took us two years to make our decision, so this was no impulse purchase.

Rather than buy a blender, though, we went for a food processor. We could have bought a large mortar and pestle instead, but wanted something more versatile for two reasons.

1. We want to be able to process even more of our own food to reduce our dependence on outside sources, and

2. We want to be able to do this for as long as possible.

I do all the physical work in our kitchen, and Linda, being unable to do physical work, is the kitchen manager. It works out beautifully, but I wonder how long I will be able to continue my efforts as I age.

The food processor will enable us to continue making our own everything, because that is the goal. We would like to delay having to switch to processed foods for as long as possible. 

So far the new machine has been an awesome addition to our kitchen. We have already replaced store bought items with foods we can now make ourselves. 

Some of those foods we have made with our new appliance are:

- tahini (sesame seed paste, an important ingredient in hummus)

- hummus

- tomato soup

- salsa for canning

- coleslaw (can be made by hand, but the processor makes it fast, easy and with very consistent mouth-pleasing results)

- peanut butter (will also be trying other nut and seed butters)

- pizza (dough and toppings all done with the various attachments)

I really enjoy using my own hands to interact with my food. Doughs especially as I find the process of kneading to be meditative and calming. 

Handling a nice, sharp knife to slice and dice is the same.

Some say that love is transferred from cook to food that way, which enhances the taste and enjoyment of dining. 

The user's manual that came with the food processor did not mention love at all.

However, our new purchase is expanding the list of things we make for ourselves, and will ensure that we will be able to continue making them far into the future... even when I am older and fogeyer.

Otherwise, we might have tried to find out where we could get the pedal powered processor shown above.

January 23, 2023

The End Of Consumerism?

This is the beginning of admitting, finally, that we have moved into a world with less available stuff. 

Manufactured supply chain bottlenecks and shortages combined with running up against the limits of nature, mean the consumer can no longer consume at will. 

Officials are issuing warnings that even food may be dear in a future with less. 

After centuries of assuming infinite growth was possible on a finite planet, we move from consumerism to survivalism in what feels like the blink of an eye. 

The narrative has changed and there will no longer be unlimited access to things you don't need, and in many cases, things you do.

No jet travel for you. No car for you. No disposable income for you. No housing for you. No food for you.

The gospel of consumption model is dying a natural death as predicted as soon as it started with the industrial revolution.

So what to do?

Sun Tzu, a Chinese writer in 2nd century BC gives advise in his book "The Art of War". Make no mistake, there is a war being waged here, but it is not the one you think.

Sun Tzu's advice is something along the line of "when what you oppose is in the process of destroying itself, stand out of the way".

When something this big goes down there is likely to be collateral damage. COVID was phase one of the war, and pushing for WWIII is phase two. 

Look at the fallout of just the initial phases of closing down consumerism for the masses. Everything has been, by design, thrown into flux. 

Whatever phase three turns out to be, it will not be good for the majority of humans, but especially not for those of us that have consuming more than needed the past few decades.

Another reference to bear in mind is, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". Or in this case, "the more they consume, the harder involuntary simplicity will be".

For several years on this blog I have been advising readers to "choose to simplify NOW and avoid the rush", and it looks like the rush may finally be here.

Simplicity for most of us will not voluntary any more. Forward thinking people will be downsizing now, avoiding the rush, and adapting to life with less.

My guess is after the dust settles we will end up with more frugal and thrifty lives, as during most of human history, and that won't be a bad thing for the planet.

Consumerism is going down, along with many of our institutions and systems, but it is possible to replace them with more efficient and effective alternatives.

This will only happen if we speak out, hit the streets, and make our voices heard so that we have a say in how this new low-energy, low waste world works.

In the meantime, there could be a world of hurt for many former consumers. Don't be one of them.

It's the end of consumerism. Simplify now.

January 22, 2023

The Web Of Life

What we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

By this same logic, what we do to each other we do to ourselves.

By now many of us have noticed that the War on Terror (which increased terrorism) which was used to attack people in other countries is coming home to roost. 

Now it is being used to attack us.

Domestic terrorism. Medical terrorism. Divide and conquer.

The isolation we feel personally from each other and the larger living community, is a result of our lack of imagination.

Everything is connected. We are all a strand in it.

Everything is one. It is the web of life. Pluck one strand and the whole web quivers. 

This is a good reason to always treat anything and anyone else in a way we would want to be treated ourselves.

Together we operate as it was meant to be, divided it all begins to fall apart.

Can you feel it, too?

January 19, 2023

A Great Refusal Is Where It Starts

A Great Refusal. This is where it starts. This is our collective power that can not be matched, or resisted.

"Given that overconsumption is driving many of the world’s most pressing problems, it may be that ethical activity today requires that we critically reflect on our own subjectivities in order to refuse who we are — so far as we are uncritical consumers.

This Great Refusal would open up space to create new, post-consumerist forms of subjectivity, which is surely part of the revolution in consciousness needed in order to produce a society based on a ‘simpler way.’"


- Samuel Alexander

A simpler, better way is possible. We have been there before, and we will be there again.

Our experiment with complex excess has failed. This is not the time to hesitate. 

Start (or step up) your personal Great Refusal today. 

When enough of us choose the ethical alternative (opting out), the scales will tip and once again we will win.

Great Reseters, witness the might of our non-violent, peaceful Great Refusal. 

So much to refuse, so little time left to refuse it.


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January 11, 2023

7 Things To Make Cooking Easier

I live and eat like it is the 1950s. You know, when people (mostly moms/wives/grandmas) made everything that was eaten in the house from scratch.

Except that I am a guy. How 2020s. 

Anyway, anyone can do it, although I won't sugar-coat it - it takes a lot of planning, time, and sweating over a hot stove.

But as is said, "Either make time for cooking, or make time for being sick." 

You see, Big Food Inc. does not exist to make you healthy, only feeling full. Really full. Their focus is not wholesome ingredients, but profit, profit, profit. I get a stomach ache just thinking about it.

Here are a few things that we have found help us do what it takes to make virtually everything we eat from scratch.

1. Keep a clean kitchen. All the time. A dirty kitchen is a cooking killer. No one wants to start a cooking session by cleaning a sink overflowing with dishes.

2. Always have everything you need to make the dishes you love. Having to "run out" for a missing ingredient can make the difference between cooking and ordering in. 

We have backup stores for everything so when something is finished, there is a back up in the pantry. Then we put another on our shopping list to replace it so we always have what we need.

3. Have homemade "fast food" ready for the times you are too busy or don't feel like cooking. We keep ready-to-eat foods in our freezer. 

For example, when we make chilli, we make a lot, then freeze several 500ml jars. We also have frozen jars of Dahl, soups, tomato pasta sauce, beans, and whatever else we make in large batches. We also make foods like samosa and freeze bags of them for quick snacks.

4. Make breakfast easy. Not having to plan for three meals a day helps. We almost always have old fashioned rolled oats for our first meal of the day. That is one meal we never have to think about, and it is an easy to make and healthful food.

5. Notice how your own food is so much better than foods of the fast or processed variety. Super yummy food is a great motivator.

6. Watch your bank account grow. Cooking at home saves money.

7. Enjoy feeling better. Processed foods contain some pretty dodgy ingredients. I can pronounce every single simple ingredient in the home cooked meals I make, and they all promote health and wellness. 

I understand if this is not for you. Sometimes I wonder how I do it, as it really does feel like it takes monumental effort for two of us working in the kitchen together full time.

Luckily, both of us love cooking, and that really helps. But even more, we love good food, and have found that our kitchen is the best place to find that.

If cooking everything you eat is unrealistic for you, and it is for most people considering how busy life keeps a person, then think about cooking from scratch more often. Not all the time, just more often.

Who knows, you might fall in love with it, too, and every little bit helps.

Good cooking and eating to you!

January 9, 2023

Finding Our Walden: Update

We thought this might be our own cabin in the woods. It wasn't.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavours to live the life which they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

Our retreat to a peaceful cabin in the woods has been put off a while longer. Again.

I reported earlier that we were looking at a property that we thought might be our Walden. As it turned out, it was not for us.

Yes, it looked like our perfect situation, and when I visited it, it felt like a few pages straight out of Henry David Thoreau's journal.

But, it did have some issues we saw as insurmountable.

If Linda were not disabled, we might have been able to make a go of it. And I'm getting older and fogeyer all the time, so we need to be realistic about that, too.

While we could afford to purchase the property we were looking at, we calculated that we would not have enough money left over to make it suitable to meet our special needs.

It was a hard realization, and disappointing, but we had to let the property we were looking at go.

Now that Pandemic Realestate Hysteria Syndrome has subsided somewhat, prices are beginning to drop, and that can only be a good thing for us.

We are sure our own personal Walden is out there, and in this new year we will continue the search to fulfill our dream. 

In the meantime, one does not need an isolated tiny cabin in the woods to live the ideals of Walden, as nice as that would be.

It is possible to experience the Thoreauian life anywhere. 

Wherever we live, nature, simplicity, and living an authentic, deliberate life is what is most important.

January 8, 2023

Most Read Post Of 2022

The DIY thermal cooker workhorse that started it all in our kitchen is just a camping thermal chest packed with old pillows to insulate hot food in a pot. We 
have added a pillow on top since the lid is not insulated.

For the first time in ages, the most read post of the year on this blog has changed. Does this mean that priorities have changed as well?

The most read on the Not Buying Anything Blog has been for many consecutive years the post called Average House Size By Country. Interesting that it is also the most commented on post on this blog, which I take to mean that it is also the most controversial. 

I guess this is unsurprising considering our obsession with size generally. We love things big enough to be imposing and impressive, but also things small enough to be cute.

So you buy a huge house and eat tiny sliders in it, for the best of both worlds. Consumerism, after all, tells us that "You Can Have It All!™".

Anyway, it was heartening to finish 2022 and see that the house size post had been toppled from first place by the more NBA-friendly DIY Thermal Cooker post. The house size post fell to... second place.

Hopefully this means that people are looking more toward ways of being more efficient with their energy consumption, and are placing more importance on frugal and practical methods that save money. 

Store-bought cookers can be very expensive when there is no need to buy anything.

The magic of thermal cookery addresses both. But you do not need to spend $150.00 to $400.00 to purchase a cooker. Ours cost us nothing, and work just as well.

Thermal cooking has transformed the way that we cook and eat in our home. We use our DIY cooker so often that there are many days that our cooking backs up to the point that we need more than one thermal cooker.

An auxiliary thermal cooker for when we need more than one. Just a heavy blanket on the countertop.

When that happens, we use alternatives other than our workhorse, the camping thermal chest.

Most often we just use a blanket on the countertop for the overflow food. 

Recently I went a bit further and MacGyvered an extra thermal cooker out of a yoga mat, cardboard box, and blanket.

It worked out very well, and kept the food inside (a lovely borsht made with our own beets and carrots) steaming hot even after cooking for 2 hours. Today we made white rice in it which turned out perfectly.

My MacGyvered thermal cooker uses things we had on hand.
No need to buy anything. For insulation, it has folded
yoga mat on the bottom with a blanket on top to wrap the pot in.

We made our red workhorse cooker more efficient by devoting an old pillow to go on the lid. This is because the top of the old thermal chest is not insulated, meaning it is a way for valuable heat to escape.

Welcome to 2023, where efficiency and money saving ideas will become more important than obsessing over the size of our house, or SUV, or body parts.

What's in the cooker tonight? Spanish chickpea stew with potatoes and yellow pepper.

Note: The information found on www.thermalcooking.net is one of the best descriptions I have come across, and is a good start toward saving energy and money, and learning about the joy of thermal cooking.
"What is all the hype about trapping heat to cook your food? The benefits include; energy efficiency, easy to clean, portable, quick and convenient, simple to use, “green”, keeps hot things hot & cold things cold, and traps nutrients and flavor inside. Just to name a few.
The first step in retained heat cooking is to bring food to a boil in a pot. Then place that pot of boiling food inside of an insulated thermal unit. Food continues to cook as the temperature of the food slowly drops over time. The result, when done correctly, is food which will maintain safe serving temperatures for up to eight hours. Thermal cookers can be purchased or assembled using boxes, coolers, blankets, pillows and a heavy pot, making thermal cooking accessible to everyone."

Read more about thermal cooking at the website here.

January 3, 2023

The Peace of Wild Things

I feel Wendell Berry's experience, and have my whole life. Deeply. 

This feeling is why being in nature has been my number one priority since I was old enough to get out there.

Now, I feel this every single time I go into the backyard woods and hike down to the rushing waters of the brook below.

So soothing. Nowhere do I feel better, except maybe in Linda's arms.

For fast acting relief of whatever ails you, I highly recommend this peaceful activity (nature, and hugs). 

But you don't have to trust me. The Science™ backs me up - nature exposure is essential for human health and well-being.

Now, I turn it over to Berry's beautiful words of truth (which I have posted before, but feel strongly about posting again).

"When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought 
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” 

Oh, that momentary feeling of being free. Try it. You'll like it, I am sure.

Make 2023 the year you connect (or reconnect) with nature.

You will not be disappointed.

January 1, 2023

Predictions For 2023

Who knows what we will find down this road?

At the end of 2019 I published a post titled "2019 Was Interesting - I Hope 2020 Isn't". 


That was more wishful thinking on my part, but if it had been a prediction it would have been a massively wrong one.

So I hesitate to make any predictions about the world at large for this year. 

Except one.

I predict 2023 will continue to throw out the same "interesting" things we have been experiencing globally, especially since 2020 when our "leaders" efforts towards wrecking everything led to them trying to fix what they broke. 

They have failed. Epic failures all around.

Our governments have given up on trying to make anything better. They have ideas about how they might do that, but in reality what they have done is abandoned most of us as non-essential to their larger goals.

We are on our own now as anything that comes from officialdom is steeped in fear and loathing. Hardly an auspicious sign.

I would like to make some predictions about my own experience, which I hope will contain some semblance of accuracy.

Here goes. 

I predict that in 2023 my own household will:
- continue to not buy anything other than the most essential basics which allow us to grow and thrive as simple living folks.


- go on saving a little bit of money each month, something we have been able to do since giving up vehicle ownership.


- meet each day with joy and resolve.


- independent of the health care industry, keep up our vitality so we are able to do the things we love to do.  


- write on our blog as often as we are able in order to maintain our sanity and keep in touch with a truly awesome group of people that visit here.


- continue growing, harvesting, and preserving our own food, supplemented by the purchase and processing of organic whole food basics in order to make everything we eat.


- ignore everything that comes out of the mainstream media and government propaganda channels, and live our lives in a simple, local and joyful way along with neighbours and friends as we build community resilience together.


Finally, I predict that people who practice patience, simplicity, and compassion (The Three Treasures) will be better positioned to ride out this year's unpredictable curveballs of chaos.

I sincerely wish you are amongst that group, and that you find success and happiness there in the coming year.

Thank you for visiting and adding to our blog in 2022.

We appreciate your readership and participation.

Happy 2023!