July 31, 2023

Chickens, Kittens, Garden

This morning I was out in the yard shortly after sunrise to check on the chickens (I am watching them while our neighbours are gone for the week). Last night one of the three gals did not return to the coop.

I have never worked with chickens before, but since I am a rural boy now, I figured I had better get up to snuff if I want my rural inhabitant card.

So far I am not panicking. From what I can see chickens may spend a night or more out for a variety of reasons. Still, it would be a bummer if one went permanently missing on my first chicken watch.

There's no shortage of predators around, and that is what scares me the most. 

Last night when I closed the coop for the night I could hear the yipping of coyotes in the distance. There are also owls, hawks, eagles, and mink. 

Fun Fact: Nova Scotia has the largest bobcat population in Canada. Yikes!

Speaking of cats, our neighbour's cat had 4 fluffy kittens. Linda and I spent some time with them on our patio for a bit of kitty therapy. 

They are adorable and irresistible, and I am saying that as a person allergic to cats.

There has been a lot of activity in our garden, and now that we are at the end of a fairly wet, hot July, everything is tapping in to the green fuse in a wild way. 

In our raised bed we have garlic, basil, beets, carrots, summer savoury and  at least three different types of tomatoes.

More things self-seeded than previous years. I don't mind this extra addition to our mix.

In this category we have tomatoes, as well as dill and cilantro. 

Everything is hitting its stride as we slide into August and the rest of summer.

In the front of the house I planted pole beans and nasturtiums. Some of the beans run up a pole teepee, and the rest have chicken wire for support. 

I wonder, are those ones called chicken wire beans?

Next to our garden I have made room for a compost area and a small spot of soil where I planted dill.

Because of our success last year, I planted one of my compost piles with winter squash. 

All the seeds germinated. Now they are going wild.

One problem, though. I have not seen a single bee, nor heard their buzzing, around the squash. 

It was time to take matters in my own hands.

I go out in the morning, when the squash flowers are open, and hand pollinate anything newly opened. 

How is it working? 

Well, in spite of not seeing many natural pollinators, there are many squash growing larger right before my eyes. 

With my help, this could be our best squash season ever. Perhaps the best garden season, too.

I do hope that chicken comes home before our neighbours do.

July 27, 2023

Formerly Free

How much of the planet does the consumer machine want to privatize, monetize, and charge us for?

All of it.

Every tree.

Every fish.

Every drop of water.

Every single square kilometer of the face of the Earth, including the very air in the atmosphere. 

And now they want to strip the resources they lust after that lie at the bottom of the ocean. 

When that runs out they will tell us we need to go to space to mine what we need to carry on the insanity of infinite growth on a finite planet.

Most of all, our self-proclaimed masters want to lord over every other human being in order to exploit labour and steal the peoples money.

If they get their way, there will be no more free anything. 

No free range, free ride, free time, home free, or feeling footloose and fancy free. 

No free will, free pass, or get out of jail free cards. 

Goodbye free rein, free wheeling, or living in your head rent-free.

No free anything - everything monitized for the private profit of a few.

Ultimately, no free country and no freedom. They own everything, and we eat bugs is their plan.

Is this a system worth propping up? 

I think not. I am convinced we can do much, much better than this.

Our current parasitic system is a rotted door that needs to be kicked down, because a better world is on the other side.

“Privatize everything, privatize the sea and the sky, privatize the sea and the sky, privatize justice and the law, privatize the passing cloud, privatize the dream, especially if it’s during the day and open eyed. 

And finally, for the embellishment of so many privatizations, privatize the States, surrender once and for all their exploitation to private companies through international share offering. There lies the salvation of the world…” 

― José de Sousa Saramago

July 24, 2023

The Life-Changing Magic Of The Daily Decrease

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” 

― Bruce Lee 

Marshal arts master Bruce Lee was also a master of finding where less is better, then cutting ruthlessly.

Anything extra that hindered his progress was eliminated without hesitation. He wanted to be free to act spontaneously and without limits.

If something or some situation isn't helping one reach goals, it is hindering progress and needs to be left behind. 

Leaving it behind is getting more difficult all the time. 

It means a trip to the dump, or hiring someone to take it away. Or a yard sale, or consignment. Or listing it on a website for sale. 

Or for free. "Take my couch. Please."

But what if no one wants your stuff? 

Everyone is stuffed out, buried in their garage-full of inessentials. We are over the hump of Peak Stuff, and people are screaming for it to stop. 

There's nowhere else to put it all.

When it comes to hacking at unwanted things, my favourite solution is setting them roadside with a Free sign, and having someone that wants to make your crap their crap take it away forever. 

"Good luck. I hope it makes you happier than it made me."

Most people want a daily increase, but what is really needed is a decrease to help prioritize what is really important.

The truth is, and has always been, that living with less is more efficient and balanced. 

Working toward decrease is a daily part of my simple living practice. 

The result? I feel lighter, more joyful and free all the time.

It's magical. 

July 20, 2023

Breaking Free From Digital Slavery

Digital Screen Slave Zombie Syndrome. It's a thing. 

No plugged in person is safe, which is why I limit my exposure to it all. 

Because of this, I have never owned a smart phone (pocket surveillance and data mining tool), and never will.

Beware the zombified: 

They would be conscious and aware — yet not fully awake; they would sit motionless and speechless all day in their chairs, totally lacking energy, impetus, initiative, motive, appetite, affect or desire; they registered what went on about them without active attention, and with profound indifference. They neither conveyed nor felt the feeling of life; they were as insubstantial as ghosts, and as passive as zombies.

While the passage is apt, it does not describe the effects of excessive screen exposure. 

The quote is from Dr. Oliver Sacks. In it, he describes patients with a sleeping sickness that was diagnosed in about 5 million people between 1916-1927, way before television,  computers, video games, social media, and smart phones.

But the comparison is a good one. 

The digital age is changing us and not necessarily for the better. I'm not seeing the consumer utopia we were promised, as long as we bought all the right internet connected things.

Some believe what we are witnessing is nothing short of a new form of slavery. 

Now we can add digital slavery to the economic, wage, and debt slavery, as well as the slavery slavery that we have always had. 

Now that's progress!


An electronic fast (efast), screencation, digital detox, digital Sabbath, or media fast mean the same thing - escaping, unplugging, and de-digitizing.

Here are my personal top three most effective ways to break free from digital slavery:

1. Nature

2. Nature

3. Nature

Nature is the analog experience we need to connect us with reality, with real living stuff.

In the unnatural digital world we are nothing but highly surveilled zeros and ones, but in nature we become the very essence of what it means to be alive on a living planet. 

That is why I take a regular digital detox, and spend as much time in the real world as possible.

Through gardening, hiking, bird watching, and cycling, I break my digital chains, and reconnect with that free and unbound experience in the great outdoors.

In nature there are infinite possibilities, while in the digital world the authorities are cracking down and limiting more of our options all the time.  

"In fact what is going on here is really about control of behaviour, especially purchasing behaviour. Whether through behavioural marketing or outright threat, the online world is shaping our beliefs, dictating how and what we consume and enforcing the rules."

- Mick Chisnall

For immediate and long lasting effects,  think about escaping the technological data mining dystopia by going off-screen, off-grid, and paying a visit to a natural area near you.

Easy. Get off the screens. Go outside. Repeat. 

Safe and effective. Really.

July 17, 2023

Satirical Art/Anti-Consumer Quote Mashup

"There is no energy crisis, only a crisis of ignorance."

- R. Buckminster Fuller



Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to expose human foolishness or vice.

There has never been a better time to put caustic wit to good use, vent some righteous anger at the world's sad state of affairs, and raise awareness at the same time.

There is a wealth of material to work with that is so silly that it practically begs to be publicly denounced in any and all forms possible. 

Satirical art is an effective way to expose the folly in ways that words often can't match. 

They did use to say that a picture was worth a thousand words (now about ten thousand words due to inflation). We'll see.

So much foolishness globally these days, and so little time. 

Crank up that derision and let's get at it with our latest mashup.

"Electronic books are junk." - Ray Bradbury

"Facebook is not your friend, it is a surveillance engine." 

- Richard Stallman

"Television leaves no external scars." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Garbage Is, always. We will die, civilization will crumble, life as we know it will cease to exist, but trash will endure, and there it was on the street, our ceaselessly erected, ceaselessly broken cenotaphs to ephemera and disconnection and unquenchable want." - Robin Nagle

"Where planned obsolescence leaves off, psychological obsolescence takes over. We are made to feel ashamed to wear clothes or drive cars until they are worn out. The mass media have convinced us that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality. It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick."

- Richard J. Foster

"We are not consumers. 

For most of humanity’s existence, we were makers, not consumers: we made our clothes, shelter, and education, we hunted and gathered our food.

We are not addicts. 

I propose that most addictions come from our surrendering our real powers, that is, our powers of creativity. 

We are not passive couch potatoes either. 

It is not the essence of humans to be passive. We are players. We are actors on many stages…. We are curious, we are yearning to wonder, we are longing to be amazed… to be excited, to be enthusiastic, to be expressive. In short to be alive. 

We are also not cogs in a machine. 

To be so would be to give up our personal freedoms so as to not upset The Machine, whatever that machine is. 

Creativity keeps us creating the life we wish to live and advancing humanity’s purpose as well.

- Matthew Fox

July 12, 2023

A Self-Reliance Check List

My whole life it has seemed like the shit could hit the fan at any time due to the inherent instability of the consumer economy.

Looking back, one can see that the manure has hit the blades several times, often in spectacular fashion. 

Take the 2008 Greatest Recession, the year this blog was born. Have we forgot about that shit show already?

After any kind of crisis (manufactured or otherwise) the memory hole operation goes into effect right away.

Next, government reactions amounting to nothing more than kicking the can further down the road, 'save' us from doom yet again.

But you can't play that game forever. Eventually a critical mass of consumers figure it out, quit, and look for better ways to work and live.

Adopting simplicity now is a way for preparing for that eventual inevitability when things go seriously sideways and the system is unable to right itself. 

Indeed, our simple life prepared Linda and I for the insanity of the last 3 years rather nicely, and we avoided a lot of troubles because of it.

But what if things just keep collapsing around us with all government actions to stop it ending in failure (kind of like the past three years)?

In that event, a good dose of self-reliance is what is required.

Today I share a check list for self-reliance that was shared in the comment section of a blog I visit. 

The list says something about the value of living simply in order to be self-reliant and resilient. 

More importantly, it is a reminder of the  essentials required for life.

I don't endorse this list wholeheartedly, but share it in order to stimulate thinking about the unthinkable, and be prepared for the worst. 

Think bicycles instead of cars, and you will get the gist of it. 

Here it is.

A Self-Reliance Checklist

1. Occupancy of, or access to, 500+ square metres of fertile land per person in a temperate zone.

2. Access to fresh water via collection from a local [and permanent] pond/stream/well. Also, the ability to collect and store roof water. Equipment to filter water where necessary.

3. Systems for utilisation of ‘greywater’.

4. Good working knowledge of the life cycles of plants that produce food, and the ability to harvest and store seeds from one season to the next.

5. Fruit trees already planted and already producing fruit. Knowledge of pruning techniques and propagation.

6. Recycling systems for all organic materials and conversion into compost and soil conditioners.

7. Thermally efficient dwelling warmed by passive solar that can stand local temperature minima without additional heat.

8. Firewood within bicycle or handcart range for cooking on open fire as required.

9. A substantial store of canned and dried foods, plus vegetable oils.

10. Candles, oil lamps, LED lamps and batteries, mineral oils, solvents, paints etc.

11. At least one bicycle per person, plus spare tyres and spare brake pads and cables etc.

12. A good stock of durable clothing and footwear.

13. A substantial stock of toothpaste, washing powder, liquid detergents, bleach etc. And iodine (KI, KI2) for cuts and external infection and grazes etc. Iodine may also be potentially useful in event of limited nuclear war.

14. Good relations with local folks who have skills and equipment.

15. A healthy attitude towards government, i.e. zero confidence in any politicians or bureaucrat to ever be anything other than an obstacle to genuine progress. Zero expectation of assistance.

16. Not more than a few kilos above ideal weight (scientifically, mass). Physically fit.

17. Ability to survive without any electricity or petroleum products

18. A good range of hand tools and means to keep them sharp as required.

19. Knowledge of how to construct and use weapons when the time comes for such things.

20. A greenhouse and/or cold-frames to grow plants in cooler months.

So there it is. I might add a few things, and take at least one away.

I would want a root cellar for sure to store all that garden produce that would be grown. 

There is no use having a years worth of potatoes if you don't have somewhere to store a years worth of potatoes.

And chickens. I want chickens on my list.

Also, it would be nice to have some way to make electricity like micro-hydro, wind, solar, or some combo of all of these, and I would definitely want a wood stove for those cold nights and for cooking.

I would also like to see a well-stocked first aid kit, a medicinal herb garden, and a set of books on home remedies and basic medicine.

Finally, I am not big on weapons, so would probably take that item off the list. If you want something of mine, just ask nicely and I will see what I can do for you.

What would you add to the list to increase self-reliance? What might you remove?

July 9, 2023


When I was in school a teacher asked, 

"What would you like to be when you grow up?"

I said,

"A hermit."

The teacher responded,

"I don't think you understand the question".

To which I answered,

"I don't think you understand hermits".

I'm not a hermit. I think I could be. A sociable hermit, if such a thing exists.

I have lots of questions.

Can one be a hermit with someone else? Because I really like Linda. She's kind of a hermit, too. 

If two hermits come together, do they cease to be hermits? If so, what are they then?

Is "hermit community" an oxymoron? 

How would hermits unite and change the world?

Can one sort of be a hermit, or is that like sort of being pregnant?

Is there a hermit registry or association, or do you just wing it on your own?

Were Herman's Hermits really hermits, or was that just a marketing thing?

Are more people than ever becoming hermits due to the unliveability of modern society, and if so, how would we tell?

Perhaps some time spent in solitude in a cabin in the woods would help provide some answers to those and many other questions. 

I would be willing to give it a try.

“Progress isn't achieved by preachers or guardians of morality, but by madmen, hermits, heretics, dreamers, rebels and sceptics”  
― Stephen Fry

July 7, 2023

The Simple Spirit Within

Over the years I have learned to follow the simple spirit within, wherever it leads.

Every time I tap into it, I feel its energy guiding me to make the right decisions for myself, other people, and the planet. 

I feel great and think to myself,

"This is a wonderful way to live."

When I do this, I experience joy, power, love, peace, and excitement.

We all have an inner simplicity that is yearning to get out, be expressed in our actions, and change us so we can live in more joyful and harmonious circumstances.

Follow what your inner simplicity is saying wherever it leads, and happiness and contentment are sure to be yours.