November 26, 2023

Why You Should Start Planning A Garden Today

I remember when a large grocery order for me was around $100.00 dollars.

It took a few years, but eventually a large order was coming in at double that, about $200.00 dollars.

Quicker was the next jump, when a large order went from $200.00 dollars to $300.00 dollars.

That is about when I started to freak out. 

I noticed that the Customer Service desk at the grocery store had installed an emergency defibrillator behind the desk just in case I had a heart attack when the cashier totalled my purchase and handed me the bill.

Now it is only a matter of a few weeks, the time between our large orders, and our bill increases noticeably even beyond $300.00 dollars.

There has never been a better time to start a garden. 

Or grow food in containers on the patio. 

Or get a couple chickens.

Or plant an orchard.

It is also a good time to cook for yourself, and learn to do things like make yogurt, and plan price conscious vegetarian meals.

With that grocery bill continuing to go up, the time is ripe for eliminating non-essentials. 

The best money saving plan is to not buy things you can live without. Like donuts. Or coffee. Or both. 

Sugary drinks can be cut with a net benefit to health and finances. 

A big bag of beans, a big bag of rice, chickens in the yard, and a garden for fresh fruit and vegetables will all go a long way toward reducing that nasty grocery bill, and increasing your food independence.

Don't freak out - start planning that garden, and get ready to eat healthier and save money at the same time.

November 25, 2023

Banned! Dumb Consumer Item of the Month

Often, besides not making any logical sense, some consumer items are dangerous in other ways.

In this month's instalment of dumb consumer items, we look at 7 dumb and dangerous offerings that have been banned in various places around the world.

Courtesy of: The Business Backer

A lot of what consumerism offers is bad for the environment and the consumer alike. However, banning is not the way to go. 

There is already way too much banning going on in the world for my comfort. 

Top down propaganda-led insistence will be met with resistance.

The best outcome is when people voluntarily choose better, less harmful ways through education rather than simply pushing propaganda.

Armed with critical thinking skills and access to accurate information, we can ban dumb stuff from our shopping lists by choice, to good effect both personally and globally.

We might better save the world by banning the practice of banning things based on inadequate assessments of the real threats to freedom, democracy and ultimately us and our beautiful planet.

November 22, 2023

The Darkest of Days

It is late Fall. The days continue to grow darker for about another month.

The leaves have turned, and fallen, and a lightless, cold chill is descending upon the land.

It seems to be affecting me more this year than ever before. I have been dreading it in every bone of my aging body.

Part of the reason, even more than aging, is that the global situation is mirroring this dismal time of year, making the outlook even more bleak.

A similar dark cold hand has taken hold globally, and there is no protective coat warm enough to halt the chill of societal and governmental breakdown.

As a result, the darkness and despair of war and destruction is seeping in regardless of where one lives.

It is not a pretty picture to witness the lawlessness and horrors perpetrated or allowed by not only my own country, but all of the West.

Are our hearts frozen with indifference? 

Those who speak out are finding that we essentially don't live in democracies any more, and are getting fired, cancelled, and jailed for their efforts.

The ones in charge aren't representing voters any longer, making one wonder who they are representing.

That realization will freeze the warmest of souls. 

Depression and despair smothers us with a heavy blanket of death and decay.

As the days darken, literally and figuratively, the need to commune with nature is even more important.

Why? Because nature rejuvenates. 

From nature we have come, and to nature we will return in the end. We ignore this connection at our peril.

Shorter days and colder temperatures invite us to slow down, take a break from the madness, and think about the abundant gifts of nature.

For me, being in nature is the core of my very being, my source of my very life. I immerse my senses in my sanctuary, the woods, and I love what it does for me.

How else would I survive till the return of light in the spring?

Dark days are never permanent, and that is the hopeful message that the cycles of nature brings.

Brighter days await in both nature, and the affairs of humanity. The light always finds a way to burn away the darkness in a glory of warmth and cleansing. 

That is what is keeping me going on these darkest of days.

Peace, love, and light to all my brothers and sisters around the globe.

November 20, 2023

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday

The dark shopping days are almost upon us, marking the official start of the annual materialistic mega event of the season.

Not content with one designated shopping day where consumers lose their minds, money, and sometimes their lives, we now have a quad of darkly designated days of deliverance.

The big four to kick things off are Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sofa Sunday, and Cyber Monday. 

There's truly no rest for the active consumer.

Since I am shoppingly challenged, I had to turn to an online Shopping Calendar to understand exactly what I am missing. 

I discovered a whole new shopping day to oppose that I didn't even know about - Sofa Sunday. 

Missed opportunity!

"Sofa Sunday in Canada is one of the five shopping days related to Thanksgiving in USA, to be precise to the Sunday after Thanksgiving (normally the forth Sunday in November). 
Although it is not directly related to a Canadian holiday, it might be very interesting as many USA online stores ship to Canada at reasonable cost. Sofa Sunday refers to the growing use of tablet computers." 

WTF? Is any excuse too flimsy or bereft of brains to promote the acquisitive instinct in people that still have money or credit available to be able to afford more crap?

After hitting the stores on Black Friday, you can either recover on Buy Nothing Day on Saturday (few do), or if you haven't had enough shopping yet, participate in Small Business Saturday (which, if local, is a good thing to promote). 

Then, the dedicated consumer can get up bright and early on Sunday, cuddle up on the sofa and browse for more bargains online on Sofa Sunday.

If you have a sofa.

And if you think you can go to work the next day and recover there, good luck. Because the Monday following Sofa Sunday is Cyber Monday.

That's right, more shopping. You might be able to get some of that done while slacking off at work, then get some much needed rest from all that spending once you get home.

Don't get caught or you might be shopping for a new job.

These designated shopping days aren't mandated yet, so participation is still voluntary. 

But the way things are going, who knows what the future holds.

"You vill eat ze bugs, and you vill keep spending if you know vat is goot for you!"

The only day we will be celebrating is our blog's favourite day of the year - Buy Nothing Day (this Saturday, November 25th). 

We will spend nothing and be happy.

Have a good one.

November 17, 2023

Rethink Consumerism

Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose and the other R's are all good and necessary in the practice of simple living. 

But at the centre, and guiding the rest of them, is the most important - Rethink.


Rethink consumerism. 

Rethink the slow unleashing of inquisitive instincts.

Rethink the planned demolition of valuing the personal creation of things and self-sufficiency, as well as the time-honoured values of thrift and frugality.

Rethink the propulsive power of envy.

Rethink the machinery of enticement. 

Rethink the siege that has kept the masses hostage to the work/spend/borrow cycle.

Rethink the designation of "consumer".

Rethink the cult of the new.

Rethink stuff.

Rethink everything that has been done in the corrupted marketplace for the last hundred and fifty years.

Rethink everything you have been taught.

Rethink the purpose of life.

November 12, 2023

10 Ways to Embrace Voluntary Simplicity in Uncertain Times

Involuntary simple living has become a reality, but that doesn't signal the end of the voluntary kind. 

As societal challenges escalate, adopting voluntary simplicity is a strategic move to prepare for the inevitable uncertainties ahead.

Amidst the myriad crises converging just below the surface, waiting for a controlled solution may not be a viable strategy. 

Here are immediate steps to make your household more adaptable and resilient for an uncertain future:

1. Get out of debt as soon as possible:
Financial freedom provides a solid foundation for navigating unpredictable times. Prioritize paying off debts to alleviate economic burdens.

2. Prioritize spending on essentials:
Cut non-essential expenses and save the surplus. Building a financial cushion ensures you're better equipped to handle unforeseen challenges.

3. Downsize your living arrangements:
Large houses can become a burden. Downsizing not only reduces financial strain but also makes your lifestyle more sustainable.

4. Learn to cook:
Cultivate a valuable skill that not only promotes self-sufficiency but also contributes to healthier and cost-effective living.

5. Stock up your pantry:
A well-stocked pantry ensures you have essentials during shortages or emergencies. Plan and prepare for the unexpected.

6. Engage in cost-effective recreation:
Look for free or budget-friendly recreational activities. Embrace the simplicity of life's pleasures without compromising your financial stability.

7. Family planning in uncertain times:
Consider the timing of starting a family. Given the current challenges, it may be prudent to postpone family planning unless financial stability is assured.

8. Rethink vehicle ownership:
Evaluate the necessity of owning a vehicle. Exploring alternative transportation methods can not only save money but also reduce your ecological footprint.

9. Embrace a plant-based diet:
Learning to survive on a vegetarian diet is not only healthier but also more sustainable. If unable to give up meat entirely, explore ethical and sustainable hunting and fishing practices.

10. Build a support network:
Gather friends, family, and community members to form a mutual support group. Strength lies in unity, especially during challenging times.

In embracing voluntary simplicity, you're not just adapting to the present but also preparing for a future that demands resilience and resourcefulness. Each step taken toward a simpler life is a stride toward a more secure and sustainable future.



November 10, 2023

Return Of The Rag And Bone Man

Taking advantage of the excess waste of others is a time honoured tradition, and collecting useful things from what other people throw away has always been a thing. 

Collecting, scavenging and gleaning are useful occupations that help squeeze every bit of useable resources from the dump of human excess.

Enter the rag and bone man, an efficiency professional that has largely disappeared in North America since the 1900s, replaced by industrial waste management practices that largely eliminated the original independent operators.

Many were happy about this. 

Those that turn trash to treasure have often been frowned upon by those that create the waste. 

However, now we can watch for the return of the rag and bone people (early ragpickers were just as likely to be women) as resources continue to get harder to acquire. 

Since this trend is unlikely to be resolved any time soon, you may once again see independent materials processing personal on your city streets, driving slowly by in an old van while calling out, 

"Rags, bones! Rags, bones!"

Or perhaps they will call from a horse drawn cart. Or hand cart. 

Or walking along with a well worn bag slung over the shoulder.

Most historical pickers could only afford a  bag with which to fill with the findings of long, hard shifts. 

This work was often done at odd hours so as to escape detection from people who didn't want the things in their trash, but didn't want anyone else to have them either.

Rags, bones, metal, and anything else deemed to be of use or sellable, are collected and eventually sold to a buyer. 

While this occupation mostly disappeared in "developed" countries, they have never gone anywhere in more traditional areas.

As a matter of fact, in 2015 the nation of India officially honoured the work and contributions of their independent recyclers. 

There, waste pickers, or 'kabadiwalas', are considered humble heroes, and are recognized for the important and often dangerous service they perform for society.  

Will these original waste management professionals be returning to our streets as resources become more dear, and we crank up our level of efficiency and desperation?

And will we treat them as well as in India if they do make an appearance?

"Rags, bones! Rags, bones!" 

...called out the former Wall Street trader as he negotiated his horse and wagon along Main Street.

"Rags, bones!"

November 3, 2023


There are many ways to live a simpler, non-consumeristic life.

Basically, a simple life strips away excessive and unnecessary goods, services, responsibilities and obligations in order to focus your time, money and energy on the things that matter the most to you.

In recent years we have learned a lot about what is essential, and what is not, and as it turns out, much of what a consumer economy churns out is most definitely NOT essential.

For decades Linda and I have been quitting more and more of the non-essentials. And it has only made life better.

Greg McKeown, in his book "Essentialism", says it "is not about going back to some simpler time, or about eschewing email, or disconnecting from the Web". 

He also says his book is not about living like a hermit. All of that, in his opinion, means "backwards movement".

That must be because his book is not about simple living exactly, it is about more effective living by doing less better. 

Basically, he says, we want too much, do too much, think too much, and can't say NO as often as we would like or should.

However, I would advocate for going back to some simpler time (since that seems destined anyway), and getting off as much of the digitalization of life as possible.

I also don't have the same negative view of living like a hermit, which to me is looking better with each passing year. 

But anyone that thinks we can live better by doing less and having less is OK in my book.

Years ago I posted my Ultimate Household Budget. It is basically essentialism in action.

In a nutshell it asks readers to decide their essential requirements for living a contented life, then eliminating everything else as superfluous.

This goes for material things, as well as for time commitments, obligations, and responsibilities.

What do you really need to have and do to lead a contented, full life?

Not much as it turns out. 

Just the basics can provide for a high quality way of life if approached with the right attitude. 

I see essentialism as a synonym for simple living. They are very similar whether you think the practice is a step forward, or backward.

I think it can be both a forward and a backward step with benefits accruing on both sides. 

We look back to return to our frugal, thrifty ways that worked forever before  consumerism replaced them, and look ahead to a new simplicity based on the health of all people and the planet.

It all starts when we decide, each of us for ourselves, what is essential, and what can be let go.

It is that simple.

What is essential for your ideal good life?