Saturday, October 28, 2006
I'm a novice at growing these guys, this being only my second year but they are fun and easy once you get the hang of it. You start early in the spring by cutting a sweet potato in half and putting the cut half under water in a jar. Here let me just show you with a photo.
Once vines begin to grow out of the potato you snip them off at their base and put the cut end of each back in the water. The vine, or slip as it is called, will grow roots and can be transferred to the garden once it has really warmed up. Sweet potato vines will crisscross your garden all summer, putting down roots and growing tubers for you to harvest. If you wait too long you'll get huge sweet potatoes like this one. I think it looks like a chicken ready for baking.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The truth is, the drop in price since summer ain't the only dramatic thing about this graph . The way the corporate media is talking you'd think we were back down under $20 a barrel.
Monday, October 23, 2006
“Shell is spending $30 million to create and test a massive "freeze wall" that would extend from the surface to 1,700 feet below the ground. The walls would be 30 feet thick in a shape 300 feet wide by 350 feet long.”
Of course they’ve already built another test wall, “A crew of 200 construction workers will complete the larger freeze wall in the spring by drilling a series of 150 well bores that will be pumped full of ammonia-based coolant. It will take about 18 months for the adjacent water and rock to freeze to minus-60 degrees Fahrenheit, creating the massive ice wall.” -Denver Post
My question is this, if oil availability is not a problem why is Shell spending $30 million dollars to create an ice wall 30 feet thick that extends 1700 feet into the ground? Projects like this are viewed by the general public as proof that the oil industry will always be able to provide us with more oil. For me however, projects like this are proof that cheap, conventional oil is about to become increasingly scarce. Grasping at straws isn't a good sign.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
there was a luffa growing right outside. Once the fruit is pollinated it grows quickly. I can see a noticeable difference in size every few days. If the first frost will hold off for a few more weeks I'll have my shower sponge for 2007. This year however it looks like I'll have to find another neighborhood Christmas gift.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
...what about all those bags of leaves you see on the side of the road piled up as other people’s trash? The process by which trees produce leaves that then fall and decompose is how soil is created. Those people are throwing away soil. Are they crazy!?!?
So here’s the challenge. Matt, I bet I can pick up more bags of leaves (soil) than you can. If you accept my challenge and I do pick up more bags, you will have to do something. But if you happen to collect more bags of leaves from the side of the road then I will have to do something. And we’ll let the readers decide what that something is. What do you say?
I'm not sure if he'll accept but if he does, you can follow our attempts to make large amounts of compost and annoy our wives by clicking here.
Friday, October 13, 2006
It is also a great way to supersize your composting efforts. Last year the house next door was unoccupied all fall and winter. I told the real estate agent trying to sell it that she could have her landscaper pile up all of the leaves in my side yard instead of taking the extra time to bag all of them. I saved her landscaper time which saved her money and no plastic bags were used in the process. My reward was a pile of leaves 6' wide and about 6' high. I was excited. My wife was a little less enthusiastic about the small mountain of leaves resting in our side yard. Truth be told I thought maybe I had overdone it a bit. But we were both amazed at how quickly the pile shrank. The composting action of billions of little microbes worked wonders. By early spring the pile was 1/3 of its original size. The material deep inside served as wonderful compost while the less decomposed material on the outside worked well as mulch for the garden. The idea that I could ever collect too many leaves was banished from my thoughts. I too will be collecting leaves this fall. I'll rake them in my own yard, collect them from my neighbors and yes stop on the side of the road to pick this golden brown treasure out of other people's trash. This year though I'll remember to leave a tarp in my car. Some times those bags of leaves leak.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
The first is a conversation I was lucky enough to have with Jules Dervaes of Path to Freedom.
Jules and his family stayed in their own neighborhood to make their change. They live in
My second item to report is an article about how important autumn is in terms of home food production. There are advantages to spending serious time in your garden in the fall. Preparing new beds, stockpiling leaves, starting a compost pile, building and using cold frames, saving seeds, planting perennials and other useful gardening tasks can be accomplish in the fall. If you’re interested in growing some of what you eat you might want to check it out. To read it click here.
Thanks for following me around the web.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
At the funeral service for the man who attacked an Amish schoolhouse last week… About half of perhaps 75 mourners on hand were Amish. Dozens of Amish neighbors came out Saturday to mourn the quiet milkman who killed five of their young girls and wounded five more in a brief, unfathomable rampage.
Then there’s word that the oldest of the five Amish girls shot dead in a
Violence as a response to violence seems weak in the face of such incredible strength.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Click here for the answer.
If you were her father what would you tell her?
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Oddly this strategy of critique isn’t used on old ideas. Sure grandmother will need help removing the Thanksgiving turkey from the freezer. She also uses a stool to change the light bulb in her kitchen. Perhaps we should build all ceilings at only 7' high? Then Grandmom could change the light bulb without using a stool. No, stools work just fine. Ceilings are high enough to stay out of the way and light is up there where it can be most useful. Perhaps we should try and solve problems like energy efficiency and pollution by addressing the larger issues first and figuring out the details like how to adjust for the elderly and the disabled afterwards. Interestingly I’ve heard the same sort of thinking used to describe electric can openers. "But people with only one arm can't open cans without them" and of course that's true. So how does this sound, let's mine coal (very dangerous remember) and then let's burn it (causing health problems and a change in the climate of Earth) so we can generate electricity to be transmitted over long distances (with an extreme loss of efficiency) so we can power a small appliance that does a job 90% of people can do in 3 seconds with a hand tool. Call me crazy but maybe our perspective is a bit skewed. We have to take the disabled into consideration but I don't buy it as a reason to set aside good ideas.
Now his economic argument was a good one. He pointed out that electricity is extremely cheap. And electricity will be cheap well into the future if we continue to live in a socialist nation- well half socialist, half capitalist. If you're talking power plant profits, that's capitalist territory. People who generate electricity get to keep the money they make. But the problems they produce like unhealthy emissions of fine particles or the mercury that kept my formerly pregnant wife from being able to eat tuna or the occasional accident like three mile island (did you know the US government passed a law making itself responsible for big nuclear accidents because the free market wouldn’t insure nuclear power plants without such socialization?) all those items are costs that are socialized- spread out among us; even those of us who think electric can openers are stupid. If the cost of electricity reflected its true impact then it wouldn't be cheap. You add in the cost of the
No one gives a #%%! about things they can't see or don't know and the true cost of items like electricity isn't going to be made public to the American people any time soon. They wouldn't believe it anyway as most of them are asleep. But that was my most recent epiphany. I no longer give a damn if you use a regular refrigerator or a modified freezer with tremendous energy savings because I know I can't convince you of anything. I am not trying to convert anyone any more. I will continue to write and I will send out an occasional item to those I care about in an effort to provoke thought and I will certainly continue to share my thoughts with those who are interested. But taking the red pill is a mean ride and subconsciously I think we all know that. I am going to spend my time preparing for a future radically different from the present by changing the way I live and learning what I need to know. I will share it with those who want to hear it and everyone else is on their own. This may not sound like my typical attitude but please understand, I haven't abandoned preaching because I no longer care or even because I don't think it will do any good. The real reason I am getting off the soapbox is because I don't need to share this with everyone.
There seems to be two typical responses as to how change happens. The first is that the government mandates it and the second is that the invisible hand of Adam Smith makes it economically more attractive. Most people will use these responses as the only reasons for why things do or do not happen. Let's take population for instance. If I say, "There are too many humans here on Earth, let's cut back", most people will say, "You'll never reduce the population". These people will give me one or both of the reason above as proof. No one will stand for government mandated population control like in
Societies have historically made decisions about common items for the benefit of community and not because of government or economics. Yes our society is fractured and in bad health so we all look like greedy bastards only interested in hanging out on the back porch but that is not at the heart of who we are as human beings. I reject the idea that reasonable responses to problems are possible only if it's affordable or if we're told we legally have to. I'll go further and say that I am a freer man than anyone who would argue otherwise. But even that is not the point. The reason I don't care about your refrigerating decision is because I don't need to share this with everyone. I don't need a majority to get this thing going. I think a small percentage of people willing to make change (leaders) who commit themselves to making decisions because of what's right and not because of what's cheapest or legally mandated- that small majority can cause- we will cause a revolution. The sheeople will follow along so why waste any effort trying to force them to change, especially when that means responding to weak arguments like the weight of turkey pulled from a chest freezer.
I didn’t write back to my friend Chris in an attempt to smash his effort to be objective in his response to a new idea that makes sense. I countered with an idea about how to affect change in our current situation and also because I understand his hole poking to be beneath his capability. Plenty of people “know” why things won’t work differently. Let's solve some problems shall we?