Before, After, and the Bumble Bee Nest

I removed out the rogue walnut saplings deep by twisting the roots until they let go. Then I removed most of the grapevines that I could without the Bumblebees attacking me more than they already were. And put cardboard down, and then mulch. I’m going to compost the removed weeds and brush.


Viktorious Gardens

Have you ever been so happy that other’s road rage could roll off your back like a tip of the hat? Today is that day for me. I just met with a client and tommorow I start a job landscaping and clearing brush for them. 

They want some walnut trees trees, wild grapes, violets, and other wild things removed. I’m going to cut some cardboard with box cutters to keep the weeds from regrowing and hide it with dark mulch. I’ll make holes where we plan to plant hostas when that time comes.

I need to figure out how to pomp up the sea grass (by ripping out all the dead grass). Take out the mostly dead and make room for 3 hydrangeas.  Split up some sedum succulents and place around the grass and prospective hydrangeas. Finally, I will mulch around all that.

I’ve got some trim to move, bushes and roses to trim. Add trim around the roses and bushes, and then mulch that.

Then I’ll thin all the wild things on the east side leaving beautiful ferns where they are. I’ll try to figure out why the white cedar trees are not thriving. I will pull the purple rocket, yellow dock, and black berries  I from around the cedar. Then I will trim a huge bush with white flowers. Then I will add trim and mulch around the tree in the from yard. And finally, identify a black stemmed hydrangea, so we can get another one for the other side of the door.

The tools I will use will be a measuring tape, pruners, bush trimmers, my scythe with the bush blade, a shovel, box cutters, saw, my suede leather gloves, eye protection, garden trim, stakes,  rubber mallet, my phone to get pictures of my awesome work. And I will buy some black landscaping trim and 12 bags of dark mulch.

 I am so happy to have this opportunity. A big thank you to my friend Jeanice for networking. Thank you to Chris for talking to Jeanice, and to my new clients. This has really lifeted my spirits.

Grated Zucchini, Broccoli, Apple Salad

I wasn’t sure these recipe was going to turn out, but when I tried it I couldn’t stop eating it. This is great because it is filling and doesn’t require any cooking, just grating. Also it’s cool and sweet like ice cream, no one will care they just ate veggies, hah! It wasn’t that great before the cream, but I might try it again with yogurt, kefir or maybe even grated honey dew. This would make a good side dish or maybe even desert.


1 Zucchini grated finely

4 or 5 sprigs of broccoli peeled and grated finely (you may want to try different wild edible vegetables or some other vegetable like bok choy)

1 granny smith apple grated coarsely (or your favorite firm apple)

1 tsp-tbsp olive oil or your choice dressing oil

1 tsp-tbsp cream


Once you spend a few minutes grating everything into a 2-3 cup bowl mix everything together with a spoon. Then enjoy.

Make a Super Simple Chicken Cube Coop for Under $160

Here is a Coop that accommodates 4-6 Chickens. It’s economical, simple, and fairly lightweight. Here are the steps:

1. Set up foundation (You may wish to have wheels on the bottom to make it somewhat portable)

2. Measure (cut if needed) 6 quantities of 2″x 6″x 48″ and 4 quantities of 2″x 6″x 42″.

3. Start by making the frame for the left and right walls.

4. Use a drill to guide the screws and prevent the wood from splitting.

5. Measure 2′ up, mark with pencil and fasten shelf boards to the frame.

6. Fasten exterior walls to frame.

7. Place walls with bottom side facing foundation at 90° from final position

8. Fasten exterior floor.

9. Fasten the back wall on.

10. Gently turn and lower the bottom onto the foundation.

11. Put 2′ x 4′ x 1/2″ plywood on the shelf boards. (You may wish to trim an inch or two from the 4′ length so it fits easier)

12. Set the top on top and lean the from to the front.

13. The next day I work on it I will add mesh to the top in the front and back (You may wish to invest in vents)

14. Then add a door and figure out how it will fasten the from so I can clean the cook out, and other little doors to get eggs.

Simple Start Chicken Coop Cube0008

15. Measure width of front plywood to fit between the front vertical boards so hinges can be installed on each side of the ply wood. Cut.

16. Cut front plywood down the middle Vertically. Now you wont need as heavy duty hinges and the coop can be opened up to clean.

17. Make a horizontal and vertical cut at the bottom of one door, and add choice hardware to make the door secure and open and close-able.

18. Make a horizontal cut 2′ up so the upper and lower levels open independently minimizing draft in chilly weather when servicing coop.

Chicken Coop Cube details0003

Watch “The Hidden Life of Trees By Peter Wohlleben (Book Review)” on YouTube

Do you want to know the secret for having a healthier environment? Baby, it’s trees. I know it doesn’t seem apparent at first. That’s why you’ve got to read this book about the life that trees live. It will change your entire paradigm about forests and city landscapes. It will also give you a deeper understanding of permaculture.

It’s not going to be easy to sum this book up. [I wish I could read the whole thing to the whole world.] There are 36 chapters. Each one has a gem of an idea that shines with brilliance.

First off, trees can communicate. Via their ectomycorrhizal fungi they form partnerships with amongst their roots and they can disperse molecules in the air to warn other trees of impending danger. They are also very caring and feed each other. Even evergreens feed deciduous trees and vice versa.

Second, we find out the odds at which trees are up against. The unforgiving elements [wind, lightning, flood and how that shapes there genetics], parasitic fungi, [animals], poor environment (too many
rocks, too wet, too cold, too hot), and pests like wood boring beetles. We learn how they stand up and form a barrier to protect each other from the wind. And that each specie of tree has it’s own design to manage water and growth patterns via a memory.

[3rd] Then, we learn of their potential. That trees left to their devices do not grow old at 100. Instead some can live 300-1000 years old. The older and Fatter they become the more carbon they absorb. [But deciduous trees do not breath carbon in the winter when no photosynthesis is going on. They breath oxygen just like animals through their roots].

[4th] Interestingly enough, we learn that forests of trees naturally move over time. The next generation of trees creating the new boundaries of the forest. Creeping like the slowest creature across the planet. Rogue seeds catch a ride in the river and in the feathers of a bird. seeds can emigrate on a migrating animal to a more favorable area.

[5th] The big take home, though is that trees provide more valuable services and products when they are alive then when the most of the
forest is harvested and a monoculture forest in put in it’s place.

I love this book and found there is even more fun in the bibliography. You will learn about the behaviors of individual tree species from an experienced forest ranger in Germany. If you own property or help make decisions about trees in your community this book will give you an understanding on how to investigate which trees would be best suited for your area and better care for then in the long run. Get this book and enjoy the hidden life of trees. If you enjoyed this video or learned something new give me a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe for more information about permaculture. I’m getting a text book about permaculture in the mail, so we wont
miss an idea. Now I can do this by the book. 🙂

Thank you for watching [and/or reading].

Save money [make money], save energy, and save the planet [so we can save the humans] 😉

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Watch “Promote What You Value” on YouTube

What can you do if you start feeling negative and tired about things? Here in this video I talk about what I do to keep positive and invigorated with my environment. Don’t focus so much on the negative, and instead start identifying with what is truly needed.

Have you hypothesized some solutions yet? Go ahead and give it try. When you see yourself taking steps to achieve what matters and makes things better for you, celebrate that!

With ever new day, put a smile on and stand tall because you have the power to complete those small little things that make a difference down the road. You inspire others just by being you. So inspire kindness, playfulness, laughter, and your own great ideas! Thanks for reading. 🙂

Watch “Project 1 Snap Circuits Alternative Energy” on YouTube

Here’s the first project that my son put together. He was able to charge a battery from 3 V to 4v in a matter of minutes.

Get this toy at Amazon:

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Watch “The Mud Has Power!” on YouTube

55 hours after setup, the life in the mud of the forest has spoken, in the blinks of an LED light.

Get the toy at

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Watch “Bruce Logan | Microbial Fuel Technologies” on YouTube

Here’s what I’m watching waiting for the MudWatt to light up. So far after 49 hours of setting up the microbial fuel cell  the volt meter is reading around 100- 210 mV, but I’m thinking Thursday it will light the LED when it reaches 350 mV. In this Microbial fuel cell there is about 2 cups of dark brown clay heavy soil from a birch/maple forest floor, and 1/2 cup of char and ashes from an old bon fire, 1/4 cup of char from a barbecue (no water has rinsed any of the alkaloids out), and another 1/4 cup of chopped up plant matter such as fresh kale, 2 week old broccoli, fresh banana peel, and stinky old prepared corn grits that I neglected to eat about a month ago…I chose these ingredients to simulate a small compost pile.

How an Image Critical Girl Can Love Herself

Now, probably more than anyone realizes, there are girls coming of age who are devastated because they do not look like they think a woman should look, they may even notice they are not  developed like their mother. Dissenters will use these insecurities like this as a cheap shot at invalidating. But in reality, no physical part of a body on anyone has to be considered a flaw, because that would only be an opinion. No one can prove for a fact that any body part should meet certain properties beyond being able to function well enough to enjoy a quality standard of living, and even then there are people willing to compromise in those respects to make the world a better place anyway that they know how or to enjoy their favorite hobbies, etc. That is, how you look shouldn’t effect the value of the life you get to enjoy.

When looking for a mate you don’t have to worry about how you are developing because sometimes the things you hate about yourself are part of the things they love about you. Not as many guys as you think are obsessed  with what you think is the ideal of beautiful, and chances are you have assets that no one is going to tell you because that would be kind of weird (that’s for date 50).

There are so many things to worry about that you don’t want to worry about things you cannot directly control. But chances are there are answers to the question of why you are developing the way you are. The sooner you find the answers the more likely you’ll enjoy better health and youthfulness longer in your life. Follow these steps to get started in balancing your health:

  1. Our modern environment is full of pollution and processed unhealthy foods. Many contaminates can collect in the body effecting our next generation. So this is an important task: providing your body with quality simple food from leaves, roots, seeds, nuts, mushrooms, and in moderation- meats. The people of Okinawa, Japan have a high rate of quality of life well into their 100’s because they eat copious amounts of vegetables that they and their neighbors grow. So get those veggies even if you have to go into your back yard and eat a dandelion or pick a bunch of leaves and dry them in a dark place, store them in an airtight container, and then enjoy them as a tea in the winter time.
  2. Always get 8 hours of sleep at minimum. Developing people may need 9-11 hrs. This is the time when the immune system comes out to fight, so if you’re feeling really awful when you wake up that means your body has been through all out war. But nighttime is also a time to restore, heal, and memorize the important things you have been learning all through the previous day. Always get enough sleep so you can heal, grow, and develop.
  3. Avoid any form of simple (granulated or added sugars). Science has shown us that sugar is addictive like alcohol and drugs. The liver makes triglycerides from excess sugar in the blood, and it causes the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce sebum at an increased rate. Also, our bodies are more than just human cells. Our bodies contain more cells of bacteria, fungus, and other little uncanny creatures that love sugar. There are even some scientists that have noted that cancer is similar to fungus. When you eat processed sugar, you are not getting all the energy from it, the fungus and bacteria enjoy some of it too and enjoy you for desert.
  4. Balance your omega 3s and omega 6s. Omega 3s are really great to have, and they offer your body lots of healing, learning, and energy potential. Not only does seafood have this but nuts and seeds as well. Don’t blow the seeds off the dandelion for a wish, make it come true by eating the seeds 😉 The more you learn about natural oils (fat of the land) the more tools in your beauty kit you will have to be beautiful inside and out. Natural oils are your friend, especially when you finally decide that it’s time to start the next generation of awesomeness. You’ll find the last couple of months are the most important time to religiously apply oils (2-3 times a day) to help the skin expand with minimal stretch marks. Fats are a macro nutrient. 30% of the calories your diet can be fats making your meals satiating, and giving your body another form of energy.
  5. Get enough protein. An adult female needs 45 grams of protein everyday, especially when doing strenuous work. Make sure you eat within an hour of getting up and include a good source of protein in your breakfast so your body can create all it’s going to need for the day. This will keep you feeling good all throughout the day. Don’t go overboard though, because too much protein will cause the body to make ammonia.
  6. Get a good amount of exercise. Sometimes just doing some chores and caring for others is all the activity you need. All that scrubbing, shoveling, massaging, and maybe doing push-up every day is all you need for a great upper body. A part time job, gardening, sports, and even putting all the wayward items in your house away (especially when you are lucky enough to have others misplace things for you) is a great way to keep those legs being awesome. Get out and about helps your body get vitamin D  which is essential for healthy bones.
  7. Challenge negative thoughts. Not all thoughts are awesome, and are downright hurtful. Let yourself enjoy singing, and let yourself enjoy being you. Don’t believe the hype. Find a way to relax from stressors that you have no control of.
  8. What’s causing your immunity to not function correctly? If you are doing the first five steps and you find you still have a problem with an imbalance of fungus (called candida) or bacteria (called disbiosis) try to figure out why your immune system cannot keep it in check. Do you have a bacterial or viral infection? Has chemicals been introduced into your body?. Some bacteria is helpful for you and helps you create and absorb vitamins and minerals, and build your immune system. Is their a silent poison in your home such as black mold under the toilet, or lead from old flaking paint or pipes. (Do note that cilantro has been found to chelate lead, and that chelating should be done before deciding to have children to avoid birth defects.) Do you use proper ventilation when cooking? When the body is burdened with fighting and trying to heal from these kinds of stresses it seems logical that the priority of the body would be to keep itself alive and then if it has time maybe develop the reproductive system. Make sure you are getting plenty of nutrition before you have children. The first month is the most important for the proper development of your baby.

So when your mother says you can only love others when you love yourself, this above is what she means. The hard part is affording all that healthy food and avoiding everything that could poison you. That’s why permaculture is so important. We need more people growing and creating real food without destroying the integrity of it’s nourishment. You may have to do this for yourself. If we are to create a culture of permanence, we’ll need to know how to live in harmony with natural systems and not in spite of them.

Forget the small imperfections, and enjoy all that you have.

Me 10 years ago. This is when I realized I was not happy with the way I was caring for myself.

Here’s me in 2014 when I was avoiding gluten, enjoying all the veggies and different kinds of low glycemic grains and fancy oils. We spent a lot of money on food I was working full time, reading , doing yard work, cleaning house, spending time with my family so this is one of the two close ups I could find.


Here I am in 2017. My diet is not perfect and neither is my face. But I am feeling productive and happy when I eat quality food and not empty calories.


The Candida Cure by Ann Boroch

The Candida Directory By Helen Gustafson

Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau

The Okinawa Program by Bradley Wilcox,  Craig Wilcox, and Makoto Suzuki

Channeling the Spirit of Saint Nicholas

I was impressed when K-12 and Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy gave a history lesson about the folk lore of Saint Nicholas and how he helped 3 poor sickly maidens get married by secretly tossing 3 bags of gold into their window, thus improving their lives for the better ( So now whenever I think of what I could give; I ask myself how will this gift improve their life.

Which brings me to the next thing I’m going to get my son for Christmas is a learning set that will allow him to easily learn how to create electronic circuits and use alternative energy (

I feel these are good gifts because they will give my son hands on experience and working knowledge of what it takes to make a certain amount of energy. So the next time he looks at the power consumption of a device or light he will have a fuller understanding of how much power he is burning. And it will allow his mind to clearly conceptualize how to solve energy problems.

The problems my son’s generation will not be able to avoid are: 

Acquiring fuels for transportation when rising interest rates, costs, and environmental impact weight down deregulation and cheap credit. This will also effect natural gas power plants, fertilizers and pesticides, and high torque machinery like chainsaws and tractors. Though, some machinery could have lightweight replacements like snow throwers and battery operated cutting tools, etc.

Rising international tensions, rising stock piles of strategic nuclear weapons that are meant to take out infrastructure (electric magnetic pulse from gamma rays). This worries me because all this sensitive technology like smart phones, satalites, and LED lights may suddenly be useless in an event geopolitical power struggle comes head to head. Not only that but our already aging infrastructure will require experienced workers rebuilding and rewiring some sort of system that allows for the security that lighting brings as well as basic communication, food storage (there are non electric ways around that), cooking, heating/Ventilation/Cooling, etc.

So, in keeping up with Saint Nicholas my heart knows that time spent guiding my son to complete these projects will prepare him to solve expected problems in the future. Also nothing beats hands on experience to give someone the confidence that he/she can provide valuable services and skills in a demanding market.

MudWatt: Clean Energy from Mud! – MagicalMicrobes

I’m excitingly awaiting the arrival of this gift and holiday because I can’t wait to play with dirt! Don’t tell my son, yet. I keep wanting to learn more and think of hypotheses for solving future energy solutions.

Children can put together this device that measures the amount of electrons that soil bacteria are making. A little LED light flashes and they can use a mobile device to display the exact amount of energy being produced.

The main idea is to observe different sources of food get the bacteria to make more energy (perhaps leftovers or ketchup). This enables them to watch more of the story on their device. There are also learning guides available for free on the site to learn more about the science of the bacteria. This neat toy/science project is called MudWatt.

I also found a how stuff works website that talks about how regions with grid power can use this technology to light a light, charge a cellphone, and what it would take to run a fan (I’m assuming they are extrapolating and I hypothesize actual working area might perform differently if the bacteria do not create energy as a direct function of area, there may be other limiting factors, it could be made more efficient by going vertical with container design, or there may be ways to boost productivity exponentially.) >>

Watch “Save Clover Seeds” on YouTube

Here is a natural way to get nitrogen into the soil using a very resilient legume: clover. Especially when the plant is being returned to the soil. The white clover shown here stays short for the most part. I’ve seen it grow up to 6 inches. Clover is edible (at your own risk be sure the land is clean and you have the right plant), gives nectar to bees, food for rabbits, and prevents soil erosion. It was and is used for healthy pastures as well.

Watch “Edible Day Lily ( Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus)” on YouTube

Out and about and hungry, forgot your cash or card? Find out why the day Lily is not just a pretty flower. This little snack will keep you going until you can get to food. This is only a guide meant to encourage planting of the day Lily and to limit pollution. (Note:a link is in the description to learn to identify this flower. Become educated about the plant first. Harvesting wild edibles can be risky. Don’t harvest around heavy traffic, places sprayed with pesticides, or train tracks

Thermophilic Compost For Safety and Remediation

Preparedness is just not complete until you know what to do with the poop that hits the fan (or better yet before it has the chance to). We gotta get our poop in a scoop and bury it in moist carbon rich plant fluff. Now, I know you are looking through narrowed eyes thinking “Whaat?!”

We’re so used to the toilet, or for our wasted old food to go in the  trash bin that we may have not given it much thought. What other choice do we have than the way that we have been eliminating waste since the days of Roman civilization? Well, for one thing, the finished product of thermophilic compost is completely different from the inputs that undergo this biological process by being digested by microorganisms, heat, and thousands of little insect like invertebrates after it cools down. After a year or so, this pile transforms into a fertile agricultural resource. A business can be built around creating these resources as well as harvesting the heat energy, thus creating jobs. This resource closes the energy cycle between us and the land, giving back to the soil so it is not depleted, preventing plant disease. Reducing fuel loads in wilderness (7) while producing humus a resource that can hold nutrients and moisture in the soil. Plus, less water and fossil fuels are needed to transport the waste to a facility where it will need to be processed with chemicals that may end up in the environment. It saves wastes from going into a landfill. When using this method, there is no odor because the carbon filters it (8). The carbon materials soak up biological contaminates probably fixed in plant cell walls where it get destroyed or digested before it can get into the air, soil, or water (1). In-fact organisms in compost can even break down toxins into inert substances (2)! This industry has plenty of opportunity in identifying and finding uses (or properties) of bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, and small creatures that roam the dark corners of compost piles (2).

Are you as excited about this new idea as I am? Well, I guess we must ask ourselves, do we have enough time for a project like this. A couple of compost bins can be built with pallets that can be gifted from a grocery, department, or hardware stores. We’ll have to go and get sawdust, or make piles of leaves to rot and turn into leaf mold. Then there is the chore: once the four buckets are full, bring them to the compost pile, bury the contents within in the pile, cover it with the carbon material, and then rinse the buckets out over the pile. It sounds like this probably takes about 20 minutes once a week for a family of four (1). If you have the time, do you have the space?

Where can you keep a compost pile? You may need to set one up if the power goes out for an extended length of time, going camping, or if you are out a ways from your house in a barn or shop. I think it is advisable to locate it 150′ from a body of surface water like a river, pond, lake, or marsh. A flat well drained area that is in the sun can collect thermal energy in it’s mass. It’s also a good idea to shelter it from cold winds. A compost pile will not be active when frozen but will be ok when unthawed. You’ll want enough access to be able to cart a wheel barrel to it and have it a comfortable distance from the nearest door to your home. Try to look for a place that is not in direct line of sight of neighbors, and avoid putting under tree branches. That is the area where tree roots extend and they may try to grow into the pile. Evergreen trees have their own PH level going on, a compost pile may interfere with that (3).

Here is the basic set up. Start with bare ground, a lot of little creatures will join in the party from this channel, plus it allows airflow for everyone to breath (3). Thermophilic compost piles generally work better above ground (but is not limited to that) because the air flow is easier. Cover the bottom the the bin with 18″ of cover carbon materials like sawdust, hay, straw, dry grass clippings, weeds, or rotted leaves. Some small dead twigs or wood chips about 1″ or less will help aerate the pile, but may create a coarser texture of compost which can be sifted. Probably it would be good to start to add carbon cover materials around the sides as green and browns are added. The key is to bury the goods inside the compost (not resting on top) and cover it with lots of carbon materials. If you even think you smell anything, add more carbon. The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio is 20-35 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Also, it is good to make sure the compost pile does not dry out. You will want at least two bins so while one is full and baking (it takes a while) You can start another (1).

How long does it take? This takes about a year, or a year an a half, if your really squeamish. Once you have a pile that is at least 3’x 3′ or 1 cubic meter it needs to get hot, go through a decomposition stage, and then it needs to cure. No turning is necessary and in fact it is better not to because then nothing will evaporate from it. This prevents gases like carbon, nitrogen, and methane from escaping into the air, and you save all that food for the organisms, less work for you, less inputs, and nice compost. Waiting for your compost to cure ensures that whatever pathogens that were not killed by heat and microorganisms, will suffer and dwindle because of a lack of a host (2).

Now you may be thinking, how do I make sure, sure my compost is sanitary? This is the part that amazes me. We’ve got the three things that happen biologically and insane case studies that need to be verified, because if it is really true, then we’re saved! The angel wings that have been holding back the wrath of evil all this time were the very little creatures many of us wash and try to scrub away. Not to say we shouldn’t wash our hands or anything, but lets just take a look at what happens in a compost pile. First off the good microorganisms found in the soil, carbon plant materials, or other inputs see the pathogens in our crap and wastes as competition, so that means they fight and even eat those bad buggers. Finally as the thermophilic bacteria gain energy they start to heat up their environment this allows the pile to reach temperatures of 35-450 C (95-113.0 F) to 45-550 C (113-131.0 F), which will kill stuff that doesn’t belong there from 1 week at lower temperatures to a couple hours at higher temperatures (2). There has been case studies where rats were exposed to soil with lead in it. the rats that were on the soil that was inoculated with compost did not suffer from lead toxicity as opposed to the control that had soil without microbes. Rest in peace poor fellow <:(5). Also there are records from an Austrian Farmer who was affected by the Chernobyl disaster who was helped by a microbiologist and  agriculture scientist named  Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (6). Basically they sprayed compost tea on the spent green manure crop and tilled it under. The next year, the contaminants of cesium that were there before, were now gone!

Are you ready to get started? You may want a wooden box to hide the fact that you are pooping in a bucket, at least until the lid is lifted. Then you will need four buckets or so, about 5 gallons or 20 liters all the same size and shape to fit in the box., a toilet seat for the box, or a toilet seat (for a bucket), a steady supply of raw sawdust, grass clippings, or rotted leaves. You may want a lid remover in case the lid on the bucket gets stuck, a couple compost bins (YouTube DIY), a 20″ compost thermometer, and a pitch fork for harvesting the compost. You can click the blue links in this paragraph to get the items on Amazon, or you can follow this link to get most of what you need plus biodegradable bucket liners (if you prefer not to have to rinse buckets) as the Lovable Loo kit at If this was really interesting, you can reed the book for free, each chapter is a separate PDF with it’s own link (4). I’ll leave you with a little poem to sum everything up:

When you do your doo in the Lovable Loo, keep it all covered and it will provide for you too.


1. (5/28/2016)

2. (5/28/2016)

3. (5/28/2016)

4. (5/28/2016)

5. (5/28/2016)

6. (5/28/2016)

7.  (5/28/2016)

8. (5/28/2016)

Resources: (5/28/2016)

John Kohler and his Info packed YouTube channel: Growing Your Greens, (5/28/2016)


Don’t Toss Your Newspaper Just Yet

Most of us catch up with weekly news and catch messes with our newspapers. I like to keep thinking of resourceful ways to use those little things that we receive and toss out without a thought.

  1. Paper Mache
  2. Wiping away oil
  3. Absorbant layer at the bottom of the trash bag.
  4. Making Baskets
  5. Drop cloth
  6. Tinder (to start the grill or fire)
  7. Wrapping Presents
  8. Wrapping Fragile items to go
  9. Picking up yucky things
  10. Build up a mold for clay
  11. Recycle
  12. Filling in a hole in a wall to cover with plaster
  13. Crumple into a ball to throw
  14. Potty training baby puppies
  15. Absorbing water off the kitchen floor
  16. Use a 3/16″ drill bit to roll up a wet square of newspaper to make a place for leafcutter bees to make their brood cells (nest for baby bees).
  17. Scrubbing containers
  18.  Something to catch chicken poop (needs to be changed daily)

No matter what way you use the newspaper, the one thing you will probably not want to do on a long term basis is put it in the compost, garden, or use it to wash dishes because of the bleaching agents used on the paper and the types of inks that are used.

Homebrew Wind Power

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Do you live next to an open field?  Are you someone who enjoys building things by scratch or learning all the what, whys and hows of a mechanical system? Wind Technology may be a great path for you. Here is a book that was recommended by my professor: Homebrew Wind Power, A Hands-on Guide to Harnessing the Wind. The Authors Dan Bartmann and Dan Fink found a Scottish wind generator (by Hugh Piggott) that could stand up to the punishing North Colorado winds. They have an amusing website called about making your own electricity from scratch.

Even if your goal is just to learn the basics about electric and wind power, this book explains all that. It goes over how to find a good place, measure the wind, and rate how much energy is expected to be had. It also goes over common problems and how to address them. You’ll learn more than you could ever expect about magnets, generators and alternators (there are diagrams galore!). Plus, you will know how the built in protection systems on the turbine work.

After the physics basics are explained, the fun part begins with safety. Be prepared for working with electric, metalworking, rare earth magnets, chemicals, and woodworking. The “Dans” show you how to create a mold for the rotor and stator (parts of the alternator). You’ll see how to make a coil winder for stator (the stationary side of the alternator). Their is a chapter on the frame which holds the blades and the alternator to the yaw, the part that helps the turbine turn. Then there is the chapter on how to build the tail. The next two chapters cover how to put together the rotor and stator. They even show how to make a rectifier, or a component that changes the alternating current to a direct current that can charge batteries. And you’ll learn how they create and assemble the blades to the rotor.

In the last part of the book the turbine is ready to be installed on a tower. This book covers everything you could ever want to know about towers: from buying a tower to making your own, to raising and lowering them for installation or maintenance. It doesn’t end there though, they go over mounting and wiring for all the components in the control system from turbine to dump load. This book is like a wind bible except you may need a NEC code book or an electrician to translate that for you.

This book gets a 10/10. Dan and Dan have a simple and hilarious writing styles that most people can appreciate. So whether you are a homeowner looking for a way to charge a battery bank, a student willing to dedicate your time and concentration to create energy, or an experienced builder/mechanic with all the tools needed you will enjoy this book. One thing to keep in mind, many skills are needed to build one of these from scratch, so it would be helpful to have a network of people to build one of these. But even if you goal is just to understand how to harness the wind, and what each component is and what they do, this book brings your through the entire process.


Grow Herbs

Thinking about those invitations to birthdays, weddings, housewarming parties, or  celebrating an achievement like graduation? A book is a wonderful gift that gives knowledge which brings enlightenment into someone’s life. Books and knowledge do not wilt like cut flowers. I recommend this book: Grow Herbs An inspiring guide to growing and using herbs. Jekka McVicar shows the before and after of creating her herb garden much of which will grow year after year. She gives us a glimpses of how past people like Monks, Tudors, Romans, and European gardeners designed their spaces and used their herbs.

Just like our Ancestors, we too can grow organically. Jekka lays a firm foundation on how to do this and why it’s important. Novice gardeners will soon be filling up their to-do lists and achieving tasks like a pro. The main course of the book is the 100 herbs that are Jekka’s favorite. Each entry sports multiple pictures of different varieties and information on how to propagate, use, and care for them. The last part shows how you can use them in the kitchen with recipes of drinks, dressings, sauces, and cooked dishes. It shows how to heal with herbs and make first aid kits, how to make fragrance and cleaning products, and how we can make everyone in the family more comfortable with herbs.

This book’s rating is a 10 out of 10. It is perfect for anyone. It’s a complete accessible guide to however you’d like to make herbs a part of your life. It helps me identify herbs that I find in walks in the country or in cities. Are you ready to sink your roots into the earth or introduce earth to someone you know? Get the book at Amazon! 



Compost-Powered Water Heater


What would you say if I said there is a way to heat water, kill dangerous pathogens, sequester carbon, and have rich compost for the garden all in one project that can use local materials? That’s what you can learn to achieve in the Compost Powered Water Heater: How to Heat Your Green House, Pool, or Building With Only Compost. The Author, Gaelen Brown, has a business networking site called In this book you’ll find real life existing projects with pictures and helpful institutions like farms and universities from around the western world; places like Vermont, Canada, Chile, and more. Inviting you to start your own project.

Thermophilic (Heat loving bacteria) Composting is not new. For centuries people from Eastern Europe used manure and/or livestock quarters to keep their homes warm and the Chinese used horse manure buried in their garden to lengthen the growing season by up to a month. Much of the pioneer work for the modern use of thermophilic composting was laid out by a french organic farmer in the 1970s named Jean Pain. As simple as the concept is though, using modern technology like thermometers, tubes, tanks, and pumps, that means these systems are elaborate, but they can produce heat for 16 months.

Halfway through, this book reads like a step by step recipe book for creating the heating system that is illustrated on the cover. The next chapter discusses heating a green house with compost and shows off various applications with picture. And if you ever had problems with getting your compost hot, there is a couple chapters devoted to materials. This can help open the possibilities to understanding the usefulness of materials that are locally available. It also has a trouble shooting section and tells you which materials can cause problems.

I highly recommend this book to those who have the space, tools, and the luck to be able to locally obtain resources like sawdust, wood chips, rotting leaves, horse manure, straw/grass/hay and so on. Perhaps those groups would include farms, organizations, towns, or city waste municipalities.  I was watching videos on YouTube about “thermophilic compost + heating” and I found their videos so intriguing because it is so resourceful, I had to get the book they suggested. This kind of thinking is what we need to achieve sustainability. The only drawback I can foresee, is if fossil fuels become so expensive to extract, then the common man would have trouble moving large amounts of materials and buying tubing and other parts of the system for heat exchange, plastic pipes, and fittings. Hopefully, when that is a realization, there will be affordable products made from plant oils like hemp or algae  or we can lower our energy density needs like using more lightweight equipment that runs with bio-methane, hydrogen, wind, or solar as an energy source. Overall, this book proves that the metabolism of bacteria are more efficient in creating energy than using combustion alone, especially because compost byproducts are useful.

Get the book at Amazon



How Many Trees are in Your Family?

Trees have been here longer than the 200,000 years humans have been crawling and zooming around this planet. We have been effectively removing them though. And as a result the largest, fastest mass extinction is happening right as we’re busied by flairing tempers over our poor economy. John Denver could not have been more correct: “Now is the time to realize all a tree is worth.”

Tree do innumerable things for us, this list is by no means exhaustive, but just a few things I am most thankful for. Trees absorb the carbon we put into the environment. They are water collecting, and purifying machines! They provide food, clean air, tea, and tannins that can clean and heal us from the outside in, medicine. They are alive, and pulsing with energy. Each leaf a precious gem of life. Our place is by their side, burying their fallen branches and fermenting their leaves to feed the soil so the soil can continue to support our lives.

So, what trees do you have in your family? Who is greeting you as the wind whispers through their leaves as you go about your life? Who is your Grandpa/Grandma tree who welcomes you and waits for your hugs, and who is your little baby tree that makes you so proud?
This peach tree receives my care. As result it fruits nicely, and I am thankful for this tree. I pick the grass around the base. I put down shredded tobacco to chase away pests, and I put spiders on the tree to eat coddling moth that lay their eggs in the fruit. I mulch with organic matter from my yard, cardboard, and branches to hold everything together. When I see any ants, I eat them, they taste like sour candy. Plus, I keep the peach tree trimmed and clear of past due fruit to remove a place for pests to get to the tree.💟

A Favorite Book: Adapting to the End of Oil by Maynard Kaufman


Get the book at Amazon:

Adapting to the End of Oil by Maynard Kaufman

Understand the political, economic, ecologic, cultural, and religious background behind where we are today. Get a clear picture of what needs to be done to be ready when the reality of peak oil sets in, and to be able to live without harming the the environments of the earth.


Maynard Kaufman has been successfully powering his electrical power needs with solar and wind sice 2001.


His house also includes solar thermal panels, and his fire place is built so efficiently with thermal mass that the heat lasts for 48 hours and copper pipes carry heat to other parts of the home. The south facing windows collect passive solar heat and the north side is insulated with an earthen berm.

Maynard Kaufman is a leader in Michigan. With a Ph.D. from Divinity School of the University of Chicago, he started as a professor at Western Michigan College teaching courses in Religion and Environmental Studies. Next, as a creator of a School of Homesteading in the 1970s. This has lead to successful organic and environmentally sustainable certified farms currently operating. Then, he organized the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance in 1991. And presently, he writes, speaks, and educates about organic food production, landscaping, renewable energy, and soil enrichment. This proves that it can and is being done in Michigan.

Michigan Safe Energy Emergency Plan

The power goes out. It could be on a sunny day when a squirrel decides to hide his nut in a transformer, it could be during flood conditions, tornado, or in the middle of a winter storm. Do you have a plan? What do we do when the local nuclear energy plant has a failure? What do we do if a electro magnetic pulse comes sweeping through prompting major repairations to transformers, transfer stations and household appliances alike? What can you do if you cannot afford gasoline fuel? Even something as simple as loosing income, or loosing the value of our currency has some serious implications.


Our children will be watching what we do. We are the backbone to our families, neighborhoods, and communities. By finding the anwsers to these questions, collecting or making appropriate tools, preparing, and practicing using our ideas we can be efficient in times of need. We can prevent pain, sickness, fear, anger, and even death. Learn more at

There are unlimited resources to help you make a plan that suits your skill set, tool set, environmental hazards, etc. Websites, videos, wesite forums or facebook groups, library books, books for your own library, TV shows, radio shows/podcasts, museums (to show how people lived before the industrial revolution), and even transition groups in your community can give you a heads up before the lightning strikes and there is seemingly no where to go.

There are more questions you will want to answer for yourelf. So you can organize a plan that will work for you. For each question you may want to start a folder, or have a section in a notebook or plastic film sheets in a binder. This will be a go to for your whole family. Here is a list of questions to help you get started (print them out, find the answers that work for your situation, have family help you answer if you get stuck):

1. Where can your family stay if your home becomes unsafe or unnaffordable?

2. Where can your family find food if grocery stores/restaurants are unable to provide?

3. If local water supplies are compromised, do you have a way to disinfect, filter, and keep it safe? Even without electricity?

4. Can you provide multiple ways to cook dinner, keep food cold, heat water, or keep your family warm when the weather is cold?

5. Do you have alternet lighting sources that you can sustain, or replace fuel for not just for a week but for months or years?

6. If you or one of your family or friends become sick, get an infection, or are suffering with allergy troubles, would you know which resources around you, you could provide to comfort or help, or to get you/them back into a healing state?

7. With the loss of electric/transportation could you or those around you procure the items needed for a more comfortable living? That is do you know any blacksmiths, pottery artists, HVAC experts, builders, herbalists, etc. that could supply us with Solar thermal storage, clay dishes, non electric metal tools, herbal remedies etc.

8. How can we create a resilient self reliant system of food production? Food Storage? How can we farm and keep/make our soil fertile?

9. If my family or community cannot live without electricity, how can we produce it? What conditions and tools/components do we need to design and build a system that uses solar, wind, or people power? And how can we make fuel for transportation, heating, and cooking?Also how can we protect our emergency systems from CME/EMP?

10. Secure home tips

Let’s answer each of these questions for residents of South Haven, Michigan. These may not be the answers for you but could give you an idea of how you can solve these issues. You may have more or less resources to help you prepare, but the idea is to find what works for you. “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” If after reading these questions you feel the need for a quick start, you can start here:

The first thing to collect would be the current issue of “Emergency Preparedness, in Van Buren and Allegan Counties”. Get Potassium Iodine Tablets (especially for children and those under 40, although it only protects the thyroid against radioactive iodine). Also printing out pictures of family onto paper (stored in a sealed plastic bag) can help other people reunite you and your family at the reception area where you’ll be directed to in an event of an evacuation.



Second, collect some items to keep nuclear contaminates off your eyes, nose, hair, feet, hands, etc. Some things that work well are filter masks that filter out particles down to .3 microns, goggles, plastic bags for your feet to go over your boots or shoes, disposable gloves, larger plastic bags for your body, and a bag that has holes cut out for your nose and mouth that can be worn under the goggles and mask. This will keep out lightweight alpha radiation and be mostly disposable so no contaminates will be tracked to your shelter. (

Third, put together your Bug Out Bag/Get Home Bag/Shelter in place tools. Children should have one at school if there is an emergency. This would help keep them comfortable until parents can get their child, or if they are old enough, give them the items they need to get back to their family. Business people or employees away from home should have one in their car, it should contain enough money to get a bike, foot wear, or other transportation etc. to get home. If this is not possible then they can use their bag as a way to bug out or shelter in that area. Homemakers can keep one for family amenities when everyone is together and must travel or shelter in place. Homeland Security says it should include:

3 days of water
3 days supply of food
Battery powered radio and extra batteries
flashlight and extra batteries
first aid kit
whistle (to signal help)
filter mask or cotton to filter air
moist towletts (for sanitation)
wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
plastic sheeting and duct-tape to shelter in place
garbage bags for personal sanitation
unique family needs, perscriptions, infant formula, diapers, important family documents

( 1-800-Be Ready

But if you You Tube this: “bug out bag”. You find other things to include:

hunting knife
small fishing kit
small axe
book on Foraging
way to store, filter, and disinfect water (condoms, socks, char, pine, chlorine tablets, cantene, cantene cup (for boiling water)
different combustion tools (lighter, matches in plastic bags, fire striker, or learn how to make a bow drill.
Solar shower
thermos cooking fuel
can opener
sleeping bag
wool blanket
sleeping bag mat

This list can get quite long. Keep a bag in the car, keep one buried in your favorite get away, keep one at a friend or family member’s house, keep one hidden close by, update it with the seasons and remember where you put things in the pockets. Get a big 70 liter bag if you like to go hiking, but there is a limit to how much you can carry, so split up accordingly and try not to exceed 25-30% of your weight. This gives you a fitness goal, just incase you wanted one. 🙂

1. Housing plans:

What if your neighbors’ home becomes unsafe or unaffordable? The second question may or may not think be relevant to you as the first, but even if the first question doesn’t concern you, the second just might when you find someone looking for help with or without your permission.

I want to say thank you to the bike thieves of South Haven. After having a 4th bike stolen, heisted right from my locked shed (locked with a letter lock, not very high tech) I realized, “Don’t get attatched to stuff.” I was tired of being devastated, every time my more environmentally friendly transportation/ exercise was taken from me. I learned though, after asking around to my neighbors that they too had bikes stolen, and talking to the police that the problem they see a lot of but can’t do much about. I hated it when swear I seen my very last bike on craigslist. The thought of people creeping around my house is very unsettling. But I realized, that if I wanted to feel peace and free of hate I could shed my love for stuff. No one can steal something you don’t have and it frees you from the obligation to take care of it and protect it. Think about this as you are creating and planning for the worst. This is a fairly populated area, and desperate times create desperate people. Have more than one way to do things, the simpler and more unappealing the better.

Any home at anytime may be unsafe for a certain demographic, like an infant, a canine, or a blind person. So in these times we could create an environment that would be safe. Our homes are the culmination or our life. And when our lives change, so do our homes. Form follows function.

If leaving you home is mandatory then, it would be wise to connect with family and friends. Talk to those who live outside the evacuation area, see how they feel about the situation. Each person can asses their skills and resources to decide their contribution. You’ll need food (and a way to grow it), a place to sleep, a way to keep warm, safe, and dry. If your group lives within 50 miles, it would be beneficial to learn how to filter radioactivity from water:

Another Great resource:

2. A way to procure food:

Going fishing last summer, I realized even in wonderful times, I’m not going to be the only one in the forest. This means the forest is not a likely secure place, but a shared public place (or DNA library) that should be treated with respect, alertness, and care. It can possibly be a way to bring plants and animals that can be reproduced in a closer zone to our own dwellings. The best thing is to save seeds and produce your own food. You will need foraging skills around your immediate area and some dry beans, wild seeds like plantain and curly dock etc. to start off. Most of all, get to know what bugs are edible. Rollie Pollie bugs, crickets, grasshoppers, worms, June bugs, and Japanese Beatles are all good eats after boiled or cooked on a stick. Care should be taken when eating slugs they catch a bacteria that comes from lung worms from squirrels’ feces, boil those in a couple exchanges of water. Personally, I tried this but only after cooking removing the guts, the shell of the slug tastes like fish, very stinky fish. It’s more productive to just throw them into a thermophilic compost pile.

3. Filtering Water:

The best setup is a small wind turbine, solar system with enough battery backup to last a few days that can run a well. You may want to keep all the pieces (or redundancies of the most sensitive or quick to break down) components tucked away in Faraday cages, to prevent electrical damage from nuclear radiation aka electrical magnetic pulse. Water in underground aquifers are unlikely to be affected by airborne radioactive fallout. If you cannot get water from an aquifer then you’ll need to create an earth filter. There is also a way to filter it with biochar. The best choice from surface waters would be a spring from within a forest, then a marsh. The trees and plants that grow there filter the water. A second choice would be rain water, which will most likely be radioactive in a radioactive event. Lastly, in a river there is more of a chance from contamination since the water travels a distance in open air, and animals may die, or poop in it. Always sanitize water from this source by boiling, silver added while boiling may help, not sure if that is anecdotal or not.

4. Source of energy for warmth and cooking.

Bugging in, in the winter? Don’t have access to fuel for heat? According to www.the survival there are some strategies to use until things get better: staying in one room with the smallest window, insulating the window, and using lots of blankets and warm clothing. Even setting up a tent in that room to retain the heat in the tent.

Also, If you haven’t got a generator to provide energy for cooking, an outdoor campfire may be your easiest choice. Similarly, a more efficient way to cook a with less wood would be to dig a Dakota fire pit, or make a rocket stove with clay, cement, or metal. There are also ways to cook with tea lights in a toaster oven.

Sources of heat for general warmth (as resources and opportunities present themselves) include Passive Solar design elements in the architecture of your home , Solar Porch, Solar thermal panels for hot water, thermal mass, thermophilic composting see also The Compost Powered Water Heater: How to Heat Your Greenhouse, pool, or buildings With Only Compost by Gaelan Brown, biodigesters from food or animal manures (the smaller the better to avoid industry sized pollution), and thermal mass augmenting the heat holding capacity of the most efficient woodstove or windheating element that can be designed.

5. Alternative lighting source:

Flashlights, candles, and oil lamps are useful things to put back. But, if you find yourself without these things there are other ideas as well. Back before the industrial revolution, lighting for at night was not so easy, so they had an easier time getting to bed. Despite that, if you need to milk the cow, or the goat a bullrush dipped in animal fat may just get you out to the barn yet. A wonderful idea, were someone in your group able to do, is grow sunflowers for their oily seeds, or peanuts. Then an oil extractor like the PITEBA from Holland can be used to make oil for oil lamps.

6. Medical Attention:

Colds, infections, and allergic reactions could be a bit more complicated without electric, fuel, or passable roads. It’s good to know (or have in your group someone who knows) what herbs or vegetables and fruits will give your body what it needs to fix itself. Be aware that yarrow, mint, dandelion, plantain, mullien, pine, fir, and even spruce can provide a boost for your body, just get to know these plants before you need them. With wounds, disinfection, and sanitation is of utmost importance even with a little nick on the hand! A tincture made from black walnuts is a natural source of iodine which is natural antibiotic. Also, during times of evacuation, some people may eat different foods than they are used to, or poor quality, or being outside, get stung by a bee. It’s a good idea to have a first aid book or two. With allergic reactions look for “rashes, tightness in chest and throat, and swelling in face, neck, and tongue. The person may feel dizzy or confused.” (Red American Cross, First Aide–Responding to Emergencies. [Yardley, Pennsylvania: Stay well] p. 90.) If you see these symptoms check for respiratory distress, and check for shock. Check for a medical I’d bracelet, or if anyone has an Epipen, or Anaphylaxis kit. Help the victim get comfortable, neither too cold or warm, and help them relax. If it is indeed an emergency, try to have a way to communicate with a hospital, if you don’t have a way to get there perhaps someone outside can pick up the person who needs help. If it is not an emergency take note that stinging nettle is a moderate antihistamine as well as garlic (because it has querciten).

If you need emergency evacuation and you have no access to electronic communication I would try a 3 puff smoke signal. There may be a chance a small business aircraft may be crossing through or an emergency responding helicopter maybe heading towards a congregate care center to deliver supplies or pick up other injured people.

7. A more comfortable situation:
Does the thought of taking a cold shower make you cringe? How did the Native Americans deal with that? They built a sweat lodge and chilled in a covered wig wam, with flaming hot rocks with which they poured water over to make nice hot steam. Afterwards they would rinse off with a bit of clean water or have a swim in a river or lake. This is a great way to not need fossil fuels or large amounts of water to feel clean. Keeping hands clean also prevents food borne infections, click here to see a way to set up a wash system when cleaning animals for dinner or getting ready to prepare a meal, or eat by Tom Lupshu. A natural cleanser can be made with local plants like yucca, soapwort, and tannins from hard wood trees.

A loss of modern utilities will mean being outdoors is necessary. That means we’ll have to contend with bugs in the summer, but luckily nature has controls for these. This is a great time to learn about and acquire herbs that can repel them. Keep mind small critters that eat bugs like ticks such as the opossum, wild turkeys, and guinea hens.

Most of these questions have as many answers as people. I work on this article from time to time, but hopefully what I have so far will give you a good head start on the steps you can take to make your time during an emergency, and there after, much more safe.

Thank you so much for reading. Feel free to add you ideas and resources if you feel it relates or can add to the topics presented.

Opinion Commentary: Once Fracked We’re…Not Pure Michigan

People pay thousands, millions, billions of dollars to vacation, hunt, fish and live here in the most beautiful places in Michigan. But apparently one industry has tried to get a discount on their auctions of our public state forests and leased property here. “Fracking” is just code word to identify the tip of the iceburg easily. Let’s zoom out and look at the entire picture. Let’s talk about unconventional shale oil and it’s byproducts like natural gas. Granted we absolutely need energy to cook, shower, get to work, to make the baby diapers and other things that keep things clean and dry or wet, and for people to not be an icicle in January… But, there are problems with the way we attain the resource called unconventional shale oil.

Collecting signatures to get a ballot question: “Should We Ban Fracking in Michigan?” I’ve talked to people on all sides of the issue. People on the zoning commissions, nuclear powerplant workers, farmers, muscle car enthusiasts, retired chemical plant employees, previous employees of oil companies, landowners, even veterans.image

Their stories surprisingly prove to me there is good cause to find the truth and let people know. The greatful people keep me going.

But, many times I’ve walked with petitions, with pain in my stomach and no hope, and feeling dizzy and full of nausea looking around wondering who is going to heckle me, who is going to call me stupid this time? I go back to researching whenever someone says “NO, that is NOT true!” Sometimes people confide they are invested in those technologies. So I’ve learned you have to take a neutral stance and just ask the question flat out to anyone walking by, “Would you like to sign my petition to help get the ‘Ban Fracking in Michigan’ question on the ballot?”

Many people just don’t want to talk about it. There are cars zooming all around, each tire took 7 gallons of oil to make, oil being burned at breakneck pace. One guy was laughing his butt off. My shoes are made from oil, my pants are polyester (OIL) the cotton on my back would have never gotten to my hands without oil, 80% of the food I eat these days (OIL). So essentially in his eyes, I would have to be dressed in locally sourced hand made fiber, be a full time local farmer, and be feeding a horse from my neighbors hay field at that moment to have any credibility.

Still he had great ideas to recycle all plastic and other oil products and turn it back into oil. We have the oil locked up in tons of plastic and polystyrene now so if we could keep using it with minimal impact to our planet, well it could be a good thing, maybe? Next I get people who ask me questions:

Why is it so bad?  My answer: I explain the energy return on investment. For each barrel we burn getting the oil about 3-7 barrels are created. Wind energy fares better, with 1 barrel we get 15 barrels worth of energy.

I talk about aging infrastructure leading to leaks, and millions of gallons of water that are needed for each well.

I show them pictures of how they change the landscape when they create numerous frack pads.  5-10 acres of land must be clear cut for each well, with roads leading to each one. There are open pits of dirty frack water waiting to be drawn up, (processed and recycled) used somewhere else, re-fracked with, or stored in containment barrels. That water contains contaminates from 2 miles deep within the earth like radon, thorium, lead, and polonium. Studies are being released showing that these contaminates are escaping into local surface waters like lakes and rivers in places like West Virginia. In North Dakota landfills keep Geiger counters at the gates of their entrances to block heavily contaminated frack wastes from getting dumped there. We just don’t have the technology to deal with this amount of added radioactivity yet.  

Hundreds of semi truck trips are taken to deliver water, materials, maintenance, and removal of water. This will help hasten the rate at which our already aging network of roads deteriorate.
Holes are drilled 2 miles down and then 2 miles horizontally. The shale in the horizontal shaft is exploded and shattered, the water is laced with silica (to keep the fractures open) and hundreds of “secret chemicals” are pumped at high pressure to hydraulically release the goods. Any of you who have taken a technical physics class that appreciate the power of hydraulics and how a little force on water can move many tons of mass (hmm…why are we having so many earthquakes in Oklahoma again?) Many accidents occur at the surface of well operations or in transporting chemicals. Another reason is that our infrastructure that uses this natural gas needs billions of dollars of repair on a nation wide scale, not only that but our water pipes need mass repair as well!

No one wants to live near these operations, it’s noisy, smelly, and they use high intensity lighting at night that disrupts the animals nearby, these operations work 24/7. Dust storms being reported, OSHA wants workers to wear face masks to prevent breathing in silica. no one wants to insure property near these operations. These resources are finite, our great grandchildren will probably never have access to them. It’s expensive, each truck alone costs a million dollars, plus it takes millions of dollar to abandon and remediate the land, so once the cat is out of the bag…uugh!

What do you expect us to do instead? I even get people who say they’ve been working on this problem for years, as a writer, and there is no solution. Even composting releases methane. Where do you expect us to keep the compost pile? I do remember Ira Flatow’s Science Friday where he interviewed the scientist who was part of the Biosphere project. It had to be canceled because the composting system was depleting the oxygen and releasing methane in the dome and that made the air in the Biosphere not fit to breath. But in Grand Junction, Colorado the wastewater plant is reducing it’s release of methane from sewage by turning it into energy for their city utility vehicles. To add oxygen, we also need to grow more plants and trees, that would also help moderate the climate.

I’ve talked to a gentlemen who liked to hunt. Who had traveled to Pennsylvania to go turkey hunting and was dismayed to run into oil pipelines across their hunting grounds. He also talked about how Sweden is using their trash to make energy and are even importing trash to create more energy.

I’ve talked to people who live in Pennsylvania; who’ve experienced questionable water, afraid of what is coming out of their taps. If they can’t directly prove that they were impacted by oil and gas, (which the EPA does not have the proper equipment to test for the radioactive materials at levels in which it is present) or if they do not sign a non-disclosure agreement the expenses are their’s alone to bare when it comes to water testing and filtering. In the end, I feel I’m helping by talking to people about solutions and their first person experiences.

Renewable energy is taking off. First, I’ve recently read an article about how Japan completed their 5 MW biomass plant that uses wood chips. And now there are plans to build a 50 MW biomass energy plant. Also, here is a break through in Alberta Canada that uses giant fans to capture carbon in a liquid that absorbs the carbon and it can then be combined with hydrogen that was produced by solar or wind power to create a hydrocarbon. Plus, Michigan State University had developed clear solar panals. And most of all we can also move past our disdain for cannabis and start creating with hemp. I keep reading good news from cities, and entire states (like Hawaii), and small countries that are using sustainable and healthier technologies. Even if it takes 90 years (we really need to do that in half that time) there plenty of work to be done to create a different culture with energy use. As environmentalists, informed citizens, voters, volunteers, producers, and consumers we are doing something meaningful with our investments of time and money. Thank you for reading.

If you want to learn how you can make a difference, visit


Environmental Working Group,

The Fracking Facade:

Gary Cooley From Grayling, MI

The Winter Herbal Stash

How much do you know about foraged goodies? Do you know the stuff you can go outside and just pick off a plant and eat? Get a guide from Amazon to build your stash here. Very quickly you can fill up a cabinet for the winter full of dried herbs, fruit, greens, veggies, fruits, and mushrooms and bring them to life with some hot water. Though they’re not always filling for long; and most people will have no idea what to do with them, your cabinet full of tea is truly something unique only you may enjoy. It is a great way to supplement nutrients that may be missing in your diet, it’s fun to explore unique and comforting flavors, and it may keep you from over eating starchy or calorie dense foods.


Some people are very weary about eating wild plants. It is wise to find someone to help explain the plants to you in person, talk to your doctor about medicine cross reactions or medical issues, but no one can replace the time needed to study and learn all you can about your favorite plants and possible dangers. There are deadly look alike plants (like water hemlock) that need to be learned about right along with the plants sought after. Some people may have allergies or a food intolerance (where one lacks an enzyme to digest the food). Proceed carefully trying new things, only one new plant every 3 days, and only try a little bit. I’ve even read that you may not even want to ingest it when first trying a new plant, just rub a little on your elbow and later your lip to see if it itches or burns. It’s a good idea to follow the plant through it’s life cycle to get a positive identification. Also, know your area well, where you collect to avoid environmental toxins. Finally, don’t exploit plants for personal gain, if everyone went picking all the good stuff without thought, we might lose whole populations of plants in a forest. That could be very disastrous for the critters who live there and the ecosystem. So it is important to gage how much is there and encourage it’s growth by finding out how to grow more of it. Every webpage and video watched about different local plants is worth more than gold, but not everyone’s gold is the same. You are not going to remember everything about a plant in one study session and new uses for them are written about them all the time. It’s up to us to use good science to keep safe.

When the pioneers tried surviving here in America they were very sickly during wintertime until the Indians let them in on a secret. They were getting their vitamin c from evergreens. (Stay away from evergreens with red berries, example: Yews, those are poisonous).

I have been taking care of a fir tree for a couple yearsimage

and am taking care of 3 more little ones. It is so comforting to know we can take care of each other.

My next favorite is Mint.


This plant is so rigorous it is invasive. Pinch a few liters of leaves on a stem and put it in water and you can replicate it prolifically. When it grow roots it’s ready to be planted outside. It would be wise to put it in it’s own container especially in soggy areas, although it will find it’s way through cracks even in concrete.

When you have enough to harvest, snip bundles of it leaving 2 or 3 liters of leaves. After a few days of drying put it in an airtight jar to keep the oils in. Or you can make a hydrosol with it by putting it with some water in a distiller, it lends a sweet scent in toothpaste and soap making.


Mint is also antibacterial and soothing for gums.

Dandelions are great candidates for eating and saving. No part of the dandelion is poisonous. The dandelion has no poisonous look alike, so enjoy cats ear, chicory, or flat weed. Here’s a great video on how to process the roots from Lonnie’s You Tube Channel: Far Northern Bushcraft.

Plantain is something every one should know about. It is very healing for the skin and the seeds are delicious.

Purple Archangel. Tastes like mushrooms. I like it crunchy and raw (albeit a bit fuzzy), but it is truly delicious and looses the fuzziness when cooked!



White clover Dried, it sweetens tea. Avoid dried red clover if you would have a problem with a chemical that thins blood such as you are on blood thinner, or you have thin blood already.



Mullien, also known as cowboys toilet paper. It is known for it’s analgesic, expectorant properties, and more. It can get the mucus out of your throat when your feeling a little under the weather.

Horsetail (equisetum arvense) A great source of silica, which is required by the body to fix calcium. I make a tea with it for teeth and gum heath.


Yarrow is great with mint to bring down a fever. It is antibacterial so it can give your immunity some extra help. Yarrow can be transplanted in the falls. Harvest the flowers and dry.

Curly Dock I like to make tea with the seeds. Soon, I’d like to try them sprouted.image

Grape leaves are best harvested from wild grapes in the spring. The texture is better; it is less tough. Grape leaves can be preserved in a salt brine, or dried and used as tea.image

In conclusion, that’s about 10 different examples to hand tailor your own stash of tea to enjoy waking up to, or winding down with in the evening. What you put in your cupboard all depends on the characters you meet in your area and your individual properties. I look forward to hearing about your adventures. Thanks for reading ☺ .

Changing the Household Energy Footprint

A Kilowatt saved from our routine is about 10¢ saved each month for the rest of your life. Plus if you ever plan on putting together a sustainable energy system, that means a much less expensive and complicated setup will be needed to run the gadgets you are accustomed to. What really do you need? Do you need to blend an apple with a blender when a hand food mill, or chopping them up, cooking them, mashing it manually, or eating it fresh with all it’s nutrients still intact would work just fine? The goal here is to simplify down to basic needs.

If you have watched Chasing Ice, you can clearly understand why Obama is putting through policy to move past coal. When coal is burnt it releases soot and some of that ends up as black pools of Cryoconites that melt glaciers faster in 10 years than in 100 years without extra soot ever could. Sometimes vast swaths of glacier turn black.

Unfortunately, the show must go on, and the next lead role in the industry is natural gas (, in which some of it is obtained as a by product of unconventional shale oil production. There is a big push for investment in these areas to cover aging infrastructure, leaky pipes that may cost many Billions of dollars to replace to economic struggle to pay the bills due to the expensive nature of these technologies (millions of dollars to get started).  With OPEC needing Trillions of dollars to keep oil prices down and with the lifting of the export ban on oil and gas we should not underestimate their ability to dig big holes and release methane and chemicals into our atmosphere and hydrologic cycle due to accidents and as they age. And we must never forget, that once these wells are abandoned it will cost millions of dollar to remediate that area, that is to clean up that site(You Tube: When the Oil Stops 5:57 ).img_20160115_192510814.jpg

With all that said, I if you have not been studying economics, energy and the environment I highly recommend watching Chris Martinson’s Crash Course, you can watch it all together one after the other at, or you can watch the accelerated version or one at a time at

No matter which side of the fence you are on when it comes to energy policy, it pays to look at your electric bill and take note of how many kilowatts are used each month and think about how much energy is used each week. Meditate and look around your house. Is there a way to do the same job while using less energy. Although, some things are absolutely mandatory, we have found out with Flints compromised water supply. ( Iron heavy water sitting around in a water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit is hospitable to deadly bacteria. Our impasse is the health of our planet and the health of people.

The biggest opportunity I see is finding a more efficient way to dry clothes. The average dryer uses about 3000 watts ( I was inspired when I saw Maynard Kaufman dry his clothes on a balcony and I myself have decided that in the wintertime I will hang some of my clothes up with clothes hangers from a shower curtain rod. I dry blankets over doors. Or if you’d like something that is small, and compact there are different clothes there are a nice clothes drying rack to choose from on Amazon. Put it by a heating vent or  fan and you get two types of work done with one energy source.

A must-have daily energy expenditure is a way to boil water. This is a necessity for cooking. I really like this article from Stanford Magazine which rates the best ways to boil water and it talks about why reboiling water may waste energy or concentrate contaminates: In a survival situation an efficient outdoor choice would be to make a Rocket Stove using cement, bricks, clay, or metal containers. There are many great You Tube videos that show how to do this. Tom Lepshu has a great video on DIY offgrid wood stove: The plus side to burning wood is that there are many uses for ashes (

The next area of major power use is Vacuuming. A Powerforce Bagless Bissell uses 1200 watts. If I had my choice I would forego carpeting. Popcorn parties, dropping drinks, pooping puppies and puking pussycats can do their worst. All I need is some clothe and water. But if you are a renter who must have carpet, and have no choice, one way would be to invest in one of those brush sweepers which work well enough.

Let the yard become a garden. By learning about lasagna gardening and permaculture you can save energy by reducing work needed in conventional gardening and carbon lost due to tilling soil, not needing to mow, not having buy as much food from far away places wrapped in plastic and by having fun and being entertained at what plant has decided to join your garden. It may take time before you won’t need a mower, or city codes change but starting around the perimeter of your land and hard to reach areas for your mower can add interest to your yard. Collect seeds, and learn how to provide an agreeable environment for them. Some factors to consider is do you need a raised bed, building soil with compost, and plant protection such as hoop houses or straw bales.

Avoid buying materials that cannot be reused, have hazardous materials, or cannot be recycled. Recycling saves energy especially when it comes to metals, so don’t let your gadgets go to the landfill. Instead of buying trash bags I use plastic shopping bags, I sincerely wish they would use a biodegradable oil like hemp to make the bags. There are other things that can be done with these bags too, like crocheting sleeping mats and tougher carrying bags. Or you can ask for paper bags and use them the carbon in making compost or store herbs in them and they dry nicely. I reuse glass jars to store dried foraged goodies like herbs, greens, and mushrooms.

What can you do if you run out of toilet paper? Save your old defunct clothing, cut them up into nice rectangles and turn them into soft cleanup rags, and keep a big container to keep them in until the end of the day, to be washed. Great candidates are holey socks ( more uses for socks:  and ripped and stained t-shirts. Another way to feel refreshed is to find a container that works for you as a bidet, this makes clean-up more sanitary.

Efficiency United was selling Smart Strips. This gadget is well worth the extra cost of a normal electrical strip. It stops phantom voltage use from electronics that are plugged in on standby mode ready to operate at a moments notice.  It has a special plug that when you plug your monitor into it and you turn it off, it cuts all power from the devices on the other receptacles except for the one marked always on. I recommend one for your entertainment area and one for your work office (

Another way to save on your utility bill in general is to slow down on the water. You pay for it whether a well is running electricity to pump it to you, the city charges you for treating and disposing of it for you, or the water heater is heating it for you. Using ideas from Permiculture you can find ways to slow it down in your landscape. Find ways to reuse it, for example putting large containers in the sink to use for dish-washing, you can use water that does not have meat particles in it as a way to dilute your own home brew fertilizer, though you may want to complete that process outside ( The sink water not fit for the garden can be used to flush toilets, or you can take tips from kitty and design a composting toilet. This is especially useful for travelers and campers, just be sure to bury the waste 150 ft away from your living area and let it break down for a couple years before using that soil.

The most significant way you can make your carbon footprint smaller is by eating less meat ( A vast majority of land is needed to pasture animals and being so concentrated in a certain area their poop and pee becomes pollution. We need our trees to moderate our climate, to slow water down, hold soil in place, and to add carbon to the soil. If you are interested in learning more here is a wiki article that organizes the environmental impacts of different kinds of farming: I suppose there is a right way to do it with cell grazing that Geoff Lawton illustrates nicely in his videos (, but we must be cautious to not take more from the forest than we give back, thus depleting our forests and they loose their viability to incubate new trees.

We live in a time where so much is possible. I just hope that living in harmony with our environment is possible. How are the generations after us going to live? What are the impacts of all the choices that we as a species have made? When we teach our next generation our technology, will it only be industrial? There is merit in primitive, pre-industrial and permaculture technologies too. We should take the best of what each different mode can offer, while treading as softly on this planet as we can.

Thank you for reading my article. I invite you to find out how many watts of electricity each of you electronics use, and write it down. Learn about how you can simplyfy your life. Have a yard sale, make some money. Find out where you can take recycled electronics. You can save energy, save storage space, save time cleaning and organizing stuff, and save money.

The Resilient Master List

In this blog you can find examples and descriptions on how people around the Midwest apply technology to adapt to using less fossil fuels.

Here are somewhat of a tables of contents and can serve as subjects of study for inspiration:

Insulating/ conserving energy
Gardening/ Permaculture/ orchards
Forest Management/ foraging/ camping
Edible/ Medicinal herbs and mushrooms
Edible insects
Hunting (bow or non gun especially)
Water purification
Hemp biodiesel
Food storage (drying, fermentation)
non power tools
Carbon Capture producing hydrocarbon
Wind Power- small household/ farm use
Solar panels
Solar Thermal/ Passive Solar
Thermal Mass/ Rocket heater/ Stove /Cobb
Bio Methane
Air Dry Clothes design
Material reuse (crafts with kid/ connecting people with way to recycle electronics, and hazardous materials)
Soap making demonstrations/ homemade vinegar cleansers/ oral care (tree twigs like walnut and sassafras, baking soda, salt, boiling hardwoods for antibacterial tannins)
Ashes and their uses
Hand built shelters
Low energy carpentry
Low energy food prep
Indian heritage
Preindustrial family history
Caring for animals (especially horses and chickens)
Time Management
Demanding responsible safe technology!

Bicycle, Motorcycle, walk, share rides, work at home (Home stead, work
over internet, home business), raise or forage for food close to home,
cook at home, plan for less grocery trips), buy things with the least
packaging, live simply, etc. With enough imagination this list can
keep going.

These are fun to search out on Google or You Tube:

Wild food:
Solar Oven:
YouTube search: Build a Rocket Stove
YouTube search: Biogas Digester
Solar Thermal:
Tony Buck’s Solar Porch
YouTube Search: Biomass Stove
YouTube Search: Passive Solar
YouTube Search: Water Capture
Build a self sustaining food system:
Make your own soap, YouTube Search: Make Soap, Home Made Cleaning
Products, homemade shampoo, homemade toothpaste
YouTube search:wilderness survival, off grid living, Bug out
Can your surplus, also I cook all the food I need for work in
small jelly jars in a boiling pot of water, canning lids seal and
eliminate the need for refrigeration. YouTube Search: home canning
Refrigeration, YouTube search— Clay Pot-in-pot Cooler
Solar Shower, yes it’s plastic and it comes from the camping
section from a big box store, but sit it in your back yard and find a
way to hang it in your bath and you have a renewable way to take a hot
shower. Want to shower anytime: YouTube Search Compost Shower or if
you have the money use geothermal or Solar Thermal from Haven Heating.
Solar Dryer, convert your old dryer using the warm air in your
YouTube Search— Solar Dryer
Hang close up to dry
Residential solar panel, or wind generator systems can come in
kits electrically literate folks will love, especially if you have
space for lots of batteries and electrical things. Check out inspiring
websites videos that tell you how to integrate it with your current
electrical plan:
YouTube Search: $100 Dollar Solar Power Setup
Wash Clothes YouTube Search: off grid Laundry
Prime People Power Mover generator—,