Archive for the ‘Off the Grid’ Category

Hey Folks! I recently learned about a new movement that is making its way across the country.

Plaid Friday was born in the shopping districts of Oakland, CA as a quiet rebellion against the over-commercialization of holiday shopping taking place at non-local malls and big box stores everywhere. It celebrates local shopping, keeping cash within our communities, and harkens us back to a nostalgic time when shoppers and shop owners built relationships in addition to revenues; and when shopping was a leisurely and pleasurable activity.

I’m sure I’m not alone thinking that the future of our economy lays in a more locally-based economic system. And, I for one plan on embracing Plaid Friday in style; the hardware store has a great selection of cast iron cookware; a nursery down the highway carries a large selection of seeds and plants, perfect for the gardeners in the family, and I can pick up everyone’s favorite read, with tea or coffee, at local coffee shops and bookstores.

So, jump on board, folks! Don your favorite plaid shirt and hit your local shops. Spend Friday, November 25th closer to home, putting money in the pockets of local artists, boutique owners, hardware stores, bookstores, coffee houses and restaurants. These independent businesses need our help to preserve the diversity and creativity of the communities we live in.

Preparing for Winter

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Yesterday was a day of winter preparations. Brianne and I were out the door while the day was still cool. We headed to grandpas for a load of seasoned and split firewood, the first of four cords we will lay up for winter. We backed into the massive pile spanning at least a hundred feet and measuring four feet wide. We slid into our leather gloves and began tossing wood into the bed of the truck. No matter what anyone says, 2 cords of firewood thrown into the back of a half-ton pick-up is an awesome sight.

Back at home we hauled and stacked our winter warmth on the south side of the house. Dutch investigated the stack, looking for lizards that found it to be the perfect home, but no luck.

By the time we had finished, the sun was high overhead. It was hot. We stopped for a cool drink, to wipe the sweat from our faces and to rest in the shade of the Sycamore tree. We’ll need four cords to get us through winter. I know this isn’t as much as colder areas require, but it will help keep the house warm and the heater off.

So, today we have a big chunk of winter under our belts. Firewood is no small thing at our house. As long as I’ve lived in California I’ve had forced air heat. I hate it; with a passion. The hot air dries out the house, your skin and causes Brianne and me to develop sore throats. I much prefer the warmth that an open fire brings.

By late fall there will be warm fires in our little farmhouse, and it’s soothing white smoke will rise from the chimney, greeting the long days of winter. Before any of us knows it winter will be here. I can now look forward to that time with a little less stress, with a little more anticipation.

Let’s hear it for seasoned wood and strong women!

photo: Ryna Tir

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN follows Farmer John’s astonishing journey from farm boy to counter-culture rebel to the son who almost lost the family farm to a beacon of today’s booming organic farming movement and founder of one of the nation’s largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. The result is a tale that ebbs and flows with the fortunes of the soil and revealingly mirrors the changing American times.

Rainwater Collection

Thursday, January 6, 2011

rainwater

Our rainy season started the week before Christmas. Local weather reports predicted 7 days of rain, with 5 to 10 inches; an unusual storm system for our area. But, rather than lament the wet conditions and slippery roads homesteaders should rejoice in the ability to collect “free” water that can be used in the garden during times of limited rainfall. The collecting of rainwater is as old as time itself. Many ancient cultures collected and stored rainwater for use during drier months of the year.

Did you know a single 20′ X 30′ roof can yield over 13,000 gallons of rainwater from one 10-inch rainstorm? If homeowners capture only a fraction of that, it’ll go a long way toward preserving a rapidly diminishing fresh water supply. This has been particularly important to me because our municipal water rates have gone up another 10%, making this increase the fourth this year. A local paper reported that our town’s water rates have increased 67% in the last 5 years and over 109% in the past ten years. Forget gold, folks – water will soon be the bankable commodity everyone is clamoring for.

Several years ago I got serious about collecting rainwater. My system is simple yet very effective. A series of connected barrels line the north side of my house. A downspout is attached to the first barrel, which feeds all the others when it is full. When all barrels are full the downspout is moved, diverting the runoff away from the full barrels. I use recycled 55-gallon barrels that once held juice concentrate, which means they are food grade with no chance of having been exposed to chemicals or other harmful liquids. And, for the reasonable price of $35 each I can buy several for the same price as one expensive commercially sold system.

To set up your own rainwater collection system check out this helpful link www.wikihow.com

With the step-by-step instructions and great photos, you’ll be collecting rainwater (and saving money) in no time.

Now that’s what I call pennies from heaven.

possum living - frugal lifeLooking to bypass the money economy? By adopting “possum living,” it is possible to get the good things in life without having to go to a boring, meaningless, frustrating job to get the money to buy them.

It brings new meaning to Frugal Living.

In this excerpt from Possum Living: Living Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money, Dolly Freed shares why she decided to shun the rat race and live off the land on a half-acre lot outside Philadelphia.

Originally published in the late 1970s when Freed was 18 years old, Possum Living is part philosophical treatise, part down-to-earth how-to, and provides a no-nonsense approach on how to beat the system and be self-sufficient — right in suburbia.

Click here to read more.

Signs of our Times

Monday, July 26, 2010

America’s Favorite Farmers Markets

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

farmersmarkets

Farmers Markets provide a valuable connection between the people who grow our food and those that consume it. They play an important role in keeping farms viable and farmers on their land, by providing venues to spotlight their sought after products. But, how do you know which markets are the best in your state?

That’s easy.

Click here to find out the five best Farmers Markets in your state. Check them out next time you’re in the area and spread the word! Getting the word out to other farmers market enthusiasts, local media, and city governments greatly impacts the viability of these markets and keeps farmers coming back.

Let the Money Games Begin

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

40 Ways to Help You Reduce Your Expenses
and Increase Your Bankable Cash NOW!

If your financial situation is less than optimal or if the current economy is causing you a certain amount of concern, that isn’t a bad thing. The less content you are with your finances the more likely you are to be motivated to do something about them. So, get mad, act quickly and score fast cash with these easy to implement money saving tips. Read the rest of the story »

Looking to bypass the money economy?

By adopting “possum living,” it is possible to get the good things in life without having to go to a boring, meaningless, frustrating job to get the money to buy them.

In this excerpt from Possum Living: Living Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money, Dolly Freed shares why she decided to shun the rat race and live off the land on a half-acre lot outside Philadelphia.

Originally published in the late 1970s when Freed was 18 years old, Possum Living is part philosophical treatise, part down-to-earth how-to, and provides a no-nonsense approach on how to beat the system and be self-sufficient — right in suburbia.

Click here to read more.

Back to the Way Things Used to Be

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Old Old Fashioned

I found this song on another blog and wanted to share it with all of you. It’s called Old Old fashioned, by the Scottish indie band, Frightened Rabbit. I love the meaning behind the words. I think it speaks to the way we are trying to live our lives – simply, uncomplicated. The lyrics are below so you can see for yourself. You can get more details of the band, and listen to their songs here.

I think this would be some great gardening music for the ipod.

Old Old Fashioned

I’ll turn off the TV
It’s killing us, we never speak
There’s a radio in the corner
It’s dying to make a scene
So give me soft, soft static
With a human voice underneath
And we can both get old fashioned
Put the brakes on these fast, fast wheels
Oh let’s get old fashioned
Back to how things used to be
If I get old, old fashioned
Would you get old, old fashioned with me?

Put the wall clock in the top drawer
Turn off the lights so we can see
We will waltz across the carpet
1-2-3-2-2-3
So give me the soft, soft static
Of the open fire and the shuffle of our feet
We can both get old fashioned
Do it like they did in ’43
Oh let’s get old fashioned
Back to how things used to be
If I get old, old fashioned
Would you get old, old fashioned with me?

So give me soft, soft static
We won’t need no electricity
If we both get old fashioned
We won’t have to rely on our memories
Oh let’s get old fashioned
Back to how things used to be
If I get old, old fashioned
Would you get old, old fashioned with me?

Listen to the song here by clicking this link. But, be forewarned, this isn’t a “family friendly” album. I wouldn’t consider listening with the kids in the car…