Blogs

Rescuing A Chicken Coop

  • Posted on: 19 October 2021
  • By: David Trammel

(This week's guest blog post is from Bethany Ellen Smith. She's given me permission to share her recent experiences in "Recycle and Repair")

"I like deals and world improvement, by way of correcting the half-assery of others who have more money than sense. I figure you all would appreciate what’s happened, here, more than most.

I super love the chicken and garden stuff that roostandroot.com makes, but I can’t pay for it. They are some really well-designed and solidly built cedar and welded wire things. They will last a lifetime, and make chicken keeping nicer than usual, if they are installed properly on a simple poured foundation, sealed, and well cared for. It’s that last bit that the Riches who CAN pay Roast And Root for their chicken coops (https://roostandroot.com/) never do seem to have interest in, after they shell out for that new price tag, and two weeks later their shiny new thing isn’t shiny and new anymore.

The Future - One Person's Opinion

  • Posted on: 14 October 2021
  • By: David Trammel

I was going to post a couple of pieces that I hadn't gotten done because of the recent software problem here this week. As I was doing that, this amazing article was put up on Facebook. It's authored by a well known writer in the prepping community. Most of you would know them but they've taken a step back from the issues in the last few years, and I'm going to post this without mentioning their name in respect for their privacy. It is still a clear look at what we can expect over the next few decades, and worth the read.

One Big Note: While I try very hard to keep politics out of Green Wizardry, politics is in our country to a strong degree. As such, its hard if not impossible to discuss the coming Collapse without running into people who have strong opinions about it on both sides of the issues. The author is not a supporter of Trump or the Republicans. Some of this post is political and I'm going to leave that in. If you disagree with their opinions, that's fine and understandable. I disagree with some of it myself BUT their core points about the way things related to non-political actions is very good, and worth the read.

WE as a country and a society must get back to the point that we can listen to opposing view points that we disagree with, without dismissing their non-political opinions completely too. Please let's not devolve this post into an argument on politics with the comments.

With that warning, enjoy.

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A Short History of How It Started and How It is Going

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote an essay where I argued that the most likely thing that will happen is that we will experience collapse not as a single global crisis, like most fiction and film postulates, but as a concatenation of large and small crises that just gradually become too overwhelming for us to respond to, so we stop doing anything other than making the most superficial responses.

When collapse comes for any given person depends a lot on who you are. Lucky people don't notice for a while, because the crises don't hit them too badly or because they have extra resources to devote to personal mitigation, or because they were prepared in some way. Unlucky people get hit hard, and harder and over and over and wait for help and eventually, it doesn't come.

An Alternative To Collective Rural Living

  • Posted on: 29 September 2021
  • By: David Trammel

Recently on one of the prepper Facebook groups I'm a regular on, a member posted of their desire to move from their city home to a rural property and start a farm. Its a popular desire among preppers, I had a similar desire myself as recent as 5 years ago. Having a decent amount of land, where you can grow your own food and raise chickens or even a cow or two, and a home that you can walk out the back door and not be a stone's throw from your neighbor would be great. I've had access to such a property, during my time as a child (grandparents lived in a small town) and later as a 20 something (a friend's parents owned 40 acres in the Ozarks). There is something really magical about being in real woods and grassy fields.

Its a dream that is unfortunately being more and more priced out of the range of anyone but the truly rich. The cost of land fit for farming has skyrocketed. First came second homes by people with money in the country and more recently during the start of the pandemic, rural properties you could be safe from infection (and conveniently work remotely from) all have driven the supply of small family sized plots of land out of reach.

This has lead to a modification of the design into "collective rural living", where a group of families go in together to buy a larger property which is subdivided into small home lots, while a communal set of common buildings are shared by all. This has its advantages. A small farm will require certain equipment, small tractor, construction and maintenance equipment, farm sheds and food storage buildings all of which are expensive and aren't used on a full time basis. Having a slightly larger tractor, which can be shared and used on all of the resident family's home gardens, as well as perhaps a larger communal farm area, spreads the costs and makes it more affordable. Yet, the number of affordable properties of the size needed for this option are just as scarce anymore.

I want to propose an alternative, which is more readily available and I would argue more doable for a small group.

An Experiment With Herbalism

  • Posted on: 15 September 2021
  • By: adwelly

(Guest post from Green Wizard Andy Dwelly)

[This article was written during one of the UK’s lockdowns. You can actually go and get your hair cut now.]

This article is about a personal experiment I've undertaken since Christmas 2020 using a herbal protocol from Stephen Harrod Buhner for male sexual health. Inevitably there are two points that have to be made explicitly at the beginning of something like this. Given the subject, there's going to be a description of male sexuality later on - this may not be to your taste.

Secondly it's a history of what happened to me. I'm not offering medical advice of any kind, and if you were to try taking any of the natural remedies that I'm writing about here you may well find that your results vary from mine and may even cause you harm. It should go without saying that if you do have health problems in this area you should consult a properly qualified medical individual.

I first encountered the writings of Stephen Buhner in February 2020 - really a month or so before the COVID crisis really kicked off in the UK where I live. Somebody mentioned his "Herbal Antivirals" book in the comments at ecosophia.com. I ordered it quite casually with only half an eye on the disaster unfolding in Northern Italy. However, a few days later I was struck by a sudden almost panicked desire to obtain a selection of the tinctures he recommended for Corona viruses. That's an unusual reaction for me, and because some of the herbs are a bit rare it was quite expensive, something that should have put me off but didn't. Most of them turned up within a week, I stuck them on a shelf and thought no more about it.

About a month later my 15 year old son came home from school with a temperature and a dry continuous cough. I developed the same symptoms within a day although my wife seemed unaffected. We went into quarantine and over the next few days my cough got worse as my son's improved.

Raising Bumble Bees

  • Posted on: 8 September 2021
  • By: David Trammel

Having pollinators in your yard and garden is both a beneficial thing, it helps your veggies and flowers grow seeds, but its also just a lovely thing to watch. Raising honey bees and managing hives though is a huge commitment for most people. Luckily there is an alternative, which is fun and suited for Green Wizards.


(copyright "I, Tony Willis, Wikimedia Commons)

Native bees, can be successfully encouraged to live in your garden with a little care and some resources they can use. Which can go a long way to bringing back needed biodiversity and helping pollinators in general. And unlike domesticated honey bees, it require a lot less time. You just need to learn a bit about their needs, how they live and their life cycle through the year. Bumble bees are especially useful due to their size. They can "buzz pollinate" vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and potatoes, which are not as easily pollinated by smaller insects.

An additional benefit of bumble bees as local pollinators, they don't appear to be affected by the colony collapse syndrome currently harming honey bees.

All in all having a bumble bee hive in your garden is a very useful thing. Let's get started then.

Updating Your Important Papers

  • Posted on: 25 August 2021
  • By: David Trammel

How many times have you needed some important paperwork, say a car title, military discharge papers, high school diploma for a job interview and had to turn the office or home upside down look for it? I have and its a lot too. While we may not like that fact so much of our Life's critical information is stored on bits of fragile paper, the fact it is, and we need to have it organized and available. If the pandemic has taught me one thing, its that.

Time to get yourself organized.

Book Review: "Career Indie Author" by Bill and Teresa Peschel

  • Posted on: 11 August 2021
  • By: David Trammel

"I read it once, then went right back a second time with a yellow marker to highlight the important stuff. You will too."

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Storytelling is as old as humans sitting around a cave fire. Maybe even earlier. There's nothing that says you are in for a treat as settling in a comfortable spot near the warmth with a few friends and family while a good storyteller begins their tales. Stories entertain us, teach us lessons and brings us together. Good storytellers are a gift from the Gods themselves, though not everyone can be a "good" storyteller. It takes inspiration, a bit of wit, and an eye for your audience.

Though to be a "successful" storyteller takes one more thing, business sense and the knowledge of how to sell your story. This book, "Career Indie Author" by Bill and Teresa Peschel will teach you that.

Your Dictator, Or Mine?

  • Posted on: 29 July 2021
  • By: David Trammel

With our new members and activity recently I've been meaning to restart the main page blog. I had several subjects prepped and half written when this came across my Faceplant timeline this weekend.

"1 in 4 Americans are skeptical on climate change... Who gives a shit? That doesn't matter. You don't need people's opinions on a fact. You might as well have a poll asking: Which is bigger 5 or 15? Do owls exist? Are there hats?

I love John Oliver. Leave it to a Brit, to tell you that you are an idiot and make you laugh at it.

Unfortunately his sentiment, which is echoed by too many people on the Left and in progressive circles, especially in the field of climate change, is all to common. "If the Deplorable people won't do the right thing, then we need to force them to do it!"

Funny how in the next breath, many will be shouting about how those same Deplorables are embracing fascism and authoritarianism.

Why should we care what a quarter of the American population thinks?

Retrotopian Espresso

  • Posted on: 1 November 2020
  • By: Justin Patrick Moore

sothismedias.blogspot.com

This is a guest post by Andy Dwelly.
@adwelly

I've recently had the pleasure of re-reading John Michael Greer's Retrotopia novel, a description of life during the early part of the Long Descent in the Lakeland Republic. The Republic is one of the successors to the United States, that in the novel has broken up around a quarter of a century prior to the story. Centred around its capital of Toledo, the Republic has been forced by circumstances to face the reality of the end of the American Empire and declining energy supplies rather sooner than its neighbours. It must be said that they've made a pretty fair fist of things, and the novel itself is at heart a thoroughly optimistic one.

In between the descriptions of clothing, fashion, transport, newspapers, business law, and food, there's an occasional mention of coffee - but not the particular style of coffee that I drink, which is espresso. Espresso in its current form was discovered in 1948, but it evolved from a series of patents that were attempts to reduce the brew time of a cup of filtered coffee. In '48, the owner of a cafe in Milan called Achilles Gaggia invented a machine that pushed water through a puck of finely ground coffee at much higher pressure than was usual for the period. This had the effect of releasing a carbon dioxide foam from the beans that floated on the surface of the resulting tiny drink. In a stroke of maketing genius, he called this foam 'crema' and the result was pretty much an instant hit throughout Italy. A good espresso combines intense coffee flavour with a relatively syrupy texture and the natural caffeine kick, but if it's done right avoids both bitterness and acidity. Actually achieving that goal in a simple espresso takes some practice.

Espresso also makes an ideal basis for milk coffee drinks because the small size of the espresso shot will not dilute the natural sweetness of the milk. Both kinds are widely available in Europe and in the UK in both urban and rural cafes, but of course the cost of regularly buying a few speciality coffee drinks from an independent cafe or a chain soon mounts up. Lots of people have machines at home that attempt to make espressos and the lockdowns introduced in the wake of COVID-19 can only have accelerated the takeup of home machines.

I was in the process of moving house as the leading edge of the pandemic hit the UK, and the large shed at the top of my new garden got repurposed as a temporary office with power and internet. At this point, life furnished me with an example of almost Retorotopian diminishing returns.

I didn't have a home espresso machine and when I was given a gift certificate at a well known UK department store I jumped at the chance to acquire one. Modern home espresso machines are very high tech indeed. I got an entry level Sage (Breville in the US) Duotemp, it has a built in water filter, a high specification pump, a steam wand for people making milk drinks, and a great deal of electronics inside to make this all work. I should say right off the bat that it does work, the problem being that the particular machine is quite inflexible about timing, temperature, and pressure. This means that getting a really good espresso in the morning becomes a bit of a hit or miss affair, if the particular beans you are using are something like the sort of beans this machine is preset for, then all's well, otherwise the results can be a bit disappointing; to be fair Sage makes far more capable machines as well.

There's no doubt as to the internal complexity of these and similarly specced machines, they need regular cleaning, descaling, and backflushing to remove old oils and coffee grains that have gone astray, and there's no doubt that I live an a peculiarly hostile environment for such an appliance. I use them least twice a day, every day, and I live on a chalk down and the water out of my kitchen taps is unusually hard. Sooner rather than later a job would come up that I was not capable of, and it would have to go back to the manufacturer for maintenance.

A One Hundred Year Plan

  • Posted on: 22 July 2020
  • By: David Trammel

From time to time, I see really well done posts on other websites, that speak to the skills and principles we talk about here on Green Wizards. Recently over on Peak Prosperity, a more upscale preparadeness website, a member named VTGothic posted the steps he is taking to get ready. He gave me permission to share it here:

"Yes, you can repost. Thank you for asking. I’m pretty busy in the summer working on infrastructure, since Vermont summers are short. This year the primary task is residing the house – which is a project (!) as it’s a large house, in places reaching 2.5 stories. And, of course, cutting, splitting, and stacking 3 cord of wood for winter."

My 100 Year Survival Plan: A brief intro to our ark-building metrics
by VTGothic

I have my own 12-Step program for preparing, and for regularly evaluating how we're doing with the process. It's designed for someone with modest means, like me, and requires a corresponding greater commitment of time. (Money and time substitute for one another.) I wrote it 8 years ago and continue to use it to develop my "ark" for the coming troubled waters. I don't share it very much, but this seems like an opportune time and thread for doing so.

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