David Trammel's blog

Subsurface PVC Watering System

  • Posted on: 14 April 2022
  • By: David Trammel

I am not a big fan of drip irrigation.

It's hyped on just about every garden channel or website as "THE" perfect solution to getting water to your plants but for me, it seems expensive and does the job wrong. Putting water on the surface invites weeds and is wasteful, as wet soil evaporates the moisture you want into your plants. Wet moist soil on the surface is not what you want because it can breed mold, insects, and a variety of plant illnesses. And then, watering the top few inches of the soil only doesn't encourage the deep roots your plant really needs to survive hot weather or windy conditions.

A better idea would be to get the water down several inches before it touches the soil and roots. And to soak it well. Then, provide a period where the upper soil dries, forcing the roots to burrow downward seeking the left water. In this post, we will look at a way to do that. A way that is easy to make and the parts are cheap to buy.

Let's get started.

Inflection Points In The Long Descent

  • Posted on: 6 April 2022
  • By: David Trammel

Recently there has been a lot of worry in the prepper community, and society in general that things are about to turn radically worse (aka SHTF). The two-year global pandemic, now followed by the war in Ukraine, has upended the way we view the World and the way things normally happen. Periods of normality followed by a crisis, then another period of calm are normal but periods of larger crisis are predicted by John Michael Greer as something which happens with increasing frequency in a collapsing society. Greer likens it to a staircase, leading downward. Each crisis is a sudden drop, which is followed by a period of recovery.

This model of economic activity is something we here at Green Wizards believe will be the shape of things to come for us. Actually that it's been happening like this for some time now. At least since the 1970s when "The Limits of Growth" said, we had reached Peak Oil.

Are we though, at the start of a small downward drop, or is this "The Big One"? Before we make any assumptions, let's look at the basics of "Inflection Points" and Collapses.

Thoughts On "Slack"

  • Posted on: 30 March 2022
  • By: David Trammel

I was planning a second update on the basement build, but given Greer's hilarious Ecosophia post this week, "Slack! An Irreverent Proposal" I thought I would repost one of the Green Wizard's main blog posts, "Why Should I?" which talks about this subject as well. The original and its comments can be found HERE.


(She looks a little worried, doesn't she?)

"Why should I?"

Its a question I get a lot when I discuss Green Wizardry with people, especially those who are not readers of John Michael Greer's blogs.

"Why should I learn the things you teach at Green Wizards?"

The idea that Society as we know it has an end date and that people should prepare for an eventual decline of resources and technology isn't on many people's radar. That the way we do things now isn't working and in many cases is actually making things worse. That people should learn to be more sustainable in their day to day lives and especially learn now how to grow some of their own food, NOW when they have some extra breathing room to make mistakes and learn from their experiences before it becomes really important not to make mistakes. That people need to learn now how to do with less and get more from what they do have, for when it does get tight, then they can survive and even prosper when other don't.

Sometimes though, the people you are talking to have an inkling that something isn't right with Society. Then they grasp it.

"Ok! Excited Now! Zombie Apocalypse without Zombies going to happen soon..."

Update On The Basement

  • Posted on: 15 March 2022
  • By: David Trammel

(We're back on a weekly posting schedule. I've been helping move an elder family member to another state, which is the reason for my lack of blog posts. The laptop I took with me decided to be a bitch about my files. I had to wait until I got home to access them.)

Time to update everyone on my progress in the basement. It's really coming along. Just to familiarize everyone, this is the first phase floor plan.

Avian Flu Outbreak - Information

  • Posted on: 24 February 2022
  • By: David Trammel

If you do not know, there is currently an outbreak of Avian Flu happening in several countries, including the United States. Infections in New York, Michigan, Delaware, Maine, North Carolina, Florida and Kentucky have been reported. It is safe to assume the entire East Coast and Midwest is at risk.

Particularly troubling, the strain is the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) variant which can more easily be transmitted in birds. Currently the risk to humans or pets is low.

CDC Current Avian Flu Summary
USDA Summary of Current Reported Infections

Can Religion And Science Co-Exist In The Long Descent?

  • Posted on: 26 January 2022
  • By: David Trammel

Can Faith in the Unknowing, co-exist with the Scientific Method?

I ask this because I just rewatched one of my favorite movies recently. The 2007 indi classic "The Man From Earth" is without a doubt one of the best movies to me, which has been ever made. Time to revisit the 14 thousand year old man.

If marooned on the proverbial island, and offered limited entertainment, this movie would join the most amazing 1990 three person cerebral treat "Mindwalk" and what I consider one of the two best Robin William's films "Bicentennial Man". (I slightly favor it over the other top two film of his, that is the 1998 heart tugger "What Dreams May Come"). I would probably add the three part Sci-Fi Channel mini-series "Dune", then me, the seagulls and the beach crabs would be set.

(As long as we had unlimited beer, lol.)

Funny. that I did not connect the obvious, all of three of these films and the mini-series in some way deal with the intersection of spirituality and science.

The What, How And When Of Eating Better

  • Posted on: 20 January 2022
  • By: David Trammel

(G.steph.rocket CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

One of my New Year's resolutions was to treat myself better. More sleep, some exercise, cut down on the beer and especially start eating better. Most Americans don't. You just have to take a visit to the grocery store sometimes to see how obesity is an epidemic in this country. And the reason is in those grocery carts, piled high with processed foods and sugar laden snacks.

If it was just to have better health and longer life, eating better would be wise but in the future we face, that of economic contraction, energy insecurity and resource depletion, those of us in the 99%, those of us who are not rich enough to ignore problems as civilization slowly collapses, then we have to face the prospect that food is going to get harder and harder to get. Climate change is going to put pressures on those who grow food, especially Big Agriculture. The moderate weather and rain fall are already being disrupted. Periods of drought followed by excessive rain and flooding will mean less food grown and what does get grown will be less nutritious.

Science may help, there are already some genetically modified plant strains being developed which will grow better in higher CO2 levels we can expect by the end of the century. We can't count on science to come up with a magic bullet though, so we each must take steps ourselves, to manage our diet and grow some of our own food.

Lets look at three things we can do.

Power Down - Are You Ready?

  • Posted on: 13 January 2022
  • By: David Trammel

(Due to a couple of personal issues, I wasn't able to get this week's blog post finished in time to post it here. We're expecting our first major snow storm this weekend so let's revisit one of our earliest guest blog posts by Cathy McGuire.)

An ice storm sent the power crashing off throughout the Willamette Valley this month. At first, just a two-hour morning blackout, but that same afternoon the power went down and stayed down for 20 hours. This happened about an hour before sunset.

As I put my backup plans in place, I couldn’t help but remember that the Oregon Seismic Safety Advisory Commission had recently issued a document stating that in the event of a severe earthquake (which is overdue here), it could be 3 to 4 months before power would be restored to the Valley. All through the night and the next day, I held that fact in mind, as I both prided myself on being mostly prepared and found out what pieces were still not in place. For those who either haven’t started preparing, or who haven’t been tested recently, I want to describe the situation and the lessons I learned.

Logistics Win Wars

  • Posted on: 5 January 2022
  • By: David Trammel

(The cold spell of the last week has it a bit too cold in my basement to apply drywall mud to my stair project, so I'm going to push back Part 3 of my tutorial to next week. Instead I wanted to talk about an often overlooked part of prepping.)

General John J. Pershing (1860-1948), who fought in 7 American conflicts and who was the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front of World War 1, once remarked that “Infantry wins battles, logistics wins wars.” Pershing was an asshole and in some ways a poor general, but he knew what he was talking about with that quote. Logistics, the people who move the ammo and equipment to the battle field, or in time of peace, move the milk, eggs and bread to your local grocery store, get ignored unless the shelf is bare. When its bare they catch hell.

(copyright Lance Cpl. Seth Starr, I Marine Expeditionary Force, WikiCommons)

Logistics for a person who prepares for emergencies, disasters and just the occasional disruption is just as important as for the soldier at war. We fight a longer battle with the coming Long Descent and the Collapse of our global civilization back to a day of lesser tech and lesser resources. In that decline there will be many time when that useful tool or good to have supply will suddenly not be there anymore.

What then is a Green Wizard to do?

Basic Visualization - Playing In Your Mind

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

One of the things I've always been good from childhood was visualizing what a collection of parts would look like when they were assembles into the finished project. This skill was polished by a high school course in blueprint reading and drawing. I even have a sturdy blueprint table and the tools in my basement shop now. Its a good solid table, wide and flat, capable of being set at various angles to make it easier to draw on, though now I mostly use as a work bench for hand crafting projects. This was before computer programs like Autocad came on the scene and made it easy.

Now that developed skill helps me in physical projects like my on going basement storage addition. I can sit for a few minutes and look over an area I'm going to modify, and mentally go step by step into the construction. I can usually catch problems before I hit them, by mentally building the components. This inner visualization also helps with many other day to day tasks. I rarely use my cell phone's GPS and map apps, instead preferring to navigate around St Louis with a set of physical street maps and a mental compass of which way is North. It also helps me remember where I place things (more on that later).

This ability is sometimes called "spatial intelligence" and is defined as “the ability to mentally manipulate objects in space and to imagine them in different locations and positions". It is considered one of the eight types of intelligence categories in Dr. Howard Gardner’s multiple-intelligences theory. The other seven are linguistic, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, logical-mathematical, naturalist, intrapersonal, and interpersonal.

We all know people who seem to excel at one or more of these categories. You may excel yourself in one of them yourself. Unfortunately it's become accepted "fact" that doing so is rare and something only a few have, when such a view is so wrong and narrow. Look back at in historic times before modern communication shrunk the World and is was quite common for travelers, explorers or trader to speak several languages, even a dozen fluently. The term "Renaissance man" literally arose in the time after the Dark Age, and meant a person who was proficient in a wide range of skills. As a Green Wizard, embrace your potential to be more.

Let's take some time and talk about how YOU can develop this skill.