David Trammel's blog

Fall Leaves and Systems Thinking

  • Posted on: 27 October 2021
  • By: David Trammel

Owning a home with a yard comes with many challenges, one of them of course is the ritual of mowing the grass. Sometimes at the height of the summer, its a weekly ritual that leaves bags and bags of clippings on the curb for the city to pick up on trash day. Hopefully your city composts this waste and doesn't just deposit it in a nearby landfill. Not only does that increase the mega tons of national waste going into the ground but the decaying organic waste produces methane, a powerful green house gas.

Many people have discovered the convenience of mulching their grass clippings instead of bagging them. This can be with special lawn mowers designed with this in mind, serrated blades to mince the clippings, or just mowing several times across the yard. This is a great way to feed your yard. The clippings are a source of nutrients and minerals. As long as you don't wait too long and have a lot of tall grass to mow. Too heavy a layer of clippings can cause problems for your grass.

Here's a good article on it:
"To bag lawn clippings or not to bag, that is the question"

With Autumn comes more work. The leaves turn colors and fall to the ground. Depending on the tree cover you have, this can either be a minor addition to your work or a major headache of racking and bags on the curb. If you are unlucky, rain can delay it until its nearly too much to do on a weekend. Here too, mulching the leaves is often a better option than bagging. Shredding the leaves into fine parts and depositing them back onto the yard is a good way to prepare your lawn for Winter sleep. And helps cut back on the surge of material head to the landfill or the city compost heap. If you do a search, you'll literally find dozens of links that talk about the benefits of doing this.

Here's one: "Mulching Leaves: Why Mowing Leaves is Better Than Raking Them"

I am going to offer a counter to this practice and tell you why for a large part, you want to still rake some of your leaves.

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.

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?

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.

Growing Onions Greens In An Apartment Window

  • Posted on: 15 January 2020
  • By: David Trammel

We here at Green Wizards talk a lot about gardening and learning to grow your own food. Its such a basic skill that no matter what style of Green Wizard your are, you should have a familiarity with it. You may not have a green thumb, but you should at least have a little bit of dirt under your fingernails.

It can be hard though, to experiment with gardening if you are like so many today, a renter. Income inequality, economic disruption, employment insecurity and other factors of the collapse of our society into the Long Descent make owning your own home or owning a home with enough land to garden difficult. Community gardening and share crop farming, gardening on someone else's property, can help you gain access to space to grow but there isn't anything like having a garden you can call your own.

Luckily the Internet and Youtube has a universe of examples of ways to grow food without land. Here is one great, low cost and easy way to do just that.

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