Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

Archive for November, 2012

The New 2013 Herbal Roots Calendar

Do you have kids who love learning about plants, herbs, or foraging?
Are you a kid at heart yourself? (I certainly am!)

Then you might just dig the new 2013 Herbal Roots Calendar, from the kids’ magazine “Herbal Roots”.
You can purchase a pre-made calendar HERE, or print it out for free HERE.

(The ‘zine is pretty cool too, check it out!)

Herbal Roots Calendar 2013

Herbal Roots Calendar 2013

From Mountain Rose Herbs:
“This delightful and educational calendar, beautifully illustrated by Herbal Roots zine creator Kristine Brown, is not only visually stunning, but is also a treasure trove of herbal education. Each month, you’ll enjoy an intricate illustration of a different herb, such as blackberry, vanilla, milk thistle, and more. Each illustration is accompanied by general information for the botanical including Latin name and common uses.”

I am personally a sucker for the occasional dose of *~*whimsy*~*,  but my practical side often wins. Lucky for me, this calendar has both! Check out some sample illustrations:


Make your own stove from a catfood can!

Andrew Skurka has a great tutorial on how to make your own stove from a catfood can over here.

All you really need is one clean cat/dog food can, a hole punch, and some denatured alcohol to fill it with. Sit your pot on top, and viola!

  

For more info on how best to use it, check out this link.


Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: infrastructure and resilience

I’ve been thinking a bit about this whole hurricane thing, and as is often the case, it has turned to more permaculture-related thoughts.

When my grandfather was a boy, he had a little kerosene lamp to light his way to bed every night. You see, they didn’t have electricity yet. During Hurricane Sandy, my mother used this very same lamp to read by and navigate through a darkened house.
I find it amazing that in around just one generation’s time, we’ve gone from having no electricity, to being so UTTERLY dependent upon it.

I recognize that this is largely due to the fact that electricity has been built into our infrastructure. Generally, we don’t put wood-burning stoves in new homes or apartment buildings. We think of fire as a potential hazard, even if we cherish the warmth of a fireplace enough to make electric versions of them.

All of this brings me back to my grandfather. In his childhood, they had a lot less “infrastructure”, but stronger social relationships. I’ve had a lot of discussions about alternative infrastructure, how to strengthen it, getting off the grid “in order to be self-sufficient”, etc.
But none of those are really the same as talking about the idea of infrastructure ITSELF as being a crutch or a potential obstacle to resilience.

Back in the day, my grandfather’s community, in a town next to where I still live, had a very important discussion. These people were very hard-working folks who believed very much in the church as center of community, and in helping your fellow person out. These people also invented the very first insurance company in the U.S., and the idea of “insurance”, and this was almost a scandal inside the church.

Why? Because they recognized that it had the potential to “relieve” folks of the moral responsibility of helping their fellow community members, since insurance would step in and do what had traditionally been done by people: re-build houses after a fire, loan resources, etc. In the end, it was decided that they would only make “insurance” available to “heathens outside of the church”, in order to not make their own people complacent and apathetic. Obviously, the idea grew past those boundaries, and we now have a nationwide epidemic of insurance fraud and a litigious court system. Our good natures are now actually HAMPERED by insurance liability in many cases. Which is exactly the kind of thing that they were worried about. Oops.

My point is this: is infrastructure that is not based in social relationships, but rather, in contracts, actually an impediment to resilience, both physically and morally?