Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.

Energy

The Nitty Gritty Guide

Check out a new project from Alli and Carlo Manzella, called “The Nitty Gritty Guide – Our Guide To The Good Life“.

The Nitty Gritty Guide

The Nitty Gritty Guide

An excerpt from their site states: “We are a growing number of individuals from various different backgrounds who have come together to share and learn time honored skills, traditional art forms and revive the knowledge that kept our ancestors alive and thriving without the dependency on modern conveniences, imports, petroleum based products, the commercial agricultural system and conventional food.”

These two are interviewing people who are doing work in the areas mentioned above within their local community, in order to spread the word and educate folks about what they’re doing.

Check out their latest interviews here!


Grow your own caffeine!!!!

Grow your own caffeine!

To make this planter, go here: http://lisapace.com/2011/04/coffee-cup-planter/

With SO many folks dependent on caffeine for their morning wake-up call, it’s a little unnerving to think what might happen if coffee and chocolate imports suddenly stopped flowing. Can you imagine morning rush hour? I’m picturing lots of people on the roads half-asleep and really cranky. A scene ripe for some sloppy, half-hearted, road rage with zombie-like motorists. Not pretty.

While I do not personally choose to partake of things that get my heart-rate speeding,  I do appreciate the occasional shot of caffeine for things like migraines and other health-related nuisances.  So, in order to avoid being left out in the cold if there should be a great coffee or cocoa bean famine, I wondered what can be grown here in North America, that can caffeinate folks and keep ‘em easy to get along with in the early hours.

I found the following crops, with links to more info:

Black tea (C. sinensis) - http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/6466/grow-black-tea-in-your-garden

Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) is native to the Southeastern states. This holly features short leaves, about ½-inch long, bright-red berries, dark evergreen leaves and grey bark with white patches. The Youpon holly contains caffeine and it was a popular drink among Native Americans in the area. In fact, it is named “Ilex vomitoria” because people would drink it until full and vomit it up – the plant does not actually cause vomiting. Yaupon holly grows best in USDA zones 7 to 9.
More info also found here:  http://people.duke.edu/~cwcook/trees/ilvo.html

Yerba Mate  (Ilex paraguariensis): Another type of holly that can be grown in Zone 10 and higher outdoors, or indoors in a greenhouse environment.
http://www.ehow.com/info_8348882_can-grow-own-yerba-mate.html
http://www.logees.com/Yerba-Mate-Ilex-paraguariensis/productinfo/H8095-2/

A nice table of caffeine-producing plants: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/webprojects2001/tilling/sources.htm


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?


Holistic Management International – Free Resources to Help You Grow

This is a great website with some good free downloads.
Check it.

http://holisticmanagement.org/free-downloads/

HMI is proud to offer a series of packages for our practitioners, students, and supporters. We offer four free download packages: Introduction to Holistic Management, Holistic Financial Planning, Holistic Grazing Planning, and Kids on the Land. Each download packet comes with a Readme inventory file that details the contents and applications of each document. Details on each packet are provided below.

1. Introduction to Holistic Management: This package contains our 130 page Introduction to Holistic Management Manual, a special edition of HMI’s bi-monthly newsletter In Practice, the case study publication A New Environmental Intelligence, a full-sized full color version of the Holistic Management decision model, and a pocket-sized version of the Holistic Management decision model.

2. Holistic Financial Planning: This package contains our 59 page Holistic Financial Planning Manual, a financial planning worksheet, a large-sized annual income and expense worksheet, and a financial monitoring control sheet.

3. Holistic Grazing Planning: This package contains our Holistic Management Grazing Planning Manual, an electronic version of the holistic grazing planning worksheet, a livestock production worksheet, and the Holistic Weed Management worksheet.

4. Kids on the Land: This package includes our 8 page Guide to Starting Kids on the Land and six separate how-to manuals for conducting a Kids on the Land programs. These six manuals are designed by grade-level. The first begins with Kindergarten and they progress sequentially to Grade 5.


Wisdom and Know-How Books!

Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers has a great series of large, everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about “X” books.

Check them out here.


Process Books: Self-Reliance series

I have not read any of these, but they look like an interesting series of books. The Preparedness Now! series looks like it has a lot of basic homesteading skills wrapped up for urban and suburban-ites, and others who may not be familiar with the topic. Will have to check it out.
http://processmediainc.com/store/books/selfreliance/

Depression 2.0

Creative Strategies for Tough Economic Times

Cletus Nelson

Depression 2.0 is a practical, empowering, hands-on guide to persevering and even thriving in the event of an economic crisis. Placing particular emphasis on self-sufficiency, community-building, and personal resilience, this timely, informative book offers a hopeful way forward in a time of great uncertainty. Bankruptcy, barter, and survival investing are just a few of the important topics explored.

Getting Out

Getting Out

Your Guide to Leaving America

by Mark Ehrman

View the Getting Out website.

Getting Out walks you through the world of the expat: the reasons, the rules, the resources, the tricks of the trade, along with compelling stories and expertise from expatriate Americans on every continent.

The Natural Kitchen

Your Guide to the Sustainable Food Revolution

Deborah Eden Tull

A simple, revolutionary guide to mindful, sustainable food shopping, planning, preparation, cooking, and eating in the city.

Preparedness Now!

An Emergency Survival Guide
Expanded and Revised Edition

By Aton Edwards

View the Preparedness Now! website

PREPAREDNESS NOW! is the first comprehensive planning and action guide for urbanites and suburbanites who want to live more self-sufficiently and learn how best to provide for themselves and their loved ones in the face of any emergency or disaster. “Aton’s work is tremendously important. What we need to do for the next round is to get ourselves prepared.” — Chuck D., author, musician, and host of “On the Real”

The Urban Homestead

Self-Sufficient Living in the City (Expanded and Revised Edition)

By Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen

This celebrated, essential handbook for the urban homesteading movement shows how to grow and preserve your own food, clean your house without toxins, raise chickens, gain energy independence, and more. Step-by-step projects, tips, and anecdotes will help get you started…

When There Is No Doctor

Preventive and Emergency Healthcare in Uncertain Times

By Gerard S. Doyle, MD

The fifth title in Process’ Self-Reliance series demystifies medical practices with a practical approach to 21st Century health and home medicine, particularly helpful for stressful moments in a financial downturn. When There Is No Doctor is smartly designed and full…


FREE Permaculture eBooks!

http://www.green-shopping.co.uk/books/ebooks/free-ebooks.html

“Permaculture is all about one part of a system trying to help another, so this is our attempt to help replicate that, by sharing permaculture knowledge as freely and as widely as we can.

In this section you’ll find a selection of completely free eBook downloads on permaculture and wider environmental topics…”

 


Mother Trees Connect the Forest

http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=2764


Splitting Wood With A Tire