Living and thriving through regenerative practices and a sustainable worldview.


FREE Permaculture eBooks!

“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…”


Brain Wave States & How To Access Them

(DIY meditation! We need to learn how to RELAX…)

The brain produces four main types of brain wave which are shown by EEG readings. Each type of brain wave produces the listed effects at specific frequencies:

Beta Brain Waves (13-30 cycles per second). The fastest, representing the most intense state of alertness. The result of heightened mental activity. Maximum mind power. All five external senses, logical mind, memory from the five senses & logical thinking.

Alpha Brain Waves (8 to 12 cycles per second) This brain wave indicates a relaxed state of mind.. State of relaxed alertness, good for inspiration and learning facts fast. A meditative mind. In this state tap into internal “antenna” like qualities. Visions, powerful ideas, mindless creation of the incredible. Internal feeling & sensations.

Theta Brain Waves (4 to 8 cycles per second) Deep meditation. Deep inward thought. This is associated with life-like imagination. High state of mental concentration. A magical mind. Internal pictures / visualisation. Intuition, inner guidance. Access to unconscious material. Dreaming.

Delta Brain Waves (0.5 to 4 cycles per second) Deep dreamless sleep. Deep relaxation. State of oneness, whole body feeling. Pure being & will.

Studies have shown that learning in Alpha State enhances the performance of students. It also develops the interest of studies in students more than they have ever learned in tense environment. Frequent gaps of 2 to 3 minutes after every 30 minute study period relaxes their minds and the alpha state will prove its efficiency with great ease and fun. But learning is more than just absorbing information, so changing the state of mind to operate Beta, Alpha and Theta is most likely to produce the best learning, cognition and creativity, while also staying in a relaxed state.
Exercises to access the brain wave states

I have developed the exercises below to attain the separate specific brain waves which can then be added together as you desire. All four at once is quite an experience!

Beta brain wave — Become hyper aware of your 5 senses, notice what you can smell, the taste in your mouth, what your hands are touching, become acutely aware of what you hear and see. Having done this you will know that you are in beta due to the intense external input and the total lack of awareness of your body, feelings or sensations.

Alpha brain wave — Try the following exercise first with your eyes open & then repeat it with your eyes closed. Take a deep breath, hold it and notice the sensations as your heart beats three times, relax & breath out — repeat 3X. Breathe in and out slowly to a count of 4, as you do so notice how your body feels —relaxed & warm.

Theta brain wave — do this after the alpha brain wave exercise. Close your eyes and visualise a sacred cup where your heart is (or another object of your choice) hold this picture for several minutes. Breathe in and out slowly.

Delta brain waves — do this after the other exercises, become aware & notice a warm sensation in your heart, now this sensation flow down and then spread out until it fills all of your body — one sensation.
Using CDs to access the brainwave states and improve learning

There several companies who produce CDs for different states normally in combination or for specific purposes e.g. concentration, relaxation, creativity, “Einsteinian like thinking”, etc. These are useful to obtain the desired states when you need to do something but cannot get yourself in the desired state and also to train the brain and body so you can whenever you want to.

The slower the brain frequency the faster the learning. In theta learning can be 1 time and in alpha as much as 20 times to absorb information (see below).
Brain Waves and Age

The table below tells the patterns of brain wave activity across different ages and states of awareness with the number of repetitions required to learn new behaviour patterns.
Age Brain wave Cycles/sec. Usual state for adults No. of repetitions required for new behaviour
14+ Beta 14 – 21 Normal awake Thousands
7 – 14 Alpha 7 – 14 Light sleep, meditation 21 (approx.)
4 – 7 Theta 4 – 7 Sleep, ‘fight or flight’ 1 or 2
0 – 4 Delta 0.5 – 4 Deep sleep -

NB. the repetitions are for new behaviour not information but information is also absorbed quicker in lower brain wave patterns.

From birth to four, babies’ brains operate in the delta state, with brain waves running below 4 cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced in the deepest levels of sleep.

From four to seven, children operate in theta state, with brain waves running between four and seven cycles per second. In adults, this level of brain wave activity is experienced during sleep and also during states of fear when the body goes into a ‘fight or flight’ response. This is a powerful level from which to initiate change. In this state, we only need one or two experiences of learning to change behaviour.

From the ages seven to fourteen, we live in the alpha state of seven to fourteen cycles per second. In adults, this is associated with light sleep, meditation, or eyes closed relaxation. At this level effective learning can take place after about 21 repetitions. Practice a new behaviour for 21 consecutive days and that behaviour becomes a habit. Research has shown that strong levels of physical healing can take place when the brain is at 10 cycles per second.

From puberty through adulthood the brain operates in the beta state, 14 – 21 cycles per second. This is experienced in the normal state of eyes open, awake and alert. In this state it may take many thousands of repetitions to learn a new behaviour. To create significant change in our lives at this level takes extensive deal of time and effort. (This section on age comes from )
Brain waves and health

Delta & Theta brain waves are very good for health in general and are normally obtained by sleep but for students or others who work too hard, accessing them at the same time as other brain waves is rejuvenating.

An excess of Delta usually indicates depression, either physical or emotional and sleep problems.

Many researchers have noted a discrepancy between the EEG of subjects with learning disabilities or ADD and normal subjects. Typically, the ADD subjects were characterized by brain activity on the slower end of the frequency spectrum “The most important characteristic is either an excessive amount of theta activity, a lack of beta activity or a combination of these” Lubar, J. F. (1985). EEG biofeedback and learning disabilities. Theory into Practice, 24(2), 106-111
Important Medical Warning

One manufacturer (Brain Sound Studio TM) recommends that the studio and therefore by inference the binaural sounds should not be used by pregnant women, those using a pacemaker, and those who have had or are prone to seizures or are epileptic.

Therefore I recommend that if you have a medical condition or are on medication please print this out and see a Medical Doctor to check if you are at risk before you use any binaural type music.
Specific Brain Frequencies

The information below shows the effects of specific frequencies within each brain wave frequency range:
Delta Brain Waves ( O.5 to 4Hz)

0.5 Hz – Relaxation, helps soothe headaches
0.5 – 1.5 Hz – Pain relief. Endorphin release
0.9 Hz – Euphoric feeling
1 Hz – Well being. Harmony and balance
2.5 Hz – Production of endogenous opiates (pain killers, reduce anxiety)
2.5 Hz – Relieves migraine pain. Produces endogenous opiates
3.4 Hz – Helps achieve restful sleep
3.5 Hz – Feeling of unity with everything. Whole being regeneration
3.9 Hz – Self renewal, enhanced inner awareness
4.0 Hz – Enkephalin release for reduced stress
4.0 Hz – Allows brain to produce enkaphalins, all natural pain killer
4.0 Hz – Full memory scanning. Releases enkephalins
4.0 Hz – Vital for memory and learning. Problem solving, object naming
1 – 3 Hz – Profound relaxation, restorative sleep. Tranquillity and peace
Theta Brain Waves ( 4 to 8 Hz)

4.5 Hz – Brings about Shamanic/Tibetan state of consciousness, Tibetan chants.
4.9 Hz – Induce relaxation and deeper sleep
4.9 Hz – Introspection. Relaxation, meditation
5 Hz – Reduces sleep required. Theta replaces need for extensive dreaming
5.35 Hz – Allows relaxing breathing, free and efficient
5.5 Hz – Inner guidance, intuition
6.5 Hz – Centre of Theta frequency. Activates creative frontal lobe
7.5 Hz – Activates creative thought for art, invention, music. Problem solving
7.5 Hz – Ease of overcoming troublesome issues
7.83 Hz – Schumann earth resonance. Grounding, meditative, Leaves you revitalized
3 – 8 Hz – Deep relaxation, meditation. Lucid dreaming
3 – 8 Hz – Increased memory, focus, creativity
4 – 7 Hz – Profound inner peace, emotional healing. Lowers mental fatigue
4 – 7 Hz – Deep meditation, near-sleep brainwaves.
Alpha brain waves ( 8 to 12Hz)

8- 10 Hz Super-learning new information, memorisation, not comprehension.
8.22 Hz – Associated with the mouth. Brings creativity
10 Hz – Enhanced serotonin release. Mood elevation, arousal, stimulant
10 Hz – Provides relief from lost sleep, improves general mood
10 Hz – Mood elevator. Used to dramatically reduce headaches
10 Hz – Clarity, subconscious correlation. Releases serotonin
11 Hz – Relaxed yet awake state
12 Hz – Centering, mental stability.
11 – 14 Hz – Increased focus and awareness
12 – 14 Hz – Learning frequency, good for absorbing information passively
Beta brain waves ( 13 to 30Hz)

14 Hz – Awakeness, alert. Concentration on tasks, Focusing, vitality.
16 Hz – Bottom of hearing range. Releases oxygen/calcium into cells
12 – 15 Hz – Relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities
13 – 27 Hz – Promotes focused attention toward external stimuli
13 – 30 Hz – Problem solving, conscious thinking
18-24 Hz — Euphoria, can result in headaches, anxiety.

NB. Frequencies in italics cover more than one brain wave frequency range.

The release of endorphins by the delta brainwave can also be achieved by meditation, runners high, breathing exercises, etc

In my opinion the brain waves and the specific frequencies could be used to help explain how many healing techniques work with more research, case studies and relation to other scientific disciplines.
References: and Brain Sound Studio TM
Another site for CDs is
For those who like a challenge the Tibetan Exercise of Paradox creates all four states at once — Cynthia Rose Young Schlosser

Splitting Wood With A Tire

Making butter


Thursday, April 8, 2010

lately we have been enjoying the taste and experience of making our own butter. since we live in the year 2010, butter making is super easy. easier than loading up the kids and heading to the store. trust me!

we use raw milk from a local source. i buy a gallon specifically for butter/yogurt making. see in the picture below the distinction between the cream and the milk? typically, if i were going to drink it, i would shake it up to mix it all together. but for butter, i need that cream.

1) i slowly pour the cream off into a jar. i let the jar sit out to warm up a bit (room temperature is nice, but not necessary).

2) after the cream is a nice temperature, i pour half of the quart jar into my blender and set it on a medium speed. on my vita-mix it is set on 4. by the way, you don’t have to use a fancy blender to do this- any will do.

3) pretty soon (about 5-8 minutes) the butter begins to separate from the milk. it looks kind of clotted (see picture below).
4) in the above picture you can see the solid separated from the liquid. i stop at this point and pour off the liquid into another jar. this is buttermilk. do not pour it down the sink! i use it for corn bread or pancakes. yum!
5)after the liquid is poured off, i give it another spin on the blender on a low speed. by this point it looks nice and smooth. a little more buttermilk will have seeped out, so i add that to my jar. next, i add cool water and pour it off. i do this over and over until the water runs clear. the less buttermilk that is left in the butter, the longer it will last.
6) after the water runs clear i put it in some cheese cloth to drain a bit more. while this is draining i start on the other half of my cream. i just do the whole process over again!
you’ll notice that the butter is yellow. that’s because it is from nutrient dense, grass fed, raw milk! no food coloring used here!
7) when i’m all done, i spoon it into a little glass bowl that has a lid and place it in the refrigerator.

that’s it! super yummy butter, with little effort!
if you’d like to read up on the benefits of raw butter check here.

Hamburg Parsley Turnip – Versatile and yummy!

It’s a Parsnip, it’s a Carrot – No, it’s Parsley Root

October 23, 2008 By

Parsley RootMy choice for this weeks unusual vegetable is Parsley Root (Petroselinum crispum variety tuberosum), also known as Rooted parsley, Turnip-Rooted Parsley, Dutch Parsley, Hamburg Parsley or Heimischer. It’s a winter root that has been used for centuries for soups and stews in the “Old World” but is fairly unknown and underutilized everywhere else – at least in the culinary community.

Parsley root extract has been shown to be useful for chronic liver and gallbladder diseases. It is a diuretic, blood purifier, carminative, and hepatic.

The parsnip-like root is white, dry and has a flavor somewhat like celery, turnips, and, of course, parsley. It’s usually available August through April, being at it’s peak in November through February. Use it like you would a parsnip, carrot, celery root or turnip. Think aromatic, a little aggressive, herbal and pungent.

It pairs beautifully with other roots in dishes like:

Caramelized Assorted Root Vegetables
Roasting vegetables is an age-old technique that releases natural sugars. By combining several vegetables and cooking them slowly until they are caramelized and sweet, I take that method one step further and achieve an enticing medley of flavors and textures. You could serve these humble root vegetables alone or with almost any roasted meat, game or poultry. Add a salad of tossed greens to your menu to round out the meal. The recipe can be doubled or tripled if necessary, but divide the mixture between several pans so the cooking process is not affected.

For the Roasted Root Vegetables
4 ounces pearl onions
1 head garlic
4 carrots
2 parsnips
2 turnips
2 parsley roots
2 Yukon Gold, 6 fingerling or other waxy potatoes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive, plus more if needed
kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

To Prepare the Roasted Root Vegetables: Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Fill a medium-sized saucepan two-thirds full with water and set over high heat. Bring water to a boil. Add onions and boil one minute or slightly longer to loosen skins. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and let cool. When onions are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to loosen skins, then slip off the skins and discard. Set onions aside.

Separate the head of garlic into cloves and lightly smash each clove using the side of a large knife to loosen the skin. Remove the skin and set garlic cloves aside. Peel carrots, parsnips, and parsley root then cut into pieces about 2-inches long. Peel turnips and potatoes, halve lengthwise, then cut each half into 1-inch thick slices. Set all vegetables aside.

In a large, heavy roasting pan or in a large, ovenproof sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the vegetables and sauté, stirring, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and season vegetables with salt and pepper.

Transfer pan with vegetables to oven. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until vegetables are lightly browned and tender when pierced with a knife, 30 to 35 minutes. If the vegetables start to stick to the bottom of the pan while roasting, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional oil and toss again.

Remove pan from oven and taste and adjust seasoning.

Advance Preparation: These vegetables are best served immediately after they come out of the oven, but if you prefer, you can roast them ahead and reheat them just before serving.

Substitutions and Options: Any root vegetables will work; you may omit or add vegetables to suite your tastes and what is available in the market.

Makes 4 side dish servings

How To Make Your Own $35 Straw Mattress


(This lovely DIY how-to is written by my galfriend April, who recently made a fantastic straw mattress for the cob bed. Not only is it entirely natural, it’s pretty super to sleep on, too. Read ahead!)

Living in a hand-built home can often mean making unique and non-conventional furniture choices. I recently transitioned from a tent to a cob house and ran into the dilemma of what to do about a bed. My criteria was something natural and sustainable, economical, readily available, quick and easy to assemble, and comfortable. Is that too much to ask? I decided to do some research first.

Why not to buy a conventional mattress

I looked at some conventional mattresses. What the heck is in those things, I asked. These mattresses are composed of metal coils, often plastic coated, encased in fabric and padding. As a result of their materials and manufacturing, they also contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and chemical fire retardants that will off-gas over time. And, with a price tag of over $350 for a full size mattress, this option isn’t particularly economical. However, there is such a thing as eco-friendly and organic mattresses. These usually contain organic cotton or wool, non-toxic fire retardants, natural latex rubber, and recycled metal springs. But with an even heftier price tag of around $1000 for a full size mattress, this wasn’t really an option for me at all.

Traditional mattress materials

What about making my own mattress? People have been making their own beds for thousands of years. The ancient Romans used straw, an agricultural by-product, to make their mattresses. Another by-product, rice chaff (the husks separated from the edible grains), is used as mattress filler in Asia and oat chaff was traditional in Scotland. At first, making my own mattress sounded too ambitious since I’ve got a minimal amount of sewing experience, but straw is natural, locally available, and at $2.00 – $4.00 per bale, it was worth a try. If it didn’t work out, disposing of my straw mattress would be as simple a…

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Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance

I had the good fortune of scoring this book from the Clearance shelf when Borders went out of business. The book is HUGE!

And it covers a whole lot of things that are a mystery to me, as I’ve never lived with certain systems/features in my home (like a cistern, etc.).

I was surprised by the sheer breadth of topics. There’s even a section on how to maintain your outdoor cat! Everything from gardening to plumbing,  cooking to caring for stables and tools.It’s all in here!

Make Your Own Lotion Bars for Gift-Giving!

Taking a break from being so serious for a moment.

Check it out:


The Medicinal, Toilet, Culinary and other Uses of 130 of the most Commonly Used Herbs
The Southwest School of Botanical Medicine