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BirdLover72
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How will the rising price of Gas and Food effect you?

My Dh and I were talking today about the rising price of gas and food and we stopped at a local nursery where we picked up packets of seeds and soil...I can get wooden crates from work for free.

We are planning on growing as much as we can.I have a dehydrator and bread maker already so I can dehydrate the veggies for soups in the winter and make bread..

But we are going to invest in a pasta machine since we alot of pasta. I have been making a list of farmers in my area where I'm going to check prices of eggs and chicken

The price of gas here is on aveage 3.45 for unleaded.And we want to provide as much as we can on ourself rether then rely on the grocery stores high prices.

We are also looking to invest in some land in Utah and maybe some gold.

What are you planning to do to save money?

Is there anything I should invest in otherwise?

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Grey
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Hi Birdlover - we're doing much the same thing. I'm growing LOTS more edible plants this year and will be doing a lot of canning later. I already bake my own bread (no bread machine here, I like kneading dough too much ;) )

Otherwise, as far as cutting back goes - I'm self-employed and work from home. I walk to my local grocery store and to the organic bakery in town a few times a week (the bakery carries all the veggies I don't grow). She also grinds up about five different kinds of wheat and so I get my flour from her as well. And spices! You've never had bay leaves until you have had fresh, organic ones!

I hang our clothes on a line rather than run the dryer. I do put our jeans and towels in the dryer after for about 10 minutes so they are not so scratchy and stiff (jeans just shouldn't stand up on their own). I also make my own laundry detergent, works out to about a penny per load.

We don't eat out much, and I make a lot of stews because it makes a lot, and freeze half of it for later. My vegan spinach lasagna recipe makes a lot too, and I am continuing to look for recipes that are healthy, make a lot of food, and are cheap to make.

We also heat our home with a woodstove. Much easier on the wallet, as we always know someone with plenty of hardwood they need to get rid of.

And no, we don't live on a farm. ;)

allenwrench
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Re: How will the rising price of Gas and Food effect you?

BirdLover72 wrote:My Dh and I were talking today about the rising price of gas and food and we stopped at a local nursery where we picked up packets of seeds and soil...I can get wooden crates from work for free.

We are planning on growing as much as we can.I have a dehydrator and bread maker already so I can dehydrate the veggies for soups in the winter and make bread..

But we are going to invest in a pasta machine since we alot of pasta. I have been making a list of farmers in my area where I'm going to check prices of eggs and chicken

The price of gas here is on aveage 3.45 for unleaded.And we want to provide as much as we can on ourself rether then rely on the grocery stores high prices.

We are also looking to invest in some land in Utah and maybe some gold.

What are you planning to do to save money?

Is there anything I should invest in otherwise?

Absolutely...self sufficiency is a good goal for us all. Peak oil issues completly changed my life...and it has only just begun!

My main interest in the garden is for food production. I like plants and flowers, but don't have the time, energy, space and finances to do it all. So I concentrate on food.

I am growing food because:

Food quality in the store is low.
Food being sold is unhealthy and devoid of nutrition.
Food costs are getting out of sight
Food is or will be scare in the future as we become post carbon society due to peak oil issues.

If I didn't have to fool with growing food I'd be longboarding or riding my dirt bike or kayaking or whatever.

But I've enjoyed getting my hands dirty so to speak since starting gardening Feb '08. And it is relaxing, offers exercise and cuts down on stress.

BTW...I am a transplant from L.A., lived there 35 years and moved in 1989 to the NE US to 'city-country' as opposed to 'city-city'. I had a big shock the first time the electric went off for more than 5 minutes in my new local. That was the day I learned about self sufficiency about 17 years ago.

Bought some candles and a flashlight and went on from there. But that only clued me into 'short term survival' with my preparedness aimed at 4 to 6 weeks.

Then came 'peak oil' ' peak NG' 'peak food' 'peak water' 'overpopulation' and had my eyes opened to long term, indefinite survival.

Here are some books and DVD's for you. Get them from the library. The one highlighted in red is a good book on investment in a post carbon world.

The Alcohol Fuel Handbook / by Lynn Ellen Doxon.
by Doxon, Lynn Ellen

Art of Nothing
An excellent series of DVD's showcasing primitive skills:
https://www.hopspress.com/Videos/Art_of_Nothing.htm

Barnyard In Your Backyard
edited by Gail Damerow

Basic Essentials. Edible Wild Plants & Useful Herbs
by Meuninck, Jim

Beyond Civilization: humanity's next great adventure
by Quinn, Daniel

Beyond Oil: the view from Hubbert's Peak
by Deffeyes, Kenneth S.
https://www.princeton.edu/hubbert/

The Biodiesel Handbook
by Gerhard Knothe

Bowling Alone: the collapse and revival of American community
by Putnam, Robert D.

The Bread Builders:hearth loaves and masonry ovens
by Wing, Daniel

Breathe No Evil
Safe-Tek Publishers

Brown's Second Alcohol Fuel Cookbook.
by Brown, Michael Halsey

Build a Root Cellar & Storm Shelter
by Hobson, Phyllis

Bushcraft
by Mors Kochanski
Great reference on primitive wood skills.

The Can Opener Gourmet
by Karr, Laura

The Citizen-Powered Energy Handbook: community solutions to a global crisis
by Greg Pahl
https://www.chelseagreen.com/2007/items/citizenpowered

Collapse
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_(book

The Coming Economic Collapse - how you can thrive when oil costs $200 a barrel
by Leeb, Stephen


The Complete Book of Dutch Oven Cooking
by Fears, J. Wayne

The Complete Book of Fire: building campfires for warmth, light, cooking, and survival
by Tilton, Buck

The Complete Book of Survival
by Stahlberg, Rainer
An outstanding all encompassing guide to the philosophy of surviving - Highly Recommended.

The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants
by Lyle, Katie Letcher

Country Wisdom & Know-how
Numerous authors and publishers...all contain worthwhile information.
https://www.amazon.com/Country-Wisdom-Know-How-Editors-Publishings/dp/1579123686

Crossing the Rubicon: the decline of the American empire at the end of the age of oil
by Ruppert, Michael C.

A Crude Awakening - the oil crash
Lava Productions AG, Switzerland DVD
https://www.oilcrashmovie.com/

Dancing at Armageddon: Survivalism and Chaos in Modern Times
by Richard G. Mitchell Jr

Edible Wild plants
by Meuninck, James

Edible Wild Plants of Pennsylvania and Neighboring states
by Medve, Richard J.

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West
Gregory L. Tilford
https://www.amazon.com/Edible-Medicinal-Plants-Gregory-Tilford/dp/0878423591

Emergency Preparedness. Awareness & Survival
DVD Apogee Communication, 2006 - Highly Recommended.
https://www.apogeevideo.com/emergency/emergency.htm

The End of Suburbia - oil depletion and the collapse of the American dream
by Greene, Gregory DVD
Don't miss the commentary. Lots of Canadian prejudice against the US as well as snobbery, but very worthwhile behind the scene info.
https://www.endofsuburbia.com/

Farming for Self-sufficiency
by John and Sally Seymour

Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants of Eastern and Central North America
by Peterson, Lee.

First Aid for Dogs.
Various authors under related titles...First Aid for Cats...Horses...Pets....even Insects!

Four-Season Harvest:organic vegetables from your home garden all year long.
by Eliot Coleman

Going Local: creating self-reliant communities in a global age
by Shuman, Michael

Grit Magazine
https://www.grit.com/

Guns and Ammo Magazine

High Noon for Natural Gas: the new energy crisis
by Darley, Julian
https://www.highnoon.ws/

House on a Budget:making smart choices to build the home you want.
by Duo Dickinson

How to Dry Foods
by DeLong, Deanna.

Life after doomsday
by Bruce D. Clayton

The Long Emergency: surviving the converging catastrophes of the twenty-first century
by Kunstler, James Howard

Magic of Wheat Cookery
by Tyler, Lorraine Dilworth

Making Your Own Motor Fuel
by Fred Stetson

Master list of survival books:
https://www.survivalcenter.com/bookbs.html

Mother Earth Magazine
Al back issues available on CD ROM for nominal cost from:
https://www.motherearthnews.com/

Natural Home Heating: the complete guide to renewable energy options
by Pahl, Greg

Nutrition and well-being A to Z
Delores C.S. James editor

Oil Apocalypse
History channel DVD

The Oil Depletion Protocol : a plan to avert oil wars, terrorism and economic collapse
by Heinberg, Richard

The Omnivore's Dilemma
www.michaelpollan.com/omnivore.php

Pantry Cooking : quick and easy food storage recipes
by Robins, Laura

PDR for Herbal Medicines
by Medical Economics

Peak Oil Survival: preparation for life after gridcrash
by McBay, Aric

Powerdown: options and actions for a post-carbon world
by Heinberg, Richard

Primitive Living, Self-sufficiency, and Survival Skills : a field guide to primitive living skills
by Elpel, Thomas J.

The Renewable Energy Handbook:a guide to rural independence, off-grid and sustainable living
by William H. Kemp

Resource Wars: the new landscape of global conflict
by Klare, Michael T
https://www.amazon.com/Resource-Wars-Landscape-Conflict-Introduction/dp/0805055762

Root Cellaring : the simple no-processing way to store fruits and vegetables
by Bubel, Nancy./Bubel, Mike

Seed to Seed: seed saving techniques for the vegetable gardener
by Ashworth, Suzanne

Shelters, Shacks, and shanties: the classic guide to building wilderness shelters
by Beard, Daniel Carter

A Thousand Barrels a Second: the coming oil break point and the challenges facing an energy dependent world
by Tertzakian, Peter

Twilight in the Desert: the coming Saudi oil shock and the world economy
by Simmons, Matthew R.
Well written book examining 12 of the key Saudi oil fields.

U.S. Army combat skills handbook / Department of the Army.
Lyon's Press

Who Killed the Electric Car?
Sony Pictures Classics release
https://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectriccar/

Zips, Pipes, And Pens: Arsenal Of Improvised Weapons
by J. David Truby

Zoom:the global race to fuel the car of the future
by Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran.

allenwrench
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Grey wrote:
We also heat our home with a woodstove. Much easier on the wallet, as we always know someone with plenty of hardwood they need to get rid of.

And no, we don't live on a farm. ;)


How many of our homes are set up for efficient heating with natural methods such as wood, pellet, passive solar?

My house is not.

I never gave this subject any thought until I learned about peak natural gas. And by then it was too late.

My house is as far as it can be from the 'ideal house' that can be heated my natural methods. And to make maters worse, I live in the NE US, where it gets plenty cold.

Do you know that much of your life is dependent on natural gas outside its use as an energy source?

We will run out of natural gas, just as we deplete our crude supplies in the near future.

https://www.amazon.com/High-Noon-Natural-Gas-Energy/dp/1931498539

Natural gas is a raw material in many of our products we depend on.

Almost all the helium we produce comes from natural gas.

Propane, synthetic fertilizers, ammonia?

They are totally dependent on natural gas.

Our population boom was fueled by synthetic fertilizers made from natural; gas. Once the gas dries up so does the fertilizer and a shortage of fertilizer equals a shortage of food.

Natural; gas is also used as an energy source to produce steel, glass, paper, clothing, brick, electricity

https://www.enotes.com/how-products-encyclopedia/natural-gas

https://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/icm/2003/4-14-2003/natgasn.html

https://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/non-renewable/naturalgas.html#WHATITISUSEDFOR

You still have some valuable time left to prepare for what awaits you down the road.

We are in the 'Indian Summer' of a carbon based world. Don't wait until the winter sets in to start work on your preparedness efforts.

native
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We mow for a living so the gas prices are affecting us. Our food bill is high so we choose which organic produce we buy from week to week. I'm not a great cook so making bread seems alien to me. The prices at the farmers market are sometimes higher at the store. Florida oranges are high. We are in a drought so watering is limited. I think people will start getting into gardening more. It's allot of work and the bugs , the water shortage, so they give up. Gave plants to a friend and made him plant in pots after he gave up.
Hope we see in our lifetime cheaper energy sources. solar panels are coming along. I like the spiral windmills they have for city buildings. Also like the compressed air for cars.[weater channel]Our children will see alternative enery sources. my! i did not mean to be depressing.

native
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I do have a dehydrator to and love it

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imagardener2
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allenwrench wrote:We will run out of natural gas, just as we deplete our crude supplies in the near future.
That a nice story for the oil companies to tell to jack up fuel prices, but it isn't necessarily the truth.

I have 2 sons and they both work in the oil industry. One is a directional driller, the other installed safety systems on completed oil wells until he became a company man. Chances are none of those positions mean anything to anyone here, but to those in the know it means both my boys have access to oil & gas info that the general public doesn't. They both tell me there's huge amounts of oil under Texas and in the Gulf. Back in the early 2000's my youngest (the driller) told me they had found a historically massive find running from around Del Rio, TX, across Texas to Louisiana, down to Mexico and all under the Gulf. But you didn't hear about it in the news. Why? So the oil companies could start their 'reign of terror' on the American public.

Which started, BTW, just shortly after they made the find.
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

alisios
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The federal government and local electric companies are offering incentives by way of rebates, tax deductions, etc to those who are going solar. -

My water heater was showing signs of failure, so I have recently went to a solar panel for heating water. It cost more at first, but with all the bonuses offered through programs, I was able to get a system that cost me a little less than a new conventional gas water heater...

I hope this thread doesn't get political, as I don't think the forum should be a place to discuss things of that nature...

I do believe it's time to be more self sufficient - I guess it's always been a good time for this..

I've also been looking into a small solar panel for electric power to use in the greenhouse too -

alisios
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btw, there is no legal definition of what is "green" so basically companies can call their products "green", but it doesn't mean it is green

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Grey
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A lack of synthetic fertilizers does not mean there will be less food.

You can grow super nice, super yummy, very good quantity veggies the old fashioned way: organically. If you routinely test your soil, keep adding in that good organic matter and make sure that ALL the nutrient needs are met (not just the NPKs that the synthetics cover) your plants will be much, much healthier than they would be on synthetics.

The reason being good soil promotes beneficial bacteria and microorganisms, and the rounded-out nutrition helps the plant ward off diseases and grow fast enough that some insect damage is not the end of the world.

There are, if I recall, seven micronutrients that are important as well as those three macros.

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Grey
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alisios wrote:btw, there is no legal definition of what is "green" so basically companies can call their products "green", but it doesn't mean it is green
Unfortunate but true.

My favorite example of this are those hideous CFL bulbs they want us to use. How many people are REALLY going to dispose of them as the toxic waste they are since they contain mercury? Not many.

And, what cost are they to our health? I have one such bulb from my electric company. I hate the kind of light it puts out, it flickers (bad bad for people with migraines) and it makes a high-pitched noise. I sandwiched it between two incandescents in my bathroom vanity light, but the sound drives me nuts.

May I add that Edison's ORIGINAL LIGHTBULB is STILL WORKING at a museum in St. Petersburg, FL?

These CFLs still have what we in marketing call planned obsolescence. Just like your computer, your cell phone that craps out every year, and the style of shoe you have to wear at work to be "stylish."

Meanwhile, we are being told that they will phase out incandescent bulbs and only offer these CFLs. When that happens? I'm using candles and hurricane lamps. And those flashlights that you have to shake to charge.

Another great example of planned obsolescence: my dad has one of the few vehicles from the 1960s with brakes that have never, ever worn down. There is a limited number of those that went out... we don't have to be toxic to ourselves and the environment by replacing brakes every year or so... it just makes more money for corporations.

alisios
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..and what about all those flat screen TVs people will have to "upgrade" (toss) to digital HD?
Grey wrote:My favorite example of this are those hideous CFL bulbs they want us to use. How many people are REALLY going to dispose of them as the toxic waste they are since they contain mercury? Not many.
Funny you should say this - I was checking out some CFLs and noticed "mercury" warnings on the label just recently... I asked my father, there's mercury in there??

sheesh...

wind_dial
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I think there is alot more that everyone can do and more we don't even realize we can do to save energy and cut down and waste of all kinds. I think that people, especially Americans are way too spoiled now a days. People complain because they cant afford luxuries of life and think its the end of the world. People arent conciensous about their actions. I'm not saying all but alot, alot more than earlier in this century alone. I love to watch movies depicting life in the 1800's and early 1900's and in a way would like to go back to those times. I know we have things today that our minds would not allow us to live without but if you lived back then you wouldnt know the difference and when you never experienced air conditioning the heat really wouldnt bother you as bad as it does now, you would be adapted to it. Before the invention of tight homes, air conditioning and high sanitization allergies were practiclly unheard of. Back to my point though of conservation. I am queen at making a meal go a long way. That may not be signifigant, its just one thing that combined by everyone can go alot furthure. That stew someone likes to make earlier in the post, I would take that my self and put it in a baking dish, top with biscuits or mashed potatoes or even stuffing for a pot or shepards pie. I turn left over chicken soup into chicken and rice. I love to make chilli tacos out of left over chilli too. I reuse jelly jars as drinking glasses and yes I save butter bowls for storage containers. I try to find a second use for as many things as I can. People now a days think everything has to be new and shiny to work, if its not eye catching it just wont do. I do not have a regular television, no channels of any kind. I do have a TV but have every season of Little House On The Prarie, the Waltons. The gas prices are crazy and I personally think there shouldnt be a summer driving season as it gives them an excuse to raise it, but it also raises demand. People 100 years ago didnt HAVE to go see the grand canyon. Many never left the county they were born and raised in. Its fun to go on vacation every once in a while but modern people think they have to go on one every weekend or month and they wonder why their is such a demand for oil. What is wrong with spending quality time home sweet home. Also I just thought of something else, if you grow your own veggies, that means a gas hog truck didnt have to truck it from the farm and across the country, one trip to town for seeds and your set for the summer. Even if you cant have a veggie garden, if more people gardened everywhere there would be more available locally and I know if its anything like around here your neighbors usually give you way more tomatoes and cucumbers than you would want to eat in a life time so there is usually plenty to go around. I think the oil crunch in a way is making some people think about the choices they make and teaching them how to conserve which what they should have doing all along. Sometimes what people need is wake up call and it looks like oil is whats making that call wether we like it or not. Its a blessing and a burden. Many of the people that lived through the depression are still alive and you see the good habits they developed during that era and there is alot to be learned from them before they are gone. Making a meal run for two or three nights might not be easy to relate to conservation of gas and even to gardening in a signifigant way but no one thing really does, its a combination of lots of small things that make a big impact.

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Grey
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It is a blessing and a burden (the higher oil costs).

Since this thread is turning a little negative (guilty as charged) let's bring it back to the positive and ask: what are you doing to cut energy costs?

I'll start the ball rolling:

I hang my clothes on a line. I wash them in cold water, and I make my own detergent out of things that are less harmful to the environment (and myself).

I walk to the grocery store, and I carry my own cloth bags along. If I just need a couple of things, I don't even need a bag if I forgot one.

I turn off and unplug appliances throughout the house that are not in use. Our TV stays unplugged most of the time, sometimes I just turn off the breaker for the whole stereo system/cable receiver/etc. Even your cell phone charger eats power while plugged in. Computers are shut down at night, including the surge protector.

I usually only have one or two lights on in the house at night. People should be winding down in the evening anyway, it helps us sleep better.

Like most people here - I grow lots of veggies.

I never buy tupperware. I keep the glass bottles that are empty from the store, and save things in those. Since I also dabble in herbal medicine, I found those amber vanilla bottles work out very well for tinctures.

I save water. Until I get a better system in place, the rain that falls from my metal roof drops neatly into several 5 gallon buckets and a few big garbage cans. I use that water for my plants. When I wash dishes, I use the dishwater on my plants as well. During the drought, I kept a large container in the shower with me - even a fast shower seems to leave 3-5 gallons of water in the bucket. I didn't have enough water between the sink and the shower to keep everything really happy, but I didn't lose many plants last year, either.

I'm sure there's lots more I can be doing. What do you do, or intend to do?

alisios
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Well - first off, I made a rain barrel:

[img]https://www.robertcory.com/media/rainbarrel.jpg[/img]

This cost me under 10 dollars. I have added a second 55 gallon next to it since this picture was taken. I found a great place that has a ton of empty barrels they throw away (food grade) - I just cleaned them spray painted them the color of the house...

Begun a compost pile

Planting Native trees and shrubs in yard

Solar hot water installed instead of gas boiler

Bought and use those reusable grocery bags ( they hold a lot more too)

Feed the birds :)

I am looking into an electric bike now to go on errands near my house... my mother bought one of these and it's nice! 20mph top speed and around 30-40 mile range:

https://www.iloveebikes.com/ebike098.html

opabinia51
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This looks great, the really good thing that can come out of increased taxation and rising prices; innovation.


I saw an advertisement today for a fuel cell car that has zero emmissions.

And hybrid car sales are on the rise which is a good thing. I heard some years ago that hybrid cars don't have adequate mileage but, that they were a step in the right direction.

Designing energy efficient homes is also a great idea.

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imagardener2
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Location: Three Rivers, TX

I dry my clothes outside.

We keep our thermostat at 80 degrees during the day.

I've owned/used a front loading, high capacity washing machine (this is my 3rd) for over 30 years.

I water my yard with my washing machine and shower water.

I have:
- an on demand hot water heater
- a toilet that uses .8 gal or 1.6 gal water depending on which button you push
- programmable thermostat
- ceiling fans in every room in my house
- CFL in virtually every fixture inside and out and I will dispose of them properly!
- cloth grocery bags

I use:
- dish towels rather than paper towels most of the time
- a dishwasher
- my used coffee grounds and tea bags in my garden
- rechargeable batteries and buy them for my children & grandchildren to use
- a gas range
- timers on my water hoses

I buy:
- large volume/low packaging whenever possible
- cleaners such as Clorox's 'Green'

We:
- put a metal roof on our house to help deflect the heat gain of our roof
- installed low e windows on our remodel

I bathe by turning the water to almost off while I'm actually washing my hair or body and I turn the water off when brushing my teeth.

I drive a used car my husband rebuilt; it gets 35 mpg. I'm waiting for the [url=https://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4251491.html?series=19]Air Car[/url] to become available; it will be my new car.

I pushed my city until they started a recycling center in '95. Presently I'm pushing them to think toward rethinking their present paradigm and up grading it to present technology. (MERPHs, steam compactors, etc.) I'm also pushing to have the city and school district work jointly in teaching children from kinder on up about recycling and becoming stewards of our earth.

At our 2nd place in the country we're going primarily solar, hope to add a wind turbine, practice [url=https://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?isbn=9780964425835]humanure[/url] composting, will be processing our waste water in a bog garden, are designing our new house to be green from the point of view of natural ventilation/cooling, long overhangs, pointing it due S to use solar gain in the winter, etc.

I'm sure I do/have/use other things but just can't think of them right now. [img]https://geocities.com/d_m_g_s/emoticons/menu-Ponder2.gif[/img]

-----------------------------------
Edited to modify [url=https://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4251491.html?series=19]Air Car[/url] link
Last edited by imagardener2 on Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

TheLorax
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Neat comments in this thread. Thanks for directing me here. I'd be very interested in learning what else we can do.

opabinia51
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Imagardener, I am very proud of you.

An inspiration.

Greywater is an excellant use in conservation. But, it also bring to mind a larger topic that would even fit in our new permaculture forum (thanks for the idea Lorax!) about dealing with our own wastes on site rather than shipping them off somewhere else. The use of greywater, encourages people to use more ecofriendly products because if you put something down the drain that will harm wildlife, you'll see direct effects.

Also, it uses house wastes on site and therefore you are using a couple of the 4 R's listed above. Each person has then Rethought about their own wastes, Reduced what they throw away and Reused what used to be their garbage that was thrown away. Works brilliantly!

The list is endless of simple changes we can each make in our own lives, and let us not forget to advocate to our locale, state/provincial politicians for change to policies and of course to the feds.

But really it's the small changes done by millions that really add up.

TheLorax
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We have a new permaculture forum? Where? I requested a forum on invasive species and also for permaculture specifically because I'm very interested in this area but also to entice a personal friend to come join here. Where is it?

editing to add- I found it! Way cool!

opabinia51
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
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It's right below the organic forum. Just came online last night. I moved a bunch of permaculture related threads into it. If people see a thread that they think belongs in there please let me or another one of the moderators know so that we can move the threads into the forum.

bflocat
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It's great to read about others' efforts to conserve energy. We recently bought our first home and we're trying to implement as much self-sufficency / conservation methods as we can.

As one of our first forays, we looked into using greywater (seemed easy and affordable), but it's prohibited in our area! We live in the country, but we have town water and sewer, and supposedly they take violations seriously. Any one encountered this problem?

Our largest changes have come around our commute. I used to walk to work when we lived in the city, but when we moved 20 miles into the country, that had to stop. We were shocked at what we spent on gas! And obviously that's only going up. I rearranged my schedule so that I could drive my husband to and from work, and now that he's approaching summer break (he's a teacher), I'm going to switch to taking the commuter bus. My husband will have to drive me 5 miles to the nearest bus stop, then I'll ride for 40 minutes, transfer to the metro rail for another 5, and then walk the last 10 minutes. My commute will increase by about 25-30 minutes each way, but I'll save $50/mo.

opabinia51
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Yes, greywater systems are banned in many municipalities based on the assumption that people will use hardcore detergents and other harsh chemicals and that these will end up in the water table.

I guess the way around this is to start lobbying local governments to put some restrictions on graywater systems as to the fact that harsh chemicals would be banned from use if such a system was installed.

And of course, people would need to educated as to what they could use and what they couldn't use.

In my area, greywater systems are prohibited by the fact that if you house has one, you are not able to sell it.

A lot of education needed to be done to both governments and citizens.

TheLorax
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Our county doesn't allow greywater use but they do encourage the use of greywater waste recycling systems.

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JennyC
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Greywater

I've been using greywater by the simple expedient of closing the tub drain when bathing and running a siphon hose out the window and down to the garden, where I have a slow drip hose on my beds.

Greywater isn't prohibited here, so a more elaborate system may be in the future for us, but this helped until we started getting so much rain that I can't use the water!

I am concerned about too little, infrequent watering with my method -- if greywater is an irregular-supply thing, how do others manage to water deeply (maybe I need a collection system).

wingdesigner
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Invest in your health. Without that, everything else is moot. My 2p.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

TheLorax
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Hey JennyC-
https://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/publications/files/rain_barrels_guide.pdf
https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Content/DEP/Rainscapes/barrels.htm

I've got three connected in tandem. I have a cheap brand of rain barrel but they all have spigots which is handy.

Hey wingdesigner, excellent comment.

wingdesigner
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Thanks, Lorax! It took me a long time to get that into practise, and I'm still working at it (literally and figuratively).
Happy Gardening,
Wing

TheLorax
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I suspect we'll be "working" at it until the day we die. Old habits die hard and all.

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JennyC
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Thanks, Lorax! That gives me some resources, though I think I'll try begging old food-grade barrels off the local restaurants before I buy.

I have a prime spot in mind for a barrel or system of barrels, where huge amounts of water come off the porch roof (I've gotten very wet holding my watering can under the flow). No gutters on this old house, so I'm looking at some of the designs with a screen top. I think overflows with sealed lids are a good idea; there are sure to be evaporation problems, and maybe mosquito problems.

My prime water spot also puts the barrels a long way from the garden, with a little uphill bump before it goes downhill. I'm still thinking on the water delivery issue. Maybe the rainwater should just go to the roses and the old magnolia in the front yard, and for potted plants. Greywater would be easier to get to the garden; it wouldn't have to go over that little bump. I could even put storage barrels in the garden.
Jenny C

TheLorax
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Try going to Chinese buffet type restaurants to ask for barrels. They get some really great yellow barrels with bulk food products in them. There are lots of restaurant chains that order bulk ingredients in 55 gallon blue plastic drums so it shouldn't be that hard to pick up something for free. Mine came with spigots at the bottom but I can't imagine it being that hard to add a cheap spigot to the bottom of your rain barrels at watering can height. Nice advantage of the spigot at the bottom is that you can hook a garden hose up to it and I doubt that little uphill bump will interfere with you being able to water plants on the other side of the bump. I frequently run the garden hose from the third barrel in tandem down through a window well and into three 35 gallon roughneck garbage cans. The hose goes up and over the window well extension before going down to the basement. Will admit to having to suck on it to get the water flowing but that's a 75' hose.

You could maybe make your own top by simply placing an old window screen over the top and holding it down with a brick or two.

Before I had my rain barrels, I used to go out and bottle water in the pouring rain. Glad those days are over.

opabinia51
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I do the same thing with plastic buckets from the different Cafeterias at our local University. However, just be careful what the barrels are made of. If the labelling says PCBA or PVC, don't use it. For that matter, don't eat at that restaurant.

Health Canada has banned baby bottles made from PCBA because of the toxicity of the polymer. PVC itself is a stable polymer but, plasticizers are added to soften it and the plasticizers leak into water and into food which itself is organic and therefore the plasticizers are (if organic) are more soluble in food than water.


A little note on the word organic here: In chemistry organic means made from Carbon in gardening it tends to mean in tune with nature. Just because something is made from carbon does not mean that it is healthy or in tune with nature.

Take for instance plastic, Cyanide and a host of other chemicals.

Just a friendly heads up!
Feed the soil, not the plants.

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imagardener2
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opabinia51 wrote:PVC itself is a stable polymer but, plasticizers are added to soften it and the plasticizers leak into water and into food which itself is organic and therefore the plasticizers are (if organic) are more soluble in food than water.
What does that mean for all us that have PVC water lines coming into and all throughout our homes?
"Our elders instruct us to always walk upon Mother Earth with respect, gentleness, and with thankful hearts. We must never deviate from the fundamental precept of stewardship, or we will be capable of causing great harm."

opabinia51
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Well, studies have shown that the plasticizers have a toxic effect on mammals but not acutely toxic effects. The point should be moderation and the discussion should be: all of these plastics are convenient but, is the convenience really worth it?

I'd be interested in hearing about any studies that people have heard of on the toxic effects of plasticizers. I have not actually looked up peer reviewed material we had discussed the topic at length in organic chemistry classes though.

Now, everyone don't go overboard on an antiplastic campaign thinking that all plastics are bad for your health. Polypropylene is a stable polymer and not toxic as are others. Keep that in mind.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

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JennyC
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Thanks for the plastic tips, Opabinia. I actually defer to my husband on such issues; he's a geochemist who specialized in environmental remediation (read: toxin cleanup, usually groundwater toxin cleanup) before he decided to change careers and teach. He's useful to have around while gardening organically -- somebody to read the labels for me (especially since my degrees are in English!)

Is PCBA related to PCBs? If so, eew.

Lorax, I'll try the Chinese buffet idea, thanks. We're regulars at a local one.

Wish I had my rain bucket now; there's a big storm blowing up.
Jenny C

TheLorax
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Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh la la, a husband who is a geochemist who specialized in environmental remediation??? You LUCKY duck you JennyC! That man is worth his weight in gold and he's in your garden!

Editing to ask- Think he'd be any good at adding spigots to 55 gallon drums?

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JennyC
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Lorax, he'd be fine at adding spigots, as he replumbed our old house. But spigots I can handle -- just need a drill and some PVC cement. I save my real garden favors for breaking new ground and building compost bins! And chemical info, of course, but he doesn't think that's work, and I don't let on!

He's a prize to have around for several reasons -- not only is all that chemistry invaluable in the garden, but he's a good sport. I picked up Peterson's Guide to Edible Plants on your advice and the man gamely sat down and ate a salad of couscous and greenbriar shoots for dinner last night, without saying anything more than "I didn't know you could eat briers." (It was good, too).
Jenny C

TheLorax
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My husband is pretty hands off in the garden unless I'm planting a species specifically for his birds. Then he'll show an interest and ask which birds the species will attract. He cuts the lawn but that's about it. I'm the hole digger over here unless I've got a kid who wants pocket money. Kids are somewhat worthless though, they dig... take a break.... dig... take a break... dig.... take a break.

We haven't eaten the Smilax I planted here (yup, I planted two species of Smilax intentionally that are threatened and endangered) but I will admit that the asparagus never makes it to the table as I eat it when I'm outside as a snack. I did see my husband snapping off a few to eat as a snack once so he's coming around. Maybe someday when my plants start taking off I'll slip a few Smilax greens in his salad to see what "Mikey" thinks. We are big salad eaters over here so it might be a welcome addition. I've never even tasted my Smilax before. Now I feel guilt that you're already tossing it in your salads yet I've had it growing here for two years.

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JennyC
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Lorax, Smilax is native around here; I didn't know there were endangered varieties. I have some S. rotundifolia and some S. bona-nox. Those aren't endangered, are they? Normally here one thinks in terms of eradication, not planting. Or at least one goes around the thickets of the stuff! That's why eating it has become a sort of revenge.

If you try eating, choose really new leaves and shoots. Mature leaves remain tough and unchewable even after you steam them, shred them in a food processor, and boil them. Guess how I know that! :oops:
Jenny C

TheLorax
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Smilax rotundifolia is indigenous to where you garden and where I garden. That one isn't threatened or endangered. S. bona-nox is indigenous to your state but not to mine and that's not threatened or endangered either so chow down. I've got S. lasioneura and S. pulverulenta here. I don't know that I can bring myself to eat them this year but maybe next year.

Oddly enough, many people view Greenbriar in terms of how to get rid of it. Some species can be a little weedy at times.

I've got a food processor. It's old but it works.

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