Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Solutions



  This is just a short essay on the some of the possible solutions for the problems I expressed in my last essay. I talked a little on the subjects of consumerism,outsourcing, and debt. This essay will not express all of the solutions possible, but it will cover those that stand out to me.

  We must stop buying ''cheap and now'' products and start buying quality goods that will last for a long time. We also need to stop buying just because we can, or because we want too. We must control our urges to buy something just because its the ''newest and greatest thing to hit the shelves of America.'' We need to understand the difference between essential needs and just buying because we want something. I personally have trouble discerning the difference between need and want.

  America needs to start producing more goods instead of outsourcing for everyday products and food.In the year 2009 America spent 76,839,392.00 dollars on imported food. No wonder the country is going broke. If we started producing our own goods we would not only be bringing money into America, but it open many new jobs for poeple all over the country.

  If we stop spending money on things that we don't need, that would reduce OUR debt, which is a huge part of our national debt. I'm not saying that its all our fault, we can blame the government for some of the debt, but not all. We are the ones who have to buckle down and do something about it. I believe that a good start at reducing the national debt is to stop spending and start saving money.

  One huge point that I'm trying to get across is that much of this is our fault , and we are the ones who can fix it. We will not be able to fix any of the problems without a change. Not just a change in in what we do, but how we think.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

I love this challenge...

It is just what I need.

Zero Food Waste Challenge

National Debt part 2: Simplifying the Economic Crisis

We are in dire economic straits because economics bore us, so we let other people do our thinking for us. In most cases, these people are the financial industry (stock and commodity food markets) and the government. Neither can be trusted to look out for our best interests. I think it would be too much of a digression to explain why these two put their own self interests before the good of the country, so let’s just say, they are predators, we are prey.

To start with some basic facts, all businesses are out to make money. A corporation is simply a business with shared ownership. U.S. corporations understand their market very well; we want quantity, not quality. We are into cheap goods. A wise corporation gives its customers what they want. There is no morality involved, they hear our call for cheap; they give it to us. So, the big box stores, like Wal-Mart grow rich moving production to other countries like China, Pakistan, Mexico, and India; maximizing their profits.

To do this, they need deregulation, and above all a “free trade” philosophy. We have provided this incrementally since the 1950s. The Republican Party has stood soundly on a “free trade” platform since the end of World War II.  I’ve listened to people scream about NAFTA. We seem to blame this on Clinton. I remind you that it was a George H. W. Bush project. It was only signed into law under Clinton and he was faced with a Republican majority that would have overridden any veto.

No other country would permit this to happen. We are now the fourth strongest economy in the world (down from first), led by Germany, China and Japan in that order. Each country ahead of us protects their industry. In the name of “freedom“, we do not. Corporate profits really hurt the United States. I do not find fault with Germany, China and Japan. They are simply more intelligent than we are.

The information is there; read Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Fortune. They all acknowledge that it is the export of our industry that has created massive unemployment. It is the price of cheap products. It is not hurting the corporations; large U. S. corporations are reporting record profits.

Here is what it is doing. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published that unemployment is at 7.5% this week. That is a false figure. Just searching the Internet I came up with 18.8% unemployment. Another 9%+ are underemployed. A website called MintLife worked it differently and came up with 17.5%.

We have become a dependent nation for many of the necessities of living. We import food, technology, clothing, toys, kitchen gadgets and the components for many of our weapons systems (computer items just for a start). I am not sure this is smart. What happens if transportation costs rise? What if we go to war with one of our supplier nations?

We now have a disastrous trade imbalance. You cannot survive having more money going out than coming in. I know Keynesian theory says it can work, but no country has been able to make it work so far. I think I’ll believe in History.

As a result of our poor balance of trade, we are a debtor nation. We buy from other countries on credit. Even though it is a U. S. corporation owned factory or oil well, the economics of it is that we are buying from China or Saudi Arabia, much of the time on credit. Some of this is paid directly to the workers and associated overhead, but the bulk of it ends up in the hands of their governments. They hold this U. S. debt. They use it to buy our government debt in the form of bonds (actually we sell it to them). That is why China holds so much of our national debt. They can, and do, manipulate our economy by adjusting currency values. This increases our national debt; I understand that it currently adds about 25% to 30% to our debt load.

Think of this when you go to your favorite big box store to do your Christmas shopping.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Buy Nothing Day, Day 2

Someone brought Buy Nothing Day to my attention.  I willingly and gladly observed it yesterday.  I also bought nothing today, unless you count paying a bill, which I don't.  I plan to see how long I can go without a purchase.  Will let you know.  Again, I am not counting paying a bill.  But buying anything new-to-me, either in a store or online, or in a restaurant, will count.  I wonder how long I can make it.  How long have you gone without a purchase?

Uncertainty and Contentment

Today, I have been quite the domestic goddess.  Made love to my husband, Spun wool into yarn, Planned a warp, Baked bread, Cooked beans, Washed dishes, Herded horses, and Continued on my Christmas planning.  Did not clean house or wash laundry though.  I want to get that done tomorrow.  And I want to start my sprouts. And I want to gather wild greens.  And I want to make corn tortillas with my new tortilla press.  I found directions on youtube.  Who invented youtube?  That is a remarkable thing.

I feel really good about my day, even though I was not _The Compleat Domestic Goddess_ I left too much undone.  That is really what it is all about, my focus on Connecting the Dots of responsible living.  I know that we can't do it all, and certainly not all at once, but we sure are heading in that direction.  So much of my life, I just never considered what my choices were saying or costing.  And sometimes, Yeah, I miss buying something and not wondering what I am going to do with all that plastic packaging I am bringing home.  I miss buying something cheap and not wondering who made it and if he/she had been a slave.  I miss automatic washers and dryers from time to time.  But you know, at the end of a hugely productive day of doing for myself, of not throwing a single bit of plastic in the trash, when I connect with my ancestors by getting better at a task for which proficiency was just a given for them, then I feel a great content in my heart. 

I still had time to read for pleasure, and I watched 3 movies as I went about my domestic goddess tasks.  I got a lot of yarn done.  It strikes me that the more I have someone or something else work for me, the more time I waste.  My life is made up of time, just like yours is.  It is not made of money, or things, or people.  Only time.  The more money we feel we have to chase, the less time we have.  The less we value others, either human, or animal, or plant, the less we are saying we are worth.

I think we are worth a LOT, and so I know that all the decisions we have to make are worth it, because we are saying others are worthy of our consideration.  I am so happy that we have started on this path.   It is a good one, with intriguing bends around which I can't see.  We don't have it all figured out, We have only figured out that we MUST figure it out.  And doing for myself is a good start.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Overflowing with appreciation

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us, to all of you!  Have a fantastic day, See you Friday!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The promised connected dots rant.

Our world is being swallowed up by the by-products of our consumerism.  Last week, I spent a lot of time off the farm, and away from our little town.  I saw I-65, I-264, I-40, and I-24, as well as several Non Interstate highways, completely jam-packed with trucks or commuters (not at the same time, of course).  I saw television shows totally based on wanting more and buying more and having to know the retail prices of things in order to win.  I saw television commercials that promised me the most outrageous results if only I would buy...fill in the blank.  I saw parking lots so crammed that it was guaranteed to raise my husband's blood pressure as he tried to get to his VA hospital appointments before they decided he was too late, they would not see him.

We had to pass right by a large UPS airport on the south side of Louisville.  We passed it 6 times last week and there was always something landing or taking off.  One time, (I wish I could have taken a picture of this for you) a  UPS cargo plane was coming in for a beautiful landing, smooth and lovely, while a Fed-Ex semi was 2 lanes away from us right underneath the plane, and heading in the opposite direction was a UPS semi. Next time you are on the road, really open your eyes to all the cargo being moved from place to place just within your sight, and imagine what is happening where you can't see.

And the commuters! and the piss poor driving of the commuters!  All those people living far from work that pays enough for all that driving, and to pay for all that cargo that is coming at their suburban or rural homes, either via delivery truck or store, doesn't matter, it is still cargo that had to be shipped and paid for.

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!

And we haven't even touched Christmas yet...

Convenient Truth Contest: Wasting Xmas

Please watch the above link, it is not long.

Remember, that all of this, ALL OF IT, is being made possible only by dependance upon petroleum.  The driving, the hauling, the manufacturing, even the plastic television that seduces you into putting up with this life.

And we are running out of the petroleum.

This year, do yourself, your budget, your family, your country, your species(!!!) a favour.  Shop second hand.  Learn to love your local second hand or charity shop.  Learn to make something for yourself, or be willing to pay your neighbor for some of her artistry.

We can do this, we can have a Merry Christmas without a Black Friday.  In other words, please visit with your loved ones on Thursday instead of wasting it camping in front of store doors.

What will you choose?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What is happening to our country

I believe that our country is in a snowball effect.
 To start the ball rolling we have the issue of consumerism. People want everything now and cheap. Consumerism is one of the most common illnesses of Americans today. To keep up with this constant demand for cheap and now,companies such as Wal-Mart are forced to outsource.
  Outsourcing is the production of goods in some other country, where the workers can be paid almost nothing. One of the most commonly outsourced countries is China. China now makes most of our everyday products. Even our own  military is outsourcing to China to manufacture some of our weapon components.
  This leads me to my final point in this essay,  debt. Because all of our money is going into cheap goods at places like Wal-Mart, countries like China are getting all the work and all the money. Our country, unable to make money, is going deeper into debt. We are now trillions of dollers in debt and are unable to get out. This is not Wal-Marts fault, or the fault of any other company that outsources. It is our fault for wanting things now and cheap.
  This one of many issues that need attention. Many more elements are involved in this giant snowball effect. I believe that this country is doomed to a horrible end unless we do something different. Whatever that something is, we must do it soon,time is running out.

National Debt part 1

There are times I could just scream. People enraged about taxes and the national debt (in the same breath) are the same ones creating the problem. Yes, George W. Bush got us into two expensive, poorly thought out wars. Then, in the closing act of his comedy, we got TARP (signed into law Oct. 3, 2008 by President Bush). President Obama was inaugurated to the tune of a traumatized banking system, a stock market disaster and industrial collapse. The stimulus package, health care bill and assorted other economic corks have added to the problems, but none of these address the root of our dilemma. We are spoiled children. We got in this mess by wanting everything, now. We went in debt. We removed laws that kept the financial institutions from making bad loans on real estate. We have a love affair with credit cards. And, we buy Chinese goods at Wal-Mart because they are cheap and we want it, regardless of the consequences.

Look at the reality. Our personal debts are out of control, and this reflects in the national economy. That compounds the problems of the national debt. Take a single issue: Trade imbalance. We have more money going out of this country than we have coming in. If this was your house, you would know that you were headed for financial disaster. However, conservative economists tell us this is healthy. They, and the politicians and pundits that espouse their philosophy tell us, that being in debt is good for the economy. After all, Bush said after 9-11 that we should go out and spend for the good of the country. That’s what we all need when we are depressed, a good trip to the mall.

The fact is, that a bad balance of trade means less jobs. If you are out of work and buying at Wal-Mart you have done it to yourself. That means fewer tax payers. It means more people on unemployment or another way of saying it is, a bigger drain on the working tax payers. Businesses, such as the big box stores, are making bigger profits. Under Eisenhower these businesses paid as much as 91% taxes. Today they pay 30% and cry like a rat eating onions about it. Reagan was blind about the trickle down economy. Profits never trickle down, debt does. Worse, that national trade deficit carries over into national debt. The debt is in dollar instruments. Countries like China use these to buy the U. S. debt in the form of bonds. As our money weakens, they defend themselves by playing with the exchange rate. Our debt grows.

Big business wants it to stay this way. The guiding philosophy of our financial and industrial institutions is short term profits at the expense of long term growth. One is fast, one is slow, that is American. They back the Tea Party movement to the hilt (with lots of money, both overt and covert). This is not conservative nor liberal, this is stupidity. Big money buys our elections. Big money does not care about our long term survival, they are in it for short term profits. They know they will survive. And the masses follow blindly. Buy Wal-Mart, vote Tea Party, it is good for China.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Good times tonight!

And we need it.  Our good friend Joe has come over and is spending the night.  We plan to have pizza again, and watch another Documentary (I am a total documentary JUNKIE) and then play games tonight.  We have not seen Joe all month (unusual for us) and we are glad to take a break from our usual routine and play tonight.

SIL Janis has decided to undergo an experimental treatment for her cancer, and her phone calls are up and chipper, even though she acknowledges that the prognosis is extremely poor.  Gerry is still quite ripped up and I don't know how best to support him through this.  I am happy that both Jake and Joe are here tonight.  I think it will be good for all of us.

This afternoon I took all the clothes off the line in readiness for another laundry day tomorrow.  We had a lot of rain this past week and we weren't really home anyway, so the clothes got extra rinsed and sunned.  They look and smell fantastic!

Don't know yet what we will watch tonight or what we will play, but we are glad for the break!

What makes a welcome break in your routine?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The dots are connecting...

Nothing was updated yesterday. I am sorry about that.  Gerry had his last hospital visit yesterday (at least, we hope it is the last for a while).  We got home just about completely brain dead from exhaustion and stress.  I checked my email, he checked his, and that was it for the computer work for the night.

I had a chance to see what the "real" world is like while I spent the last week out and about.  I saw and heard things that do not normally intrude here on the farm or making a quick trip to town.  I also saw a lot of television while ensconced in various waiting rooms (I only have a DVD/VHS player here at home)  Things are really fermenting and percolating in my Deep Thinking Well.  It is not ready yet, but a rant is coalescing.  Expect a Connected Dots entry soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What a marathon of a day!

Yes, we went back to the VA hospital, and we will go back again tomorrow for more tests.  When we got back, I immediately went to see the CSA farmers who I spin fleeces for.  They are taking my yarn to a farm products show to sell and needed to talk to me about pricing, sales, spinning, etc.  Then I rushed home and got dinner in the oven.  Home made pizza is cooking right now.  And now I get to relax a moment and visit with you!

Remember when I talked about priorities, and how I wanted to work toward making a difference?  Well, I have chosen the difference I want to work on.  A documentary I watched recently stated that for each pound an United Statesan (my term for American, not the documentary makers) Thousands of gallons of gasoline are used just to haul our overweight asses around.  That is per pound, per annum!  I am 52 pounds heavier than I want to be.  In a 7 day time period, I have made 3 trips to Louisville, 1 trip to Fort Knox, 1 trip to Tennesee to handle banking issues.  With my 52 extra pounds, I seem to have really used more precious petroleum than is my share.  While it is true that this was not an ordinary 7 days, I can not deny that unusual 7 days do occur.  Maybe even to you?

So here is the difference I am working on now.  For the good of the planet, I am going to lose this 52 pounds.  If I can lose an average of 1 pound a week, I can do it in 1 year, just in time for Thanksgiving, 2011.  Will keep you posted!

What difference do you want to make?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A new sadness.

We found tonight that Gerry's beloved sister has terminal cancer.  She has been fighting for a year, but there is nothing else that conventional medicine can do.  Her name is Janis, she lives in Charlotte, NC.  She and Gerry are only 18 months apart, and they have been best friends all their lives.  We are so sad here tonight.

another worthy offering from Gerry!

Gerry wrote this and put in on his other blog. I was jealous for you. I have hijacked the link so that you can all benefit! If he divorces me it will be worth it for you to have had the opportunity to read this.

Adventures in History: Reaction to the 2010 Election: "We are, sadly, an extremely dysfunctional people. I am a believer in both capitalism and democracy. I am passionate in my belief in and dev..."

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Child Shall Lead Them...

11-Year Old Organic Food Activist Explains What's Wrong With Our Nation's Food System - Planet Green


I have 3 priorities in my life, 3 things that guide my day-to-day decisions, as well as my really big once-in-a-lifetime decisions.

1. Freedom
2. Family (mainly my husband)
3. Futuristics Facilitation (making a difference)

Everything else I value is important because it streams into at least one, and often all, of my Big Three.

I plan to do something concrete this week as regards to #3. But I don't know what yet, and will keep you posted here on this blog. Suggestions are welcome.

What is important to you, and how will you show it this week?


Tomorrow, we are going to close some bank accounts. My wonderful sister-in-law Janis, for a wedding gift, opened us each a checking acct and a savings acct. Each of the savings accts have earned us 0% interest. Really. And if we use them, then it will cost us fees. Each of the checking accts cost us $7.50 per month maintenance fee. No Matter What, whether we use them or not. So thanks, sister in law, but no thanks. This is not a good deal for us. So we are taking what is left of our gift and saying "Good Riddance" to the rubbish bank.

Next month we are closing another bank account, this one of long standing. I'm sorry, but $32.00 fee for writing an $8.00 overdraft check is a bit excessive we think. And a $4.00 fee every couple of days that we don't take care of the overdraft is NONSENSE! They are in a neighboring state, so we can't just rush right over! Gerry has had that acct for 15 years. This morning we got the ball rolling to have the money that is being direct deposited into that account moved to a different account. Once we are certain that will be done, this account is GONE!

My advice? Really read your statements and find out what they are doing. And check all your Credit Card statements, too. And keep a close eye on those debit cards. The Tea Party is all up in arms over excessive taxation. Where is their outrage over the thievery commited by the unregulated banking industry?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oven, your days are numbered.

I found a wonderful post at Penniless Parenting tonight about turning an old refrigerator into a solar cooker. I am trying hard to figure out how to link to it. I have an old compact refrigerator that does not work and I fully intend to try this. This meets almost all my goals in one sweet swoop! Keeps things out of the landfill, won't use more fossil fuels, no new manufacturing costs (or manufacturing waste), almost free. And...hers works! So it is not just theory!

Another hospital visit

Gerry went back to the VA hospital today, this time for a changing mole on his back. They did a biopsy, but are not very concerned. We'll find out for certain in 3-4 weeks. He has 2 more hospital days this week. I am glad that I-65 is in good shape between here and Louisville!

Anyway, we are back now, and Jake did a great job taking care of everything here. Thanks Jake!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gorgeous day today, so my washer and I went outside to work.

Weather was perfect today, but rain is in the forecast tomorrow, so I took my James Washer outside. Below are some pictures of laundry day.

Two views of my hardworking washer. Yes, I wash Jeans, sheets, some blankets, too.

Above you see 3 full load up on my line.

Proof that I can wash Jeans in this! I put on a dress for Gerry to take this picture because actually I was enjoying the sun and breeze on my skin. Thanks for the picture, Gerry. I look great!
What did you enjoy today?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dog Food

We have 2 dogs, Yin and Yang, whom we do not intend to get rid of. Since our decision last year to do away with buying new Livestock Industry merchandise, feeding them has become problematical, because dog food is nothing but Livestock Industry products. Unable to buy our dogs their own livestock for food because of a money shortage, we compromised on making that our ONLY Livestock Industry purchase. You can guess the results, I am sure. That crack in the door keeps opening wider and wider with the justifications of "Since I am cheating anyway..." and "Just this once..."

Having been recently smacked in the face with my own willing hypocrisy by watching the documentary_ Earthlings_ I have pulled my excuses in by the short hairs. Same obstacles, though. Not eliminating my dogs. Can't buy them their own livestock, yet. Can't convince myself that canines are herbivores. What I came up with today, as I was in the feed store to get grain for the oxen and dog food for the, well, dogs, was the fact that I always have fed them and left the food in the barn. I have been willing, for some strange reason, to feed, not only our dogs, but stray cats, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, other stray dogs, blue jays (yes!!!) and so on and so forth. This ended today. Yin and Yang are now fed here in the house, where they spend a great deal of time anyway.

This will not be fool proof, as I am as weak and feeble-minded as ever with the door-crack issues. But at least I will ONLY be feeding the dogs!

Monday, November 8, 2010

I found the above cartoon funny for 2 reasons. I love the fact that, like most couples, Helga can say something that seems so very obvious, "Save something for a rainy day" and be completely misunderstood by her long time mate, "I'm saving my dirty laundry"! Gerry and I absolutely do this, and until something is accidentally revealed, we do not know where it all went wrong! Second, because I also deliberately wait for a rainy forcast to do my laundry. I use a hand washer that I bought over a decade ago at Lehman's, and I love when a rainy day is coming, because then I just wash everything and let the rain do the rinsing!

To explain, before you asphixiate from your gasps of horror, Gerry and I are naturists (read the Manifesto), so we have a lot less laundry than most people, and I use VERY little laundry detergent in the first place, so rinsing is just not much of an issue.

All humour aside, however, I do believe with all my heart, that it is vital to have clear communication with your partner, vital to "Save for a rainy day" and vital to use the resources that are available to us, like a rainy day, or an abundance of plastic bags.

What is vital to you?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Maine Voices: A good time to ponder the mixed messages we get about breasts | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine Voices: A good time to ponder the mixed messages we get about breasts The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

a View of the Inevitable

by Gerry Barker

No matter what our philosophical or political leaning, there are changes coming that we cannot avoid. For example, global warming is real. Whatever the cause, it is here. It is going to change our lives, whether you are liberal or conservative. To deny that is simply deliberate stupidity. If we are to make intelligent plans, we have to have a clear picture. I am looking at global warming, peak oil, over population, pollution, globalization and outsourcing. The changes are interrelated. What we need is to examine current trends and what they tell us about the future.

Having mentioned global warming, let’s start there. A graph of temperatures for the last three centuries shows that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution our world has been warming. The reason is immaterial. So is the question of whether this is a natural cycle that has happened in the past. What is important is what this is going to do to us. It will lead to more violent weather. Hurricanes and typhoons will increase in frequency and severity. We will see a greater number of disasters in the future. It is going to alter agricultural patterns. Deserts will enlarge. Droughts will occur in areas previously well watered. The locus of food production will probably change. Food prices can be expected to increase. In under developed regions, look for growing starvation. This could overflow into developed nations through destabilization, wars, and political extremes such as dictatorships and fundamentalist theocracies. Famine will assuredly fuel the current waves of migration from third world nations. Look for more, not less, illegal immigration. Pestilence would be another result, with a resurgence of epidemics originating in famine stricken areas. The sea level will rise, displacing people and it will certainly endanger most of the world’s most populated cities. This is not a future thing. This is ongoing, but the disasters will grow in severity.

The world is depleting its energy resources while the demand is increasing. Those who believe in “peak oil” think we have a real crisis on our hands. The Central Intelligence Agency published an unclassified study analyzing the probability and effects of decreasing oil supplies. Some estimates are as drastic as forty years of oil remaining, a century of coal, and twenty years of uranium. I make no estimate on time, but in the very near future the price of oil, and therefore everything that is affected by oil prices, will increase dramatically. The increased price of gas at the pump is only the tip of the iceberg. In the last gas crunch, consumer prices for foods and material goods increased by a greater percentage than gas. It is not simply transportation costs. The food we eat has been engineered to rely upon fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides that are petroleum based. The plastic packaging we are addicted to is made from oil. Our clothing, polyester, is an oil product. It is hard to find a part of our lives that is not tied to oil. People look to alternative energy sources to fill the void. However, we had a clear wakeup call in the 1973 Oil Embargo. Forty years later, we are more addicted to oil than ever. When oil prices do rise drastically, we will see a major change to our economy. Food is going to take a higher percentage of the average family budget. There will be a decrease in the demand for material goods, especially capital items like automobiles. The series of recessions we have seen in recent years will congeal into a true depression. Unemployment will rise and property values drop. We do not have more than a couple of years before this is a major factor in our lives.

The other resource that we are going to find in short supply is fresh water. Certainly this is a crisis tied to locality, but it affects large numbers of people and can have a destabilizing effect on a much larger population. At present, water is being brokered by a number of multinational corporations. This may not be a wise way to manage it.

Our planet currently hosts six and one half billion people. Based on availability of food and other resources, waste disposal, disease, and quality of life, some scientists believe the carrying capacity of the Earth is about two and a half billion. We are experiencing a population disaster and seem oblivious to it. One huge result of this is the drain on resources, exacerbating our other problems. We are engaging in wars to secure oil fields. There are more people in the way of hurricanes. There are more people starving. This is the root of the present mass migration. The demographics of the world’s nations are changing, with attendant problems such as social unrest and extremism. We see this in the United States today, but this is not just a North American problem. The developed nations of the world are being swarmed by immigrants, legal and illegal, from the third world. Overcrowding and famine have destabilized their home countries. The result is they look for a safer place. And, we make it worse. Exporting our chemical based agricultural technology is forcing out Mexican farmers who then become illegal immigrants here. Under the Bush administration, all international aid that supported birth control in any form was eliminated. We can expect to see immigration continue. Already the course is apparent. The United States will become a white minority country in just a few years. A result may be that unless we develop another political party, we may have a one party political system. The Republican Party has so alienated the non-WASP population that their days may be numbered.

We pollute. If we do not stop, we will poison ourselves out of existence. Overpopulation contributes, but our technology produces huge amounts of industrial waste for the products we consume. For example, the cinder piles at coal fired power plants are toxic. There is nothing that can be done with them at this point that will not harm the environment, especially water sources. The waste, largely carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, poured into the atmosphere daily is astronomical. Our thin atmosphere cannot absorb it. Something as nonessential as packaging is a major contributor. We now pack everything in plastic of some kind. This uses countless barrels of oil that we need elsewhere, and then the plastic become a problem in waste disposal. You cannot walk in a national park or forest without finding a windblown shopping bag. We do not reuse, our recycling is primitive and we will tear a building down and replace it rather than maintain it.

Globalization means many things. There is an interdependence now that has not been there before. Worst, we have an immense capability for mutual destruction. We need a United Nations. Our race is violent, and it is only a matter of time before some maniac detonates a nuclear device. Hopefully a more united world will limit the destruction. With the other challenges facing this planet, the probability of a series of small wars in the foreseeable future is high. How long before one of these escalates into a nuclear exchange. We are a part of this planet, and we need the support of the majority of the other nations.

Americans have a misconception on our role in this world. We are a cultural and military leader, but we no longer are the richest nation on the planet. We are not the largest donor nation in the world and have not been for some time. We have alienated most of our support through our belligerence and crude attempts to control other countries. Our position of world leadership is declining, and we have done this to ourselves in just ten years. Now that it has started, we will see this trend continue.

There are other sides to globalization. The world is becoming westernized. People in almost every culture in the world copy our model. They want our creature comforts, music, art, freedom, and material culture. To some religious groups this is a threat. Certainly this fuels some of the animosity toward us by Islamic fundamentalists. We cannot discount the possibility of a world Muslim/Non-Muslim war.

Another alert should be on outsourcing. We created this by our belief in free trade and unregulated business. Our industry sought outsourcing to make greater profits. Our consumers support it because we get cheap “Wal-Mart” goods. It is destroying us economically and eventually we will not be able to pay for even the Chinese imports. This will eventually kill the very businesses that have outsourced because countries like China and Pakistan will not continue to export profits to American corporations when they can take the businesses over and make the profits themselves.

What we are looking at is not the end of the world. It is a changing world. It is going to be a tremendously more expensive world. There may always be gas for cars. But only the very rich and the governments will be able to get it. Our personal economic structure is about to drastically change. I think we could see terrible internal unrest. The suburbs will become slums. We may be a hungry country. We must reinvent public transportation. And, I am afraid we are going to see even more violence, wars over oil and destabilized nations such as Somalia. The longer we delay preparing for these changes the worse we will be hurt by them.

We are destroying this world. Our Judeo-Christian attitude and abuse of this planet and the species placed on it is horrendous. If God made us stewards of his creation, we should be ashamed of ourselves. We have willfully destroyed it. This is going to severely impact our ability to adjust to the changes. Our soil, water, and air are being depleted and poisoned. With our factory produced, plastic wrapped diet; we are going to have a hard time just feeding ourselves if oil becomes more expensive. This may actually be the most dangerous of all our problems.

Willful ignorance seems to be the order of the day. Apparently our plan is to ignore the problems until they overwhelm us. Conservatism is ridiculous under the present circumstances. We cannot go back in time. If we are to survive, we have to find ways of coping, adjusting and using the present trends. Liberal doesn’t work either. Maybe we need a new term, perhaps Realist. There are ways to make the best of these challenges, but they need a complete change of mindset. We cannot do as George W. Bush said and go out and spend for the good of America. We need to go back to the frontier ethic of doing everything for ourselves that we possibly can. We need to have a subsistence economy that recycles and reuses everything. We need to be realistic about our energy use. But, most of all we need to get our heads out of the sand.


This is a statement of our goals and purposes here on the farm, and is a working document open to discussion. Maria and I are a couple. We have our direction, but we are frequently joined by a small group of others, who have related interests and philosophies. I think that we are in agreement on one point: Our lives must have purposeful passion.

The first goal of this household is that we do not hurt anyone, human or any other species. Absolutely, we hurt people and other animals just in the act of living, but we sincerely try to be as considerate of others as humanly possible.

The farm has working animals. Our income comes from hiring out the teams of oxen. Maria processes fiber, spins and weaves. The third major effort is my writing, which may take up as much as a third of my working time. Other activities are support for the people living here, food production, preservation and storage, and firewood. Our plan is to increase our livestock to some degree and begin gardening again.

With the increased cost of fuels, and other attendant problems of our times, we hope to maintain flexibility while becoming less dependent on the outside world. We do not see an “End Time” or any other spectacular disaster, but our world is changing and the old, oil dependent lifestyle is ending. We are trying to prepare for tougher times.

We wish to pursue a “Green” lifestyle. In practice this means we are learning how to limit our carbon and waste impact on the environment. Along these lines, we aim at reducing our electrical usage, minimizing our use of vehicles and eventually restructuring our sources of power and transportation. Maria has had tremendous success at reducing our electrical usage. We all need to be a part of this effort. This means we have to think what we are doing, limit the activities that use electricity and keep unneeded appliances turned off.

Along these lines we support a sustainable economy and sustainable agriculture. We cannot survive in a country that imports everything simply to provide greater corporate profits. Nor will this world last with the current trends in corporate farming. We will take an active part in changing our society to a more responsible attitude, setting the example by our choices. Prime among these choices is that we need to eliminate our debt load and reduce our spending so that we are not slaves to the financial and corporate world. At the same time, we have to watch where we spend our money. Buying from a corporation that has irresponsibly destroyed the environment is to encourage their irresponsibility. We have resolved to vote with our dollars; Every Time.

Consumerism has become a destructive force in this nation. We feel we have to have things, as senseless as they may be. We try to fight this in ourselves. Also, on these lines we try to buy used items, not only for the economic savings, but to reduce our impact on the environment and resources.

Overpopulation is one of the world’s great problems at present. In our own little way we wish to influence this by supporting adoption. We have to make the world aware of the problem and educate people in order get anything to change. Cult of the Child expresses the backward thinking that has become so destructive. Somehow people have come to believe that everyone has the right to bear children and that these children are entitled to all the creature comforts the culture can provide. This has become a destructive cycle that must be stopped if we are not to be swept over the waterfall by overpopulation.

It is our goal to make this homestead as independent as possible. We want to make and grow as much of our needs here as we can. Of course, this is not something we can do immediately. The homestead is just not set up for it, and we do not have the skills. Still this is the direction we are going.

We believe, passionately, in freedom. Every person is an individual. The choices they make, good or bad, are their right. It takes courage to grant other people agency, but it is necessary. Each of us only has freedom as long as all of us are free. However, a direct extension of this is that all are to take responsibility for their free choices. If one makes a bad choice, one bears the consequences.

Race has become such a divisive issue in the world we cannot sit in our comfortable hollow and ignore the damage. Race does not determine the value of a human being. We will do anything we can to promote equality of treatment and opportunity for all.

We strive to develop our own learning and creativity and support others in their quest. The basis of all invention is the exercise of the mind. It is our most precious treasure. Learning is the foundation of creativity. We all need to expand our minds, daily. We look things up. We read. We help others to do so. And, as an extension of this, we support independent and collective creativity.

Our approach to nutrition is both practical and ethical. We do not agree with the mistreatment of food animals in factory farms and feed lots. Additionally, a vegetarian diet is better for us in the long run. However, we recognize the environmental and financial impact of creating fake meat out of soy. This means we favor meats produced locally by people we know, and vegetation is allowed to be plants, not meat. At present, we have designed our diet to have meat infrequently.

Naturism is not just living without clothing. It is an attitude of being close to nature in all things. It is remembering that we too are animals. It is also a way of going softly through this world. What we have found since we started this is that we have reduced our water and chemical use tremendously by spending most of our time nude. Our bodies are cleaner. Skin disorders clear up. We do what we can to promote this attitude.

We do not believe that sexuality is immoral or evil. It is a part of our physical and psychological body. People have a right to sex in the manner that they choose. This does not in any way preclude an individual’s right to say “no”. The caveat is the second paragraph in this document… we are to be careful not to hurt anyone. Rape and seduction are wrong because there are victims. However, the male ownership of a female’s reproductive system is wrong too. Possibly the best answer seems to be honest sexual experimentation with the purpose of improving a family’s or couple’s relationship. Currently we have been exploring
polyamory with long term committed relationships.

Spirituality is the relationship between us and our concept of a supreme being. This we believe in. However, we have come to believe that the organized churches we have seen have lost touch with spirituality and have become immersed in property and power. Religion does cause harm and no one has the right to a comfort that hurts others.

We wish to live lives free from toxic chemicals. The world population seems to be completely unaware of the damage done by the increasing exposure to chemicals, often introduced to our lives through expediency rather than necessity. We are trying to eliminate household and agricultural chemicals. We avoid polyester, nylon and other synthetics. We look at what we are doing and do not just mindlessly buy the quickest or cheapest answer.

We read and watch things with which we disagree, as long as there is intelligence behind them. We must turn off that filter that only processes information that we already believe. If we allow our minds to be closed we are as good as dead.

We are politically aware and involved. We use our communications skills to influence others. It is necessary to talk to the government often. People who govern are like people everywhere else, they respond to squeaky wheels. If we believe in the democratic process, we must be an active part of it.

Eventually, we plan to have this farm energy self sufficient producing most of what we need in structures that are safe, warm and in concert with the environment. Farm design has to compliment the other parts of our lifestyle. We are artists with different disciplines. The farm has to support this. We expect to see increasing economic, weather and above all, energy complications that we cannot control. This homestead is our insulation. We work to improve the design, build the necessities such as shelter and tools, and develop the skills that we need to continue on these lines. It is to be a never ending project. It is life.