The Responsible Survivialist

Seeds Are Here
March 30, 2010, 2:00 am
Filed under: Gardening

My package from Seed Savers just came in. I feel like a new father…lol. The only downer, my carrots were sold out…damned.


Breathing Room
March 24, 2010, 11:24 am
Filed under: Being Responsible

One of the fundamental principles of Responsible Survivalism is to understand and recognize that there ARE limits to things.

Those imposed on us by outside forces and those we impose ourselves. Just as the finite nature of our planet’s resources will soon limit what we can and can not do, the limits we place upon ourselves define the boundaries of our Life. We may not recognize the edges but they are there and we crowd them at our peril.

This post is not so much about when we press against our limits, as it is about knowing when to step back from them and seek instead some breathing room.

Limits have more effect on our Lives than just preventing actions. They bring with them stress.

The military knows this, that’s why soldiers and units who are in the front lines, who see combat, take as much time to rest and refit as they do. If I remember correctly, a 6 month tour in combat will often mean 18 months in the rear recovering from the stress of battle.

You and me, we don’t often have the luxury of such an R&R.

I returned from California in 2005 where I had moved to for work a decade before, because my Father’s Alzheimer’s had progressed into its final stages. I wanted to be there while he could still remember who I was.

Over the next three years, as his disease got progressively worse and worse, and the support of the System and our Family got stretched thinner and thinner, the stress grew and grew, until we almost snapped.

When he died on May 16th, 2009, a collective sigh of relief went through my Family. They won’t admit it, but we had reached a breaking point that nearly destroyed us. His death gave us breathing room.

Maybe you are in a similar situation. Maybe you aren’t but still sometimes feel the stress of day to day is piling up. Something that is happening to more and more these days, what with the way the economy is going. Juggling bills and worrying whether you will have a job next week.

Do you feel your own breaking point growing near?

In a world obsessed with growth and making the big bucks, we often forget to give ourselves a break from all of that sometimes. We do a service to ourselves, our friends and families if we strive not for continuous growth but seek sometimes instead for some breathing room.

Being able to just get under the covers on a rainy day, with a hot cup of coffee and a new unread book, AND the time to be lazy, how often do we say to ourselves we will do that? How often do we really carry through?

Working that extra day, taking that offered overtime, does put more money in our pockets but if you are going to go out and spend it on that big screen TV or tickets to some sports event, then why take the extra work? You might find that those 8 or 10 hours is better spent connecting with your family, or working to better your community.

When I was just a boy, my parents would send my sister and I down to out grandparent’s home in Wagoner, Oklahoma for a month in the Summer. It’s a small farm and ranch town about 40 miles north of Muskogee, in the northeast of Oklahoma. I learned a lot of important lessons in that town, though it wasn’t until I was grown that I understood I had learned them.

And though my grandfather worked hard, he always seemed to make time to just sit on that back porch and rock, watching the sun go down. Usually just whittling on a twig he’d gotten from I don’t know where. For an over active 10 year old, sitting there was torture.

Now for someone many years past that youth, I see that the act of just sitting mattered the most. Breathing room, is important. And we all need to reconnect with that simple fact.

Make time today to just, sit and enjoy the simple things in Life.

Rob Dietz over at Steady State has some additional thoughts on this, well worth the read.

Starting Seeds – Newpaper Seed Cups
March 19, 2010, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Gardening | Tags: ,

First, Willi Evans Galloway at DigginFood has posted this simple method of making seed starter pots out of newspaper.

Then Tiffany at No Ordinary Homestead has this more complicated method of creating the same thing. Tiffany’s come out square which can be useful to save space.

I’m using Tiffany’s method for my Moringa seeds, since they don’t like to be transplanted and the paper containers can be simply placed into the ground when I’m ready to plant them.

I did find that my newspaper is longer than hers. The wings ended up being very long. I found I could tuck them up under the folded sides, which helps stiffen them and hold them upright. She folds them in and uses the dirt to keep them down. That’s harder if you decide to open them up when you transplant them into the ground.

BTW, she has a step by step with pictures on her site HERE

First Planting of the New Year – Spring Onions
March 15, 2010, 12:44 am
Filed under: Gardening | Tags:

So I got my first plant for my new garden, though this one was a bit of “guerrilla gardening”. See I didn’t plant it myself, just rescued it from the lawn care man coming next week to mow the lawn.

Wild Leeks, ramps or spring onions (Allium tricoccum) as they are commonly called are a member of the onion family. They grow wild across the US and into Canada. They are usually found growing in lawns, bothersome because they grow very quickly, their little clumps easily recognized. I can remember as a boy, pulling a few up, and after a quick wash, eating them raw. They have a great taste, kind of a cross between onion and garlic.

spring onions in the yard

While I don’t care for the bigger red or white onions that you see so often grown, I am a fan of green onions added to my meals. When I saw these first spring clumps sprouting last week, I decided to see if they could be transplanted into pots for cultivation.

Digging them up can be a chore. The larger clumps tend to be so tightly interwove that getting the apart is hard. I recommend you look for the smaller patches. Those tend to have larger plants as well.

Use a shovel and dig down about 6 inches around the patch, then lever the block of dirt out. Carefully break the dirt up with your hand. The shoot is easily recognized. Be careful, the spouts’ roots are often interlocked and break if pulled on hard. Try working the root out, then pull downward, sliding the leaf stalk through the grass. I then used an old plastic plate to set them on until I got them back to their new home.

wild onions in a pot

Since I plan on harvesting them on a “As I Go” basis, I bought a couple of 24×6 inch planters from Wal-Mart. They ran a bit higher ($7.50 each) because they were labeled “Made in America” and have a self watering feature I liked. I always have problems gauging how much to water my plants so with luck this will help. I re-planted them in rows of 6, and left a gap between every third row. I figured that the 12 to 18 I would get in each group, assuming some will not take after the re-planting, is about right for a week or so worth of eating.

Diana Rattray at has some good recipes to use with this plant HERE.

WARNING: There is a look alike plant which is toxic. A quick and easy way to tell the difference, Your Nose. Crush the leaves and if you get the scent of onions, it’s safe to eat. Ramps have such a name for being pungent, that when I broke apart the ground harvesting my sprouts, I could clearly smell them.

Selling Out The Ones You Guard
March 5, 2010, 9:10 pm
Filed under: Climate Change, Green Issues | Tags: ,

Johann Hari, writing for “The Nation”, posted yesterday a damning expose on how many of those who claim to be at the gates protecting the planet, are in fact aiding the sack of our proverbial Rome.

Pretty sad when you think of it. You might want to seriously rethink that upcoming charity check you send every Spring.

You can read Hari’s article here: “The Wrong Kind Of Green”.

“Environmental groups used to be funded largely by their members and wealthy individual supporters. They had only one goal: to prevent environmental destruction. Their funds were small, but they played a crucial role in saving vast tracts of wilderness and in pushing into law strict rules forbidding air and water pollution. But Jay Hair–president of the National Wildlife Federation from 1981 to 1995–was dissatisfied. He identified a huge new source of revenue: the worst polluters.

Hair found that the big oil and gas companies were happy to give money to conservation groups. Yes, they were destroying many of the world’s pristine places. Yes, by the late 1980s it had become clear that they were dramatically destabilizing the climate–the very basis of life itself. But for Hair, that didn’t make them the enemy; he said they sincerely wanted to right their wrongs and pay to preserve the environment. He began to suck millions from them, and in return his organization and others, like The Nature Conservancy (TNC), gave them awards for “environmental stewardship.”

Companies like Shell and British Petroleum (BP) were delighted. They saw it as valuable “reputation insurance”: every time they were criticized for their massive emissions of warming gases, or for being involved in the killing of dissidents who wanted oil funds to go to the local population, or an oil spill that had caused irreparable damage, they wheeled out their shiny green awards, purchased with “charitable” donations, to ward off the prospect of government regulation. At first, this behavior scandalized the environmental community. Hair was vehemently condemned as a sellout and a charlatan. But slowly, the other groups saw themselves shrink while the corporate-fattened groups swelled–so they, too, started to take the checks.

Christine MacDonald, an idealistic young environmentalist, discovered how deeply this cash had transformed these institutions when she started to work for Conservation International in 2006. She told me, “About a week or two after I started, I went to the big planning meeting of all the organization’s media teams, and they started talking about this supposedly great new project they were running with BP. But I had read in the newspaper the day before that the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] had condemned BP for running the most polluting plant in the whole country…. But nobody in that meeting, or anywhere else in the organization, wanted to talk about it. It was a taboo. You weren’t supposed to ask if BP was really green. They were ‘helping’ us, and that was it.”

She soon began to see–as she explains in her whistleblowing book Green Inc.–how this behavior has pervaded almost all the mainstream green organizations. They take money, and in turn they offer praise, even when the money comes from the companies causing environmental devastation. To take just one example, when it was revealed that many of IKEA’s dining room sets were made from trees ripped from endangered forests, the World Wildlife Fund leapt to the company’s defense, saying–wrongly–that IKEA “can never guarantee” this won’t happen. Is it a coincidence that WWF is a “marketing partner” with IKEA, and takes cash from the company?”