Friday, November 22, 2013

Foraging for Wild Edibles (Fall & Winter)

Foraging is an option for a vegan that tends to live nomadic or freely. Living on the land by growing your own food may not be an option for you, so the next best way to consume free, organic food is by exploring the world around you for fruits, nuts, greens, herbs, or seeds. It is no wonder that raw foodists believe their diet is ideal because wild herbivores live day-by-day foraging for their own food.
However, foraging may be ideal for those who live in warmer climates. For example, Wild herbivore animals may not have access to fruits, greens, beans or nuts during the winter, which may lead to consuming road kill, insects or small critters (Which makes us different from animals because we have the industry to provide year-round fruits and veggies so we do not have to resort to eating animals). Of course, our forests have been destroyed of the plentiful fruit and nut trees in order to log for money, so it is also no wonder we could hardly live or thrive off the foods found in the woods in this modern day.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Constructing our own home: cob building, homesteading, & free materials

Birds, squirrels, ants, and other species construct their own shelters out of readily available materials, like sticks, rope fiber, straw, mud, and other debris. Us, on the other hand, hire a team of workers to build our homes using drywall, wood panels, laminate flooring, paint, insulation, and other toxic and refined materials.
If you're fortunate you can build your own home; but like most of us we have to search for a vacant home at an affordable price. My mother bought home in the 90's for around $10K, and the house was built in the 1930s! It was always falling in and everything is always breaking, or pipes are freezing and breaking. 
Unfortunately, even the simplest and decent of homes can cost up to $100,000. This could take ten or 20 years to pay off.
I don't want to spend my entire life going to school for training, then working over 20 years at an unfulfilling job...

We could learn from the animals, for example building our homes for free or little cost by constructing it ourselves using the same materials other animals use.

I believe we can and should build our homes out of non-toxic, free available materials, such as the wild animals do. 'cob', 'strawbale', 'earthbag', and earthship homes are examples of how we can use readily available materials efficiently and adapt to our needs.

I prefer the cob (straw, sand, and clay) method because I have these materials in abundance. The ground is clay, dried grass is straw and the creeks are full of sand. I intend to create a similar construction as this couple has done in the picture below. It requires no wood for frames; and instead the walls are built up with slabs of mud, straw, and sand until you have reached the desired height. Although this method seems unsteady, it is not-- because the materials mixed creates the consistency of concrete.
The couple that built the home (in the picture), took approximately 9 months to construct and several months to dry out.
For the step-by-step process (with pictures), go to their photo album here:
"Year of Mud" The couple has several photo albums of their cob, and all natural building workshops as well as gardening photos on their Flikr page too.

For other references on building with cob, read "The Hand-sculpted house book" by Mike Smith, Ianto Evans, and Linda Smiley. Refer to Ianto Evan's and Leslie Jackson's book on heating your cob home: Rocket mass heaters.
My vision for a cob home would be somewhat of a nook. Perhaps as small as a normal sized kitchen! First the area will require leveling the ground, then digging a ditch in the outline of the shape of the home. It will be as small as a large shed, with one room to house dried herbs, books, some food, and a bed. I want a small frame that will allow us to save time on constructing the house while encouraging us to be outside instead of cooped up inside.
For those with no money or property, can experiment with building a debris shelter in the woods. In this case, you want to live absolutely free or temporarily in the woods, read a more recent post of mine "Semi-Permanent Debris Shelters (Minimal Living or living in the woods)" where I discuss how to build a shelter out of sticks and leaves. These debris shelters remind me of bird nests with more coverage.

bed made by monkeys

I want to live in a world where everyone views their life simply: We get our basic needs met through Homesteading (food, water, shelter) which involves gardening, collecting free energy (sun and water), and building an all natural home. Live self reliant, independent, sustainable, and free as the animal you are.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Smoothies v. Juices v. Whole Food (Fruit, Greens, & Veggies)

Anyone that has been a raw foodists or vegan for long-term, begins to accumulate all sorts of food prep equipment throughout the years (juicers, blenders, food processors, and the like).
The holidays are approaching, and if you celebrate Christmas with your family, these devices are some things you could ask for as gifts, if you also want to avoid buying food prep equipment for yourself. Or even better, you could buy someone a blender or juicer in order to encourage them to eat healthier.
I remember my Dad bought me a blender back in 2005 when I went vegan, and have bought several since then. My partner bought me a juicer in 2009 or '10 --which I am still using-- he got it from Walmart for $30 (GM brand). I think the 'Ninja bullet' food processors are $15 (good for blended small portions).
I am currently using a blender that I bought from Goodwill for $2.50. I am not ashamed to use a second-hand blender instead of the Vitamix! Usually thrift stores have well-priced junk to repurpose.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fall & Winter Garden Maintanence

1. Pull up remaining vegetable plants to compost.

2. Pull up remaining weeds to use in a fire on your garden.

3. Collect sticks, wood, recycled paper/cardboard (and other burnable materials) for fires on your garden. The potassium and nitrogen in wood ash helps plant growth, for example the wood ash from the fires acts as a fertilize. Having fires on your garden also breaks up the top soil, making it easier to till and loosen the soil for your Spring garden.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gardening Mistakes 2013 & Tips + Photos

Gardening is a continuous learning experience, from understanding your climate to the location of certain plants. Last year I wrote a piece on the mistakes I made and how I needed to improve for this year (you can read that entry here "4 Mistakes I've Made as a First-year Gardener").

I have compiled a whole different list of the mistakes I made as a second-year gardener below. In the list I highlight the methods I intend to use next year and other practices...