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Topics - starfish

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1
Water / Tending/rewilding our waterways and oceans
« on: August 05, 2014, 05:26:24 PM »
By now, I'm sure a lot of you have heard about the water crisis in Ohio. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/03/toledo-water-pollution-farming-practices-lake-erie-phosphorus

Permaculture, habitat restoration, and other indigenous land management techniques can go a long way in healing rivers and creeks as well as land. Dismantling car culture could help also, since it would reduce storm water run-off from paved roads. A good start would be encouraging safe bike lanes, mixed use zoning, and affordable and convenient public transport.

But what do we do about the oceans? They are so big, and we've made such a huge mess of them. I feel depressed and hopeless when I see news about the dissolving coral reefs, the Pacific garbage dump, etc. Does anyone have ideas for things a small group of people could do to help heal the oceans?

2
Land / Composting in place tips?
« on: May 03, 2012, 06:57:55 PM »
In the book "Gaia's Garden", Toby Hemenway recommends composting in place instead of the traditional compost pile. He writes, "Sometimes, instead of emptying the kitchen compost bucket into the compost pile, I tuck it's contents under some mulch, where it rots very quickly."

I tried doing this, but inevitably someone (I'm looking at you, crows) drags out my apple cores and vegetable peels and scatters them all over the yard. Is there a better way to do this, or should I just go back to regular composting?

3
Birthing & Caring for Children / rewilding baby care
« on: January 16, 2012, 08:33:59 PM »
Having a baby can cost a lot of money, but does it have to? I wanted to go over some of the things the baby industrial complex assures us are absolutely necessary and see just how necessary they are.

- diapers - Probably the number one expense for new parents, especially if you're using disposables. You may be surprised to learn that diapers of any kind are not actually necessary. If you learn your baby's cues, you can simply hold your baby over the toilet when they need to go. Of course, the downside is that you'll have to clean up a lot of messes during the learning phase. Fortunately, if your baby is breastfed there is one advantage to dealing with a baby over a puppy: The poop of a breastfed baby doesn't have that horrible shit smell and is pretty easy to clean up. Google elimination communication for more information.
- bottles/formula/breast-pump - Necessary if the mother cannot breastfeed or must spend many hours away from the child, otherwise nursing is free and much less of a hassle. Also, see above about the poop.
- stroller/bouncy chair/swing - There are so many products on the market for the set-it-and-forget-it style of parenting that I can't list them all here. That being said, most of us don't live in an ideal society where each household or group has many adults who can take turns holding the baby. The situation for most newborn babies in North America is that one parent, usually the mother, is home alone with him or her for at least the first 6 weeks to 3 months (longer in Canada and/or if one parent quits their job). There will be times when you have to put the baby down. In Peter's book "Rewild or Die", he says that money is a replacement for friends. The same is true of these baby holding devices.
- breastfeeding pillow - These come in handy for newborns because they don't have any head control. I would recommend this item to anyone. If you are giving gifts for a baby shower, you could even sew one yourself for extra love and meaning. Just make sure the stuffing you use is firm enough that the baby will not sink in.
- crib - We already had a thread about co-sleeping, so I won't re-hash it here.
- sling / baby backpack - Another item I would recommend to anyone. Keep in mind, however that although a sling does make life easier, it is not optimal for every situation. You can't just put the baby in the sling and go on with your life as before. The baby will get bored and fussy if you are sitting or standing for long periods and not paying attention to him or her, for example if you must work at the computer or do the dishes. Also, babies get heavy after a while. No matter how much baby equipment you have, you cannot get around the fact that caring for a baby is a full time job.
- educational toys - The most educational thing you can give your baby is absolutely free: human contact. The coolest talking, musical toy with all the blinking lights cannot compare with a game of peekaboo, airplane, or blowing raspberries. That's not to say that the baby should not have any toys. Starting around the age of 3 months, most babies have gained enough coordination to grab objects and put them into their mouths. Make sure you have some objects that are small enough for the baby's little hands, but too large for them to choke on.
- special soaps / laundry detergents - Ugh! I cannot stand the smell of these baby specific products. It's true that babies have sensitive skin, but a normal hypoallergenic or free and clear product works just as well.
- baby bathtub - unless you live in an apartment with no bathtub, this is the most unnecessary product on the list. Just get into the bathtub with your baby. Now you're both clean! If you co-sleep or have a sidecar sleeping arrangement, you're both clean and well rested!
- high chair - I consider these optional. A great way to amuse a baby 6 months or older is to strap them in and put some food on the high chair tray for them to fling, squish, rub all over things, and occasionally eat. However it isn't absolutely necessary. A baby can eat just as well sitting on the floor or in someone's lap.
- jarred baby food / special equipment for making baby food - There are those out there who believe that anyone who doesn't use jarred baby food must spend hours slaving over their baby bullets trying to make everyone else look bad. Not true! Here is my super secret method for making baby food 1. Get some food 2. Make it soft enough for a toothless person to eat. That's it, you're done. The only "special equipment" I ever used was a fork for mashing soft fruits and cooked vegetables.

4
Fauna Food / My goose is cooked
« on: January 03, 2012, 09:30:17 PM »
Yes, that's right. I bought a goose for the first time this holiday season. I know you are all dying to read about the differences between a goose and it's chickeny cousins so here goes. The most obvious thing you see when you remove the wrapper is that the wings are huge. The breasts are fairly small, so I got most of the meat from the wings. The neck (unsurprisingly) is also huge. The second thing you notice is that there is much more fat and connective tissue on a goose than on a chicken or turkey. When I cut into it, I saw that  the meat is very dark. The white meat is darker than the dark meat of a chicken and the dark meat is almost the same color as a piece of beef. It is much more flavorful than other types of poultry. The kids got a leg each and they loved it. Just now I put the bones, skin, giblets, and dripping into the stockpot with water and a splash of vinegar. Tomorrow, I expect to find a nice, gelatinous broth with a generous layer of rendered fat on the top. So overall, the goose was a success, but, at 70 USD, too expensive to buy on a regular basis.

5
Birthing & Caring for Children / Made you look!
« on: November 20, 2011, 03:39:29 PM »
My kids started school this year (K and 3d grade) and they have been driving me crazy with those little games kids play to one up each other. You know the ones. Are you PT? Up high, down low, you're too slow! I've also noticed subtle changes in their behavior recently. They seem to argue more and they show less empathy than before. It got me thinking about the politics of elementary school. I don't want my kids to grow up treating every social interaction as a sort of battle where one person wins and the other loses. Any ideas for encouraging a more egalitarian outlook?

6
Social Technology / social skills: How to de-escalate a fight
« on: November 11, 2011, 05:20:08 PM »
I just read this blog post and I wanted to share it here.

http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2011/11/escalation.html#comments

7
With all the talk being thrown around about "traditional marriage", I decided to pick up this book and educate myself about it. This book covers the history of marriage from prehistory to today, with a focus on Western Civilization.  There is a small section in the beginning about hunter-gatherer peoples.  Coontz explores several theories about the original purpose of marriage in society. She  contrasts the patriarchal evo-psych view with a radical feminist view. Finally, she comes to the conclusion that neither is correct. Instead, marriage came about in order to unite two families and create webs of interdependence.  Of course marriage has changed a lot in the past 200 years. The purpose of modern marriage is love and companionship between individuals.

 This book is not about rewilding per se, but reading it from a rewilding perspective raised  a lot of questions in my mind. Is the modern version of marriage better or worse than in centuries past?   Nowadays in American society, a person doesn't have true adult status until they move away from their parents and establish their own household with their own source of income. Of course, this makes America (and other countries where this is the norm) less "collapse-proof". In America, we are all individuals. The extended family no longer has any impact on our lives, so we rely on an impersonal government for any kind of collective action.  Is there anything we can do to help transition to a more collective mindset? What role should marriage play in a rewilding society? Is it still necessary since premarital sex is the norm and the stigma against single mothers has lifted?

8
The Fabulous Forager / Going without mirrors
« on: August 21, 2011, 06:04:28 PM »
So I've been reading lately about women who have decided to stop looking in mirrors for a certain amount of time.
http://www.the-beheld.com/2011/05/why-im-not-looking-in-mirror-for-month.html

http://www.ayearwithoutmirrors.com/

And it got me thinking, it would be a lot easier to go without looking in the mirror if a roommate or family member did it with you.  You could do each other's hair and makeup/shaving, no mirrors required.  The more I think about it, the more it seems like a win/win.  Vanity and self-consciousnesses go out the window because you are responsible for someone else's appearance, but never think about your own. You are forced to rely on and connect with others instead of doing everything yourself. What do you guys think?

9
Rewild Camps, Events & Meet-ups / knit -n- nature gathering
« on: December 13, 2010, 09:07:25 PM »
http://knit-n-nature.com/

I am going to try to go this year.

10
I recently watched "The Crumbling of America" on the history channel.  I'll give you the basic gist:  America's infrastructure was built to last about 50 - 75 years and it's getting to the end of it's lifespan.  The government has not allocated enough money to maintain it properly and we don't have the money to fix it.

Update: They have it on youtube now. I can't get it to embed, so here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBSPcIGGcIc

The discussion of "solar Katrina" in the war thread reminded me that America's power grid is already outdated and overloaded. Something like this could very well push us over the edge.

11
Transition Tech / cardboard box solar oven
« on: April 09, 2009, 12:53:47 PM »
I just saw this article:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/04/09/solar.oven.global.warming/index.html

Quote
The ingeniously simple design uses two cardboard boxes, one inside the other, and an acrylic cover that lets in the sun's rays and traps them.

Black paint on the inner box, and silver foil on the outer one, help concentrate the heat. The trapped rays make the inside hot enough to cook casseroles, bake bread and boil water....

By allowing users to boil water, the simple device could also potentially save the millions of children who die from drinking unclean water.

We made a solar oven out of a box in Girl Scouts, once, but ours was simpler.  We just used one box with foil on the outside and painted the inside black.  It sounds like the one in the article would get hotter, though.

12
Transition Tech / knit or crochet with plastic bags
« on: January 13, 2009, 07:34:08 PM »
http://www.pieandcoffee.org/2005/11/17/how-to-knit-a-plastic-bag/

I haven't tried this yet, but it looks like a good idea.

13
Land / Salt
« on: October 23, 2008, 03:08:42 PM »
Does anyone have any salt gathering techniques to share?

14
Do most children have sensitivities to strong flavors and unfamiliar textures?  My daughter ate a varied diet until about a year ago.  I gave her whatever we were eating, but didn't make a big deal about whether she ate it or not.  Now things that I cook taste "too spicy".  She used to eat salad, broccoli, and a lot of other vegetables and won't anymore.

I remember when I was her age, I hated steak, oyster stew, mushrooms, fish, sauerkraut, spinach, etc.  I ate meat very carefully in case it had gristle or fat in it.  Eventually I grew out of it.  I just wonder how one would deal with it from an indigineous perspective.  How can children get enough vitamins if they don't eat vegetables?

15
Transition Tech / Clothing
« on: June 23, 2008, 11:39:45 PM »
Well, I've been looking into making my own clothing, but new fabric costs a lot.  Once you've bought yards of fabric, thread, patterns, etc., etc. you've paid more than the cost of a wardrobe of sweatshop-made clothing from kmart, and you've still got hours of cutting, sewing, and measuring ahead of you.  Then I thought: why not buy used clothing from goodwill and remake it into something I can use?  Or even recycle my own worn out clothing, as housewives have done for centuries.  Lo and behold, I ran into this book in the craft section of the bookstore: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt
It has hand sew and no-sew patterns for women's shirts, a couple of unisex shirts, and skirts.  a lot of them don't really appeal to my style, but some I like and it's given me a great starting point.  I did my first one today and I think it turned out pretty well :D.

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