Posts Tagged ‘Simple Living’
I am reading a bok by John Perkins – The Economic Hitman and so recently I signed up to his newsletter. This is the most recent newsletter andI felt the urge to share it…
I’m in Istanbul, a city that has seen its share of war. Today Turkey is greatly impacted by the violence in Iraq and Syria and the turmoil over Iran; yet this country is a leading negotiator for peace. I hope you’ll read the below on the topic of peace.
Aggression Begets Aggression
By John Perkins
In our present state and based on the world’s past history we know that aggression only begets more aggression. War creates more war. Terrorists do not dream as children of becoming terrorists. As we hear the drumbeat of our current US leaders for more “intervention”, I can’t help but think of the line in Catch-22 – the satirical novel of war – “Open your eyes. . . It doesn’t make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who’s dead.” (Chapter 12, pg. 133-134)
And I think of my friend, Kiman Lucas, Executive Director of Clear Path International – http://www.cpi.org , a non-profit that works to restore the dignity and self-sufficiency of conflict survivors in many countries. Kiman recently traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia; she wrote:
“ I believe any future in our world must be based on the rule of law, respect and empathy for each other and a tolerance and appreciation for our differences. But fundamentally, we need to stop glorifying our tribal pasts — whether they are what you think of as colonial masterminding or what I think of as tribal divisiveness. I do not want to bring the world back to the glorious conquering days of the colonial powers any more than I want to bring the world back to the headhunting days of the Shuar.
It may serve our egos to remember the good ole days of our own people’s triumphs, but it also serves to perpetuate the myth that aggression is honorable. Perhaps it will be “female” thinking – based on nurturing rather than killing – that can bring the people of this world together to stand up for what is right and to recognize that the “enemy” has always been the ideas we have about the other, not the other.”
Nurturing peace, planting seeds of harmony, wisdom, co-existence and respect for all is the only way to preserve a future that will be different for our children. Repeating the mistakes of the past and arming ourselves with bigger and better weapons only provides new anguish to those who are the targets of those weapons – children, villages, women and men who, just like us, are trying to do the best for their offspring. When we cut out all other options of human existence and rely only on aggression to solve our problems, we become the PROBLEM.
Today think of one way you can sow peace in your community and watch it bloom worldwide. Take at least one action for peace every single day.
New York Times bestselling author
Please subscribe to my newsletter at
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
The Secret History of the American Empire
The World Is As You Dream It
The Stress-Free Habit
Spirit of the Shuar
It’s the end of December and so the next calendar year is almost upon us. For me the new year really begins at Winter Solstice and I am already enjoying the lengthening of the winter days. We are having a wet and warm Christmas season in Ireland, quite a change from last year’s extreme winter weather and a welcome change for most people I think.
I have to admit I really enjoyed last years cold and bright Christmas and I miss the cheer of the snow, this year didn’t feel as festive to me and I have to also admit that I am becoming very tired of the mud that the almost constant rain has brought around my door.
Despite the unseasonal warmth (warmest Irish Christmas on record apparently) we still need to keep our fire lit. I have spent the last hour in the timeless chore of cutting kindling, emptying the ashes from our small stove and laying down the fire-start, I am sure every stove owner has their own way of setting the fire-start depending on what fuel they burn. We burn a mixture of peat briquettes and our own white-thorn wood, cut from the overgrown hedge earlier in the year. My partner and I even have our own ways of setting the briquettes, kindling and paper to start the fire and each is equally successful.
Some days my favourite part of starting the fire is cutting the kindling. At the moment we have a few wood-piles lying between the sitting room and the kitchen in our new house. We have a pile of saw-mill cut timber there which we have used for framing the walls, this pile is dwindling as we run out of wall framing timber (because happily it is in the walls) and the pile of cut-offs has grown. Some of the cut-offs will still be used in various jobs about the house however some pieces are destined to become kindling.
Every few days on of us goes out and picks a piece of wood that looks unsuitable for anything but kindling and we chop it up with our small axe. The chopping block is currently in the bathroom, incidentally that’s also where this year’s Christmas tree is. Doesn’t everyone keep their Christmas tree in the bathroom? Perhaps not. Our tree actually consists of a few Pine boughs that I cut the day before Christmas Eve and tied in a decorative fashion to a framing timber on the wall. I then decorated these with our small stash of Christmas decorations, I couldn’t find the stored box of decorations from last year so it was a bit improvised, none the less it is very pretty.
So the bathroom is very central to our activities this Christmas. The chopping block is a 2foot length of wood, 9x3inches, a cut-off of a roof beam. I enjoy chopping kindling. You really need to focus as your fingers are never far from the axe blade when you make that first incision that grips the piece of wood before you proceed to split it by hammering both the wood and the axe together down on the chopping block. It’s a very satisfying job, mark, split, gather the pieces into a basket.
Ever since axes have been used people have performed this task of making kindling for the fire. Perhaps it is the time of year that made me think of the generations of people, across the world, that tend to the cooking or winter fires, to warm and feed their families. Gathering and cutting firewood in some places or cutting turf, drying it and bringing it home as generations of Irish people have done over the centuries. Storing the winter fuel to keep it dry, ensuring it is not too far from the door especially in snowy or wet winters. For some people now the fire is no longer a necessity, whether or not it is essential the hearth has still a special place in many homes.
Now at the turn of the year I wish you
the warmth of a brightly burning fire
as these lengthening winter days pass.
I wish for you health and contentment in the coming year.
Over the last few weeks I have been slowly doing the almost yearly job of moving compost from one bin to the next. Our compost gets turned twice before it is considered ready for use. We have five compost bins and of course there is a system for how we utilise them. We use a sawdust bucket system for our toilet, we’ve been using this system for ten years now and it works really well for us. We make our own sawdust using our power planer, it costs us nothing to make as we have the timber on our land and we have all the electricity we need for using power tools.
We put both cooked and uncooked kitchen waste into buckets until we have two or three buckets filled, then every time we need to empty the compost toilet bucket we also empty the kitchen-waste buckets, covering everything with a layer of cut grass and rushes. We use one compost bin until it is full, the bins are roughly 4foot square. When the bin is nearly full I start the process of moving the compost in the other bins.
Imagine that all the bins are full and that the bins are A, B, C, D and E in that order and they are all built in one row. Bin A is nearly full so I begin by emptying bin C and putting the soil around trees, creating a new fruit bush bed or topping up a fruit bed. I keep some of the soil to close the bin which is almost full. I then shovel the contents of bin D into bin C and then I shovel the contents of bin E into the now empty bin D. Now we are ready to finish filling bin A and when it is full I close it up by covering it in grass and then topping with soil. Bin E is now ready for use.
It takes roughly nine months to fill a bin, sometimes longer depending on settlement in the bin. So every year I get to play Compost Tetris.
We always keep a pile of cut grass beside the compost bins which sometimes needs replenishing. Sometimes this requires cutting grass and rushes however today I was able to move some which had been cut over a year and half ago – quite a workout!
When I was resting between runs with the wheelbarrow I was struck with the beauty of the sunlight glinting in raindrops hanging from the bare whitethorn (hawthorn) branches in a nearby hedge. Such beauty is never far away here and I am always grateful to receive it.
We are getting used to this new way of living, going to town one day a week, working outside when the sun is shining then coming in to work on our computers and read beside the stove in the late afternoon.
Looking through the food stores to see what’s for dinner tonight and wondering how many more dinners the fresh vegetables will do.
Writing shopping lists that take the long view rather than the assumption that we will be in town again the day after tomorrow.
Putting on boots, a warm jacket and hat before going out the door, even for the quickest of tasks, has become the norm.
On Saturday we had fresh falls of snow and enjoyed a ramble around the forestry lanes and our land.
On Sunday we retraced our steps, we saw fox tracks and enjoyed watching where the tracks lead, where the fox followed in our footsteps and where he (or she, hard to tell from tracks) walked carefully in his own tracks.
He puts up quite a mileage each night, we can see fresh tracks each morning now that we are on the lookout for them. He criss crosses the fields quite methodically and often walks back in his own tracks.
It’s fun watching the trails left behind by him. We don’t keep poultry or fowl so we have no reason to dislike his visits. At one stage as we walked we were wondering what he finds to eat in this weather and then we spotted hare tracks. I am guessing that hare wants to avoid that fox at all costs!
We don’t know much about this business of tracking animals however we are having lots of fun. Usually we can’t see the animal tracks in the rainy weather
Yesterday, Sunday, we had lots of sunshine and the snow started to melt a little. It began to freeze quite seriously again in the afternoon which made for a beautiful effect, the snow chrystalised and flattened out into amazing spikes.
Last night we walked about with head torches and the snow sparkled like fairy lights, everywhere we looked, it was the most wonderful sight. On Saturday night as we walked to bed we saw four shooting stars in the night sky and last night the fields were filled with starlight.
Stay warm, stay safe and if you have elderly neighbours please chat with them and see if there is anything they need – or indeed anything they can help you with……
Before I started to blog myself I was reading a few blogs and I still am reading most of them on a regular basis.
One of these blogs is “Small Notebook, for a simpler home.” I have always enjoyed the warm way in which Rachel Meeks shares her life experiences, stories and struggles as she raises her two lovely children and manages to balance writing a successful blog while not missing out on her home life.
Like many of us Rachel has struggled with the juggling act of finding time to keep up with her busy family life, not let the house-work overwhelm her and also find time to blog. Now she has written a wonderful new e- book entitled Simple Blogging: less computer time, better blogging.
Whether you are new to blogging or have been writing a blog for sometime now I think you will find something in this book that speaks to you. The tone of writing is not overly techy, neither is it too simplistic so Rachel has found a great balance here, making it a comfortable read whether you have years of blogging experience or are brand new to the subject.
It’s broken down into 17 well focused chapters so that you can read it through from start to finish or simply pick a chapter to focus on something in particular. There are questions at the end of each chapter which you can use to help focus your thoughts about your own blogging.
There is a wonderful bonus chapter which has thoughtful insights from 7 well known bloggers: Nesting Place, Simple Mom, Life… Your Way, The Happiness Project, Owlhaven, Made by Rae and Inspired to Action.
Rachel has done her best to keep the price low and this book is only $8 which is great in these days of tight budgets. It is available to download immediately so there is no waiting around or running to the bookshop…
If you do decide to buy the book I would really appreciate it if you used the affiliate link above, it’s the first time that I have tried out an affiliate link and I would be so excited if you buy this great book through my blog