mooretrees journal

Where are you and where are you going?
mooretrees
Posts: 409
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:21 pm

Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

I listened to an interview with Paul Kingsnorth that @HB posted. I am increasingly drawn to these folks who have moved past debating climate change, and are accepting it and pursuing a different life. I think my grief stage is either here or still ahead as I'm still sorta afraid to dig too deeply into what will/is happening with climate change. I am seeing life more through the lens of how crazy our culture it, and less able to ignore it. Doesn't bode well for keeping a job at a medical place! The amount of waste in the medical world is insane.

DH is heading out the do an elk hunt tomorrow, so I'll be a single parent for a week or so. It's a long stretch alone, which is equal parts exciting and daunting.

My aunt has agreed to try a six month trial period of living with my parents. I think that's a great start. It makes me really happy that they're thinking about managing their advanced years together. It also seems really fun for my mom and her sister to be around each other more, and maybe my Dad will get more time along which will make him happier too.

One of my upcoming projects is to make a list of places we go to in town with time and distance for each trip. I did this many years ago when I went without a car, briefly. It helped me shift my habits to biking over driving once I really saw how short most trips are. DH will have our only car this next week so it will be a good experiment in biking and walking.

I'm going to try and do one more harvest of apples tomorrow and call it good. I think it's going to be freezing here in a night or two and that's just the end of apples. I have one more batch to dehydrate and while it probably won't last, it's a lovely snack.

Fermentation progress:

Sauerkraut is progressing nicely, perhaps a little too salty, but still tasty. I used a pretty fine salt, so I'll switch to a coarser salt next time. I filtered my apple vinegar last night, it was very active so it seemed clear that the desirable bacteria had taken over. I might try and test the pH tomorrow and get a more clinical idea if it is actually acidic enough to call a vinegar yet. I think it needs more time, so I'll be curious to see what the pH is. The pear vinegar is still in progress, maybe another day or so before I strain it. My garlic fermentation is progressing well. The garlic has released a lot of its water into the honey so the honey is much thinner. It will be ready either next month or five months, depending on who you talk too.

Feels like a kinda boring update, but much of what I'm thinking about these days is so fuzzy and incoherent, that I'm not really thinking straight. It'll be nice to have the election over with and a week off (from one job at least!).

ertyu
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by ertyu »

Too salty sauerkraut isn’t a problem. Lots of traditional central and Eastern European recipes use it, you can simply use this batch for cooking and salt the overall dish less.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

ertyu wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 4:26 am
Too salty sauerkraut isn’t a problem. Lots of traditional central and Eastern European recipes use it, you can simply use this batch for cooking and salt the overall dish less.

Cool, great suggestion. Thanks!

Alphaville
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Alphaville »

if it’s fermenting it’s not too salty. once i made a sauerkraut so salty it just wouldn’t ferment :lol: (simply ate as “pickle”)

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Alphaville wrote:
Fri Nov 06, 2020 8:33 am
if it’s fermenting it’s not too salty. once i made a sauerkraut so salty it just wouldn’t ferment :lol: (simply ate as “pickle”)

Ha ha, good point. Yes, it's not hindering the bacteria so it's fermenting, just a leetle too salty for personal preference.

Western Red Cedar
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Western Red Cedar »

Glad to see you've been experimenting with sauerkraut. We've made a few batches that were very salty. As @ertyu mentioned, it works well to incorporate it into dishes that may otherwise require some salt. My favorites are sausage/bratwurst and grilled kraut, or some combination of potato, onion, cabbage, and garlic (with the occasional perogies).

Any luck with reducing food waste or optimizing your harvests? Seeing food go bad tears me up inside so I'm usually pretty good about never wasting anything.

My general strategy is to have a handful of dishes that I can make at the end of the week that can absorb a bunch of random veggies left over in our fridge. Soups and stews are easy and versatile (and can freeze if you're cooking in large batches). Fried rice, stir fry, and curries are also great options and regular fixtures in our household for dinners near the end of the week. We also make some non-traditional versions of shepherd's pie with different veggies - always tasty with a base of potatoes and topped with homemade gravy. I also like to make scrambled eggs with different random veggies incorporated (mushrooms, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, garlic, etc). I top it with salsa/hot sauce and it's a great option if I'm intermittent fasting.

I'm lucky in that DW is pretty high on the wheaton cooking scale and can whip up random sauces or step in when some of my cooking projects go awry.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

@WRC Not sure if we've made noticeable progress on the food front, but I appreciate the nudge and the suggestions.

Work:
I've submitted my transfer to part time request and talked with my boss about it, looks like early Jan is my go range. I almost cried when I filled it out. I think I'll enjoy my job more soon, and my life too.

Money:
Financially, I think we're mostly ready for the change. I reduced my contribution to both the 401k and the HSA, partly just to save money before I went part time, and partly because I don't want all my assets in those two vehicles. The refinance on the house should be complete soon and that will reduce our monthly payments as well. I will wait and see how we handle the reduced income before I start paying more on the mortgage. Plus, to get the house ready for renters, we'll be doing some cosmetic fixes and I'd like to make sure I have the cash. We bought our house a little over three years ago for $143k and supposedly it's now worth $190k. The payments didn't drop a ton, but now the private mortgage insurance is gone and we have a lot of equity. I think our mortgage with taxes and insurance will be around $750 now. Our HSA is close to $7k now so I don't feel the need to keep contributing a lot to it, and as my income is reduced I'll be trying to figure out tax brackets and potentially use the HSA/401k to drop up down a bracket if that is possible. I have let myself off the hook for tracking money until I go part time. I don't enjoy it and I don't want to spend my little free time on it. Once I have more time, I won't have that excuse. I feel like I should go to confession for this inability to track money. "Forgive me Father, it's been three months since I've tracked money......."

Reading:
I've been reading a new book, Frugal Homemakers. So much connection to ERE! It's inclusive of men, though it does have a larger focus on women. I think a reread is due to absorb more of the ideas. The author interviews 20 or so families that are bucking the norm of full time work for both men and women. It's been a good read and I'm starting to recognize my life/thinking in the strategies these families have come up with to reduce their dependence on a job. Becoming a producer over a consumer is key.

I can't remember the exact title of the David Holmgren article, but it was something like "Welcome to the Brown Tech future." The main point I keep thinking about is how reducing your interaction with the current monetary system can be an implied disagreement with the direction of that economy, namely increased greenhouse gases. He supports the 'radical' notion of decoupling at least some assets from the global financial market to spur a contraction. If a number of middle-class people withdrawn their money, either from reducing debt and consumption, or shifting money away from banks/wall street, at a certain point that could trigger an economic contraction. He supports that primarily because an economic contraction seems to be the only real option for reducing green house gas emissions. I'd get the article to quote from it, but both of my dogs are snuggled next to me and I can't disturb them.

Home economics:

Two nights ago a friend texted asking if I wanted some minestrone soup. So last night we biked over and picked up this delicious soup with home made bread and a quince spread. Now that is something I want to encourage! My oldest sister has said for years that there's a sign on my head that some people see and it says, "feed me." But, the gift economy is an area I'd like to pursue within my community. I had given that friend some home made elderberry syrup awhile ago, so we're continuing the sharing. I don't have a lot to give away yet, but as I start fermenting more/gardening more, I think I can be more generous.

Early in the pandemic I panic bought a lot of seeds. I shared them with friends and one friend had a fantastic crop of pumpkins from the seeds I gave her. My pumpkins didn't grow at all! She gave me a few of the pumpkins and I'll be roasting one today for pie tomorrow.

My winter garden is doing well, we've picked some greens/kale weekly for egg scrambles or addition to fried rice. I don't have enough planted to rely on it heavily, but it is a welcome addition. I lost one squash to rot in my basement, so I need to be more aggressive about eating them as I don't think it's really cold enough down there to keep the veggies I have safe. We got a quarter beef last week and should have some local ground pork soon. I'm not going to buy meat at the store until we're finished with what we've got. I can't guarantee that DH won't buy bacon or hotdogs at some point.

We're still eating the bread from our dumpster dive adventure. Turns out we got a shit ton. I've been taking it to work and it's been helping me not buy food at the mediocre cafeteria. It's been three or more weeks so I bought any food there. I wasn't buying a ton, but now I'm more in alignment of what I want by not buying anything.

We're getting two gallons of milk delivered. I don't know if we'll continue with two gallons, but I'll be making yogurt and a soft cheese with the next batch. The last two gallons we got was during when my wisdom tooth flared up and had to be removed so I didn't have the energy to do anything.

Transportation:

We bought a used bakfiets cargo bike from a friend last weekend. Now I'm praying for a mild winter. I think we've ridden it every day since then. Our son loves it too and it's our go to for errands around town. We have a bike trailer set up, but it's hard to haul a lot with it and it's also our stroller too. I used it the most and it was getting to be a pain to switch from stroller to trailer and back. If we don't destroy the bakfiets, then it will likely hold it's value when we outgrown it (if we do!). It doesn't have super low gears, so we'll have to be strategic about where we ride as we do have some good hills in town that will be hard to ride up currently. Maybe when I'm in better shape it'll be a different story?

Health:

I had a wisdom tooth removed. It was an ordeal. I was very grateful that DH could be home and we didn't have to navigate his job and time off in while I was laid up. I was also so grateful for the crazy world of modern medicine. The actual procedure to remove the bad tooth was so short. Very brutal, but they were really efficient and I got good medicine. I'm recovered and able to start working out again. I'm getting older! And weaker, so I really need to start being more consistent with strength training. I'm resisting buying a kettlebell as I have resistance bands that haven't gotten a lot of use. I found a used set of DVD's of P90X, so I'll start trying to do that once or twice a week until I go to part time.

Once I'm part time, exercise is going to be a big part of how I spend my extra time. I'm not happy with how much I've lost in muscle in the last few years. I think I can make some gains in both strength and cardio with a more relaxed schedule.

Alright, time to go make coffee.

Hristo Botev
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Fantastic update! Are you sure about the title of the Frugal Homemakers book? I couldn't find it when I googled, and it sounds like something I'd like to check out.
mooretrees wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:14 am
If a number of middle-class people withdrawn their money, either from reducing debt and consumption, or shifting money away from banks/wall street, at a certain point that could trigger an economic contraction. He supports that primarily because an economic contraction seems to be the only real option for reducing green house gas emissions.
I kind of see this as part of the trajectory for us, though in a Web of Goals way it's not been mostly due to climate change or social inequities. It's a slow decoupling for us, starting with lowering debt and consumption (bit by bit), and now "investing" most of our money in things other than 401Ks and index funds--e.g., things like paying off kids' school and our house, with an eye towards reducing our monthly cash output in the short term as opposed to trying to increase our monthly cash input in the long term. But I suspect at the end of this process we'll end up moving retirement account investments into something other than index funds that are necessarily dependent for growth on folks buying things like heated razors (https://gillette.com/en-us/products/gil ... y-gillette).

ETA: But in the meantime I'm going to continue to pretend everything is going swimmingly (nothing to see here) when those index funds skyrocket in value in the matter of a couple days just because our current president suggested he might actually leave come January.

mooretrees
Posts: 409
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:22 pm
Fantastic update! Are you sure about the title of the Frugal Homemakers book? I couldn't find it when I googled, and it sounds like something I'd like to check out.
@HB, yep, wrong name! It's Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes. Be curious to hear your take on it if you do read it.

basuragomi
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by basuragomi »

You're really killing it! With respect to resistance training, you always have a few heavy weights at hand - your kid and SO. Picking them up and moving them around is a simple alternative to plates and kettlebells.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

basuragomi wrote:
Wed Nov 25, 2020 2:34 pm
You're really killing it! With respect to resistance training, you always have a few heavy weights at hand - your kid and SO. Picking them up and moving them around is a simple alternative to plates and kettlebells.
Ha ha! YES! Thanks for the reminder of the different 'weights' in my life. I still have this automatic process of defaulting to a consumer solution to problems.

ertyu
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by ertyu »

The disadvantage of kid and so over commercial weights is they can’t really be parceled apart :lol:

I will see if I can find the radical homemakers book too. Probably because I’m a dude who’s more likely to be into fiber crafts than power tools, I’ve always resented the gendered division in diy skill that’s typical to many cultures, including mine.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Semi-retirement start date is a little over three weeks away. My first month's schedule has one stretch of five days off and another stretch of six days off in a row. Wow.

I turned off the refrigerator last week and put all the food in two coolers on the back porch with a thermometer. DH cleaned up the fridge yesterday and we've got a lot of random things cleaned up and lots of glass jars for some other use. Why did we have ghee? And some mysterious green paste, possibly curry? Anyway, that adage that most people's fridge is filled with compost and condiments held true for us.

We have friends redoing their kitchen and they're replacing a perfectly good fridge with a new one. We offered to haul the old one off and they were happy to be rid of it. It is a 3/4 size, which is good as we don't need a ton of space for more condiments and compost. I was curious how we would do with the coolers as that is one option with the skoolie. It is sorta annoying and definitely means we can store less crap in it. Leftovers are less desirable with limited space. I can see that living with a cooler in the school bus would cause a shift in shopping more frequently and making smaller portions. I feel this small experiment was a good taste of living with less. I hope the next electricity bill will reflect living without our 80's fridge.

This morning I cranked up the wood stove, lit a candle and reflected that while there were appliances plugged in, there wasn't anything actively drawing a lot of energy. The quiet from a dead fridge is lovely. Then I went and started a load of laundry and made some coffee :lol:

I've been using candles in the morning before I go to work and it's very dim and sweet. I've been listening to interviews with a fellow that lives without electricity and petrol for years. With kids too! He's up there on the Wheaton level so he's really inspiring. So we've been using more candles at dinner and in the mornings if my son wakes up before I leave; which is much too early!

Here's one of the podcasts with that fellow: http://www.thepermaculturepodcast.com/2 ... an-hughes/

I'm considering going back to either a dumb phone or a landline. I've been reading about rare earth metals and 'conflict minerals' and I don't think I can keep being a part of that system. I spent a really frustrating 25 min with my home owners insurance company trying to get around the new trend of two factor verification. I got really pissy and refused to play along to see if I could get around it, all the while on my smart phone. The service person didn't budge and kept saying he couldn't help me. This is customer service?! What a maddening situation! I then tried to log in online and the phone number for verification was my old one. I really don't like this trend. I finally called back and had them send me an email. But it's a reason to consider a dumb phone that can still text. But then I'm making a decision based on someone else's restrictions which pisses me off. Also, I'm tired of being available all the time and texting on a dumb phone is irritating. End of my whine/rant.

One new reality with money is that I feel more generous with it. We still have our mortgage so we're deep in debt, but I feel like we have so much privilege that it's time to start sharing. I've been thinking and talking to a local farmer about how to increase food resiliency in my valley. She suggested starting a local grain mill for local wheat growers to sell flour locally. She says this valley grows excellent hard winter wheat but it all gets shipped out. I've done a little research on this but will consider this more once I start part time. DH is actually sorta buddies with a local wheat farmer so I'd like to talk with him at some point. My other few ideas are to explore the community garden and see what kind of support I could offer to them, practice starting veggies and give them out to people, start a fermenting/foraging club, and work on two or three friends to get them gardening and composting. These ideas are subject to change as I learn more. As an extrovert, I'm leaning towards projects that let me interact with people when it's safe to do of course.

Hristo Botev
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by Hristo Botev »

Such an inspiring entry; thank you for sharing! Re the dumb phone, fwiw I had/have the same desire and frustrations (I’m of course using my smartphone to type this reply!), and at least in the short term I just opted to “dumb down” my smartphone. So, I changed it to grayscale in the accessibility settings, I deleted almost every app I am permitted to, and I am WiFi only except for text and calls. That said, I miss the days of the blackberry. But of course then I remember they were nicknamed “crackberry” for a reason, and then I start missing the days of a shared landline. And then I start reading Kaczynski. But I’m definitely tired of having to prove who I am so many times in a day.

classical_Liberal
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by classical_Liberal »

Wow! I can't believe this is happening for you already. Huge congrats!

I really like the mill idea, as a business and to increase your local resilience. Over the last year I had been following the food locally too. Luckily (unluckily from a entrepreneurial perspective) a large percentage of the local grain is already milled and packaged nearby. Also sugar from the sugar beets.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 6:06 am
And then I start reading Kaczynski.
Dude, hilarious!

This is extra funny as just this week I've made a huge connection with a coworker over 'prepping.' She's a pentecostal christian, long hair, modest dresses, bible says this and that and so on. We both realized that we're trying to learn to live with less access to the grocery store, money and all that. Her motivation is VERY different from mine, something about end times before the Rapture, but functionally we're interested in similar skills. It's a really interesting connection.

AxelHeyst
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

Ah, she's post-trib. I'm way more down with those folks than pre-tribbers, who believe they'll get raptured *before* the anti-Christ comes and mucks everything up, which in my experience can create a sort of "meh" attitude toward how they treat this reality.

I really like your experiments and reflections on reduction in technology level, looking forward to hearing more of that line of inquiry.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

classical_Liberal wrote:
Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:43 pm

I really like the mill idea, as a business and to increase your local resilience. Over the last year I had been following the food locally too. Luckily (unluckily from a entrepreneurial perspective) a large percentage of the local grain is already milled and packaged nearby. Also sugar from the sugar beets.
It's been interesting to start learning the local food economy and how and where to possibly insert myself for potential good. It's cool to hear how your area is different.

mooretrees
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by mooretrees »

AxelHeyst wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:34 pm
Ah, she's post-trib. I'm way more down with those folks than pre-tribbers, who believe they'll get raptured *before* the anti-Christ comes and mucks everything up, which in my experience can create a sort of "meh" attitude toward how they treat this reality.

I really like your experiments and reflections on reduction in technology level, looking forward to hearing more of that line of inquiry.

From a different journal, Jacob recommended Survival+, and that whole pre-trib attitude is addressed. That thinking allows them to continue living in the way they want without ever believing they will face the consequences. Also, what does trib mean in this context? The funny part of navigating this relationship is maintaining a clear boundary about being converted. Which I'm decent at, even though I'm always so curious about her thinking.

Hope I have interesting things to say about technology! I have Jerry Mander's Absence of Sacred on hold at the library, think that will be an interesting read at this moment for me.

AxelHeyst
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Re: mooretrees journal

Post by AxelHeyst »

trib=Tribulation, the 7 years of epic global shitstorm that this earth has to go through before the second coming of Christ. This is all in the book of Revelations (and, Daniel? maybe? it's been a minute). The tribulation will involve things like The AntiChrist coming to power and reigning over everyone, everyone agreeing that they ought to get "the Mark of the Beast" imprinted on their bodies without which you won't be able to buy stuff (this is one reason why some Christians reallllly don't like the idea of implanted tech that acts like RFID/Apply Pay/etc, because they see it as a sign of the Actual End of the World), a buncha wars, and some plagues and stuff maybe... it's been >15 years since I was in to any of this so I'm surely getting some details wrong.

The point is, the Bible is a little fuzzy on whether all the Christians get Raptured to heaven *before* (pre-tribulation) or *after* (post-tribulation) the aforementioned cosmic shitstorm. Pre-trib and post-trib refers to which interpretation of the end times you ascribe to. (The book series and movie "Left Behind", for example, was pre-trib. All the Christians *poofed* out of nowhere, and *then* the world went to hell. This also explains the bumper sticker "WARNING: In case of rapture, this vehicle will be driverless." Clever.)

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