Long Term / Living Off the Land
Solar and Alternative Energies
You do not have to be beholden to the major power companies for power
Solar Living Institute
living resources - solar electricity, composting, etc.
(bicycle) powered generator and another one and
bicycles... just Google it!
Solar Cooking and Alternative Heating/Cooling
Solar cookers let anyone cook food or sterilize drinking water - as
long as they have direct sunlight for a number of hours straight, even
in winter, and without risk of fire. In poor countries, solar
cookers save women and children from smoke inhalation, reduce the need
for cutting trees, and save lots of precious time. Since a home-made
solar cooker can be made easily with cardboard boxes and aluminum
foil, it is well worth finding out more about these earth-friendly
devices. Just make sure you have some black-enamel pots handy!
Portable Water Filters
A good water filter can let you get clean water out of even muddy
water (not recommended though), and helps protect against dangerous
microorganisms. They are, however, expensive, and they don't always
filter chemicals out of the water (look for carbon filters if you want
chemical filtration). Filtered water plus a water sterilization tablet
are probably a good idea, just to be safe (but you still need carbon
filters if you're worried about chemicals). Although pricey,
ceramic-based water filters can last 20 years with maintenance. They
are great for hikers and campers.
Reusing and Storing Water at Home
Did you realize that instead of watering gardens with clean drinkable
water, we could use household "used" water instead? And instead of
sending wastes out to the streams and oceans, we could be utilizing it
as fertilizer. Not only that, but we could be gathering rainwater and
using it wisely throughout the year.
Graywater.net seems to have
some resources on this topic.
appears to be an advocacy site for composting toilets. These systems
avoid the need to dump wastes into sewers.
Water conservation, storage, reuse links
Non-hybrid seeds are a great long-term investment. If you have access
to land, you can grow your own food, and save more seeds, year after
year. Carefully dried seeds can last for years if frozen.
Tamago's Random list
Dave's Garden Garden
Watchdog - THE ratings list of garden supply catalogs. Check
this to see company ratings!
Seeds of Change offers
a variety of non-hybrid, open-pollinated food and flower seeds. (Yes,
I have ordered from them.)
Ark Institute's Non-hybrid
Seed Family Package (Never ordered from them - Google hit)
Abundant Life Seeds
Organic seeds. "Protecting the genetic diversity of rare and
endangered seeds" (Have not ordered)
Select Seeds "Heirloom
treasures" flowers - seems to be mostly open-pollinated. (Have
ordered; highly rated)
Wildflowers at Wild Seed
Farms - has wildflower seedling photo references (Have not ordered)
seems to have a wide selection of old and modern fruit and nut
trees. If you have land, plant fruit trees now to start harvesting in
a few years.
of Antiquity also has heirloom fruit trees as well as modern
Lafe's List of heirloom seed sources ("sources I
have used that I am very happy with"):
Preservation, in Calamus IA (Calamus is the name for bitterroot,
which Lafe uses for pneumonia.)
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, in MO
Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA
Richters Herbs, selling seeds and starts.
Planting Hints by Lafe
I have tried the Three Sisters method of planting, and found it best
to plant a row of corn, with the beans about every 5th or 6th plant,
with the melon/squash every 5 feet, or so. Beans do trellis very
nicely on the corn. Painted Mountain corn, Ireland Creek Annie beans,
and table Queen squash, all make it here in this cooler climate. There
are many others, these are just one example. The corn has a high
protein content, making it a good part of the mixture for feeding
Navajo Soup Recipe by Lafe
soak the corn overnight, like beans
put in the squash and mutton, season to taste, and
simmer. You can find this at the fleamarket, every
Sat, in Shiprock, New Mexico.
Poultry and Livestock
Poultry Tips by Lafe
www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.html - part of www.featheriste.com
A very informative site on poultry, and other animals. My favorites
have been Marans, Dominiques (my Dad liked them) and Delawares. All
are dual purpose birds. Some Marans lay through the winter, especially
the Swiss line. The best come from the Seattle area, some guy called
fleawilly ([who posts on] www.eggbid.com) has them. My
favorite turkeys, Narragansetts, and Bourbon Reds. Like all of the
above chickens, the Bourbon Reds are great foragers, the Narrie's
pretty good. A dual purpose bird does not have as much meat as a
cornish hybrid (the kind you buy in the store) but oh the difference
in flavor, and texture!
Feathersite also has ideas for portable chicken coops, called tractors.
www.henspa.com is another
source. There are several variations of tractors, the Amish around
here use them, raising their meat poultry in them.
Wasna (Pemmican) Recipe by Lafe
Wasna (wash naw) or pemmican. Jerked meat, or jerky,
can be pretty tough, depending on the cut of meat.
Most of the meat was dried, and pounded fine, usually
mixed with a dried fruit, like chokecherries. It is
then mixed with rendered buffalo kidney fat, kidney
fat does not go rancid.
I cut the meat in thin strips, about an 1/8 of
an inch thick, removing all the fat as possible. I
hang it to dry, using kabob skewers. I have used my
mothers clothes line when I was a kid. Anyhow, you can
also dry it in the oven, about 140 or so. After
completely dry, I use a blender to chop it, not quite
powder, but fine. I put about 1/4 cup dried fruit to
every cup blendered dry meat. I blend them together
for a minute. Experiment a little, you'll find a
texture you like.
I have used choke cherries, dried tart, and
sweet, cherries, and blueberries. Eddy HighBear has
even used raisins. Experiment a little, you'll find a
mix you'll like. You can do this in very small
amounts, a practice in case you ever need to dry all
the contents in your freezer.
They used to sell ground jerky in little round
containers, looked like chewing tobacco, or "dip"
it''s about the texture you're looking for.
Sometimes I still pour a little buffalo fat over
it, just enough to form a "loaf" Remember, years ago
fat was very scarce, a little can be good for you.
It can be eaten as a snack, or added to soup or
stew as a thickener.
We still use wasna in some of our ceremonies,
it goes in the hole before we raise the tree at
Sundance. We sample it so much we're lucky to have
enough to use in the ceremony, everyone like it.
This is a long-term thing, but worth thinking about. How can we build
housing and shelters that will withstand natural disasters? It could
save thousands (millions?) of lives in the long run!
An idea for
earthquake-resistant shelters that use local earth
(charity) develops a quake-resistant structure
Why build a dome?
In a disaster that lasts a long time, you can bet we will need people
with these skills:
Weaving, spinning, cloth-making
Seamstresses and tailors
Doctors who can make do without high-tech
Smiths and tool-makers
Soap-makers - do you know that soap is made from lye (can be made
from wood ashes) and fat/oil? Lye is very dangerous to handle. History of soap
making has the old ways of making soap.
Carpenters and masons
Brickmakers and bricklayers
Hunting and trapping skills
Guards, police, etc.
People with leadership and organizational skills
People with a strong connection to God
Examples of Successful Communes
Successful communes or independent "intentional communities" are
very rare. Here are a few that have survived over the
Twin Oaks International: A non-religious commune originally based on Walden Two and founded in 1967, but now ideologically more diverse. " Twin Oaks is an intentional community in rural central Virginia, made up of around 85 adult members and 15 children. Since the community's beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology....
We do not have a group religion; our beliefs are diverse. We do not have a central leader.... We are self-supporting economically... We are income-sharing. Each member works 42 hours a week in the community's business and domestic areas. Each member receives housing, food, healthcare, and personal spending money from the community."
Los Horcones, a Walden Two community founded in 1972 in Mexico: "At Los Horcones we live cooperatively, we are all learning to seek the common good, sharing goods, rights and responsibilities in a tranquil atmosphere instead of living competitively, seeking individualistic goals, appropriating objects and establishing differences that lead to aggressive behaviors."
Koinonia Partners: The inspirational Christian farming community home of Habitat for Humanity. They had many many struggles over the years, but helped promote racial equality despite threats and violence against them. Their history tells a lot about the struggle of people trying to really live a Christian life. "We are Christians called to live together in intentional community sharing a life of prayer, work, study, service and fellowship. We seek to embody peacemaking, sustainability, and radical sharing. While honoring people of all backgrounds and faiths, we strive to demonstrate the way of Jesus as an alternative to materialism, militarism and racism."
The Farm Community:
"THE FARM is an intentional community of families and friends living
on three square miles in southern middle Tennessee. We started The
Farm in 1971 with the goal of establishing a strongly cohesive,
outwardly-directed community.... Over the last 35 years, The Farm has
become well known for many things, from natural childbirth and
midwifery to healthy diet and vegetarian cuisine, creative arts and
alternative technologies to its partnerships and assistance to native
Federation of Egalitarian Communities site: Includes advice on visiting, joining, and starting your own intentional community.
Forbes top level Utopia page includes:
Forbes article on Ecotopias
Forbes article on why many Utopias fail
communes from around the world, in slideshow form
Back to main page