Radical homemakers


Confucius said that the health of a nation could be determined by the integrity of its homes. If we apply that standard, we’re in trouble. Culturally, most Americans don’t even have homes anymore. They have houses, not homes. Homes are something that are made, not bought. And, homes, thus, require homemakers. That’s right, plural: homemakers. I'm not talking about just women. And, I'm not … [Read more...]

The heart of my home


The kitchen is the heart of my home. It’s the hub of the domestic wheel. Since it’s where the woodstove is, this time of year, it’s where everyone gathers. And, everything of any importance takes place there: meals get prepared, recipes shared, bills paid, horse grains mixed, tinctures made, messages exchanged; kombucha brewed, coffee sipped and books read. Sometimes I take for granted that the … [Read more...]

Upcycling at its best: Review of “Sewing Green”

Bike Bag

In his 2009 book The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World, brilliant peak oil commentator and Archdruid John Michael Greer argued that the coming energy and economic collapse would lead less to a dramatic nightmare implosion with mutant zombie bikers driven by insatiable cannibalism and more to a steady decline in which we'll live off of the detritus of industrial civilization's long … [Read more...]

Yes, you can brew kombucha

Kombucha brewing

I live a pretty spartan existence. Our family doesn't live high on the hog, always out shopping or dining at the most expensive places. We don't vacation much, and when we do, it's all about going local — Virginia inns, wineries, and natural and historic sites. Basically, I'm pretty frugal, do many things DIY style, and otherwise am so into conservation that I don't want to buy much … [Read more...]

The time for action

Clothes pins

I don’t meet many people these days who still think that “things are fine” with the US economy — or that “recovery is right around the corner." The light-bulbs are coming on for people and they're beginning to realize that the current state of affairs is, as David Wann says, The New Normal. The Emperor really has no clothes. We’ve consumed our way past peak resources and the descent has … [Read more...]

World made by hand

Letterpress Bike

My friend Cate Fitt, an artist and fellow blogger, shared a video that really blew my mind. It inspired this piece. Thanks Cate! Ink it, don't think it I love of old school printing presses. I love the quality and the raw nature of the medium. I also love that it's done by hand. As a writer and graphic designer, I've long harbored the fantasy that when the world hits the skids after peak oil … [Read more...]

Yes, you can bake bread

Fresh Bread

My husband and I are on one heck of a family resilience bender. When we first got married almost three years ago, we focused on insulating our place from attic to basement, shaving 20% off of our heating and cooling expenses. This really adds up. But in the past six months our efforts have turned more to homemaker re-skilling. We've added a rain barrel and composter. He's learned to brew beer. … [Read more...]

Is our future our past?


If there's one thing most post peak oil commentators have given too little consideration to it's how goods will be moved and how farms will function in our scary and fast approaching future. Sure there's the fraternity that talk about bicycles and walking and they're on the right track, particularly if you're lucky or wise enough to reside in a city or village. However a means of energy or … [Read more...]

Transitional garden

Shery' Humphrey's Rainbow Chard painting for the Hudson Valley Seed Library's Art Packs collection.

When seed catalogs start arriving in the mail, gardeners know it’s time to get busy.  That’s because unordered seeds never grew anything, as all gardeners discover one sad spring or other.  Somehow the order never got written up, phoned in, or placed online. The March deadline came and went – and there you were, mid-April, furious with yourself as you scrutinized the limited selection at your … [Read more...]

Low-tech for your resilience toolbox

German 19th century fireless cooker

In a world where iPhones, iPods and  iPads are everywhere and where dinner often means popping frozen mac and cheese into the microwave, pre-industrial ways of living may seem hopelessly quaint. But if you're concerned about peak oil, old tech can offer ways to increase personal and family resilience, if you're open to considering it. Can't you use less energy to do that? Lately, I've been … [Read more...]