Raising a garden bed: build or buy?

TSA garden

As part of our local Transition group's efforts to make local food more widely available in our town, my wife Lindsay has been helping organize a new community garden. The site is a lot that has been vacant as long as anyone can remember. You can imagine that there was a lot to do before planting: finding the property owner and convincing him to host the garden on his lot; clearing years of … [Read more...]

The daily grind, Amish style

what spikes

For people who are into re-skilling and building household resilience, an essential source of non-electric and hand-cranked gadgets is Lehman's. With a store in Ohio's Amish country, Lehman's sells thousands of old-timey implements online for use in the kitchen, around the house and out in the garden. Lehman's is the place to go for canning jars and supplies as well as Aladdin oil lamps, wood … [Read more...]

No more excuse to wait on going solar

solar panel on kitchen mitt

Even before I began working with a company that develops solar energy projects, I was fascinated by solar panels. Though I had lots of science toys as a kid, I always wanted a kit to build my own solar panel, but somehow I never got one. And as I got interested in the environment and energy in college and grad school, I vowed that someday I'd "go solar" myself. But getting my first job -- and … [Read more...]

The Happy Hoarder: Feed bag edition

Canning Book Picture

Of all the things the Happy Hoarder fixes his sights on to prepare for the coming supply shocks, none is as important as his grub. Dinner. His vittles, victuals and chow. His slop, his refreshment, his provisions. His gustables, if you please. Frankly, the Happy Hoarder could think about just how he's going to get his foodstock in the aye-pock-oh-lypse all day long because he likes to do his … [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...]

The Happy Hoarder: Waxing poetic


You may have noticed that The Happy Hoarder has a thing for being able to see in the dark. I'd hoard solar if I could afford the dang stuff. Ironic, then, that the sun is free. Well, I'll get me some panels one of these days because it's like that fancy-pants finance guy Chris Martenson says; in the post peak oil world the difference between no energy at all — say, no electric lights and all … [Read more...]

The Happy Hoarder: Fire in the belly


If there's one thing that stirs the Happy Hoarder's anxiety it's wondering where my sources of heat and light are going to come from in the post-peak fall. Candles don't just light themselves my friend, fire doesn't grow on trees, and I'm no Ben Franklin. Anyway, I need my keys to keep my hoarded treasures safe. So I started myself to thinking a long while back, "What sources of flame will I … [Read more...]

Six ideas for a low impact holiday

Recycled Gift Tags

For many of us, the first snow is on the ground, night skies are star-studded and a holiday spirit is in the air. Holidays, as much fun as they are, tend to bring out some of our most entrenched bad habits. The holidays shouldn't be a burden on the environment, but they are. Most Americans, for example, produce about 25 percent more trash during the holidays (from Thanksgiving to New Year’s) … [Read more...]

Swords to plowshares and missiles to cold beer

beer bottles

When I reach for a cold microbrew, I have to admit that I'm offended by screw-tops. I want to have to pop a bottle cap off the old-fashioned way. I also prefer having to shell my own peanuts or pistachios. Maybe it's the little bit of work I have to do to get to the goodness inside that makes the nut taste better or the brew go down smoother. And if you're going to pop your own bottle caps, … [Read more...]

Best $20 Father’s Day gift for peak oil

man shaving with a safety razor

For $20,000, what peak-aware dad wouldn't want solar panels installed on the roof? Or, if you can pony up $500, and your man has got a more outdoorsy-survivalist bent, a shotgun would make surely him smile. But for less than $20 you can help Dad build resilience in his daily life by giving him an old-fashioned razor that he can use no matter what the future brings. Forget about Sweeney … [Read more...]