Book Review: The Blood of the Earth: An Essay on Magic and Peak Oil

Phoebe says that despite her midnight coat and lambent eyes, she has nothing whatsoever to do with magic. Or peak oil. And for the record, she also scorns Halloween. What do magic and peak oil have to do with one another? Quite a lot, actually, if you believe the author, John Michael Greer. And if you read The Blood of the Earth: An Essay on Magic and Peak Oil you’ll probably come to agree with him, because in this book, as in all of his...

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Joshua Tree Earthen Oven Class

Kurt Gardella, who led an earth oven workshop in our backyard is teaching another class in November. Our oven turned out great and was amazingly inexpensive (just the cost of sand). Kurt is a great teacher and if you’d like to build your own oven while learning the art of adobe, this class is not to be missed. Here’s info on the class: Joshua Tree Earthen Oven Class November 2–4, 2012 Earthen ovens are inexpensive to build, fun to...

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Bushcraft Video

...while-driving music video producers, I’ll be laying low, watching bushcraft videos on YouTube. We may as well give up our Netflix subscription because this YouHole is bottomless. I’ve discovered there are hundreds of men roaming about the woods with their video cameras in one hand and their survival knives in the other, ready to share their knowledge with you. And they are almost all men. I’ve only found a couple of women who pu...

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Picture Sundays: A Handy Handyman

Kelly found a soggy flyer on a sidewalk near our house. The front showed a picture of a man with a mullet hairstyle holding a trophy below a headline “Best Handyman.” On the back said handyman promised the services you can see above. I laughed, then realized that it was my exact jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none set of skills. Well, except for “hydrophany” and gutters. And you’ll have to go to Kelly for both the fi...

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A Homemade Mattress?

The Princess and the Pea by Edmund Dulac This is the story of my life. I read about some old domestic technology or product that makes a lot of sense. Perhaps it is obsolete. Or perhaps it is only done/made in more enlightened countries. Nonetheless, I want it. So I have to make from scratch. Yesterday we met a great couple, Renae and Dimitri. Renae mentioned she was thinking about making her own mattress. I was intrigued because just that morni...

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Saturday Linkages: Whole Systems, Critters and the Most Beautiful Garden in the World

Art by Casey Cripe Casey Cripe’s “whole systems” collages and illustrations: http://boingboing.net/2013/02/27/casey-cripes-whole-systems.html … Turn Down the City Lights and Make Streets Safer http://bloom.bg/XuXeCi  Coping with Critters http://www.motherearthnews.com/Modern-Homesteading/Protect-Your-Home-From-Critters.aspx … Is Antibacterial Soap Bad For You? (Part 1) http://shar.es/jrPgV  Jeffrey Bale’s World of Gardens...

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When the Crate’s Better Than the Chair

Steve Badgett of the design/art/architecture collective Simparch tipped me off to Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld’s set of chairs built out of crates, done back in the 1930s. As Rietveld put it, “A piece of furniture made of high-grade wood and manufactured completely according to traditional production methods is transported in a crate to avoid damage…no one has ever ascertained that such a chest embodi...

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The Strange World of Artificial Plants

Ikea’s Fejka. On a recent pilgrimage to Ikea, I ended up staring at a large display of fake plants while Mrs. Root Simple found a replacement for our kitten-shredded drapes. Viewed from a distance Ikea’s plastic plants were realistic, though seemingly outside of any known plant genus. I found myself pondering the question of what permacultural context in which these plastic plants would be an appropriate design solution. I couldnR...

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We’re Car Free

Street art by Skullphone. Well, at least temporarily. Some idiot piloting a SUV sturdy enough to patrol the streets of Kabul rear-ended me last week. He was probably busy posting a Yelp review on his smart phone.  I’m still in pain and our car is totaled, but I’m thankful I’m alive. In the meantime Kelly and I have no car. Normally this isn’t much of an issue as I can get around by bike/public transit. But my neck and bac...

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World’s Skinniest Farm Planted in Brookline, MA

From 200footgarden.blogspot.com: “The 200 Foot Garden is a community garden/art project, to create a commuter garden in Brookline, Massachusetts. Our hope is to add some beauty and delight to a very everyday stretch of sidewalk and chain-link fence. It’s also our hope to remind people that healthy vegetables can be grown in all sorts of environments, not just farms or big yards or community garden plots. The 200 Foot Garden is also...

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