Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rural vs Urban Living

We left the city 2-1/2 years ago. Best decision ever. During our last couple years living in the city, we were located in the city centre. What a horrible existence that was. Noise, crowds, pollution, crackheads.

Traffic noise started about 6:30 am. This would go on until all the wage slaves had scurried out of downtown by about 6:00 pm. Just when things seem about to get quit, the bar crowds start staggering around yelling and vomiting. Meanwhile the crackheads are twitching about screaming at each other or someone only they see. This goes on until about 4:30 or 5 am. Finally a little peace until 6:30 when it all starts again. The homeless are always wandering around but they don't make very much noise usually. But watch where you step, they do all kind of nasty things in the most unusual places.

So now we live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but distance. Being on the prairie, even the horizon is many miles away. Our closest neighbor, a friendly farmer, is a couple miles away. People think there is nothing out on the prairie, that it is just a vast wasteland between things that are interesting or useful.
Quite the opposite actually. There are many species of plants that are useful, even edible. There is a wide range of wildlife; deer, coyotes, fox, owls, eagles, porcupine, even moose. And many more. Certainly no shortage of things that like cats. We've lost about a dozen so far. Gotta have them though for mouse control. Got those in the country too.

By far the most interesting and important critters out here though, are the people. There are only five thousand of us spread out over an area of five million acres. Sparse. I ran into the friendly farmer at the country store one day and asked him if I could buy a bit of straw. A couple days layer there were some bales in front of my house. I phoned him and asked how much I owed him. He refused to accept payment.

The small country store itself is such a refreshing change from the city. It's only a tiny place, but they sell everything from gravy mix to welding equipment. And if they don't have it, let them know and they will get it for you. More than once they didn't even charge me for a small item because they 'just had it sitting around anyway'. Shortly after arriving in the area I called to find out the store hours on a Saturday because I was running low on cigarettes. The manager told me 5:00 pm. So about 4:30 I head off to the store and get a couple packs. I didn't see the manager, but paid the lady at the till and went home. About 5:30, I get a call from the manager. He says that he didn't see me and that they are closed now but not to worry, he knows my brand and will swing by my place on his way home with a few packs. I live about 12 miles from the store and he lives in the other direction. Wow.

It reminded me of  going to get some smokes once near the end of my city living. I show up at the store 10 minutes before closing and the door is locked. I see the store clerk standing by the till. He shrugs. I look at him and point at my watch with my index finger. He looks at me and points at the ceiling with his middle finger.

I find it interesting that the smaller the population base, the stronger the sense of community. When living in the city, I hardly even knew any of my neighbors at all, not even their names. City folk (I'm getting all farmy now) don't look each other in the eyes when passing by, let alone say hello to a stranger.  They may call a cop or scream for help. At the very least look at you kind of oddly. Out in the rural areas people wave, say hello, strike up conversation with everybody. Even those they don't know.

It doesn't take very long to adjust to that kind of courtesy and friendliness.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tell me a little about yourself...

Every where you go, every bloody thing you do these days somebody wants personal information. The cashier at most stores now want to know your postal code (that's ZIP for my American friends). I understand why they want this info. It's for demographic analysis. The corporations want to know how they can sell us even more worthless crap we don't need. They cross reference our addresses with income levels and other tidbits they can purchase from the federal government. The feds get this knowledge  by forcing us to complete a census form. Then they sell it to some private-for-profit money sucking greedcorp. Until recently here in Canada you could be fined and even sent to the big house for refusing to fill out this intrusive census form. Government forcefully extracting something from people to provide to corporations? Hey wait, doesn't that smell a little like fascism? Should we really worry? Maybe they are only in cahoots to  improve our shopping experiences. After all, as long we as continuously increase our consumerism, then things will be quite comfortable all the way to the collapse.

So I don't comply with what may seem like a harmless request by the cashier. Sometimes I reply that I will not take part in their financial profiling. Other times I say I'm homeless. Once in a while I've asked 'why?' No matter what I do, they always look at me the same way; 'Why won't you just blindly give me the answer I'm trained to ask for, like everybody else does?' Lately I've noticed they want an email address too. Some stores have even asked for my phone number. Are you freakin' kidding me? I might give you my phone number after you take me out for dinner and provide an evening of gasping pleasure. Maybe not even then. Of course if they did have my number they could have a computer call my GPS enabled cell phone with 'specials that may interest me' when I'm near one of their outlets. Just in case I'm not truly getting all the pleasure out of the shopping experience I should when left to my own devices.

Mayberry talks about starving the beast, starving the monkeys. There are many actions to take for this to ever be effective. But I know one for sure, don't give them something just because they ask for it. They already know too much about us all. They can take what's been tracked and collected about me using debit cards, banking, gov't forms etc., and run it through sophisticated computer algorithms. They probably know things about me that even I don't. I'm doing what I can to change this. Barter, pay cash, just don't buy, as much as possible.

Starve the beast or it will starve us.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We'll never run out

I gotta tell you I love dirt. The stuff is everywhere and you can do so much with it. I played in the stuff a lot when I was a kid. Building little dams, roads and ramps with my toys. I would make tractor noises while pushing a little yellow bulldozer. Then I started hearing all the crap, "get educated, get a career, get money, get stuff"  is what they told me. "Get enslaved to a system that needs you to do your part so the super wealthy can get super wealthier and maintain power while you really get dick" is what they meant. I was one of their robots for decades and barely escaped with my life.

Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves YOU Can BuildThings have come full circle for me in a way now. I'm back in the dirt. Now it's not really play time but neither is it like work. Sure it is a lot of physical labour but it is very personally rewarding. You see, my wife and I are building a new home out of the earth. It's a group of five domes made of bags filled with clay and aggregate that are tamped solid. The place will be warmed and cooled to some extent using the earth itself as it is sunk into the ground. Further heating will be provided by a rocket mass heater that we will build ourselves. Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves YOU Can Build There is a ton of info about building these things yourself on the internet and all of it from what I can tell comes from this single book. But there is some stuff you won't find on the internet like some exact dimensions and such. I won't give them to you either out of respect for the author and inventor, Ianto Evans. This man is certainly a remarkable character.

My wife and I had the opportunity to meet Ianto and his wife Linda Smiley last year at Cob Cottage. They are both accomplished authors and are extremely knowledgeable about so many things a person wanting to free themselves from corporate slavery needs to know. Showing how to build your own affordable home, heating it, gardening and many other helpful topics are passions for these people. If you ever get the chance to go to Cob Cottage and meet them, you won't be disappointed. Unless you are some sort of ass-kissing middle management type wishing to climb the ladder faster by stepping on peoples throats while you clean them out so you can show your boss (your master) how ruthless you can be and are 'willing to do what it takes' to show a profit this quarter. Then your time would probably be better spent taking yet another business course to further hone your evil.

Back to me and my dirt. We will build a home, an outdoor kitchen, garden walls, pizza oven and other projects all from earth on our site. There is a plenty of it and some has just been laying there for hundreds of years heheheh. Some smart ass business type commented to me the other day that it is a 'finite resource'. Yeah, bite me ass-wipe. This coming from a guy who lives on the prairie in a McMansion made of processed wood from 1000 miles away. We will never run out of earth. There will always plenty for everybody. Soil, well that's another thing all together... Perhaps a future blog ....

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Obey your masters

The trick is we need to shift our thinking from accepting what we are told to actually thinking. Thinking for ourselves. We're taught from a very early age to obey. Obey your parents, obey your teachers, obey the law. While there is a certain amount of merit to this there should be boundaries. Most people just blindly obey whatever they are told by endless agencies, commissions, officials, assessors and so on. Banks, governments and employers certainly demand obedience.

What ever happened to common sense? Self-reliance? Personal responsibility? I guess we don't need these things anymore, we're being told what to do. Obey. Shakespeare said "To thine own self be true". It wasn't followed by "unless somebody would rather you obey their rules to serve their own selfish needs for control or power".

We're so conditioned, we will obey a sign even if it makes no sense. How many people will stand at an intersection waiting for the light to change so they can cross the street even when there isn't a car anywhere in sight? Don't walk says the light. Obey.