Thursday, January 27, 2011

Building barns and community

Things are snowballing now! Richard's Biointensive gardening class for the  Canon Food Co-op was a big success, and then his local radio spot with Helene from the Co-op was also a hit, and now we are going to be featured in the local paper for the Earthbag building blitz that will take place the weekend of my birthday. What a wonderful opportunity to teach people about alternative building techniques!

I put an add out on Freecycle, looking for feed bags to be donated for the event, and got the press. Hmmm... Good. Good. We are hoping to get people in the community involved with their donations and help, kind of like an old style barn raising, but this one will be built out of Earthbags and eventually stuccoed to create a llama shelter for my boys in the new pasture. We need to move them so the goats can have the barn to birth the Spring babies.

Pregnant goat or fat goat?

Recycling the used woven polypropelene feed bags into building materials is just one example of how we can all look around and see things we might be able to use again. It will be an exciting event. Can we get a barn up in two days? Will anyone show up to help? Can we get enough feed bags, dirt, gravel and lumber for a roof? What will happen? Anticipation....

And, I've been in my crazy creative world, painting for days, working on some vision of a future utopia while thoughts float in and out of my head.

Our cats have been getting sick from the commercial cat food we bought them. This is the second time. Different food. Same manufacturer. Last time, we called the food maker and they sent us coupons for one free bag and a few bucks off two more bags. Great. We bought a different kind, choosing to stick with this brand because this is the only manufacturer whose food has not been recalled yet. But my cats are still getting sick. What's up with that? I would love to buy them organic food, but with the expense of the chicken and goat food, I can't justify buying the cats organic food too. So, what can I do? I could make food, which I may try if time allows. But this got me thinking....

As our planet evolves into a new way of living, we are going to have to rethink everything, including the food we eat and the food we feed our pets. If we can't trust the food for people to be chemical free, how can we expect our pet food to be safe? Wouldn't it be nice if someone local was making and selling an organic and safe cat food? Or dog food? Or bird food for my parrot?

I think perhaps we should all give up our fears about what the economy will look like as it all falls apart and start to think about what each of us individually can contribute. We need to relearn the old skills and discard the thinking that has gotten us into this how to extend the shelf life of foods.

I don't really have the time or interest to make cat food, but what if someone else does? There is a need for locally produced pet food, and a business waiting to be born. Other things too: a local mill where I can take my organic grains to be milled into flour. An electric car dealership and mechanic. A homestead supply store. A natural soap, shampoo and lotion maker. A candle maker. Like in the old times, pre-industrial revolution. If we are heading back into the dark ages, shouldn't we be preparing for the inevitable loss of products produced by oil? Isn't that just about everything? If my toothbrush is made from petroleum, how am I going to brush my teeth when I can't get that familiar product?

There is a whole new world waiting to be born and so many opportunities for people to contribute and be successful through clean, green, "cottage" industries. We are going to need these services as our economy continues to collapse. If we work together, we can think our way out of this mess, and maybe by not supporting the corporatocracy we can reverse the damage to our planet. What a wonderful vision.

For now, today, I'm going back to my utopia.

Don't forget the Earthbag building blitz February 19th. For more info see Green Desert Eco Farm. We need the polypropylene bags, fill dirt, gravel, lumber, shovels and extra hands. I'd love to meet my neighbors!

And the Xmas Boycott of 2011 is still on! Don't forget to boycott the shopping madness.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Freecycle and Re-use

Truck O' cabinets
Today we headed into town to pick up a load of kitchen cabinets someone had on Freecycle.They also had some landscaping timbers (I absoulutely love Freecycle and Craigslist.)

These are upper cabinets, all wood, old style, but at least they all match, and they are solid wood--good quality. With a little paint they will be a wonderful and welcome addition to the work space in our kitchen/dining room.

Before he had to go to work, Richard finished hanging  them up above the desk we created a few weeks ago. Wonderful! Now some of the canning supplies and maybe our stockpile of egg cartons can be put away, out of sight. I hate looking at clutter, but with so many tools and items we use daily, what can you do? Find cabinets on Freecycle, that's what!
Freecycle cabinets

This is the beginning of my bigger plan to turn our ugly and "modern" clean lines and open space modular home into something I can bear to live in. I know I can't recreate my old Victorian house, or give this double-wide the feel of a lovely old adobe, but every little thing we can do to make it less commercialized and more artsy and unique, the better. I must give it character. Somehow. Maybe some painting is in order...soon.

I always had this vision for our farm to be a work of art. Why can't we have beauty and a functioning farm too? Why does everything that is so utilitarian have to be so darn ugly? Yeah, I'm a big fan of the cute little farmhouses with red barns and white rail fences, but I know that only money can turn a farm into that stereo type, and we never have enough of that, so...what can we do to make our space, our little piece of dirt here in the high desert a little more attractive and inviting?

No offense to Richard, but I really don't like the look of unfinished projects, lumber sitting around waiting to be used, or stacks of tires. I suppose in this case, as I have been reminded by recent readings, that those people I have issue with are mirrors of myself, and the covenant police is really just me, trying to see our farm from the neighborhood perspective. I really have no idea what people think. Nor should I care. But I do care what I think, and looking at stacks of tires just doesn't make me very happy.

I'm all about re-using and recycling. I have no problem with compost piles or salvaged glass. I like the idea of re-using the throw away tires to build our retaining walls, but when the projects never get finished, all we have is a lot of junk sitting around, making me feel claustrophobic. When we do finish a project, it is a day for celebration. I try to find ways to make the compost piles more attractive (is that possible?) by putting planters of flowers around the bins made of pallets. I'd like to plant flowers in the tires when we get them all in place and covered with adobe. They will be like big planters, all in a nice row. Think of the plants that could fill them! I'm still not too clear on using tires as planters for vegetables, in case they leach contaminants into the soil, and there are arguments saying tires are bad and others saying the dirt neutralizes them, as long as the tires are not exposed. I prefer to play it safe and keep the tire planters for flowers we don't use in our foods or medicines.

I am so excited about the possibilities for re-using these wonderful things, here on the farm, but unlike the other aspects of my life that seem to go by way too fast (my kids growing up, personal time, a good night's sleep), the projects here on our farm never seem to get done fast enough. It truly is a work in progress, and much like myself, I can always find things to improve. It probably won't ever really be finished, but is anything? Like people, our farm will always be changing and evolving into something new that I hope incorporates so many of the things I support and believe in (solar, wind power), and hope I can add little pockets of beauty to the chaos of farm life.

We also finished our second Tin Man. Here's an adorable use for tin cans we normally recycle, but in this case I have been saving the cans anyway for seed start pots in the spring. I can spare a few to add a little visual interest to a garden space outside, and maybe scare a few birds or those friendly deer away from my precious plants. He's cute, which makes me smile, and he's recycled art---my favorite kind. It is a blast to reuse anything in art projects...the ideas are endless. Maybe one day we will give a tin man class here at the farm, but for now this little guy is for sale to the first person who wants him. $25 plus shipping if needed.

You can also find directions on how to make your own  tin can man on the web. Find a way to re-use anything before you recycle or throw it away...or freecycle those things you no longer need but might be of use to someone else. By trading things around, we are no longer supporting the consumer economy. Kudos!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let's play a new game

For people who like to play time consuming computer's one:

Consumer consequences

It's not totally accurate and excludes people who don't commute to work at all, or people who hang their clothes up to dry instead of using an electric clothes dryer, but it is amusing and informative. There all all kinds of quiz's on finding out what your own personal carbon footprint is. This is a lot more relevant than any of the games Americans typically play to waste time. Hey, instead of shopping, watching sports or playing video games, let's spend some time building recycling bins or re-gifting items that are still useful but that we don't need anymore. Take a class on gardening and plant something. Make your own soap, candles, bread, clothes...anything. Get off the couch and get busy. The planet is in crisis and it needs you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Is anyone listening? Forward to...

Here's the dilemma of the day: I hate Facebook. There comes a point, I'd like to hope, in every spiritual traveler's life when watching television or listening to mainstream radio...mainstream media and all of it's consumer based brainwashing, becomes painful. Literally. Gives you a headache, makes you nauseous, or whatever. The silence becomes blessed because it is not chattering away, supporting a destructive culture focused on Ego.

Facebook has become like that to me. It served its purpose for a moment, to reconnect with my family when I was more focused on providing a network of support for my sister and her disease. When I was thinking of setting up a fundraiser of sorts for alternative cancer treatments, Facebook seemed like a good way to reach the most people. But, my sister opted to go the traditional route with chemo and radiation...which I heard about on Facebook, ironically, and I think I may have gotten one response for financial support of my fundraiser. Strange.

Actually, the more I participated in Facebook, as an observer, really, the more I realized it was indeed a forum for mainstream society to talk about...nothing. A waste of time. Good to connect with old friends and family, but why, if all we have to say is what we are buying now, what video game we are playing, or some other nonsense in support of the right wing part of America that has no interest what-so-ever in saving the planet or the people on it. More of the same. It is truly unfortunate that most of my family and the few friends I have are participating in this social garbage, supporting the consumerist culture.

I used to post links to this blog on Facebook, but when I realized that I would probably offend too many people I knew, I stopped, in fact, I bowed out of Facebook, kind of like I backed out of mainstream society some twenty five years ago. But then as it became more clear to me that time is running out, that my job is to keep talking as well as change my own life to live more gently on our wounded planet, I thought how this group of people I don't want to offend, half of whom have decided I'm crazy anyway, how those very people are the ones in most need of the message. Hmmmm....

Now isn't that opening myself up to a whole bunch of crap? I have been judged as strange or immoral, as a bad, disinterested parent, as a whore, I'm sure with my three marriages, as less than anything really, because I was a welfare mom, as uneducated (I'm one of the few of my family with an actual college degree), and hopelessly unsuccessful because I didn't dress my kids in the latest expensive fashions. I have never felt good enough for my family....any of them, and so for the most part I stopped attending family functions where some people flung sarcastic remarks or passive aggressive bullsh**t that they thought I was too stupid to get. But I did get views full of racism, elitism, judgment and any number of other "normal" and accepted American thoughts and behaviors. Creepy. I guess it was simpler to think that I didn't belong to my extended family any more than I belonged to the nuclear family that raised me, and just disappear.

I've had a great life so far. I've been in love so many times I can't count them, had four gorgeous and wonderful kids, finished my college degree, been on a summer archaeological dig, hung out with the Barnum and Bailey circus, had artwork in art shows, started my own art magazine to promote local art, written for an independent local newspaper, met some wonderfully interesting people, read many fabulous books, lived in New Mexico on and off for three years, lived on the West Coast for a minute, toured an Earthship and met one of the Reynolds clan, lived in a great old Victorian house that we remodeled, built a passive solar house on a commune that we lost, moved to the country and am now starting a homestead with a man who has finally awakened. And, I finally have llamas!!! Another dream realized.

I have been blessed in my life because it has been one of adventure. I wouldn't trade a minute of my judged life to live in suburbia and wear the right clothes. My family...few know anything about me because they dismissed me a long time ago (was it when I gave myself a mohawk?), and that was okay with me. Apples and oranges. I don't want to live in their world and they don't want to live in mine.

But here's the thing people: you can choose to continue sitting on your couches and judging others because they don't live in the right neighborhoods, or wear the right clothes, or think like you do. To hell with them all, right? And I admit it, I don't believe in some patriarchal god figure, and I never will. I don't believe religion belongs in government or in the schools. I don't believe in your god. Period. I'm not going to a hell I don't believe in either, although, we all are doing a damn good job creating that hell right here on our sacred planet. You can continue to think that the more stuff you acquire, the better you will feel...I finally got that BMW or that McMansion in the woods. You can continue to pretend that global warming is not occurring as you continue to go shopping for more stuff you don't really need anyway. And, get more plastic bags to fill up the landfills. Bottled water is great too!

Here's the thing. I agree to disagree. I think most of mainstream society is as crazy as they think I am. Religion and politics aside,  (although really, they are some of the biggest culprits to the mind-numbing of America), we are running out of time for our civilization and our planet. You can pretend, but it just isn't reality. Wake up. What's happening with the crazy weather? The violence? The economy? We are in the downward spiral of the collapse of our civilization, that's what. Extinction.

I'd like to have a planet for my kids to inherit. I'd hate to think of the human race wiping itself out because it was too stubborn to admit what was happening. Let's all get a hold of our EGOS and think for a minute. What really matters? Another pair of shoes or a new purse? Could you possibly forgo those items if it adds a few seconds to the time humanity has left? And so many of you will think....I deserve this thing because I worked so hard to get it. Right. You have been fooled into thinking that things matter more than people, than the animals we are driving to extinction, and the planet itself. It is what we have been taught from the day we were born. It's not your fault you have been duped into supporting corporate capitalism and all of the rich men at the top of the food chain.

But now, it is time to wake up and there is no more time for excuses. You are either part of the problem, or part of the solution.

I have decided to keep talking, no matter what kind of crap I get for it. It's what I can do to try to save our world. It's not a joke anymore. We are past peak-oil. Does anyone know what that means? Turn off the damn TV and educate yourselves on something besides sports scores and movie star gossip. The information is out there, supported by scientists and educated people, not just pathetic old me.

You do need to recycle. You do need to buy local. You do need to stop the crazy consumerism that has gotten the human race to where it is now. There is no longer a choice. We have four years to turn this craziness around. So, you better start supporting those "ugly" windmills and stop thinking "trendy" local food movements are for crazy hippies or devil worshipers or whatever. In a few years, when food is no longer trucked in due to the high prices of fuel, you'll be happy that you are growing your own vegetable garden.
What do you have to lose? Your ego or the planet? Ego or earth? Ego or humanity?

This blog is a public forum for me to air the emotional hurt I have suffered for years from the closemindness of my family. It is a blog that will weed out the non-supporters. I am starting a new Facebook page, under my real name, because, hey, this is who I am and I don't need to be ashamed anymore. I have some things to say and if you don't want to hear it, don't come to the conversation. If you don't want to be part of the solution, then stay out of my way, and stay out of my world, because I'm on a mission to save the planet and I don't have any interest in going shopping, or in who won the football game or in playing weird computer farm games.

Tell me how you are going to do your part to end the destruction of our civilization, and we have lots to talk about. I can direct you to the resources that will open your eyes (books and films on the right side of this blog, and The Story of Stuff at the bottom). I can teach what I know, and I am willing to help anyone who wants to be a part of the change. Believe it or not, there are lots of us out here trying to make a difference and we welcome fellow supporters. It's going to take big, giant steps to turn this train around.

And, instead of living from a place of fear, we can express our love for each other, for the planet, and we might even have fun making a difference. I'm having a ball on my little farm with my animals and the upcoming CSA, and meeting people in the community who share an understanding and feel a responsibility to change their lives to ones of sustainability.

So, tell me what you're doing to save the world and we can start a new Facebook chat about what's really important. Turns out what's really good for your body is good for the planet too. Get healthy and make the ailing planet healthy at the same'll do wonders for your soul.

And boycott consumer based commercialized Christmas. The XMAS Boycott of 2011 is still on!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Four years left to make the change!!!

I've been trying to write some personal essays that I might one day publish, without offending anyone I know. Is that possible? Friends, family, doesn't even matter anymore. I've gone back and edited my words several times to come across in a less harsh manner.

And then on the recommendation of one of the Canon Food Co-op members, Richard and I watched a film/documentary entitled  The Age of Stupid. Thanks Judy for the heads up on this one. Everyone should most certainly watch this film. At the end of this movie, I sat, mouth agape (I could feel it hanging open), on the verge of tears, ready to start a revolution to save humanity and our planet from the annihilation of consumerism. I knew it was bad, but every single time I see one of these films, I get frightened by how bad it really is.

So, no, I don't care who I offend any more. Most of my family and friends live in this capitalistic world that is hell bent on its own destruction. No one wants to believe any of the environmental "whispers" they hear by accident while flipping through channels. They are quick to dismiss the words of scientists on global warming because one of the speakers has a nice house, a nice car...a private jet? Can't recycle now. He's the hypocrite.

More of the same old BS. Like in the film, when people in England were so set against wind turbines in their neighborhoods because it would ruin the view and bring their property values down. But, they are environmentally aware, they claim. What is this craziness? What about the power poles and electric lines that run next to highways and streets? Don't those ruin the view? Or have they become invisible to most people because they've been  there so long?

Ultimately, it doesn't matter and we have to rethink beauty. I find anything that will save the planet for my kids to be downright irresistible. To look across a green field and see those windmills turning, bringing everyone clean energy, now that would be a gorgeous sight to behold. Solar on every rooftop and in open fields here in the southwest where the sun shines 325 days a year. Yeah, I think that would be the prettiest thing I ever saw, knowing that life on our planet could continue because of those big giant, spinning flowers of the prairie.

We are running out of time. I knew this too, but somehow forgot that the crucial factor is how long we have before the damage we have done to our planet is irreversible, before we really sign our death sentence, the end of all humanity. All in extinction. Is that hard to understand? The year at the end of this test of humanity is 2015. That is in four years. Four years to change it all before we can no longer turn around our fast train to global destruction and a hell only imagined in the Bible.

I'm afraid. Really afraid that if we don't open our eyes and try to act like the civilized people we claim to be, there will be no green grass, no trees and no food for my children when they reach adulthood. This is real people. I don't care who I offend anymore. What if we crazy environmental dooms-dayers turn out to be wrong, as Richard always argues...what will we have to show for our possible erroneous prediction? A cleaner, greener, more peaceful world where all the citizens are equally entitled to energy and food and clean water? A world that values the advancement of spirit rather than Ego in its climb for more dollars? How can that be a bad thing? Maybe we will have a world that we all enjoy living in for a few more centuries.

How truly bizarre to be alive in a time where I could witness my species extinction. That's got to be the scariest thing I've ever thought about. Worse than my own death. My heart is racing now as I energize with the desire to make a difference, to convince more people that only we, the people here now, can change the outcome of this story. Only we, as a group, can say no to the politicians and demand clean energy, clean food, clean medicine and a future planet to live on. Stop buying crap people!!!! What do you really need?

Today we went to the grocery store, and with this movie fresh in my head, I looked at the customers around me and noticed, to my horror, that we, my own little family of four, were the only ones out of ten checkout lanes that had brought our own cloth, reusable grocery bags. It's hopeless. Pathetic. Maybe we are committing suicide as a culture, as a species because we don't value ourselves enough. Is the dollar more important than the future of our children? Is it really? Think long and hard about what you as a citizen of this planet are willing to do to save the earth.

I've decided to boycott consumer based Christmas. It'll be the great Xmas Boycott of 2011. No shopping. No consuming. No support of corporate capitalism. My rules? Well, if it's hand made out of recycled materials, I can give it...a card, a doll, a rug, a purse, a tin man, whatever. Food made from wholesome organic materials are good too. Time...just time spent with loved ones should be enough. Or giving to a charity in someone else's name is a great gift. Make it an organization that is doing its part to save the planet. No lights this year---wasted energy. If I get a wrapped gift, I'll give it to a local charity, unopened. I realize that that may spoil the fun, and offend the giver, but a manufactured item might sneak its way into my Christmas boycott. Wrapped gifts...maybe next, wait. let's give up commercial Christmas altogether. No more wrapping paper and bows. Unless you make them. I always thought gifts wrapped in material would be cool. You could save up the years and make a quilt one day. No mail ordered items. Keep it local. Planes are one of the biggest contributors to the world destruction. And, let's just have Christmas on one day...say the 25th, or the 21st in support of the winter solstice. No other days. You snooze, you lose. Didn't get it there, didn't get it made, too bad. It's over. Let's stop playing the consumer game and hit them when they need it most...the holidays. Oh, you think some people might go out of business? Yippee!!! Reduce. If we want to save our world, we have to take big, giant steps. Four years. Four years. And people should find better ways to spend their work days than feeding the corporate machine.

What are you going to do today to make a change? Make it big. You don't need another pair of shoes or a new power tool. You do need a planet to live on.

Join me in the Christmas Boycott of 2011. Maybe if enough people stop shopping (no more Black Friday) then we can hit the corporate giants where it hurts. Oh, and stop eating fast food, and take your own bags to the grocery store. Stop being lazy. Stop blaming others. Stop pretending it doesn't matter. Jesus would want you all to save your home planet, and would probably support the Christmas Boycott of 2011 on the basis that He never preached materialism or dreamed that His birthday would be turned into such an atrocity.

Am I offending anyone yet? Well, I'm offended by the greed and stupidity of Western society. I'm offended that the dollar means more than the planet. I'm offended that so many people shut their eyes to the reality of global warming. I'm offended that my children and all the little, innocent ones all over the world don't mean enough to my own family and my community to save. I'm offended and fed up. I will not stop talking. I will not shut up. Everywhere I go. Everyone I meet. "Do you recycle?" I will ask. "Do you believe in human extinction enough to do your part to make it a reality?" win the end of the world!!! That will be some reality show, won't it?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Documentaries before tire walls...and gardens

Lat night Richard and I watched a film off of Netflix called, No Impact Man: The Documentary, which was about a man and his family who live in New York City. This man, Colin Beavan had set up a year long project in which he and his family reduced their impact upon the planet to almost nothing at the end of twelve months. It is well worth watching, and raises the question of how much we really need. Can we live more simply and thereby reduce our imprint upon the planet? While I'm not ready to give up toilet paper and refrigeration, I am always looking for affordable alternatives that take me one step further from corporate capitalism.

We have not canceled our Netflix subscription yet because we have stumbled upon a world of wonderful documentaries. Food Matters is another good one and I highly recommend it. I gave it to my sister for Christmas in the hope that she discovers that there really are alternatives out there to the traditional cancer treatments. In fact, most of our ailments can be cured by our diet, a simple truth that Corporate Medicine does not want people to know. Eat real food and get rid of the garbage---processed and packaged foods, chemically poisoned fruits and vegetables, genetically modified foodstuffs, hormone and antibody injected meat. Throw in a little exercise, some stress relieving meditation and you should live to a ripe old age, with the health to accomplish almost anything.

We also watched a film Go Further, in which Woody Harrelson  takes a road/bike trip down the west coast talking about environmental responsibility. Also pretty good, and interesting to see a movie star involved in the environmental revolution. Apparently Harrelson is quite the activist for many causes, including the right to grow hemp, which makes him a good guy in my book.

Check out these great films and share. We've got to keep talking and getting the information out if we hope to save the planet.

At home on the farm, we quietly allowed the new year to creep on in as we watched the needle on the thermometer drop to 2 degrees F and listened to the wind howl through the past few nights, threatening to tear the siding off of our manufactured home. We got about 1/2" of snow, maybe, but it sure has been cold. The critters are all safe and sound with heat lamps and heaters in their waters...except for some of the poultry, which we have to bring the frozen waterers in every morning to un-thaw and refill.

Came up with a new plan for our wall of tires: to make a bermed canning garden that will be sort of like a huge sunken bed or basin to collect any moisture we might get and retain it in the garden space. This will be our home garden for tomatoes and anything we can come up with to fill our pantry. Now Richard wants to work on the paths in this garden first, digging them down and refilling with would chips that will slowly decompose and hold moisture for nearby plants...something Rob over at One Straw talks about doing in his gardens.

And now the green house looks all cleaned least on one side. The remaining tires are filled with wood chips to provide some thermal mass and act as insulator to the few plants planted in the greenhouse.

Since Richard discovered how much easier Earthbags seem to build with, as opposed to rammed tire building, he has no interest in even getting started on a tire wall, so I was left with the question of what to do with the tires we have accumulated. It came to me as I woke this a berm and basin garden out of them.

 So another project has been born. I hope the tires can be filled and covered with dirt from the center of the basin, and then planted with flowers and plants that deter predatory insects, or at least give the little buggers something to eat besides my tomatoes and peppers.

To be environmentally responsible, we must learn to use and reuse the items at hand, and try not to create more trash. I didn't want to throw the tires in the garbage because our ideas have changed. There will always be some use for them, if we get creative, and maybe in the end we will have to pound a few tires, but so what? I only want to move them out of sight of the covenant police, and the tire garden seems like it might be a good use of them...for now. Also, Richard has decided not to buy woven polypropelene bags from the manufacturers, but instead to find recycled ones...old feed bags or misprints, and the last time we went by the feed store, Dale had a half dozen bags his customers had brought back for us. Wonderful! And so it has begun..the Earthbag adventure.

Everyday is an opportunity to learn or to do something that will benefit the planet or the people on it. Do no harm. How can we all reexamine our own lives to see what few things we might give up that will lesson our personal impact on our environment? Could we hang our laundry outside on the clothesline? Could we take our own cups to Starbucks for our morning coffee? Could we stop buying dinners in a box and maybe make our own real food at home, where we can sit down with our family to eat it?

Our little daughter turned four yesterday, and we made the cake, frosting and ice cream from scratch, from our own eggs and our goats milk. It was wonderful knowing we did not have to alter our celebration because we no longer buy cake mixes, prepared frosting, or ice-cream. We are learning how to change our lives to fit our new paradigm of healthy living, environmental responsibility, and the lasting spiritual wisdom that comes as a side effect of simple living.