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.


  1. Keep writing Kerry. I love reading about your farm and your thoughts.

    Don't know if you have seen these movies, but in honor of Pete Postlethwaite's death (a truly great actor)The Age of Stupid seems appropriate. This futuristic film ponders why we didn't do more when we discovered what we were doing to the planet.
    Not sure if Netflix has the film - Fuel. I haven't watched it, but really want to.
    Of course there are lots of good flicks on the co-op's web site scroll down on the left hand side bar until you see movies.

    Love to know your thoughts about these movies.


  2. Those feed-bags decompose real quick when exposed to the sun. Be prepared to have the contents spill out as they do.

    1. It takes a couple of months for the bags to decompose...we have learned from experience, however, if the bags are covered with an earthen plaster, stucco, or even paint, the life of the bags is extended until a permanent plaster can be applied. The bags are not intended to remain uncovered. As a building material, polypropylene bags are always covered with stucco or cob or earthen plaster of some variety.