Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Journal Entry #1 of My Journey

Gardening 101

Saturday and Sunday I managed to start some of the seedlings I wanted to start indoors...finally. I started Martian Giant tomatoes, Brandywine tomatoes, Early Big Red tomatoes, orange bell peppers, green bell peppers, red bells peppers, hot wax peppers, Zulu prince sunflowers, Firecracker sunflowers, oregano, lavender, anise hyssop, cinnamon basil, lemon balm, bee balm, echinacea, rosemary, lamb's ear, and celery. The sunflowers have sprouted.

I also managed to tac up the bean trellis netting along my privacy fence in preparation of my peas and scarlet runner beans. Later, the cucumbers, too. Spent a few minutes turning my mulch (chopped up fall leaves) in my square-foot raised beds. So far, my daffodils and rhubarb are coming up!

Post-Peak Oil & Disaster Prepping

I went to a truckload tool sale I noticed by signs all over the place directing me along my way to work. I couldn't afford much but alot of it was all powered equipment anyway. I ended up buying 10 pairs of scissors for $10 and a 5qt. cast iron dutch oven for $9.99 one could use over campfires if needed. It's not my rocketstove/cobb oven dream but it will suffice until I can get one built, if ever. I also bought a solar shower from a camping store I was in. It was only $6.97. Affordable. I couldn't pass that up! Bought some more food stock to rotate.

Sustainability Practices

I've been flunking this lately. My new job entails me having to drive out of town for meetings occassionally. Gas was $2.65 tonight when I went to fill-up because I only had 18 miles left to go in the tank. $10 bought me a quarter tank and I have to travel 60 miles round trip on Friday to an out-of-town meeting. I'm carpooling everybody, though. Nothing else sustainable going on right now except recycling.

Note on Spirituality

I recently joined a new peak oil related spirituality group. Boy, it's a busy one! I somehow think that if we all keep our mouths shut about our own faith and our own political beliefs that maybe we might be able to form community and get along fairly well for survival. At least the new, separate list let us get out our feelings about our spirituality to each other so that we can carry on in other facets of dealing with peak oil without getting into knock-down drag-out arguments. If we who believe in peak oil can't get our acts together in tolerating each others' beliefs then I think it will be 10 times more difficult with the average joe.

Wish List

1. Berkefeld Water Purifier
2. Richard Embleton's book "Oilephant Down"
3. composting bin
4. sun oven
5. worm farm
6. outdoor clothes line
7. Attendance at Community Solutions Sustainability Conference in the fall

I think that's all I'll be able to afford up through this fall.

And that's my story so far.......

Peak oil and failing mass media--The Minnesota Daily

The Minnesota Daily

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Essay "The End of Civilization" by David Eriqat::Counter Currents

A man after my own heart. I couldn't say it better. He ties up my thoughts on the world situation very well.

click here for essay (it's long)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

100 Mile Diet, Vertical Farming, Great Lent

100 mile Diet, Vertical Farming, Thoughts for Great Lent
100 Mile Diet
"This wildly successful series written by J.B.
MacKinnon and Alisa Smith details their commitment to only eat food
produced within a 100 mile radius of their home".

Vertical Farming

Advantages of Vertical Farming
Year-round crop production; 1 indoor acre is equivalent to 4-6 outdoor acres or more, depending upon the crop (e.g., strawberries: 1 indoor acre = 30 outdoor acres)
No weather-related crop failures due to droughts, floods, pests
All VF food is grown organically: no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
VF virtually eliminates agricultural runoff by recycling black water
VF returns farmland to nature, restoring ecosystem functions and services
VF greatly reduces the incidence of many infectious diseases that are acquired at the agricultural interface
VF converts black and gray water into potable water by collecting the water of
VF adds energy back to the grid via methane generation from composting non-edible
parts of plants and animals
VF dramatically reduces fossil fuel use (no tractors, plows, shipping.)
VF converts abandoned urban properties into food production centers
VF creates sustainable environments for urban centers
VF creates new employment opportunities
We cannot go to the moon, Mars, or beyond without first learning to farm indoors on
VF may prove to be useful for integrating into refugee camps
VF offers the promise of measurable economic improvement for tropical and subtropical
LDCs. If this should prove to be the case, then VF may be a catalyst in helping to reduce or even reverse the population growth of LDCs as they adopt urban agriculture as a strategy for sustainable food production.
VF could reduce the incidence of armed conflict over natural resources, such as water
and land for agriculture..

Thoughts for Great Lent: Jacques Ellul (1912-1994) - social critic, theologian

Jesus Radicals for translations and written materials

Wikipedia-Jacques Ellul for a quick intro.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Edible Wildlife Recipes for the Upper Midwest

I just had to make an entry for this! I'm also going to add this one to my living sustainably list to the right.

click here

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sporty Diesel 157 mpg for $13,000 and Biodiesel

1 Florida Company Looks to E-Grass as Biofuel Feedstock
Green Car Congress

February 20, 2006

A West Florida company is looking to rent 11,000 hectares (42.5 square miles) of land in the Philippines to grow e-grass as biomass input to a gasification process to produce transportation fuels.

The Biomass Investment Group (BIG), based in Gulf Breeze (near Pensacola), is offering as much as $400 (around P20,000) per hectare per year for farmers who would be leasing their lands to the project according to papers submitted to the Sarangani Provincial Investment and Promotion Center. BIG is offering to pay the farmers five years in advance for leased lands.

E-grass usually refers to Miscanthus x giganteus, an infertile hybrid of other species of Miscanthus grasses. Miscanthus is a genus of about 15 species of perennial grasses native to subtropical and tropical regions of Africa and Asia.

Miscanthus is being grown experimentally in at least 10 European countries as an energy crop. The crop is established by planting pieces of the root called rhizomes, which are usually collected from nursery fields where miscanthus has already been established.

Miscanthus has relatively high yields of 8-15 tons/hectare (3-6 t/acre) dry weight, low moisture content, low mineral content, and a good energy balance and output/input ratio compared with some other biomass options. It requires about 25 inches of water per year to survive, tolerates brackish water, and uses a minimal amount of nutrients from the soil

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have concluded that Giant Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus), a species of elephant grass, could serve as a clean substitute for solid fuel for use in power generation. They predicted that if just 10% of Illinois land mass was devoted to Miscanthus, it could provide 50% of Illinois electricity needs. Using Miscanthus for energy would not necessarily reduce energy costs in the short term, but there would be significant savings in carbon dioxide production.

BIG's business plan calls for the conversion of e-grass into electricity through gasification, with expansion into the conversion of the syngas into liquid fuels such as ethanol and eventually hydrogen. BIG eventually plans to offer complete bio-refineries, consisting of large-scale commercial production of e-grass and other dedicated crops for production of thermal and electrical energy, transportation fuels, and a variety of value-added bio-based products.

1. ORNL Miscanthus factoid

2. treehugger--Loremo AG: Sporty 157 mpg Diesel

The concept is refreshingly simple: make an ultra-efficient car that's light, has exceptionally low drag, and sips diesel with a small engine. This is the Loremo AG, a car that is a combination
of innovative technology and back-to-basics thinking. To be shown at the upcoming car show in Geneva, this German creation claims a fuel economy of 157 mpg with no fancy hybrid drive train, fuel cells, or plug in paraphernalia. Weighing less than a thousand pounds, the sporty rear-wheel drive 4-seater is designed to be maximally aerodynamic. the Loremo sports a modest 2-cylinder, 20 hp turbo diesel motor, has a top speed of 100 mph, and does 0-60 in ten seconds. If that sounds like less than elite performance, the anticipated $13,000 price tag should put it in a bit more perspective. The Loremo is due to come onto the European market in 2009.
Loremo AG via I4U News

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

NY Times says peak oil "almost certainly correct"

There is lots of positive information rolling past my eyes tonight. This article from the Energy Bulletin is one of them. It mentions the NYT as going on record and confirming peak oil! Further info is on the Oil Drum. But click here for the EB link.

"A Syriana Moment"--Early Warning blog

Stu has some very good writing skills. I implore you to bookmark this blog and go back to it often. I visited George Washington's mansion as a child while on a vacation. I remember the views he is talking about. I loved that place.

Click here to read "A Syriana Moment".

America's Transportation Network--(high speed rail)

On the way home from my training session for my new job, I happened to hear about a Purdue project called America's Transportation Project on NPR. Several people on my discussion group list had mentioned in the past ideas about how to reconstruct our infrastructure to accommodate light rail for passengers and high-speed rail for goods. Well, here it is. It's a group looking at ways to build a high-speed rail system down the medians of the highways already constructed. In our group, someone had already come up with that idea!

Here's the link.