Sustainable SW Blogs

no more mr. nice guy

The Field Lab - 22 hours 26 min ago

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Puddle Rd.

The Field Lab - Thu, 2014/10/23 - 5:54pm

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

The Best Holiday Gifts Are Wishes

Holy Scrap - Thu, 2014/10/23 - 8:54am
It is early to be reflecting on 2014, New Years Day is weeks ahead. But the smell of autumn triggers nostalgia. I remember how Mikey and I spent the past decade living by pledges that changed everything. We purchased land, built a home and learned to make, clothing, fuel, and community. We wrangled free of what bound us and put our trust in nature. Our prize for doing so was common sense, our portion of the wisdom inherent in all that lives. Then I gathered up every bit of what I learned and I put it in a book that I titled The Good Life Lab.
At our start in 2006 living gently on the earth was not yet trendy, neither was a decommodified lifestyle. After the 08’ stock market crash and new evidence that climate change was real, movements started up. Green trends followed. People gardened and learned who Monsanto is. But just a few years’ later and inspiration lilts. We are weary from the weight of the disaster that may be our fate. Greener products won’t save us. We return to shopping with a few better options like organics. 
Why weren’t we transformed? Where was the escape hatch to a world we are capable of imagining? While on my book tour I noticed that people see a clear image of a better world and they describe it similarly, a healthy and vibrant planet, an economic model that abolishes poverty and distributes resources to all, meaningful work, having enough to live, harmony between nations and people. I wonder about why this dream is so hard to get off the ground. 
While driving back from Albuquerque the other day I listened to a TED Talk about creativity. People like Sting were interviewed and so were scientists who were trying to pin down creativity by aiming MRI’s at the brains of improvisational musicians like Keith Jarrett. All agreed that creativity is the result of turning off the part of the brain located in the frontal cortex that identifies with self. It is the part that says things like, “what will people think?” or “what if I fail?” Sting said that creativity is the result of being willing to fall on your face in front of everyone. They know that willingness to fail is an act that requires trust in something unseen and belief that something not yet created may become because of you, through you.

Some people thought my book was philosophical. My publisher categorized it a memoir. They also called it gifty. When The Good Life Lab book won the Nautilus award it was for sustainability. The Los Angeles review of books compared me to Aldus Huxley and what I wrote to Walden. People find it in bookstores filed under building. On the surface my book teaches how to make bio diesel, clothing, building materials, power, and food. I share what I know about how to live out of the waste stream and find new income streams. The lessons and stories are structures for the telling of something more significant. The Good Life Lab is about making a promise. A sacred promise is different from promising to recycle, or reduce carbon emissions by riding a bike to work. A sacred promise involves trust in something that there may be no concrete evidence of, something that is perhaps imaginary. We did this when we chose an ideal and then lived by it. Then we listened, not with our brains but with our hearts. When wisdom came we trusted it even though it was not a match with the cultural milieu.
My book is written and I’m done touring to promote it. My homestead is less interesting to me than it was before I wrote it. Built and functioning it needs me less. My heart looks to wilder terrain in order to connect to nature, things like backpacking and trail running. I’m considering starting up a new non-profit project. Unlike the green movement that left people weary and reluctantly returning to unhealthy habits head hung low still gripping a lilted wish for a better world, Mikey and I continually grow in the direction of our original wish. Our energy is ever increasing. We are interested.  I believe that this is due to the wish we made. Hazrat Inayat Khan once said, “The one whose desire is not fulfilled did not know how to desire.” His son Pir Vilayat taught that wisdom arises from the interaction between inherent knowledge or truth and acquired knowledge from embodied experience (among other things). This is a match for my own experience, which tells me that the rationalists were wrong. Truth is sensory. Without human imagination and heart we cannot get to the world that we are capable of dreaming of because our ideas cannot take flight. When Mikey and I dreamed aloud (at risk of falling on our face) our promise (to preserve life) led to knowledge from within and without. I believe this is so because our wish was for life, of which we are a part. Once connected to life a living being may claim their dispensation of it, their common sense. Real wisdom, we soon discovered, is not subject change due to trend, and it does not tire under the weight of the world. It does not run out.
This post is long. I apologize. My aim was to share a secret. It is true that The Good Life Lab is a book about being a maker of things. It will show you how to decommodify your life at a time in which the whole world is for sale. But the heart of my book is about desire. Its real aim is to show you how to make a wish that will be fulfilled.
While I was on my book tour folks six or a dozen copies of The Good Life Lab as gifts for friends and relatives. My publisher was right the book is gifty. To encourage you to share The Good Life Lab with your loved ones this holiday season I’ve come up with ways to thank you by giving you gifts.
Each week leading up to New Years Day I will pull a name from a hat that contains the names of those who’ve placed an order that week. Winner chooses from the below prizes (until they run out).

One of four color illustrations from The Good Life Lab 11’X14” mounted on foam core board.
The Groping Woobie - a wearable spooning blanket from pg. 45 in the chapter Broken Heart Meets Giant Band Aid 64” X 80" handmade by Wendy.
Hangable paper prayer flags that read “holy scrap.”
Battery desulfator handmade by Mikey.
One of three Holy Scrap gift packs containing botanical medicines wildcrafted from medicinal plants of southwest handmade by Wendy. 
Ways To Enter (click drop down for three options)  Buy 2 Copies Get 1 Drawing Entry - Free Shipping $37.90 USD Buy 6 Copies Get 3 Drawing Entries - Free Shipping $113.00 USD Buy 9 Copies Get 6 Drawing Entires, + 10th Copy Free - Free Ship $170.00 USD

(one ship to address please, if you need items to ship to multiple addresses shipping will be added)
I’m happy to sign and personalize books and the illustrated art pieces. Just include a request with your order. Good luck, and thank you for your tremendous support.
May all of your wishes come true! – Wendy

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs


The Field Lab - Wed, 2014/10/22 - 4:50pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

damp day

The Field Lab - Tue, 2014/10/21 - 5:30pm

62,72,63, .31",B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Rattlesnake Season

The Field Lab - Mon, 2014/10/20 - 4:49pm

Went out to feed the roosters yesterday morning and found a rattlesnake...the first of the year at TFL.  He appeared to have gotten stuck trying to slither out of the pen through the chicken wire.  Unfortunately for him the relocation program for varmints has ended - and rattlers don't get a pass anyway.  I have found that my .22 rifle is the euthanizer of choice.  Very easy to give one safe distance shot to the head, then a shovel to remove the biting part.  I ended up having to cut some of the chicken wire to get the body out.  I bagged it and stuck it in the fridge for a couple of hours to wait for it to stop moving.  Skinned it later on that afternoon and found that the reason he got stuck was because he was trying to digest a big mouse.  The "lump" kept him from going forward and his scales kept him from backing up.  The rodent in his gut kinda put me off from chopping him up to cook for a meal.  I just happened to have the skin curing ingredients on hand for just such an occasion.  Soaking it in 3 equal parts of distilled water, isopropyl alcohol, and glycerin for 3 days then will tack it down to dry in the shade for a week.  A final rub down with a bit of leather conditioner and it will be finished.  67,79,59,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Reading List

The Field Lab - Sun, 2014/10/19 - 4:53pm
1 Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 2 Peter 1: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were move by the Holy Ghost. Romans 1:19 Because that which many be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein:
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Things To Do With Antlers

Holy Scrap - Sun, 2014/10/19 - 12:53pm
When I was living in New York I hardly thought about antlers. Now I find them on hikes and around town at at yard sales. The other day I decided to give these a little extra color. Whatta ya think?
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

renovation finished

The Field Lab - Sat, 2014/10/18 - 6:00pm
Adding the file cabinets inside the hut worked really well.  Now it almost seems like I have a bedroom instead of feeling like I am sleeping in my living space.  No doubt in a year or two, I will be doing a blog post about cleaning out the drawers once they have been filled with useless stuff.  70,84,52,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Sufi Winter Schedule

Holy Scrap - Fri, 2014/10/17 - 7:31pm
As you may know, here in Truth or Consequences I lead a contemplative Sufi group. Please feel welcome to drop in on us should you find yourself in town. And please do consider coming to town to our very special winter retreat. It is a wonderful opportunity to do deep inner work. You need not have any previous experience or knowledge of Sufism to join in these events.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Went for the long ride...

The Field Lab - Fri, 2014/10/17 - 4:24pm

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Raccoon's Revenge

The Field Lab - Thu, 2014/10/16 - 4:57pm
Just when I thought it was all over.  Yesterday morning I noticed that the bird netting on top of my chicken pen had been "tampered with".  I also noticed that one of my roosters was gone.  Last night I locked up the boys in their coop and set up the game cam.  Sure enough - a raccoon was on the prowl.  I am fairly certain (based on the photos I have) that this is the first one I caught and released.  Apparently, 5 miles away from TFL was not far enough.  With no way back into the greenhouse, I reckon he figured a chicken dinner was on the menu.  Covered the top of the pen with fencing and modified the trap (just in case he remembers it).  If I catch him tonight, he will go for a very long ride before being released.   If this one or any others show up again - it will be time for some lethal justice.  79,90,45,0,B
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Seven Hemp Farms. Two Continents. One Revived Industry

Doug Fine - Thu, 2014/10/16 - 11:49am

First Legal Hemp Harvest Update

American Hemp Is On Its Way to Your Car Battery And Your Bookstore

The first digital age domestic hemp crop is being harvested as I write. The subtle decrease in seismic activity currently puzzling Virginia geologists can be traced to Thomas Jefferson ceasing to spin in his grave for the first time in 77 years.

So begins the latest write-up resulting from the recent #HempHarvestTour2014. A note on that preceding “word,” or whatever it is, since its style was absent from my English grammar book. Based on the reality that half my friends think me pre-scholastic in my new media literacy and half see me as more of a trend-hopping Cosmonaut, I figure we are in a place where about half of the folks reading this Dispatch will know what the heck the hashtag business is all about.

Think of it as a supplement. You won’t be out of the loop if you aren’t on Twitter as long as you read Hemp Bound, that worldwide hemp industry investigation and re-launch blueprint that, fortuitously, was published during this, the crop’s biggest year in the last twelve thousand.

But for those who do Tweet, #HempHarvestTour2014 amounts to a 200-image photo documentary of these historic harvests between which I’ve been bouncing, from Slovenia to the first legal American hemp harvests of the Digital Age, in Kentucky and Colorado.

Compiled together in an essay, these reminiscences (sorry, these in-the-field-researched pieces of investigative journalism – ya never know when the Pulitzer committee might be reading) will comprise the hemp-printed First Legal Hemp Harvest Dispatch that (stay tuned) you’ll be able to order in the new year. An excerpt just ran here.

I’m working with my pard Morris Beegle of Colorado Hemp Company on that first hemp-printed project, and so far American hemp farmers in three states have volunteered to contribute fiber. We hope this will spark a publishing revolution grounded in tree-free, renewable American hemp. As a father, I haven’t been this optimistic about my replicants’ future since before last year’s second “Millennial” flood this decade wiped out the Funky Butte Ranch driveway again.

If reading Hemp Bound, clicking around the blithe #HempHarvestTour2014 Tweets and waiting for the First Legal Harvest printing announcement aren’t enough immersion in what is for Canada already a billion-dollar hemp economy, you still have three more ways to procrastinate from whatever your real job is (glad to be of service: it’s educational, at least). You can check out or book the Hemp Bound live event here.

In a “Have Scythe: Will Harvest” moment, here‘s a chance to watch me being schooled — with a dangerously medieval tool — in hand-harvesting hemp by Slovenian farmers.

And since I’m speaking so much about sustainability in the emerging hemp and cannabis industries, if you haven’t seen this TEDx Talk, “Why We Need Goatherding in the Digital Age,” it explains a lot of where I’m coming from in my work.

Back on the Twitter thing, my daily Tweets range from dewey datura photos to video clips from recent United Nations testimony. That’s @organiccowboy.

And for the 50% of folks who process information in what you might call a more seasonal fashion, that hemp-printed First Harvest Update is coming your way at the beginning of February—just when you’re thinking, “Hmm, I’ve read Hemp Bound. I wonder if there’s an update.”

There’ll be a pre-order with deposit for the historic first run, announced in these Dispatches and via Twitter. Here’s what we’re thinking for a pitch line: “American hemp-grown literature: makes a swell Valentine’s Day gift.”

But ya really want to read Hemp Bound first so you’re grounded in the remarkable economic foundation hemp provides as you read about the first folks to prove said foundation’s reality on the ground this season. One of the harvests I visited is being used for next generation batteries by a nanotechnology company.

And in closing, whether a hemp-based publishing industry sounds farfetched or a sensible necessity to you, check out this scene from the Hemp Bound event that C-Span’s BookTV aired this summer: shortly after I’m introduced by two of my Colorado hemp heroes, Lynda Parker and Michael Bowman, I display, discuss and leaf-through the mint condition 1731 hemp-printed book (about the Dutch Reformation) that an audience member had brought to the event. I found it significant that the book’s owner had no problem with, for instance, a fellow leafing through a priceless heirloom, or skin oils damaging the fiber.

Well, off to milk the goats. They have very few problems, too. Some more harvest-time photos are below. My thanks to everyone reading this is for, especially, allowing me to pursue a working life that gives me so much pleasure.

-Doug Fine                                 Funky Butte Ranch, NM


Dreaming’s Over: There’s Real Work to Be Done. Doug Fine, Solar-powered Goat Herder (I-Land of Enchantment) Harvesting Hemp With Katie Moyer (I-Christian County, Kentucky), American Mother and Hemp Farmer. The yellow crop beyond the standing hemp field in the far background is tobacco. Moyer gave me and my Kentucky tour host Josh Hendrix a container of her hemp muscle salve from some just-harvested plants. Within five minutes of application, after a day of driving Kentucky hills and stripping retted hemp bark from fiber, I knew that when this stuff is on Walgreens shelves, the ibuprofen folks (Bless ‘em for decades of hard, if chemical work) are in trouble.

Sampling Some of the First Modern U.S.-Hemp Seed, A Protein-Rich, Omega-Balanced Superfood, Sterling Colorado.



Flashing the American sign language sign for hemp at World Hemp Congress, Lendava, Slovenia. That’s a hempcrete pyramid in the local park in the background. The hemp sign, invented by David Piller and taught to me in person at an April Hemp Bound event in Colorado, becomes official in American sign language when it’s in common use. So please flash it often, folks (as I did on Colorado public television recently) — it’s cool. One of the fellows in the photo, Vinko Skraban, owns Planet Konoplje (Hemp), a company that now provides my family’s toothpaste.

The post Seven Hemp Farms. Two Continents. One Revived Industry appeared first on Doug Fine.

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Santa Fe Harvest Swap

Home Grown New Mexico - Thu, 2014/10/16 - 9:16am

This in from the organization: Radical Homemakers of New Mexico

The third annual Santa Fe Harvest Swap is just around the corner!
It will be held Sunday, OCTOBER 26th 2014 from 10-1pm in the Railyard Park Community Room.

The swap is free, and according to our past participants, one of the funnest events of the year. It is a chance to showcase your specialties from the kitchen, and to take home a wide variety of goodies from fellow swappers. The experience of celebrating the year’s abundance in a joyful exchange will leave you inspired and feeling connected to kindred souls. Come join us!

While the name Harvest Swap was inspired by the epic fruit year of 2012, it is a little misleading. You don’t need to bring things you grew or harvested yourself (though you certainly can). Really most of the swapping is of prepared items: baked treats, specialty condiments, goat cheese and cultured butter, jams and preserves, fermented items, herb teas and tinctures, soap and salves, and so on. Still, all these things originate as a harvest, so in honor of that we’re sticking with the name.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER  PLEASE DO SO HERE!  Participants are limited so sign up now!

Looking forward to seeing you and your creations on the big day!

Your friends at Radical Homemakers of New Mexico

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs


The Field Lab - Wed, 2014/10/15 - 6:24pm
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Transformed Trash

Holy Scrap - Wed, 2014/10/15 - 9:56am
I recently posted about an experiment I was trying out. I sent broken, old jewelry to an Etsy designer that I chose to remake the items into beautiful new jewelry. By using old parts and supplying my own materials I was able to afford jewelry that I otherwise could not. I loved working with Saara. She is genuinely talented, great at communicating and she designs beautiful pieces. The experiment could not have turned out better so I'm recommending her to you. Saara's designs contain whimsy while being organic and earthy. To see the materials I sent her go back to my first post about it. Posted here is the pic of what she made for me. The three rings swivel when I wear them and so they always look different. All three stones are different heights with different sized mounts, the rings vary as well, polished to matted finish. It is positively lovely and Saara and I are already working on a pair of earrings. You can find her store, Saara Reidsema, here and of course you may write to her if you have custom work. Enjoy!
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

fast asleep

The Field Lab - Tue, 2014/10/14 - 5:14pm
Been really enjoying the new mattress and sleeping north/south instead of east/west.  Taking the comfort zone up a notch starting tonight.  What usually happens is that I end up falling asleep while watching a video on the internet.  Then I wake up and have to get up to turn off the computer, wait for it to log off then shut down, turn off the AC power strip then turn off my lights and fans.  Just enough activity to wake me up enough that it takes awhile to fall asleep again.  So now I have a wireless mouse and a one channel remote to shut down the AC power to the computer,speakers, and modem and another two channel remote to turn off the DC lights and fans.  Point-click-click-click-sleep.  71,80,43,0,C
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

a really big camera...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2014/10/13 - 5:36pm

A couple of weeks ago, an Austin photographer contacted me about a project he is working on that he wanted to test at The Field Lab.   Ian Kasnoff (pictured on the right) has turned a small trailer into a camera/darkroom.  He and his buddy Justin Sternberg came out to TFL to test his prototype "VLF" (very large format) camera.  Ultimately, he hopes to shoot and process images at least as big as 4' x 5'.  The technique is based on the camera obscura.  67,75,58,0,W
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

So are we...

The Field Lab - Sun, 2014/10/12 - 4:19pm
James Lewis and 3 of his burro buddies came in this morning to join me in listening to today's teaching.
1 John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in Him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love Him, because He first loved us.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

October Potluck Cancelled

Home Grown New Mexico - Sat, 2014/10/11 - 8:23pm

Hey everybody-
Our last Home Grown New Mexico Potluck  for Wednesday, October 15, 2014 has been cancelled. We will resume them next year.

We still have one more fundraising event in November and that is the Beermaking class. The class is filling up fast so please go to the Class section to sign up for it on this site. Learn to make beer at home and bottle it and take home some too! Buy your ticket here before it fills up.

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs
Syndicate content