Suburban Skills – My Skills

This is the last post in the Suburban Series that I have been writing over the last few weeks.  The previous suburban skills post was about homemaking, so lets go outdoors and see what skills that may be needed to make the suburbs a little more sustainable, and ready for energy descent. Handyman skills come in many forms. From simple DIY projects, to full blown home maintenance. But let me   [Continue Reading …]

Suburban Resilience


 I have been thinking a lot lately about this series of posts.  You know the type of thinking, really deep and meaningful sort of stuff.  I have been imagining possible futures, researching case studies, and thinking about the present events around the globe.Then I came across this quote by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Town movement.“If we wait for the governments, it’ll   [Continue Reading …]

Mousse and Carrots


Kim and Ben have been having a ball over the last two days.Yesterday, Ben got out a cookbook and decided to cook Chocolate Mousse!  Here he is in action.Beating the egg whites (all home laid by our lovely chooks of course).  The dogs got scrambled yoke for dinner!Getting fluffier. Strike the pose.  Nice skills Ben.Here is Ben and I about to scoff down our chocolate mousse!  It   [Continue Reading …]

Suburban Skills – Homemaking


The probability of an economic shock is increasing month-by-month or even day-by-day due to Peak Everything, and as described in previous Suburban posts it is a very good idea to act while we have time to prepare for energy descent amongst other major issues.If we are resource or space poor there are many skills that can be learnt to prepare.  As we will need to be increasingly frugal mainly   [Continue Reading …]

*includes calf rennet


This evening, I stayed back in the city after work to attend a presentation about slow pyrolysis technology (more in another post).  It was very informative, and before hand I had a chat with a guy called Hamish from Yarra Energy Foundation, who is of the same opinion on many topics as I am. So, after the presentation and another quick chat, I headed off to the tram stop, then rode the   [Continue Reading …]

India Pale Ale


I spent a relaxing time this evening performing one of my favourite pass times, which you probably guessed is bottling beer. This is the batch I put down on the 2nd of October.  It stopped fermenting after a full two weeks, and I let it settle until today so that I get a really clear beer in the bottle.So out with 50 stubbies (330ml bottles), which I washed and sterilised, put one sugar drop   [Continue Reading …]

Suburban Retrofit


So far I have written about food, transportation, family, community and we even heard from Linda Woodrow about the Cuban Special period and how they handled energy descent.  One of the few things I have left out are ways to retrofit the suburbs, or more specifically a suburban home to prepare for energy descent, and in many ways, help mitigate climate change.Lets start with the basic inputs   [Continue Reading …]

Clay Cob Oven Mosaics Complete


Kim has been working diligently on the oven to make it all beautiful.  All of the tiles have been stuck on and the grout has been applied.  The grout colour is terracotta.I think that the finish is wonderful and it really is an outdoor feature, as well as a practical oven. A close up of the tile work.  I am very proud of Kim's artistic work. Here is the other side with the grout   [Continue Reading …]

TGoG Podcast 024 – Cuban Special Period with Linda Woodrow


Will the energy descent and/or climate chaos hit us slowly or quickly?  Well in the case of Cuba, it was over a period of just 6 short months. Linda Woodrow from The Witches Kitchen, and her family spent a year in Havana, Cuba during the Special Period teaching permaculture, some years after the country's economic collapse and during shortages of imported food and oil.  It changed the   [Continue Reading …]

Community Building

Tomorrow is a big day for community building.In the morning Kim and I are going to Gisborne to hold a cheese-making workshop for Christine and her gardening group.  Christine writes a lovely blog at Slow Living Essentials.  The workshop goes from 10am to 1pm, and will be lots of fun.  Ben is also coming and wants to be my assistant.  A bit of Father/Son bonding which I   [Continue Reading …]

Suburban Living


So how will we live in the 'burbs during and after energy descent or more to the point, what will the living arrangements be like?  Well first, let me describe where we have come from.Back in the 1950 through to the 70's, many people moved from the countryside or from other countries to Australian cities in search of a lifestyle different from what they were used to.  Whether it was an   [Continue Reading …]

Suburban Localisation


Today, the suburban topic is Localisation.  So, the big, burning question on my mind is, "What will make the suburbs work as we face energy descent and the impacts of climate change?"Before I answer the big question, lets ponder a little.  What does energy descent mean in the context I am referring to?  Well, the phrase ‘energy descent‘ was first used by Australian permaculture   [Continue Reading …]

Suburban Wastelands


David Holmgren, the co-founder of Permaculture, once said;"The suburbs of our Australian cities have, in the main, become sterile wastelands, lacking in any true spirit of community, impoverished of local resources, and filled with fearful people whose daily efforts are focused elsewhere."I reckon he hit the nail on the head with this quote.  Looking around my own town on the weekend,   [Continue Reading …]

Clay Cob Oven Mosaics


My lovely wife Kim, who is the artist in the family, thought that the clay cob oven would look great finished off with a coat of render and mosaic tiles.I agreed as I wanted the oven not only to be functional, but to be a work of art as well.  Kind of a focal point for that side of the urban farm. So today we got to it.  The render came in a 20kg bag, to which I added an iron oxide   [Continue Reading …]

Less Equals More

In a follow up to yesterdays post about Shop Less, Live More, I discovered this gem of a video over at TED talks which wraps it all up quite well.  Essentially it further refines the theme down to a process called Life Editing, which is basically declutting on a lifestyle scale.  Graham Hill lets us know his thoughts on Less = More.Anyway on with the show. I was nodding my head   [Continue Reading …]

The Great Disruption – A Book Review


Over the last few weeks I have been pondering many things.  Firstly the passing of my friend, then about Kim and her MS, then making the decision to downshift and spend more time with her. Some of the fuel for this pondering has been in the form of a book.  I finished it on Monday, and was reading it just before things started going a little crazy around here.  This book was "The Great   [Continue Reading …]

Preparing Essentials


My Dad and his partner Norma, and Kim's mum Pam are all coming to visit in early November, so I thought it wise to make some essentials over the weekend in preparation for their arrival.I put down this Indian Pale Ale (coopers kit beer) and added 300 gms of Dextrose, and 500 gms of Light Malt powder to it.  It should be ready to bottle by the end of the week, and ready to drink by the time   [Continue Reading …]

The Enemy Within

Follow up from one of the many comments on yesterdays clothes dryer post, this video kind of sums up the mentality of some people in our communities.  Thanks to Bruise Mouse for the link!It comes from Stephen Colbert, who presents The Colbert Report, a comedy TV show in the US.  It is very funny.The Colbert ReportGet More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire   [Continue Reading …]