What Else Should I Write About?

Not promising anything - and definitely not promising anything until the book is done, but does anyone have topics they'd like your blogiste to cover? What do you want to hear me go on about?

BTW, if you are interested in more in-depth going on (plus a whole lot of awesome other stuff), Aaron and my next farm and garden design class starts 1 week from today. I'll post details and syllabus up here today or tomorrow, or you can email at jewishfarmer@gmail.com for more info.

Also, I've still got spots in my next apprenticeship weekend - come to my house in rural upstate NY and see how we do it on Memorial Day Weekend this year - learn basic goat care, milking, dairying, gardening techniques for perennials and annuals and design, growing medicinal herbs, talk about visions of the future and a host of other fun stuff - and bring you kids (if any) and do kids versions of these activities (plus, play in the creek and climb the trees and chase the goats) for four days of learning. Payment is by donation, email for more details at the same address.



More like this

I would dearly love to see Anti-Modernity part II. :)

I love just about everything I've read - I just wish you would slow down a little! It's hard to do more than skim things when the blogs come so fast and furious!

Unfortunately, I can't think of much to add to your subject matter...

Fiber arts and sustainability/low-impact lifestyles. Producing fibers from animals and plants, dyeing and spinning, efficient ways to knit or crochet socks, sweaters, hats, scarves, blankets, etc. for family members and other loved ones (without going crazy, after being inundated with requests for handknit items), best sustainable options for commercial fibers ... anything fiber- and sustainability-related! ;-)

How about a region-by-region (or maybe even state-by-state) look at the effects of climate change, particularly on small-scale, sustainable agriculture.

Resilience planning--beyond Victory Gardens--for suburbanites; what's likely to be helpful and what isn't.

1) How to get past a spouse who doesn't believe in peak oil and the need for preparation.

2)What container garden approach is scalable. That is, what types of containers and crops to use for starting small and attractive (to get past spousal objections), but which can scale to a larger scale going forward.

3) Water barrel use and maintenance.

4) A series of posts on minimal ingredient cooking. For example, I've learned to make bread with just flour and water, and spaghetti/pizza sauce with just tomatoes, onion, and butter. How about more dishes, using things we'll be able to find easily as things get worse? Main courses based on potatoes and corn, e.g.

5) The facts on getting and using raw milk, including health issues, making one's own butter and cheese, e.g.

6) House maintenance; e.g., what to do if a window breaks, or a roof leaks, or a septic system fails, in times when you can't get a professional to fix things quickly?

7) More tips on introducing the topic of peak oil prep to skeptical neighbors, and community-building actions.

8) Home security techniques for troubled times.

By Avec Frites (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

I'd appreciate more detail on your theories about how the pet food industry props up industrial meat farming. Specific and statistic detail that I can route to a vet friend of mine who is frustrated with her alma mater.

By Sophia Katt (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Can I second Barn Owl's suggestion for a discussion on fibers? I do a LOT of sewing. I try to buy from American designers, but sometimes cost wins out, and I'm sure I buy stuff that comes from China.
I would love to discuss local/sustainable fabrics.

Well, this is for selfish reasons... I'd like to read more about parenting and your days with your boys. How you live low-carbon with a family. Since, you know, my baby boy is due soon and I have almost no friends who live low-carbon with a family. Oh, they think they're going green, but really they're just buying (pun intended) into green marketing.

What ever happened to the "365 books worth reading" series? I would like to see more of that.

A variation on Eric's request: Time delayed blog posts. I have no idea if your new format supports it, but I'm always sad on Saturday mornings because I know there will not be something new and interesting to read! (Although I am happy to know you're spending quality time with your family and community!)

It would also help spread out some of the reading. Although I will greedily admit that in no way do I want you to slow down! Other than getting the next book published, of course... [g]


For your *next* book, I'd love to see a cooking exploration. Something more conversational than a regular cookbook, but not quite like Bates's. (what is the correct spelling for possessive after an s?) His recipes seemed more like sidebars unrelated to the text; I want discussion and story telling of the recipes.

Something that explores using the garden's abundance, storing that abundance, then using the stored items. Combining your own/local food with purchased pantry staples. Variations for preparing on a woodstove, a solar oven, a haybox cooker, and other low-energy methods. Heck, maybe even plans for building your own solar oven and rocket stove. Suggestions of foods that can be grown for the animals as well as the humans. The risks of the humans liking the animal foods!


I still want to see an Austerity Riot case-study book. Real-life examples of people reducing their consumption to 90% of (below? term?) average. I can't believe I had delusions of trying to write that one... [wry grin]


By curiousalexa (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Oh yeah, and *posts* about what you cooked yesterday, why, how, etc. Consider it draft writing for the book... [g]

By curiousalexa (not verified) on 11 Feb 2010 #permalink

Home design for low energy use, including allowance for geothermal, thermal mass, partial home heating.

Home design for permanent, multigenerational, life-long residence. Also, if this something that should be contemplated. It just seems silly to have three or ten residences for an adult's lifetime.

Me, I would like to see every adolescent go to work, marry, and raise a child at least through kindergarten/age 6 before leaving the parent's home. Then we wouldn't need pre-school to "socialize" children.

How does Peak Oil affect selection of mate, friends, and affect family ties.

How does the nation wean itself from entitlement programs, a necessity if deficit spending is to be ended? I think this ties into the house design. It might be that changing building code to emphasise multigenerational housing should be the first, most critical step. Imposing on families to care for the halt and elderly is a form of taxation at this point, often a very heavy tax. Using an apartment or single family dwelling, to today's design, imposes an unendurable hardship.

Should there be a template design for sustainable gardening and boarding house arrangement? How much property for how many borders?

What is the essential garden for balanced nutrition, for a single person, or a family of four? What about feeding pets - how much is needed to keep cats, dogs, ponies, horses, goats, cows going well?

How do you handle varmints - foxes and possums caught inside the chicken coop or barn? Mice in the house or pantry? Snakes, aside from the chicken house, I just let alone since they dine on bugs and mice I would rather be snake lunch that have them to worry about.

Using root crops for chicken and livestock feed. - What, how much, how to prepare. For instance, do horses eat horseradish? I know carrots do well, with horses. Can windfall apples or other fruit count toward livestock feed?

How do you calculate needed yield of garden produce, to plan how much to plant for 6 chickens and an unknown number of hoped-for hatchlings, a pony and a half-dozen cats that only one has ever been seen to catch a mice, but two others will eat mice out of the mouse traps?

Homebrew for sanitary beverage when the water supply is compromised, for enjoyment or for trade.


A second enthusiastic vote for Anti-Modernity, Part II.

I would like to see a post on raising ducks, and how they help/hinder the home garden. Also how to control their predators. I also second the vote for specific info on using rain barrels. Everything I've seen assumes you'll have an intuitive grasp of what to do once the thing is installed.

I've read a lot about growing food and doing more with less, but what advice can you give us about living in a draconian police state? I think that this is a real possibility in the near future. Thanks.

This may be something you have no interest in or knowledge of but I'm interested in why PO writers have so little to say on politics in general, and class politics in particular. Growing turnips and knitting transition towns is all fine and well but there are hard political issues out there and it's probably true that as time goes by, they're only going to get harder. In a world of tightening resource constraints, what happens to relations between capital and labour? After all, this is still, despite the confusion caused by 30 years of neo-liberalism, a primary relationship.

I'm with Mitty, wanting more of anything about ducks (mine are due in less than six weeks). Especially gardening for - and with - livestock. I loved your 25 plants repost - because of that, I ordered some of the amaranth you suggested. Have you found some plants or seeds particularly popular for trade or sale? Thanks also for the tip on potato onions - now I just have to find some!

I'd love a post where we can ask our most embarrassing sustainability questions and have you answer them. For example, I throw old nuts on the compost bin and the squirrels to an amazing job of keeping it turned all winter. Is there a downside to this? I keep hearing how the build-up of salts in the soil can has drastic effects on yields etc, so does that mean I can't compost anything with even a wee bit of salt in it, like bread?

And most embarrassing, why are all my questions about compost?

Sorry I didnât read all the comments and might repeat what others have suggested already. I would like to see more posts on immigration. It doesnât seem to me that there is much talk about it rather than in connection with climate change. Being an immigrant I often wonder how will our multicultural world (I am in Canada) continue functioning in a contracting, energy depleted economy and a rapidly worsening ecosystem? In times of plenty many ethnic groups manage to co-exist without much interaction and collaboration, almost like in parallel universes. We donât have to deal with something we donât entirely understand and/or like unless it irritates us beyond our comfort zone. How are we going to interact when more community fusion will be necessary to survive? I am afraid the human dimension issues paired with and intensified by cultural differences will present difficult and complex problems for a society.

I'd be interested in more posts about saving money on heating costs...especially the more "extreme" stuff. I know you've addressed this before, and there's lots about programmable thermostats etc online, but there's one question in particular that I've never been able to figure out:

At what point does lowering the temperature at night (or while out of the house) cease to result in energy savings? I've seen plenty of articles that say that it's a myth that the re-heating energy exceeds the energy saved by lowering the temperature... but they're all talking about differences of 5 degrees F. I, on the other hand, would happily lower my daytime temp of 16C to 5-7C at night, which is a difference of about 20 degrees F, I think. Would it still be worth it?

Maybe some ideas about how to participate in the informal economy. Explain how you barter with neighbors for services, details about how you operated your CSA or sell at the farmer's market. I really liked your recent post about home pet food for your dogs (raising rabbits). I would like to know more about getting away from commercial stock feed. How would you raise poultry and rabbits completely from forage and gardening? Maybe some articles about meat processing. Also, more posts about meals from wild harvesting. Suggestions on planting wild things (like nettles, mushrooms) in your own garden space and cooking with them. Thanks for asking for our ideas!

~~Thoughts about how to increase gleaning activities especially in a collaborative fashion
~~Excruciatingly personal reflections about helping sons become men in a transition world (I've got a passel myself)
~~Making Medicine without pharmaceuticals-- household remedies for strengthening health, treating illnesses and managing disease
~~25 tools to transition to a 90% reduction household
~~A "dependence days" list that helps us consider and grow our interdependence, informal economies, personal resilience, etc.---

Thanks and deep appreciation for asking!

Since you asked. Your wood stove. I just canât quit make it fit into the whole sustainability â low impact lifestyle. I say that having grown up cutting firewood. We had a fireplace in Illinois, then when Dad retired from the Air Force and the family moved back to Utah where Mom & Dad grew up, that house had two fireplaces. Mom had them both retrofitted with inserts that had electric fans to aid in circulating the air. But mostly because they also had a small stove like surface where you could put a couple eight inch or so pots to cook, if the power ever went out.

But here in the Salt Lake Valley we get these weather inversions that trap all the pollution down in the valley. So much so that I believe itâs technically illegal to have a fire some days unless it is the only means you have of heating. Iâll grant right away that fireplaces probably contribute far less than the cars ect., but they are something that can be cut back on those days when it gets bad, without too much public grumbling.

Then I also wonder about the fuel supply. The stories of African women having to walk miles on end attempting to gather enough wood to cook come to mind. Are there not aid agencies that now focus on solar ovens and pelletized (sp?) fuel ovens of various designs for this reason alone? Didnât you recently admit to having to buy wood from your neighbor even now? Will you be able to afford it, if his customer list grows?

Enough of a preamble. How was the decision of the wood stove arrived upon? Why not renewable solar/wind electricity for cooking and heat, plus lights, computer, radio, tv, tools for the self sufficient do it yourselfer ect? What do those calculations look like? And if, as I suspect itâs because of the family budget prevents a solar investment, what are the technological advances you would like to see?

If youâve already covered this just point me in the right direction. Thanks

This is about your previous site's problem. I don't know how to solve it, but it specifically has this virus on it:


My anti-virus software denied access to your old site, so your tech people need to do something soon, because the site isn't safe for other people to go to right now. Good luck!

By Heather G (not verified) on 13 Feb 2010 #permalink

Living above 4000 ft in N Central WA State, I cannot figure out how to grow food for livestock. We also had a terrible growing season last year, but at best, we have 60-65 days of growing weather. How can you grow stuff that will completely substitute for hay, grain, etc. We have room to grow things, but not a clue as to what would come close to feeding, say, chickens, rabbits, goats year round.
Doing fairly well on growing food for ourselves, but now need to improvise some kind of root cellar. We have no basement, entrance way, garage, etc. Hilly land near house quite wet year round. Still plugging away and hope to put in some kind of medicinal herb garden this year. Thanks for all your wonderful information. nadia

I'd love more information regarding:

*the medicinal herbs you grow and how you create tinctures with them.

*urban homesteading

*what's more important, eating locally or organically?

*ways to give back: working at food banks, what you do when you invite people to your home to show them what you do and how you do it, etc.

*information on generators and how to store the different fuels needed.