Grow Your Own Victory Garden

As host of the Victory Garden on PBS from 2002-2007, I started to collect WWII Victory Garden memorabilia — posters, brochures, signs, that sort of thing. Then a few weeks ago I came across this 1942 film on the FDR Presidential Museum and Library site. It was in pretty bad shape; faded color, bad sound. So, I decided to restore it, as well as to add a modern commentary, making it both a valuable historical record of past practice, and a useful guide for those interested in growing their own food at home. It’s hard to believe now, but people like the Holders in this film grew almost half the country’s produce by the end of WII, right in their own backyards. These days, we don’t need to grow vegetables for the war effort, thank god, but you will reap ample rewards by growing at least a few fresh veggies for your own table. Nothing tastes better than produce from your own garden! ~ Michael Weishan

Lloyd Kahn on his NorCal self-reliant half-acre homestead

At 80 years old, Lloyd Kahn is an icon of alternative housing. In the seventies he was a poster child of the geodesic dome (he published Domebook One and Two and he and his dome home were featured in Life magazine).

He got his start in publishing when Stewart Brand made him the shelter editor for the Whole Earth Catalog. The book that put him on the map as a publisher was “Shelter”, an international survey of alternative housing that he continues to sell over 4 decades later.

Kahn’s enthusiasm for shelter extends to “building every place I’ve ever lived”, including his current home which started as a dome and is now a more traditional shelter capped by a 30-foot-tall hexagonal tower (the only remnant of the dome).

His home is only a small part of his half-acre homestead where he and his wife Lesley Creed believe in doing things for yourself, when possible. Besides tending the organic gardens (and dozens of free-range chickens), Creed is a natural dyer, quilter, sourdough bread-maker and believer in the “value of actually working, not just trying to figure out how not to work”.

On our visit to the homestead, Kahn showed us his wild-caught pigeons, his seaweed harvest, well-fermented sauerkraut, home-cured olives, oatmeal grinder and workshop (where he still keeps his father’s “nuts and bolts box”). We caught Creed baking her sourdough bread (from her kitchen-harvested starter) and drying “bread seed” poppies.

Years ago the couple were pushing the boundaries of self-sufficiency to include goats and harvests of wheat, but Kahn found his limits. “With self-sufficiency you never get there, you never become self-sufficient. I mean we tried back in the seventies. We had goats and chickens and bees and I was trying to raise grain. Pretty soon I realized that if I want to raise enough wheat for the bread for a year here, it’s better left to a specialist, like I can’t be my own dentist. So you do, it’s a direction self-sufficiency. You do what you can do as much of it as you can.”

Shelter Publications: http://www.shelterpub.com/

Living Off The Grid, A Perspective.

Living off the grid has intrigued many people. And one of the most asked questions that Starry receives about her life is DO YOU WORK? Do YOU Need to work in order to stay off the grid?
First there are indeed a lot of misconceptions about living off the grid. Most often people think you DON’T work and just live off the land! WRONG. Then they think you need to be independently wealthy to live off grid..WRONG again. Living off the grid involves COMPROMISE. And with that a healthy balance of self sustainability, as much Independence from the dependent sources as you can be,.THEN income. SINCE we all know..money still is needed for many things…period. So Starry shares her thoughts and some things you should think about when going off the grid.

The Gulf Oil Spill Disintegrated This Island | National Geographic

Cat Island was once one of the four largest bird-nesting grounds in Louisiana. But the Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed the mangroves growing there, destroying the root system that held the island’s sediment in place. Since 2010, the 5.5 acre island has been washing away into the Gulf of Mexico, and migratory birds find their home disappearing before their eyes.

Cheyenne Mountain

According to legend, Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain is a sleeping dragon that many years ago saved the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. In the Native American story, the Great Spirit punished the people by sending a massive flood, but after they repented, it sent a dragon to drink the water away. The dragon, engorged by the massive amount of water, fell asleep, was petrified and then became the mountain.
Unlike the dragon of legend, the Cheyenne Mountain Complex has never slept during 50 years of operations. Since being declared fully operational in April 1966, the installation has played a vital role in the Department of Defense during both peacetime and wartime.

(U.S. Air Force Video shot by Andrew Arthur Breese)