Tips, tools and tactics for living a life that honors Mother Earth and her inhabitants. We Marianne West and Jenise Fryatt, attempt to draw a detailed picture of what Charles Eisenstein calls, “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
You might ask yourself what baby chicks and depression have in common. Well, nothing and everything really.
But let me start at the beginning. In this episode, I am sharing an update on the urban homestead. One of the most recent things, as of yesterday, is that we are having new baby chicks.
In the podcast, I am sharing why I didn’t want any this year. But how this very insistent hen finally wore me down and I let her sit on some eggs.
Now, as of this morning, we are having three black baby chicks, one very white mommy, and a Minpin dog very interested in those babies.
What about the depression part?
Good question. If you have been listening to the podcast for a while, you know that I have been going through a deep burnout and probably through a bout with depression as well.
Not the kind that makes you unable to move, but the kind that slows one down a lot. The kind that makes everything just seem a bit too much to handle.
Recent events – the suicide of two famous people – have brought depression as a topic to the forefront in many conversations.
It is funny how the universe sometimes works. A couple of days before these stories hit the news, a friend of mine told me that a person had mentioned that she is dealing with depression in a blog post.
She consequently got a private message saying that she shouldn’t talk about that – that nobody will read her posts if they know that she is depressed.
I was outraged!!
Immediately, I used depression as a prompt in my Daily Writing Prompt exercise I run on Steemit. Here is a link to that post. The many stories of people being touched by depression and the consequences made my head spin.
Thoughts about Depression
In the podcast, I share some of the thoughts and questions I have on the prevalence of depression in our times. Don’t get me wrong, we know that teenage suicide has been with us for a long time as documented in literary works such as Romeo and Juliette and The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
We don’t know if bouts of depression have always been part of our existence, but it seems that most everyone today has had that experience at one point in their life.
Part of me wonders if it has to do with us being further and further removed from nature. So many of us are spending our days staring at screens and living indoors.
I know that spending time in my garden or in nature, hiking in the woods or taking a walk along the ocean, makes me feel better.
And watching baby chicks is a sure way to lift the spirits!
What do you think? Is depression a sign of our times or a human condition?
Pia Piscitelli, our sustainable travel expert, examines in this month’s segment the impact of outdoor sports on our environment. Many of us love to be outside whenever we can.
The beaches are calling us to try out surfing. Or maybe you prefer camping in the mountains? Both are great and both have one thing in common: Equipment is needed.
Surfboards, tents, sleeping bags and all that is needed for a successful outing doesn’t come cheap. Still, many bite the bullet and shell out their hard earned money to purchase all that is required to be able to surf, camp, backpack, mountain bike or try a first Yoga class.
Often, that equipment ends up in the garage to be stored – forever.
Raise your hand if you have some outdoor sports equipment in your garage covered in a layer of dust? Okay, maybe you clean your garage a lot and it is not dusty but still not used in years.
In your defense, you might have thought about renting equipment for that first trip, only to find out that there really wasn’t any quality paraphernalia available. Or rentals were only available in a certain area which happens to be not the one you wanted to go to.
Or maybe you don’t have a garage to store things in. As housing becomes more expensive and many people are choosing to live in small dwellings – because that is the sustainable thing to do – storage is often very limited. Do you really want to dedicate half a room to gear you might only use once a year?
That was the experience of the folks at Coozie Gear and a business was born.
Coozie Gear offers high-quality equipment for rent. Here is the great part. You order what you need online and it get’s delivered to your home. And now, the best part. Once you are done with your outdoor sports experience, the gear gets picked up again! How easy is that!!!
The company operates in the Los Angeles area and all of you who are flying in from all over the world can arrange to have the outdoor sports gear of your choice delivered to you.
Of course, if you are surfing every day, or even every weekend, or go camping several times a year, it makes more sense to purchase your own equipment.
But for those of us who only need the gear once in a while, it is way more sustainable to rent. It is easier on our pocket book. of course. But less equipment needs to be made and it will only end up in the land fill when it has been thoroughly used.
We love businesses who are creating a business model that is helping everyone, including Mother Earth.
Emily Gerde recently moved to Denver Colorado and is hard at work to change the city ordinance to allow tiny home developments.
She met Colleen Zahradnicek whose parents had moved to Denver to raise their family in a healthy and beautiful environment. Emily can relate since that was part of their motivation for their recent relocation.
Colleen is a real estate agent and she has seen the city change as more and more people want to more there. What once was an affordable city has become the opposite. House prices have risen to a point where many with a good job like fire fighters, teachers, nurses and such cannot afford to purchase a house any more.
She thinks that the city government could have prevented much of what is perceived as a problem now with better planning. That is why she decided to run for a city council seat.
Emily and Colleen touch on many subjects during this interview, including homelessness, aging, transportation, financing and more.
None of this topics are unique to Denver and we all can apply some of the solutions they discuss in our own area.
Many of you know that we do have a page on Patreon.
The platform just added a function that allows us to do little slice of life video clips that disappear after 24 hours. The sweet thing is that we can make it exclusive to our patrons and give those of you who are supporting us a little bit back.
If you do not know what Patreon is, it is a platform that allows people like you to support creatives such as podcasters, musicians and other artists.
I am sure that many of you would love to be able to sponsor an artist (or us) but finances are in the way. With Patreon, you can sponsor us for as little as $ 1 per month – which will give you access to all the exclusive videos we are posting.
As I am writing this, our Patreons were witnesses of me rendering beef fat into tallow – but that is going to be another post.
If you like to support us, find the handy Patreon button anywhere on the website
We talked about many projects Steve had started and it was time to check back with him and see what he is up to. Steve attributes the health of his vegetables, their beauty and their great taste, on his soil.
He considers himself a soil farmer, not a vegetable farmer. His crop is free of pests and he never needed to use any kind of treatment to get rid of those unwanted visitors so many gardeners and farmers deal with.
Not long ago, he bought a microscope and learned about all the life present in a healthy soil. Dr. Elaine Ingham is teaching about the soil food web and is a big proponent of knowing all the organisms present in healthy soil and a healthy compost, for that matter.
She recommends a certain microscope and teaches in person and online classes that are packed with information. If you like, visit here website here
More Farm Updates
Steve is perfecting his compost teas
He is participating now in a much larger farmers market
He stopped selling to restaurants
He is still trying to figure out Black Soldier Flies
He is building salad spinners from washing machines
He doesn’t want any more chickens right now.
The Biggest Farm Update
Well, it is not so much a farm update as it is a farmer’s update. Steve will contribute short sections on life as an Urban farmer to the podcast on a regular basis.
We are very much looking forward to that!!
This is a first at the podcast! On the Social Media Site called Steemit I keep telling you about, I have been running a writing initiative. The other day, this story was submitted that is so in alignment with the podcast. You could say maybe even the reason that we podcast.
I am reading it to you right after the interview, but if you like to read it, you can find it on the author’s blog.
Many of you know that we have a page on Patreon. If you are not familiar with that platform, it is a site where anyone can support creatives – artist, musicians, and podcasters. Lately, they introduced a story feature that can be exclusive for our Patrons.
This is turning out to be a lot of fun. If you like to see little live clips of the life of a podcaster and urban homesteader, join us on Patreon. Some of the clips are for everyone to see – others are for our Patrons only. Hint – you can sponsor us for as little as one dollar per month.
Food choices are so often on our mind. We are bombarded with information what to buy, what not to buy. We are told that we are weighing too much, or not enough. And every day, there is a news about a study about a foodthat is either bad or very good for us – and often, the opposing studies are talking about the same item.
What are we supposed to do? With so many food choices and so much information, sometimes, it is hard to decide what to bring to our families’ tables.
Emily shares in this podcast what type of food choices her family has made and why.
Here are Emily’s words:
Hello! Emily here with a solo podcast adventure! Please excuse the sound quality as I completely forgot to put my ear buds in, so it’s just my computer microphone. I felt called to do a quick food podcast as an overview of what healthy eating looks like for our family. I discuss the many different options available to you as far as a healthy diet goes and help sift through some of the confusion behind all the choices. I also dive into options for holistic practitioners that can help you along on the journey. I provide the best ways to save money and eat clean at the same time and make sure you know the most important ways to keep your food free of any harmful toxins. Join me on this quick journey to a new healthy you. All the insights and more can also be found in my new book “Minimalist Living for a Maximum Life.” Enjoy this beautiful journey to a new healthy you and remember… “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates
Emily’s food choices include meat. She points out that at different times in our lives, we might need different diets. But, she says, that all of us need to eat our veggies.
It is important to know what we are buying – there is a huge difference in how our food is grown, how the animals are raised, how far it has traveled, and so much more.
While organic food is often more expensive than other items in the market, Emily’s family decided to spend the money today to hopefully avoid expensive health consequences in the future.
Your food choices today might impact you for many years to come.
If you have never heard of Universal Basic Income (UBI), you have come to the right place to find out. In this podcast, taskmaster4450 explains what it is, why we need it, and how to get it.
If you think that taskmaster4450 is a funny name for a person, you are right. That is his username on the social media site Steemit where I met him. Steemit pays for posting, commenting and voting in cryptocurrency.
That is one way to make an income that is different from what you might be used to. But that is not what can be understood as a Univeral Basic Income. On Steemit, you have to put effort and work into building your account and subsequently creating an income.
The idea of UBI is that beyond signing up for it, you are not required to do more – just receiving your income on a regular basis.
Why Do We Need Universal Basic Income?
You might ask yourself why we need Universal Basic Income since we can get a job and work for what we need. That certainly used to be the model and for many, that is and will be the plan.
However, technology is developing at a rapid speed and many foresee a wave of what they call technological unemployment. That means that jobs are disappearing because technology has developed that make that job obsolete.
One example is that the many film development and photo printing places disappeared with the general adoption of digital cameras – a bit like the horse-drawn wagon made way for the automobile.
We already hear lots of talk about driverless cars which eventually will make taxis, Lift and Uber drivers unnecessary. San Diego County was just chosen to be part of an extended Drone program and Amazon has been talking about deliveries by drones for a long time.
We are just at the beginning of exploring what we can accomplish with Artificial Intelligence. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear. Many jobs will disappear as we are moving along this path.
Of course, people can find all kinds of things to do with their time. But everyone needs food and shelter – hence the idea of a Universal Basic Income.
The scenario described above is looking into the future. Fact is that there are many people in the world right now who do not have the luxury of secure shelter or knowing where their next meal will come from. Every one of them will benefit from being able to count on an income that fulfills their basic needs.
We all have learned about Maslow’s Theory of needs and how our lives are formed by this. If you haven’t, here is the Wikipedia link.
How Can a Univeral Basic Income Be Achieved?
So far, all makes sense, but how can a Universal Basic Income be achieved? That, of course, is the question which comes to everyone’s mind.
Does it mean that the rich have to give up their money and their lifestyle to lift up the poor?
No. That has been tried in systems of attempted Socialism or Communism and the models haven’t worked very well at all.
Does it mean that we all have to pay more taxes and the State gives out the UBI? Some countries are trying that model. But if we stick with the theory that fewer people will have paying jobs, that will put the burden of creating the source of the UBI on fewer and fewer wage earners and make it not sustainable.
So, what can we do?
Enter cryptocurrency. To explain cryptocurrency requires an article in and of itself, but we are touching on it in the podcast and I will also link to a previous episode where we are talking extensively about what is the blockchain and what is cryptocurrency.
Here is a short explanation. Cryptocurrency is an application housed on a blockchain. The value to each token is assigned to it by the user. This is similar to fiat money you are used to. For example, the American Dollar is more or less a piece of paper we all agree has a value and we can use it in exchange for goods or services we need or want.
The value changes over time. We all are familiar with inflation. That means that we can buy less for the same amount of money over time. Money can also rise in value and we can buy more.
The same holds true for cryptocurrencies. We assign the value to a token and the more people who also see value in it, the more the buying power of that token rises.
The theory behind creating a token to give out as Universal Basic Income is based on or at least illustrated with Metcalfe’s law. This is a very simplified version: The more people are using something, the more valuable it becomes. Here is the wikipedia link to understand it better.
How Can I Receive a Universal Basic Income?
That is an easy question to answer!!
Manna Universal Basic Income is a 501c nonprofit organization in the US dedicated to ending worldwide poverty. Their goal is to get their token, Manna, to as many people as possible.
Why? Remember, the more people who are using it, the more its value will increase.
Diana MacDonald is Introducing Herself
I have been a professional photographer since 1993, and have been shooting stock photography since 1996 when I moved to Florida and landed a job as an in-house stock photographer for SuperStock, a stock agency in Jacksonville. In 1998 I left the agency and branched out on my own, shooting what is known as macro stock for a company called Eyewire, which had previously been owned by Adobe, and was bought out by Getty Images. I shot exclusively for Getty for many years, but with the advent of microstock agencies, the business changed drastically, so I now shoot for 5 micro agencies as well as for Getty and for Alamy (a UK based macro stock agency.)
Social Media and the Use of Images
Many Social Media platforms are full of images used without permission. In our conversation, we do mention Steemit a lot since that is the platform we met.
In Diane’s opinion, Steemit allows the illegal use of images because the community is expected to be self-policing. They do not tolerate plagiarism, which means claiming the image is your own. You can attribute her work to Mickey Mouse and it is OK with Steemit. Plagiarism is not illegal, but copyright infringement is.
Incorrect sourcing is also considered copyright infringement. Google is not a source. It is a search engine. The SOURCE is the photographer. Web MD etc. is not a source. It is a website which most likely paid a licensing fee for an image.
Of course, this kind of behavior is rampant on all social media websites. The countless meme being shared over and over again on Facebook or Twitter use often – or maybe most of the time- a photo grabbed from the web.
Diane says that anything published online can be found on the web. Contributors are taking a lot of chances by infringing on copyright. Agencies and photographers DO go after infringers. It is very easy to do a reverse search and find their work.
Not knowing is not accepted as being an excuse in the courts! The user is expected to track down the real source of every image used. Diane was recently paid a sum which Getty collected from the illegal use of one of her images on the web.
In the world of advertising and graphic design, it is NOT OK to simply take an image and cite the source! Professionals just don’t work that way. You cannot copy a copyright image and simply give a SOURCE. Only the copyright holder has the right to use the images. All Rights Reserved means just that. The copyright holder owns ALL rights, so permission must be given to the user, regardless of whether a source is cited or not.
The problem with sites like Pixabay etc. is that that they take the word of the persons uploading an image. If they say that they own the copyright and that they are waiving copyright ownership, Pixabay and similar companies will accept that.
However, this is not always the case. Now, this is important to know:
Pixabay is not liable, but the person uploading AND THE END USER are liable for any infringements.
Another problem with using images from Pixabay etc. is that many do not understand the world of model and property releases.
The images may have been uploaded by the person who has taken the photos, some properties may not be used without a property release. Certain buildings may not be used at all in stock images, but the photographers on Pixabay probably don’t know those restrictions.
It is illegal, for example, to license images of the Eiffel Tower at night. The same holds true for many city skylines and for anything related to Disney.
Using images of people is particularly troublesome because the end user has no idea whether legitimate model releases were obtained from the models.
Also if people are taking images off the web and not getting them from the proper stock source, they have no idea what restrictions there are on the use of those images. This could lead to some nasty legal entanglements. Images are licensed for specific usage when they are Rights Managed Images. Royalty Free Images may be re-used by the licensee WITH CERTAIN RESTRICIONS.
If you are simply taking an image off the web, you have no idea what those restrictions are!
Links to all of photographer Diane Macdonalds agencies can be found at her website: dianemacphoto.com
Did you know that this month is radical self-care month? No? Don’t worry. You couldn’t know that since I just declared it as such!
I declared it for me. But I want to invite you to come along with me on this journey of taking care of myself. The older I get, the more I see that to truly live a sustainable lifestyle, self-care needs to be a huge part of it!
So many women – and yes, I am going to call out and call on women right now – do not take care of themselves!!!
By that, I don’t mean that they don’t comb their hair or wash their faces. No. Most of us do that part pretty well. Even painting our nails and wearing presentable clothing. That is not necessarily what I am talking about.
Self-care goes way deeper than that.
But we could start at clothing to get my point across. Here are some of the attributes we might look for in our clothes.
They are clean.
They are made of good fabric.
They are appropriate for the office.
They are cheap or affordable for our pocketbook.
They are in fashion.
They aren’t worn out.
They get compliments from others.
Do you have clothing which fits the above description? How many of those pieces of clothing make your heart sing when you wear them?
When you buy or make clothes, do you only consider items that feel right on your body and please you? Or are you thinking of the points listed above?
Isn’t it self-care, to take care of ourselves, to only dress in clothing we love – no matter what anyone else thinks?
How often do we do that? And do we even know what we really love?
This question can be applied to all different areas of our lives. So many of us have lost the ability to even know what we need, what we want, and if we do, how to make ourselves a priority.
My declaration is that May is Radical Self-Care month and I invite you all to share what that means to you.
Let me know in the comments if you will take the challenge and if you are on Instagram, Facebook or Steemit – share with us which area of your life you want to examine this month and figure out how to apply radical self-care to it.
Episode 133 – Art Laubach and the Tiny House Festival
by Emily Gerde
I had a wonderful interview with Art Laubach, the organizer of the Tiny House Festival, where we discuss all things tiny houses from a builder’s perspective. Art mentions tiny homes being one of the great options to minimizing our environmental impact due to the few materials, utilities and space needed for them in society.
Art started gaining construction experience in his youth working with family businesses, spending the summers working on roofing, siding and other construction on the east coast. Since then, Art has gained invaluable knowledge and experience in many different facets of construction. Art has experience with concrete and pier foundations, wood and steel framing, outdoor structures, decks, complete renovations, building additions, geodesic dome construction, and now – building the best Tiny House Shells you can find.
Art is the builder for Einstyne Tiny Homes, and a geek for “building science”, airtight construction, green building and always striving for ways to ensure the greatest quality builds for the customer. Art is an avid animal advocate and loves spending time with his pets, volunteering with animal organizations and is very excited to bring this event to Adams County Fairgrounds for the second year.
Tiny Houses – A Sustainable Housing Option for the Future
We discussed the ways in which tiny houses are a sustainable option for the future by using yes utilities and more efficient heating and cooling, as well as green construction. Art recommends looking into Building Science White Papers to keep up to date on best practices and resources. Find more info here https://buildingscience.com/. When thinking about building a tiny house, Art recommends taking the time to be in a tiny house, and talking with people who are living the lifestyle. Whether it’s a camper or a tiny house, get an insiders perspective and ask lots of questions. Art builds shells and often has a model available for people to step into, but he highly recommends getting into a finished home to get the best idea of what you want in your design. We both agreed that tiny house festivals are a great way to step into several tiny homes, get to know several builders and network with vendors.
We discuss the exciting future for the tiny house movement and how many builders are moving to IRC codes that specifically align with Appendix Q. Having standards to follow is a great step in the right direction to ensure tiny home builds are safe. We dive into the discrepancy of pricing with tiny homes. Art explains that material quality is the key. Material costs have increased creating a jump in building costs. He explains that there are also differences in cost depending on your location and energy codes. There is a misconception that tiny homes construction is easier but Art explains why that isn’t the case.
Art goes into his passion for the DIY crowd and ways he can provide a safe and up to code shell, while still allowing for the creativity and lower price of finishing your own home. He is an expert in air-tight construction and explains how important air quality is for any home. We dive deep into insulation and the best green options and how to best insulate for your situation. Art has great tips on gutters, siding, and ways to keep the weight of your tiny home down.
Emily Will Be Speaking at the Tiny House Festival
We go into the details of the Colorado Tiny House Festival, including what to expect, how many tiny homes will be available to tour and activities to enjoy. I (Emily) will be speaking at the festival and discussing how tiny living has changed our lives forever! Art will be there representing Einstyne homes so be sure to check him out! Art finishes up with some wisdom to not give up on the tiny house movement. He asks that you get involved in your local community and meetups to work towards getting tiny houses legalized and build beautiful communities.
Schlepping reusable utensils around takes too much effort!!
That is what lots of people say. Or if they don’t say it, at least they think it. I don’t even know how many straws, disposable forks and knives, spoons and paper napkins end up in the landfill every single day.
Add coffee cups and lids and we have a mountain of trash produced every day of the year.
Does it have to be that way?
We at The Sustainable Living Podcast don’t think so. In fact, our Sustainable Travel expert Pia thinks that is a problem which can be solved very easily!
Use Reusable Utensils and cups!
But, you say, I don’t want to carry a huge bag with me where ever I go. I like stylish, small bags!
Pia is showing you that you don’t need to carry a huge bag with you to be able to bring your own reusable utensils. On the contrary. Check out the size of her bag in the video.
We all can agree that cannot be called a huge bag.
The Content of the Bag
a 16 oz mason jar with a lid
a reusable handkerchief
a pair of chopsticks
a spork – one end is a spoon, the other a fork
a wallet bought at a thrift store
Mason Jar with a Lid
We all know that change takes time and sometimes, all we can do is tackle one item. If that is you, chose the mason jar to become your constant companion. Here is why.
bring water from home in your jar – no more plastic water bottles
if you buy a drink to go at a convenient store, either drink the water or use it to water a plant and use your jar instead of a disposable cup
the same is true if a coffee shop does not offer washable cups – ask the barista to fill your mason jar instead of the plastic lined disposable option
at an office party or a get together in the park – you know what to do! The mason jar holds hot and cold drinks equally well.
It is a glass jar and for some people, that is a concern.It is very durable glass and it takes quite an impact for the jar to break. If that is a concern, either wrap your jar into a cloth napkin or carry it in a little bag. If it breaks, the glass will be contained in the wrap.
Men don’t usually carry purses but a backpack or messenger bag fulfills the same purpose.
Enjoy the video.
Find Pia’s first segment on sustainable travel here.
Emily’s Update on Tiny Home Living and More
Marianne & I (Emily) had a great conversation where I update her on our exciting adventures since our last interview in episode 116. We start with my new book that is now out and available wherever books are sold. Minimalist Living For a Maximum Life is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Minimalist-Living-Maximum-Life-Simple/dp/1944833390, I am working on getting it as an audiobook and an online version. In the book, I share our journey to minimalist living and simplifying our lives. I also discuss ways to live a mindful, organic, holistic lifestyle that heals your mind body and soul.
I share our new journey to Colorado from Minnesota and our vision of starting a tiny house community. We discuss my vision for a cooperative community that has larger lots, community gardens, playground, library, community space, etc. I discuss our vision to build beautiful communities close to the city to offer another option for affordable and sustainable housing. In the interview we discuss a non-profit community, which may or may not change as our discussions with the council members evolve, but we will continue our vision of a collaborative, intentional community.
For those interested in the tiny house life, we share the specifics of how to get your home, vehicles, and life moved to a spot where you can park your tiny home. We discuss ways to move your tiny house and some options available. We love our tiny house driver who is insured and experienced. You can contact Steve at 507-456-0281.
I share how our vision has evolved not only for sustainability, but also a passion for affordable housing for all. We discuss the current paradigm where the general public thinks we can just live in RV or mobile home parks and I discuss how that differs from the life many tiny home dwellers are looking for. We are noticing a shift in availability of tiny home spots in RV parks from several to very few spots for parking when they can make more money from season RV travelers.
I bring up the amazing tiny home community that was started here in Denver that will be interviewed in a later podcast. You can find them here at https://belovedcommunityvillage.wordpress.com/. We talk about the need for housing for the homeless and how the tiny house movement can play a role in that as a place where people can get back on their feet and find their confidence again with some autonomy and privacy. Marianne and I discuss the value of home ownership and how it can add value to your life.
We discuss the shift in the movement as Appendix Q has now been adopted in the IRC building code and how the industry is shifting to more standardized, safe and inspectable tiny home models and design. We talk about the goal of making the process for tiny home certification more streamlined and accessible. Marianne mentions the importance of getting involved with your community and becoming a council member or working with council members to change the shape of affordable housing in your area. We talk about ways tiny home communities can shift the idea of community to spending money in the community instead of on our mortgages. She inspires e to get more involved in my local government and definitely got me thinking about getting more involved. She mentions the importance of involvement in local government as being the easiest and most effective way to promote change. Marianne brings up a catalyst in the permaculture and social change movement Starhawk and you can find her information here http://starhawk.org/.
As a final note, we discuss the importance of embodying the change we want to see in the world. To spend your money on companies that support change and the values you want. On a fun note… It’s almost time for planting, so get together with your neighbors to create some beautiful organic food. Thank you, listeners, for all your support and input. Let us know more of what you want to hear and share your story of sustainable living here http://sustainablelivingpodcast.com/contact-us/