7 Ways to use the Humble Choko Vine

​7 Ways to use the Humble Choko Vine

​Approximately a ​4 minute read
Originally published Nov 6th, 2018, at PermacultureNews.org

Green choko fruit and leaf on vine

Chokos, plentifully displayed in baskets and crates at farmers markets in our area throughout the summer months, are boring, bland, and not very useful. 

That's what I used to think, but I've changed my mind.

This short article shares 7 of the ways I use chokos and choko vines since I gained a better appreciation for them.

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Real Food does not come from Supermarkets: 6 Steps from Bare Ground to Homegrown Veggies

​Real Food does not come from Supermarkets - 6 Steps to Homegrown Veggies 

​Approximately a 6 ​minute read
Originally published July 1st, 2018, at PermacultureNews.Org

I imagine that when our grandchildren and great grandchildren read in history books about the supermarkets we relied ​on for food, they’ll wonder what we were thinking.  

My goal is to get to where our family can live without the supermarket entirely. There are many things we have yet to learn on this path; one of our major areas of focus right now is learning to grow more of our own vegies. ​

Recently, we ate our first ever homegrown cauliflower. This post shares how I got from "I don't think I could grow brassicas," to "Ooh look – a cauliflower!"  By the end of the article you’ll appreciate that if we can do it, anyone can.

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Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things – Part 3

​Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things - Part 3 

Part 3 of a Series ​Approximately a 6 ​minute read
Originally published ​19th October, 2018, on PermacultureNews.org

Large grey rooster

This article shares the funny antics of one of our roosters, whose stories include such things as nesting boxes, ​interested hens, and a falling wheelbarrow. 

It concludes on a more serious note, with the question,

"Can good husbandry, regenerative agriculture, and morally right living, be defined in terms of happiness and connection?"

If you are interested only in ​rooster adventures, this article will be fine to read by itself.

But if you missed the earlier articles in the series, and you’re interested in what backyard chickens have to do with the interconnectedness of all things, you’ll need to go back to the beginning of Part 1. Part 2, if you need it, is here.

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Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things. Part 2

​Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things - Part 2

Part 2 of a Series | ​Approximately a 6 ​minute read
Originally published ​10th October, 2018, on PermacultureNews.org


​This article is Part 2 of a Series that is mostly about chickens – not how to care for them, but how to appreciate them as being more complex and interesting than most of us give them credit for.

If you are interested only in chickens, and especially mother hens and chicks, this article will be fine to read by itself. But if you want to know more about where interconnectedness comes into the story, and why it’s important, you’ll need to go back and read the beginning of Part 1.

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Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things. Part 1

​Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things - Part 1

​Part 1 of a Series | Approximately a ​5 minute read.
​Originally published Oct 3rd, 2018, at PermacultureNews.org​.

This 3-Part Series ​starts off with our cultural lack of understanding about our place in the web of life, which is at the root of why our efforts to address ecological destruction aren’t working yet.

If you were mainly interested in chickens, stay with me – I’ll get onto backyard chickens in the second part of Part 1, and then I’ll stick almost entirely to chickens for the rest of the Series.

Please note, though, that this is not a “how to take care of chickens” Series (you can find those everywhere).

​This is about how to appreciate chickens as more than just egg-layers and garden-scratchers. And, by extension, how to appreciate any living thing beyond just its immediately apparent functions.

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5 Cut and Carry Goat Fodder Plants that Poultry, Pigs, Cattle and People can also eat

​5 Cut & Carry Goat Fodder plants that Chickens, Pigs, Cattle and People can also eat

Chickens, Pigs, Cattle and People can also eat

Chickens, Pigs, Cattle and People can also eat

(Approximately a 6 ​minute read)

Growing our own milk, eggs, and / or meat is a step in the right direction, but relying on the feed ​store to help us do it means we’re still relying on fossil fuel-based agriculture and supply systems.

Since our goal is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, at the time of writing this article I was growing an increasing amount of our own goat feed, for our two milking goats.

To make it onto the list ​that you’re about to read, these plants had to be great for goat fodder, AND serve a variety of other functions as well.

(Please note that some of the plants listed here were also listed in “8 Abundant Fodder Forest Plants, and How to Use Them.”)

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How to get beyond overwhelm

​How to get beyond overwhelm 

(Approximately a 5 minute read)

little lizard standing alert

Do you put off large or intimidating projects till later, like I do?

You'd really like to get to it, but you keep getting the feeling that it would be better to wait till after ____. (I'm sure you can fill in the blank.)

​Why, when we know a project is important and worthwhile, is it so hard to start on it?

​Its all to do with your lizard brain1 trying to keep you safe. The lizard is constantly on the look-out for possible threats. ​When you picture something important in your life that you want to change / create / develop, your lizard goes on a spree of identifying every potential threat, every little detail that could possibly derail your project.

Result: You feel like it won’t be safe to start, till you know how to deal with Every. Little. Detail.

Is there a way to get around the watch dog? Maybe even put its talents to good use?

​Read the article at PermacultureNews.org

​(This is Part 5 in a Series.)

How to influence your own behavior, in advance

​How to influence your own behavior, in advance

(Approximately a 6 ​minute read)

sad lizard on branch

We all have our best moments, when we’re focused, productive and happy.

And we all have moments where nothing is so compelling as checking our Facebook  feed to compare ourselves with those who are happier and more productive than we are, while absently dipping a spoon into a tub of something sweet and comforting.

Sticking to useful habits and avoiding time-wasters has nothing to do with will power in ​those not-so-​focused moments.

When you're tired and your focus falters, something is going to catch your attention.

It might be something super-compelling (like your Facebook feed), or it might just be something with immediate proximity ​ at eye height or right in your path, (like the junk food at the check-out counter). 

Whatever it is, its going to lure you off the high road, onto the path of least resistance.

The question is not, “Will you be distracted?” but, “What will distract you?” Is there a way to design the path of least resistance so it still leads in the right direction?

Read the article at PermacultureNews.org​​

This is Part 4 of a Series

How to make distractions lead you where you want to go

​How to make distractions lead where you want to go

(Approximately a 6 ​minute read)

​​How can you get to what's important, when ​energy-sapping mess and ​time-wasting distractions keep leading you astray?

​​You ​have important, worthwhile projects you want to work on. B​ut some days ​you struggle ​to motivate yourself to get the washing folded. ​

​Humans are easily distracted from tasks that are important and valid, but that feel difficult or uncomfortable, because there is a lizard on the control panel who is obsessed with comfort and wants immediate gratification.

Every time your focus wavers, your lizard brain seizes its chance to immerse you in ​comfort.

Then you “wake up” a short time later, wondering how you got from ​"I REFUSE to be distracted by those cookies one more time!" 
...to the bottom of the empty cookie jar.

What can we do to work with this, rather than fighting it?

Read the article at PermacultureNews.org

This is Part 3 of a Series

What do Lizards and Procrastination have to do with Your Brain?

​What do Lizards and Procrastination have to do with Your Brain?

(Approximately a ​5 minute read)

grey, pre-historic looking lizard

​This is Part 2 of a Series about the “lizard brain” – made up of the oldest parts of the human brain​ ​that co-exist with our more recently evolved brain regions​.

​The lizard brain ​is 
obsessed with ​safety and comfort​; it ​cannot understand ​that there is a future; ​and ​it ​can completely bypass ​your rational brain when it feels threatened or stressed​.

The lizard brain is responsible for all the procrastination and avoidance behaviors we’re so familiar with – overwhelm, being easily distracted, feeling unmotivated, difficulty prioritizing, seeking comfort in inappropriate ways, and many others.

These are not “weaknesses,” so much as strategies that your lizard brain uses to try to keep you safe and comfortable in the present moment.

​Are there ways to mitigate these apparent human weaknesses, or even turn them into strengths? Read the article at PermacultureNews.org, and find out. 

​​​This is Part 2 of a Series

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