April 2009


Just another quickie – a really good video from Post-Peak Living. This is a great introduction to peak oil, so if you know someone who doesn’t yet understand the issues, send them this link. It’s U.S. based, but is still good – I liked a couple of the points particularly:

People lived well before oil, and people can live well after it.

Life is going to get very local, very quickly.

Worth remembering!

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Just found this great resource over at Post Peak Living- “The Guide to Post Peak Living” – it’s a well-organised, comprehensive guide to preparing for life after the peak, including food storage, water, skills to learn and many others. Well worth a good read.

In an interesting article on the Obama approach to Peak Oil, The Huffington Post reports that ExxonMobil have declared that U.S. Gasoline Consumption peaked in 2008.

Even the oil patch’s biggest cheerleaders, ExxonMobil, who earlier helped frighten a public and a market to $147/bbl oil, now finds itself obligated to acknowledge that that U.S. consumption of gasoline has peaked.

 The article goes on to propose that remaining Oil and Gas reserves be taken into a National Oil Trust – essentially nationalising the U.S. Oil industry. Very interesting.

Our strawberries today

Our strawberries today


Now we’ve decided to get our hands dirty – even without a garden – there’s no stopping us 🙂 When we got our Potato Kit we also grabbed some herbs and strawberries. They’re a token effort, but are keeping our spirits up while we try to get a garden of our own. This evening I got back in from work to find my wife and daughter adding gravel to the pot to keep the strawberries off the soil – seems like this is becoming a family hobby – fantastic.

Now we just have to keep them alive until we get some berries!

Just after planting, two weeks ago

Just after planting, two weeks ago

There is a great interview with Colin Campbell over at The Oil Drum – running through all the Peak Oil basics. It covers tar sands, new discoveries, potential of polar oil fields, reserve growth, and all the rest. I particularly liked the concluding paragraphs:

We enter a new world, as the principal energy that drove the anomalous past two centuries heads into decline from natural depletion. This is not necessarily a doomsday message. I have known many simple people in different parts of the world who smiled and laughed not being part of the consumer society.

There are encouraging signs. A BBC film crew who was here recently told me that they had become so convinced of the Peak Oil issue, which they had studied to make their programme, that they had decided to quit the BBC and buy a small farm in the west of England on which to build a simple sustainable future. That was most encouraging, I thought.

We’ve been enjoying a taste of our future the last two nights – delicious home grown Spinach. It’s one of the great grow-your-own cliches that home-grown food tastes immeasurably better than anything store-bought. Now this didn’t come from our garden – it was generously donated from my Mother’s allotment, so we can’t put the fantastic taste down to a warm, worthy glow from our own harvesting. And the taste was fantastic.

I’m not usually that bothered by Spinach, can take it or leave it, but last night I was onto thirds before we ran out, and I’d have kept going if there was more. So now I’m really looking forward to our own home-grown veges!

The recipes? Last night we had it rinsed, wilted, and served with butter and pepper. Tonight we had the rest with chicken in a cheese sauce.

Yum. Bring on our first harvest!

OK, so we don’t have a house yet, so no garden yet, but the gorgeous weather has got our green fingers itching. So we’re taking the “portable garden” route, and using containers so that we can start playing (& learning!). We’re not taking this incredibly seriously so we’ve just started at our local garden centre with a Potato Growing Kit, some strawberries and herbs. 

The kit cost £7, and had three plastic bags and nine seed potatoes that were already starting to sprout! Compost (peat-free) was another £12, so our total spend was almost £20.  There were three varieties in the kit – Duke of York, Maris Peer, and Carlingford – with three seed potatoes for each. We planted them pretty-much according to the instructions on the kit, but with a bit of our own creativity. One variety went into each bag, about a third full of compost. The kit then suggested filling the bags up to the top with the remaining compost, but we went for the quicker gratification that came from covering the potatoes with a couple of inches, and then planning to earth-up the stems as they grow.

After a couple of weeks we’ve now got leaves coming up from every seed potato! We’re all excited – it’s not a bad success rate so far so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of yield we end up getting – if any!

The other great part of this is how excited our eldest is about them. She’s only three, but she’s really enjoyed planting them, and now shows off the shoots to every vistor we have.

Photos of our efforts below . . . 

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