Motivation


I love this video – it makes such wonderful, simple points. And then I go out to cycle in Trafford.

I Saw this video posted over at a great blog I follow – Becoming Domestic – and I think it gives a good 5 minute summary of the difficulties society is currently facing. If you want to know our  motivation for the eco-house, this sums it up nicely:

The book mentioned in the video is the Post Carbon Reader. If you’re still getting to grips with what Peak Oil and Climate Change will mean for you, your family, and society, then this is worth a look. If you’re already on the right track, then don’t read about the problems any more – get digging! What you need is How to Grow More Vegetables!

Following last week’s post on Cargo Bikes, here’s a great example of someone using one in everyday life, and for their work. This is a particularly post-peak-oil example – a bike covered in gardening tools. Well worth a watch:

A nice lighthearted video today, with a serious context. In a world of expensive oil – and therefore expensive petrol – we’re going to have to re-learn how to move things around without the benefit of power assistance. If you’ve ever had to move anything heavy (like two resisting kids) without the benefit of wheels, you’ll know what a slow and painful job it is. That’s why I love Cargo Bikes and trailers so much. They can carry really heavy loads decent distances, powered by normal people (although you’ll go faster if you’re fitter!). We’ve got a trailer so I can’t justify a dedicated cargo bike like this, but if you want to be car-free there’s no better way to shift shopping, kids, plants, or work gear. One of the best UK suppliers is Practical Cycles, although they don’t have this one:

Nearly two-and-a-half years ago I posted this video as an introduction the growing philosophy that we we’re going to use here at the eco-house. Since then we’ve been busy implementing it and we’re pretty impressed. We’re using John Jeavons’ GROW BIOINTENSIVE methods, with deep beds, lots of compost and really closely spaced plantings. In the beds where we’ve gone for it properly – like last year’s potato beds – we’ve had almost no weeding to do, and some reasonable yields in spite of our inexperience. Here’s the good basic video introduction to what we’re trying to follow:

I know people who find my obsession with growing our own food a little strange, but when you look at the challenges faced by farmers, and the fragility of the food supply chain it all becomes clearer.

The BBC’s Farm for the Future is one of the best programmes I’ve seen for highlighting the challenge faced by British farmers in the face of Peak Oil. It’s longer than most of the videos I share, but it really is worth taking the time to watch it – unless you could be outside, gardening:

Another of my wartime specials, this is a collection of Marguerite Patten’s recipes from 1940-1954, helping people to make the most out of the wartime and post-war rations. It ‘s full of fascinating insights as well as frugal recipes and is great at demonstrating alternatives to rationed foods. There are a lot of meat-substituting tricks, as well as recipes where the meat is padded out with cheap, easily available, extras. These are joined with a variety of amusing “mock” dishes: Mock Apricot Flan for example, where the apricots are replaced with carrots; or Mock Crab, Mock Duck,  and Mock Oyster Pie; as well as any number of eggless alternatives to traditional cookery.

It contains a good section on preserving, although I suspect it is well behind current thinking on food safety, so I’m not sure I’d use the recipes given for canning. I hope I never need the advice on stewing and frying Whale meat, but I’d be happy to try the Honeycomb toffee.

Overall it is a fascinating read for the frugal, alternative approach to living that we may be returning to. I think it’s a book to try out from a library first, and then buy if you’re enticed. I got our copy from the National Trust bookshop at Dunham Massey for less than a fiver, but if you can’t find it locally, here is the link to get it from Amazon –Victory Cookbook: Nostalgic Food and Facts from 1940-1954, and the Trafford Eco House will get some money from your purchase (it won’t cost you any more).

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