Monday, March 21, 2011


I love our canyons. You may not know that San Diego is full of secret canyons that allows one to go on a bona fide hike in the middle of the city... but it is!

We love to take early (ish) morning walks, afternoon strolls, weekend adventures, whatever. There are rambling trails, grasslands, palm trees, chollas, and often, a lot of trash. Our canyon is right in-between Market Street and 60th. It's lined on both sides by houses, and busy roads, but in the middle it's a quiet (relatively) paradise.

Our dogs love it too. They are sheep dogs through and through, and at their best when they're bounding through the tall grass. Here's are two videos to illustrate.

We get the best of many worlds here in San Diego. The hills, the sun, the beach. Mountains if you go out east far enough. The border a few exits down. It's a meeting of many wonderful worlds.

However, if you find a surfer that has lost their dogs' leash, this is what you get... wandering the canyons of North Encanto.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Are you prepared? Episode 1

What if there was a theory that radical environmentalists, CEO's of major oil companies, leading geologists, famous UCLA professors and government energy executives all believed in? Would it get your attention? What if leading geologists in the United States pulled together a report (The Hirsch Report) that proved scientifically using the best data available that in the coming years we are beginning the end of oil. (The Bush Administartion supressed this report. Suprise!) According to the Hubbert Peak Oil Theory oil availability and production is shaped like a bell curve. The United States reached our peak in the 1970's and have been declining in production ever since. Just ask BP why we drilling at 5000 feet in the Gulf of Mexico? Or ask Canada why they are taking off entire mountains to get at tar sand deposits? Oil is getting harder to get extract. For evidence see info listed below. The world reserves will from the best estimates start a rapid decline in the next 2-5 years and according to Jared Diamond could practically disappear in a couple decades. What does this mean?

Well it could be a conspiracy theory developed by the solar and wind turbine companies to get people to purchase their products. It could a conspiracy brought to us by the creators of ethanol who want corn to stretch from sea to shining sea. Or it could be partically true. Partically because I say if something like this is even half true we are in for a chaotic future. Sure technology and good old human ingenuity could save us? Or we could be rescued by renewables? Or nuclear power and natural gas could rescue us? But what about the transition?
OK I don't quite remember but in 1973 there was a war in the Middle East called the Yom Kippur War. Oil production went down 5% and people waited in lines for gas for hours in the US. There was mass hysteria and fear. Still skeptical? Let me continue.

Like I said before don't take my word for it check out the evidence and make up your own mind.

Next point. We also have emerging economies like China and India with populations over a billion each who want a piece of the middle class dream. China's need for oil has been increasing exponentially. In 2009 China counted for 1/3 of the global increase in oil consumption. The US is not off the hook. We use 25% of the oil on the planet with 5% of the population. So we have exponential population growth and people who want to drive all over the world; with declining oil supplies. I won't even mention the US debt or diminishing water supplies. Let's stay on topic.

OK but we could just switch to electric cars and peace would spread through the world like facebook on a college campus. Well the problem is our entire economic system and the global economic systems are completely dependent on oil. From chemical fertilizers (our food) to plastics to tires to shoes to electricity to gas it is all dependent on oil. The truck drivers who are the back bone of the economy are complaining that they will need to raise our food and product prices because deisel is 4 dollars a gallon. What happens when gas is 10 dollars a gallon. We are facing a ripple effect unpresedented in human history. Every economy on earth is completely interconnected. Just ask Iceland about the little global recession we just had in 2008.

Ok enough statistics. True nobody knows the future and people also worried about Y2K you could say. We have had alarmists all throughout history and they have always been wrong. What about the most famous alarmist of them all. Noah! It may sound weird to want to prepare for a theoretical collpase or at minimum a rocky economic transition but history is very clear on this. Watch the documentary by Jared Diamond called Collapse and he will eloquently lay out the signs. I hope and pray post peak is a fantasy and nothing happens. After all the billions of people living in poverty in the Third World will probably be hit the hardest as food prices skyrocket. Just ask half of all Egyptians who were making $2 a day as global food prices soared. But if for some reason the signs are here whether faintly or glaringly we need to be prepared for post peak living. How will we do this, and how will we help others learn how to survive post peak living? More on that in Episode 2.

Great information on this subject:
Preparing for a Post Peak Life Video/Power Point--- Part 1 and Part 3

Documentary- COLLAPSE by Jared Diamond and National Geographic (highly recomended)

For a less "socially acceptable" documentary try Collapse by Michael Ruppert

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sustainable in San Diego!

An old professor of mine at SDSU wrote an article on food sustanability in the newest edition of Edible San Diego: - It's the article entitled "SDSU Embraces Sustainable Food"

If you don't know about Edible San Diego, it's AWESOME and here's their website:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Double take

Sarah and I were talking the other day about the hilarity of trying to do things in community.  It all started when we decided to get rid of our car a couple of years ago and share their car, the camry.  Many of you know the story - we sold our one and only car and they wanted to try to cut back on their drive time, too, so decided to sell us "half" of one of their cars.  It worked out great, to this day we still share that poor camry.  The funny thing about it was that our insurance company did not know what the heck to do with us!  Ultimately, we didn't do anything.  Not because we didn't try to give them our money and do everything legally, but because neither one of our insurance companies could figure out how to add us both on since we lived at different addresses, etc.  Everything stayed under their name and we just paid them for half of everything.  Shhhh - don't tell anyone!  This came out last year, so at least in theory it should make things like car sharing easier to do:

I just went to our Farmers agent and got everything - house, all of our cars - put together with all of our names on it.  That was another feat, and as I was reading through the paperwork I saw that they named Jeremy as the head (since we had the original account) and added Sarah and BJ on as Relatives in residence.  I suppose that's good enough.

Another thing that was funny and different was opening our joint bank accounts.  It was just something you could tell hadn't really been done before and it took a lot of patience and time to get it all right.  We walked away with 4 functioning debit/credit cards, all with our own names and pins, so that was positive.  We did finally receive our checks and even though they told us that we could get all 4 of our names put on them, they didn't arrive that way.  Thankfully at least one of us from each family made it on as signers, though - officially Sarah and I are officially the couple.

Small things come up here and there, like the dog stuff.  According to the vet, they keep switching owners every other time we take them in =)  I don't even know who Vetco has on file as their owners at this point.  You can't co-register for a vons club or albertsons card, either.  Netflix does have their "queue", so that works well.  People's Market is set up to have a household card, but that doesn't count because they're a hippie store. We haven't gotten the pink slip to the trailer yet, but I am sure that's another one that will have to just have one name from each family on it.

It's been difficult to try to figure out ways that we could refinance or take out loans or all get added to the house.  Jeremy's brother did figure out some info for us, so we need to take those next steps on all being on the title here.  I guess we've found that in general, our society is not really set up for people to do things in community.  It's not impossible and people aren't "anti" in any way, it's just not easy and streamlined, which is unfortunate.  It might turn some people off, such as the car-share situation when we really were, I guess, illegally driving that car half the time.  I mean, people who "borrow" your car are still insured, but it makes it very complicated if you like to do everything by the rules.  I wish that more things were set up to make the process a little easier.  It would be nice if Jeremy could write a check to someone out of our account, too.  All of the gratification and support that is coming out of this community is definitely worth the small inconveniences that it's created, and we definitely got a good laugh when the first official piece of mail arrived addressed to Sarah C and Kimberly B.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Up and Coming Projects

The Backyard Beekeeper - Revised and Updated: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
meat birds.

How to Raise Goats

(*picture courtesy of el cosmico, our inspiration.)

stay tuned.