Thanks very much to Mrs. Spit who commented so nicely on my last post about raised beds vs. rows. She had a great point that when you grow veggies in a bed, it's harder to turn the soil at the end of the season because you have to dig it by hand. It takes a great deal more effort, and is not as effective. There are some that don't ever turn their beds once they are made, but you end up with inevitable depletion of the soil.
We are trying to figure out whether we want to do traditional rows (which we do have room for) or raised beds. If we did raised beds we would do wooden boxes to make it look nice and have little paths inbetween. Raised beds have lots of great benefits:
Drainage - the soil is lighter and has better drainage.
Better yield - it's easier to distribute compost and you don't walk on the beds ever so the soil stays in tact and fertile.
Efficiency - they save space, also maximising your yield, and they are easier to keep clean.
Easier on your back - you don't have to bend over as far (and the beds are somewhere between 2-4 feet wide so everything is easy to reach).
Fewer weeds - although a raised bed is much more work initially, they eventually will have fewer weeds because the plants are close enough to shade the weeds.
Irrigation - because the beds are permanent, you can put in different kinds of irrigation such as a soaker hose, and keep it there without changing things around too much.
Longer harvest - with a bed in place it is easier to put in a cold frame over it to extend your growing season.
Rows have benefits as well, they are easier to set up, they work with a roto-tiller or disc plow so a large area would be easier to manage. You don't have to set up paths because you have rows to walk in (although sometimes this can be a bad thing as people are tromping inbetween plants). For organic gardeners sometimes rows may backfire because plants are more exposed and it's more difficult to do companion planting.
Lots to think about. Because we have at least an acre to convert into raised beds it is a bit of a daunting task. It is lots of digging, building frames, and mulching paths. We could have a bigger garden the first year with rows, but it would be worth it in the long run to set up beds.
Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.
- Norman Fitzroy Maclean (A River Runs Through It)
Guess where I am? Montana! We suddenly decided to take a trip back home to see new babies, new step-moms, family back in town after years. And we can see the land and the house we are going to live in. The hardest part of the trip is the ferry, so we left Sunday night, waited three hours for the ferry to Vancouver (because people leave the island at the end of the weekend), and then stayed the night at John's sister's. In the morning we started driving and 12 hours later we were here. We went through the States rather than southern BC because gasoline is $4 rather than the $6 it is in Canada right now.
We will try to take pictures of this beautiful state while we are here (we will borrow a camera), and we are going on a hike to Avalanche Lake, and possibly fishing. John is going to be posting on here too, so there should be lots more posts, even though we are in the midst of summer fun.
Here is what peak oil is, in a nutshell:
Saudi Arabia's King Abdulla told his subjects in 1998, "The oil boom is over and will not return... All of us must get used to a different lifestyle." He then implemented a series of corruption reforms and government programs intended to lower Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil revenues. The royal family was put on notice to end its excessiveness and new industries were created to diversify the national economy. (Scott MacLeaod,2002-02-25). "How to Bring Change to the Kingdom". Time) Saudi Arabia is the country that claims the most oil... and they were nervous 10 years ago?
Most people are a little confused by the phrase ‘peak oil’, and they don’t fully realize that our entire 1st World civilization is almost entirely dependent on oil. The rate of consumption of oil is higher than the rate that we can extract it from the earth, and the problem is compounded by the fact that oil reserves are depleting and population is skyrocketing. With more and more people putting more and more demand on less and less oil that is harder and harder to extract, it creates a situation where people will have to choose to stop using oil, or they will be forced to. It may not be that oil is rare or running out, we just can’t get it out fast enough because we use such vast quantities. Some people think that when this happens to an intolerable level, we will simply switch to electric vehicles, but the truth is that every product you use is manufactured using petroleum. Without oil, vehicles wouldn’t be able to be built at all, along with just about everything else. Even the organic food you eat is dependent on oil because it takes petroleum to grow it (in the form of large tractors), and to ship it.
In 2003, the world consumed 80 million barrels of oil per day, and the US alone used 20 million barrels per day (The Hirsch Report). The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects world consumption of oil to increase to 98.3 million barrels per day in 2015 and 118 million barrels per day in 2030. ("World Oil Consumption by region, Reference Case", EIA, 2006). In 2005, the US Department of Energy published a report titled Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management. Known as the Hirsch Report, it stated, "The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking."
The solution, in a nutshell:
One of my favorite families, the Dervaes, have started a great new website. Remember the 100 Mile Diet? Not good enough! The real solution to peak oil is the 100 Foot Diet. You have to dedicate yourself to eating at least one meal a week that came directly from your backyard. One meal isn't that bad right? Eventually you could even be like them and eat all your food from your urban backyard.
Yesterday we watched My Neighbor Totoro, the Japanese version. It is a cute little movie about two little girls that move to the country when their mom is in the hospital, and they meet the lord of the forest, a huge furry creature that lives in a giant tree, whose name is Totoro. The movie shows many aspects of Japanese country life such as the family baths, motorcycle trucks, treatment of the elderly (calling all older women Grandmother), the paper walls and furniture of the house, and aspects of the Shinto religion.
I use baking soda for so many things. I only use two green cleaners, a concentrated organic orange spray (although when I run out I just use vinegar or sometimes Simple Green), and baking soda. The spray is used for mirrors, faucets, shower walls, floors, countertops, etc. The baking soda is used for the tub and the sinks.
I know I usually do this on the weekend but we are looking ahead to it being a very busy one so I'm doing this now while I still remember.
We used to think that credit cards were a necessary part of growing up. When I started going to college and applying for scholarships, I used to get 'credit counseling' pamphlets about establishing credit, and the number one way was to get a small credit card. The truth about credit is that it is debt. Plain and simple, debt is bad. There is only one thing that you need to ever get into debt for, and that is a home mortgage. Even vehicle loans are unnecessary. Here is how we live without credit cards (not even one of those Visa Checkcards!):
I have an allergy to cow's milk. When I drink it, I get an itchy rash on the lower half of my face and it also makes my skin break out like I am a teenager again, and mucus builds up in my throat. It was not an intolerable allergy, and I theorized that it was the casein, although when I eat ice cream I would get stomach aches so I avoid it. I drank soy milk for years and I like the taste, although they say that it's not really that great for you either. It's hard on the system and difficult to digest, which I have witnessed... anytime I or one of the kids gets sick, soymilk just makes us feel way worse.
I like all of these beds, but they certainly vary in price. The hammock will always be the cheapest, but the alternatives are unique. This is the Le Beanock, which seems to be only available in the UK:This The Floating Bed, for which you can get all kinds of accessories like tents that hang on the outside and memory foam and sheepskins:
This is really my favorite, the Brazilian hammock. Cheap and comfy:
We are trying to replace our queen size regular bed with a king size ecological alternative, but it's been tough to find. We are not big fans of futon mattresses, and although we would compromise with latex foam on the top, it's very difficult to find a king size futon frame that works decently. We live in small quarters and it would take up the entire room so something foldable or portable yet still huge would be ideal. It may be that we may end up with a thinner Japanese futon that is easier to fold out of the way, and a tatami mat might be the way we will go. Maybe we'll do a Japanese thing through the whole house now that we can start over with all of our furniture. This is how they are stored away (you can see the mats on the floor):
One of the things we have done is purposely slow done and de-schedule our life. We used to each have a cell phone that we carried constantly, we always had to be in contact and to be able to check the most accurate time. We no longer carry our phones so getting hold of us is a bit sketchy... people find it quite annoying that they have to send us an email or poke us on Facebook to get our attention. I'm thinking that we could probably live without the phone completely. I know a family that lives in that small Errington community that does not have a phone or a computer. If they need to talk to someone they go in person. Our culture sees not having a phone as a sign of poverty but it seems to me the opposite... someone is rich who has enough free time to go see a friend.
John and I were reunited yesterday after our three-day separation when he works on the mainland, and I was still babysitting. We ended up sitting on the porch under the stars and looking at the mountains as the dusk settled. We heard an owl hooting, and then we heard a little animal scream, a scuffle, more hooting, then quiet and we realized that the owl had killed something, probably a rabbit. Then we were talking quietly and I heard the sound of a bird I hadn't ever heard before. John said, "It's just a bird, don't worry about it." It got a little closer, and a little closer and then we saw an owl sitting on the peak of the roof. It was screeching rhythmically, a different sound than we had heard before, and then we heard another one answer it. They called to each other for a while, and then our owl flew towards the sound, but we could hear that he didn't go far away.
This week was another very summery week. It was very hot and we were too tired to haul everyone to the beach so we seemed to be inside more than usual, although we were still outside lots. John took Annie in the bike trailer from Parksville to Nanaimo in about less than an hour and a half, and I took Autumn to the little farm market to try some local foods. She pushed the cart and helped me pick what to eat and we identified produce together.
I have posted a lot today! I guess I have a lot on my mind and the kids are pretty much entertaining themselves running wild and covered with mud. I am constantly trying to choose organic foods when I shop. There are three farmer's markets in my town, and there's three more within 30 km. There's a whole foods market nearby where I live, and also two grocery stores that carry organic foods that were grown within 200 miles of me but had to come over on a large ferry on a truck. There is also a small farm market that runs ever day if I need veggies, which takes about 20 minutes to get to.
The log at the wood pile, the axe supported by it;
There are two ways we treat our children. One is the punishing/blaming: "You are very bad, go stand in the corner or I'll spank you." The other is permissive: "That's perfectly all right darling, if you want to walk on mothers face she doesn't mind." We don't know any other way. The more correct way is what I call information. If you thoroughly understand that children are innately social, then you understand that what they want is information. You don't have to be angry to tell them what's needed. You just let them know. The idea is not to blame, and not to praise, because both are insulting. Expect children to do the right thing. You then are being a clear model and there's no conflict. It's the way nature designed us to behave.
--Jean Liedloff, author of The Continuum Concept
As I lay here flat on my back because of stomach cramps from who-knows-what, I am musing over herbal alternatives to acetaminophen, which is the only drug I ever turn to (I would take ibuprofen but it always seems to be a stomach problem and that would just make things worse). Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol at the drug store, is also my drug of choice for pain relief because it's generally considered safe during pregnancy, a state that we are trying to achieve. It's funny that it is relatively harmless compared to aspirin (which used to be derived from willow bark - now it's synthetic), since it is made from coal tar.
Now because I am never content with the mainstream and constantly dissatisfied with convenience, and not really happy that I just ate coal tar, I've used this valuable time to look up herbal analgesics (an analgesic is a pain-reliever, or something that is anti-inflammatory):
White willow: Unlike regular aspirin this is a little bit safer, although people with liver problems shouldn't take it, and neither should pregnant or nursing women. It is taken as a tincture, between 20-26 drops.
Skullcap: This is great for mild pain and intestinal inflammation. It is taken as a tincture. All herbs should be avoided during pregnancy but this one doesn't have any documented warnings for it.
California poppy: This one is extremely gentle, and unlike the real poppy isn't habit forming, even though it relaxes you and helps you sleep. It is safe for children over six, and helps with cramps, pain, nervousness, etc. It works best when made as a tea with mint. There is no documentation about pregnancy or young children, but perhaps if nothing else is possible this gentle alternative might be an option.
Valerian: I have taken this in capsule form when I was pregnant at the recommendation of my midwife, but like all herbs it reacts differently with everyone and it didn't do anything for me at the time. It is considered safe to use when pregnant or nursing, but since it is a sedative if you cosleep then you should be careful. Capsule form is best because it stinks but teas or tinctures work as well.
I also have to comment that it's 8:30 my girls are not asleep. They are in their room playing together and they will put themselves to sleep in their little floor beds, which could be very soon, or at 11:30pm. When I go to bed I will carry them into my room and they will wake up with me when we are all rested, which could be 10:30 or 11am. This seems like a simple thing, but it goes against everything the culture I was brought up in believes in. It is such a tricky thing for me to learn to be the leader and say, "This is what I'm going to do and you can choose to do it or not." And they have to take responsibility for themselves and go to sleep, just because they're tired. If (or when) I have a baby, it will be in constant contact with me and it can sleep and nurse whenever the heck it wants.
When I first had Annie, I started out with her in my bed and feeding her whenever she wanted and trying to really tune into her needs. She slept with us for about 3 months, and John had a knack for getting her to fall asleep since she was so restless. She stayed in our room for a year and then I succumbed to 'conventional' wisdom and put her in own room since she slept through the night, a decision I now regret because we did let her cry in order to enforce that decision. We did similarly with Autumn, and it generally coincided with the time that they weaned themselves. Then I've felt guilty ever since, while well-meaning family and friends told me that was the healthy choice. It just doesn't work. The kids are happier and calmer and more independent and self-reliant when they have the comfort of being even just in the room with the option of climbing into bed. It's silly really, because most people in the world sleep with their kids, even the industrialized Japanese.
I have been wanting to watch Tales from the Green Valley, especially now that I have been reading so much about peak oil and realizing that our society might go back to the way it was back in the 17th century, and I found this article by Megan Lane from BBC about the insights gathered by the reenactors who made the documentary (here is a link to the article):
1. Know thy neighbours. Today it's possible to live alone, without knowing anyone within a 20-mile radius (the same goes for townies). That was simply not possible in the past - not only did the neighbours provide social contact, people shared labour, specialist skills and produce. "And women were judged on good neighbourliness," says historian Ruth Goodman. "If you were willing to help others - particularly during and after childbirth - then others would be more prepared to help you in times of need."
2. Share the load. It was nigh on impossible to run a 1620s farm single-handedly, and the family - either blood relatives, or a farmer, his wife and hired help - had to be multi-skilled. Labour, too, was often divided along gender lines, but at busy periods, such as harvest time, it was all hands on deck.
3. Fewer creature comforts have some benefits. No electricity meant once daylight faded, work stopped in favour of conversation, music-making and knitting. And no carpets meant fewer dust mites, which are linked to asthma and allergies. "They scattered herbs on the floor which released scent when trodden on - this drove out flies and other insects," says Ms Goodman.
4. Eat seasonally. Today it's because of "food miles" and the inferior quality of forced products. In the 1620s, it was because foods were only available at certain times of year - and not just fruit and veg. Mutton, for instance, was in abundance in spring, soon after shearing time. This was because a sheep's wool quality plunges after eight years - thus animals of that age were killed after their final fleece was removed.
5. Tasty food comes in small batches. Today farmers' markets are a tourist attraction and many delight in regional specialities. For these producers play to the strengths of their ingredients, unlike, for instance, the makers of mass-produced cheese. This has to taste the same year-round, despite seasonal variations in milk quality. "So high-quality milk in the spring is downgraded so the finished product is consistent throughout the year," says Ms Goodman.
6. Reuse and recycle. Today we throw away vast mountains of packaging, food, garden waste and other materials. In 1620s, there was a use for everything, with tattered bed linens made into fire-lighters and animal fat into soap. Even human waste had uses. Faeces was a fertiliser, and urine was stored to make ammonia to remove laundry stains.
7. Dress for practicalities. Today fashion and social convention dictate our wardrobes. While polar fleeces and high-performance tramping boots may be all the rage when going rural, the wardrobe of 400 years ago proved more comfortable. "While the crew shivered in their modern garb, we never felt the cold in just two layers - a linen shirt and woollen doublet," says archaeologist Alex Langlands. Breeches meant no wet and muddy trouser legs, and staying covered up - rather than stripping off in the heat - prevented bites, stings, sunburn and scratches.
8. Corsets, not bras. "By that I don't mean Victorian corseting," says Ms Goodman. "Corsets support your back as well as your chest, and don't leave red welts on your skin like bra elastic does. They made it hard to breath walking up hills, but I get short of breath doing that anyway. And most people feel sexy in a corset."
9. Biodiversity protects against unforeseen calamity. While the developed world no longer counts the cost of crop failure in starvation and mass migration - the result of Ireland's Great Potato Famine in 1845 - the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis decimated farms up and down the country as animals, the farmers' livelihoods, were put to death. The 1620s farm had grains, fruit and vegetables, and a range of animals - if one failed, alternatives were available.
9. Reliance on any one thing leaves you vulnerable. Hence the country ground to a halt during the petrol blockades of 2000, and a shortage of coal during 1978-9's Winter of Discontent caused electricity shortages. On the 1620s farm, when oxen used to plough fields fell ill, the implements were reshaped and horses did the job instead.
10. No pesticides means a richer variety of birds, butterflies and other insects, many of which feast on pests - a result as desirable for the gardener as the farmer. And the hedgerow and fields of wild flowers of the past are today making a comeback, as these provide habitats for these creatures and allow edible plants to flourish.
I just registered Annie for her homeschooling program. In BC, if you register as a homeschooler under a provincially-recognized educational institution, you can get financial support from the province for homeschooling. It varies by the school, but I am doing Wondertree which supports unschooling and anything else you want to do. It should be fun!
-- Horace Mann, father of common (government)school movement.
"Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances toward our Founding Fathers, toward his parents, toward belief in a supernatural being, toward sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity... It's up to you to make all these sick children well."
-- Chester Pierce - Harvard University Psychology professor.
"Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property. Let him be taught to love his family, but let him be taught at the same time that he must forsake and even forget them when the welfare of his country requires it."
-- Benjamin Rush, signer of Declaration of Independence
The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer mind their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
- Assyrian Stone Tablet, c.2800BC
Soymilk, cow's milk and goat's milk have been under debate at our house. I normally drink soy (only the organic Silk brand) and it's just now that I can drink a glass of it and it tastes good to me, even though I've been drinking it for about 6 years. I'm allergic to cow's milk from the store (I get an itchy rash on my face, which usually means an allergy to casein, the protein in it), but it is possible that I wouldn't be to raw milk. Unfortunately, raw milk is pretty much illegal everywhere.
The two most popular sections of my book have always been Building a Cabin, and page 210: Toilet Paper. What did people do when they didn't have nice rolls of bleached, tree-pulp paper to clean after using the outhouse, and what do they do now in other countries?
Newspaper: Crumble it in your hands to make it softer.
Paper: Treat it just like newspaper, but you might have to crumble it for longer.
Cloth: Old scraps of cloth cut into squares.
Mullein: Harvest the large velvety leaves of the mullein plant.
Your Hand: In India most people use their left hand, and then wash it.
Sand: Some people dip their damp hand in a jar of sand and scrub a bit with it.
Wisteria: Commonly used as toilet paper, harvested for the leaves.
Persimmon: These tree leaves have been used as toilet paper.
Oak: Oak leaves are also a common toilet paper.
Fig: Fig leaves not only do the job, they cure hemorrhoids.
Straw: A handful of clean straw can easily be put into a composting toilet.
Corn: The corn silk is much softer, but not having that even the ear leaves work.
I just got back from three days of working in Vancouver with my husband. This is part of our unjobbing project... I now work only two days a month, and he works 12, only three days a week. Our goal is to not work outside the house at all, but for now we go across to Vancouver from the island and it works great.
We do cleaning, and I saw these amazing multi-million dollar homes that could be in a magazine (and probably were). Some of these were green built homes that obviously were very eco-conscious, including water and energy saving devices and sustainable materials. I learned for the first time that a good water saving toilet still uses 1.6 gallons of water (a gallon!) which makes want to avoid flushing the toilet as much as possible. Sorry family. I can't wait until we get a composting toilet. These houses were massive and elegant. In the same day we were riding the bus and the skytrain downtown and saw all walks of life and all kinds of people. I saw the worst poverty, children begging in the street and people living in tarps on the sidewalk, and hotels that sell by the hour and had young oriental girls standing in front of them. I'm not sure if the middle class really exists any more because poverty really is so extreme. If you have fresh running water in your home, you should count yourself wealthy.
My husband took me out to a nightclub for the first time because (1) we had never been dancing and I love dancing and (2) I've never been to a nightclub and it's important to try new things. We are both not good dancers and we looked ridiculous but it was so much fun. I enjoy watching people, and so I spent lots of time just observing. We were the only ones not drinking and it struck me how the young people of today get their kicks by bombarding all of their senses at once with the maximum they can handle. The music was insanely loud, there were bright laser lights and strobes, movies playing on the wall, the alcohol and a mass of people all squished together. Why do people feel the need to overload their systems now? In the past young people got their kicks from similar things, but at a much lower level.
The highlight of our trip was that we went to the Corteo show of Cirque du Soleil. It wasn't going to be in Vancouver much longer and I've wanted to go ever since I was a kid and wanted to run away and join the circus. Being a lucky homeschooled child, my dad built me a tightrope and they found a unicycle at a garage sale and I took gymnastics and had all kinds of fun that way. But I never did get to run away with the circus (although I'm not saying I never will). I've been to two circuses in my life, Ringling Bros., and Circus Gatti (which can't really be called a circus), and Cirque du Soleil blows them away. You are paying for everything that you ever wished a circus could be when you were a kid, and it's well worth it.
I just finished The Shack this morning. There are certain books in my life that have been so profound that their meaning has been incorporated into the the way that I think and my perspective of the world. Little Women was one of those, Creating True Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Diary of Anne Frank... there is actually quite a long list, but not that many compared to the thousand that I have read. The Shack is now one of them. Every conflict and confusion in my my mind about God and life in general is lovingly and vividly addressed and the way I look at things will never be the same.
Because I am finally allowing my Type-A personality to let go and allow my children to just learn without trying to control (or trying not to try), I feel like I'm not doing anything at all. So to make myself feel better I'll also kind of use this as a space to record what they did during the week... a kind of educational inventory, if you will. It doesn't really do anything, it just serves to keep my perfectionism at bay. If only we could find our little Canon Elph camera then this would be a lot easier.
I have a growing collection of self-published books from the 70's. They are all originals except for one which I found as a reprint, and I'd like to find the original of that as well.
I posted the household/kitchen items that we'll need, so here's the list of tools/farm equipment we want to get:
As sad as I am to let the tipi dream die (temporarily), we will be definitely moving to Montana in the spring and starting a small five acre farm on my aunt and uncle's unused land, and this makes me very happy. In tribute to the tipi lifestyle, here is a video about Tipi Valley in Wales that made me ache with some kind of forgotten feeling... what is that feeling? I think it's that feeling I had when I became a member of the Society for Barefoot Living. :)
Today I made Peasant Bread, which is part of my goal to get back into baking the family bread. We're doing the Hillbilly Housewife's $70 a week menu more or less, with a few minor changes. We did her $45 a week menu once before, but found that here in BC many of the items weren't available or were actually quite expensive. For example, you can't get greens in a can here. Food is much more expensive here and the $45 menu cost us about $80 a week which is still quite good, but we felt that we could eat better for that price. The $70 a week menu is much closer to what we actually eat and in order to get closer to the prices quoted on her website, we bought all the items in bulk from The Real Canadian Superstore (like Costco, but no membership). Rather than buying white sugar, I stuck with brown and also added honey and peanut butter and apples instead of applesauce. Eventually honey will replace the brown sugar. We also added a small carton of milk, and two cartons of soy milk. I also don't make her bread, I have my own recipes that have similar ingredients. We'll see how it balances out in the end.
Our date last night was better than any date so far. We went up to the kitchen at 10:00 at night and made a huge breakfast with hash browns, bacon, and sunny-side up eggs on toast. We ate until we were stuffed, and then we went to bed and took turns reading stories from Chicken Soup for the Couple's Soul. We cried and laughed together and stayed up until 2am. We bought the book at a thrift store for a couple of dollars, but it's probably at the library if you want to get technical and make sure it really cost nothing.
So... we have been offered the use of five acres of my aunt and uncle's land in Montana. It is still under discussion about what we would do with it but we are pretty sure that this is a great opportunity that is too good to pass up.
My husband and I have been going on dates 2-3 times a week, without children, and the only rule about these dates is that they can't cost money. We cheat every time and buy donuts, but that's beside the point. We've been hiking up to Little Mountain, watched the sunset, and read books together. Last night we went to a book discussion with the author of Life, Money & Illusion: Living on Earth as if we want to stay by Mike Nickerson. He also founded the 7th Generation Initiative (SustainWellBeing.net) which has defined sustainability in this way: