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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Easy Ways to Increase the Available Minerals in Your Food

Easy Ways to Increase the Available Minerals in Your Food

Assuming you’re eating the healthiest plant foods, grown in the healthiest soils, that you can find or afford, what else can you do to increase your mineral intake without using pills?

In the first article in this series we discussed the relative nutrition available in supermarket veggies, heirloom veggies from bio-diverse gardens and farms, and edible wild plants.

In the second article, we explored what’s happened to the mineral availability of the plant foods we eat as a result of soil management, and also as a result of our food selection and preparation choices.

In this final article for this series, we’ll explore some ways to maximize our absorption of the minerals that our plant foods offer.

We Need “Outside Help” To Digest Plant Foods

Plant cells have a cell membrane, and then around the outside of that they have a rigid cell wall made out of cellulose and lignin (substances that are particularly hard to digest), which gives plants their structure in the absence of bones to hold them up. We need ways of breaking down this tough cell wall if we are to digest and absorb the nutrients held in plant cells.

Animal cells, in contrast, have a thin, permeable cell membrane which can regulate what comes in and out of the cell but provides nothing in the way of structure[i].

Cooking with heat, fermenting, pickling, or dressing with an oil and vinegar salad dressing are some examples of preparations that break open plant cell walls[ii] and liberate the nutrients they hold.

All these processes cause plants to lose their crunch and change their colour; that’s how you know the cell walls have collapsed.

Think of it as pre-digesting tough plant foods that our digestive systems are not equipped to handle without some outside help.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Beyond Eggs – Part 1

Beyond Eggs

Beyond Eggs – Part 1

The Pros and Cons of Free Range and Mobile Chicken Pens

Well-managed chickens can provide eggs and meat as well as composting assistance, sanitation and pest reduction, soil amendment services, and entertainment. 

But poorly managed chickens tend to focus all their talents and energy into very destructive pursuits, as you know if you’ve had your seedlings repeatedly dug up or your fruit trees efficiently de-mulched. 

How can we harness all that chickens have to offer, in ways that keep everybody happy, healthy and productive?

Design and management for maximum integration

A major key—perhaps THE key—to making a Permaculture system work is the relationships between the parts (or elements) of the system.

A flock of chickens is an example of an element in a Permaculture system, and it can potentially have relationships with many other elements in the system that it supports/is supported by.

Anybody can stick a flock of chickens in the backyard.

But if you were approaching it from a Permaculture perspective (a holistic perspective) you’d carefully consider how to locate and manage the flock well so that ALL of the outputs it produces, or functions it can perform, are put to use in service of the surrounding ecosystem. 

Healthy ecosystems teem with diversity, each life-form inter-connected with all the others in a complex web that would be weakened and compromised if just one strand were removed. This is what we are striving to emulate.

It’s the interactions, exchanges, and synergy between the components of the system that provide the stability, adaptability, flexibility, efficiency, productivity/abundance, and beauty that we find lacking in a monoculture or in a less integrated system.

With this concept in mind, this article Series will discuss:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Two Different Kinds of Healthcare–Part 1


The doctor visit and the pharmaceutical prescription​​ usually get us back on the job quickly and with a minimum of inconvenience.

Modern pharmaceutical medicine is like the medical equivalent of fast food ​– it’s fast, it’s convenient, and too much of it erodes our health over time.

​In contrast, at-home healthcare and natural remedies are like home-cooked, real food, in that they take more time and effort. They also ​work more slowly​, and they ​work best if there is already a foundation of healthy living habits in place.

​​Home healthcare ​and natural ​remedies ​may sometimes be less convenient, but over time they build robust ​health on many levels.

Recently, one of our children had a bacterial skin infection called impetigo or “school sores.” It took several weeks for us to resolve it, and there was a point in time when I was not sure that home remedies were going to be sufficient.

In my search for solutions I spoke to women who have dealt with school sores in their family and community, I did lots of reading, and I made an appointment with a doctor. That was our first doctor appointment since well before my children were born more than 11 years ago.

Everyone I spoke to and everything I read told me that I’d end up using oral antibiotics,because that was the only alternative to a long, traumatic battle with a dubious outcome.

I’m relieved and happy to report that although we did go to a doctor and receive a prescription for antibiotics, we never had to use it.

The experience left me pondering the contrast between these twovastly different kinds of healthcare, which led to this article.


On the one hand, we have at-home healthcare.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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


This article is Part 3 of a Series that is mostly about chickens. It’s not a how-to-care-for-chickens article, but a how-to-appreciate-the-specialness-of-chickens article.

If you are interested only in chickens and would like to read about the funny things one of our roosters gets up to, 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.


Roosters are gentle, generous, and protective, particularly as they get older, feel they have their place well established, and don’t have to compete with other roosters for space or mates.

They show the hens all the good things to eat that they find, calling them and sharing the food in a similar way to how a mother hen shares with her chicks. And they come running to defend the hens when they hear one in distress.

Rooster and hens, midday siesta

In our flock of about 30 hens, there are currently three adult roosters. The oldest has his own family group of hens who go with him to forage in the same areas each day, to rest in the same shady spots, to dust bath in their designated dust baths.

The other two are younger, and very different. One, a large white rooster who stars in the stories I’ll share below, seems to be where-ever there is food to share with hens, or where-ever there are good spots for hens to lay eggs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things


This 3-Part Series articles 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 article Series is about “how to appreciate chickens as more than just egg-layers and garden-scratchers.” You’ll find out the importance of this, as you read the following section.


I’ve been reading some of Charles Eisenstein’s writings. In his books and articles, Eisenstein points out that regardless of how hard we work in a piecemeal way or on a superficial level to address the social and ecological challenges we face, collectively we are still missing a fundamental piece of the puzzle. It’s a piece that must fall into place before deep change can occur on a broad scale.

That missing piece has to do with our culture’s ways of interpreting reality, and our place in it.

Ecological destruction and social upheaval will continue until we as a culture experience a fundamental change in the way we view our place and role on earth, and our relationship with the rest of life.

So long as we continue to hold onto a (now obsolete) scientific worldview that says we are alone in the universe, we will continue to place ourselves above and apart from nature, and to prioritize our own wellbeing at the expense of other lifeforms.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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