Sustainable SW Blogs

show me the honey...

The Field Lab - Thu, 2015/07/30 - 4:11pm
Bartered a TFL paramotor pilot coin for a quart of harvested honey from pro pilot Eddie Carter in Yoakum, TX.  Showed it to my wild bees to make them feel guilty and perhaps lead me to their hive.  Eddie has become a well known member of the PPG community since he took up the sport 4 years ago.  Hopefully he will come out to fly TFL once I heal up and get back in the sky.  Here is his 2011 year in review when he first got started in the sport.  91,98,71,0,B

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Uncle Ricky's Happy Face

The Field Lab - Wed, 2015/07/29 - 2:48pm
loading alfalfa is serious business94,102,75,0,C
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The Field Lab - Tue, 2015/07/28 - 5:59pm
internet groceries93,101,71,0,B
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The Field Lab - Mon, 2015/07/27 - 4:08pm
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Holy Scrap - Sun, 2015/07/26 - 9:12pm
I'm looking out of the back of the Hondominium. The sun nears the horizon and the beach roars. I smell a murky, moist air. Ionized. I am listening to Rodreguez and considering the recent affects of time. The ocean has a way of inviting big thinking, at least it does for me. I find myself mulling over a variety of road realizations, each one anchored in the concept of time.

I get cranky on the road. Nothing stays the same for very long. I get from adapting to newness. Moments alone are rare. Sometimes I crave the indoors and I don't mean the inside of the 35 sq foot vehicle I live in. There have been many fits, always about small things. I can't get a bath when I want one. Sometimes there is no escaping a mosquito infested creek. Often want to turn off everything, but living outdoors prevents this kind of pause. Livingness's activity is everywhere and always. Since the start of this summer trip I have become more resilient. The irritations I experience are practically a reason to get out of my home. Living indoors, after all, is learned. Modern. Movement, like water bubbling downstream aerated by passing over a bed of rocks, purifies.

Wishing to be helpful Mikey tries to fix problems that come up. I ranted my way up a steep mile-high climb on a rocky, narrow, unpaved national forest road. It featured an epic 2,000 ft drop cliff on one side, "why are all the national forest roads so f#(@) dangerous!" I harrumphed. Half an hour later, still throwing a fit we settled into a spot on the mountain and I passed out for the night. In the morning I appreciated the moss covered gigantic trees so thick that barely a few speckles of sun showed through. I loved the stone lined stream that had provided white noise throughout the night as well as a morning bath. A few days later and hundreds of miles later, at sea level I realized Mikey had navigated us to a more civilized and predictable terrain hoping to quell my rage. We were at the beach.  I told him that no matter how well intending he must not do this. I need for time to work on my rough edges, including the irritation about hazardous national forest roads. It takes time to be broken. We agreed to return to national forests for free overnight parking spots.

Many people we've met have asked how long we're traveling. We reply, "about seven months." The expression on people's faces, many in the process of using up the two weeks of vacation time that they have for the entire year, remind me that time is more valuable than money. People who have money spend it on time.

Since we left New Mexico in April we have clocked approximately 200 to 300 miles of trail and so I know that being in nature changes me. Last week I realized that I'd forgotten to bring something to these hikes and runs, contemplation. Its easy to run past a tree failing to notice its features, an expansive root system, unusual trunk, and pungent piney scent. Taken in, these experiences are transformative. A Sufi initiate in an order that is nature-based I have had the privilege being spoken to by nature. Contact with nature turns listening to hearing; transforms sight and scent into touch; and inspiration to metaphor and even communion. Fortunately with half of the trip ahead of me, I remember. I have time to bring contemplation to the trail. To do so I will have to shift the way I've been treating time because contemplation is the domain of the soul and the soul is slow.

The cliche's about time are abundant, "time heal's all wounds," "this time like all times is a good time if we but know what to do with it," and there's my favorite quote by Willem Dafoe that I captured in my book. He said it as the character of an angel in the film Faraway, So Close! "time is short. that’s the first thing. . . . time is a servant if you are its master. time is your god if you are its dog. We are the creators of time, the victims of time, and the killers of time. time is timeless. that’s the second thing. you are the clock." I think of these quotes when Mikey changes the game in an effort to try to fix everything that I complain about. I remind him that I'm not traveling for trivial fun. I am living in Hondo and nature to learn and discover more about who I am and what this world is.

The Bozeman Air BnB rental provided a place to meet up with my childhood friends and hang out for three days. I arrived there frazzled from the road. I craved a roof over my head and protection from the elements. I wanted consistency too. Predictable sameness sounded perfect. I was shocked when the three short days of living in a house revivified me. Back on the road I felt more durable than I have felt since the start of the trip.  When my friends left for the airport and I locked the rental property door behind me I knew that I had felt cleaner from a bath in a cold, crisp river than I did from a chlorinated shower and I preferred the sharp, breezy night air to the stuffiness of the little room with a window fan. I had changed.

It feels good to decalcify even if it hurts to feel the fossilization of civilized life break apart. Something more flexible, tolerant, welcoming and fresh is left behind.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

the ball is in your court...

The Field Lab - Sun, 2015/07/26 - 3:41pm
2 Chronicles 15:2 The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you look for Him, He will let you find Him. But if you leave Him, He will leave you.
Psalms 37:4 Be happy in the Lord. And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Accessories for Autonauts

Holy Scrap - Sat, 2015/07/25 - 3:50pm
Truly this is the yard sale score of my summer, a spill proof urinal with attachment for women that specifies usability in automobiles. If your wondering why we would need this just imagine that it's early morning and you have stealthed a spot to sleep in that's suburban. You are trying to blend in. You don't want to be recognized as living in your vehicle. You have to pee. Uh oh!
This baby was free, and new in bag. The mom having the sale couldn't bear her kids inquiry when I held it up and asked, "how much?" "Free," she said while waving an arm as a gesture to make me go away.  Resale price on Ebay? A smoothe $40. Value to an autonaut? Priceless.
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What's really important...

The Field Lab - Sat, 2015/07/25 - 3:50pm
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shopping for a new vehicle...

The Field Lab - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 5:01pm
Giant Key West Chicken by artist Derek Arnold97,102,73,0,B
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Welcome to Boz Angeles

Holy Scrap - Fri, 2015/07/24 - 4:10pm
Leaving Bozeman, Montana my step is slow, smile warm and lazy, needs few. Early on in our stay a theme was revealed, people. It started with a stint at a friend's home in Willow Creek. Eight T or C folks met up there and tubed a creek that runs through my friend’s property. We cooked, ate, drank beer, chatted, slept and lazied about. This is where I learned that if you hear Montana folk talking about what a bad mosquito year it is you might consider leaving rivers and lakes for high and dry terrain, at least until the weather shifts. Though we left with bodies bumpy and full of itch our hearts were full. Bookending the trip our final days in Bozeman were spent in reunion with three of my friends from 4th and 6th grades who flew in from NY and LA to meet us. If I had a tail I'd wag it. 
Traveling from Willow Creek to Bozeman we passed through tiny towns, and sprawling farms and ranches that blanketed a hilly terrain until we reached the outer ring of Bozeman, which like so many places we've visited in the US consists of a band of big box stores like Ross, Target, Michaels, Wallmart, and REI. For them streets widen, traffic thickens, cement dominates, and shade turns scarce making summer days hotter than they ought to be. As we neared old Bozeman tree lined roads softened the day. The town’s history revealed itself through memories as well as projections of its future. Iconic cowboy souvenirs are sold in the stores that line Main St., and at the Gallastin County Fair rodeo and roller derby competed for the same time slot. The future could be seen in the newly remodeled homes and businesses - food coops, tapas bars and breweries welcomed tourists and locals alike. My favorite Bozeman remodel is an old brick school turned into a restaurant, theater, several art galleries, and stores featuring handmade goods. As one would expect of structures built around the 40s, Bozeman's buildings are due for an overhaul. I found the remodels tasteful and in keeping with the style of the town, the details paying homage to the past with rusted parts from farms, ranches, and plenty of folk art. I had heard some harrumphing about a local practice of demo’ing Victorians only to rebuild a brand new version of it, the mimic identical to the original. But to my eyes, fresh paint felt both fresh and necessary.

Signs of growth are everywhere in Bozeman. Locals tell that it has been this way for more than ten years. Growth is slow and continuous. Most of the folks that I asked said that they like it. I did not feel a sweeping gentrification like the kind I saw in New York. Having just been to Bend, Oregon I got a view of the area's kind of growth and gentrification. I found Bozeman to be anything but fancy. I was shocked when I got to Missoula where I first heard the term Boz Angeles. I can only guess the folks who compare Bozeman to LA have never been to LA.
The college in Bozeman is a reminder of the area’s roots with majors in agriculture and mechanical engineering (liberal arts are studied in Missoula). If you were to miss these clues, denim Wranglers tell a more more mall oriented shopper that Bozeman still likes to play in the dirt, the theme of this year’s fair. Still we found that those who want authentic Montana experiences drive to places like the Pony Bar (apparently George Harrison called it the best bar in America) and Harrison’s Town Haul, a diner that serves owner raised, grass fed beef. In spite of Bozeman’s ranching roots, residents boast that they are neither liberal nor conservative, and say things like, “we do our own thing.”
As I travel this summer I am continuously surprised at how noticeably different people of various regions feel to me. The kids in Bend’s swimming pool locker room were forward, sharp, and critical of those not present while the same age kids in the Bozeman HS pool locker room asked one another about specific details in their lives saying things like, “how’s your mom feeling after that long trip?” They were noticeably soft and gentle and they were kind to one another. The habit I have of maintaining direct eye contact when speaking to someone felt too aggressive for Bozeman. As if meeting a member of an uncontacted tribe I switched to looking at my shoes when talking to a stranger, then gradually I let my gaze lift. This modification led me to believe that I was received better. Conversations in Bozeman were noticeably rich, sincere, and easier than they’d been in any town I’d visited this summer with the exception of Truckee, CA where people socialized easily and everywhere. I also found people to be grounded, clear, direct and utterly sane, attributes that since traveling I can no longer take for granted. I admit that when I arrived in Bozeman, it was at first shocking to be around people smoking cigarettes. Having completed a three-week stint in athletic Bend, OR and then a weekend in vane Sun Valley, I was also no longer accustomed to the variety of human sizes and especially obesity. After the shock wore off, I appreciated being amongst a truer reflection of humanity. Bozeman likes outdoor play, trails were well populated all days of the week. Here exercise in balance with the rest of life.
In spite of Main St. being a retail strip for tourists Bozeman did not feel like an imitation of itself. I left New York City around the time that Whole Foods blocked off an entire side of Union Square, right around the time that 42nd St and Times Square transformed into outdoor malls for big box stores, and the east village turned into fraternity row, and so I am sensitive to this trend. But I know well that capitalism, in order to survive, must commodify. Authenticity, experience, memories, manners, and nuisance once authentic, the kind that create personality, become echos as these expressions are sold off in the form of souvenirs. When I drove across the country in 2001 I saw the essence and soul of the places that I visited being strategically replaced by homogenous strip malls and big box stores prepared to sell tokens of what once was. This is why today Santa Fe will try and sell you Native American looking rugs, ponchos and chipotle even if no Native American had anything to do with the making of these things. I often wonder if this process of digesting authenticity and turning meaning into commodity, is the cause of the recent trend toward irony. 
Bozeman’s resources are hardly superficial. They include the Gallatin National Forest and a beautiful public library that offers a wonder-world both inside and out. It backs up to shady, grass covered, rolling hills and hiking trails that can take you miles. More trails for hiking are in the nearby forest. Our favorite is called the Hyalite. It features more than 8 waterfalls and a stunning alpine lake on top. Something to note, you might want to carry bear mace. A forest ranger confirmed that Grizzlies are resident in the mountains around Bozeman. After passing by entire camps of young kids and senior citizens I realized that I should get over my worries about meeting one.
With more than a handful of breweries Bozeman is keeping up with the trending culture found in mountain towns. While only two of its many coffee shops offered pour overs, and only one carried gear for chemex, you could buy yourself a growler and get it filled with good craft beer for a mere $5 if you caught Bozone Brewery on the right night. We scored a Belgian Wit that was darn good! Throughout Montana we scored $7 growler refills and we even got a $10 sour that we scored at Draught Works in Missoula. 

We looked for evidence of a tech community but found nothing to indicate the presence of cutting edge tech trends that one might find in larger cities. The exception perhaps was a killer computer library located near campus. Laptops were remarkably and perhaps delightfully missing from cafes. Missoula’s new Black Coffee Roaster boasted a “no wi-fi" and this got us wondering if there might be a trend toward screen free environments. With the absence of things like maker spaces, and missing tech art culture, closer inspection revealed to us that Bozeman hosts no tech industry to lure technical people to the area. We did find plenty of folk artists, architects, and makers of things such as and metal smiths, and lots of niche small businesses offering services like media and printing located throughout town. Judging by the unrushed and lengthily conversations regularly kicked off while waiting on line weekday afternoons, Bozeman seems to have a relaxed work ethic that has does not fray the nerves of it’s residents.
If you love live music, mountain towns like Bozeman are meccas for summer festivals. With each mountain town hosting the same talent as every other, I realize that Mikey and I could have spent our summer working as roadies on the circuit. To my taste these regions could use a bit more musical variety but at least world music made the roster.  I hope that Portland will supply me with some needed jazz.
While Mikey and I were open to hanging around MT a bit longer, neither Missoula nor the old mining city of Butte (now a superfund site) convinced us to stick around. In keeping with our “follow the weather” strategy, and Bozeman hitting 90 degrees this week, we headed to the beach to visit the old port, Astoria, Or. 
Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

nothing is easy

The Field Lab - Thu, 2015/07/23 - 4:56pm
Fought with PayPal half the day trying to figure out the shipping label thing.  Apparently making my life easier has its' costs.  Problem is...the package size I have is not an option for printing postage and my only other option is hand addressing them and getting postage at the post office.  The plus side is it makes it all easier to print the labels including a tracking number being automatically emailed to the recipient - the down side is it costs a little more to send each package.  Went ahead and printed labels for the first two orders I received (David Brown and Thomas Hill) and will take them to the post office tomorrow to have a pow wow with postmaster Lisa.  The rest of the orders will start shipping Monday...even if I have to resort to the old fashioned way.  96,101,73,0,C
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The Field Lab - Wed, 2015/07/22 - 5:23pm
Thank you for contributing to the Ben'n'Bud Fund.  Just over half of the inventory of 100 coins sold overnight.  When these are gone, I will stamp a limited edition of the 2013 coin for those who might have missed out on the original.  92,98,71,0,B
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Map correction for Kitchen Garden & Coop Tour

Home Grown New Mexico - Tue, 2015/07/21 - 8:13pm

Hi folks! With all the work for the tour,  we found some errors in the map you may have downloaded on our previous post. So here is the revised map with the streets corrected. Please print out this one for you to follow.

Home Grown tour_map

Categories: Sustainable SW Blogs

Buy Now

The Field Lab - Tue, 2015/07/21 - 3:13pm
Coins are finally ready.  Please help yourself to the "Buy Now" button on the right...88,95,72, .37",B
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it's all in the timing...

The Field Lab - Mon, 2015/07/20 - 3:38pm
Pepino's pump timer circuit is acting up again.  Time to get a couple of replacements to have on hand.  Ordered two with shorter cyclical timing (5min vs 60min) which will make it easier to dial in the "on" and "off" times.  93,99,74, .12",B
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the battles we choose...

The Field Lab - Sun, 2015/07/19 - 1:08pm
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The Field Lab - Sat, 2015/07/18 - 4:29pm
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the extra mile

The Field Lab - Fri, 2015/07/17 - 4:21pm
Had a long meeting recently with the quality control department here at TFL.  It was decided that each coin that leaves the premises must have a protective coating.  After researching several possibilities, it was decided that Renaissance wax was the way to go.  How can you go wrong with a product approved by the Queen of England? 96,101,75,0,B
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first sale

The Field Lab - Thu, 2015/07/16 - 4:46pm
Frequent visitor and Field Lab friend Bill Vogl stopped by today along with his daughter Kaylee.  They are doing the father/daughter thing before Kaylee goes off to Texas A&M in the fall.  They hiked the south rim in BBNP a couple of days ago.  13.5 miles over 7.5 hours with a 2000 foot elevation gain to 7100 ft.  Bill graciously purchased (including a little extra) the very first coin to go out the door to benefit the Ben'n'Bud Fund.  He didn't have cash on him so he Paypaled me from his smart phone through my wifi.  technology...  96,101,73,0,B
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Seeking Out Wisdom & Meaning In The Maker Culture - Make Magazine

Holy Scrap - Thu, 2015/07/16 - 10:08am
By the end of 2013, and having toured for seven months to promote my book, The Good Life Lab, the message in it became even more fine-tuned. Reviewing my ideas again and again by speaking about them, and engaging in conversations with people who attended the talks revealed more about the subject that has become the focus of my life's work - the commodification of culture. One of the realizations that I had was that contemplation is the only assurance that we may understand the consequences of what we do and make choices that preserve life. We can't go on without it.

I've been a part of the maker movement for many years, beginning some time before I created the textile repurposing model called Swap-O-Rama-Rama, and when I was making things to bring to Burning Man. The swap eventually became a part of the Maker Faire and grew to be worldwide. I became a maker full time when Mikey and I moved to New Mexico to discover a post-consumer life.

Over the years I have thought a great deal about the maker movement's future and impact on the world. Today Make printed an article that I've thought about writing for a long time. I hope you'll take a moment to read it.

The article also introduces a new project that I contributed to this year, and that you'll be hearing more about in the coming weeks. It began last year when a organization called The Seven Pillars invited me to participate in the making of a toolkit for discovering the wisdom needed to address the social and ecological needs of our day. I enthusiastically said, "yes!" The result is a multimedia e-book titled The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom. On August 3rd it will be available through iTunes and Amazon's Kindle. You can pre-order it today on Amazon or iTunes 

Meanwhile... check out the Make article. 

(Top pic: 2003 at Mikey's Houston St. apartment just after we met. I am learning to solder and helping him make 30 pair of remote controlled vibrating underwear for Burning Man.
2nd pic: screen grab from The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom)

LINK: Make Article 

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