Category Archives: Off Grid Living

Reining in Big Tech

Guest Post by Simon Black

I imagine there are countless people right now who feel a wide range of emotions when it comes to Big Tech companies. Anger. Disgust. Confusion. Fear.

We’ve watched with exasperation as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. have systematically squashed intellectual dissent; their actions have been so commonplace that there’s even a name for it: “De-platforming”.

We all know there’s a ton of garbage on the Internet, including from mainstream sources.

But de-platforming has proven to be wholeheartedly biased, totally arbitrary, and often comically ridiculous.

This isn’t just about the election or the Capitol. For example, if you dare utter a word on social media that goes against the infinite and infallible wisdom of the Chinese-controlled World Health Organization, then you might find yourself banned.

YouTube even suspended a renowned epidemiologist– a bona fide pandemic expert– because he opposed lockdowns and was hence ‘dangerous’.

Facebook censored more than 22 million posts in Q2 of 2020 for ‘hate speech’. Naturally, its entirely up to Facebook to define hate speech and judge whether or not you’re using it.#killallmen, for example, is NOT considered hate speech. And even by the company’s own admission, hate speech against men, or white people, is a low priority.

It’s clear these companies have an enormous amount of unchecked power. They have the ability to erase you from the Internet, destroy your reputation, and, if you’re someone who makes money online, terminate your livelihood.

But the only reason they have this power is because we’ve given it to them. Hundreds of millions of people have intertwined their entire lives into the Big Tech ecosystem, to the point that they know absolutely everything about us.

People post practically every detail of their lives on Instagram. They tell Zuckerberg what they like and dislike on their Facebook profiles. They tell Jack Dorsey what they believe in on their Twitter feeds.

They give Google free license to spy on every single email that’s sent or received; Google even keeps track of the things that you buy, archiving receipts from online purchases in your inbox and aggregating all of it into your advertising profile.

Through its Maps, Drive, and Calendar applications, Google has access to our schedule, our location, and our confidential files.They know what we’re searching for. They know what we’re saying. They know what we’re doing.

And at a certain point, a rational human being might be compelled to say “enough is enough”. How can anyone possibly trust these people with their data anymore?The good news is that there are tons of solutions.

In fact, distancing yourself from the Big Tech companies is one of the easiest ways you can declare your own independence and regain a bit of freedom and security. Below I outline a few options to consider:

 

Source: Five ways to loosen Big Tech’s grip on your life – The Burning Platform

Click on the link to learn more ways to beat big tech and their tyrannical grasp on our lives.

Snow Day – Yucca Style

It’s a rare snow day here at the ranch. After above average temperatures just a week ago, we’re now cold and dreary with big snowflakes falling.

We do need the moisture, as it has been months without any serious rain. The last couple of days have seen scattered showers, and todays’ cooler temps are leading to  a gorgeous winter wonderland.

and the Javelina got into the act…

Update :

But wait, there’s more!

Making the Tiny Home Perfect for Living Large

On “Good Bones,” Mina Starsiak and her mother, Karen Laine, have shown themselves to be pros at making small spaces feel open and airy. In their newest Indianapolis renovation, they show how to creatively transform a grungy, run-down house into a bright and inspiring artists’ cottage. In the episode “Cottage Becomes Artistic Oasis,”

Starsiak and Laine are tasked with renovating a house that a local arts nonprofit has bought for a mere $6,000. They plan to turn it into affordable housing for artists.

The top challenges? For one, the house is tiny, just 790 square feet. The nonprofit also has a tight budget of $90,0000 to spend on renovations, which won’t go far, given all the work this place needs…

For less than $100, they build a vertical living garden inside the sunny three-season room and fill it with edible plants like basil, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, and chives. The result is a beautiful green design element that’s also functional.

This article has even more goodies. One important thing is to use neutral and lighter colors in small spaces. This makes them feel much bigger and inviting.

Since the home will someday be rented out to artists, Starsiak and Laine decide to keep the design color palette light and neutral.

Not only does this help make the tiny home feel bigger, but it also creates a blank slate for the future tenants. They’ll be able to add their own colors and decor to match their style.

Source: ‘Good Bones’ Reveals Top Tricks To Make a Tiny Home Feel Huge | realtor.com®

Lots of interesting ideas for those on a tight budget or just anyone who wants new things to try.

There’s quite a few smaller homes in Kingman dating back to when it was a sleepier mining town. Good bones homes, but in desperate need of a renovation. Many investors have already caught on to this idea as it’s a great way to build instant equity. Many folks will pay top dollar for a mint move-in condition home.

Moreover, these inspirations can translate to your new tiny home in the beautiful northwest high desert of Arizona.

Enjoy…Ben

6 Tips for Desert Gardening – Prairie Homestead

Growing food in the high desert can be an incredible challenge, but I am living proof that you can be successful at it! If you follow a few simple methods to help combat the hot, dry, and windy conditions that are the norm in the southwest, you can be almost guaranteed a bountiful harvest.

Six Tips for Successful Desert Gardening

1. Find the Right Seeds – Seeds that have been grown in and adapted to the high desert are going to be your best bet in the garden. There are countless heirloom varieties that have been protected by the companies that make it their life’s work to preserve the history of our fruits and vegetables. Find them at your local nursery, Farmer’s Market or order them online via NativeSeeds.org, Baker Creek Heirlooms or Seed Saver’s Exchange.

Source: 6 Tips for Desert Gardening

We’re still learning after all these years. It’s not easy to grow in the desert, but with a long season & a few protections against the cold nights of winter, one can harvest literally year round. The critters are the biggest problem once you’ve improved the soil.

Dig in by clicking on the link. – Ben

 

Opting Out & A Memorial Day Weekend Message

Virtually nothing in America’s top-down financial and political realms is actually transparent, accountable, authentic or honest.

Opting out will increasingly be the best (or only) choice for tens of millions of people globally. Opting out means leaving the complicated, costly and now unaffordable / unbearable life you’ve been living for a new way of life that is radically less complex, less costly and less deranging.

Continue reading Opting Out & A Memorial Day Weekend Message

The Sun has been Ominously Quiet

At a time when the world is already being hit with major crisis after major crisis, our sun is behaving in ways that we have never seen before.

For as long as records have been kept, the sun has never been quieter than it has been in 2019 and 2020, and as you will see below we are being warned that we have now entered “a very deep solar minimum”.

Unfortunately, other very deep solar minimums throughout history have corresponded with brutally cold temperatures and horrific global famines, and of course this new solar minimum comes at a time when the United Nations is already warning that we are on the verge of “biblical” famines around the world.  So we better hope that the sun wakes up soon, because the alternative is almost too horrifying to talk about.

Without the sun, life on Earth could not exist, and so the fact that it is behaving so weirdly right now should be big news.

Source: The Sun “Has Gone Into Lockdown”, And This Strange Behavior Could Make Global Food Shortages Much Worse

Now, more than ever it seems like a good time to store a little more, and above all try to “stay away from crowds” as Uncle Remus says.

The pandemic this year has shown just how vulnerable our “just in time” delivery systems are. With literally tons of food being thrown away because of logistical issues, and the potential shortage of meat due to the concentration among just a few large factory farms, relying on supplies being available in tighter times such as these is just foolish.

FEMA says everyone should have three days of food & water, but as we’re only nine meals away from anarchy, one surely ought to try and have a little more.

Where to start? There are many good articles about preparing on a budget. Whether it’s a pandemic, a solar minimum, or even just an old fashioned hurricane, better to have more and not need it, than to want in an emergency. Start today – Ben

How is Your Long Term Storage Food Holding Up? Test it!

During my recent move, I was drawing down some stocked items.  One of the things we decided to consume and restock post move, was a bunch of Spam that I had acquired from 2011 to 2014.  My wife, who rarely allows me in the kitchen, had never taken an interest in the preps I had stocked, so the Spam didn’t rotate.  This gave us a nice test of how well Spam stayed on a shelf in long term storage.

The Spam had been stored in our basement, which was temperature controlled, so it wasn’t subjected to years of wild temperature fluctuations, but it had been sitting on the shelf for 5 to 8 years.  Our basement in that house was also dry.  There was no point in moving the Spam rather than using it and replacing it after the move.

If you are getting to where you have a decent inventory of food, you might want to sample things that you bought to see if they are what you expected.  We also are rebuilding our “deep pantry”.

Source: Testing Old Storage Food – Beans, Bullets, Bandages & You

One authors’ experience with a variety of long term storage foods. If you’re going to be ready for the long term, one important thing is to rotate and test your foodstuffs regularly.

How to Build an Inexpensive Greenhouse

Came across this. We’re suddenly more interested in shade as the temps have been in the 90s. A search for diy greenhouse yields many ideas for recycling old windows, or this one which budget, but effective.

How to build a small, cheap and easy greenhouse. Includes  Material List for 28 foot by 15 foot greenhouse, sorry, with pvc, the greenhouse has to be small.

Source: How to build a cheap, simple and easy greenhouse

Growing and Drying Your Own Herbs – Daily Prepper

As a new gardener, I often found the task of growing prize-winning tomatoes and succulent melons very daunting. Can I say succulent melons here? Get your head out of the gutter! But growing and drying your own herbs, now that was a new task.

Gardening has never come naturally to me. But I learn and grow each and every year. I finally began to master tomatoes by the third year of gardening. But I’ve still never mastered the green bean. It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re gardening, but I’ve found one thing that I can never kill. I suppose I could if I drenched it in chemicals, but ultimately, they’re very forgiving. What is it, you ask? Why, herbs, of course!

Herbs are one of the easiest things in the world to grow and maintain. Drying your own herbs is one of the easiest skills to learn, and will come in handy often.  Whether you’re drying them once harvested, making a tincture, preserving dried herbs into spice rubs, or simply hanging them until you’re ready to use them. There are plenty of ways to grow and preserve herbs on your homestead.

Source: How to Grow and Dry Your Own Herbs – Daily Prepper News

Lots of useful information, a good read.

The photo above is a salad without a speck of lettuce. Taken at Chacra d’Dago in Villa Rica Peru, home of an amazing biodynamic farm. -Ben

Start Your Medicinal Garden Today – 7 Reasons

Growing medicinal plants are a great way to ensure garden sustainability and more notably, have access to natural medicine when you need it most. When I introduced more herbs in my garden, I noticed it had a profound impact on the vegetables and fruits I was growing. It also encouraged beneficial insects and birds to visit my garden and this helped cut down on plants being eaten.

Because of this observation, I changed my focus from solely growing to eat and, instead, worked to create a welcoming growing environment. Not only were my plants healthier, but I had access to natural herbs to use for making extracts and poultices. The following are reasons I feel gardeners should adopt adding medicinal herbs to the garden.

7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden

1.) have fresh cut herbs to use for natural medicine, you have access to the freshest forms of their healing properties. For example, what if you cut your hand and did not have a bandage.

Did you know that the sage leaf can be wrapped around a wound and used as a natural band-aid? Or, if the bleeding from that cut was so bad that it wouldn’t stop. Did you know that a few shakes of some cayenne pepper can help control the bleed? Or, if you have a severe bruise, make a poultice. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to use herbal medicine.

2.) Calm your senses with medicinal teas. (Click to read more)

Source: 7 Reasons Why You Should Have a Medicinal Garden | Ready Nutrition

Read more at the link. Pictured above is Ephedra which is quite common here. Known as “Mormon Tea,” it’s said to be a wonderful decongestant. It must be simmered for at least 20 minutes prior to drinking. It’s quite stimulating, and should be avoided by those with heart conditions.