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Circumstances in my life have led me to a need to get away from stresses in my life, relax and decompress, see the country, meet people, make new friends and learn and grow within my own life. I left Las Vegas over a month ago and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I have met a multitude of interesting people, seen many new places, gained new interests and made plans for many travels in the future. I’ve been through Boulder, Colorado; Tallahassee, Ocala, Tampa and Seminole, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia and Anderson, South Carolina so far, greatly enjoying the diversity or people, architecture, sights and things to do. I’m staying in the Southeast for the next few months and heading North when the weather turns beautiful up there.

Other than traveling through the states my plans include attending festivals where I can meet people and learn new ideas. I plan to attend PorcFest, Porcupine Freedom Festival in June in New Hampshire. If you are thinking about coming, please register with this code which helps benefit a child who lost it’s mother last year via trust fund: PF2011ETHAN

If you read my blog and would like to meet me, show me around your neck of the woods or just help fund my travels, please feel free to contact me or paypal me via email at nicoledoula (at) gmail (dot) com. I look forward to meeting all of you wonderful people out there.

Much Love!!

Agorism

I recently had a chance to chat, in person, with one of the bloggers from http://www.LibertyOnTour.com, Ethan Lee Vita. Ethan is currently hitch-hiking across the US in search of agorist businesses, community-led problem solving and otherwise non-government funded counter economic activity. He started out in New Hampshire which is home of the Free State Project and of Free Keene. Ethan is currently traveling through Texas, toward Florida and up the East coast back toward New Hampshire.

Let me explain a bit about Agorism. Agorism is a political philosophy that holds as its ultimate goal bringing about a society in which all “relations between people are voluntary exchanges – a truly free market.” The term comes from the Greek word agora, referring to an open place for assembly and market in ancient Greek city-states.

Agorists hold that the evils attributed to capitalism are not caused by laissez-faire but by government working together with private industry. By preferring the term “free market,” Agorists feel they are not bound by the implications of the current use of the term “capitalism”.

Generally, self-identified “Agorists” oppose voting for political candidates and oppose political reform. Instead, Agorists stress the importance of alternative strategies rather than politics to achieve a free society. Agorists claim that we can achieve a free society more easily and sooner by employing such alternative methods. Alternative strategies consist of a mixture of education, direct action — and especially entrepreneurship and counter-economics.

Agorists especially focus on counter-economics, in which they seek to build and establish business structures without complying with regulations, government licenses, or paying taxes.

There are many examples of counter economics you may already be familiar with. Food Not Bombs groups will collect donations of food that is still good but about to be thrown out from grocery stores. They then take this food and cook it into free vegetarian meals to distribute to the homeless and needy, usually in public parks. A well-known source of counter economy is simple yard sales, Craigslist transactions and Ebay/Etsy stores. People all over the world are selling things and making money without government permission through these channels. The Last Biscuit is an agorist home-cooked meal delivery service, which up until recently was delivering hot, wholesome, home-cooked food straight to its customers, 24/7. Lastly, all over the country groups of health conscious people form food buying groups to procure healthy items that many stores do not carry, such as grass-fed beef or raw milk. Many food buying clubs are run by a member who makes a small profit for their time and efforts. Ethan has already covered a small portion of the raw milk story as seen here.

Please check out all the links above and contact Ethan about agorist and counter economic activity in your area.

Road trip!

I just returned from a month long road trip from Nevada to Wisconsin and back. I went for a wedding and for my sons’ annual family reunion camping. I won’t bore you with too many details, but I will say that Boulder and Denver were awesomely entertaining and well worth checking out. The Coors brewery tour was interesting and informative. The Cave of the Mounds in Blue Mounds, WI is amazingly beautiful. Nebraska is a lot more fun to drive through if you stop and check out the cities instead of a whole day of boring flat driving.
Also, I saved a ton in gas money by picking up what I like to call Professional Hitchhikers, people who post on rideshare under the community section on Craigslist. And I met some very interesting people who used Couchsurfing.org to travel cheaply and, of course, I joined and couchsurfed a bit myself. I took about 400 photos, but most of them were of the kids. Here is some of our trip:

Downtown Denver has some odd stuff to look at.  Downtown Denver

Golden, COGolden, Co

Washington County, WIWashington County, WI

Washington County, WIWashington County, WI

Lake Monona, Madison, WILake Monona, Madison, WI

Lake Monona, Madison, WILake Monona, Madison, WI

Iowa sunsetIowa sunset

In the Rocky MountainsIn the Rocky Mountains

Colorado River rest stopColorado River rest stop

UtahUtah

Hug a local Doula to celebrate.

Then enter to win one of the many giveaways on this wonderful blog:
Bellies and Babies

In honor of International Doula Month I will be seeing an advance screening of Babies on Thursday. Can’t wait!

Compost Happens.

I was sitting in my garden this afternoon thinking about a bumper sticker I had seen recently. It proclaimed simply, Compost Happens. I can not think of this without that scene from Forrest Gump creeping into my mind. You know, the one where Forrest gives the idea for the ubiquitous hippie saying, Shit Happens.

Well, they do both just happen. And often they are the same thing!! Many manures make excellent compost, cow, horse, poultry, even human! Rabbit is a lucky one that needs no composting. Just add directly to your garden.

Generally though, compost simply refers to the act of decomposing carbon based matter into soil. Just about everything can be composted; some just take a lot longer. Manure, food scraps, yard waste, leaves, newspaper, coffee grounds, wood shavings, even animal bones and bodies. Usually, in a home environment composting bones and meat would attract pests and encourage funky smells. Animal foods and wastes should be composted carefully and thoroughly.

Starting a compost pile is simple. There is no need for a bin, unless you choose. We started with an open pile, eventually enclosing it with cinder blocks, when it go too large to stay in one spot, as shown below.

This is a three stage compost pile. The brown on the right is finished compost. The green in the middle is a working pile. The straw on left is chicken bedding awaiting composting action.


Layer the above materials in your pile, try to keep it even parts wet nitrogenous materials (produce, grass, coffee, urine) with dry carbonaceous materials (straw, newspaper, cardboard (not waxed), nut shells, yard waste/dry plant materials). Keep adding materials as you have them and keep it moist, if necessary to your climate. We have an extremely dry climate, so watering is necessary. In a moist climate, a cover may be necessary to keep rain out.
When your pile is large enough, 3′x3′x3′, you can start a new pile and finish this one into soil. To do this, stop adding new materials, keep evenly moist and stir it up every couple of weeks. In a few short months it will look like dark brown/black rich soil. Spread it around your garden, top dress houseplants or plant straight into it. An old compost pile is a perfect place for a new tree.

Urine is another free waste fertilizer. Urine is a fantastic source of nitrogen. Diluted with 10 times water, urine is a perfect fertilizer directly applied to houseplants and your garden. Undiluted it could burn plants up, but diluted it’s like free Miracle Gro.

Compost and Shit. They just happen. The substances that come from the Earth know to return to her when they are done; It’s like the Earth calls back that which came from her. As naturally as those things came from the ground, they return to enrich the soil and provide new life. It’s a circle, in nature, that never ends.

Only in civilized society do we completely ignore this necessary cycle and ignore the health of our soils. Let’s change that, one backyard farm at a time.

You decide.

End The War on Fat in Slate Magazine.

$15 for $50 worth!! The power of bulk buying.

$15 for $50 worth!! The power of bulk buying.

Bountiful Baskets website

Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op is a group buy using the power of bulk purchasing to get great prices on produce and other goods from wholesalers. This group operates in the southwest states and was recently expanded to include Las Vegas. Produce is delivered twice monthly and the reception was so great, you can expect new locations next time around and the option for an organic basket for $10 more. What a fantastic new food option for us all in southern Nevada!

I attended the very first Bountiful Baskets Event this morning and it was amazing. There were many volunteers, dozens of boxes of fresh, colorful produce and within minutes it was all sorted out into hundreds of beautiful and for only $15, extremely bountiful baskets. There were freebies for the volunteers and lots of friendly faces, even at 8 am on Saturday morning.

This is how it works:
You place your order on the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op website and select your location.
You pay and print out your reciept.
The next Saturday morning the goods are delivered 6 am, volunteers arrive by 7 am and sort the produce into individual baskets before 8 am when the people who ordered arrive to pick up thier baskets.
Simple and a great way to get out chat and meet people in this little-big town of ours.

There were about 50 people at any given time chatting while waiting for fantastic fresh produce.

There were about 50 people at any given time chatting while waiting for fantastic fresh produce.

This was so popular there will definitely be an organic option in the future.

This was so popular there will definitely be an organic option in the future.

Check your local resources and chances are there are co-ops and group buying clubs near you waiting to save you a penny or two.

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