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New Year Hype

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I posted a quick blurb on the Tribal Future Facebook page yesterday, but I thought I would take a minute to expand on it.  I posted, the new year will be exactly the same as the old year, except for the books you read, the people you meet, and the actions you take.  Now at least part of that is a quote from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, but as far as I know, I am the only one that added action to it like this.  If I am not, don’t tell me.  I always liked Charlie’s original quote, but to me it fails to capture the truth.

CharlieTremendousJones

What changes?

Knowledge without actions is useless.  I know that eating McDonald’s is bad for us, but I still do it.  I can meet 100 successful business owners, but unless I emulate their actions, I will not emulate their success.  I can watch a yoga video, but if I am watching it from the couch, its not going to help much.  We control our own future, and it takes action to change it.

Why bring this up?

Because its New Years, and my Facebook page is full of people HOPING for a new year.  Setting new years resolutions they have no intention of keeping.  Simply hoping that life happens to them.

I grew up in Pittsburgh.  A town full of people moaning that the old days were gone, and why doesn’t somebody bring them back.  I know that attitude exists everywhere, but there seemed to be a lot of it there, and it always offended me.  The future is what you make it.  If you make it about you bitching in a bar about how good other people have it, that’s all it will be.

C'mon, it just needs someone else's elbow grease

C’mon, it just needs someone else’s elbow grease

Don’t just say you set a resolution.  You wanna make more money, get a second job.  You wanna learn to speak a language, estudio la espanol.  You wanna lose weight, stop reading this blog over a pizza.  Whatever you wanna do, the only person stopping you is YOU.

I found a great site called 13skills.com that I will be using to help myself learn some new things in 2013.  I would invite all of you to check it out.  I will have some more detail on it later today.

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Day 49: Final Preps and New Directions

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Well, after tons of work, it seemed like they would never get here, but yesterday was the final day before little goaty homecoming.  I got the house built, sans a single pallet.  I got the feeder constructed, and a nice bale of alfalfa loaded up and ready to go.  After a crap ton of prep work, we got the yard cleaned up for them.  We are almost ready to go.

The only thing I still had to do was remove the last of the damn Oleander tree.  That stupid thing actually began to grow back once I hacked off a big chunk of it.  So despite having a pile of Oleander branches that is about 4 feet tall, I now have vigorous green growth coming up in new green shoots.  Not quite sure how to kill the damn thing and keep it down.  I think tomorrow I am going to have to bury it completely and wait for it to decompose.  In theory, once its covered with dirt, it will start to break down, just like a hugel bed.  It will break down even faster if I plant something on top of it.  So maybe a rose or blackberry bush that will grow quickly just to help add some shade in that corner of the yard.  The first part will be to cover it, and we can plan from there.

Look.  Sawzall.  Good for more than just cutting down my kitchen wall.

I got to sit for about two hours in a car dealership today, watching them try to fix what Tucson Dodge swore wasn’t actually a function of the vehicle.  Its amazing how some people can just straight up lie to you.  We have a GMC Envoy, which has a tail gate that is supposed to both swing open like a normal SUV, and lay flat like a truck.  Well, we took it to Tucson Dodge, who we purchased it from, and they broke it.  Not only did it no longer lay flat, they swore up and down that it wasn’t actually supposed to even do it.  So I don’t know what my range of readership is here, but if you ever have a chance to do business with Tucson Dodge, run away as fast as you can.

On the plus side, while waiting on my vehicle, I managed to roll the dice a little bit.  I can’t really go into specifics, for a variety of reasons, but it is beginning to feel like my life is once again slotting into the perfect groove.  Here is hoping that I am right, but we will see either way.

Paleo Portion:

Breakfast:

Coffee

4 eggs

Jenn was nice enough to get up and going even faster than me today, and had a tasty breakfast waiting for me.  Nice to keep on rolling and not be hungry all the time.

Lunch:

I spent this in the dealership

Dinner:

2 Country Style pork ribs

Squash and Ricotta

Homemade Custard

We made the pork ribs in the toaster oven, and they turned out really nice.  They were even more tender than the last time we made these.  We mixed the squash and ricotta together in the pan, and the ricotta almost melted into a white sauce.  It was actually really good with a little Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Weight: 233.  Looks like I might be headed for a new low.  We shall see.

Day 48: Goat Feeders and Garages

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Yesterday was every bit as exhausting and at some points frustrating as I had been afraid it would be.  I did get some forward progress on my To-Do lists, but not as much as I had hoped.  Even with a major setback, I would still say my project turned out really well.  We also got a chance to check out an awesome local business for the first time.  Its one that we have been saying we need to go see for years, and we finally did it.

So yesterday morning, eventually, we headed out to run our errands.  I dropped off two more boxes of books at goodwill, trimming my remainder pile down even further.  We picked up some puppy pads for the bottom of the chick cage, as well as some new chick food.  We also got a goat water dish for our Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  Its made from recycled tired, which means it should be able to stand up to goat abuse.

Then on the way home, we stopped off at Old Town Feed and Supply.  Its a cute little feed store just off of the road on my commute every day.  They have little bunnies and chickens every spring, and we have been saying we should go for literally the entire time we have lived here in Tucson.  Yesterday, we finally did.  This place was awesome.  Anything you needed for horses, chickens, wild birds or pet dogs, they had there.  On top of that, I now get to kick myself for not stopping sooner, since their prices were amazing.  They had some little baby turkeys in a bin up front, man they are adorable.  We got some chewies for the dogs, a quail block, and a nice bail of alfalfa for the goats.

It would be at this point that the day turned south a little.  Our Envoy has a tailgate that likes to not work ever since the thumb-fingered baboons at Tucson Dodge decided that it didn’t really need to do a function it was supposed to do.  So they took it apart, “repaired it”, charged us lots of money, and it hasn’t worked right since.  So next time you need a car, trust a homeless guy with an AK before you trust these idiots.  So on the way home, with a bale of alfalfa in the back, our tailgate decides it doesn’t want to close.  So we ride the last few miles home with a swinging gate.  We finally patched it closed, and now I get to spend a large part of my day in the waiting area at a car dealership.  I look forward to that joy.  Here is a shot of the ghetto work, just for kicks.

Once I got home though, I was able to build an awesome goat feeder for our Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  Now there is nothing to stop us from bringing them home on Wednesday, assuming we get the tailgate fixed.

This little guy is about 5 feet high, and holds a standard bale of alfalfa hay nicely.  I made it entirely from reclaimed wood from our old garden.  It holds the food up off the ground so it stays dry, also it healthy for the little goats to reach up for their food.  It helps keep them from getting gas, and also from wasting their hay all over the ground.  I can’t wait to see them get into feeder related shenanigans.

Paleo portion:
I really didn’t eat much yesterday, so I won’t waste time on it. I have noticed on days that I do lots of work, I just don’t feel like eating. I did have half of a killer watermelon though. It was tasty.

Day 46: Recharging and Refilling

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Well, today was my first full day home from Florida, where I ran smack dab into the downside of your body acclimating really well to a new time zone.  Combining that with the effects of gluten toxicity purging from my body, and I just felt crappy.  It was amazing to me on one level how quickly all of my efforts were undone.  I hope that it won’t take me as long this time to purge the residue this time, but at least in the short run, its not less violent.  Also, amazing was how quickly I regained a soda addiction.  For the most part, I never really had one, certainly compared to a lot of people.  Yet when you think you don’t have one, go drink pop for a week and tell me how it works out when it comes time to stop.  I barely drank pop before, and I would love to have one now.  So yeah, its addictive.

So although I didn’t get the large number of things done that I wanted to, in fact I spent most of the day watching “Food Network Star” and playing Max Payne 3, I did get to see how far everything has come since I left.  Our little Trovita Orange Tree is coming along nicely.  I am not 100% sure he has put on any new leaves, but he for sure has stretched up to the sun.  The mesquite tree I planted has most certainly sprouted some new leaves, about 10 if we counted correct.  You think of trees taking forever to grow, and sometimes its till amazing that it doesn’t take really that long.  Lastly, my little chickens are much less little now.  They are growing like gangbusters.  I really hope I feel better on Monday, as I will have to build them a coop whether I feel well or not.

Here are the little ladies all playing around in their cage, first thing in the morning.

Here is a baby Welsummer artfully posing for us.  As you can see, they have about tripled in size in the last week or so.

Refilling the Kitchen:

The house was starting to look a little bare, so we went to Market on the Move to refill on veggies, and Sam’s Club for some dairy needs.  The haul from Market was tremendous.  Normally I list off what we got just for reference purposes, but this week I can’t, I am not sure I can count that high.  I know we got some tasty pablano peppers, some yellow banana peppers, tons of green peppers, tons of yellow squash, piles of tomatoes and 4 honeydew.  Essentially, way more product than we can use in a week.  Jenn had the awesome idea to store the peppers.  This will give us some peppers to use in the summer months when there is a market only every two weeks.  We might even end canning some of the small peppers and tomato sauce.

Went to Sam’s club as well for our dairy needs, and got some tasty stuff there.  I bring this up only because, it was the first trip where the only thing we impulsed was a watermelon.  Nuts to you brightly colored displays of useless crap.  We also might have hit on an idea for our chicken coop.  We might be able to use a big 150 gallon deck container instead of building the actual coop.  Will have to see how much the cost is versus the labor involved.

Paleo Portion:

Breakfast

Skipped due to market on the move.  Had some coffee when we got back

Lunch:

We reheated some leftover burgers from the night before.  Very good curry burgers.  If you mix some curry paste in your ground beef with some cumin, its amazing.

Dinner:

For dinner we made some super tasty veggie egg scramble with bacon.  Just cut up 4 strips of bacon and brown with onions.  Cut up 4 tomatoes and 2 pablano peppers, throw those in to cook once onions are brown.  Once those are cooked, mix in about 12 eggs.  The bacon fat keeps it from sticking, and gives it great flavor.  Was very tasty.  Honeydew for dessert.

Weight: 240

I gained 5 pounds in five days.  Damn you Florida.  Two years in a row you make me fat.  At least this year I can fix it.

Day 45: Home at Last

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Well, as you may have guessed from the title, I am finally home from my trip.  I have to say, there really is no place like home.  The entire time I was away, I couldn’t wait to get back.  I missed my beautiful wife.  I missed my obnoxious puppies.  I missed my cute little chickens.  I missed my yard.  Lastly, I missed my mattress.  Its so bad, I have actually concluded that I am allergic to the outside world.  Not to go into any kind of details, but something in my hotel room was causing my skin to break out everywhere.  It was absolutely terrible.

Travel actually ended up working out pretty well compared to some past trips of mine.  Flying through Phoenix was a much better way for me to go.  Also, I flew on an Airbus aircraft instead of the traditional Boeing.  Some advice there great American aircraft company, if you want to keep functioning, build your aircraft bigger.  I wouldn’t say I had a ton of space, but I certainly had more room on that plane than I have on any others in a long time.

I look forward to being able to restart my paleo lifestyle now that I am at home.  As I mentioned yesterday, it was exceedingly hard to stick to a paleo diet in a buffet setting.  There were really very few things I could eat that weren’t based entirely or partly on carbs.  It was like watching the American diet in microcosm.  Everything was bread and carbs.  Sure there was some meat, but even it found a way to be coated in carbs either as breading or as a glaze.  There was no escaping it.  Grab your bread, your breaded meat, and your potatoes.  Here is some veggies, but they are clearly optional.  Oh and for dessert, carbs and sugar.  It was terrible.

I did my absolute best to avoid disaster, and in the week I was gone, I gained 5 pounds.  Thats a pound a day.  I can already feel it all starting to detox out of my system.  I am tired, sore, and just in general don’t feel like my new paleo self.  Its such a stretch to remember that I used to feel like this all the time.  I am such a happier person now, its amazing how much of that depends on food.  We truly are what we eat.  No wonder we often feel like garbage.

 

The satisfaction of doing it yourself

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Greetings once again from sunny Florida where hopefully I am enjoying myself, but probably not so much.

I have learned something in the last few weeks, and its something that I suspect was once common knowledge, and has been lost.  These is a tremendous satisfaction in building or doing things for yourself.  I feel that this is a thread that has been lost in our culture, and I think it affects our personal and national pride.

In the last few weeks, I have planted two trees in my yard.  I have installed a coyote catcher on my fence.  Jenn and I have been raising baby chickens.  I tore down a garden structure.  Jenn planted a bunch of food plants.  Lastly, just this morning (as of writing) I finished building a goat house in my yard.  The goat house was the very first time I envisioned a structure in my mind, and was able to create it wholly in the world.  When I get back from Florida, I plan on building some square-foot gardens and a chicken coop.

I have never done any of this before.  In the past, my solution would have been to pay someone else do it, or to not do it at all.  I would never have known the satisfaction working with my own hands.  It creates such an energy in your soul.  To go out into the sun, and sweat from honest labor is a new experience for me. Its energizing and invigorating in a way I never imagined.

How many people have also gone their entire lives and never built anything?  They take pride in how much they pay the gardener, the baby sitter and the maid.  They don’t know how to change their spark plugs, change a tire, put in a post, frame out a wall, or even to trim a tree.  Whats the worst thing that can happen?  Get out there and do it.  Facebook will still be there when you are done.

What the hell happened to us?  We are the lost children of the same great nation that reached across two oceans to crush fascism, settled a continent, split the atom, touched the moon, and once built the best of everything in the world.  We were a nation of pioneers that went and settled where no European, and sometimes no man at all, had ever seen before.  We settled a great nation, and built ourselves up from nothing, to stand strong enough to spit in the face of our colonial masters.  If we couldn’t do it, it couldn’t be done.

That great soul still lies within us, if we only know where to look.  I felt a fleeting touch of it this week as I built and worked.  I know that somewhere inside of me lies the rest of it.  I want to find it, channel it, and live it.  I will go forward, unafraid to fail, because I know it will make me stronger.  Its out there for everyone, you just have to reach for it.

Doesn’t that feel like it’s missing from this country?  We are now a nation without purpose, and I believe one reason is because we don’t build anymore.  We have a generation that takes pride on doing nothing.  They go to school to avoid working.  They look for an office job because they are afraid of working with their hands.  They bitch that the government doesn’t take care of them enough because they don’t want to work too hard.  Go tell your grandfather that sweated for 12 hours a day in a steel mill, or worked from sun up to sun down on a farm, that you can just hire someone.  He would whoop your ass.

We don’t stand tall anymore, because we don’t believe that we can overcome any challenge anymore.  Whether as a nation, or in our own lives, we walk softly, but we dropped the big stick.  Stop paying everyone else to do for you, get out there and do it yourself.  We do so many things to fill the void inside of us, whether its sex, drugs or rock and roll.  Maybe we should actually build something to fill that void, and maybe make the world better while we do it.

A Changing View of Career in America

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I have, what is at the moment a completely wild guess about our economy.  I am going to flesh it out, and we will wait to see if I am right long term.  If I am right, I think it means good things for our country going forward.  If I am wrong, then I fear it means we have wasted a golden opportunity to change our culture.

I saw an article, which by the time you read this will be about three weeks old, stating that the workforce participation in the United States is the lowest since 1981.  Lets just take that at face value, since I have no way to personally verify that knowledge.  Setting aside all of the bellyaching about unemployment at 8.1%.  If you lost your job recently and are struggling, I am sorry.  I have been unemployed, it sucks.  I would also recommend you truck on down to your local Sonic, McDonald’s or Target.  All three are always hiring, and working is much better than sitting on your ass.  Its much easier to work into a better position when you are up and pumping.

So on the surface, that statistic is supposed to sound dire and scary.  After all, if fewer people are working, then the wheels of the economy will grind to a halt.  How can we possibly go on unless every adult between the ages of 18 and 65 is engaged full time in running the corporate machines that drive this country?

It will go on, just as it did before 1981.  This horrible phenomenon of both adults in a household working is relatively new in history.  Lets take a look at some Bureau of Labor Statistics findings.  Call them up and take a look, I found it fascinating.  Short version, in 1950, only 30% of women of all ages worked outside them home, in 2000, it was 47%. So that’s where I am coming from, and I will stop with the statistics now.  If you really want more, the numbers are out there.

I am beginning to wonder, if perhaps my generation is starting to shift how we view careers and family.  To the previous generation, it was just assumed that both people should work.  Kids were left in daycare, and parents went off to chase the corporate dream.  We were all told that our happiness lay in stuff, not in each other.  Now, I see many people I went to school with, having a stay at home mom with the kids.  In my own life, we were able to realize the dream of having my wife not have to work.  Sure, we have traded some plastic trappings to make that a reality, but we are both happier.

What if this current phenomenon in unemployment is not caused by true lack of work, but by people realizing the bill of goods we were sold?  What if following the college path straight into a cubical isn’t the American dream after all?  What if our happiness isn’t measured in a series of digits in a bank account, but in the beauty we can create with hearth and home?

Time never moves in a straight line.  It is a constant flow of action and reaction.  Thesis creates anti-thesis and moves forward, endlessly churning between two extremes.  The 1950s, often seen as the ideal white picket era, was created by the children of the roaring 20s.  The parallels between 2000-2010 and the 2os are almost uncanny.  Won’t our children move forward and create a new idealistic family era?

So my guess America, is that we will continue to see the labor participation drop.  We will see more focus on the home and family.  At first out of economic necessity, but then later out of an appreciation for what it brings to our culture. Yes, much damage has been done to ourselves, but we can still heal.  That is my great dream.  That we will rediscover what has been robbed from us, and we gain what is truly of value.

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