Greeks abandon the Matrix

31 08 2012

This is a heartwarming story…..  because abandoning the Matrix and letting it collapse under its own heavy load of shit is all it deserves.

Two years ago, just as the Greek government was spreading some of its harshest austerity measures, 29-year-old Apostolos Sianos started spreading its program of austerity, 29-year-old Apostolos Sianos threw in his well-paid job as a website designer, gave up his Athens flat and walked away from the Matrix…..

On the Greek island of Evia, in the foothills of Mt Telaithrion, Apostolos and three other like-minded Athenians set up an eco-community.  The idea was to live sustainably, free from the shackles of money and cut off from the grid.

The four sleep communally in yurts they built themselves, they grow their own food and barter the surplus in the village for the necessities they can’t produce themselves.  “What others saw as a global economic crisis, we saw as a crisis of civilisation,” Apostolos explains.  “Everything seemed to be in crisis – healthcare, the environment, education. So we made the decision to try something different.”

Apostolos and his mates first met online four years ago, and after two years of brain storming decided to have a go at putting their principles into practice.  “When I first made the decision to give up the city and move to this patch of land I was a little nervous,” he frankly admitted.  “But now I can’t imagine ever being attracted by that kind of lifestyle again.”

In its second year, the community has 10 permanent members plus more than 100 part-time residents.  In the last few months there has been an explosion of interest in the community from Greeks who feel abandoned by the Matrix and find life in the financially crippled cities impossible.

Last year, Greece’s economy shrank by 7% and 2012 could see a similar dip; in reality this means that thousands of businesses are going bust and tens of thousands of people losing their jobs.

A recent survey by Thessaloniki University suggested 76% of Greeks would like to emigrate, but as most can’t afford to start all over again abroad, returning to living off the land is increasingly attractive.

Apostolos says that 2012 has seen huge movements of people from cities to the countryside, with many contacting his community asking for advice on sustainable living and organic farming.  “The Greek financial crisis is not all negative,” he said.  “It is providing a huge opportunity for people to see that the system they live in is not working, so they can begin looking for alternatives.”

Soon, everywhere, people will react this way and they too will abandon the Matrix….

Entropy rules, OK?

25 08 2012

I just had to share this cool video.

Is suicide really painless?

25 08 2012

Shock 15% rise in suicides since the recession as unemployment and bankruptcy take their toll

  • Nearly 3,500 people took their own lives last year
  • Some affluent areas saw rises of more than 50%

It’s hard being a gloomer.  It’s hard not becoming immune to the pain all those doing nothing to prepare will suffer.  Even when they are family.  Just last night, my oldest sister has a crack at me for “not working”.  Like I do nothing…. (just made my first four Camemberts..)  Her attitude is, even if I’m right, let’s party….!  Pass the koolade.

I can have my fair share of dark moods.  And I can really understand people pushed to their very limits, after having lost everything to this stupid Matrix, wanting revenge and blowing something up or shooting people indiscriminately….  Or taking their own lives.  We who haven’t yet “lost it” can’t really comprehend what might go through someone’s head when they do indeed lose it…..  I’ve been asked a couple of times if I’m OK…..  And I am OK.  I actually want to be around when the shit hits the fan!  I want to know what happens next.  You’d be hard put to find someone more curious than me…  And besides, I wouldn’t want to cause my family untold pain either.  But then I haven’t yet “lost it”.  And it must be really really tough to be brought to utter despair.

My better half thinks I spend too much time delving into all this crap.  I think it sort of keeps me sane on one level.  I’m the sort of person who needs to understand.  When I’m told I have to stop at a red light, I want to know why!!  (OK, I know why!)

A lot of people think I’m depressing myself by finding out the facts, but in reality I get depressed at the total lack of preparation, and response to the multiple disasters that now loom large.  I look forward to the collapse, because every day I’m more and more convinced there are no other solutions, but I would look forward even more to the world coming to its senses and actually DOING something, anything…..

Doing something, anything, here on the farm certainly helps to keep me going.  I keep telling myself we are on track to survive…. even if some people actually criticise me for doing this!  Someone on Climate Spectator actually attacked me today for being…… well, me I guess.  I’ve now even been called an elitist!  Me an elitist….  must be the world’s poorest elitist!  Sorry for trying to help.  I can be really stupid sometimes.

Suicide is already a big deal in Greece where many people are losing everything to the Matrix.

In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation – and its media – before a May 6 election.

The especially grisly death of pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas, who shot himself in the head on a central Athens square because of poverty brought on by the crisis that has put millions out of work, was by far the most dramatic.

Before shooting himself during morning rush hour on April 4 on Syntagma Square across from the Greek parliament building, the 77-year-old pensioner took a moment to jot down a note.

“I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for sustenance,” wrote Christoulas, who has since become a national symbol of the austerity-induced pain that is squeezing millions.

I often wonder how many people will lose it when the supermarket shelves go empty, when the petrol stations can’t fill your car, or when the banksters repossess your goods and chattels….  Who will help them..?

We who belong to this doom’n’gloom community need to close ranks and assist each other.  We’re the only sane ones alive.  We’re the ones who need to live on to lead the world out the other side of the collapse.  We are too important to top ourselves.

Vale Andrew Wilford

23 08 2012

Found out this morning that Andrew Wilford passed away recently, aged 48.  It’s not like I knew him well or headshot of Wilfanything, but having listened to him speak a couple of times you can’t help loving the guy….  big smile, humour to boot, and a real champion of sustainability.

He loved, as he liked to put it, ‘perturbing the growth monster’, a bit like me only much better at communicating.

His passing is a great loss for the Earth which needs all the champions it can get its claws on.  And dying at 48 is a real bastard…… life can be so unfair sometimes.  The only tribute I can pass on through this medium is this wonderful TED presentations made in Brisbane recently.  He now lives on thanks to the internet….

Busy being self sufficient

19 08 2012

The kitchen’s been in overdrive since I first started making cheese again.  It’s time like these it’s handy having a stove that never stops!  Especially when you’re suddenly swamped with abundance from the garden…..

Eighteen months ago, we bought an ice cream maker.  We used it a fair bit to begin with, but decided we were consuming too much sugar, and we put it away for a few months.  Since getting the hives, I tried making it with honey instead of sugar, but some people thought it tasted too sweet.  Anyhow, with all this milk, and another glut of passionfruits and eggs, I thought I’d have another go.  A couple of years ago on Matthew Evans’ “Gourmet Farmer” show (restarting soon on SBS TV) he made goats milk ice cream that got rave reviews from the tasters.  It turned out delicious….. and amazingly creamy.  I cut the honey measure in half, and it’s more than sweet enough for even the sweetest tooth.

To make ice cream, first you make a custard.  Five egg yolks, half a cup of honey, and a cup of goats milk is all it takes to get started.  Thoroughly mix the egg yolks and honey in a bowl, heat the milk to about 90°C, and pour it into the egg/honey mixture, mixing well.  Return to the stove by putting your custard bowl over a saucepan half full of simmering water (called a double boiler), and reheat to about 80°C, or until the wooden spoon gets coated with the custard without running off.  Immediately put the bowl in cold water (I use the sink), and once cooled to 20°C, put in fridge.  You can’t be in a hurry to make ice cream, it will take several hours, mostly waiting for things to reach temperature!

Once the custard has cooled, add one cup of cream, half a cup of passionfruit (about four fruit), a teaspoon of vanilla essence, mix well and put in your churner.  Within half an hour you should have soft serve ice cream, which you pour into a container for the freezer.  YUMM!!

This morning I harvested a few kilos of broccoli that the goats missed when they escaped from their paddocks the other day.  You need to cut the stems off and blanch the heads in boiling water for three minutes before freezing, pretty straightforward.  The tails are now in the AGA oven with stock, garlic, onion, pepper, fennel tops and parsley to make yummy soup.  There’s another pot to keep it company making pumpkin soup as well!  And tonight, a chicken will go in the oven.

As I type this, I’m enjoying a nice brew of espresso, well deserved methinks…..!

Earth Indicator: 3σ

18 08 2012

Many times here, I have mentioned how unfolding events, even as I was expecting them, continually take me by surprise…  Why am I surprised by my own predictions?  Whatever the reason, it’s bloody annoying!  The latest “nasty” surprise is the unfolding disaster in the Arctic.  I’ve had a gut feeling for the past few years that the symptoms of Climate Change were being hidden by La Niña, especially when I discovered “the escalator”…..


Take that upper blue line (the latest one).  It shows a cooling trend, and so called deniers (you have to call them something..) use it to disprove what is really occurring.  To me, it feels like CC is happening in steps, and the next step up is overdue….. and it could prove a bit harsh too.  This chart proves my gut feeling.  This gut feeling (let’s face it, I’m no climate scientist, I’m not even a scientist, just a smart person..!) is that these steps are in line with La Niña and El Niño cycles, also known as Southern Oscillation (ENSO).  Notice, by the way, how the blue lines get less and less steep with very step?

I have now found an interesting explanation of the statistics of what is going on in the Arctic here.

In Greek, sigma (σ) is the 18th letter of the alphabet. In statistics, it’s a symbol for standard deviation, a measure of how spread out a set of data points are from the average (which is often called the mean by statisticians). Data with a low standard deviation indicates that the data points are bunched up and close to the mean. A high standard deviation indicates the points are spread over a wide range of values.

In a standard bell curve, most data points (68 percent) fall within one standard deviation (1σ) of the mean (see the pink section in the graph below). The vast majority (95 percent, the combined pink and red sections of the graph) fall within two standard deviations (2σ). An even higher percentage (99.7 percent, the combined pink, red, and blue sections) fall within three standard deviations (3σ) of the mean. Just a tiny fraction of points are outliers that are more than three standard deviations from the mean. (See the parts of the graph with arrows pointing to 0.15%).

Now imagine that instead of generic data points on a generic bell curve the values are actually measurements of summer temperatures. That will give you a foundation for understanding the statistical analysis that James Hansen published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Get it?  We’re in for a torrid time.  Just like the US and other places in the Northern Hemisphere.  It’s only a matter of waiting for our Summer…..

At the same NASA site, there is also this short video that graphically explains what is happening to temperatures.  You know what they say, one picture tells a thousand words?  Well now with the internet, one video tells a squillion data points!

If you still don’t get it……..  go back to watching the footy on the telly.

Like Guy says, bring on the collapse, because nothing else will save us.

Fortunately, lots of commentators are now predicting it might well be all over by some time next year.  Like Marc Faber.  Who’s almost never wrong.

Back on the Cheesemaking bandwagon

15 08 2012

Two years is a long time in the blogging world, and most of my followers are relatively new, and possibly unaware that I once made cheese from my goats’ milk.  Until one of them died.  At the time, we had the most dreadful wet weather, things were dying in the garden from wet feet, and, like tomatoes and artichokes, goats hate wet feet.  They hate rain.  I think they hate water, they drink so little of it unless lactating or in bloody hot weather…..  I was told by another goat herding Permie at the time that goats are very hardy and rarely get sick, but if they do, there’s a good chance they don’t pull through.  And so it was with Push, who died leaving us with a kid to hand rear.  The other Nanny, Shove, really wasn’t happy either, and with her twins wanting loads of milk and me worrying about whether she’d get sick and die too, made the decision to stop milking to avoid weakening her.  All that wet weather made the tick and worms situation far worse than normal, and unbeknown to us, a tick crawled up Shove’s only female kid’s nose, and killed her before we realised she did not have a respiratory problem after all.  Young kids are very prone to terminal tick bites, one made me very very sick bordering on two years ago, almost certainly being the reason I now suffer from Chronic Fatigue……  but life goes on.

This winter is back to normal and dry.  As reported earlier, Shove had a little girl, who is doing very well with all the milk her mum’s making for her.  It’s the first time Shove has not had twins, and frankly I’m grateful we have another girl now, and no boys to slaughter.

Jezebelle is now a month old, and I’ve started separating her from her mother in the evening, allowing the udder to fill out overnight.  I got 750 mL yesterday, and 650 this morning, plus the dregs I pick up at the evening milking; it should only take four days now to accumulate enough milk to make some cheese.  If you ever wonder why cheese is so dear in the shops, make your own!  Four litres of milk barely makes 800 grams of cheese, and the whole process will take you about 3 hours, not counting the overnight draining of the whey from the curds……  but it’s all worth it to get that amazing raw milk cheese!

This was also the first time I made cheese on the AGA.  The heat escaping through the lid of the simmering plate turns out to be exactly right to keep the milk in its double boiler at exactly 30°C for two and a half hours…… or as long as you like really.  Makes you wonder if the AGA people designed the stove like this.  Probably not.

The cheesemaking process isn’t that hard, once you buy yourself a kit.  I got mine from Green Living, but I will have to get more supplies, I’m now out of culture, and besides, I want to have a go at making the wonderful Camemberts my mate Serge makes with his goat milk in Gympie…. they are to die for!  So I’ll have to buy a Camembert kit which includes the white mould needed for that sort of cheese.

To mature cheese properly, it needs to be kept at around 10° to 13°C, a piece of cake in Normandy, but a big ask in sub tropical Australia where there’s nowhere cool enough (not even in winter) to do this, and conventional refrigeration at 4°C means the cheese takes for ever to mature.

To get around this, I decided to duplicate the “cool idea”, but this time programming the controller to run a freezer (an Aldi upright device bought new for just $150) at between 10° and 13°.  That black wire inside the fridge is the temperature probe.  It should use bugger all power at that temperature, when it cycles on it’s only for about two minutes, and that only seems to be occurring every couple of hours or so, for what should be a total of less than twenty minutes a day (I expect it hardly comes on at night).  Interestingly, even though the controller shuts the freezer down at the correct temperature, there’s enough momentum in the cooling coils for the unit to continue cooling to about 9°C.  I’m also keeping the butter in there to stop it going hard…

Hopefully soon, it will be full of delicious cheese I can share with friends….


Jezebelle is now 15months old, and producing more milk than any of my other goats ever did, averaging almost two litres a day.

And all my friends have been drooling over her cheese!  At any one time, I’ll have twenty Camemberts in the fridge, and I also have now made three cheddar type cheeses wrapped in sexy red wax (can’t be really called that, cheddar’s made with cow’s milk…) and my first batch of blue vein.  Really cannot wait for them to be mature enough to eat!