Please Share Your GW Adventures (Help Is Available To Post Them)

David Trammel's picture

Recently GW member Denys posted this:

"Honestly most of the stuff on green wizardry here isn't about people's experiences and practices. There's a lot of reposting of articles from other places on internet, and lots of opinion and thoughts of what's next. It occurs to me as a place where people are in the stands watching the game versus on the court playing it. I stop in when I think of it mostly to see what is going on. I guess you could say I'm watching the game by flipping through the banners so even more of a distance. I myself have been too busy starting the seedlings, getting garden beds ready, and the thousand and one other tasks of spring. I successfully started enough enchinacea I'll have plenty to sell and I'm excited about that."


In many ways I agree with Denys about this place is alot about discussion of the shape of the world and trends and situations we are seeing in them. That seems par for the course, the people attracted to Green Wizardry, those who recognize that Collapse is happening and who are regulars of the ArchDruid Report's comment section have struck me as being mostly introverts.

Hesitant to share their personal lives.

I do not think that those same people are not walking the talk and doing what they can to prepare themselves.

Its a hard thing to stand up and take the place of a teacher. To document what you are doing, take the time from a busy schedule to write it up, post it and then worry people will go "OMG you are so WRONG!"

Let me assure you, no one here will look down on you, trying to share what you are doing.

I will say this, I'm enough of an attention hog that even if most, or even if all of you stop posting, then I will still blog and post here about my just beginning project to build a tiny home as a workshop, office and home in my sister's backyard here in St Louis.

With lots of, just not this week. Seems my tree people just showed up this morning at my sister's and when I got their message and called them they were like, "Mr Trammel, we are just about finished cutting down your tree".

And me without my camera!!!!

In the next few days I will post the second part of my "Thinking In Systems" series of posts.

I will also over the next month begin my ongoing series of posts on retrofitting my sister's existing home for living in the Collapse. Few people can do what I plan on doing, build from the ground up BUT many of you can and should begin to think of ways you can repair your present homes, so they are more energy efficient, easier to mantain, and will provide for you and your family in harsh times ahead.


Now just why more tutorials and how tos aren't being posted may be that YOU, budding green wizard that you are, just doesn't know HOW to share.

If you have questions or hesitations, and think its just too complicated or that your information is trivial, please take a chance and send me a message here. I've written for decades as an instructor and will happily help you put together your message, AND we here at Green Wizards have access and the ability to host your pictures.

Pictures are good. Let me know and I will edit them and make the link available for you to include in your post. As well as help you with editing and other suggestions on getting the things you have learned out there so others can too.

Please feel free to share what you are doing to prepare for the Collapse, even the smallest step can help others who are just starting out.


And to Denys personally, on the one hand you fault others here for not taking the time to share their "experiences and practices", and on the other make the excuse you are to busy yourself to do what you fault others for not.

I worked 62 hours at my job last week, including Saturday, managed to get a tree removed, paid my local, state and federal taxes (ok I procrastinate), took down another 16 feet of my sister's old fence in preparation for a new one, registered one of my cars for tags and plates, did groceries and laundy as well as took the Cat into see the Vet (she's going deaf) AND still somehow I still found time to post here.

Couldn't you?

I doubt Denys that your intention was to come off as judgmental as you sounded, so I will just say I look forward to your post on "How to grow Enchinacea and sell it for profit" soon. Just what kind of vegetable is a enchinacea and why are people willing to pay for it?

Unless YOU personally are stepping up to educate others yourself, don't fault those who don't either.

Me, you can find fault with anytime, I can take criticism.


ADDED 4/19

I just wanted to add a few thoughts on this:

"Honestly most of the stuff on green wizardry here isn't about people's experiences and practices. There's a lot of reposting of articles from other places on internet, and lots of opinion and thoughts of what's next."

I wonder if you and I don't see Green Wizardry differently Denys.

I think its easy for people to read Greer and his thoughts on the coming Collapse and the World that will be there during it, and think that world will be like the 1800s. Most of us in farmsteads and simpler living, perhaps some as craftspeople bartering their wares and skills.

Yes it will but in 40-50 years, if not 100-150 years. Personally I think the longer time frame is more likely.

The World in Collapse at least in the next decade or two, which frankly is all we can reasonably prepare for, is going to be alot like this one, only Harsher and with less treats.

Its going to be a world with self driving cars delivering things to people living in shanty leantoos under bridges and in abandoned buildings. Its going to be a world with 50% unemployment, and what employment you do get will be like the gig economy work that we see now. No benefits and low pay.

Its going to be a world that you learn how to salvage those same abandoned buildings of stuff to help your extended family survive, be it improving your "squat", or to sell on in the underground economy. Its going to be a world where children of the 99% living on the meager Basic Living Allowance our 1% overloads, be them fake democratic officials or outright dictatorial overloads bribe us with to keep the pitchforks away, will be taught in open air classrooms without any thing like today.

It will be too a place I hope is full of joy and happiness for some of us.

I have no idea what skills Green Wizards living in that World will need. I expect them to be a mix of old skills and new. Of some things we learn here today from books of long ago, and some of things we have no idea of from tomorrow.

So maybe its ok for us to all sit around the campfire for a while, swapping stories and home brewed beer as we try and see where we are all headed.

Especially considering the shock of Trump being elected recently.

If YOU, or anyone else would like to take up the "Talking Stick:" and share what you are doing, I'm sure we would be happy to listen.

You know the Button toy, where you put a long loop of thread through the button holes, twirl the thread to wind it up and then pull outward with a rhythmic pull-slack-pull-slack motion to make the button spin?

Well, I have been trying to use the same technique to make a hand-operated, battery-free mini-fan out of a piece of stiff card stock paper (junk mail).

At first, it wobbled too much. Then I saw a TV show about the Chinese chariot which used a long hub tube to prevent wheel wobble. So I added a paper hub-tube to my hand-spinner fan. Now it is stable and goes great in one direction. But I have not been able yet to make it rewind itself in the opposite direction like the button does. Next I will try using a rubber band instead of thread and/or adding rim weights to the fan blades to encourage them to overbalance at the end of the unwind and sustain any slight impulse towards reversing their angular momentum.

Any helpful suggestions from those who are mechanically minded would be greatly appreciated.

I am delighted to report that I found this article online about using a paper whirligig as a centrifuge for health care use in rural areas without power. It has all the physics formulas etc. Enjoy!

David Trammel's picture

In addition to the why of Green Wizardry, I thought of some less usual, but very practical skills that might be cultivated by budding Green Wizards. They are basically the skills that we have surrendered to our various technological toys. Not everyone will be interested in trying these for one reason or another, but here they are:

Doing simple arithmatic in your head or with pencil and paper.

Making geometric shapes with only a compass and straight edge.

Learn to run correctly (Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes are two books that discribe this skill and others. Both by Christoper McDougall and both great reads).

Learn to juggle three balls or bean bags.

Legible hand writing.

Memory skills.

Conversation skills.

The other day a friend and I were discussing the need for a revival of these kinds of human skills that were once very common. People of the past might think of us as low grade idiots because we lack such skills. Calculators, the internet, computers, cars are all on there way out. These kinds of skills would be invaluable to have and to teach. I am sure that there are other skills like this that I haven't thought of. I would love to hear what others come up with.

I try to do arithmetic in my head when I get the chance, and I learned how to use an abacus for Green Wizardly purposes.

So much was done with geometry in the days before calculators, but I haven't really worked on that. There's a bit that's done in connection to sacred geometry in the Celtic Golden Dawn, which I'm considering working once I complete the Dolmen Arch course.

I'll have to look into the running thing. I've never really thought about it.

I'm planning on leaving the juggling for those so inclined.

I fixed up my handwriting way back when I started writing letters. Handwritten letters are, I think, a great thing for Green Wizards to get into.

Memory is part of the Dolmen Arch course, so I'm working on that. Actually, that's the bit that I've struggled with the most, but hopefully it'll pay off.

Conversation skills. Have things really gotten that bad? I suppose they have. Thinking about it in terms of conversation actually being a skill that you can be bad at would explain some of the issues that (my fellow) millennials complain about . . . .

I have never heard of the Dolmen Arch course. Sounds very interesting. I will have to check it out. Thanks for sharing.

I was going to post this a couple weeks ago:  Daniel Carter Beard was an American author and illustrator at his peak about 100 years ago.  He founded a boys organization called the Sons of Daniel Boone, which later merged with the Boy Scouts of America.  He wrote a ton of handicraft books for boys, many of which are still available.

Keeping the Art of Knot Tying Alive

A guild of knotters won't let this historical craft die.

I learned to tie knots as a Girl Scout many years ago and I use this skill almost daily in the garden as I guy my tomato trellises and anchor the strings to train the stems on. I also used to do a lot of period camping and pitching tents with guy ropes was a necessity. Naturally you had to know how to tie the correct knots to do that and on more then one occasion I was teaching basic knot tying.

Everything that can be done with a straight edge and compass can be done folding paper. You can even trisect an angle, something impossible with the traditional method. Besides, I find it easier to learn geometry this way, because you use spacial and muscle memory. It's specially useful for developing geometrical intuition, and it's an easy way of making children take an interest in mathematics. For anyone curious, searching for "mathematics and origami" or "mathematical origami" will help you find how-to's and instructions.

Magpie's picture

A skill I think people will need to learn is how to manage boredom without electronics. There's a subset of people my age and younger who are prone to fly into a fit of rage as soon as the internet cuts out (even for a few minutes)--it's honestly a bit scary to be around them at that time!

Another is re-learning how to plan ahead. I can fruits and veg for the winter, and am shocked by the number of people who think I must be some kind of organizational savant on that basis alone! (and I'm not particularly organized by the standards of previous generations, I feel that this is a weakness of mine, not a strength!)

Managing boredom is a good one. My Dad used to just "people watch". I am still not too sure what he meant by that, but I keep trying it and I also always have a book or magazine at hand to read when I am in a potentially boring situation. Doodleing is another good one and I always doing it in meetings. Sometimes this produces great ideas for future projects.

Interesting you should mention "future planning". This is another great skill and my garden buddy and I also find ourselves much surprised by the lack of this skill in people we encounter when we are at the community garden and we are asked why we plant the quantities we do. Don't they know how much they eat of anything? Guess not. I am still perfecting my skill in this area, but I think there is nothing like necessity to teach this one.

I also recall the Robert Heinlein, SF author, produced a similar list one one of his works, but I don't remember which one. If anyone can recall the piece and share that, I would be grateful.

That's Farnham's Freehold--and I seem to have foregotten most of the plot.  It's around here someplace.  Heinlein was born a cantankerous old goat and an equal opportunity offender, but you might want this on your GW bookshelf--next to The Mysterious Island by Verne (or am I thinking of Swiss Family Robinson?).

David Trammel's picture

Here's Heinlein's quote, its good.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”


Of course, I like these words of advice just as well.

So......I don't check in here much and I am shocked to see my name in a long post referencing a comment I made somewhere on here. I scanned the whole posting because it is really long. I honesty just click "recent posts" and ignore the structure of the categories.

It isn't a priority for me to show-and-tell what I am doing IRL on the internet. Think about it - does it really matter? Knowing that some random woman who signs into message board is doing green wizardry stuff......does it really impact what you do in your life for yourself and your family? Do you wake up and say "gee, if Denys is doing it, then I'll do it?" I don't do that and maybe I'm wired wrong. Now if my neighbor or friends or doing something in real life, well that motivates me.

We as people learn by doing, not by watching and reading. But what would be valuable in my view, is a group going through the GW book together, doing the lessons and sharing the work with each other in group. Working on a deadline to get sh** done. The group holds each other accountable to complete the work and troubleshoots any issues that arise.

That is on the court playing the game of getting ready.

Oh and I did start a flat of enchinea and was thinking about selling it the seedlings. I will likely just plant it however and harvest the flower cones for tincture in August.

lathechuck's picture

When I was a young, I read science fiction and watched astronauts flying in space, and I cultivated my imagination by asking myself "how would I do this without gravity?" Whatever "this" was: eating, reading, making music, whatever... How would I adapt to doing it on a space-station or deep-space voyage? That was one possible vision of our future.

When I got older and became more aware of energy and technology limitations, the question became "how would I do this without electricity?" Maybe it's "without electricity unless the sun is shining" or "without grid electricity when the batteries are charged", not necessarily "no electricity ever-more". But it's something to think about, and I believe my household is now better prepared for emergency conditions. (Emergencies, that is, of the long or short kind.)

And now I'm older yet, and looking at exponential growth in debt: student loans, car loans, national debt (whatever that really is), and I ask "how would I do this without money?" Sometimes that means "if I lost my income". Or maybe "if hyper-inflation wiped out my savings". Or if financial collapse left everyone dazed and confused about the worth of any thing. How would life go on? If nothing else, such musings encourage me to get out in the garden when I'd rather take a nap.

It seems to me that maybe you are talking about a philosophy of Green Wizardry rather then techniques. Not that techniques aren't important but since the collapse is so slow, perhaps we need to find a why we do this rather then a what to do to keep us working on the larger project of Green Wizardry.

I would like to recommend three books I found full of the "why" as well as techniques and those are:

The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn


A Householder's Guide to the Universe by Harriet Fasenfest


Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes

For myself, I found that changing my mind set to that of living like a middle class person to living like a poor person shifts a lot. Sometimes it is like a game and fun and exciting to sometimes it is real drudgery and I procrastinate. Some days I wonder why I go to all the trouble and others it seems really obvious and I wouldn't have it any other way. Reminding myself of why has usually been helpful to me. In the face of unrelenting modern consumerism, these authors share their own philosophical discoveries along with their techniques.

I love the first two books and refer to them periodically either for specific pieces of information or for a refresher on the "why"--a bit of an attitude adjustment, which I sometimes need. The Shannon Hayes book I found to be too much like a sociological dissertation for my taste. My third attitude adjustment book (and favorite coffee table porn) is The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It, by John Seymour (the updated version). I think that one thing about all these books is that they put the fun and creativity into this lifestyle (which can be really hard work a lot of the time if you don't remember why you're doing it). They put play back into play for me.

Magpie's picture

I have enjoyed hearing folks' stories here, but they are few and far between. I try to share when I can (eg. raising snails, making t-shirt from scratch), but I guess I don't feel like I have much going on either.

Though I did write you a big essay on cooking last year, but not sure if you did anything with it.

I feel like there could be a benefit if we started compiling some actual how-tos for specific Green Wizard things. I often feel like the things I know how to do are "basic Green Wizardry" that everyone else probably knows already, so I don't want to post a thread about it unless I have specific questions or am doing some cool experimentation. Green Wizardry is so broad, though, that I bet we all have different areas of experience.

You can find instructions for how to do anything online or in the library, but I think there could be a specific place for no-nonsense, quick-start guides to the basics of how to do something from a Green Wizard perspective here. In home brewing, for instance, there are no shortage of guides and kits online, but they tend to either represent the techno-geekery side with a dozen sterilizing solutions and electronic wort cooling coils or the prison-wine side of "as long as it gets me drunk," and it can be rather confusing for anyone starting out who doesn't want to make cyborg-beer, but who does want to make a good quality brew that they might be able to barter with neighbors if things start getting tough.

So here's my idea. If there's some Green Wizard thing that you do often enough that you're confident you can do successfully, why not take pictures next time and then write up a quick tutorial, focusing on the methods you really use and the minimum of how to jump in a get a result. If your method varies from someone else's method, you can make your own tutorial and we can have multiple for any particular skill. Each tutorial could be posted to its appropriate circle, but then a master list could be maintained in the introduction section with links to each tutorial. (If there's interest in this, I'll volunteer to maintain the master list.) There are some wonderful resources in the resource section, but a practical explanation from a fellow Green Wizard about what you really need to get started might make it a little easier to pick up new skills here and there.

What does everyone think?

David Trammel's picture

That great tutorials are everywhere now a days. While I was on PeakPosperity to get the links for my thread here on a podcast from a person doing meat raising there was a link to a "How-To Guide for Installing a Home Garden".

Its something I think everyone here knows, and yet I learned several things by reading it. Still how useful of our time would it be to fill this website with GW Tutorials covering the same subject?

Considering the questions raised I'm coming to the opinion that Green Wizardry has its own unique take on the philosophy of sustainability and green living due to our realization of coming society collapse as explained by Greer. Maybe we should be focusing more on how-tos and tutorials explaining that philosophy and the idea of "Collapse now and avoid the rush", than reposting basic concepts.

As an example, my series of posts on "Thinking in Systems".

While they are a work in process, and I am only just now doing Part 2, I was deliberate in picking a bathroom shower as an example of a system. Part 2 of the tutorial is going to cover the three inputs, Energy, Matter and Information in more depth, but the following tutorial Part 3, is going to re-engineer that bathroom shower with more GW appropriate technologies, like passive solar water and thermal masses.

I won't be able to provide a practical tutorial with pictures since I won't be building the system for a few years, but i can go back and do it when I do. For now a collection of links to other persons' tutorials will be provided.

Yeah, that's fair. I think there could be some benefit from showing a Green Wizard version of how to do things, but maybe we're replete with tutorials and sharing personal stories about how we adapted different things is the better option.

In any case, I'm looking forward to the rest of your series, and I'll try to post some stories of my own before too long.

ClareBroommaker's picture

I guess one of the reasons that there is not so much posting about the practical parts of green wizardry is that so much of it is available and discussed elsewhere, both on the internet and in books. I, for instance, have been talking gardening on the internet for 19 years. There are lots of stories, pictures, and videos to be had on long existing, well populated internet sites.

I've wondered if what gets covered here is too basic to interest many. For example, are there really people who don't already understand to seal up cracks around your windows and doors to reduce winter heat loss? I don't know-- Some people are way beyond me, some evidently a bit behind me in such understanding.

The difference for me here is that I can expect others to focus on the topics in a different way, a more people-powered, reduced energy, environmentally conscious, make-do way.

This is what I look for here: how to do things in a simple, human-powered, environmentally conscious way.

and looking at the pictures. I'm not so good at posting photos.

I'm afraid my adventures in the garden this year are not going well.

My husband's brother was ill and died in February...just around seed starting time. So my garden has been the last thing on my mind.

I am also dealing with arthrits in my knees and back.....and physio and exercises take up a lot of my time.

I did get out there for an hour or two this weekend and I was pleased that it didn't set me back, so I am still confident I can get green beans and tomatoes in and some other summer planting done.

The other item I am dealing with is climate change, we have had some severe swings in weather this winter and spring, I think many of the planting times are shot to hell.

I do think this will be a challenge for many, it's difficult to adjust the planting times when the weather patterns are so abnormal.

Marieann, I hope your knees and back are feeling better. Also, condolences on the loss of your brother-in-law. It sounds like you and your husband have had a rough time of it recently.

We've had weird weather too. It's been unseasonably cold here, and about a week ago we actually had a late frost! I'm going to wait a couple weeks to start my garden, just in case.

Gardening always picks you up and helps with stress and grief, but your arthritis might make that not so helpful. Is there anyone you could get to build waist-high raised beds to make it easier for you? Once the weather straightens out enough, I hope you can get your hands dirty in the best way.

My husband will be taking his brothers ashes back to Scotland in a couple of weeks.

I am still not in the garden....I think I am getting over the worst of the pain, so I still have plans, though rather abbreviated ones.

I did have raised beds, made of wood and the wood rotted after a few year so we took them out. I don't think we could build stone ones. I have many little seats and benches that I use; considering I have degenerative disc disease along with arthritis in my back, I am very flexible and can bend from the waist easily, I usually do my gardening that way as my knees give out easily.

I have also learned to pace myself and rest often. Thanks for the vote of confidence, I love to have dirty hands in the summer.

I think we will be having July by the end of the week....up in the 90's. The weather is all over the place.

Where I am, in zone 6, planting season does not officially start until the end of May, we had a frost warning last week but that is still normal......90 degree temps are not.

I also have problems with physical limitations for gardening. I saw an idea on the internet to use animal watering troughs as raised beds. We bought a couple of metal troughs at the horse supply store and set them up on cinder blocks, and they work great. I can stand up straight and garden, and it is easy to grow things like carrots that don't like our rocky soil and things that the critters would eat, such as basil. It was a bit pricey, but we do hope to add one at a time every couple of years and gradually convert our garden to this system so that we can continue to garden as we get older.

David Trammel's picture

Thank you, I enjoy my gardening trials and tribulations too.

It sucks getting older with the way aging begins to make the simplest things harder. And it sucks as well that dear friends and family begin to get ill and die. Sorry to hear about your brother's passing.

Aging has its opportunities too, since after all Green Wizardry and the Collapse are all about understanding and dealing with limits in society, I think aging gives you perspective on limits in your personal life. Hopefully people can use one to understand the other.


Pictures I have find really help to illustrate a subject. That's why when I start a project, I always try and think through when and how to take pictures to help people see what I'm doing.

And as I say, YOU don't have to be good at editing and formatting a picture. If you have something you want to talk about, a skill you have and want to share, a project that you are going to try, just take a whole bunch of pictures, then send me an email (greenwizarddtrammel at gmail dot come ) I will set you up with a PhotoBucket account (which is a online picture sharing website) to which you can upload pictures directly from your computer. They have some simple editing tools or I can do it for you, once they are online. Then I can either talk you through adding them to your post, or edit your post and add them for you.

I can't be an expert on everything and all, so the more people can share, then the more we all can learn.