Simple and Cheap
“How to do the Basics of Life”
By Kevin & Donna
Washing ClothesClothes’s washing is one on my favorite activities. When I first moved out to EarthStar I thought I would have to invest in an old time hand washer, such as a James Washer with a manual agitator. However, these contraptions are hard to come by and still cost over $200 to purchase. To get a manual wringer is also expensive. I tried using a wash board and a flat plate plunger-type device as well, both of which I didn’t care for. Eventually I figured out an easier way to wash. Get a couple of black 3-gallon poly buckets with lids. Fill them with water, add detergent and clothes (one pair jeans, 4 socks, undies and a couple of shirts fills one-bucket) and let them soak for twenty-four hours. If you leave the bucket in the sunshine, the water heats up somewhat. Then every time you pass by the bucket, reach in and swish the clothes up and down about 50 times. After soaking for a day or so, squeeze out the water and dunk them in the rinse water. Squeeze again and hang them on the line. The soaking gets the dirt out and it doesn’t require a lot of work, especially if everyone in the family takes care of their own clothes (which is the way it should be). This simple method of clothes washing has worked really well for us. I can wash towels, jeans, shirts, etc with less than 5 minutes of work per day. Instead of letting clothes pile up, I just keep a new bucket of wash water going all the time. Then the dirty water is poured out onto the garden mulched beds. As long as you use a safe, biodegradable detergent, such as the stuff Amway puts out or other companies, you don’t have to worry about poisoning your plants.
Showers and Bathtime
We built a bathhouse on the property before building the B.E.L.L. The most important facility is a gravity-fed, rainwater shower. The bathhouse has a half-story loft where we installed a 70-gallon water tank. Rainwater is pumped into the tank and then gravity fed to a sink and shower. Since we live in the south, the water gets quite warm just from sitting in the holding tank. From about mid-April to the end of October we generally don’t have to heat water at all to take a shower. After October we heat water with an electric kettle, pour it into a plastic pail that is equipped with a small valve, tubing and shower head (the same kind of set up that comes with camping-type solar showers) and then place the pail onto a shelf that is located in the shower stall (about 6’-0” high). This works great to provide a wonderful hot shower. The pail holds about 2-1/2 gallons, which is enough for two separate showers. It is really remarkable to discover how little water a person actually needs to get clean. The water from the shower and sink is collected outside in another 5-gallon poly bucket and then used to water plants. We use Ivory bar soap which is biodegradable and have never had a problem pouring this gray water on our plants and fruit trees. I’ve seen some elaborate plans for filtering gray water through sand filters and other such devices but I’ve not really seen the need to do this at all. Even at the B.E.L.L. we collect the sink water (which contains seed hulls, sprout leaves and stems, vegetable scraps, etc.) and have never found it necessary to filter out such material. We just dump the gray water around fruit trees, vegetables, flowers, etc. It works very simply and easily. It isn’t necessary to construct underground graywater holding tanks, filters and all that.
Mulch Beds and Easy Gardening
In our book, Primal Conscious Living, we didn’t go into much detail about gardening because there are so many wonderful ideas available from gardeners around the world, and it would be silly to rewrite all that valuable information. But there is one thing worth mentioning…mulching. One thing we’ve learned from studying the ancient Essenes is that plants don’t need water, they need moisture. Even in the desert around the Dead Sea, the Essenes were able to grow fruit trees and vegetables by wisely using organic material (leaves and grass clipping) to collect the moisture in the atmosphere from the heavy dew in the morning. By continuously adding dry material around trees and plants, they were able to avoid evaporation of the moisture from the overnight dewfall once the sun had risen the next day. We have worked very hard to recreate this same principle at EarthStar. For over two years now, we’ve been collecting leaves and grass clipping from neighbors who rake their yards.We just spread the material on the ground and plant vegetables in these mulch beds. It took about two years before the bottom layer began to decay into rich dirt. So what we did the first year was pull back the leaves, dig holes and filled them with compost, peat moss, sand and top soil…then we planted our corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, herbs in this soil mixture and covered it over with the leaves. It really works great and shows just how simple the ancient method of gardening actually is. Instead of rows of vegetables, we just produce patches of food and herbs, which is enough for our basic needs. The more one researches and studies what is going on with modern agricultural practices, the alarming overuse of chemicals (more of which are being introduced each year), the insane practice of genetic alteration and re-engineering of plant seeds, the manufacture of terminator hybrids, the more obvious it becomes for more and more of us to produce a portion of our own food, organically and with non-hybrid seeds. As we’ve said before, between growing your own vegetables and grain as well as indoor pots of greens such as garlic greens, buckwheat and wheatgrass, onion and beet greens, lentil greens, fenugreek, herbs, etc., as well as sprouting seeds in jars (radish, alfalfa, fenugreek, clover, mung, etc) one can produce a great deal of food in a very small area. This is important information. We urge you to investigate this sort of thing very carefully. There could come a day in the not-so-distant future when such information can mean the difference between health or sickness and survival or death. The only source of detailed information that we’ve been able to find concerning these kinds of gardening practices are located in some of the books written by Dr. E. B. Szekely. These books are still available but they are not very easy to obtain, so if you are interested, we suggest you try to locate them and learn as much as you can. (Search for the Ageless, Volume 3,The Chemistry of Youth, the Ecological Health Garden, and The First Essene.)
Face it, eating is not cheap. I’ve always felt that the perishable things in life are the things which are truly valuable. You can’t eat money, but with it you can buy food (if you can call most of the garbage in restaurants and markets food). Anyway, here’s the deal… how can we use the hard-earned money we have to purchase the most valuable, tasty, enjoyable and healthy foods possible? Donna and I tried giving a couple of workshops on sprouting, growing indoor greens, preparing simple raw food meals and this is what we discovered. Most people are not really interested in health, that is, we’ve found that people care about taste and convenience more than whether or not a food is really useful to the human body. It seems that it matters little how a food is grown, ripened, processed or prepared, as long as it tastes good. This puzzles me quite a bit, because I’ve always been interested in feeling good and being healthy. For example, I don’t take aspirin, vitamin supplements, cold tablets, nor do I drink coffee and smoke. And the only alcohol I drink is a small amount of red wine. So given this, I don’t want to abuse my body by eating foods that are going to diminish my vitality and strength, causing consequences of ill-health later on. Food is what sustains our physical bodies. Most Americans take better care of their automobiles than they do their own bodies…why? You cannot rebuild living cells with dead food, that is, food that has been cooked, processed, preserved or microwaved. The elements and micro-organisms in the soil are the same ones needed by your gastro-intestinal tract to break down the nutrients in the food you eat to re-build cells and new tissue. Without the proper elements and food, in its’ usable form, the body cannot function properly. If you put sugar in your cars’ gas tank it will ruin the engine. The same is true for your body. Refined sugar suppresses your immune system and one can of soda contains up to 9 tablespoons of sugar. And this is just one example. There is a lot more information about diet in Part 2 of our book. The point is this…the human body, to work and function at it’s best, must have whole, healthy, fresh, uncooked, organic food. The ideal ratio is this: ¾ of your food consumption should be raw fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, sprouted grains and grasses, germinated seeds or soaked nuts, clabbered milk or yogurt from healthy, well-nourished cows or goats, homemade sauerkraut’s or fermented seed cheeses or grain milks. The other ¼ can be cooked whole foods (not processed or chemicalized or microwaved non-foods or fried foods). These would include whole foods such as dehydrated meats, wild-game or free ranged (not cooked, broiled or fried), baked potato, whole grain rice, sprouted wheat bread, simple soups, or steamed vegetables. One cooked food per meal insures that you do not overload the body with foods that are toxic and hard to digest to the body. Realize that modern researchers have proved that 5 out of the 10 leading causes of death in America are DIRECTLY RELATED TO DIET. These are heart disease, some cancers, stroke, diabetes and arteriosclerosis. As fast food companies invade poorer countries, ill health begins to expand globally, causing other cultures to give up their taste for whole foods, which have sustained them for many years. The mania is for fast and convenient deep-fried, salted, sugar filled and plastic rather that whole, nutritious and simple. This is one of the hardest aspects of simplicity you will ever face, but we feel it is the most important. Without your health, you are enslaved by the power of the multi-national corporations who seek only to control the food supply and pseudo-health through genetic manipulation and the pharmaceutical and medical nemesis. We’ve proven for ourselves that returning to a basic, plant-based diet is the most powerful thing one can do to experience good health, weight loss, personal satisfaction and financial independence. One can have all the money in the world, but without health, you have nothing. Replacing body parts with genetically-modified human-pig genes is no answer, because unless you have enough money to constantly pay to have your parts replaced, you’ll have to keep on working to stay alive. Suppose modern science figure out how to supplement and manipulate the human body to keep it running for 200 years or more…do you really want to keep on working another 160 years? All of life on planet earth goes through a cycle of birth, growth, decay and death. The quality of one’s life is not dependent upon longevity, it’s dependent on good health and being active and productive until the individual decides to shut down the body consciously. And eating is the most important aspect in achieving this.
So how do we eat? How can a person move toward using food as a way of achieving a life of simplicity and independence.
STEP ONE: Eliminate if not reduce biocidic or life-destroying foods from your diet as much as possible in our toxic, polluted world as quickly, but as mercifully as you can. What are biocidic foods? Any food that has been genetically modified, refined, preserved, chemicalized, sprayed, irradiated, heat-treated, on and on. Examples are all boxed, packaged foods, frozen or microwaved foods, refined sugar, inorganic salt, bottled juices, frozen-concentrated juices, pasteurized dairy products, meats (especially non-organic cooked meats), commercially grown eggs, milk from cows that have been injected with growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids, etc., canned vegetables, fruit, meat, etc., as well as fresh produce that is non-organic and sprayed heavily with pesticides. The twelve worst and dirtiest are: strawberries, apples, cherries, celery, peppers, spinach, peaches, Mexican cantaloupe, apricots, green beans, Chilean grapes and cucumbers.
STEP TWO: Start eating one cooked, whole food per meal. And eat this with fresh, raw organic (if possible) leafy greens or vegetables. Some meal examples are:
Brown basmati rice with salad and sprouts.
Sprouted wheat bread with grated carrots and orange-maple dressing.
Potato and cauliflower soup with salad.
Salad wrap with organic cheese and mustard on sprouted fajita bread.
Scrambled eggs (free-range, organically grown eggs) and buckwheat greens.
Baked sweet potato with organic butter, honey and cinnamon and sprout salad.
Fruit Muslei with sesame meal and cinnamon.