Over the last month, we’ve empowered and incorporated a few very important words. These words are “Opt-out” or “Opting Out.” They are powerful, full of intention, and carry both intended and unintended consequences.
Opting out doesn’t imply anything nor is it ambiguous. It is making a statement and a choice. We have to reach within ourselves to find our vulnerable voice, add to it our integrity, and make a promise, vow, or contract. Opting Out is like Opting In. It carries with it a set of actions that are just as intentional and complete.
If you Opt-In to a particular cause, you set your intentions to support that thing you are opting into. If you Opt-Out, you are stating you will not be involved with a cause, program, or contract.
I opted to remove myself from Facebook not too long ago after I was censored for saying something that wasn’t against any community standards or guidelines. I’m still on Instagram, which is owned by FB, but because they haven’t censored me I have remained on that platform. I don’t have a problem with social media platforms as long as they don’t muzzle free speech, especially when nothing was said that was violent, malicious, or against the law. However, when youtube and FB start censoring those who may have alternate opinions on social justice, information on coronaviruses, COVID-19, vaccines, 5G, I have to draw the line.
What does drawing a line look like? We say it all the time, don’t we? “I draw the line at being forced to obey.”
Okay, so now what? How are you going to maintain your rights? Will you protest? March at a rally? We see the unrest happening. Much of it is a distraction used as a bait and switch. Look over here at what’s happening on the streets with violence so you can’t enter the courthouse and state your objections to forced mandated vaccinations. Yes, that’s happening right now as I write this.
Business is being conducted in these courthouses. Laws are being passed while the rubber bullets, police brutality, and naked aggression take place against the very people they have said they would protect. There are these dichotomies of speech happening. For or Against. Black vs White. Muslim vs Christian. Police vs civilians. Yet in very sneaky ways laws are being passed while all this continues.
It seems like I just went on some sort of diatribe, right?
It’s all interconnected. I hear often “the world is waking up.” Are they really? Are they waking up to what is really going on?
Let me tell you something about waking up. Waking up and becoming conscious causes something visceral to occur inside us. It starts a mourning process. A depression that grips the soul and asks, “what else have I allowed to deceive me?”
A deception is a cooperative act. It requires both parties. To be deceived or lied to requires our consent.
Will I consent to being lied to anymore? Nope. We stopped that bullshit last year. We chose not to engage or invest in anyone who would knowingly try to deceive or lie to us in order to get something or to use us. It was the best decision we ever made.
We opted out of being lied to by those we know.
Here is a list of things we’ve opted out of so far. We have only just begun the opt-out process and it will continue for years to come. One side note before I start listing things…We are not extremists. It isn’t a “for or against” scenario when we discuss opting out. One option for us to be able to walk away from weekly shopping is to purchase items in bulk, cutting down on the amount of packaging involved. That might involve ordering a 50 lb sack of rice and other grains for grinding our own gluten-free flours when we need them. This, for us, would be a better outcome in terms of packaging. Purchasing 2 pounds of rice in a plastic bag, 1 pound of gluten-free flour mix, and other things just add to the garbage we’re trying to reduce.
Here are a few of the things so far we’ve Opted out of:
1. Using a washer and dryer or going to the laundromat- Opted out of buying machines and spending money on the electricity and gas to run the machines at home or at the laundromat. We reached inward to realize we could do a better job washing our clothes by hand and line drying them, saving both electricity and gas every week/month. We allowed ourselves to be lied to that we “needed” a washing machine and a dryer to get our clothes clean. We allowed ourselves to be deceived that our clothes wouldn’t be clean if we did it ourselves. We lied to ourselves by stating that we couldn’t physically do it on a regular basis because it’s too hard. We opted out of lying to ourselves about the laundry we do. We now use a laundry bar soap for our laundry which cuts down on the chemicals that would go into our septic system and eventually leach out into our environment.
2. Buying store-bought drinks- We no longer buy anything bottled at the store, with the exception of Simmi’s apple juice. No more soda, mineral water, bottled water, alcohol, and other adult beverages, drinks on the go. We just started doing this on June 7, 2020. We have been preparing to opt-out of all store-bought beverages for about two weeks now. Reaching inward, Dom has been brewing up lots of fermented drinks for us so when we do want to have a beer, wine, or hard cider, it’s available to us. We have collected all the glass bottles for bottling up our own fermented drinks for about two years now. Reaching inward we knew it was time to let go of consuming things that weren’t necessary to our health or lives. In doing so we will be saving even more money, which can be used for purchasing a pressure canner and fruit press. When we have those items, we will be able to make Simmi’s apple juice and can it for later use. When that is complete, we will be fully opted out of buying beverages from stores. We’ve opted-out of lying to ourselves about how much we need mineral water, bubbly water, soda, wine, alcohol, and traveling drinks. We don’t need them, we like having them. Is there anything wrong with them? Not necessarily, but for our lives, in opting out of plastic products means that we are not participating in the making of the supplies that go into making plastic bottles and producing waste for landfills, or involved in the health implications that those who work around these chemicals are exposed to every day.
In the end, purchasing things in bottles and containers doesn’t move us forward in our own lives.
3. Eating out at restaurants and other food establishments- We rarely go to any food establishment. If we do, it’s usually Japanese food. We opted out of eating in restaurants 12 years ago after Simmi was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies. We can name the number of times we’ve eaten out over the last 12 years, however we feel we can do even better! Reaching inward we realized we can make Sushi at home and we do a damn good job of it. No need to go to a Japanese restaurant. We have an excellent cookbook we haven’t even used yet! It was gifted to us by our son two years ago. Now is the time to reach for that book and start enjoying Japanese food more than once every 6 months. We opted-out of lying to ourselves about how we deserve to go out to eat and be served by others.
4. Owning a cell phone, wifi, wireless streaming devices, Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, and anything else that emits microwave radiation. We opted out of wireless technology four years ago and we never looked back. After I discovered I am extremely sensitive to microwave radiation and removed all devices as well as moving to a wilderness area with very little cell signal (cell tower more than 5 miles from our property) we discovered a peace like we never had before. It wasn’t long after we discovered my sensitivity that we observed Simmi was also very sensitive to it. Removing all devices resulted in a miracle…Simmi no longer had violent meltdowns that would last for hours. She was unable to learn, unable to reason, unable to problem-solve, unable to calm down. She was always either laughing and getting into trouble or screaming and physically violent. We thought we were going to need to get her medications for the psychotic episodes she was having. Children are often put on antipsychotics and medication for ADHD if they have frequent violent outbursts, no attention span, and are hyperactive. It only took a month for her to be completely calm and peaceful without any kind of meltdown and that is without the assistance of pharmaceuticals. I am happy to report that we’re now going on our fourth year without a single violent meltdown or meltdown in general. Reaching inward we discovered that we could hardwire our computer to a regular modem. No wifi needed. That’s what we did and continue to do every day. We opted-out of lying to ourselves about how much we needed our cell phones for communication and life. We stopped lying to ourselves about how cool wifi and wireless devices are and how much they enhance our lives. They don’t. They actually do the opposite by damaging DNA and causing autoimmunity, neurological disorders, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer. Beyond opting out for our own personal safety, we are opting out also
Half of the workforce of the artisanal mining sector is comprised of children. Without viable economic alternatives, most children must join their parents in rudimentary mining pits. Children as young as two years transport, wash, and crush minerals to earn half a dollar a day.
because the mining done to extract the rare metals needed for different technology components are causing damage to the earth. The conditions for mining as well as those who are forced to work in inhumane slave conditions is our other reason for opting out. When workers in other countries have netted the bottom of their buildings so that those working can’t commit suicide due to horrific work environments, and when children are forced to work long hours we need to ask ourselves if having wireless technology is helping us or hurting others. There may even come a time when we no longer use any technology and unplug completely. Every time we purchase a cell phone or other wireless device, we are opting into human suffering on an unimaginable scale.
STORY ABOUT MINES IN THE Democratic Republic of Congo.
MORE CAPTION INFO TO COME
Pic by Daniel Pepper [mailto email@example.com] SMH NEWS REVIEW 060802
Click here to be taken to an article about Cell Phones becoming the new Blood Diamonds.
The movement to Opt-Out of cell phone and wireless technology to raise awareness of the conflicts, human rights violations, human trafficking, can be done simply by not participating any longer in the lives being oppressed while mining rare metals for cell phones, the Congo, in India and also in Asia where similar conditions exist. Black Lives Matter not only in America, but also around the world. Let us not oppress others so we can use a cell phone. Make a difference and opt-out.
I’m considering starting a blog series about Opting Out. I want to provide a space for keeping track of what we opt-out of, why we’ve made the choice, and the steps we’re taking along the way. I feel it could be helpful for those who are also considering opting out of the current system. We’re in a system that has enslaved us to consumerism and enslaved others, many at gunpoint around the world so that we can consume these goods without understanding the consequences or the harm that has come to those who are forced to work in inhumane conditions. We are not free and our other human family members are not free either. So, how do we loosen the bonds and free ourselves? It takes time, careful thought and consideration of our needs, our family’s needs, and even the community around us.
They say it takes three weeks to form a habit but it takes two or more months for that habit to become automatic. We’ve given ourselves three weeks for each new Opt-Out. Doing laundry every day or every other day by hand has become a habit. Our next break with consumerism is with prepared snacks. That will involve potato chips, corn chips etc. That’s three weeks from now.
Opting Out by Reaching In is a new concept for me. It’s about reaching into my heart to see what really matters in life. To reach in and find out how the things I might purchase may impact others negatively. Sometimes it feels like being an accomplice to a crime against humanity, and for me, such a burden is too great for me to bear alone.
The last couple of Saturdays we finally spent a lot more time down at our land. Dom cleared more weeds and put up our tent. This tent will serve as our bathroom and supply tent for things we want to keep out of the elements. Inside is a composting toilet, bathroom supplies, baby wipes, and other things we don’t want to lug down every week as we work.
Our friends lent us two more tents so that we have a place for Simmi to play and do her school work during the week when we’re down there working.
We brought down our propane camp stove, our on-demand water, and when we get hold of a small sink, we’ll add that as well. When you have a child with multiple life-threatening food allergies, it’s imperative that running hot water is always available. We can’t wash dishes in a little tub filled with water that gets nasty and filthy. We need a continuous stream of hot soapy water to wash dishes. Having a working camp kitchen is essential to us getting anything meaningful done while we are building.
Our workstation is set up near the well and spigot, so we’ll be able to not only cook food and wash dishes while we are here, but we’ll also be able to prepare the garden beds.
We also set up a fire pit and smoke wall. Bushcrafters call them fire reflectors, but ours isn’t to bring heat near the tent. It’s simply a way to attract the smoke away from the tent. I like how our smoke wall came out and Dom had a blast playing with the small branches to weave them all in. There weren’t any real straight branches to create the wall, so he just got creative.
I love the final product.
At a lot of hardware stores, they sell campfire grills so we’ll probably invest in one of those in the next week since we love cooking over an open fire.
I’ll also be creating a new page that will list either free, repurposed or purchased materials and the running totals of how much we are spending each week.
I will be calling the page Farmstead Milestones (or something like that). I know that others will be curious about the expenses. I’ll say right off the bat we are not interested in getting huge loans, and so this whole process of building the infrastructure and outbuildings comes with the very slow and tiny steps towards our goals. It could take YEARS for us to finally get to build our actual house, but since we decided to stay debt free, bootstrapping it is our only viable option.
Instead of always relying on purchasing materials, we have lots of wood, stones, clay, sand, grasses, and leaves to choose from. I like that nature has a hand in sculpting our experiences here.
I want to walk along (as I already have) and spy a massively curved branch that is both rugged and elegant, and say to myself, “THAT! would be beautiful in the living room holding up the ceiling!”
My heart isn’t in dimensional lumber. It is in the sexy curves of trees that grow gnarly and waiting for the chance to be noticed. It’s the relationship we have to the land. That’s where my heart is and I want everything we build to reflect that.
This is the area on the other side of the fence where our canvas tent structures and outdoor kitchen and bathroom will be located. The tents will be semi-permanent in the pasture, but when removed the only thing that will remain is covered area and permanent bathroom. It will be a great place to sit and observe (and enjoy) the larger animals.
Simmi helping with the process of stomping the area flat.
This is such a great shot of where the potager garden will go.
Dom was in a state of deep contentment as he dug the firepit AND listened to Simmi sing while banging rocks into the pit’s edge.
Dom is removing some posts where the market garden greenhouse will stand.
Putting up the second tent.
This second tent is for Simmi to play in when she brings her friend down on Saturdays. When we are here during the week to work, it’s for her to do her school work in.
If it were late spring or early summer we would be camping out every day! But these tents aren’t warm enough to sustain us in the bitter cold.
Simmi and her friend Angel are reading Diary of a Whimpy Kid.
He’s eye candy to my soul.
The first three grow beds have been strung. The footprint of this area is 15’x60′. Over the top of these beds will be a high wind and snow load greenhouse. Before we create the middle grow bed, we need to install 4’x4’s. The greenhouse won’t be installed until sometime in January. Our hope is to have the market garden strung and created while we’re waiting on fencing for the potager garden area. We can’t start that process because the four large adorable pit bulls that have full access to the area would get busy pulling out all our stakes and dig holes everywhere. Silly dogs!
This is one of the big slobbery babies that live here.
This is very close to the same type of greenhouse we’ll be installing. It will not be heated at all. It’s mainly a season extender for high-value crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, etc.
All the way at the end of the rows there is a shadowy area. It will shade less than a 1/4 of the greenhouse. That area will be used to start seed in the spring.
We brought down our heavy duty propane camp stove, propane hot water on demand, and turkey fryer. We have never used the turkey fryer to cook a turkey. Instead, we use it boil hot water to process poultry.
I love how everything is coming together. Over the next few weeks, we’ll have more materials to work with. We need some T-posts and poultry fencing to start a composting chicken run, and this week I’ll be designing the chicken coop. Currently, there are about 10-15 chickens roaming around with the four dogs, so we want to get them into their own space and working for their food. A composting run will allow them to eat lots of yummy scraps and weed seeds, keep them safe from predation, and begin the process of moving them from regular dry feed to lacto-fermented feed. The chicken composting run divides the two gardens right down the center. On the left of the chicken run is the market garden, and on the right side of the run is the potager garden.
As we work the land, previous plans and ideas give way to more practical plans. If we don’t spend time down there, we can see where the winds come from, when the trees cast shadows throughout the day, which areas contain more moisture than others, and what is the prime garden real estate. HA! It wasn’t until we put up the second tent that we realized that the rich sandy loam that is beneath the second tent is prime real estate and shouldn’t be used to house animals. Instead it should be used to feed people AND animals.
Stay tuned! Great things are still to come.
Dom and I are both sprawlers. Actually, Simmi is a sprawler as well. Dom has his bottles of mead and beers fermenting, along with lacto fermented veggies and pickles, Simmi leaves a trail of belongings everywhere and doesn’t like to throw anything away, and I have jars of things rooting or being nurtured on the counter.
I chose the north side of the house where our kitchen is because it gets some moderate light and won’t be too hard on my little water babies soaking up water and love.
I started my water baby collection back in March when my orchids were suffering. Our climate doesn’t offer any moisture in the air, and can be quite a challenge to keep injured orchids from dying.
On the right are my orchids last June, just coming to the end of their flowering. The blooms last through the winter and after the flowering stops, they go into leaf growth. I obsessed for weeks prior to relocating to New Mexico about how my six orchids would make it across the country in the dead of winter with no heat. Three survived the trip and three died.
In an effort to save my remaining orchids, I started the process of trying to save them in February, but it seemed hopeless.
I know it sounds ridiculous to be so attached to these little beings, but they mean the world to me.
After I wasn’t getting many results pampering them and seeing that my remaining three orchids were declining still, I chose to put them in a water culture, which is just a fancy way of saying that I keep them in a jar with a third of the jar filled with water. One of them is so pathetic that I keep her in a full water culture.
It’s working. Finally.
One of my orchids finally grew two new leaves. I’m waiting for the other two to start to sprout. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m optimistic and I refuse to give up on them.
So, in no particular order, here’s a look at what’s on my counter:
The new leaf growth on one of my orchids.
The second orchid hasn’t sprouted new leaves yet, but I’m hopeful. She’s in a full water culture.
This is what she looks like in the water.
The third orchid. She’s juicy and ready to leaf. I’m hoping this month it will happen.
A clipping from one of my random house plants.
Rooting Rosemary. These were from clippings I got at the grocery store.
I love to see the roots of new plants that never had a chance to make it.
I LOVE this tree so much that I took clippings home to root them and plant them by our house. This is White Poplar. Back about 15 years ago when it was a medical mystery why I was sick beyond having Lupus, my doctor arranged for me to get allergy tested to see if mold could be tied to my recurring intensive care stays at the hospital. It turned out that I was indeed allergic to not only many different types of mold, but to poplar, willow, birch, (12 trees in all) different grasses, horses, guinea pigs, cats, and dust mites. I thought I was just allergic to the pollen with those trees until I went into anaphylaxis after drinking real birch beer. I finally identified the clippings as White Poplar and I wanted to know what the medicinal and food properties were. It turns out that poplar contains salicylate which is another compound I’m highly allergic to. It’s also in birch.
Now I know why I’m allergic to those particular trees. It’s the salicylates in the trees. I’ve gone into anaphylaxis with aspirin and ibuprofin. It’s not pretty! So, while I won’t be using any of the trees I’m allergic to for medicinal purposes, I will still be planting them. How can I not? They are so beautiful.
The pretty buds ready to send out roots.
Oh green onions how I love you! Did you know you can keep green onions on the counter in water and they will continue to grow for you? You can even clip down to a few inches above the roots and it will grow back for you. Next time you have slimy green onions that slipped to the back on the fridge, remember you can always put them in water. Don’t worry if some of the green leaves die or change color, because it is always setting out new green growth. The water needs to be changed every day or they will die from a lack of oxygen.
See the new growth? The old growth can be clipped with a scissor and used. Just discard any small portion of the green onion that is yellow or brown.
This lovely collection is Dom’s different brews. He has some natural beers and mead. All his brews are wildcrafted and pack a wallop if you drink too much! He did a first racking of the meads the other day, and it was pretty strong.
Dom’s kombucha. Behind one of them is a coffee kombucha he’s working on.
Transfering mead to a new container. Oh, and in the background you can see I also keep romaine lettuce in a jar of water. Only the base of the romaine touches the water. I don’t recommend keeping it in water if you won’t be eating it quickly. The water needs to be changed daily, AND if you don’t like to eat lettuce everyday, it will continue to grow. I once left romaine in fresh water for a week and it was not edible because the inner leaves turned bitter. If you’ll be eating it within a day or two of putting it in the water, it will taste fine.
So that’s what was on my counter. Next week the rosemary will be potted and put outside. I do have rosemary already growing out there, so I take more cuttings and root them as well.
Thanks for reading!