Posts Tagged ‘peak oil’

Cheaper, better – vegan – bread – the results

I’ve finally tried the Real Bread recipe from my “Baking cheaper, better bread” post. I have to admit I was pretty sceptical. about a third of the yeast I usually use, no sugar to feed it and no butter? I put it into my standard one-hour breadmaker cycle and was expecting a flat, solid, uninspiring loaf.

Opening the breadmaker was not very encouraging, it had risen less than my usual recipe, but not by much:

It wasn’t a nice glossy brown on top, but it did look encouragingly bread-shaped:

Time to open it up then! The best reflection on taste and texture was that the loaf was half-gone by the time I managed to get a pic. It was a lot less crumbly than my usual  loaf, tasted nice, was pretty light, and sliced nicely. Pretty much all you could want:

So, it’s edible, how much does it cost? We’re using the same prices as my original “How much does it cost to bake your own bread” recipe, minus the milk, butter, sugar, and with the new Doves Farm large packets of yeast we’re getting from Waitrose – 125g for 99p.

250g Strong White Bread Flour 11p
250g Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour 16p
1 tsp salt 0.2p
5g yeast 4p
Electricity 3.14p
Total 35p

So this “Real Bread” recipe costs only 35p in comparison to my usual recipe’s 78p. That’s a pretty significant difference, so it’s our new favourite – until the next comes along! Any other suggestions?

Almost forgot to add – now it doesn’t use any chilled ingredients it’s even more green, and it can be made out of standard store cupboard ingredients – even better for our Peak Oil prep.

How much food can you grow around your house?

Another great interview from Peak Moment TV. One woman’s experiment to see how much food she could grow from her own garden. She has bees, chickens and rainwater harvesting – it’s an inspiring video – take half an hour to watch, or at least listen, to one person’s view on sustainability and resilience – and the fun she has.

Book review – Jared Diamond’s Collapse

I’ve had a few questions at talks I give about what books I’d recommend, and I’ve given out a few names depending on the topic. I realised though that I haven’t put anything about our growing library on the blog, so I’ll try and rectify that over the coming year (no promises!)

I thought I’d start with something scene-setting, rather than the slew of practical books that I usually recommend.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive” takes a look at the collapse of historical civilisations, and then sets that in a modern context. Diamond looks at deforestation, overpopulation and pollution, and the inability of civilisations to live within the capacity of the land they actually live in, rather than the one they wish they inhabited. I thought it was quite well written, although it did need a bit of perseverance at the start. It cleverly took me from the position of smug modern human, mocking those foolish primitive islanders, through to foolish modern Australian, being paid to deforest the land.

It was not all doom and gloom though – there are some good examples of societies that have struck a balance and survived whilst neighbouring civilisations fell. Overall, it does a lot to highlight how precarious our “all-powerful” societies really are. Well worth a read.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair.

If you like the sound of it, pick it up at your local library or bookshop, but if you have to buy it online please follow this Amazon link –Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive and the Trafford Eco House will get some money from your purchase (it won’t cost you any more).

Our Woodburning Rocket Stove

Rocket stoves are an incredibly efficient way to burn wood – they burn hot enough that they burn both the wood, and the gases it emits. While people do build them into their houses, I was looking for a simple one for outside for occasional and emergency use. You can build your own, and lots of people do (just google Rocket Stove plans), but I’d had a good one recommended to me, so with Christmas coming up I crossed my fingers and hoped Santa had got my note . . .

Luckily the post did get through, and soon I was happily unwrapping a Stovetec Rocket Stove from Wild Stoves. Rather than try and describe it myself, here is a video review of one in action:

The secret of happiness

Now that’s a pompous title to a post. I doubt anyone can ever really claim to have found the one secret to happiness, however there was a nice article on happiness over at Mother Jones today. I particularly liked the “10 techniques to help you get happier”:

  • Meet up with a friend that you haven’t seen for a while
  • Watch a funny film or tv show
  • Exercise 30 minutes three times a week
  • Cut your tv viewing in half (but not the funny stuff?)
  • Buy experiences not goods: go to a concert, movie, unusual place, or strange restaurant.
  • Create novel challenges by starting a hobby, joining an organization, learning a skill
  • Go for a 20 minute walk in the sun
  • Spend 10 minutes listening to relaxing or uplifting music
  • Stroke a dog (cat?)
  • Stop watching and reading the news

It’s all to easy to focus solely on the physical things we have to do – the garden, the house, etc – and to miss out on thinking about the mental and emotional challenges that we face. And none of those have to cost a lot of money – perfect in this post-crash world.

Interesting Post-Peak article

http://www.bohemian.com/bohemian/06.17.09/feature-0924.html

An interesting article that canvasses a wide range of post-peak views, from Transition USA to Life after the Oil Crash. Amidst all the gloom this quot amde me laugh:

These people must reprioritize their value systems now and quit “waddling through Wal-Mart.”

I can see myself in that mirror – it’s time to really question what we’re buying, and why, and how we’d survive without it.

And then start doing without it now.

Understanding Peak Oil video presentation

Just another quickie – a really good video from Post-Peak Living. This is a great introduction to peak oil, so if you know someone who doesn’t yet understand the issues, send them this link. It’s U.S. based, but is still good – I liked a couple of the points particularly:

People lived well before oil, and people can live well after it.

Life is going to get very local, very quickly.

Worth remembering!

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