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Pika’s are more than funny little creatures that live all through the winter – even during harsh temperatures – in the Rocky Mountains in Canada.

These animals are also at threat from rising temperatures due to global climate change.

“The American pika is a small mammal that inhabits fields fringed by suitable vegetation in alpine and subalpine mountain areas extending south from central British Columbia and Alberta into the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.  The historical range of the species includes California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.

A key characteristic of the American pika is its temperature sensitivity; death can occur after brief exposures to ambient temperatures greater than 77.9 °F,” according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service petitioned the U.S. government to add the Pika’s to the endangered species list. This would mean that the Pika would be added to the growing list of endangered species.

Tannis Bill, local Calgarian (and my creative Mom), has recently written a book about Pika’s and their lifestyles. Tannis had “often thought that “some day” [she] would find time to write a children’s book as [she] loved reading to [her] classes.” This engaging, interesting, and informative Grade 1-2 children’s book provides an intersting look into the lives of Pika’s. Closeup photos and a interesting story that ties everything together makes the reader feel like a Pika themselves.

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This tasty recipe will not only wet your appetite for more but it will make you want to make your own. And that’s what we are about is sharing and expanding the recipe to include all the zesty additions that you have to contribute.


  • Concepts
    • Progressive people – not all have to be environmentalists just willing to commit to something progressive and good. Frugality is a bonus as it makes it easy to convince of actions = reducing cash usage
    • Frugality – always seen as a stingy norm but this misconception is getting a new come back in Australia with three new released Gold plated albums. In all seriousness frugality is the end result of learning how to actually live with less.
    • Creative minds – The more ideas the more you move…
  • Stuff
    • Buckets – to save water of course
    • Jars – bring on the canning
    • Timers
    • Shovels
    • Seeds

Recipe (Preparing the goods)

Taking Stock of What We Have

It seems that over time in this house and I suppose in my life I’ve just been working towards having / building / making more community. Why? Simple really. I just don’t think our world is sustainable without building community, without re-learning old things we used to do (rather than relying on products that others make, emissions needed to make that stuff, and throwing it away in a dumpster for me to find), and because with community we create support.

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So before I left SMART Technologies ages ago I had a friend who worked there ask me a lot of questions about being a vegan. He was really receptive and polite in his questions and honestly wanted to know ways in which I obtained protein (a big fear for meat eaters is that people can’t survive on a plant based diet cause you don’t get meat for your body to survive — read: not entirely true)

For Chuck and his family they decided to become vegetarians for a month because of several contributing factors.

“First, if we’re tired and hungry at the end of the day the recipes that come most easily to mind are some kind of meat-and-two-veg thing. Not the healthiest…[and their] oldest son (just turned seven) is a sensitive kid and also a picky eater. He [doesn’t] like the idea of killing animals for food — so much so that he was willing ot experiment with all kinds of different veg cuisine if it meant he didn’t have to eat meat.”

Throughout this experiment the family tried out different veggie cuisine options finding things that the entire family enjoyed. Chuck commented that it wasn’t difficult for his family to find sources of nutrition and protein to eat healthy.

“I think “how will you get your protein?” is about as common and annoying a question for vegetarians as “how will you socialize them?” is for homeschoolers. Short answer: go look at the biggest, most heavily-muscled silverback gorilla in your local zoo –he’s vegan. End of question.”

[My note: As a vegan this is probably the most frustrating question I get too..or the crude jokes about me needing more meat, etc. on my plate.]

It’s an interesting note on our culture that most people do believe that our only protein food sources can be obtained from meat based diets. We have to be careful not to cut out vegetables from our diets as they are the source of anti-oxidants, little cancer fighting weapons, vitamins, and so much more goodness.

After Chuck’s one month trial they decided to find more ethical sources of meat suppliers as a means of bridging the gap between being vegetarians and meat-eaters (dubbed by Chuck as “flexitarian”).

“We don’t eat a lot of meat any more (I can’t remember the last time I bought steak or pork chops) and honestly can’t handle large quantities at one sitting after a month as vegetarians. And even before our experiment, we had started sourcing our meat from ethical sources, particularly one place at Crossroads Market owned by an older German lady and her husband.”

Another really nice approach from this is that Chuck is actually buying his food local! YEAH TO LOCAL! This means that he is also reducing his carbon imprint on food shipping/processing/etc. He is supporting local economies and farmers (the little guys), and ensures that the animals are happy (dubbed “happy meat” by Chuck).

Now you are probably wondering why a vegan would be writing about all this. Well I’ve never been one to be a snotty vegan (meaning that I frown upon others eating meat). I see it more as a challenge to educate others about many issues.

  • Buying local food (not supporting factory farms) = healthier animals, less food miles, supporting smaller farmers
  • Buying organic (healthier and again happier animals) = better for the environment
  • Environmental impacts of the food we eat – it takes 10x more resources (water, energy, etc) to make 1 lb of beef than it does 1 lb of wheat.
  • Vegetarian Meals are goodness = They can be tasty and they make you feel fresh!

So eating vegetarian even just once a week is going to have a huge impact on the environment versus not eating vegetarian at all. Why would I want to critisize people who are doing something to make change like Chuck is clearly showing. Revolutions, change, growth, and movements never happened when people ostracised others for their choices. When we can all embrace each other and work together towards something more sustainable, ethical, and loving as a community that’s when we are going to see things change.PROPS TO YOU CHUCK FOR TAKING THAT RISK MAN! Thanks for sharing bro!

My bedThe last few days have been spent at a beautiful permaculture backpackers called the Treehouse. There is a reason that this place has a history of being the best backpackers hostel in all of New Zealand and I think it makes plenty of sense. When you arrive the entire hostel is covered in native forest that has been regenerated from 20 years of permaculture work by the beautiful couple that owns this hostel and land. Essentially, when they first arrived it was old sheep grazing land with a few old natives trees around the land. As they tell their humble story to me about reclaiming the land by letting things grow more wild within the grazing land I look around and find myself taking a deep breath of fresh air. Permaculture is the way to go for sustainable food production folks. I know that now and I know that this is where i’m headed in my life. Full stop. It’s impressive to be here in a place that has turned a cleared native forest from a sheep feeding acreage back into a native forest again.

AND they have planted many native and non-native fruit / nut varieties throughout the forest (permaculture concept to have food placed throughout a forest). Some of the fruit I’ve noticed is gala apples, lime, macaroon nuts (oh yeah baby), pears, bananas, guava, grapes everywhere! I decided this might be a cool place to woof at (and save some cash) and have been spending today removing a dock from a swamp they have near one of the little huts you can sleep in. They put me up in a house bus for the time that I’m staying here which is pretty freakin’ rad cause I have a space to myself finally (no more snoring or people doing other things in the bed below me — ugg — ask me about that story later). But if you ever have the chance PLEASE come here and spend some time. This place is freakin magical and so are the people who own it.

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There is something about riding on the highway with passing vehicles and taking in the terrain around you.

I arrived in Triabunna after a short bus ride and a great chat with a girl about all things environment! Nick was waiting for me at the station with a huge HUGE hug and big smile. As we walked my bike and gear back to the sleeping location I was greeted by four other peeps and more hugs (ahh shit do I ever love hugs). In total the tour consisted of Ang, Nick, Michelle, and Mary-Anne. It was sweet to have riden with them for the entire week as we had a lot to share together.

Tragically, I was to late to help them present the OZ version of the Otesha skit. The next day was actually they’re day off so we headed to Maria Island (close by) for a ride along a rocky roadway to a beautiful beach. I could hear Erica’s voice saying to me that riding on the track (read: road / path) wasn’t smart on thin walled tires but I did it anyway. Upon returning to the ferry about 5 minutes before I got there my tire blew. Phewfff.

The next day was our first ride out to complete the journey and to get things started I blew my tire once (replaced it with a fresh one = problem solved) and then had some serious issues with my panniers but fixed that later in the day thanks to Nick, a piece of metal found on the road, and duct tape around my water bottle (that’s right Wheats I still use your trick). HAAA HAA.

The terrian was freakin beautiful and smokey because of the degree of the forest fires that are ravaging this country-side. It’s tragic and real here as they are going through serious droughts and fires are ripping right through the country at fast rates.

Along the week long treck there was some really amazing steep hills, amazing connections, and lots of shared love. It was nice to at least share stories from our various tours, compare notes, and talk about different environmental issues.

Along the way I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Gee an amazing activist, writer, and energetic women. The night we stayed with Bob & Helen was full of lively discussion, understanding of the issues (on my part), and interesting perspectives. I felt super lucky to have been a part of those conversations and experience. She is heavily involved in fighting Tasmania Old Growth cutting.

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[Apologies for the potentially lameness of this post. I can’t get the downloading of pics working on this crapola computer]

So I rolled into Tasmania (land of cool chilled out people, big mountains obviously not as big as ours back home but whatever, and friendly people). I’ve been staying with a fellow friend and Oteshite Mr. Ed Parker and his amazing girlfriend Sof. They setup a room and have given me free rain to do whatever I wish while I ‘m with them.

After the first day of arriving her I ended up heading down to Port Arthur. This tourist junction is chalked full of some pretty amazing history (some tragic). Basically, this settlement was used to contain criminals of all different shapes and sizes. What made it different than most prisons is that they were attempting to try and reform inmates through hard labour, some cruel punishment, and other techniques. It really surprised me to see the types of life sentences that people were receiving. Like a life sentence for things like stealing a loaf of bread and some milk (yah no joke life for that!). But it was amazing to see all the energy put into that settlement by the inmates and realize that most didn’t really deserve the way they had been treated.

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Cleanup at the workshopA quick update on my part: On Wednesday I headed to a Creative Descent party where all types of people show up to display art, play music, cook food, and the like. It was an amazing atmosphere held in the back of an old seedy bar near the downtown core. The entire experience was freakin’ amazing actually.

I spent the early part of the party helping to prepare the dived food that JP and Maurice had collected for the event. It was well received by the people who attended (probably about 40-60 peeps there). [Maurice is on the left of that picture and JP is on the right.]

Then later there was plenty of bands playing, dancing, people creating art, spoken word, and other hilarious things. Donations for Wednesday’s event went towards the Bicycle Co-op that I have been working at lately. Then on Friday it was another Worker Bee (read: get together to clean things up) session at the Bicycle Co-op to get things sorted out for the next workshop this coming Monday. The work that we had done on Tuesday was totally successful and cleaning a lot more of the workshop up and making it 100x more functional. Friday’s work was even better in getting a LOT more sorted out!

Andrew riding away! Read the rest of this entry »

It's starts with C and ends with MassFriday was marked with much adventure and good times for me. I started the day by cruising out to downtown via a nice relaxing ferrie with a bit of sprinkle. It was beautiful to catch a different glimpse of the Sydney Opera House and Bridge while arriving at the Circular Quay boat dock.

I spent the afternoon checking out the National Museum of Art and discovering some pretty cool art and photography there. I was a little bit disappointed that I couldn’t go check out the aboriginal art (main reason why I went) because they were revamping that section. I guess I’ll have to come back later to check this out some more.

The highlight of the day was definitely the fantastic bike celebration known as Critical Mass, which is a celebration on the last Friday of every month [during favourable weather conditions] in most (if not all) major cities. Cyclists take to the streets in huge numbers and ride through like full traffic. There had to be at least 400+ cyclists riding on the road and the spirit was lively, friendly, and completely full of love. It lasted for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours approximately. I hate comparing things but I have to say that the spirit at this bike celebration was so much more free than what I experience in Toronto. People came with speakers mounted in their bike panniers or separate trailers, danced, smiled, and also brought kids along for the ride too. IT WAS SOOO GREAT! Whereas in Toronto I really felt like the spirit was very mellow and not so much a big party (people on the road kept asking us what we were doing).

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Enviro FootprintApparently, McDonald’s and General Motors cut a new deal that would allow McDonald’s to provide new toy Hummer with every happy meal! I still don’t understand why someone would want to drive such a huge beast. I mean seriously it’s a military vehicle the size of a bus…I’ll take my bike to go please. Sure not feasible for everyone to ride a bike and I agree with that fact. But is it all that feasible for everyone to drive hummers around the planet? The Auto Asthma Index states that “The 2006 Hummer H2 emits 28x more harmful volatile organic compounds that threaten the health of asthma sufferers than the cleanest SUVs on the road.” [Sign the petition to get them to stop distributing these in Crappy Meals! ]

I read this interesting analysis in The Rebel Sell: Why the culture can’t be jammed by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter [Note: I didn’t actually like most of this book, but I think they had a point about consumer purchasing habits.] Essentially, they were stating the fact that people in specific class structures (referring to middle class people) will always try and deviate themselves from others by purchasing something extravagant or different that sets them apart. Ironically, I witnessed this in McKenzie Towne which is a middle-class community located in suburbia-land SE of Calgary. I lived there for quite a few years and it’s community that can only be afforded by middle to middle-upper class individuals. People tended to differentiate themselves in that community by owning a hummer. It was like a pride statement that not only could they afford the house, but they could also afford a big tank of a machine. It’s tragic that as a society we are so driven by differentiating ourselves based on materialistic things that at the end of the day don’t mean much.

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November 2020

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