Good Mood Tea

I refuse to succumb to The Nothing; the feeling that my children’s future is dark and written in stone. Will there be less energy?  Maybe, and certainly less oil and more storms.  But I am committed to ensuring that there will also be more love, more free time, and more community, better food, and deeper thought.  Readers know much of the Big Stuff I am doing with my pals here in South Central Wisconsin to that end -forming 501C3’s, building a more viable Foodshed, expirementing with gasifiers, making biodiesel, talking about sustainable aquaponics and biomass forestry, educating our neighbors on The Natural Step and Permaculture.  We are doing Good Things… we are working daily at Being the Change.

But, of course, lots goes into that – and I am not just talking about reading books and doing research.  Some little things underling the Big Things that help me in my struggle for progressive thought and action in the face of depressing news.

St Johns Wort Tea

I am not convinced of herbal remedies – but I am not convinced of God either, yet I go to our Unitarian church more Sunday’s than not so maybe I am just hard wired to agnosticism.   I don’t care if it is a placebo effect – I like the tea and it really does promote a Good Mood as claimed.  I think better, read more productively, and spend higher quality time with my wife & kids when I have a cup or two.  

Domaine du Sac

I am more of a fine beer guy than a fine wine guy, but  we are lucky enough to have an award winning winery locally situated with the estate of Wollersheim Winery and they have me hooked on their estate red.  And a glass (or mug for that matter) of it often accompanies me when I write – I guess I find carbonation distracting when I type or something.  Their Prairie Fume is also incredibly good.  We go through about 2 cases of each annually which may explain why I write so much.

iTunes Genius

They got me.  It is like free association music or Pandora, but somehow better even though you have to pay for it.  Recent finds have been Chairlift, She & Him, Old Crow Medicine Show, Vetiver, Jose Gonzales, Aidan Hawken and others.  These are a decent clip away from my typical musical preference of Clutch and my inability to leave early 90’s Grundge behind, but it is likely that I am mellowing with age.   Plus its hard to read when your head is thumping to a solid bass rhythm. 

a Book

I have been toying with this for a while, but I would like to write a book.  Hell, I read enough books on sustainability, and I would like to add to that body of knowledge in a more concerted effort than blogging someday.  For now it is in outline form (which is growing), but I would like to make a practical stab at David Holgrem’s challenge to “permaculture” Suburbia or at least make it a much more productive and vibrant place.  Our built environment is with us for 50-100 years and won’t give a wit about Energy Descent or Climate Change.  Our houses and freeways aren’t going to change, so we will need to… and there isn’t enough land for us all to homestead 20 acres.  This may never make it off the MacBook, but in the mean time putting some structure to my reading and writing will doubtless help organize my thoughts.  Really I am just outlining and writing a handbook for what I am doing with our family and network anyway: localizing and building resilience.  It’ll be a fun project to keep my mind occupied for a while since I can’t plant potatoes yet.

The Dark Days of Winter are looking very black indeed this year.  But in my experience, doing is always the best antidote for depression and despair.  Put some verbs in your life (fretting and worrying don’t count) and back them up with some environmental muscle – for me that is good beverages, music and a clear sense of purpose.  



9 Responses

  1. If you get that book done, I’ll buy it. Having just bought a house in an Irish suburb, with enough room to do some gardening, and having an interest in micro-economics, it sounds like something that’s right down my alley.

  2. Make that two copies! Have a great holiday season with your family. People like you are what convinces people like me to go for it, too.

  3. I just sent the link to your blog to my Aunt and was checking out the current post to see what she would be clicking to and most likely reading first. The thought occurred to me as I was reading through, and recalling the stuff you’d emailed over the years, that this guy really ought to write a book about this stuff. Sho nuff, 15 seconds later you suggested it yourself.

    I think your writing style in the blogs and emails would transfer over really well to book form. You’re thorough with research and have a lot original experience to contribute, and you have a really strong and confident voice in your writing, real straightforward and no-bullshit but still entertaining and colorful, and also quite logical in structure. I’d say don’t change the voice much for a book. And be sure to include at least a couple of Conan references.

  4. Calm and balanced…two more adjectives for your writing voice that would be good in book form.

  5. is it too early to pre-order a copy of your book?

    In all seriousness, go for it. I’ve entertained the notion myself, though what I have in mind is more of a project model than a handbook per se. I think what I am seeking might be more like a wiki of sorts than a literary pursuit. That being said, I find your style quite enjoyable and eminently re-readable. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone over some of your essays.

    So try it…what do you have to lose?

    And btw, st john’s wort has been verified to have positive mood effects on a scientific basis. The difference in effect between hypercurium extract (the active ingredient) and a placebo is statistically significant in blind trials.

    Just because its crunchy doesn’t make it bunk.


  6. I had the chance to see Old Crow Medicine Show at the Pabst in Milwaukee a few weeks ago. If you get the opportunity, you should definitely see them live.

  7. ya! st. johns wort tea is awesome! and so is itunes genius. ahh and macbooks. I have been working hard to retrofit suburbia but feel the call to the forest and have a chance to do some permaculture.. there isnt enough land or water in suburbia in california 😦

    also, 5-htp is great for building serotonin in your brain and the availability of it – I’m going to try to grow it, it’s an african plant ( Griffonia simplicifolia ) and they use the seed extract for the supplement. It gives me amazing dreams and I wake up happy and it keeps me positive and motivated all day… 🙂

  8. I was a skeptic for a long time, but I now know for sure that Herbal Medicine really does work. There are also scientific data now to substantiate efficacy claims in many cases. (Oh, and there are hints on the FDA trying to outlaw these natural products. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t be concerned, right?)

    Seriously, I’ve had two seriout bouts of post-partum depression in the past 5 years. I was on some powerful medication and, although it was necessary for my basic sanity(!), it disturbed me greatly that I was popping this brain-affecting pill each day! I eventually weaned myself off the second time around and took up a vitamin and herb ritual, which included 5-HTP, St John’s Wort, Panax Ginseng, mega Vitamin C doses, some amino acids, an EFA supplementation and various other vitamins and I am happy to report that I have not felt this ‘together’ in quite a while.

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