Saturday, November 19, 2011

survive and thrive friday: snot sucker, buying a house, and PERMACULTURE

In case anyone was under the ridiculous impression that every single Friday I would reveal a "Survive and Thrive Friday" post, ohhhhh, ha ha ha! No, no, no, no. It's just that when I ever do post about surviving and thriving (things we're trying in the pursuit of self-reliance, self-sustainability, and more wholistic living), heh heh, it'll be on Fridays, see. Yeah, that's right. That's right. Or Saturdays. And not necessarily the same Friday or Saturday every month. No way, man.

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Let's start right in with no more ado but with lots of snot. Rachel showed us a Nosefrida snot sucker over the Skype, and I was instantly sold on it. We've all been sick for a couple weeks, and nights are 134% worse than usual because babies keep waking up irritated at having to mouth breathe. Come to find out, you know what's even cooler than sucking a tiny dab of snot at a time out of a baby's nostril? Sucking a tube full.

After dropping into casual conversation a couple of times the fact that I was gonna go out and buy a Nosefrida for $25, Jason brought home a 30 cent length of tube from an auto store. He cut the end off one of our nasal aspirators and stuck it on the tube. Tuh-duhhhh. Works like a frickin' charm. The actual Nosefrida has a couple filters interspersed, but in our experience so far, the snot doesn't even come two inches up our homemade tube, so there's no way it could reach the sucker's mouth. I would advise to be careful and not suck too hard or for very long, because there's a tiny set of lungs on the other end!! I was so excited about better sleep that I was a little vigorous at first, and Jason had to put the Whoa Nellie on me. Good old Ziah didn't seem to care one ounce. For the first couple days, he just laid there when I sucked the snot out of him, literally. I love this kid. Pretty soon he wised up and got wiggly over it, but it was a nice snot sucker honeymoon while it lasted.

You know, in this whole survive and thrive thing, I feel like I could write a lot every week, but most of the time it would be about conversations we're having, inspired by the survival podcast I keep mentioning. And that could get old, talk being cheap and all, so I'm gonna try to limit my mentionings to things we're actually trying / doing. No guarantees though, because some of these concepts are way too earth-shattering to not mention before we've verified for ourselves that they're true. Er...right!

The biggest news is that we put an offer on a 100+ year old farm house two Fridays ago, and it was accepted! It was a rather quick situation, and we're still in the throes of getting financed, having it inspected, blah blah blah. In general, we've been hesitant to get into housing debt, but when we saw this one listed and then viewed it a couple days later, we knew it was enough of a fixer upper that we could for sure come out ahead. And North Dakota is one place we feel confident investing in real estate. We still have the heebie jeebies about the debt, and about being part of the U.S. banking system at all, but we'll see. How home-ownership plays into surviving and thriving is thus and so: 1) building equity that we can turn into the cold, hard cash we need to be closer to "the dream," and 2) having our own space in which to practice permaculture concepts.

What the heck is permaculture, right?! Well, it is a crazy EXCITING concept - in my own words, it's creating little ecosystems that are as close to self-sustaining as possible (just like nature does it), but with the results / outflow / products being things that are useful to you, the creator. It's like a garden that you put a lot more initial intention into so that, while it's operating, the least amount of your energy is required to reap big rewards. A key word is efficiency, and permaculture-esque ideas apply to the running of a household or any human endeavor, really. You could have a little greenhouse in which to grow produce year round - Jason is working on a design for one now - with your chickens located right inside the greenhouse so that their poo is instant fertilizer and their heat helps keep it warm. They would also provide CO2 for the plants, which would provide oxygen for them. Permaculture is such a huge topic, and I don't even have it all worked out in my own head, that I'd better refer y'all to a couple of websites we've been visiting and learning from.

"An incredible example of permaculture in action can be seen in any of the short youtube documentaries about Sepp Holzer in Austria. Amazing stuff." - Jason

Here's one that gives you a quick overview of Sepp and his wife's homestead, and how they've basically thrown away all modern, conventional farming and gardening wisdom and instead watched nature itself for how to grow things without degrading the landscape.

Jason downloaded FOR FREE this permaculture designer's manual; we have yet to delve into it, but the writer, Bill Mollison, is the guy who came up with the permaculture term and the concept as it is envisioned in modern society. You have GOT to start with this interview of Bill Mollison from 1991. I think it'll inspire you to start the manual, like it has me.

A guy named Paul Wheaton at has lots of interesting permaculture-related stuff, and from there I found this link about caring for cast iron cookware. We probably use our cast iron 90% of the time, but have SO not perfected its use. Food still sticks a lot. Well, this page is chalk full of insights, and I got several tips I instantly integrated into the care of my pans. They have a forum at

That's it for now, folks. Happy surviving and thriving!


Caryn Ouwehand said...

"snot sucking honeymoon."

Tee hee.

Rachel @ Lautaret Bohemiet said...

We had the same honeymoon with Bennett. First few times, he was intrigued, and still, and quiet, and content. Then. None of those things. Not any more. For the last few days he fought us every single time, but man, was he ever glad once it was done and he could breathe. Kids.

Great info on all the permaculture stuff. As with everything else in life, I am going to let you do the research, the trial n' error, the figuring things out and ironing of the kinks, then when you have developed a tried and true practice, I will copy it. Because you guys are THAT awesome. And I am THAT lazy. The perfect combo, we are.

Rena said...

To be honest, nothing after the snot sucking part of the post registered. Absolutely disgusting. That is one grandmotherly duty I will NOT perform. Just warning you. Poor kids.

Autumn Promise said...

That is so gross!!! you snot sucker!
Wow, I am so intrigued with the permaculture thing. I love how that guy's gardens just look like a big heaping mess. I can dig that.
No, you will not be called hippies, or granolas, or any such thing.... Jason and Lori the permies!! ha ha ha. love you guys, that's very exciting about the house.

melissa said...

Yeah, the snot sucker grossed me out, too. Blerg. Worst part about parenting MIGHT be the snot.

Verrrry funny, though!

lori said...

ha ha. Glad/sorry everyone enjoyed or was repulsed by the snot. Yes, that is one icky aspect of parenting, more so than even poop, I think. Well, some poop can make it a toss up.

Autumn - watch as many of those youtube clips as you can of Sepp. You've got to see the detailed info of what he does with the ponds, and how he can grow grapes and lemons in a temperate climate! Also how he plants is so clever and basic. He just scatters a seed combination over the ground, so lettuce and corn and wildflowers and every imaginable thing grows together. He then has to use zero pesticides or fertilizers, because the insects and plants self-maintain the system. It is RAD.