Ron's readingtable

Richard Dawkins - The God delusion
Lars Wilderäng - Stjärnklart & Stjärnfall

Sunday, January 29, 2017

5 years....


395 posts. More than 300.000 views.

5 years to this day..... since I first started writing this blog. Initially thought as an outdoor sideshow for our emigration blog, but it became so much more. It was to become the tale of the journey I had embarked on...

And what a journey that has become...

Starting out as a man, trying to escape the madness of modern city life and, unconsciously, searching for himself, his place and his connection. And well on his way discovering more and more the true wickedness of the life and system he was trying to get away from. A journey with hardship and amazing discoveries, with bitter lessons and awesome revelations. A journey discovering home.... and myself.
During this journey past, present and future came together. The way I grew up with the way and the crafts of old, like food preserving, firing up the stove on a cold winter morning and the growing of plants, through gardening, the longing for independence and the absurdity of logistical systems, massively polluting the air we breath, the water we drink and ruining the very land we grow our food on, poisoning that too along the way...
5 years of ramblings, babblings, outdoorsy woods stuff, bushcraft, politics, personal brainfarts, social issues or plain everyday life of a wannabe homesteader. I think I done it all. Sometimes i worry that there will not be much left to write about or that I start repeating myself, but so far I think I managed to avoid both issues.,,, more or less.
5 years.... and looking back through the posts, as I regularly do, when I am bored or don't feel like doing anything, I can not help but notice how much things have changed. How much I and indeed we all have changed.
During the life of this blog I have lost old friends, found some new ones, but lost some of those again, too. We found a new home, I radically changed my lifestyle and everyday life, we got older and the tensions of starting a new life from scratch do show. I barely recognise my own children, comparing them with the images in my mind of 5 years ago. They grow up so fast, both physically but also mentally. I daresay that sometimes I barely recognise myself!
5 years and in some ways they seem like 5 weeks, but in others they seem like a lifetime.
In the beginning I thought I was a woodsman, connecting to nature and being at home in the forest. Little did I realise that I was but a city guy, running into the woods to escape modern urban life, including the job he hated. Turns out I still do love the woods, but I am not at home there. I am a mere visitor. A worshipper in the cathedrals of mother nature. Turns out I am much more a farming guy. In love with the plants he sows, plants and later harvests. At peace when surrounded by chickens and bees. In awe of the small creatures a garden harbours. At home in the agricultural landscape of southern Dalarna. If someone would have told me years ago that one day I'd be standing in the middle of a cackling and clucking bunch of chickens, whilst cleaning our their coop and feel at peace, just looking at them I might have laughed in their face.

These days the blog is moving more toward the prepping hemisphere. How could it not be? It is the accumulation of all things learned and done. Given the ways in which society and economy are developing, one has to be an absolute blind idiot (to me) to not see it. But then again I do think that we are in no short supply of that category of people.
Sometimes I wonder if I take it too far, but more often I feel I am not taking it far enough. I guess the long winter nights leave a lot of time to think and wonder.
But the days of growing are nearing again. Growing as in plants and animals. I do not see any growth for man. Maybe that will come after winter has come and gone for the western world. Being reborn again in the spring of an new era. Because I am hopeful. The process will be very painful and even more ugly and many will not make it. Large chance we will not either. But I will give us the best chance we have, the largest advantage over the rest possible. And in the end it might prove to be not enough or it just might prove to have been. For us, but much more importantly for our kids. It is they that will have to deal with what will be left, for we have had the largest part of our existence.
But maybe, no probably, it is for the best that many will not make it through the turmoil. After all mankind truly has become a plague. Ransacking our home planet, like a spoiled, disrespectful addict ransacks the house of its parents, consuming what it finds, destroying whatever gets in the way and is deemed not of use at the time, all in search of the quick fix. We, as a species, have squandered our birthright. The right to a nourishing, sheltering home. Because we ransacked, pillaged, defiled and consumed our home and the treasures therein.
Do I think my children deserve to live and maybe find such a place? I most certainly do, as does every child. Like I said I believe it is their right by birth. Whether they maintain that right is up to them and decided by their actions. Continue ransacking, consuming and destroying and that right will be lost. To love, cherish and maintain that world earns them a right to that place. And I feel the vast majority of (wo)men have long lost that. Do or did I earn it? I let others decide. Those that come after me and hopefully they can honestly say:"Yes dad, you did...."

As for this blog..... I will continue to write, simply because I love to write. And simply because I feel that this way I might reach out and touch people, inspire them or just to let them enjoy what I write and do. I know there are those who do enjoy it, but I sincerely hope that I touch people and inspire them to be the change they want to see, themselves.
That would be the ultimate reward and even reaching one would have made these 5 years worth while.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Bug Out Food Box - part II

I have dubbed it the BOB F-72...

The following menu was thought up and I put together the ingredients accordingly.
Breakfast;
- oats porridge (havregryn) with raisins and/or nuts
- hardbread with jam, liverpaté or cheese in a tube.
- semolina (mannagryn) porridge with dried fruit or applesauce

Lunch;
- tinned mackerel in tomato sauce and hardbread
- self baked bread w/nuts, dried fruits, raisins and jam
- canned soup

Dinner;
- pasta w/ham and tomato sauce
- rice, beans and tuna
- mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, sausage.


The contents;
What I packed myself;
1x5 portions of rice in a mylarbag
1x 13dl of flour, giving 2 loafs of bread. The required amount of yeast is taped to it.
1 vacuum sealed package of dried apricot pieces
1 vacuum sealed 1x5 portions of semolina
3x 5 portions of cacao+sugar (5+1 tablespoon)
5 portions of muesli vacuum sealed
1 pack of vacuum sealed hardbread (15 slices)

What I bought and used as is;
1 jar of coconut oil
4 cans of tuna
4 cans of assorted beans
1 small can of corn
2 can of 8 sausages
4 cans of a hearty soup
5 cans of mackerel in tomatosauce
1 can of pineapple pieces
1 pack with 4 bags of powdered, mashed potatoes. 1 pack will do for the 5 of us.
1 pack with 2 bags of powdered milk, each giving 5 liters of milk
1 pack of coffee
1 jar of honey
1 500gr. bag of pasta
2 cans of ham
1 jar of applesauce
1 can of sauerkraut
1 box of tea
2 bars of chocolate (real chocolate, not that brown, sugary surrogate)
1 can of tomato pieces
1 tube of concentrated tomato paste
2 packages of concentrated juice to make "lemonade"
1 package with 10 bouillon cubes
1 ziplock with a good number of small bags with salt, pepper and sugar. You know, the ones you get at every restaurant or gas station.... or IKEA. ;) And of course a box of matches. This ziplock also contains a small bag of silica to absorb moisture.

As an extra, since there was room to spare, I added 1x5 portions of muesli to be blended with milk, a small pack of bouillon cubes as a warm inbetween drink or as base for soup, containing what ever might be left and useable and 3 packages with 1x5 portions of cacao+sugar to make hot cocoa to make a warm energy drink for those not too fond of coffee or tea (also for those that are ;) )..... and of course some matches! I put those in almost every kit I have. With some products I left the cardboard outer shell in place as an emergency tinder to make fire. I still have some room left, so I am thinking about adding a package of egg noodles and maybe some dried vegetables, if I can find them. Along with the bouillon another quick, warm stomach filler. Maybe add some herbs. I am still looking for those small tins of liverpaté or jam. Those tubes with cheese are awful!
There are still some details to work out. First I need to add a clear window to the lid, behind which I can slip a note with the date and maybe product of the first thing that expires, as a memo to oversee the box as a whole. I will also add the menu, just in case. There'd be enough to think about, should we ever need to use the box as it is. I will exchange the large jar of honey for a small one. No need for almost 0,5kg of honey, how ever much I like it. I will take out the box of tea and replace it with 3x5 vacuum sealed teabags. I will regard this box as an ongoing project and exchange, alter or adapt as I see fit or need for it.

Now the very thing that got me started, was a wooden box that has been sitting in the my basement for a while, holding a variety of stuff and projects, but which originated as a transport box for our cast iron cookware. Nothing bombproof or heavy, yet sturdy enough for the purpose. I like the size though. Very handy with 2 rope handles.
The entire box weighs in at 24kg.


And to make things complete...... 5x5 and 5x2 liters of water. But since I topped up the containers, there is 0,5l of extra water per container. Enough for 72 hrs with room to spare, just as with the foodbox.
Why 5x5 and 5x2? Simple. The containers came free, you can much more easily store a small container or several of them in small places and you only need to open 1 small one at a time, minimizing the risk of contaminating or spilling the rest. Much easier to handle or refill too.

Now why on earth would anyone do this? Why make such a kit? There surely is no need for it?

First of all I sincerely do hope that there indeed will be no need for it..... ever. But!
With so many governments throughout Europe urging their people to be prepared for crisis or war. To make sure they can take care of themselves for at least 72hrs or even longer. With politics both local and global developing as they do..... There is something brewing.
Besides it also was a good training for the brain, an exercise for the mind.
And it doesn't hurt to have a little something in reserve. A power cut or a car breaking down, preventing you from getting supplies can just happen at any given time. In such cases one is glad to be a bit of a nutter... ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

lengthening days

On december 21st, the sun went up at 09:00 and went down 14:39...
Now, one month later, it is 08:35 and 15:40...
That's 1,5 hour of more daylight within a month and now that pace only quickens. The days around the equinoxes are almost stable for a week or so, bringing down the average.
For me this is the period of "The long Wait".... The wait until spring comes. Not that I no longer enjoy winter, but it is no longer new, fresh and exciting. It has become everyday life. Still holding its charm and working its magic, but everyday life nonetheless.
Now is also the time of dreaming, of fantasising how the garden should be like in a few months and the time to start planning for it.
One of the plans that has to be thought over, maybe even cancelled, is the coming of dwarf goats. Why? Because the planned areas, where they would be frolicing about, contain an unpleasant surprise (for them) we had not taken into account: poisonous plants!
 
source; naturvardsverket.se
source; webben7.se
Ohhh how wonderful to be adding pictures of flowers again!!
Yes, lilies of the valley and lupins. Now the lupins, despite being beautiful and a glorious sight to see along the roads in summer, I can do without. As a matter of fact I have already begun to eradicate them from our piece of land, since they are an invasive species. The lilies of the valley however I will not get rid off, if only for their delicate beauty in spring and above all the scent with which they fill the air!! That to me is such a powerful, happy feeling triggering thing I really do not want to do without!
The massive presence of said lilies in the planned goat pasture means that we have to alter our plans. Now I am thinking of 2 lesser pastures instead of 1 bigger. These will not be so big, but we can switch between pastures whenever we feel like it. The abundant plant growth in spring could mean that the pastures could regenerate somewhat in between goat visits.
What I do not like about that plan however is that we will have fenced in areas all over the place, taking away that feeling of free room around the house. At least that's what I'm afraid of.
This "long Wait" is made more bearable, and at the same time more unbearable too, by planning what to sow, where to put it and how to create plant or flowerbeds with what has been sown.


This year the main focus will be on creating areas with perennials and the use of much more flowers! More flowers throughout the garden and around the house. I have always been a huge admirer of the so called English cottage gardens. Of those lush, colourful and seemingly, slightly wild and chaotic gardens.... And the making of a "teagarden" is scheduled as well. Not a garden to have tea in, which will happen anyway, but a garden to make tea from!

However winter's still here to stay for a while and I continue to enjoy its wonders, despite daydreaming about what is or might come spring- and summertime. But during mild periods, like the one we're having right now the sun is giving of just that little bit extra warmth and the great and blue tits are testing their vocal cords with frail voices and short songs.....

And speaking of winter.... have you ever paid attention to the colour of snow?
Yeah, it's white.... only it isn't. Yes, it is white, but only when it falls. Once on the ground it becomes like a chameleon, taking on the colour of the surroundings. In the case of snow, the colour of the prevalent light. It turns yellow in the low hanging wintersun, but becomes shades of blue as soon as the sun doesn't touch it anymore. On overcast days it turns grey, but in the pink and orange light of sunrise and sunsets it becomes pink itself







Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Food storage - vacuum sealer and mylar bags.

The other day we spent a little of our hard earned cash on items I deemed handy; a vacuum sealer and a package of mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Yes, we are talking longterm food preservation! The vacuum sealer in question is one from OBH Nordica called prestige and we bought it on sale. It came with booklet and a roll of bags + a rool of foil to make bags in any size you desire/need.
The mylar bags came as a package, containing 10 1liter, 10x 4 liters and a vacuum sealed bag of oxygen absorbers, bought from a supplier in Sweden.
Mylar is coated foil, that prevents air or light penetrating the foil, speeding up the process of spoiling. Add an oxygen absorber and you take away another source of spoilages; the oxygen. So when using these you can seriously prolong the shelflife of food, but it says nowhere just how long.
For my experiment I'll just go with exp.date + 3 months without vacuum and exp.date + 6 months with vacuum. But I guess it will be safe as long as the packaging is still vacuum.



I worked with both for one afternoon, trying to prepare food for storage in the foodbox or BOB-F72 as I have started referring to it.
Operating the vacuum sealer is actually very straight forward, yet I did something very un-manlike, before giving it a go; I read the instructions!! The display and buttons are very simple; vacuum & seal, seal. Options for dry food and moist, making the sealtime longer in case of moisture of the seal surfaces.Turns out the thing even has a function to vacuum seal containers, which can be bought separately.
So far I vacuum sealed dried apricot pieces and semolina, which is a powder. Just to try out. The sucker really did suck out the air! I ended up with 2 very compact packages. This apparatus really is plug & play. Given the reduction in size of the food packages I am figuring we could do with a much smaller freezer, if we used this thing all the time. A lot less air to freeze inside the freezer also means lower operating costs and in case of a power out a more massive quantity of food thaws out slower, too. The bags or foil are more expensive than regular bags, but can be obtained locally too. A complete roll might mean less waste.... Time will tell.
I then tried if I could seal the mylar bags with the machine too and what do you know; it worked!! However one sealing sequence proved not enough, so I did two. The foil is actually clamped in one place, so no risk in moving the foil in between goes. Worked like a charm. Maybe I could have gone with the moist-option, but this worked.
I made one bag with flour for 2 loafs of bread and added 3 absorbers + one bag with rice for 5, adding 2 absorbers. Had a bit of a nasty surprise though! While I started cleaning up I noticed the oxygen indicator of the opened bag of absorbers had turned blue. When handling the absorbers to quickly vacuum seal them, I noticed they had become warm! So fierce is the reaction with oxygen! At least I know they work....
When using mylar without vacuum (haven't tried out if it works), remove as much air by hand as possible. The more you get out, the less there is left for the absorbers to react with, making them last longer.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Prepping.....the Bug Out Food Box

There's this funny thing keeping me occupied these last few weeks. What if there was a situation where you'd be forced to really rely on yourself. An emergency that would require selfreliance. What if there would be a situation where we'd have to leave in a hurry for whatever the reason?
I am talking about prepping.
Not that bushcraft, homesteading and prepping are all that different. There are many similarities and crossovers between them... and a great many other related fields. But somehow I want to create a possibility to have an advantage, when something goes wrong and we'd have to relocate in a hurry. I am not talking about hordes of zombies banging on my front door, but an emergency, like a forest fire, that forces me and my family to leave home on short notice. There are uncountable sites and places that will tell you just what to pack; the so-called B.O.B. or bug out bag. In this you should have tools and items you'd need to make it easier or to just make it through the troubled days and ways ahead, when the proverbial excrements hit the air circulation device, in jargon known as SHTF.
The so-called BOB or Bug Out Bag is a term one regularly comes across in the bushcraft-, prepper-, survivalist or worse case scenario-scenes and it comes with all sorts of essentials, gizmos and gadgets. Fine, then you'd have your knife & axe, your cooking- and firelighting set, your water purifying tools, your tarpaulin, sleeping bag and your survival kit... Great. But in many of these lists and recommendations there are some things missing. How about some good, old cash. Doesn't have to be a huge sum, but a handful will get you a long way. How about some backup I.D.'s or copies of them? Proof of insurance or medical stats. A small bundle of essential (in this society) documentation in written form. I think it is a good thing in itself to be prepared, but the thing that I sorely miss in those, is one of the most essential things; food!!
Now I do not talk about that crappy freeze dried or other survival "foods". I mean real, nutritious, high energy and tasty food. If things go wrong, nibbling on some tasteless, compressed, sawdust oatmeal survival bar or slobbering down something, that looks like it has been eaten before, is not the best way to lift spirits and increase morale. Yet I have to admit here that I know nothing of today's freeze dried or dehydrated meals. I did have my share of those back in the days, like the army or during bike- or campingtrips and the memory haunts me to this day. Just the thought is repulsive and given the fact that products these days in general do not hold the same level of "quality" as 20 years ago....
The needed extra energy intake to cope with stress and inconvenience is another matter to take into account. The food had to be as healthy and nutritious as possible, yet have a long shelf life. So you can store it and just grab it, when needed. As little carbs as possible and as much fat as possible, because stressful and intense situations, as said, require a lot of energy. Long lasting, not a massive spike, followed by a even more massive low. Plus it had to taste good, because in said situations it will need to keep up spirits and improve morale and good food will do just that. Just the act of preparing a real, tasty meal does that too!! Plus it should be as similar as possible as regular food, so we could just use it, when it might near the spoiling date and just add "fresh" supplies to the box. Changing your diet during times of high level stress might very well cause health issues and I read in extreme cases even death, due to metabolism failure. And to add to the challenge it had to feed my family of 5 for at least 72hrs. And last but not least it had to be fit for winter, meaning high energy, but also usable during summer. An additional advantage of using single ingredients, is that you can adapt according to the situation, like using food we'd find out there; berries, mushrooms or even some animal might find its way into the menu.
Weight would not be so much of an issue, since if it would ever be necessary to bug out, family logistics would dictate the use of a vessel; car, cart or sleds. If I ever found myself in a situation, where we would have to carry everything on our own backs to get out alive, something has gone horribly wrong, we'd have failed big time and would be in need of support from others anyway.

So I sat down and thought.... and planned.... and came up with both a menu and a list of contents.

72 hrs - I split that up into 3x breakfast, 3x lunch and 3x dinner, just to cover the basics. If room would be left, that could easily be filled up with things like dark chocolate (morale boost and energy). Maybe some mints. And of course more nuts and dried fruits. Can't have too much of that.
Breakfast;
- oatporridge (havregryn) with raisins and/or nuts
- hardbread with jam, liverpaté or cheese in a tube.
- semolina (mannagryn) porridge with dried fruit or applesauce

Lunch;
- tinned mackerel in tomato sauce and hardbread
- self baked bread w/nuts, dried fruits, raisins and jam
- canned soup

Dinner;
- pasta w/ham and tomato sauce
- rice, beans and tuna
- mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, sausage.

Now via my buddy Odd the phenomenon "mylar bags with oxygen absorbers" was brought to my attention and we exchanged many a message about them and their uses. I also did some reading into the subject and one of the advices given, was to keep the mylar packaged food in an extra container, since, although the mylar is moisture-, air- and light tight, it is not strong enough to deal with handling and the slightest pinprick would ruin the effect of the oxygen absorbers, with spoiling the food in the end after all.
I was going to give the mylar a try anyway and the box would contain a number of ingredients that might require repackaging in order to keep them longer.

So in order to be able to make this, we would need a lot of stuff. And shopping we went....

Part II, the practical bit, will follow shortly......

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

nothing to show for....

Well, the holiday season has come to an end at last and all the final bits of "goodies" have been devoured and digested. Gone are the good food and the pastries, the chocolate and the cookies, the ice cream and special beer. And I have the belly to show for it. Not that I/we overdid it, but it was just too much of the wrong stuff; carbs! So with these gone I hope my system will recover again soon.
Other than that, there's nothing exciting going on, so I'll just bother you with more winter wonderland stuff. The days before christmas the world was getting greener by the hour, but right after that winter came tiptoeing back into the land, reclaiming its reign in full on new year's day....
On christmas day we met our friends from the village for a short hike up to the vantagepoint, introducing our dogs to one of theirs; Atos, a young gråhund (hunting dog) male. That went surprisingly well! Apart from the expected excitement, no growling, barking or otherwise unwanted behaviour. Our pooches can be social, when together. We noticed Rex becoming less aggressive toward one of the neighbours' dog already, yet he remains fierce toward a selected few.


After christmas the temperatures started sinking again and we got some high winds to go with that. That made going out quite a bit less pleasant than a few days before..
Yes, it felt as cold as the clip suggests...


But on new year's day winter kicked in good. We got a ton of snow after which temperatures plummeted. At the lowest we almost hit -28°C, but the real cold only lasted for one day. We were quite worried about our ladies and gents out in the chicken coop, though. Especially about Dr.Watson. We noticed he has what we call fotskabb (knemidocoptes mutans ) or knemidocoptes, but we did not dare to treat his legs in these kind of temperatures, involving washing/scrubbing the legs and covering them with some form of grease/vaseline.
Anyway... we got about 40cm of snow instead of the predicted 10-15 and a few nippy days. Temperatures are above 0 again right now, but will dip once more soon.






The "centre" of our cluster of villages, some 10km away read -15, but one of the neighbours recorded -27.9. And that will give you some hints indoors, before going outdoors.... Yes, that is ice.




The following pictures have been taken by my wife....
starring our youngest daughter and our over-dynamic duo.






Waiting for winter to return..... and hopefully stay here for a while!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Another year has passed

and I guess a "happy new year" is in order..... as far as that means anything. Which it doesn't. Not for me anyway. I used to celebrate this turn of the year, but over time it has become quite meaningless to me. What is it other than just the passing of another day on our artificially created calendar, the turning of yet another hour on our equally created clocks?
For me the new year started on december 22nd with the passing of the winter solstice. The shortest day and the longest night of the seasons has passed. From now on the days lengthen and spring is getting closer. For me this is the time of the Long Wait.
Yes, we are going toward lighter days, but the days ahead seem to be darkening nonetheless. I have this feeling of unease and I must say that I worry, maybe even fear the near future. Apparently it was the darkest solstice in 500 years, due to a lunar eclipse, which enhances such feelings.... or so it was said. But there is more going on. Much more.
We had planned to celebrate this solstice, but weather kind of messed things up. A severe thaw and high winds made it a lot less enjoyable. It is a hazardous time and not just because of the ice on the roads that looks like a polished mirror and two dogs pulling you this way and that. Had some close encounters with said surfaces so far. It is also a hazardous time, due to the lack of light and the tendency to think desperate, doomy thoughts. All the more important to focus on those things that give you joy. Like the way we, as a family, like to spend our christmas season days. Something that has grown into a tradition of sorts; watching the Harry Potter-movies. Now to us this is more then just hanging in front of the tv. It means the evenings are filled with being together, enjoying a drink and some snacks, after which we watch one movie at a time. Such nights include talks, laughter, even playing a boardgame.
The first day of the year I spent cleaning out the chickencoop and allowing it to air and dry properly and being around the chickens always brings me joy as well. I regularly pause, just standing there, while the chickens move around, pecking, scratching, especially if I throw around a few hands of seeds, and I listen to their soft clucking sounds or the ringing call of one of the cocks. The clucking has quite a soothing and relaxing effect.
Another joy was the discovery of a dead chickenhawk, right in front of our son's bedroom window. A joy? Yes. For now this one will no longer be a threat to our chickens. But also a joy, because we were able to study and admire this bird up close and hands on. And yet I felt a little sad as well. Sad, because this beautiful creature died. When I picked it up its head just hung there; broken neck. It had a wound in its neck, but that might have gotten there after it had died. There was no blood on the feathers. It also had a broken toe, tallon bent inward and tendons showing through the skin. No other injuries were found. Either way, we studied it, learned from it and collected quite a few parts, which we normally would not get our hands on. We took the talons of which we plan to make pendants. My wife collected a good deal of its feathers to be used in her angel creations and I took its head, hoping to be able to add it to my collecting of birdskulls, delicate pieces of art.
Looking at those talons made me realise immediately why such a chickenhawk is such a menace! They are huge! Would even inflict serious injury to a human.... And we actually have a chicken that survived such an attack and bears the scars to prove it...




Christmas is over and this one most likely will be kind of special for and to us. It was our 5th christmas here in Sweden and if all goes as planned our last one as Dutch citizens. If we continue on our current course it might just be the last one in general. Because we have been thinking.... Why do we even celebrate christmas? It is not that we are devout christians. If anything we would be considered atheists, heretics, pagans or whatever popular label current normalcy would slap upon people like us.
No, we do not believe in christianity as it is practiced today. No, we do not believe in any major religion at all. So why celebrate their feasts? Why tag along with these traditions, when these no longer apply or even appeal to us? After all hasn't christmas degraded into one single consumerist buying- and eating frenzy? A prime example of greed, gluttony and pride? To us it has been a feast to be together with our family. To spend time together. But if the traditional values fall away, then what is the use of doing it on these days? Any other day would be just as good.
No, if there is a god, it shows itself through the singing of the birds, the budding of leaves, the blooming of flowers, the buzzing of bees and the grandeur in the ever changing palette of colours and patterns in the skies and the seas. It is in the everlasting cycle of the seasons, of birth, life and death in whatever shape or form these manifest themselves. And that is a god or religion that needs no wars to be fought for or over....