Monday, February 6, 2017

Wednesday February 8th 2017 Transition TC Gathering

We will be meeting Wednesday evening February 8th, from around 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the new Blaine Cub Foods located at 10881 University Avenue NE, which is at the South-east corner of the intersection  of University Avenue and 109th Avenue in Blaine and Northdale Blvd in Coon Rapids.  I believe they have a conference room located up the stairs located to the left of the checkout registers as you enter the store. 
If time allows we will have a two part meeting. 
Wendy will start us off which some more applications on the practice of herbalism.  This will be a follow-up to Wendy’s yard tour last summer.  We discussed learning more about herbalism as a theme for this year at our last meeting.  And on that topic the classes being offered by the Women’s Environmental Institute might be of interest.  See more here:

Part two will be I believe a hands on opportunity for folks to practice the art of convivial tool making, which Bob will lead.  Bob will show us a project he is working on designed to help folks understand the “hafting” process where stone projectile point is hafted to a shaft to make a useful tool.   Attached is a photo showing the the materials used in the process.  I am hoping to get/make one of these to use for rooting around in my garden this year.

Give me a call at 763-807-3698 or drop me an email at if you have any questions.  

Tom Jablonski

Friday, January 6, 2017

Tuesday January 10th Meeting

I reserved the meeting room at the Blaine Leeann Chin for this coming Tuesday January 10th. The address is 1450 109th Avenue NE, Blaine, MN adjacent to the Target at 109th Avenue and Highway 65. The meeting should last from around 6:30 to 8:30 p.m..

I have some “business” type agenda topics I would like to review with folks regarding future meetings and plans for the group.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Wendell Berry – On The Failure of Industrialism.

An Excerpt From a the October 22nd, 2016 Annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures in Great Barrington, MA of a conversation between, Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Mary Berry.   

Transcribed from the You Tube video available here:  From the 27:26 to 29:34 minute mark.
I think what we’ve got to learn to say, and we’ve got to say it, is that industrialism is failing; it is failing very prominently and visibly in agriculture, as anyone can see who knows anything about agriculture.  But it is failing in general, too.  And it is failing because it proposes and tolerates no limits. 

We started the middle of the last century with the doctrine that there were too many farmers. And that has never been called off – nobody said how many we need to get rid of.  There is a whole story there. 

For example, in the Midwest at one time there was a mill every 12 miles.  And that was for the convenience of the producers, who were never thus more than 6 miles from the mill, which meant they were never beyond the possibility of hauling a load of grain to the mill and getting home again for dinner or supper. 

That’s a very good limit you see – it employed a lot of millers, and it employed a lot of farmers.  And if we were really serious about the importance of jobs, employment, and so on – we would have to take that seriously as an example from the past, irrecoverable.  But if we’d have been Amish, we would have stopped it right there, we would have accepted the limit of the horse – that’s the limit that was involved. 

So we accept no limits, and we do the most we can of everything we do, which is usually either explosive or toxic. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Transition Tuesday Travel Talk

A quick note regarding our next gathering which will be held on Tuesday (yes that is Tuesday and not Monday) December 13th 2016.  We will be meeting at the Leeann Chin in Blaine again which is located at 1450 109th Avenue NE, adjacent to the Target at 109th Avenue and Highway 65.  The meeting will last from around 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., feel free to order food or drink to enjoy while we meet.  (Note the meeting room was booked for Monday night, hence the change to Tuesday.)

For a topic, since I have so far had no other offers, I thought I would subject folks to a slide show of some pictures I took on trips I was part of to Rwanda and El Salvador, that might give a vision of what life can be like living simpler (which might mean with less money, stuff, and technology) from the perspective of a visitor who has lived too complexly.  

Contact me at 763-807-3698 or if you have any questions.

Tom Jablonski

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Shrinking The Technosphere

We will be meeting Monday November 28 from around 6:30 to 8:30 at Leann Chin’s in Blaine located at 1450 109th Avenue NE.  Note this is right next to Target in the South East Corner of Highway 65 and 109th Avenue, just across the street from the Starbucks we meet at.  There is no charge or purchase requirements for using the room, but I know I will plan on eating there.

For a topic, Bob, who also found us the new venue, suggested listening to a podcast of Howard Kunstler talking with Dmitry Orlov about his new book “Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on the Technologies that Limit Our Self-sufficiency and Freedom”.  See more on the podcast here: .  This should spark some interesting conversation amongst ourselves as well.  

Hope to see you then.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Simplicity in Complex Times

For the Monday November 14th gathering, how about we meet at the Starbucks in Blaine located at 1384 109th Avenue (the South-West corner of 109th Avenue and Highway 65.  We will meet from around 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.. 

And for a topic I thought that living simply might be a good one in these complex times.  One of my favorite sources on the topic is the Australian organization The Simplicity Institute.  If you get a chance check out their report titled “Your Delightful Day:  The Benefits of Life in the Simpler Way” by Ted Trainer available here: .  More information on simplicity can be found in their other publications available here: .

Trainers paper gives an overview of how living simply might look and covers the areas of time, work, housing, self-sufficiency, living frugally, community, town self-government, landscape, wealth, health, leisure, and peace of mind.  No need to read the paper, but come with thoughts on how you are working towards living more simply and how we might simplify our lives even more. 

Hope to see you Monday and peace to all in our troubled times. 

Tom Jablonski


Friday, October 21, 2016

Wine Cap-aholic

Last year, I was introduced to Stropharia rugosa-annulata, or what many folks might refer to as the Wine Cap mushroom.  Mary had brought along one of these burgundy colored mushrooms to our Transition meeting and talked about how the good folks at the Garden Farme in Ramsey had been growing these beauties in the wood-chip mulch they use around their gardens.  She also shared how the spawn for these tastee and beautiful fungi could be obtained from Field and Forest Products and that they would be great additions to many gardens. 

Well I was hooked, so towards the end of June, I ordered a 5.5 pound bag for about $30 and spread the sawdust/spawn mixture to some simple cardboard and wood chip sheet mulching projects I had been doing around my yard, covered it with wood chips, watered, and then waited.  By the end of August, I was harvesting my first Wine Caps. 

This year I purchased another bag of spawn to add to a new sheet mulching project I did on my side yard and repeated the process.  This batch was also started in the early summer and again by early fall I was harvesting more mushrooms from both my old and new beds.  It is worth noting that the production from the older beds also produced a good harvest of mushrooms in the spring and early summer, along with a second harvest later in the summer and through the fall. 

I have been experimenting with preserving the harvests by drying in my solar dryer, pressure canning, and freezing.  And in between the preservation processing, I have been enjoying cooking and eating the fresh ones.  To harvest the mushrooms I use a knife to cut off the exposed portion of the fruits, wash off the dirt, cut them up into smaller pieces and then either dry, can, cook, or sometimes just eat them raw. 

This fall I have been making a mushroom/bean/ squash or potato stew with them.  I pan fry the mushrooms, add onions and garlic or chives, tomatoes, and kale or broccoli.  I add a can of beans (spicy blacks have been a nice addition).  Then I season with season salt, pepper, basil, and oregano.  I then cook up a squash or a few potatoes and add this to my stewing mixtures.  I look forward to cooking up more of this concoction with the preserved shrooms in the coming months when my Wine Caps rest up over the winter. 

So if you’re looking for a way to covert some of your lawn into food, throw down some cardboard, cover with wood-chips, add some Wine Cap spawn, and start eating instead of mowing.  And to expand your eating pleasures plant some other plants in between.  Probably harder than it sounds, but the work you put in will be worth the effort, I do believe.