Category Archives: Nature

Invest in Milk Carton Toilets! A recycling stroke of genius..

Just in:  a solution for all those milk jugs (and hopefully playmobile and lego) in the landfill.
Print them into chemical toilets and rainwater catchers for third world countries.  Heck, do it for OUR country too!  We can use these things and we can happily lose all that un-biodegradable stuff we have stuffed into our landfills and dumps. 

Read the article.  This is America at its best.  If you have any disposable money, buy stock now, even if it’s just a small stock.  This is a facebook sized idea that will not be a “fad” that wobbles after a decade or two.  This is a keeper.


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Filed under Investments, Nature, Originality


My Dad called me Shorty. My Mom objected; why, she wondered, would anyone nickname a cute little girl something like that? Sounded like a “tough guy” sort of name, my Mom said.

“Shorty” and “Tally”, a Team

I loved being called Shorty. My Dad and I were a team; he was he tall one and I was the short one. Yes, I even called him “Tall-y” now and then, or “Long-y” when he was sitting down with his feet up on an ottoman. It was so much fun to try to match my Dad’s long strides and copy his skills as much as he would allow. And it felt just wonderful to the teen-aged me to be told, “Wow, you look terrific in that dress, Shorty. Have a good time.” It sounded like a term of endearment to me, and I never minded it at all.

He was the boss, of course, but looking back I realize that he was more like a coach than a pontiff — in other words he taught me by letting me try things and then honing my skills when the time was right.

Because I had and have an impulsive nature, I heard him quite often tell me to slow down and take my time. I learned most things through fast guesswork that usually failed until I found the right guess. He let me do it that way simply to allow questions to arise in my mind and then when I was in a receptive mode (frustration), he would coach by suggestion. Slowly. Methodically.

Playing Pingpong? “Not so fast, Shorty. Wait for the ball.” Writing ABC’s? “Not so fast, Shorty. You missed a letter. ” Later on, driving? “Not so fast, Shorty. Let the clutch up slowly.”

It was his way of saying “look before you leap”, or “think before you act,” or “let the whole process play out fully.”

It applied to a lot of things. Swimming at a slow but steady pace in a long-distance race turned out to be a wise idea. I learned that I could sprint the last ten yards if I had budgeted my energies during the long race. Other contenders might be too tired to sprint. I did win races, and often at the final sprint.


Taking time for a process to finish properly in the kitchen is a rule of thumb that prevents  blah, slap-dash cookery. There is science behind fast and slow; chemistry and physics apply to foodstuffs, and anyone who has ever played with silly putty knows that fast and slow can make a huge difference in certain substances. Yank silly putty fast and it snaps like ice. Pull it slowly and it stretches like taffy.

Here’s the point visàvis cooking protein foods:

Cook eggs on a low heat and they will not become tough or stick to the pan. Cook meat slowly and the protein in them will not get rubbery. PROTEIN gets tough and stringy when it is subjected to high heat for a period of time. Think about overcooked liver, for instance, leathery and bouncy. Think about those strings of cheese in a pizza. Overheated protein molecules!


Quality proteinfast foodis possible when you have first slow-cooked it Meat simmered long at low heat in a sauce and allowed to cool, will easily reheat  into a tenderly delicious state when warmed gently in microwave or oven. Stews cooked slowly for a long time and then allowed to sit overnight are amazingly better when reheated the next day. Gently, slowly reheating a simmered dish very often gives it added dimension. The juices have been mixed and then reabsorbed by cooling and then recombined with reheating. It’s a sort of magic. There is a magic moment when the perfection happens. BE THERE! WOW!  Put some in your freezer for “fast food” later in the week.

Everyone knows what a perfectly tree-ripened fruit is like. Heaven!  Tree-ripe peaches are called “leaners” in New Jersey. You lean over and eat them out of hand, then go ahead and groan with pleasure. All basic growing things have an optimal development process, and there is a perfect time when they reach their peak of ripeness.  Not so fast…just at the perfect speed.


If I had a nickel for every time I have bumped my nose (both literally and figuratively) by going too fast, I would be a very wealthy old lady. Some bumps are useful for learning. Some are disasters.  It’s good my late father’s voice still pipes up in memory when I am pushing too hard and forcing issues saying ,” Not so fast, Shorty.”

Thanks, Dad.



Filed under Family, Nature, Paleo Kitchen, recipes

How Evangelistic Should Paleo Enthusiasts Be?

Escaping in droves

My most recent Old Swimmer post in another wordpress blog touched on the balance of appropriateness in another area of life,  talking about religion  and evangelists.   Of course the same sort of sweaty palms business comes up when one talks about politics.   There has to be a sensitivity factor observed, I decided. The matter of obesity and self-starvation is another of those very delicate issues.

The OBESITY issue and conversely, ANOREXIA issue is often, in fact, an urgent matter of life and death!!  And one of the triggers for people afflicted with either of these dangerous eating disorders is TALKING TO THEM ABOUT IT!  They already have a resident bullying inner voice hammering the message home. More bullying is counterproductive.

So I am interested in this as regards PALEO/PRIMAL matters because I personally played a part in an evangelistic crusade to help me (the targeted needy one) get better from a pretty nasty illness that my daughter perceived as related to my diet.  (of all the nerve!)

I was offended, and in fact, critical, of her new paleolithic approach.  She was getting thinner and thinner, and really worried me a lot.  I have another relative who went through a terrible time with anorexia– and she really did nearly die.  This thinness thing was frightening!

Not only that but she had her husband on the diet too!  Not only was he wrestling with blood sugar issues, but also with hypertension and heart concerns.  How could she, I wondered, expose him to such a drastic change without causing him even more trouble?  He got thin too, and even gaunt looking, to my eye, which was used to seeing him as a big, thick construction guy who was rather hyperactive (seems like energy at work)  and busy all the time.  My father was a type 1 diabetic and lived a very brittle life between insulin and sugar– often having diabetic shock and sometimes coma episodes.   My dad died of related failures; he was blind and a double amputee when he died.  And very thin.

So the reaction I had was one of alarm, and now they were on ME to adopt this crazy thing!

I didn’t have a weight problem, but I had been really really ill all winter, with digestive issues, gut issues, migraines,  very stiff joints,  and excessive fatigue and dizziness, among other things.  My whole body felt it– skin, teeth, bones, muscles, nerves, brain.   And my paleo proselytizer  wanted to feed me all the fatty stuff I’d been carefully avoiding, and take away my staple whole grain breads and Mediterranean pastas and my beans!  How in the world would I dare to try such a thing?

Well, we are used to a bit of proselytizing in my family, for reasons of people’s particular faiths, and we have done at least some of the following, each one of us:  doing the blah blah blah, receiving the onslaught of it,  running fast in the other direction from the campaign, being polite and resenting it silently, or loudly, shutting the proselytizer entirely out of our lives,  coming down on the annoying person with outrage and making a big family federal case out of it,  being the subject of critical relatives whispering since we apparently believed in this malarkey, or we were converted, and became evangelistic ourselves!


How do we successfully present anything that is of great value, no matter what  category it might fall under,  to people we care about whom we believe would definitely gain and not lose by believing us? And are prone to running in the opposite direction?

Famous Bible evangelist D.L. Moody is said to have evangelized aggressively, taking people by the lapels and shoving the gospel down their throats.  I wonder how many people ran fast in the other direction?  I know I would have steered away very fast. Though some people apparently respond to fierce confrontation, no one that I am related to does.

But my daughter the Paleo/primal evangelist was invested in my case because she really was worried.  And she persisted, with respect, but with a bunch of documented facts that finally drove me to my doctor to see if this was a legitimate kind of diet or a fad.   My doctor said it was legitimate and might really help me. I was surprised. Doctors and other health professionals are hobbled severely by regulatory entities and cannot speak out on “alternate” approaches without endangering their licenses.   (search google on “scientific discovery and regulatory obstacles” about  the limits imposed on medical professionals by their various governing bodies.)

Well!   It did and does help me, and my daughter is now my hero.

But my question is what is the best approach when sharing this good thing?  The carrot method, of course, is to make delicious food and present it to raves, and then say that it’s part of the new and healthier diet.  Also the promoter should be a picture of success– healthy and thriving.   But how intrusive can one be about this, and how do we handle rejection of our well-intended “infomercials”?

It’s not a matter of saving souls from eternal damnation, but it is similarly  important when there are serious health issues.  And the Paleo thing is not mainstream.  So how do we find data to back up our bizarre-seeming beliefs?  From Google,  but who sends us there? Evangelists!

Slamming the book on people’s heads is not appropriate, of course,  and arguing over the dinner table isn’t either.  I am still put off by my daughter’s exercise suggestions…it’s just not “me” to commit to exercising on a definite schedule.   I have asked her to shelve that campaign for the time being. She heard and is cutting me some slack.

So the “let’s all get on the bandwagon”  thing doesn’t work with me. Show and tell is better, if it’s not ostentatious.

Some people will respond to group support (classes or clubs)  in issues like these, loving the social aspect and mutual encouragement.  Others will work on it individually and say little to friends;  just decide and do it.

Here’s what I think works best:

As in any other sales persuasion pursuit, you have to read the person you are trying to persuade.  You have to know when to talk about it and when to be quiet.  You have to listen, and wait.  And show and then tell.  And wait.  And keep the door open for more opportunity.  And share good things to eat.  And enjoy your own new health in ways that show.

People will pay attention to a person enjoying the fruits of a healthy regimen simply because they see how much it has made that person’s life better. They will begin to crave the rosy complexion and sparkling eyes and fit body, and want some of that for themselves.

Just like any other kind of evangelizing, you live what you have come to believe.  The rest will follow as the path is laid open.  Letting free-will do the real work, it’s a matter of sharing good data and then getting out of the way. Then giving boosts when someone seems to be ready to try it.

That’s what got MeJane to make a decision to enter in and try it for herself.

MeJane…much healthier and happier now.  :)

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Filed under Nature, Paleo, Stubbornness

PALEO: Transition, Eh?


MeJane is going through a “transition”, apparently, and I understand this is a normal happening for a Paleo/Primal newbie.  I have had the initial euphoria and feel-good experience.  But my system is wanting to know how long this protein heavy diet is going to be going on, and whether we can go back to the old slaphappy diet of whatever-you-want-whenever-you-want and plenty of it.

I’m not angry or worried, really.  Just  a little out of whack.  My hands small like coconut oil and my kitchen smells like bone broth, and I have tallow on my kitchen tools. Suddenly I feel like I’m in a foreign land where I am feeling shakey about the street system.

I’m just going through an introspective, self-absorbed, curious and slightly lonely passage right now, and I am wondering whether there are a sort of “doldrums” that everyone comes on?

But I’m a grown-up and I am still smiling.  My energy is a little iffy because I am tired after a busy (for me) day, and I keep thinking I need a nap, but I have a lot of stuff in my brain’s “back room” because I’m in another sort of transition…well, several, really, if you count that I’m getting older in a sort of sprint lately.  Moving to my children’s town will help me and them with my state of flux.  I have great children and a lovely tribe of grand children of all ages and talents.

OKAY, what’s this POLL?    I thought I might simply collect people’s experiences with their Paleo diet when they were first starting off.  Everyone has some sort of transition, I am sure, and some are quite dramatic, and others less so.  Comments would be the easiest way to do this, I think.

If I can get people to share stories about their first steps down this lumpy path– was anyone’s really smooth at first??- – I can put the data together in a sort of case history style, using real or fictitious names, and with approval given, could publish here a small study of the pilgrims back to the Paleolithic lifestyle.

Things that might be interesting to write about:

How did you get on this path?
What was your chief motivation ?
What were your hesitations/ fears?
What were the reactions of family and peers?
How fast did it make a difference in your health?
What things did you misunderstand and later figure out?
How hard was it to stay true to the diet while at work or traveling?
Did you have a coach, a group, or anyone supporting you?
What in the world did your regular doctor say about it?
What was the hardest part, for you? How did you handle it?
Has it been worth it, so far?
What’s the BEST thing about living this kind of lifestyle?
Do you yearn to go back to the old days of traditional diets?

I’ll be very happy if you participate.  It might be very helpful to other newbies like me.

With thanks for your support, Paleo/primal community.



Filed under Nature, Paleo, Paleo Kitchen


My carved bowl business is thinking primal these days. I rework irregulars and damaged items from the cull pile of a purveyor of carved wood bowls.

Paleo Grok Krok carved wood utensil holder 7: x 7.5″

Some of these bowls just ask to be Paleoized, it seems to me, and they would look equally as nice in a forest cabin or summer house or a true Paleo kitchen.
Here is a current stab at cave drawings on a great crock (a Grok Krok?) . The vessel is perfect for holding wood spoons and other serious cooking paraphernalia. I am enjoying this new venture.
Stay tuned.  MeJane

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Filed under Grokware, Nature, Paleo, Paleo Kitchen

PALEO ISSUES: What Did You Catch Today, Honey?

THE UN-HUNTER SYNDROME – using a suction cup – hoping not to hurt the prey


BZZT-BZZT-BZZT….Difficulty ahead for paleo newbies!

If I am to be Jane in this Paleo lifestyle, I am going to have to confront some life-long (shudder)”issues.”

On the coir doormat this morning was a warm wren.  Dead.  Just a moment ago alive.  Still warm.

My cat does not have ”issues” with killing wildlife.  He brought this trophy to me, as Tarzan might cheerfully bring me freshly killed meat which I am then supposed to cheerfully cut up and cook.

Sorry, but I have always been thankful that the grocery store delivers killed animals nicely tricked out in a cellophane covered white foam dish with a sticker on it.  I like the meat counter to be well away from where the carcasses hang, looking like late cattle or swine.

I have a dear artist friend who said, when I offered to share my rabbit skin glue (you see, we artists tend to be primal in some ways) “Of course no animals were harmed in the manufacture of this glue, right?”

She is a vegetarian.  I am not.  But I think we both love creatures of all kinds equally much, and that’s a LOT.

So I go through my little soliloquy to myself about man being charged with rule over animals, and the nasty laws of nature which requires animals to dine on one another, and also the reality that even we are subject to death being mortal, and that once the death event has occurred we have a different status that doesn’t (we trust) hurt.

Once dead, they are no longer inhabiting their body, I say to myself.  Like us, they are dancing around in some perfect environment where they don’t have to worry about being eaten any more.

That’s how I allow myself to cut into a whole fish, or shuck an oyster.  But what if I had to skin a lamb?

Thank goodness for the meat counter, is what I say.  I don’t want to dwell on the past when I grab a piece of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, or fish.  It’s food once it hits the meat counter.

SO that is why, when my son goes hunting for game which he intends to eat, I ask him if he “caught” anything.”   It seems nicer to me to imagine him leading an animal home and not having to do the killing part—not my own son, doing the taking of a life—and he smiles and says whether he “caught” an elk or not.  I really do not want to see something in his pickup that resembles majestic or even unattractive late animals.

What do others do to quell their natural affinity for living things, and for the miracle of life itself?  I’d love to know.   Do they compare the quickness of road-kill with the torture of death by predator, like I do?  And think it a blessing to get summarily whacked by a car?

Fellow Paleo/Primalists, we have to get a grip if we are to provide our own meals by foraging!  Thank goodness I am Jane in the year 2012 and following!  And thank goodness for the hunters who really use their “catch” at the dinner table, and not just for showing on the wall of their den.

And thank goodness for the leather my shoes are made of! Waste not, want not.



Filed under Nature, Paleo, Spirituality, The Why's


Violet Serpent

I’m wondering whether the advent of Paleo eating came before or after the Fall, and whether we were all vegans until we got kicked out of the Garden of Eden?

Sorry if I am offending athiests here… I think that God is big enough to handle all of us who like Paleo, even those who think plants and animals came from a coincidence or accident!

I hope people will find the little drawings fun.  I love making them.

Old Swimmer, AKA “MeJane” 

MeJane getting primal

Obviously the big project this May 2012 is a move toward Paleo eating.  Paleo/primal will be a big catagory, and you can jump to it if I put PALEO in the header menu.

Click on PALEO each time you visit if you want to cut to the chase.

I have been cheerfully admitted into the blogroll of, I am happy to say.  It’s a good site for people looking to get their machine rolling more smoothly, as I have been seeing so far.  Stay tuned and see what paleo/primal eating does for this old swimmer!

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Filed under Nature, Paleo