Saturday, September 18, 2010

What Now?

If you want to contact us, email "entropypawsed(at sign)yahoo(dot)com" Sorry to make you re-type, but the funny format hopefully saves us from spam via the email address sweep programs that stalk the web.

By way of a circuitous route, we find ourselves currently engaged in our local community, and our personal work is focused on conscious evolution. It was Albert Einstein who said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Their appear to be no political or personal belief bounds on this observation.

If you are interested in working on conscious evolution, here is a link

Many are currently engaged in this work. Who you are attracted to is usually a reflection of your current inner state.

Eckhart Tolle talks of Albert Einstein a fair bit, usually as someone unaffected by his celebrity. Here are some more Albert Einstein quotes I found online.

"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be."

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

"It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Winter 2010 Update

Snowing in the Yew Mountains of West Virginia, and starting to look a bit like the Rockies instead of Appalachians.

Bonnie's daughter Janice is getting married in June. Bonnie has been doing a lot of quilting this past year. Frank has been trying to learn to play guitar for the past couple of years. We are filling our days now with activities other than EntropyPawsed education.

Upon introspection, I believe that a large part of my motivation for the EntropyPawsed project is grounded in vanity; wanting to feel important. Bonnie and I still live the same lifestyle we have been evolving toward over the past fifteen years. However, for the time being anyway, we have decided to abandon the educational aspect. Instead, we are spending increasing amounts of time getting involved in our local community and merely living our lives.

We have taken the decision to drop our website, We plan to maintain the blog, and who knows? Maybe we will post here from time to time. Anyone interested in learning more about ecological living, or whatever your choose to call the craziness we have embraced, please feel free to contact us if you have questions or desire further information. Best wishes, Frank & Bonnie

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Important Books

Here are some books that were important in their influence in regards to our thinking about EntropyPawsed

Ishmael - Daniel Quinn Bantam Books, 1992

Overshoot – William R. Catton, Jr. University of Illinois Press, 1980

Introduction to Permaculture – Bill Mollison Tagari Publications, 1991

The Humanure Handbook – J.C. Jenkins Jenkins Publishing, 1994

Gardening When It Counts – Steve Solomon New Society Publishers, 2005

A Pattern Language – Christopher Alexander Oxford University Press, 1977

Animal, Vegetable Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver, Harper Perennial, 2007

The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin - Idries Shah, Octagon Press, Ltd., 1983

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Symbiont or Parasite?

Last week, Bonnie posted a writing on this blog about health and dis-ease. She included the following,

Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary defines “health” as “physical and mental well-being; soundness; freedom from defect, pain or disease.” Although cited as “obscure,” in the same dictionary the first definition of dis-ease is “uneasiness; distress.”

I have seen much dis-ease over the years that, in my view, is directly related to dis-connection from a sense of place, from Mother Earth, from each other, and from our inner emotional and spiritual selves.

At the risk of misinterpretation, I conclude the Mother Earth connection Bonnie referred to was a symbiotic one; not a parasitic one. In hopes of furthering the conversation, I pose this question; is Homo sapiens sapiens symbiont or parasite to the Earth? Corollary to that, is symbiosis with Earth a necessary condition for human good health? Should we as individuals strive towards this condition?

The online Dictionary defines symbiosis is “the relation between two different species of organisms that are interdependent; each gains benefits from the other ” Again from, a parasite is an “organism that lives in or on a host (another animal or plant); the parasite obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting (the host and may injure or) kill.. the host ”.

To me, it does not seem much of a stretch to consider Earth a living super-organism, along the lines of the Gaia Hypothesis proposed by James Lovelock.

Is Earth injured? I believe the evidence to be overwhelming.

Let's start with extinction. At an accelerating rate over the past several hundred years, humans have in effect been converting diverse biomass to human biomass. The extant sixth great mass extinction on Earth coincides with increasing population of humans.

According to Wikipedia, some scientists estimate as many as one half of current species could become extinct by 2100 as human population approaches 9 billion. Except in time scale, is our population advance really fundamentally different from that of yeast in fermenting wine? Further increases in human population come at the increasing peril of extinction of more and more species, including ourselves, just as the yeast finally becomes extirpated when the grape juice becomes wine.

For “those who have eyes that can see” (Daniel Quinn) resilience is an important corollary of diversity. Given choice (which in reality may not exist among humans, see “USER ILLUSION” by Tor Norretranders), symbionts would choose to limit their numbers so as to maintain the Earth resilience of diversity. Parasites mindlessly continue to increase their numbers at the cost of diversity, further degrading landscapes and increasing environmental degradation, thereby creating conditions of increasing fragility for Earth.

We see this fragility all around us, evidenced most strikingly by the current global financial and economic meltdown. It is one that I maintain is the result of a 500+ year history of economic exploitation suddenly beginning to yield marginal returns that have gone negative. The exercise of analysis of lost vegetable and animal breeds is also enlightening in this regard, and downright frightening.


Pharmaceutical drugs given to people and to domestic animals including antibiotics, hormones, strong pain killers, tranquilizers, and chemotherapy chemicals given to cancer patients are being measured in surface water, in groundwater and in drinking water at the tap. Large quantities of drugs are excreted by humans and domestic animals, and are distributed into the environment by flushing toilets and by spreading manure and sewage sludge onto and into soil.

When I go to an Appalachian mountaintop on a clear day, no matter how clear, no matter which season of the year or time of day, I can always see the faint brownish haze. Astronauts began to notice this haze about ten years ago, everywhere on the horizon. Smog is now enveloping the Earth. On the highest ridges of the Appalachians, the skeletal remains of trees provides further evidence of the slow, insidious poisoning of our atmosphere.

Here is a fascinating website about the Chernobyl radiation zone, an 865 square mile ( about 2/3's the size of Rhode Island) zone where humans may not safely live for up to another 900 years due to a nuclear accident.

How about the mountaintop removal coal mining zone in West Virginia, my home state, Kentucky and Virginia that is larger than the Smoky Mountain National Park at 500,000 acres. See photos here.

However, from the coal industry's perspective, it is possible to be a “Friend of Coal.” The coal industry plods along greenwashing their planetary rape and counting on the businesses they support and the neighbors of workers for political cover. Even though the coal industry now employs relatively few people here in Appalachia, everyone knows someone who has a well paying job in the coal industry. And the “Friends of Coal” are making a constant public presence for themselves in the area where the rape continues apace.

It is possible to go on to book length and beyond about the examples of human parasitism on the Earth. If the Gaia Hypothesis is correct, then clearly homo sapiens sapiens is currently a parasite upon the Earth as witnessed by the above examples.

From a more uplifting perspective, there is an ever increasing number of examples of real human beings living in degraded landscapes and applying hard work and ingenuity to reestablishing healthy ecological assemblies through ingenious systems like Permaculture Based upon Dictionary definition above, these humans are living in symbiosis with the Earth; at least on a smaller, local scale. Remember, “think globally, act locally”?

In the end, this is really all any of us can do effectively. Follow the advice of Mahatma Ghandi who advised, “If you want to change the world, change yourself.” and “be the change we wish to see.” No matter whether this results from the exercise of choice, or some other unexplained factor, this is the change we hope to help further effect by our project, EntropyPawsed. We want to inspire others to learn to desire and become a symbiont of the their small place on the Earth.

I would like to add one word of caution against a dominant human trait; “self-deception”. There is little to no chance of fully establishing a symbiotic relationship with Earth while continuing to move about the planet like a typically entitled American. Why? Just too much energy expended, and all the collateral damage. Many of us, including Frank and Bonnie, still have a way to go in this regard. However, as Mualana Jalaludin Rumi said eight hundred years ago in what is now present day Afghanistan, “increase thy need, oh necessitous one”.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

EntropyPawsed on Health & Dis-ease

By Bonnie D. Gifford, M.D.

I am a physician, thoroughly trained in science and Western medicine. I am a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, board certified in Internal Medicine, with over 25 years of practice experience. The experience has been varied (and sometimes overlapping): 5 years caring for patients on an alcohol and drug dependency unit, 7 years of occupational medicine, 15 years in various urgent care and primary care settings. I am currently the medical director at a minimum security prison for youthful (18-25 year old) offenders who are participating in educational and vocational programs.

I think my career journey as been so peripatetic because I have been so dis-satisfied with the health care system in this country. It is a system based on a business model, focused on technology and drugs, a system that promotes patient powerlessness and provider greed.

Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary defines “health” as “physical and mental well-being; soundness; freedom from defect, pain or disease.” Although cited as “obscure,” in the same dictionary the first definition of dis-ease is “uneasiness; distress.”

I have seen much dis-ease over the years that, in my view, is directly related to dis-connection from a sense of place, from Mother Earth, from each other, and from our inner emotional and spiritual selves.

Most Americans are dis-connected from everything essential for survival. We have lost meaningful connections with the sources of our water, food, shelter, clothing, with our fellow humans in community, with those we love, with The Mystery of Life. No wonder we feel dis-eased!

M. Scott Peck, M.D. (, author of the best seller, “The Road Less Traveled,” describes psychological distress, including depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc.... as “a descent of grace”. The message of the distress is that something in our life is untenable, and we need to make significant changes.

However, most humans living in modern cultures are so dis-connected and so blinkered in world view that the grace and need are not perceived. Instead, either licit or illicit drugs/substances are sought to numb the dis-ease, and no real change is accomplished.

According to a 2004 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (, at that time almost half of Americans used at least one prescription drug (a 13% increase from 1988-1994), with one in six taking three or more (a 40% increase). Use of antidepressant medication tripled during the same period.

A 2007 Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration ( report said that “24.3 million Americans aged 18 or older experienced significant psychological distress” during that year and “16.5 million Americans suffered at least one major depressive episode during this period.”

In his book “Care of the Soul”, Thomas Moore interprets Robert Sardello's work as follows: “In Sardello's description of disease, our bodies reflect or participate in the world's body, so that if we harm that outer body, our own bodies will feel the effects. Essentially there is no distinction between the world's body and the human body.”

So if health is freedom from dis-ease and dis-ease is the result of dis-connection, how, and to what, do we re-connect so we can find health?

I think considering and answering the following questions could be therapeutic:

  1. From where does your drinking water come? A lake or reservoir? A river or deep well? Who or what is upstream? How is the water treated prior to entry into the delivery infrastructure? Where does it go after you use it?

  2. Where does your food originate? No, I don't mean what grocery store. Where and under what conditions was that apple or cow grown or raised? You don't care? Now, there's an example of dis-connection from your body.

  3. Of what is your residence built? Did components come from old growth forests? Do any of the building materials off-gas?

  4. Are your clothes made of natural materials (cotton, wool, linen) or synthetics? Where were the garments sewn, and were the workers paid a living wage?

  5. Who do you love? Where are they now? How do you connect with them?

  6. In what “community” do you participate? How does your personal ethic direct your interactions with that community?

  7. What happens after death? How does your view of this effect the way you live?

In future blog entries and videos we will explore each of these questions and share our perspectives.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Sprouting is a great way to produce some of your own food. If you have access to some clean jars, lids with screens, clean water, and appropriate seeds, you can raise your own sprouts.

Most sprouting seeds will be ready to eat within 3 to 5 days from beginning. They are highly nutritious, tasty, and provide a source of satisfaction for me at having produced some of my own food, even in the dead of winter.

Alfalfa seeds are my favorite. Brocoli, radish, mung bean, and lintel are other common sprouts. Make sure the variety you decide to sprout are edible. If you want a suggestion, try alfalfa first. They are great on sandwiches and salads! Make sure your sprouting seeds are viable and organic.

If you do not live near an organic food store or health food store, you can google “sprouting seeds”. There are many on line sources of sprouting seeds. Do not use just any seeds you can get your hands on, as some seeds may have been sprayed with undesirable compounds to prevent premature sprouting.

I do my sprouts in wide mouth quart canning jars with special made sprouting lids. However, it is easy to adapt the canning jar rings to take a home cut piece of nylon or brass screen. The lids need screens in order to keep the seeds inside the jar during repeated rinses. After you develop the “rinse touch”, you might be able to finesse the seeds to stay in the jar without the lid!

To get started, select the seeds you wish to sprout. In the video, I am sprouting a mixture from Edith's Health & Specialty Store in Lewisburg, WV. Make sure you have a totally clean jar and lid. It probably does not have to be sterile to start, but there have been some isolated reports of bacterial contamination of sprouts producing food borne illness.

Put three teaspoons of seeds into the jar and then fill the jar with water. Leave the seeds to soak all day or overnight. For me, the key to being able to successfully sprout was to put the jars in plain sight near the sink, so that each time I saw them, I could attend to them as necessary. The total investment of time is minimal, but the seeds do need attention at least a couple of times per day most days.

From my personal experience, it is possible to find many sources of complex or arcane directions on sprouting. If the seeds are in a dark closet, I will forget them. Temperature control may be nice, but the marginal returns of that effort are minimal at best. Precise rinse intervals have proven to not be necessary. Life on Earth appears to be robust, and in my experience it only takes a slight human nudge to get the seeds to fulfill their destiny.

Just do not forget them for extended periods. Give them some attention at least two times per day most days, and the seeds will sprout.

When rinsing, especially at the beginning, you will notice a bit of foaminess to the water as it is poured onto the seeds. This is to be expected. I think it is the rinsing away of the substances that keep the seeds from sprouting until conditions are right. To rinse, fill the jar with water, and then pour it away. Try to make the seeds distribute evenly along the side of the jar.

I use a soup bowl to prop up the bottom of the jar. I lay the jar on its side, with the opening at the bottom of the bowl and the side of the jar resting on the edge. The angle of the jar is something less than 45 degrees from the counter surface, with the top of the jar lower, so residual water can continue to drain from the jar between rinses.

After 48 hours, you should notice the sprouts beginning to emerge from the seeds. You will probably notice continued growth with each rinse. Depending upon the type of seeds, you should see the cotelydons appear in three to five days. This is when they are ready to eat.

I have found that storing the seeds in the jar in the same position as between rinses keeps the sprouts crisp and fresh. Sunlight on the green sprouts will help them produce more of the enzymes and other nutrients to help you stay healthy. Get them eaten within four or five days. If you want a continuous supply, start your next batch as soon as the current one is ready. Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eating Locally – March Soup

One of the goals of our Entropy Pawsed project is to produce or procure all of our food locally.

We want to know where our food comes from. The widely publicized outbreaks of food borne illness from products distributed not just nationwide but worldwide speak to the wisdom of knowing the origin of our food.

Our preferred food source is our own land. We know what goes into, and what comes out of, our little garden plot, and we know how it is handled, processed and stored. We now how to locate and identify wild edible plants – greens, mushrooms, nuts, berries and other fruit.

Our chickens roam freely (except when our German Shepherd Dog attempts to herd them) and supply us with eggs without hormones or antibiotics.

We tap our sugar maple trees in the spring. A few weeks of boiling down sap results in enough syrup (last year we made 36 pints) to last us a year.

Neighbors with fruit trees and larger gardens share their bounty. We share our eggs and maple syrup. Everyone shares their accumulated gardening and preserving wisdom.

We participate in a food co-op with neighbors. Co-op members buy local meat in bulk, and store it in one member's centrally located freezer. We have seen our local Mennonite butcher's immaculate meat processing facility that sits behind his house on his farm.

There are several local bakers who produce whole grain breads, bagels, and granola along with the occasional decadent sweet treat. We enjoy the aromas from the ovens when we stop in the bakeries.

A nearby farmer brings his dairy products to the local library. We have watched his cow basking in the sun, contentedly chewing the bright green grass in her pasture. Since health department regulations prohibit the direct sale of milk products to the public, we buy a “cow share” from the farmer. This “cow share” enables us to receive fresh milk, butter and yogurt, and supports the cow's pasture-al lifestyle.

Yes, these local products are usually more expensive than the mass-produced, high food mileage, high fructose corn syrup and preservative laden varieties available at big box grocery stores. And they are vastly superior in quality, taste and nutrition. And our food dollars support the local economy.

Eating locally contributes to our sense of place. We know our neighbors, the farmer, the butcher, the bakers, the chickens and the cow. We know what the land produces in what season. We know that what we put into our bodies comes from the local soil, water, air and efforts of local producers.

Here is our recipe for “March Soup” made (except for the optional salt and pepper) entirely from local foods:

½ pound each ground sausage and beef

4 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 quart canned tomatoes

1 quart canned green beans

1 tsp each dried parsley, sage and basil

1-3 Tbs maple syrup (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Throughly brown the ground meat. Add remaining ingredients plus enough water for desired consistency. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes and squash are soft, usually 20-30 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to stand to 1-2 hours (or store overnight in the refrigerator) for flavors to blend. Bring to a boil again for 10 minutes. Served garnished with fresh chopped chives or other green. Serves 6-8.