Will British people soon need travel permit to exit the country?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As of April 2015 passport exit immigration checks now in force again at UK borders and ports which is claimed being due to so many people wishing to travel to Syria and such places to join the so-called Islamic State or IS, aka ISIL or ISIS, and due to the fact, we are told, that so many illegal immigrant are hiding in plain sight in Britain.

The UK never fully implemented the Schengen Agreement of a borderless Europe and has always continued entry checks of passports and has now, more or less, thrown that agreement out of the window. The little island mentality has struck, once again. Though, personally, I have no time for the EU and its rules.

Thus now a new scheme is being phased in at UK border crossings, so that UK immigration can collect data on all passengers leaving the country. The information is obtained by staff working for airlines, ferry companies, etc. who must record details of every traveler leaving on a commercial flight, or by sea or by rail. The data collected is then passed on to the Home Office, the British Interior Ministry.

A Home Office spokesperson said that the government wants the checks to identify individuals who are in the UK illegally. This means that passport and travel details will be transmitted to the Home Office.

The information will then be collated and added to Home Office data, where it can be accessed if the government needs it. All data will be processed in line with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality, they say, but we all know what that means, namely little to nothing.

The government says it has launched the scheme under the 2014 Immigration Act, mainly to monitor immigration and gather data. It is also in place they say to boost national security; ministers say that it enables police and spies to track the activity of known criminals and terrorists across the world.

According to Security and UK Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire this is to ensure that the UK has an immigration system that is fair, tackles illegal immigration and cracks down on those who attempt to cheat the system by remaining in the country when they have no right to do so. Exit checks, so he said, will give crucial information that confirm a person's exit from the UK. Well, how else would they know when people leave, where they go, and when or if they come back into the country.

And, according to former Independent Chief Inspector of UK Borders and Immigration, John Vine, it will allow the government, for the first time in a long time, to obtain information about who is left in Britain. Up until recently, he said further, has not been possible for the government to know who has overstayed their visa and who has remained in the country.

Let us not be deceived. Anyone who believes that this is intended to make the country more secure is living in cloud cuckoo land. It is yet another way of the British government to restrict the freedoms of the “citizens” (the reason the word citizens here is in quotation marks is because there is not such thing as a British citizen) and residents by ensuring that their every move can be monitored. But they dare to to talk about the German Democratic Republic having been a repressive and describing at as an Unrechtsstaat.

The UK not so long ago enacted legislation that will prevent people who owe unpaid debt (mortgages excluded, it would appear) from leaving the country, even to go on vacation and having a return ticket. So, what is going to stop the government to restrict travel abroad of people who are considered non-conformist as to government views and such? Nothing. All it will require is a little tweaking of the legislation and bingo.

So the day may not be far off that the British people will – once again – require a permission to leave the country (and that it what a passport originally was, and it had to be obtained each and every time someone wanted to “pass port”). But, then again it is all intended to keep us safe (sarcasm off). Soon the day may come that people in the UK – and elsewhere – will require a permission to leave the place of residence, I should not be surprised.

© 2016

In praise of the washing line

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The washing line is one of those easy to use every day things that are frequently overlooked and in many places and cases it has been displaced by the electric tumble dryer.

Washing_line_wooden_propIt also has to be said that under some local ordinances in the US having a washing line, even in the backyard, is illegal, and thus people have no other option than to use an indoor electric dryer. Thus they cannot be blamed for not using a line; it is not their fault. Much like rainwater harvesting, which also is illegal in many areas of the US and even entire States. Well, guess that's why they keep referring to themselves as the land of the free and the home of the brave. Just to remind themselves how free they are not.

However, here are a number of good reasons why having and using a washing line is more than a good idea. So, if you haven't got a washing line as yet, and can legally use one, then get one set up.

  • No need for expensive equipment or costly electricity bills.

  • Kind to your fabrics so clothes last longer.

  • Minimizes ironing as most of the crinkles blow away.

  • Adds the fresh air scent to your clothes with real fresh air not costly and possibly harmful chemicals.

And, for a proper washing line, unless you use a pulley system, you will need some washing line props. And that brings me to my usual favorite, coppicing, though we shall not dwell on it too long.

There was a time, and not that long ago, when, unless they did have the elaborate washing line set up with pulleys, everyone wanted and needed a couple of washing line props. Some improvised them because they either could not go out into the woods and cut themselves the right sticks (legally) or they were too cheap to pay a coppice worker, a woodsman, for a couple of them, for they were part of the products made by those men of the woods.

The washing line and the washing line props go hand-in-hand, so to speak, unless, as already said, you are using a pulley system to raise and lower the line or you use one of those modern contraptions that fold up.

While there are lightweight metal poles, extendable even, around today, made mostly of aluminium and abroad, the good old wooden ones from local coppice sources are hard to beat and they are also environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Alright! So let's hear it for the humble washing line and wooden props...

© 2016

For more on coppicing and why, etc. see “Managing our Woods”, a small book that explains the whys and wherefores of managing our woods in this way and calls for us to return to that way.

Think no-dig gardening is nonsense? Please watch this

no dig garden photoI am a committed Lazivore, and have been known to share (decidedly inexpert!) tips on how to avoid work in the garden. One of my favorite tips is to embrace no-dig gardening.

My mother, however, is an old-school gardener with a Finnish Lutheran work ethic, so when she helps out in my garden (yes, Lazivores like relatives to do the work for them!), she scoffs at my requests to not tread on the garden beds, and to avoid digging where possible. She seems to think that no-dig gardening is some kind of hippie nonsense.

Not so. In fact as mainstream farmers discover the benefits of giving up the plough, many gardeners are also learning that going easy on soil cultivation can promote soil biodiversity, reduce labor and improve fertility too.

Charles Dowding has been growing organic vegetables for over 30 years. And he's adamant that minimizing or avoiding digging—while top dressing with generous amounts of compost as mulch—can be a great strategy. But he also warns gardeners not to get too dogmatic. Digging can be a necessary evil from time-to-time.

Read more and watch video here.

Food forests manage themselves

On a suburban Kansas lot at the corner of 55th and Mastin streets, an experiment is underway: A food forest is growing crops, creating economic value and, most notably, doing most of the work on its own.

The 10,000-square-foot garden is not tended to daily, at least not by human beings. Insects do the job of managing pests, some plants act as natural fertilizer, releasing nitrogen into the soil, and other plants form deep taproots that mine the soil for nutrients, bringing them up to the surface for the tree roots.

The area doesn’t have to be mowed, it doesn’t get sprayed and it doesn’t just survive — it thrives.

What is this system? The trendy term is permaculture, but it’s nothing new. It has been around for thousands of years.

“This is how nature manages itself,” says P.J. Quell, the property owner who has lent the site to Cultivate Kansas City to design, install, manage and harvest food grown from guilds of trees, shrubs and plants. Volunteers come annually to prune trees and spread wood chips. That’s about the extent of work involved.

Of course, it took much effort at the beginning of the project, designing for maximum sunlight, digging swales to capture and hold water, and planting. There are 39 varieties of fruit and nut trees and 12 varieties of shrubs, several with which people are familiar — pears and plums — but also many that are relative unknowns: pawpaws, jujubes, serviceberries and aronia.

Read more here.

Lidl FLORABEST Pruning Saw – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Thurs 05-05-2016 lidl.co.uk-FLORABEST Pruning Saw_page1_image3The Lidl FLORABEST Pruning Saw is a good quality 34cm curved crosscut carbon steel saw blade with triple-ground teeth, perfect for hard or green wood, though it is best used for green wood, as in woodland management/coppicing and tree pruning.

It comes with a practical belt sheath, but only if you happen to be left-handed, and here I have already put in the major caveat and that is that it is rather unpractical for a right-handed user, though one can live with that, with some practice.

Having said the above negative, however, the saw, as a saw works well and has been tested in woodland management and coppicing operations and performs close to, if not almost equal, to Silky saws that cost more than ten times as much as this saw.

The blade is etched with a company name of Owin Gmbh & Co Kg based in Germany though it cannot be ascertained as to whether that means that this is the maker or just that this saw is made for them who then distribute to and through Lidl. I would assume it to be the latter. But then, again, that is neither here not there.

Lidl product code: 33287 (?)

Price £4.99 each

Please note that those products are “special buys” and only available now and then at this discounter.

Rating: 4 out of 5 and the loss of the one point has nothing to do with the cutting ability, price or the quality of the saw but all with the fact that the sheath draws left-handed.

© 2016

Gärtnern als Grundlage für selbstbestimmte Ernährung


Es ist noch gar nicht so lange her, da galt Gärtnern als ziemlich altmodisch. Wer sein Gemüse selbst zog, konnte nur arm sein oder exzentrisch, weil man sich dem Fortschritt des modernen Supermarkteinkaufs verweigerte. Diese Auffassung hat sich in jüngster Zeit gründlich gewandelt.

Überall auf der Welt entstehen Gärten zum Anbau von Gemüse und Obst: vielfältige Stadtgärten in urbanen Ballungsräumen, Ackerstreifen am Rande von Kommunen, die von Bauern für eine oder mehrere Saisons für die Pächter vorbereitet werden, Schulgärten, die klassischen Schrebergärten, und die Nutzgärten leidenschaftlicher Köchinnen und Köche hinter dem Haus.

Immer mehr Menschen ist es wichtig, unmittelbar zu erfahren, wie Gemüse und Obst wachsen, wie sie frisch geerntet in die Küche, auf den Teller, in den Kochtopf kommen und schmecken. Das neue Gärtnern verbindet sich mit dem Engagement für mehr Nachhaltigkeit im Leben und ist auch politisches Statement.

Gärtnerin und Gärtner leben auf ihre Weise Ernährungssouveränität: Sie pflanzen, hegen, pflegen, ernten und vermehren weiter, was ihnen wichtig ist und schmeckt. Für viele Menschen wird aus einem Gartenprojekt ein leidenschaftlich betriebenes Lernprojekt, das die Sichtweisen auf Vielfalt, auf Werte und auf Zusammenhänge in der Natur fundamental verändern kann.

Hier weiterlesen.

The Fight Over the Right to Produce Your Own Food


The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) was initially formed to protect the rights of farmers and consumers to engage in direct commerce, and that remains a major focus of the organization’s work. In recent years, however, FTCLDF has spent an increasing amount of time and resources fighting for the right of people to produce their own food.

Restrictive zoning ordinances have taken away a right that should be fundamental; self-sufficiency in food production for individuals and for communities, regions, and the nation as a whole should be a policy that federal, state, and local governments strongly support, but that has not been the case. Before the 20thcentury, there were few if any zoning ordinances in the U.S.; property owners were mainly just subject to nuisance law regarding the uses they made of their properties. If a neighbor could prove in court that a use of property worked to harm, unreasonably interfered, or damaged a neighbor in the enjoyment of his own property, the court could order the use to stop on the grounds of private nuisance. If the government could prove in court the property use unreasonably interfered with rights common to all members of a community in general and was a threat to the public health, safety and welfare, the court could order that the use stop on the grounds of public nuisance.

Read more here.

Italiens oberster Gerichtshof entscheidet: das Stehlen von Essen zum Überleben ist keine Straftat


'Das Recht auf Überleben wiegt stärker als das Recht auf Eigentum'. Nach diesem Grundsatz hat Italiens Oberster Gerichtshof nun entschieden, nachdem sie den Fall eines Obdachlosen neu aufrollten. In erster Instanz wurde der Mann nämlich zu einer sechsmonatigen Gefängnisstrafe und einer Geldstrafe von 100 Euro verurteilt, als er 2011 beim Stehlen von etwas Wurst und Käse erwischt wurde.

Der Obdachlose wurde damals, noch bevor er den Laden mit dem ‘Diebesgut’ verlassen hatte, erwischt. Daraufhin gab er die Lebensmittel ohne Widerstand zurück. Aus diesem Grund sollte man doch die Straftat von “Diebstahl” auf “versuchten Diebstahl” mildern, so der Staatsanwalt.

Doch als der Oberste Gerichtshof nun von dem Fall hörte, änderten sie das Urteil noch viel drastischer. Statt das Urteil nur abzumildern, so argumentierten sie, sei der Vorfall noch nicht einmal einer Strafe wert. Anders gesagt: Lebensmittel zu entwenden, weil man stark hungert, sollte nicht als Verbrechen angesehen werden.

Die Richter begründeten, dass die Menge der Lebensmittel, die der Obachlose sich in seiner offensichtlich auswegslosen Lage genommen hatte, nur seinem unmittelbaren und absolut nötigen Nahrungsbedarf entsprachen.

Hier weiterlesen.

How To Turn An Old Ceiling Fan Into A Wind Turbine DIY…

How To Turn An Old Ceiling Fan Into A Wind Turbine DIY...

This 7 part video series shows the conversion of a old unused ceiling fan into a power generator. Part One shows the dismantling of the ceiling fan and how to wire it up. Part Two shows how to insert a metal banding used for attaching the magnets around the stator. Part Three shows how to orient/place the magnets inside the ceiling fan housing to achieve a voltage reading. Part Four shows how to mount the face plate and create your own turbine blades. Part Five shows how to build the body to support the turbine. Part Six shows how to mount the turbine unit onto the body as well as partially lighting a CFL bulb with a quick spin. Part Seven is the final part that shows how to wire up the turbine to the diode bridge rectifier and taking it for it’s first flight…

Read more here.

Neue Erde: Swon Gora – Besuch auf einem Anastasia-Landsitz (von Thomas Prausse


Swon Gora – das heißt „klingender Berg“. Bis vor wenigen Jahren war diese Gegend einsam und abgelegen. Nur eine alte Frau lebte noch in dem verlassenen Dörfchen. Dann kam eine Gruppe junger Familien, die hier den Ort fanden, den sie gesucht hatten. Sie ließen sich nieder und leben seither hier nach den Schriften der Taiga-Prinzessin Anastasia. Es gibt keinen Streß und keinen Leistungsdruck. Das Dorf lebt von und mit der Natur und im Rhythmus der Jahreszeiten. Nur Weniges muß man mit dem Auto aus dem nächstgelegenen Städtchen besorgen. Es wir gemeinsam gearbeitet, gefeiert und getanzt. Die Kinder wachsen frei und doch behütet auf. Man hält zusammen und bewältigt gemeinsam, was an Aufgaben ansteht.Unser Redakteur und Filmemacher Thomas Prausse war mit seiner Familie dort. Hier ein kurzer Bericht über ein so ganz anderes Leben, nach dem sich auch viele von uns hier sehnen.

Hier weiterlesen.