Transition Whatcom

Our members are a wealth of information and resources.  Let's post some of them here.

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On Tuesday 7/13 we had a beautiful evening in Ro’s garden. We had a conversation about a wide range of topics, some of which are mentioned below. I will post this message on Transition Ferndale group for future reference.

Shannon Maris has two popular local email newsletters, one on gardening and one for Solar Bellingham. You can receive one or the other by emailing her at Shannon has called attention to some local concerns: 1. A fruit fly that is new to Whatcom and lays it eggs in ripe fruit (raspberries and blueberries). Maggots grow in the fruit and trap in a drink bottle with 3/16th” holes half way up and 1” of apple cider vinegar. David has made these traps.
2. Aminopyralid herbicide presence in dairy compost. David contacted Smit’s Dairy Compost. They have traces present and are trying to reduce it.
3. Arsenic in backyard chicken feed: Alys has a contact for a new farm feed co-op.

James Bauckman talked about his web-based production company which start filming in-person forums in a few months, asking the questions like “What would the world look like if …” Examples are “if education were fully funded, if we had alternative energy, etc.” At the Great Unleashing he connected with inspiring local people and a new Bellingham-based website, Here’s a description from their homepage:

“Uniting Creatives is an international community devoted to bringing people, businesses and organizations together to promote collaboration and creative thinking. Join us, let's talk about anything from building your business to changing the world! Ready to experience positive teamwork and cutting edge ideas like never before?”

They are just starting so a lot is still in progress. We are invited to join while it is still free to help build their membership and eventually increase advertising revenue. James says we can help by joining and by blogging with our ideas.

James’ group is interested in assessing what resources exist in the county and how we can use resources here first rather than shipping them away. This led to comments about the Energy Resource/ Peak Oil Report written by a county/Bellingham-appointed group. This link is an executive summary with a link to the large pdf download of the full report. The summary recommendations are very brief. I made a document of just the complete recommendations and will share that with anyone who is interested.

Laurita mentioned a “company that sells storable winter wheat or flour. Great Grains Milling Co. just changed hands as the previous owner has just retired at age 92. Because of that, the new people need to get properly set up and, altho they are taking orders, will not be prepared to ship them until after August 1st. The website is:; (406)724-3206 is the home number, and (309)231-4942 is the man's cell number. Reportedly, they have a very fine product.”

Sources for preparedness: by James Wesley Rawles who wrote the books Patriots, a novel, and How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, non-fiction. by Charles Hugh Smith.

Alys reported a friend’s success with storing food in mylar bags with little dessicant bags that draw the oxygen out. Friend’s food was 100% fresh after 10 years.

Transition Whatcom group Energy Addicts Anonymous is loosely comparing our addiction to oil to the AA model. David and Judith attended 1st meeting and enjoyed it. Future meetings are every other Thursday at 5:30 at the Public Market.

Ro brought a beautiful environmental magazine called Orion which has articles, fiction, poetry, photography and other art. The website has the current issues and archives. Here’s an article she suggested: (Thesis on Sustainability)
As a group we are seriously planning for our resilience in an uncertain future. Here our notes from the 7/27/10 gathering at James’.

First, we set a meeting place to gather in case of a serious disaster or emergency. We will meet at James’ on the Tuesday following the emergency at noon. James is centrally located at 2377 Douglas in Ferndale and has land and buildings. Bring emergency gear and food. Come prepared to stay if you need to.

Each time we meet we will announce a topic in advance. On August’s Second Tuesday, 8/10, we will meet at Peggy’s. Alys will bring information about long-term emergency food storage. We will not be talking about preserving food. We will talk about what kinds and amounts we plan to store for an extended emergency and methods for storage and rotation. Everyone who has been working on this is invited to bring helpful books, ideas, etc. David will also demonstrate vacuum packing.

We had quite a discussion about residential renewable energy. We will plan for a speaker on PV systems and incentives. Details to follow.

It is clear that we need to collect rainwater for our growing season. Peggy’s 760 gallons of water are gone, as are other people’s. Here’s the source info from Ro:

“275 gallon totes: Chris Haley 739-4285 $95. They are 4' foot cubes of white plastic encased in an aluminum frame for stability and attached to a skid. There is a 8 inch diameter opening with a screw on lid on top for filling the tote, and a large lever operated spout that I was told could be modified to accommodate a regular garden hose to drain it. His totes contained liquids used in making organic fertilizer. They weigh about 80# when empty, so they are not difficult to move.”

Communications will be important. Keith is checking into the Bellingham ham radio group which will resume meetings in the fall. We will consider whether people to recommend CB radios for our members.

Here’s an inspirational article from the Bellingham Herald about a Seattle woman who raises 22 kinds of fruit and 140 annuals on her family’s 1/5 of an acre. What an example for the rest of us! and her website


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