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How Do I Navigate The Waters of Beartaria Times As A Single?

After receiving feedback from other app users, I’ve devised a list of helpful tips for singles on the Beartaria Times App (BTA).

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7 Tips for Singles Navigating the Beartaria Times App.

By Abigail McKinney/ QoE

First, you should know that you’re not alone. After receiving feedback from other app users, I’ve devised a list of helpful tips for singles on the Beartaria Times App (BTA). We hope you make the most of this and other articles in the name of overcoming and planting seeds.

1. Always Connect or Follow

See someone who strikes your fancy or at least has you intrigued? If you don’t follow or request to connect with them (i.e., friend request), you may never see that person again. Each Group thread features a limited number of the most current posts. That means that if you go back two days later, scrolling through to find that one post, it may have already disappeared from that group’s feed. That post now exists only on that person’s profile. Then what? Will you remember their username or perhaps a hashtag they used? Maybe, but you don’t want to chance it. 

2. Use Hashtags 

Hashtags are the best way for someone to find you based on the gist of a post you’ve made. So maybe they don’t remember your bear name or user name, but they might just remember that post about knives, books, or a particular dish you made. You can use a general or specific hashtag, like #baking or #chickenpotpie, or even #singles. You’ve now significantly increased the chances that your admirer will find you.

3. Be Active / Make Posts

Being active is the next best way for people to find you. There are TONS of great catches here on the BTA, but no one will know you exist if you’re not posting. And, even if you burn up the comments and like up a storm—but you’re not posting—you are missing the opportunity to present yourself with context.  

4. Join the Singles Group and Scroll through the Member List

Every location and category group shows a member list. That means that you can scroll through membership lists to peruse profile photos. You should join the Singles Group to appear on that group’s member list. 

5. Post in Different Threads

Sometimes the Singles Group can be daunting; it’s where our expectations, hopes, and past pain come into play. But, there’s too much good in this beartarian community to let past failures or fear of rejection stop you from shining your light. Not feeling quite ready to “put yourself out there?” Stay active in other categories and location groups. But you need to ensure that people know that you are, in fact, single.

6. List Yourself as Single, and Be Sure You Have A Picture of Your Face

When that future Mr. or Mrs. Bear makes it over to your page, after checking out your #gardening post, make sure that you’ve listed yourself as single on your profile and have at least one post with a picture of your face. Let’s face it; your face is the persona of your being. You can discover in seconds whether or not you are attracted to someone by viewing their face. (This is why contact goes up exponentially.) When that special someone scrolls your page, they will be delighted to find this combo: single + your face. 

Optional:

8. Use the Block Function If Someone Is Bothering You

The BTA crew is busy at work, crushing. They’ve given you your personal ban hammer to help you avoid being harassed by gammas and such. If someone is bothering you, block them! Don’t just abandon ship. We want to keep the good energy flowing and overcome obstacles to building our community.

7. Be Positive & Open

The things that you came to Beartaria Times for are here! Have faith. You are exactly where you need to be. Trust your instincts. Be open enough to get to know people, and if there’s no real compatibility or chemistry, let it go without placing blame. Do your best to communicate your thoughts and needs openly. Then, you won’t have to wonder when it is right—it will be clear.    

We’re called to be fruitful and multiply. You can plant seeds through these eight actions, which express your cooperation with the process. Allow patience for yourself and others. Water your steps with care and consideration. Till out unnecessary expectations and worries. And watch your life bloom with family and in the community.  

God sets the lonely in families. He brings out those who are bound with singing, but the rebellious dwell in a sun-scorched land. – Psalm 68:6

Lifestyle

A Recipe from the Kitchen of Big Sage Bear

It turns out sourdough starter discard makes for a delicious tempura-style batter! Crispy outside, not heavy or too greasy, just wonderful.

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Sourdough Starter Tempura Style Zucchini Sticks & “Ranch” Dip

Hungry for some junk food but want to skip the “junk” part? Are you looking for another way to use the discard from that sourdough starter you’ve been cultivating? Or do you just plain have WAY too much zucchini? ‘Tis the season, I know! Well, you’re in for a treat! Sourdough starter tempura-style zucchini sticks and “ranch” dip made from pureed zucchini. I got you!

It turns out sourdough starter discard makes for a delicious tempura-style batter! Crispy outside, not heavy or too greasy, just wonderful. Just add the following to your discard to make the batter: a little bit of baking soda to get a bit of fizz and a generous pinch of salt for taste—Preheat a deep-sided pot with a couple of inches of frying fat or oil up to 360 degrees. As for what fat to use, Lard, as ya’ll know, is, of course, my pick! Use a deep fry or candy thermometer clipped to the side of your pot to monitor your fat’s temperature and avoid burning or smoking. Coat your zucchini sticks in the batter, then gently drop the pieces into your pot, turning a time or two if needed. Take them out when you see that gorgeous golden brown, which should only take a couple of minutes.

For the dip, I improvised a tad. I read that pureed zucchini could be used instead of dairy in baked goods. So, I wondered if I could turn it into a mock “ranch” dip in the same way. That’s a big ‘ole YES! 

I added the following to a medium-ish pureed zucchini (I left the skin on hence the greenish tint, but you could peel if you wanted): Buttermilk powder, lemon juice, salt, garlic, parsley. Tasting and adding more as I went if needed. Dill would be another great option, and I didn’t have any at that moment. It definitely did the finger-licking trick as a stand-in “ranch” dip, and now I’m thinking I can make any number of creamy dipping sauces with pureed zucchini and the right spices..we shall see! There’s always room for experimentation in the kitchen, and I do love it when a good “use what ya got” recipe turns out! 

Enjoy!

– Big Sage Bear

BTA: @amelia.ameliorate

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Farming

From the Bookshelf of Mr. Permie Bear…

Each of these books has brought information of perspective that continues to bring us value on our farm and homestead.

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This is a sampling of what I consider some of the most valuable books on my shelf. Each of these books has brought information of perspective that continues to bring us value on our farm and homestead. The only order I have given them is to separate the more advanced books so that people just beginning their adventure don’t unknowingly spend much money on something they will have a hard time applying.

Basic List:

Title and AuthorWhy I like it
Gaia’s Garden by Toby HemenwayClassic, home-scale permaculture book. It helps give you a simplified guide to the permaculture design process and principles while giving you actionable steps. It has several reference tables for later when you are getting busy.
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise RiotteA great all-around guide to companion planting to help you find plants that work well together and avoid ones that don’t. 
The Family Cow by Dirk van LoonMany consider this the definitive first book and resource on your journey to dairy cow bliss. It doesn’t cover every possible thing that can come up, but you will get your feet under you to have success with your cow. 
The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook by Steven LambOk, I haven’t read this cover to cover yet, but we did refer to it when making prosciutto, and this book comes highly recommended by Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meatsmith, and I trust his opinion. 
The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David AsherOur favorite cheesemaking book because it focuses on what you can do with natural ingredients and processes that our ancestors would have had. I have yet to see a recipe needing the thermophilic culture. Instead, you will find your supplies to include things like kefir, whey, or lemon juice. 
Duck, Duck, Goose by Hank ShawI think most homesteads need ducks. But what do you do when you have too many males, and they go to freezer camp? This book came highly recommended to us when we decided we could take or leave duck meat. Friends don’t let friends eat mediocre duck recipes.
Polyface Designs by Joel Salatin and Chris Slattery I couldn’t decide whether this was advanced or not; after all, this isn’t a cheap book. After thinking about it, I think it belongs on the basic list to help you avoid some design errors when putting your infrastructure together. These are not the only designs that work; this is a solid place to start for all kinds of things. There’s always room to innovate, though, should you be so inclined.
Living with Pigs by Chuck WoosterDefinitely not the most in-depth book on pig keeping, and there are things I wish the author talked about that he did not, but we successfully raised pigs our first time after reading this book. It’s an enjoyable read, too, not a textbook.
You Can Farm by Joel SalatinWhether you intend to farm for profit or not, Joel lays out many principles that apply to running a good farm. If you ever plan to sell a product, I highly recommend this. If you don’t know, he is one of the most successful smallish farmers.
Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel SalatinThis book is specific to raising meat birds for sale and includes chickens. Pretty dang close to everything you need to know to be successful on just about any scale any of us are likely to do.
Salad Bar Beef by Joel SalatinThis is all about… you guessed it, running a 5-acre orchard! Just kidding. Obviously, about beef. He introduces you to the world of managed intensive grazing, low-input farming, and all kinds of good stuff.
No Risk Ranching by Greg JudyAnother great resource concerning rotational grazing and pasture management, Greg has quite the track record going from losing the family farm to owning many and leasing thousands of acres without owning the cows. He goes into detail on his business model. I have not done that part, but he has solid advice for pasture management. He also has fantastically hilarious and inspiring stories.
Come Back Farms by Greg JudyIn the follow-up to No Risk Ranching, Greg goes into more detail and tries to cover things he either didn’t know at the time or didn’t explain very well. Please don’t get this one without the first one; its value will be limited without foundation.
The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot ColemanMy favorite gardening author. This one focuses specifically on low-input techniques to maximize your growing season by harvesting all winter long. He is in Maine. If he can do it, it’s possible almost anywhere.
Four Season Harvest by Eliot ColemanGreat for the small farmer and home gardener alike. Eliot lays out the foundation for year-round growth. He’s all about low input and is one of the pioneers here in America when it comes to that. Did I mention he is my favorite garden author?
The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-GoughA solid book on saving seeds. It includes all kinds of veggies, herbs, flowers, trees, etc. Not absolutely everything I want to know, but I am a data nerd, and this is a pretty solid resource all around.
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey UsseryHarvey is a chicken legend. This book will give you everything you could hope for regarding chickens (primarily laying hens, but he does talk meat, too)—my favorite chicken book.
Grow Fruit by Alan BuckinghamI bought this at Lowe’s on a whim. Glad that I did! It gives you a solid foundation on every fruit you could imagine and includes pruning time and how-to, recommended varieties, and what can go wrong. 
Living with Sheep by Chuck WoosterChuck is at it again, this time with sheep. As with pigs, not an absolutely comprehensive guide that will tell you every possible thing you need to know, but you probably won’t kill your first sheep either (at least on accident, he does talk about butchering). It definitely gets you going in the right direction as a newbie. Couple this with Greg Judy’s info on multispecies grazing, and now you’ve got something!
The Resilient Farm and Homestead by Ben FalkBen is awesome. This book is another intro to permaculture-type book that takes you through the basic design process, but Ben has a really unique perspective on things that I appreciate. He might be wrong on the climate change thing, but his points as to what to do in general are spot on. The man grows his own rice in Vermont. How can you not want to read it?
Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture by Sepp HolzerClassic intro to permaculture book. Sepp practiced permaculture before he knew what it was and possibly before it had even been defined. He grows fruit at elevations they told him were impossible—an excellent read for any homesteader, especially those with steep land and challenging conditions.
The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live it by John SeymourThis was the first all-around homesteading book I got, and still my favorite. John covers just about every subject you can imagine, from growing vegetables to metalworking. Are you going to be proficient at everything he discusses by reading this? No. But you will have a basic knowledge that will help you get started and quickly learn more as you discover what you are interested in pursuing. He even gives ideas on how he would lay out an urban garden, a 1-acre, and a 5-acre homestead.

Advanced list:

Title and AuthorWhy I like it
Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill MollisonThis is the book. The most in-depth permaculture design book that I am aware of. This book is the foundation of nearly every course one could take to become a permaculture designer. This is a textbook that reads like one most of the time. The depth and breadth of information in this book about every aspect of human needs is staggering. 
The New Organic Grower by Eliot ColemanLook! He made the advanced list too! I almost put this on the basic list but decided on advanced because it is primarily geared toward those who want to grow vegetables as their source of income. However, so much of it is still applicable to home gardeners as well.
Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke with Eric ToensmeierSo you want a forest garden? Do you want a 2 volume set that will give you way more information than you could ever possibly remember? Are you a data nerd wanting to know what root pattern just about any tree has, its growth habit, and its attributes that may be of use? Then this book is for you! It goes over the design theory in volume 1. Volume 2 is the process and a terrific resource with tons and tons of charts. This would be my go-to resource if you wanted to design a really well-put-together forest garden or especially if you wanted/needed to design one professionally.
Regenerative Soil by Matt PowersThis book blows my soil nerd mind. Just about every nutrient cycle you can imagine is explained. About every physical, chemical, or biological soil attribute you could be curious about. After reading this book, you’d be well on your way to being an expert in soil. The best part is the nearly 100 pages of solutions. How to address all kinds of problems, make your own inoculants and fertilizers, and more. Matt Powers has a gift for assembling vast amounts of information and making it understandable and actionable. Highly recommend it if you want to take your soil to the next level.
The Forest Garden Greenhouse by Jerome OsentowskiJerome has a tropical greenhouse at 7800’ in the Rockies of Colorado and only has to heat it 18 days a year. What’s your excuse? Got some money and want to go greenhouse crazy? Incredible resource and very inspirational. So many possibilities. 
Restoration Agriculture by Mark ShepardThis is in the advanced list, not because it’s a difficult read or full of complex concepts, but because it is precisely for farm-scale permaculture with a heavy emphasis on tree crops like chestnuts. Great read. You know you want to find out what cat and robin pruning is, don’t you?
War and Peace by Leo TolstoyBecause I am going to read it one day and you probably should too, if not only to say that you did because you are a legend.

– Mr. Permie Bear

GratefulHarvestSeeds.com

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Lifestyle

The Reasons For Seasons

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There are many reasons why we have seasons in this realm, and most of those reasons are never thought about by the vast majority of the population. Depending on your geographical location, seasons are typically associated with a complaint. It’s too hot during summer, too cold during winter, too rainy in autumn and spring. Folks tend to always have some sort of grief with the weather, and society has morphed holidays into a way of getting through these seasons. We look forward to the “holiday season” of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. We jam pack as many holidays into the course of a few months as we can to give ourselves something to look forward to in those wet, cold, dreary times. And in doing so I would argue that we’ve all but lost the true reasoning behind the changing seasons.

To start this, we need to view things (as best as we can) from God’s perspective, and his intentions for us. If His intentions were for us to always be fed, have no hardships in life, have superficial relationships with family/friends, and simply have fun all the days of our lives, then we would live in perpetual summer. The sunlight would beat down all day every day, producing monstrous crops year round. We wouldn’t have to worry about the cold. We wouldn’t have to plan ahead. We wouldn’t need to form communities with the sole intention of surviving.

But God’s intention for us in this life is not that. His intention is for us to grow. Growth requires dark times, both literally and metaphorically, as much as it requires what we associate with good times. A plant will die if it just has sunlight and gets no water. It will die if it doesn’t get the proper nutrition. It will die if it gets eaten by bugs. So to will we wither away if we don’t have a proper balance of perspectives, reflection, appreciation, nutrition, emotional experiences, etc. A plant will grow better with companion planting. Corn grows well with beans and squash. They provide what the other is lacking. We too require community to really thrive, and the seasons are the ultimate factor in the creation of these communities.

Spring: Springtime is a wondrous time to experience. You can feel the life energy in the air as the trees start sprouting leaves again, the birds start singing, the flowers start to bloom, and you see all of the newly born critters running about. The persistent cadence of short rains and bright sunlight tells everything that it’s time to wake from winter’s slumber and start to grow. This too happens within us. Every year at this time we all experience that kick of energy. We all start to plan our gardens, plan what we’d like to accomplish in our lives for the year, what projects we’d like to complete, and where we’d like to be when winter rolls around again. We look at our bodies, full of baked goods and potatoes and think “yeah, it’s time to start working out again”. We have a primal urge to better ourselves. This is what spring is for.

Summer: Summer is typically viewed as the time to have fun. There’s truth to this, but it’s also a continuation of spring in terms of growth. In spring we plan, and in summer we build and maintain. Our crops need constant tending. Our bodies need constant hydration and nutrition. And although it seems easier to get things done in summer, anyone with any level of perception knows that although energy levels are high, you can quickly burn out with the constant heat and endless light. Again, we require balance. Towards the end of summer we all look forward to autumn, because we know it will bring rest. But until that day comes, summer is when we work hard. And we should be working hard to ensure we have enough food and supplies for the cold months. As spring was to planning, so is summer.

Autumn: After 6+ months of heat, sunlight, growth, work, fun, excitement, and joy, autumn brings with it a much needed respite. We are not made to crush nonstop 100% of the time, and autumn forces us to slow down and rest. The waning hours of sunlight change our circadian clock and our bodies start producing melatonin earlier in the evening, making us tired at 6pm rather than 10pm. We no longer have an abundance of those high sugar fruits that are ripe off the tree (or we shouldn’t in a natural world), and we move towards meats and root vegetables which are stored more easily. This changes our digestive habits. It changes the flora in our digestive tract, which changes our mood. As we consume more calorie and nutritionally dense foods, our digestion slows, and we begin to slow. The almost manic energy that spring and summer bring fades into a calmness, a sleepiness, and a desire to curl up by a fire and read yourself to sleep under a blanket. Bears hibernate, as do we in a way. Autumn is designed to slow us down so we don’t burn ourselves out, to reflect on what we’d like to do differently next year, to appreciate all of the blessings we have, and most importantly to begin resting our bodies.

Winter: The most trying season of them all, winter brings with it bone chilling cold, a minimal diet (or so it would be in a natural world), little light, no growth, and many hardships. Winter is still, and it is still for a reason. Everything on this earth needs a period of deep rest. Every animal rests during winter. Most plants go entirely dormant. Some animals sleep for months. Some bugs literally get frozen into a state of suspended animation until springtime when they thaw and their hearts start beating again. This is all by God’s great design. We all know physical rest is needed. If you don’t sleep for a couple of days you begin to hallucinate and your body begins shutting down. Nobody will argue the importance of a good night’s sleep. But we also require emotional rest, mental rest, and spiritual rest. We need time to quietly reflect on not just the past year, but also on life itself. We need to reflect on our relationships, on our communities, on our jobs, on our life path, and on the trajectory we would like to see in our individual lives. God has given us a time to do this, and it is winter. It’s almost forceful, in that most things we enjoy are stripped away for months, leaving us with only our primal desires. We want warmth, dryness, and food. And in that state of primal survival, we reflect. As we grow our physical strength in spring and summer, we should be growing our emotional and spiritual strength during winter. When all is lost, and we are cold and wet and hungry, we should be looking to God. We should be looking to our communities. We should be looking to our families, who are often overlooked during the excitement of all the chores and projects the other seasons bring. Winter is often seen as a bad thing solely because of the weather, but if you tap into what is actually happening during these months it is beauty beyond compare. We are resting. We are sleeping more. We are reflecting. We are seeking God. Our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls are healing. Most people literally purge toxins in the form of illness. Again, this is perceived as a bad thing, but it is our body making us stronger and cleaner. Winter brings endless blessings.

Many people view life by the year. They judge themselves on what happened during the course of a giant block of time. But there are seasons within that year. And if we overlook them, and do not pay them their property dues and work with them rather than against them, we can be sure to come up short each year in regard to our self-imposed expectations. If you don’t rest during winter, you won’t have the energy to crush during summer. If you don’t crush during summer and prepare, then you won’t make it through winter.

These natural rhythms have been thrown off with the adoption of cross-country and worldwide shipping, artificial lighting, climate controlled buildings and cars, etc. In a natural world we should not be able to get into our heated vehicle, drive to a grocery store, buy a papaya, go home, and eat it in a fully lit room at midnight in the dead of winter. It is entirely unnatural. And as a result, we feel like we’re living unnatural lives. And it’s because we are. We are not honoring the seasons, the reasons they exist, and we are working against them. This is, in my opinion, directly fighting God’s plans, intentions, and reasoning.

To shift from an unnatural/artificial existence into one more in line with what we’re intended to experience, one can simply make small changes. Those changes will have a massive affect on your health in all areas of life. Instead of having every light on in the house all night after the sun sets in winter, have a small lamp on. Let your body start the production of melatonin. When you get tired, go to bed. Don’t stay up until 2am working. Eat hearty meals that are packed with nutrition and meat during winter, rather than exotic fruits. Let your body replenish itself with what it needs, rather than what tastes good. During summer, don’t sleep in until noon. We’re meant to wake when the sun rises. Don’t pull your curtains shut before bed to block out that morning light. Let it wake you. During autumn, allow yourself to slow down a bit. Things can wait. If you’re pushing through this season as if it’s still summer, you will most definitely crash. One way or another you will get that rest. It’s just a matter of if it’s in a calm manner, or in a state of deathly illness. The choice is always yours.

Honor the reason for the seasons, which is God’s great design, and your life will undoubtedly improve. You don’t need high energy at all times. On the contrary, we are meant to store energy for times of need. We then use that energy, and it needs to be replenished. Replenish yourselves during the times we’re meant to. Live a natural life, and you will not only strengthen yourself but will also bring so much more to your communities. Embrace the hot, the cold, the joy, and the melancholic stillness as blessings, because that’s exactly what they are. 

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