Bare Bones Biology 336 – Running Canaries

Bitsy and I are returning to the life of runners this winter. I just learned that a “runner” is the name for a canary who can’t stop moving, traveling, looking for a place where she can live without being made sick just from breathing the air, drinking the water and eating the food that have been polluted for profit by our dominant social system. We are lucky still to have a place to move to. (I think there is.) We are the “canaries in the coal mine” who suffer from MCS, multiple chemical sensitivities.



Now wait, suffering from a syndrome is how the corposystem likes to think of us – something wrong with us — a syndrome of abnormalities of which we should be ashamed. For the most part this is not true. Ours are mostly not abnormal responses to poisonous substances. They are, for the most part NORMAL reactions.


That’s what our bodies are for. To protect us from harmful aspects of our environment. Our bodies are SUPPOSED to react negatively to poisonous substances, just as they are supposed to hurt if we cut ourselves — so we won’t. And our bodies are doing a very good job of what living flesh was meant to do; that is, getting the poisons out of our systems, and telling us we should run away from them.


The problem is that our bodies are overworked, and the result is inflammations and reactions of various kinds that make us sick. Yes, we are more sensitive than you are, because the threshold of tolerance varies. Probably if anyone were to study it, chemical sensitivity is expressed in the population as a normal curve; that means it’s a multifactoral genetic response. But it’s very unlikely anyone funded by the corposystem will study it. They don’t want to know. Though there are some actions happening in Europe.


161013-color-asc_7211rssI can hear it now, some people out there thinking: “Survival of the Fittest, let them die, we have too many people anyhow.” (I remember that was also Hitler’s rationale, more or less, and look where it got him). But yes we do have too many people, and that is one cause of the pollution — but now we also have biological and psychological tools to reduce the population without killing people off if we ever really want to deal with our major problems.


And anyhow, evolution doesn’t work that way. Changing our genetic makeup takes many, many generations, and by that time it will be too late for you and your children.


MCS is rather like those thermometers people post during fund drives, with the red part indicating what percentage of a money-making goal has been reached. Regarding MCS, early on, just 5% of the most sensitive or heavily exposed people were affected, but as we add more and more toxins into the air, water and our food and homes, then more and more people are pushed over their personal thresholds. Think of a goldfish in a bowl to which we add every day just a wee bit more of, lets say, a modern detergent, or perfume, or gasoline? And we can’t clean it out. Where is there left to run to?


I have watched this happen during my lifetime, and my guess now is that at least 40% of people in the USA are affected. Most of them don’t know it, and boy will they be angry when they figure out it’s not just us canaries.


And then, as we continue to pour toxic substances into the environment that is already overloaded, eventually 100% of everyone will be suffering one form or another of MCS. They will think it’s “normal” to be sick; they already do think it’s normal. Well, I just said, in these circumstances, it is normal. But I don’t like being sick. So I run. It works. For now.


But why don’t we get ourselves fixed, you say?


Fix what? How? How can you “fix” normal? We do not have an incurable disease. That’s one of the definitions of MCS. Our suffering is cured when/if we can get away from the poisons.


Why don’t you stop making us sick?


If my system is normal and your system is normal, and your system is just a tad more efficient than mine – then my problem is your problem.


You just don’t know it yet.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of…running-canaries

The podcast can be downloaded at:




Healthy Living

Bare Bones Biology 334 – Cold


Speaking of facts, as we were last week, it’s a fact that it gets cold up here at 7000 feet altitude with one foot on each side of the continental divide. A fact that I need to deal with – I who am made sick by toxic air and combustion fumes.



Which is worse? Spending one’s evenings barfing in the bathroom from toxic fumes of burning gas, oil, coal or the like? Or freezing in the clear cold air of the unheated canyon? Electrical energy was useful in the good old days before they started using toxic paints on the space heaters.


Those are the unfortunate facts. Too many people, too much garbage in the air, water and soil, and all of those things recycle in our Biosystem – over and over and over again, changing form over time, more or less forever. And so the climate changes.


But that’s not what this blog is about. This time we are thinking about our personal survival as real people with physiological needs and limitations.


And I just glanced out the window as I was writing this, on September 24, to the first snow of the season, huge flakes flopping down on yellowing leaves and bending over the tall grasses before melting into the thin ice of our first hard freeze.   Last year I had more than four feet of snow on the roof. Someone said six inches a bit higher up.


160908-nance-asc_6172rlssFacts definitely are facts, and as I mentioned last week, we have basically three choices (minimum) with regard to any fact. First, pretend it isn’t so. This can be lethal. Suicidal I think was the word I used last week. Second, try to change the fact, but of course this cannot work if it is a real fact because facts – the word means the things we cannot change, and there is no way I can change what the weather chooses to do on any given day. Third is to change how we behave – to organize our behaviors to accommodate the facts, and today I want to tell you about the neat little house that one woman made for herself, by herself, of course with a little help from her friends and the community.


It begins with tried and true lessons learned in a community that knows how to live in a hard land. Note the steep angle of the roof that encourages the snow to leave, and the deep overhang to the north that piles the snow in a way that protects the house.


On the south side the house incorporates some more modern technology, a Trombe wall is what particularly interests me today.

“A Trombe wall is a passive solar building design where a wall is built on the winter sun side of a building with a glass external layer and a high heat capacity internal layer separated by a layer of air. Light (energy that is) close to UV in the electromagnetic spectrum passes through the glass almost unhindered, then is absorbed by the wall.”


The wall is made of any substance that absorbs a lot of heat and releases it slowly. So the UV light energy is changed to heat energy when it hits the rock or concrete or whatever the wall is made of. The heat energy cannot escape through the glass as easily as it came in, and so it heats up the wall and then, on the inside of the wall, it heats the house.

Yes, that does sound a lot like the cause of global warming. The physics is the same fact in both cases. Reminding us again that we can’t change the facts — it is how we use the known facts that makes all the difference to our survival.

The small roof overhanging the Trombe wall is designed so that the sun in winter hits the heat absorbing south wall of the house, but the wall is shaded from the summer sun to prevent overheating.


160908-nance-asc_6190rlssAdditionally of course, the modern tech touch includes a solar panel that provides electricity all year round. Solar is not very useful for heating or for cooking, because the gadgets used for those things need to plug in to a high energy source, so the wood stove makes up any unmet energy needs.


Some pictures are on the blog post. We only have about 600 words here, so if you have specific questions, you can leave them here.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of


A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at.

Bare Bones Biology 312 – Hard Freeze in the Canyon

Hard freeze in the canyon, of course not unexpected because we spent the last two days fairly warm and that seems to be the cycle up here. Warm and overcast for a few days that the weatherman chooses to call sunny, then the sky actually does open to the sun (if available) and loses all the heat that we built up, along with the pollutants, if any, and then the next day, if you have plenty of warm clothing, is glorious.

The big cottonwood fell over the creek while I was gone, cracked into about three pieces, and now I am imagining a dam to go with the little meadow, but of course a dam without water can be a pitiful thing, and a woman without a horse is unlikely to be able to pull that tree around into position. But you never know, there is always Old Silver. It has four-wheel drive, but I would not want to get stuck down here (again) with no phone.

160508-Bloodroot_Pasque-asc_4129RLSVs copyI woke up in the middle of my sleep time surrounded by an odor that I first thought Bitsy had rolled in something, but I think it might have actually been our elk bedded down in our little meadow. I smelled an elk once before – or was it a bear? So dark nights with strange smells are scary and I jumped up with flashlight and bear spray and scrambled to the cabin where I wiped out my supply of electricity to make a cup of coffee (with snack, we do NOT do food in the travel trailer.) I do understand fear; and common sense. But I dashed out into the night anyhow, and we have bears in the night.

Next time I’ll try to wake up before I decide what to do about the situation. I think that is the key to success in any endeavor. Even non-situations such as smells.

And then I stumbled back down to the trailer and slept until the sunshine hit the roof and Bitsy got restless, as she does when she can crawl out from under the covers and find a warm spot against the stucco of the cabin. I angled the depleted solar panels to the rising sun, set up the solar oven that only made it to luke-warm yesterday, and began the process of unfreezing our water supply and setting up for work.

160511-LittleBlueFlower-asc_4143RFs copyMy work, as I said last week, is actually my charitable duty, to stir up the conversation about the ROOT CAUSE of climate change. I believe humans can solve any problem, even global ones, if they will do three things. 1: Decide they want to save the place for their grandchildren; 2: Figure out the cause of the problem – the genuine factual biological cause and not just some bandwagon to jump on. We have already known the cause for a couple of centuries, it is human overpopulation; and 3: Discuss and devise an ethical cure to match the cause.

I do understand fear. I have been afraid of giving seminars all my life but I did it, and it seems to me we are destroying ourselves because we are afraid of honest discussion of reality with our fellow human beings, and this strikes me as unhumanly cowardly from a bunch of people who prefer to think of themselves as heroes riding to the rescue of everyone else. It seems to me, in the event, if a situation exists, the quickest way to get over the fear is to FIX THE SITUATION. Or at least try.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of

A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:


I am looking for this author

Because she has posted the best series I know on the subject of chemical sensitivity. She is not trying to become famous or make money off the suffering of others. She is (was) posting facts, not fiction, fantasy or hype.

And I am just finishing moving my whole life into a canyone where nobody else lives but the turkeys and the elk, in order to not — well really, I was not so down on losing my old body, but the brain? No way.

So here I am now trying to find a way to keep the body warm while saving he brain by getting away from people, and I discover hat EMF can be as bad. Electromagnetic fields caused by all our “wonderful” technologies that have spread the rays all around the planet, except in my little canyon, except for one email dish. Of course, I did know this; I had a compatriot in grad school who studied this, all those many years ago, and was unable to publish it or pursue a career. Nonsense, of course, our technologies are more important than your reality.

I wonder how I can post an article out of Nature onto my Facebook page on he same day that I go to look up Sound as a Crystal to tell her about the new series I’m starting to describe the search for health within the corposystem that only cares for profit. She writes about it so much better than I. I want her to know that she, not the wonderful Nobel-Prize Winning heroine of CRISPR, is working for the deeper welfare of our species.

Simplicity of Wellness indeed. We use technologies to hide the problems caused by other technologies that we created to cover up the previous ones. It doesn’t work to fix anything, only to line pockets. The cure for a problem is to stop doing what is causing it. I want to see how she is now.

But I don’t know where she is or how to reach her.

Bare Bones Biology 273 – Healthy Living in TA

Sage Coyote Farms, located in Tierra Amarilla (get your tongue around that, you anglos, or just say TA) is featured this month in Chama Valley Times, Chama, New Mexico.

Conlan and Gayle met and married a couple of years ago, and settled down on family land in the Chama River Valley, producing vegetables and meat (150718-FarmerMarket-ASC_8369RRLs    and soon an orchard) that are grown without artificially added hormones or other unnatural chemicals, first for their own use, and then sharing the excess at the Farmer’s market.

Gayle says: “While I was researching about food, personal care and cleaning products, I was also introduced to the local food movement.”

I remember Gayle from a farmers’ market in Chama a couple of years ago, and I met Conlan at the Farmers’ Market a couple of weeks ago. And the more I heard about Sage Coyote Farms, of course, the more my photographers’ finger bega150901-SageCoyote-ASC_9396RSsn to itch. So last week we went out to the farm for a visit.

That day I bought eggs from their pastured chickens, and also greens from their pampered garden. Their mixed greens enhance my new dinner regimen. I chop up a pile of greens, put them in a big glass bowl, dress with Japanese plum vinegar and mirin, and top with whatever hot food is on the menu – cooked carrots, potatoes, squash, peas, beets. Some rice and beans or other protein source and, finally, raw tomatoes and a slice of bread. An excellent one-dish meal, easy to make, and all ingredients available at Sage Coyote Farms or at your local health food store (but not quite as fresh).

The livestock at Sage Coyote Farms defi150901-SageCoyote-asc_9379RLSsnitely are not your usual “production farm” personalities. For the most part, these actually enjoy being around people, beginning with the dog challenge, and ending with the pasture-raisedpigs and yaks. They have obviously been well treated.

Organically raised animals of course help with the improvement of the entire land area, and especially the garden soil that can be enhanced over time without the addition of chemicals made from our depleting oil reserves, or deposits taken from wildlife colonies that are also rapidly being disappearing. In addition to being healthy for the eater, it is far more compassionate toward our future generations of humans when we live sustainably so that what we leave is better than we found it an150901-SageCoyote-asc_9436RLSs copyd able to support our future generations of humans in reasonable comfort. And of course, a self-sufficient life style is far more secure just for ourselves, during those frequent times when our economy is not healthy.

So, we came away from Sage Coyote Farms with admiration for the hard work done there, and for our opportunity to share the healthy food.

I’ll let the pictures continue the Sage Coyote story at, and, in case you also suffer from environmental toxins, below are  the most useful compounds I have found for keeping clean and healthy, while avoiding chemical illnesses.

List of relati150901-SageCoyote-asc_9566RSsvely safe products:


Hand soap, Zum

Clorox bleach, the original (in moderation)


Original Windex

Original Bon Ami

Alcohol for external use: internally it is a toxic chemical

“ALL” Free and Clear laundry detergent

Dishmate Free and Clear dish detergent

“Working Hands” or “working Feet” lotion

Redken clear moisture shampoo without special additives.

BAN roll-on deodorant, unscented.

Nothing with perfume

Nothing that burns or smokes

Avoid plastics, especially perfumed plastics

Or any cleaning products that contain perfume or plastic micro-scrubbers that stic in your your lungs.

Nothing else..

If you experience nausia, migraines, the draggies, or brain fog, try the new lifestyle, safe food and safe chemicals, for at least three months. If that doesn’t help you, then check out the chemicals that come to you in the air you breath and the water you drink, and especially in your place of work.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS 89.1 FM in Bryan, Texas.]

A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:


Bare Bones Biology 265 – Genetics for Everyday

Recently, Jill Witting showed me her backyard poultry project. We talked about the difference between Hybrid corn, hybrid chickens, cloned animals and GMO (genetically modified organisms).

Cloning is the process of making offspring that are genetically the same as their parent by taking one or more cells (or one nucleus that contains the parental genes) and growing that cell/nucleus into a new plant or animal. Cloning has been done with livestock and plants. With most plants cloning is relatively easy and is referred to as taking a cutting.

Hybrid corn is made by creating inbred lines and crossing them together to generate hybrids. If the two parental lines are well chosen, the resulting hybrid is more vigorous and productive than either parent and at the same time all the offspring are uniformly productive.

150630-Wittig-ASC_7827RLSsGenetically modified organisms have been changed so that the DNA in the chromosomes includes genes that are not normally found in those species. It is not yet known for certain whether these genes are harmful to humans, but it is clear that the process of raising GMO foods is extremely harmful to the soil and to the air and to the water of the commons, and in other ways harmful to the Biosystem itself, as was predicted and clearly described by Dr. Martha Crouch in her landmark paper that you can download from my web site.

So who cares about these technologies? And how should we react to them? That’s what Jill and I were talking about.

<aLL”What’s the point? You can buy chicken in the store as cheap as almost anything.”

JW “And it’s all fed corn, and corn in this country is hard to find that is not genetically modified. And I’m trying to limit my children’s exposure to GMO.”

LL “GMO corn.

JW “The goal. This is a trial run. I started with twelve, and lost two babies. My goal is to have enough for my family and to trade.”

LL “Trade for what?”

JW “That’s the spice of Life! There’s all kinds of things to trade. I want to be a part of the community, and having something to trade is a great way to get to know people.”

LL “It sure is.”

JW “And if not, we can definitely consume all these. I can make sixteen servings, four meals, out of just one bird. So there’s a lot of meat to get from that one animal, plus it’s a way to get my children to consume vegetables in a broth, and I find it’s a very healthy protein option, plus. We have one cow a year, now the chickens, and I would love to get some locally raised pork and/or lamb. I would love to have a little bit of both in my freezer, now I just have a lot of beef.”

150630-Wittig-ASC_7823RLSs LL “I quit eating meat, for the most part, when they started injecting hormones into it, which I think is probably worse than GMO, but we don’t know yet how GMO will turn out.”

JW “Well find out, won’t we, and unfortunately my children are the generation – – -“

LL “They won’t find out on your children – good for you.”

JW “And, I feel like, as with anything in life, it’s about balance, so if you aren’t consuming all your meat, all your milk, all your water full of hormones, and you’re limiting it where you can – –

LL “You can’t limit it 100%.”

JW “The stress of trying to limit it 100% I think would kill you just as fast as – – -“

This is Bare Bones Biology a production of and KEOS Radio 89.1 FM in Bryan, TX.


A copy of this podcast can be downloaded at:

Bare Bones Biology 261 – It’s Time

It’s time right NOW as I write, time to transplant the little broccoli and cabbage, to put in the potatoes that have been waiting for the weather to dry up a little, and get everything else started in the garden at least by the beginning of June. We’ve had two sunny, warm days in a row. It must be summer. Smells like it; and it feels like it in the afternoon.


That was our mistake last year. By the time we got activated, it was a few weeks later and in the end we harvested one or two of everything, which will not carry a person over the winter.


150601-Neighborhood-ASC_7167RSsMy neighbors up the hill, Roxanna and Don Bayer, have a fine garden facing the sunrise. The whole front contains on one side a little plastic-covered greenhouse, in the middle the garden, and on the other side three solar panels that Don installed. The home and garden are integrated into the landscape.   Of course, I went visiting for some pointers. And then it rained, so please pardon the audio quality.


In the greenhouse are tomatoes, peppers, and flowers. And lettuce, all different kinds of lettuce they’ve already been harvesting, and they say they have a huge salad every night, fresh out of the greenhouse.   And the starter plants are growing, to be put out on or before June 1. These include, in addition to the broccoli and cabbage, potatoes and peas.


We left the greenhouse to check out the planting beds that overlook my Winter Palace in the distance:


150601-Peas-asc_7153RLSs         “Oh oh, there’s Bitsy’s footprints.”

“That’s all right. It’s been dug up but it hasn’t been planted.”

“I did plant some peas, at your recommendation. I planted three kinds of peas,but I just put them outside.   I planted one called Alaska because I thought it might be compatible with the environment.”

“Yeah, peas will take a freeze. Because it’s so cold here, cold at night all summer long, peas will just go on and on. We were still harvesting peas in November last year. They like the cold weather, and if it gets hot, then they stop.”

I like peas, and potatoes, so I planted a lot of them, in and out of the canyon. Two different kinds of potatoes that I got from the Ag Extension in Pagosa Springs (don’t tell my friend who works at the reservation) and three different kinds of peas.

And then today, I thought: “I wonder if peas and rice would be a complete protein, like beans and rice is a complete protein, and then I could cut down on the eggs. I already don’t eat meat with hormones in it (which means I don’t eat meat, because, how can you tell?), and I get the eggs from a neighbor, but I definitely should cut down, and peas and rice is probably something I could cook in the solar oven. Rice I can do, and peas even after they’re dried maybe I’ll try some today.”


150601-Neighborhood-ASC_7169RSsSo I dumped some split peas and some rice into the rice cooker (as I am not in the canyon now and can hook up to the grid) along with nearly double as much water and then.   Well, I know potatoes will cook on top of that, and I can carry them down canyon tomorrow, and oh yes I do have a piece of onion here and the yard is just absolutely full of dandelion greens.


Did I just accidentally make pea soup? Do you think peas and rice is a complete protein? I like peas, especially green, but I had better plant a lot more if they are to last all year.


This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of and KEOS FM, 89.1 in Bryan, Texas. Well, the peas are not in Bryan, TX, they are about 7000 feet above Bryan, but the radio station is in Bryan.


Mmmm. I will have to improve that recipe for pea soup. Does anyone else have a good recipe? Or, maybe pea soup with rice on the side?


A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:


References Used:

Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. 2005. Edible Forest Gardens. Chelsea Green Publishing, White River, Vermont. I very highly recommend this book for the ecological wisdom. Got it through the local library.

The Whole Seed Catalog, From Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Mansfield, MO.


(Next week topic will be religion, also good for Healthy Living)