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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Lekker Man, Lekker at The Lekker Shop in Hamilton, New Zealand

Lesson Learned

People that make things are good at what they do for two simple reasons. They like and value what they do, and they are continually working towards bettering it. We are makers because it feeds the single biggest survival instinct we developed as a species. 

Our oversized heads and brains are proof of our privilege and our affliction. Anyone with pre-frontal cortex will tell you, we are born to learn!


It is as universal as humanity on this little blue planet of ours. It doesn’t matter where you find people in the Tundra, deep Amazonian jungle, small Pacific Island or in London or New York. Everyone is driven by the need to keep our minds occupied. It is even estimated that our brains consume as much, or more than a third of our energy. We are learning machines.

What we do with this drive distinguishes one person’s life from another. In pre-history, the ones that learned the fastest to gather food and avoid danger were the survivors. In modern history, the ones that are better adept at sourcing information, applying it, and relating to other members of a community, thrives more.

We developed a considerable preoccupation with social engagement. It includes the elaborate rituals and rules that should provide relative harmony between ourselves and others in our group. How we relate to others also determines our standing. The better the reputation, the more fortuitous we tend to become amongst our peers. Our unique ability to better learn, adapt and organize, ultimately made us the dominant species on planet Earth.

If we knew that every waking moment of our existence and the majority of our biology is devoted to continuous, conscious, and unconscious learning, how will this knowledge influence our lives?

As a start, we will know what drives people. For example, now we know what drives the little baby to crawl and discover. It encourages some people to dream, travel and to explore. It is also the reason why our elderly are fixated on their televisions, and our teenagers are caught in online gaming worlds, pursuing the one elusive objective after the other. It is why mankind stares hypnotized at electronic screens concerned about the state of social affairs thousands of disconnected miles away, while unaware of the names of their neighbours, barman or barista.

If you capture the attention of a curious mind, you can direct it and effectively control the person.

Who Is In Charge? 

Fortunately, with our learning instinct comes a failsafe switch in the form of self-awareness and reflection. Instead of being “mindlessly” controlled through stimulus and response, we can reflect on the outcomes of our learning and then potentially direct it.

We can steer our drive towards something we appreciate and consider valuable. We do it through filtering and focus. By deciding what gets our attention and what to ignore we direct our learning. In this decision lies the single key that unlocks meaningful and happy lives.

If you are searching for more meaning and purpose in your life, all you have to do is choose or change your focus. Seek learning opportunities with a feedback loop in a context that you consider valuable. Your focus inevitably creates your reality. If you like it. Keep doing it. If you don’t change your focus. 

Lekker Man!

In the case of The Lekker Shop, they devote their focus, attention and maker efforts to not only recreating something special from their homeland - South Africa. Their focus is to make it even better than back home. We think they are on to something. They have lekker wors!

During our impromptu visit before Christmas 2018, it felt like we came home. We were instantly transferred to our favourite Kuka Shop and Butchery in the Bushveld. Thick Boerewors was waiting in the cooler and fresh Droƫwors and Koeksisters in the fridge. Within minutes we were old friends. If we had Gemmerbier, we would have shared a bottle and put a vleisie on the braai.

The Lekker Shop is a South African shop and butcher in Hamilton, New Zealand. They call themselves the home of Lekker Biltong, Boerewors, and much, much more! Facebook calls it an "Ethnic Grocery Store". We call it "our store" because they brought a bit of South Africa to us when we were away from the continent. Lekker Man!

What stands out for us during our visit was the range and quality of products. One thing was more obvious than anything - they are proud of what they do! Remember, people that make things are good at what they do for two simple reasons. They like and value what they do, and they are constantly working towards bettering it.

Now, if only we can convince them to tell us their secret to the Lekker Wors - it will save us a trip from Canada to get our fix. On the other hand, maybe we don't want to know. It will give us ample reason to make another visit to our friends at the Lekker Shop!

Lekker Cowboy!

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Lekker Man!

Lekker Wors

Lekker People

Heaven in a Derm!

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Two Cowboys are Planning to Brew and Keg Our Own Beer on the Road with iKegger, New Zealand

Counter Beer Culture

If there was ever a time to justifiably promote counter-culture, then the time is probably now. 

More and more people are coming to terms with the real current state of living in our westernized world. Folks are waking up to the perils of consumerism, the emptiness of meaningless jobs, and the realization that even the things they thought they have, they don't truly own, and never will

Having more stuff, doing meaningless work to get it, and not being in control of what you already own, is no longer an acceptable way of living. Especially, if it doesn't make you happy and you have to exert more and more effort every year to keep up with demands. 

Some people blame their problems on someone else or on their circumstances. By transferring responsibility they are sinking even deeper into the abyss of the infirm. "It is someone else's fault". They have to fix this. There should be a law against this!", is a common refrain. The Government is doing it or not doing enough. It is Trump's fault. Trudeau cannot be trusted. Soros paid them off. The Chinese are to blame. Idiots are voting. The system is rigged!

Unfortunately, no amount of calling on the Government, someone else, demon, or deity, to solve our problems or bowing to postmodern moral grandstanding will solve the problem we have. Changing our leaders is unlikely to have the desired outcome. Protests won't work. It is more likely to get people killed or jailed. Life will not get better when the racists desist, men disappear, you change your gender, white privilege is punished, refugees leave, sinners stop sinning, we all become vegan, Brexit is cancelled, Mother Earth "saved", or feminism wins.

Taking Command

Instead, more and more people are looking for alternatives to the current conventional way of living, and they are doing it by changing their thinking. People are downsizing, leaving behind, moving on, checking out and taking back control of their lives for themselves and the people they love around them. 

These folks all have one thing in common. They no longer give away control and responsibility for themselves and for their circumstances - not to an ideology and not to an institution, religion or state. They alone are taking command for their own sake, and for those around them!

We like it. 

There are a growing number of "movements" that is evidence of transitional thinking. Homesteading, tiny houses, minimalism, self-education, growers, makers, Vanlifers and Fulltimers, are only a few ways of how a counter culture is developing. It is a movement in opposition with the conventional way we are told we should live to be happy and successful. People are going against consumerism with living tiny, minimalism and through homesteading. They are leaving meaningless jobs behind and becoming self-educated makers, craftsmen, growers, bakers, brewers, traders and online entrepreneurs. They are throwing off the shackles off locality by adopting nomadic lifestyles and avoiding mortgages, licensing and taxation. They barter and use alternative currencies for trade!

People are realizing that we alone can take responsibility for our life and our destiny. It is the only path to a happy and fulfilled life. We have to solve our own problems first before we decide to put the blame on something external from us. It is done in small steps and by tiny increments. 

We believe that people's value system changes when they decide to take control of, and for themselves, and when they start to make things. Something as simple as frying an egg, folding your clothes or making your bed has the power, over time, to change a life. It changes a person because it restores ownership. With ownership comes responsibility. This simple concepts of ownership and responsibility confirm value or worth. With worth, there is meaning and purpose for yourself and for those with whom you choose to share. 

Making Beer

We are big proponents of making things. Our hashtag states, #makesomething!

We are making our own beer thanks to the innovate beer brewing equipment of WilliamsWarn, and the quality concentrated wort from Black Rock Brewing, both from New Zealand. By making our own beer, we believe we make better tasting, fresh, more healthy, and affordable beer. We drink our beer without the need to front-up for licensing, packaging, distribution, excise and taxation. It is probably one of the most liberating things to do in today's age!

We are encouraging all beer lovers to give it a try.

We are so enthused by this that we checked in with Andrew Hope from iKegger NZ to see if there is an even easier way we can make our beer while we are traveling in our vans in New Zealand. He gave us what we needed from his selection of kegs, taps, lines and sleeves and we are set to start our van beer brewing experience this March when we return to New Zealand.


Andrew confesses that he has a vast and enormous love for beer. He and an Aussie mate came together and founded iKegger.

iKegger NZ is a kiwi owned and run business that specializes in stainless steel portable Mini Beer Kegs and Growlers which have integrated taps and are powered by CO2 through mini regulators. It's like having your own personal bar with beer on tap, at home, but also the flexibility to take it with you when you are out and about!

iKegger kegs are based on the same ball lock fittings that homebrew keg setups work on so they can easily link into existing kegerators or "keezers" and the fittings will work with your existing kegs too. We think that they not only have a better way to transport and keep beer, but we can also brew in the kegs while we travel. We will do it with the help of Black Rock Brewing ingredients.

Andrew kindly provided us with what we need to get started with our brewing experiment. We ran a few test runs during this southern summer and will be ready to showcase it when we return this March to New Zealand. In the meantime, please meet Andrew and reach out to him if you are in New Zealand. He may have a plan for your next fresh beer.

Beer Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Brew Keg

Brew Team

Beer Tanks

Hellfire!! Story for another time...

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Going Off Grid, Building a Home and Checking Out in Bridesville, British Columbia

Checking Out

"The total tax bill for the average Canadian family will exceed $38,000 in 2018 or 43.2% of their total annual income. This is more than what the average family spends on housing, food and clothing combined. And that does not include the impact of the newest "let's fleece the sheep" invention of a Federal Carbon Tax!" (Toronto Sun, Jan4, 2019). Believe me, the numbers get even worse when you dig a little more.

The truth is, we've been restless for a while as we saw our disposable income dwindle and meaningful jobs disappear. It happened also with our clients and our business prospects in Canada. We've been looking for a way out which doesn't include producing more and generating more revenue only to be clobbered with even more permits and regulations, while the Taxmen are waiting on their other side to relieve us of the meagre profits we manage to eke out.

We've seen many packing it in around us, and even more entrepreneurs like us, simply disengaging or sitting it out, hoping for a better tomorrow.


Don't get me wrong, we are not against some contribution towards the collective public good and paying our way for what we use. But when the "public good" is no longer in your best interest, then there is a serious problem.

If the "good guys" think that 50% of your income should be under their control, because they know better what to do with your earnings, then someone is getting hosed here and will be for the foreseeable future. Ask John Barlow and Pierre Poilievre. We have them on camera in 2017 proclaiming that they think a 50% tax is a fair tax! And, they are supposed to be the voice of reason in today's Canadian politics!!

No wonder the citizens are getting restless and donning high visibility clothing downtown on a Saturday! In New Zealand, when a Kiwi gives you a high viz jacket, you are the next hunting accident waiting to happen. People will read about you in the newspaper tomorrow morning! In Canada, the accident occurred already. You and I are the free-range cows that are getting milked on the tax farm with every paycheck, every tank of gas, mortgage payment, bread, beer, permit, permission and watt of electricity we use.

Where it Hurts the Most

Here is where it gets real for us. The Two Cowboys has been on a mission to showcase the stories of the little guy all over our home Provinces and even as far as New Zealand. We do it because no one else seems to have an interest in doing it anymore.

Media companies and fat not-for-profit (tourism and industry) associations have long been annexed, taken over, consolidated and corraled into the service of unsavoury corporate masters or empire building hold-on-to-your-job career builders. They are now manned by "Professionals" that are more set on attending conferences, having strategic workshops, and winning prizes, than walking the streets and promoting the stories of the businesses and destinations they are paid, with our tax money, to serve.

The people we feature are the value creators, makers and producers. They are the foundation of our economy and the backbone of our communities. If your job does not involve creating physical value, then you are indebted to them. They make your and my world possible. It is microeconomics 101.

We've seen that those of them with the least to give are the ones that are the most appreciative of the light we shine on their stories. Unfortunately, they are also the ones broken. More of them are bowing out every week than ever before.

Go Make Something

What should we do in today's circumstances where we are disenfranchised from our means to earning a living, and overtaxed and overregulated when we do? You can start a war but that is probably only going to make things worse. You can leave, but where should you go? Over taxation and regulation is a global disease. Our advice has been, and still is, "Go make something!"

First of all, make something of value for yourself. Cook an egg. Sow a button. Smoke a ham. Hammer a nail. Plant a seed. Harvest a berry or glue something. Whatever you do, take a tool, find some materials and make something with your own two hands. By doing this, you will start on a road of self-discovery, fulfillment and dare I say it, self-sufficiency. It puts you in a position to take back control for yourself and your destination. You will discover a new world.

Firstly, it will give you an appreciation for how resourceful you are as an individual. You will be challenged to learn. You will discover how much you take for granted and how little value you have for things when simply buy it from a store.

You will also appreciate not having to pay all the taxes and profits to large corporations that come with the store-bought items. Even more importantly, you will discover how much better an cheaper it is, if you made it yourself. The value you create cannot be confiscated through taxes and levies. If it is taken from you it is called theft! Better even, you can share it freely with those you love and maybe also trade or sell it.

Here's the warning. You will get distracted. The more you make something, the harder it will become to live on your credit card, pay the mortgage and stay on the hamster wheel of "modern civilized living" with meaningless jobs and paychecks that seem to never cover the overhead.

Living from paycheck to paycheck will drive you nuts. Today's world will frustrate you more and more. You will want out. If there was a red pill, you will cry out for it sooner than later!

Building a Home

We've been on this journey for a while now. We are living as nomads to cut down on our cost of living while we tell the stories of the little guys. We make our own beer and cook our own food. We've minimalized where we can. It is a lot of fun as you can see from our content. Sometimes we make a dollar from it. Most of the times we are rewarded with a growler of beer, a wheel of cheese, a camping spot, bread or a plate of food for dinner.

We are thankful our brand profile is growing, and we hope to turn a corner financially by being able to afford our mission in 2019. No, the Two Cowboys are not making any money. We are not even covering our costs!

Most of the people we feature are not doing much better than us either. It doesn't deter us to continue to do what we do with the single goal of helping more entrepreneurs tell more of their stories and our audience discovering more value in their own lives and learning from that of others. While we entertain, we hope to also inspire people like you. 

We need to make something big and realized we cannot always be on the road. We are going to build a home in 2019 with the help of our good friends at Knotty Pine Cabins.

This blog post is already too long, so I am not going to bore you (yet) with the amount of bureaucracy, permitting and red tape it takes to nail two planks together and calling it home. In British Columbia, it is easier to train pigs to fly. It will drive you to tears and put any sane person off even trying to be an owner builder.

However, we believe that the ultimate reward, for any man is to be able to build a home, even a tiny one, for his family. If this is the only thing we do, it is the single most worthwhile thing we can do. Welcome to our journey as we go off grid building a home and trying to turn a corner in our fortunes in 2019.

Let's go make something!

Builder Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


A Home 

Our Makers

Making Us Famous

My Land

My Trees