Now reading . . .
Our first forecasted temps in the 30s will be tonight. So I harvested the rosemary. Michael made a tripod so I can cover it through the winter months.
What I’m reading:
What I’m listening to: The Trials of Apollo 1
What I’m doing: still learning Welsh, still working on my church project, finally enjoying some autumn weather
Autumn has truly arrived with much cooler (and very welcome) temperatures. Time for the closet swap out. My chief goal this year is to create comfortable outfits.
- 9 colorful long-sleeve tops (red, orange, white, green, dark green, blue, navy, purple, and black)
- 4 pants (2 black, 2 jeans)
- 3 cotton zip up cardigans
- 1 black dress + 1 denim skirt
- red plaid scarf
- black jacket
- red peacoat (nicer) + blue winter coat (for farm/walking/hiking/quick trips when it is really cold — not in the picture)
- Keens: black wool and brown leather
- Trainers: Nike Free Run
- I am still looking for the perfect pair of long boots to wear with the dress. Alas this is my 2nd year searching.
- Totebag: in which I carry a smaller Tom Bihn purse, waterbottle, and grocery bag.
- Purse: hmm . . . You can’t see it in the picture, but I also have a black leather wristlet/wallet for dress-up.
From Braiding Sweetgrass: . . . Until we can grieve for our planet we cannot love it — grieving is a sign of spiritual health. But it is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.
I choose joy so I plant acorns and hope they grow into trees.
I choose joy so I plant trees in an effort to reforest our Idlewild farm.
I choose joy so I plant a small, intensive garden so that the wild things can enjoy the rest of the space.
I choose joy so I fence in the front yard so that Jasper may run and romp, but not hurt or hunt the wild things that live beyond the fence.
I choose joy . . .
I choose wonder . . .
I choose gratitude . . .
See the Page: Eco-Living Project for a summary of the project in 2007-2008 that started this along with thoughts and goals for this on-going attempt to lower our carbon footprint.
Sept 2019 -Eco Living Project :
- Gasoline — 40 gallons
- Natural Gas —0
- Wood — 0
- Electricity — 374 kwh (so under the 600 kwh)
- includes running the dehydrator to preserve food
- Garbage — 20 pounds (4%)
- Water — 4100 gallons (34%)
- Consumer Goods — $250 (30%)
- includes Christmas gift
- includes Kim: shoes, wool socks, 3 t-shirts for winter, 1 jeans, and new pjs
- Includes: Kim new travel bag
- Does not include: $45 Rx, $400 eye doctor visit + glasses, $25 in ebooks/audiobooks
- $400 at grocery store
- includes $30 donation to food pantry
- includes $60 in take-out
- $400 at grocery store
What I’m reading: Braiding Sweetgrass
What I’m listening to: sounds of leaves rustling as Michael and Jasper walk through them.
What I’m doing: Still working on the project for my church and still learning Welsh
My backpack died. It wasn’t even a slow death. It was go on a trip, come home and think “Well, that might need to be replaced before too long,” to packing for a trip and the seams blew out.
I did what I always do when something (like luggage) needs to be replaced. I went to the Tom Bihn on-line store. I decided to go with a small-ish, 17 liter, duffel bag instead of a backpack. Backpack sizing is tricky for me since I’m so short, um err . . . petite. When the seams blew out, I borrowed Hannah’s duffel bag for that trip and really loved the horizontal packing. It felt right. It felt good.
I ended up with the Yeoman Duffel Mini in Verde 1050 ballistic fabric.
- External Dimensions: 17.3” x 7.7” (h) x 9.3” (d)
- Weight: 14.8 oz
- Volume: 1050 cubic inches / 17 liters
Into the bag I was able to pack:
- Specter Small Cube: 3 shirts, 1 pair pants, 3 underwear
- Specter Quarter Cube: PJs, 2 pair socks, bra
- Specter Quarter Cube: cardigan
- 3-1-1 bag: all my toiletries
- Tech bag: phone stand, charger, earbuds, extra fountain pen cartridges, pencil, colored pencils, pencil sharpener
- Blanket-in-a-bag (very lightweight)
- Even a pair of spare shoes (that in the end, I left home)
It was very easy to carry and I never worried that the ballistic fabric would snag or tear. It stores in a travel sized pillow case along with all the packing cubes, kit bags, and the blanket.
In my zip-top shopping bag I carried:
- My purse which includes: my iPhone 7, my wallet, glass case (I alternated between sunglasses and regular glasses in there), and my utensils-to-go kit.
- My waterbottle (I took the Brita bottle so I could have filtered water.)
- The book I am reading (Braiding Sweetgrass)
- My passport size journal + fountain pen
- My Welsh spiral notebook
What I’m reading: Braiding Sweetgrass, A Canticle for Liebowitz
What I’m listening to: UpFirst, The Blood of Olympus (Percy Jackson),
What I’m working on: Eco-Living Project for home and for church, Igniting the Flame last 3 units.
You know how life goes along, steadily, slowly, comfortably, and then out of the blue all sorts of challenges come up? You know how you wonder if you have the strength to muddle through? You know how you cling to hope?
Yep. Going through it now. Growing it through it — I hope.
It got me thinking about my constants — ie: the things that are steadfast in my life and how they help shape me, protect me from “blowing in the wind”, and help me love others better.
Here is a bullet list of my constants.
- Simple mornings: greet the morning, Laud (+ Psalms + Gospel reading), walk, breakfast.
- Do something: house chores, farm chores, animal chores
- Learn something: Welsh, non-fiction reading, work on a project
- Downshifting: fiction reading, meditation, color, knit, crochet
- Family first evenings + Vespers
- Sleep transition: gratitudes, face, teeth, candle, audiobook and compline
That seems to be it. It doesn’t look much. I like how the day is wrapped in prayer and gratitude. I’m learning the art of doing less but doing it better.
I’ve decided to limit my screen time in October to under an hour a day. This won’t include UpFirst podcast for my daily news, my morning IG photo from my daily walk, or my Welsh learning programs. It will include: email, texts, surfing, IG (other than to post my daily shot), blog reading, and tv.
Instead I will walk the yard more often, daydream more often, slowly absorb a good book, color more, write more, knit/crochet more, talk more (even if it is just to Jasper), and feel more.
What I’m reading: Braiding Sweetgrass, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight (repeat), A Canticle for Liebowitz
What I’m listening to: UpFirst podcast, The House of Hades (audiobook), the wind rustling the sycamore leaves as they fall, and Welsh
What I’m working on : Eco-theology gap/grant for my parish, garden wrap-up for the season, and feasibility of repeating the 90% project
Love God, Love Your Neighbor
As I grow more and more into this Celtic Spirituality, I am learning that all things can be made simpler by asking “Does this live out love God / love neighbor?” If it doesn’t then I do not need to step into it or I need to step back from it.
Choosing to live a simple lifestyle and choosing to care for creation are two ways that I show love of God and love of my neighbor. There are many ways that this could be fleshed out, but I find the 4 key words in our study quite helpful. I would add one more word – curious.
Clean: I do love a tidy house. I do not love to tidy the house. This is one of the great contradictions in my life. I have worked hard over the years to follow the “beautiful and necessary” way of thinking about my things. I also prefer things powered by people to electric options. I have a couple of burners, a small oven, freezer, washing machine, and blender. Everything else is manual. I love the quietness it brings to the house. I love the quiet meditation that accompanies the mixing and kneading of bread, the swishing of the broom, the smell of laundry fresh off the clothes line (or in the winter, fresh from behind the wood stove), the sound of fans blowing in the summer, and the crackling of the wood as it heats our home in the winter.
I clean our home, laundry, pets and people with the most natural cleaners I can find. Castile soap, baking soda, vinegar are all that is in my cleaning cupboard. I try to buy natural materials: cotton, wool, linen, leather, wood, stone, glass, etc. These things can be returned to the earth (via our compost pile) at the end of their life.
Clear: I have for many years followed the “one in, one out” rule for my personal possessions. I only buy to replace and I try to buy as ethically and sustainably as I can. When I am “clearing out” a part of our home, I try to envision who could benefit from the item and ask them if they would like it. My last resort is the thrift shop kind of store.
The toughest area for me to keep clear is my bookshelf. I used to have an 18’x13′ room lined with bookshelves. I realized one day that it was a true waste and very selfish of me. So I chose one 3 shelf wooden bookshelf and put only my absolute favorite books on two of the shelves. All others were donated to our small town library. Which incidentally more than doubled the books available to my neighbors. I have to think long and hard before buying a physical copy of a book because it means another book must be taken off the shelf and donated. I do keep one shelf for current study projects. As you can imagine this year it is full of Celtic theology and spirituality books. At the end of the year I will choose a few to keep and the rest will go to my church and the local library. I am sensing a great reluctance to part with any of them. I haven’t had that kind of trouble in many years. It might be that I have to look to my farming section and fiction section to clear some space. Yet, those spaces are full of dearly beloved books.
Compassionate: If I love my neighbor, I will take only what I need and leave plenty for another. I can practice this by leaving the edges our property to the wild creatures. Letting trees grow up to shelter them, planting trees and plants that can feed them throughout the year. I can also practice this by sharing the bounty of my garden with neighbors, parish members, and the community food pantry. It is ok for me to continue to preserve enough of our harvest to feed our family throughout the year because this frees up more money in the budget that can be given to those in need.
We also practice compassion by sharing our knowledge of living lightly with and on the land with our neighbors.
Creative: When we chose to live as simply and eco-friendly as we could, we had to make a lot of creative decisions. If you are going to give up AC, you need creative solutions to stay cool. Same with the electric furnace, the on-demand hot water, etc.
Our recreation hours are also filled with creative endeavors: I knit, crochet, write and read. My children (adults, but still my kids) write, draw, paint and read. My husband paints, draws, and is constantly finding ways to improve our bikes and camping gear. My daughter recently decided to explore paper making. She is a published author and goes through paper in enormous amounts, so she’s trying to find a way to reuse her first drafts as new paper for new first drafts. I decided that I wanted to start playing with watercolor paints as an avenue of expression. As a family we enjoy cooperative card games and watching shows together. My son, with autism, has a love of superhero movies and so we often can be found watching a movie and eating pizza in front of the tv on a Saturday evening. Pizza is one of our exceptions to the Eco-friendly and simple rule. We simply must have pizza!
Curious: I would add curious to the list of four words. Without being curious we would never seek out and explore new ways of thinking and doing things. Curiosity, which is often a gentle push by God, led me to approaching my priest and eventually ended up as a Celtic spirituality worship grant; which led us to Kenneth McIntosh, which led to me finding out about this community and that led to this course and a decision to take the Explorer vows when the time comes.