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
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.
I’m trying to remember to post pictures of this pollinator garden as it changes through the months and seasons.
Here it is on July 4, early bloomers have faded and the hotter weather blooms have started.
Start your ginger bug/starter by combining 1 1/4 c filtered water, 1 TBSN grated ginger and 1 TBSN sugar in a jar. Stir well and cover with a cloth.
Every day for the next 4-5 days feed the bug another tablespoon of ginger and sugar.
When the bug is fizzy, smells yeasty, and has a fine sediment layer of white on the bottom of the jar it is time to make the ginger beer.
Cut a large piece of ginger into small pieces and boil with 3 cups of water for 5 minutes, then let simmer for 20 minutes. Let sit until completely cool then strain out the ginger pieces.
Next put 1 cup sugar and 7 cups filtered water into the ginger water you just made. Stir it really well.
Strain your ginger bug and put all the liquid into your ginger water/sugar mix. Stir well.
Pour into clean bottles and let sit. Each day I open the bottles to release the carbon dioxide. After 2-3 days the bottles can go in the fridge.
6 am (Eastern Daylight Time) on two different mornings this week. Each morning as I walk up the driveway I turn and look back it our little Idlewild farm-ette. The sight fills me with awe and joy. I can’t believe we get to live here, take care of this land, and in turn be nurtured by it.
It has been 22 years since we looked at this strip of corn field. Looking at it today I have trouble remembering how truly dead the soil was, how you could still see the rows of cornstalks even the next year, how the water would run off the land in sheets, and how nothing would grow. We tended it patiently and it has responded with a jubilant riot of growth. Each year the recovery becomes more apparent.
We are turning our attention to restoration and retirement. This land has always been our retirement plan — and this land if finally ready to fulfill that hope. The annual garden (1000 square feet of planting space), the perennial plantings, the woods, and even the “grass” are all something to behold.
We brought in 2 rabbits and 5 chicks this year. Next year we hope to double those numbers. I’ve been spending a few minutes every morning gathering grass/clover/weeds and drying it for rabbit hay. It seems to be working. It dries well, a vivid green, and I’m storing it in breathable bags. With luck, it will signal a transition to homegrown feed.
Cost of garden supplies + seeds this year: $78. Harvest in May = $40. Harvest June 1-15= $40. Garden supplies and seeds are repayed and all garden produce is now profit.
- The Resilient Farm and Homestead (B Falk)
- The Stress Solution (R Chatterjee)
- The Raven Boys (M Stiefvater)
- Assault & Pepper (L Budewitz)