Ideals

You can skip reading this post if you want since I’m sure it will be deathly boring to some of you, and at best, irrelevant. The very few of my readers who dream of farms, off the grid electricity, well water and sustainable lifestyle may relate somewhat here.

Today I am in a pensive mood and feel like divulging my need to expound on my life ideals and dreams.

So, what would be my ‘ideal’ life? Well the older  I get the more developed my dreams become they very generally involve having a self-sustaining farm. It’s a long stretch for my life because I can’t say that it will ever even remotely happen but I love thinking about it. I also like the idea that most of what goes into it, I already have the ability to put into action. Sure, I don’t have land or anything but becoming more self sustaining can be a process that anyone, anywhere can do.

I have a list of things I want to purge from my current lifestyle that would contribute to my dream lifestyle.

  • I want to stop buying, using or throwing away plastics. There are a very few areas of life in which I feel plastics are necessary in our society and they generally involve such things and refrigerators, computers and other technologically advanced products. As far as toys, grocery bags, food packaging,  food storage, clothing, carpeting, furniture, etc go, I think we massively and grossly over use plastic. It can’t be recycled into anything but plastic bags because of the huge variety of different components in each plastic product and the plastic bags that are made from recycled plastic can’t be recycled or reused. This is known as downcycling…..it’s a problem. The hormonal damage alone is enough for me to think twice about having a plastic environment but the fact that plastic doesn’t degrade for many many many years makes me want to limit my usage of it. As a country we seem to have more and more plastic products produced every year and if none of them are degrading  then the build up is simply getting out of control not only in landfills but in nature too. Shoot, the amount of litter that ends up next to the road in front of my house is enough to make me swear it off!
  • Coal based energy. Now you may think I’m a tree hugging hippy to want to stop using coal based energy but really I think it’s because I personally can’t generate coal based energy, therefore I have no control over my sources, and the big companies that control it are really starting to annoy me. Our own power company is a monopoly in our city and they recently screwed us over (in a fairly long line of screws) and I felt so helpless that it made me just automatically look at other things. And by look, I mean fantasize. Solar panels ain’t cheap folks.
  • Eliminate all genetically modified crops from my diet and life in general.  Many of you know my feelings towards Monsanto (something like they’re potentially the antichrist, etc) and those feelings have only increased the more I learn. But Monsanto isn’t the only one pumping out GMCs and just because I hate that company doesn’t mean I’m not being rational in wanting to avoid the products. The true reason, of course, is based in the health of my body and my family as well as the farming system in this country. I love food, REAL food and the biotech companies are putting real food in danger.

It’s surprisingly hard to get away from nearly all these things since they permeate our country, our culture and our daily lives. If you’ve ever seen No Impact Man you really get an idea of how hard our society make it to live naturally.  I realize it’s a process but I am slowly working towards my goals. I have been switching my food storage from plastic bags and tupperware to mason jars.

Stored dried goods in mason jars. I'm also using other sizes in place of plastic tupperware.

I’m using cardboard to store my homemade laundry detergent instead of a plastic container, my homemade shampoo is stored in a jar, and any toys I’ve bought Avery are wooden. I am not trying to abandon technology in this pursuit since I understand the necessities of plastic in our electronics and even though I tend to be an extremist in my ideals, I do have some shred of moderate realism. The same goes with power. I understand our modern day usage but I do like to take advantage what we get for free from nature (light, fresh air, etc). Shane has done a lot of consolidating and making our computers/entertainment electronics more power efficient.

We try to stay conservative but yeah, we have a lot of electronics.

You all know my rampage against using GM foods and I am still holding strong. I have done very well for the most part keeping anything from entering our pantry/fridge but there are always those random situations (I used a cupcake mix for superbowl cupcakes, occasionally I buy a cereal without think or checking the label etc) that slip past my radar.

I also have a list of things I really would like to add to our lifestyle that  we currently don’t have the resources to include into our life.

  • At least a couple acres of land. I have such limited usable space in our current living situation that I can’t help but fantasize about having more.

Winter look at part of my herb garden. So sad.The garden I currently attempt to succeed at has a lot of very prominent issues the main one being lack of sunshine. It's sad.

I have one or two beds that get a good amount of sun but they are plagued by burrowing, stealing squirrels because we’re in a neighborhood with an aggressive squirrel population. I grew up in the country and saw a squirrel maybe once or twice a month. Here, they are EVERYWHERE. I’ve seen them climbing up the screen on our sliding glass door….seriously. But I would love to have land that I could really cultivate a successful garden on. It’d be nice to have chickens too. I want my kids to be able to run and play outside without getting immediately bored of the tiny yard…..the way I do.

  • A cellar or basement. This may seem simple but I really have no place to store or cellar food. My pantry barely fits my biweekly groceries and my garage is in no way temperature controlled. When I can things they tend to get spread around the house randomly and the same goes with our batches of homebrew beer….we just need somewhere to put our homemade goods!
  • As I mentioned above, I’d love to have sustainable electricity (wind or solar) as well as a water source such as a well or rain water storage tanks. Even if the sources are only used for watering gardens or animals, I’d like to have it all the same just in case.

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask to live a natural life but apparently it’s easier said than done, at least in this country. We are consumers, we want the next thing, we want our trash to disappear every week from the end of our driveway and not think about it, we’d rather pay a bill then go through the trouble to make our own, of pretty much anything, from food, to resources, to household products. I figure things are cyclical and if it’s not a sustainable lifestyle for a entire country we’ll have to change eventually but that change doesn’t just happen, we have to make it. I’m an naturally a researcher and because of this I come to learn of things I can’t live with so it only seems right for me to figure out how to live without. The usual outcome is that I spend less money, lose weight without fake foods, find fulfillment or character building in making something on my own, spend less time doing pointless things like wasting hours on Facebook…yes, I just went there.

I love that I don’t have to buy shampoo all the time and throw away the bottles, I love that I can use two Tblsp of my own laundry detergent rather than a cup of store bought (again with throwing away buckets or bottles), I love tasting tomatoes from my own garden, I just want more of these things.

In the past few years I’ve improved my quality of life significantly by educating myself, trying new things and keeping an open mind. Maybe some day I’ll be able to expand further with all my ideal components and lack of the less ideal ones. But until I’ll keep traveling the paths I’ve been finding. I’m blessed and I can’t deny it.

Question: Are you interested in any of this? Do you hate the amount of trash you product? What are your plans for improving the quality of your life?

 

 

 

14 comments

  • Totally agree on the seeds. I watched that FoodInc. documentary and was blown away. I’ve tried looking up organic seeds, and I found a cool site where they ship them from Canada. I wonder if it’s legal to bring in seeds though? Haven’t really looked deeply into it.

  • diana

    Yeah and Food Inc is a very mild documentary too. There are quite a few that are much more extreme. haha

    Organic and sustainable seeds are really important. I buy from few different place.

  • good post! we store rain water for our greenhouse and water our garden from a pond. we eat our own chicken, pork, and beef. store enough veggies to last until the next summer. recycle everything. read by candle light to save electric. ok we don’t do that last one. lol.

    off topic: i know you know i’m torn about going back to work next year, but the #1 reason i feel i might need to go back is to afford the 40 acre farm i want to live on someday. i would hate hate hate hate to sell a farm that has been in our family for a century because nick and i couldn’t afford to pay the taxes on it. farming isn’t cheap! yes i know i can sell things i grow on the farm, etc, etc, etc, but that isn’t reliable and is so risky. i don’t know how much i’m willling to risk on the financial end when so much is at stake. i want to be home for my kids and feel strongly about that, but on the other hand my logical side says “wow if we lose the farm because i couldn’t be away from blaine for 3 years” i would never forgive myself.

  • diana

    Oh goodness, yeah that is definitely a good reason to go back to work. You’re lucky to have such a huge farm! I’m seriously jealous although I am not looking into have anything so huge but I totally admire than you guys pull it off.

    My dad raises pigs, chickens and cows organically so we get our meat from them. Thank goodness we have such a great option!

  • Great post. I feel inspired to dream big too! Those are all such worthy ideals. We also try to minimize plastic use, for one thing. We’re also trying to minimize driving (only having one car helps, and the fact that Andrew is a hardy bicyclist) and buying local, even if that means paying a bit more. Isn’t it weird how living default in the modern world is actually easier than living simply? It’s ironic that one has to try to so hard to live a simple life, and go outside the norms.

  • diana

    It IS crazy that living simply is the ‘alternative’ lifestyle.

    One car living is the way to go. I wish we had more bike friendly roads around here. They are BAD. haha

  • Catherine

    Nice dreams. Everything is a trade off. Even though we’ve got the land, the animals and the gardens, we are big consumers, especially of gas driving all the way to the city so often. And with the gas prices going up, I definitely feel about as helpless as you do with the electric company.

  • I think it’s wonderful to have dreams and ideas of what might be a fit for your family in the future. We have talked for many years about moving to the country, but don’t have peace about currently making that move. In the meantime, I’m excited to refine my homemaking skills and make the most of the large yard we do have. In fact, if we never move to the country that’s actually fine with me. When a neighbor saw our backyard she said, “Well, you are country in the city.” :)

  • This post really speaks to me, Diana! I have lots of similar ideals running around in my head. Like — I really want to be more minimalist in this coming year. It’s been so difficult with everyone buying tons of clothes and toys for the little one. We, of course, appreciate all these gestures. But it actually makes me sick the amount of stuff we have now. To the point where I almost had a breakdown about it a few weeks ago. I’m planning to write a post sometime soon to give a subtle hint to our family that we don’t need so much stuff (like — 5 bibs that say “baby’s 1st valentine’s day” on them!). anyway i wish you luck with striving for these things in your life. i think you have a great list going. it’s inspired me to take some time today to think about my own list.

  • diana

    Oh my goodness I TOTALLY relate. I didn’t have to buy anything for Avery and still haven’t…..he’s 1 1/2yo!

    I’ve given boxes and bags worth of ridiculous and loud toys to Goodwill and tried my hardest to find people who needed things. I am grateful for people’s generosity, but I have a tiny house!

  • I’m interested in ALL of this! I chuckled at the Monsanto/Antichrist reference.

  • Sarah W.

    Where can I find instructions on making your homemade laundry detergent?

  • diana

    Well I posted the recipe for the first batch I made but it’s come a long way since then so I’ll have to do a new post soon! I should do a new post on all the ways I use baking soda…..because my last post on that is really outdated too. Thanks for the reminder! I’ll get on that asap.

  • Pingback: Household Gold:Baking Soda | Frontyard Foodie

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