Much of the reason I started this blog has been to process some major life changes that are or will be happening this year.
I’m more than halfway through my 9 week summer off – my last day of work was July 12th, and I had a weekend to spend at Alderleaf before heading out to Michigan and Boston. Immediately before I left, I sold my car. Two major parts of my every day life, gone in what seemed like the blink of an eye. (Never mind the fact that I also quit facebook that week!)
So now I have four weeks remaining in my Epic Summer Off, before starting my PhD program in mid-September. I think it’s plenty of time to work on the lifestyle changes that I’ve been thinking about for a while now.
First, eating closer to the land. For me this means growing more, getting more fresh produce, and being more connected to the food that I eat. Refusing to eat toxic food. Eating out less, but patronizing restaurants that practice sustainability when I do.
Second, walking more. This may seem obvious, since I just sold my car, but Seattle is very hilly and sometimes I’m tempted to just take the darn bus instead. But, walking doesn’t take as long as you might think, and it always provides such a deep connection to the neighborhood. You see people out and about, you stop and talk with neighbors, you see when shops close, you talk to store clerks – when you don’t just go from A to B, you can take in a lot more.
Third, creating a closed loop system. This is a long-term goal, but one that I think is achievable. I want to create a closed loop system in my home and land. Reducing waste to almost nothing, and building a healthy system that doesn’t *need* any input (like fertilizer). I’ve started on this a bit – ripping out some invasive plants, starting a big compost pile, companion planting flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables in places that make sense for the micro-climates in my front and back yards. I’ve got a big fat reddit bookmark for all the homestead/live off the land-type sub-reddits.
This summer hasn’t been huge for production – we’ve got a small blueberry bush and will probably yield a pint or two over this month, two small apple trees with two or three big fruits each, multiple rows of corn on which I’ve recently (finally) seen one ear sprout, a couple of bean plants that I’ll end up harvesting the seeds from and re-planting next year, and some hardy herbs that have done well all season. But I’ve got to be patient and know that the steps we’re taking create a healthier back yard in the long run!