“Hauling your own water makes you aware of how much gets used and how little you actually need. You become part of the system, not just a detached, unquenchable customer.” ~ Max Burns ~

Quote via Wildside’s Musing

So, true. That’s just what I was trying to get across in one of the earlier posts.   We can’t truly understand the complete, whole picture if we are detached, if we don’t have hands on with the vital necessities of life (food, water, shelter).    The renewal and restoration process will be a hands-on approach and we can’t wait for others to do the work for us.

Every step we can do to conserve water is vital and we hope to implement more sustainable water management and practices this year.   Momentum slowed a little when other things/projects intervened. Detours aside, water and waste will be our primary focus this year.

The “pineapple express” blew in on Monday and dumped rain most of the afternoon into the night – totaling about 3 inches.   Another storm is expected on Thursday into Friday and followed by another early next week.  

Now that the concrete slab in the back is gone (and the driveway taken out a few years ago), we are keeping the majority of the rain on the property now.   The patch of earth that was once smothered with concrete, for who knows, over 30 years, now has a chance to be renewed.

We are shaking off our winter blues and ready to start crossing off new projects.
I think the most frustrating thing is having too many projects that you would really love to do and not enough time to get to all of them.  

Take, for instance, our having skills inleatherwork (another site that needs to be redesigned and updated),   it would be neat if we could make our own sandals. Me, I am barefoot gal, love sandals and can’t stand closed toed shoes so I would be the first in line if the guys could whip up some sandals. This project has been on our “to do” list for years and years.  They, did, however make me some comfy moccasins from scratch that are very nice and comfy.

Also, I would love to tackle the huge stack of vintage fabrics and turn them into some handmade wearables.    There’s also a boxed filled with old jeans that can be turned into jean skirts. I made a few suchskirts before and this time would like to add a bit of color with some of the fabric pieces.. Besides the boxes of fabric, there is also a stash of yarn that need to be delved into.

Since I am already knitting four different items and Jordanne working on three we can’t possibly take on any more yarn crafts. As for spinning  yarn, another skills which I would really like to get good at, that will have to wait since I have already too many 1/2 finished projects on my plate.   I’ve made deal with myself:–I have to finish the projects I started before I start any others and I am sure the others feel the same way.

In the kitchen, I would like to go back to making yogurt like we did when things weren’t so busy. Yogurt making is so easy and fun.  Also, go back to sprouting more and perhaps try making cheese. The guys want to brew their own wine and beer and are looking at purchasing some homebrew kits.

So many things swirling around my head, now jumping to gardening.

I’ve read somewhere on the internet that cosmos planted among tomatoes helps increase tomato yields. And for the life of me, I can’t track down where I read it, typical of too much information going into my brain all at once.   I lose track of what and where you read things. Anyhow, this year we are thinking of interspersing some cosmos amongst the tomatoes. Even if they don’t increase the yields, it’ll look pretty.  

More information on companion planting

We like a little beauty mixed in with the vegetables and, with the mild winter we’ve been having, already the sunflowers, morning glories, hollyhocks, bachelor buttons have already sprouted. With the increase dirt space from the backyard garden, once again, we’d like to grow the successfulThree Sister’s method’ of planting we tried in a previous growing season.

So many plans and ideas– one can be overwhelmed with all the exciting possibilities. But, wisely we will take the backyard’s transition one step a time and over time it will evolve as we learn which designs and methods work the best.   If we plan slowly, we hope to incorporate form and function along with beauty and design. This is a challenge in garden design to bring together such a successful paradigm and the right balance may not come this year or next. It’s a slow, learning process, one that is so opposite this modern age of quick fixes and instant satisfaction.

Another thing we face is what I briefly touched on in previous post. How much new challenges do we take on? Is it wise to bring in new projects to the mix when we still have yet to finish others? Yes, we are behind and a bit impatient. Impatient to learn more and do more.  We are always striving to accomplish more, but at what price? When juggling so many projects that have yet to see completion, we battle against becoming too frustrated.

We get huge satisfaction over completing projects only to wonder what next can we do.    Somedays, we are just thankful that we made it through the day.   We can’t rest on the facts that we did this and that one time in our life; what matters is what we are doing now in the present.  

When asked about what advice we would give about starting to live a low impact lifestyle, we tell people ( and show, hopefully, by example) to “do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” A friend of ours isdoing just that this year. It is always great and inspiring to see how others transform their patch of earth… and their lives.

What interests me now…
In the news:
In New Orleans, Home Is Still Far Away (LA Times)Half a year after Katrina ravaged the city, most residents haven’t returned. And those who have remain in a state of uncertainty.
…Ron Williams is trying to make a go of it too — but with his closest neighbor five blocks away, it is a lonely and strange existence.
Born and raised in the Upper 9th Ward of New Orleans, Williams had lived in a two-story house on Piety Street for 38 of his 42 years.
The business where he worked as a mechanic was destroyed in the flood. All of his tools were lost. His home has no gas, no power and no telephone line. FEMA delivered a trailer last week but declined to give him the key because his block had no power; agency representatives told him that they could not certify the trailer’s safety until it got powered up.
The only utility he has is running water — cold water only, and it is gray and cloudy. It is allegedly safe to drink, but Williams doesn’t trust it, and it is hard to blame him.
Like many of the “pioneers” in the badly damaged portions of town, Williams has a wild-eyed look about him.
“I’m about to commit hara-kiri,” he said. “Or I’m going to knock somebody off. Or I’m going to take a propane tank and fill up my house and go to sleep forever. I’m on the edge, man. The edge.”
The rats, Williams said, have grown to the size of cats.
Willie Brinston, 63, the neighbor who lives five blocks away, sleeps with a .38-caliber revolver under his pillow. That’s in case someone tries to break in to steal his generator, though it is connected to one of the raw studs in his home by a thick steel chain.
read story
Pet worries fuel bird flu fears, poultry bans spread (Reuters)
Public alarm over the spread of bird flu grew on Wednesday after Germany reported a dead cat infected with the virus, while France sought to limit restrictions on its poultry exports. read story
Web wanderings:
Recycled Yarn Tutorial– Old sweaters find new life.
Consumercide – Consumercide, consumercidal: Consumerism as a cause of death, i.e., death of the individual (~suicide) or of others (~homicide) or, more broadly, the environment & planet, through an excess of the combination of affluenza and ignorance.
Greenest Before Dawn – Great collection of links
Alternatives to Plastics– Helpful guidelines for getting plastic out of our lives.

No Comments

  1. Brian says:

    The problem is that the weather in California is just too good. I haven’t brewed beer since moving back from Chicago. It’s just too hard to justify being inside for 3-4 hours when it’s so nice outside. OTOH, my TV watching is way down too.

  2. Anais says:


    Thanks for your comment and observation of So Cal life. I agree, if it’s cold outside and you have to spend most of the day inside then it’s quite easy to take up such hobbies/skills so you can keep yourself busy.

    The weather here contributes to our lack pursuing more “indoor skill” — it’s just too darn nice outside.

    Enjoy the sunshine!

  3. Wildside says:

    Well, hmmm… I sort of deeply blushed once I found out you’d referenced my blog in your blog — March Madness, posting like mad, thinking just posting craziness out anonymously into cyberspace; then to realize over 80 people had actually been reading what I write! And then to find out why… 😮

    So now I guess I’ll try to do better a job with it… Perhaps.

    Anyway, thank you. I’m still getting a lot to challenge me to go further whenever I drop by your journal every now and then. Thank you for that too! 🙂

  4. Anais says:

    Hi Wildside

    It’s always a pleasure reading your writings. Your “Grateful” post on the message board are a great interactive way to bring folks together.

    Thank you for your participation and for sharing your joys and struggles with us.

    You inspire us, too, since we know that we are not alone on the path.