The warm weekend that was predicted never materialized instead we are experiencing foggy, partly cloudy and sometimes drizzly weather. The drizzle isn’t much, but heavier rain is expected sometime this week – and we hope their forecast is right this time!
Spent a lovely time at a friend’s home for vegetarian dinner on Saturday night. We saw an old acquaintance we hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years. Find out that this fellow is into solar installation and alternative technologies and he’s friends with people we know. It’s certainly a small world.
The path towards complete freedom is one of living deliberately. This life and livelihood is certainly not for everyone and is hard for us at times. One can’t be forgetful or do things on the “spur off the moment.” Each daily action has to be planned days or hours before.
The more we take steps backwards and becoming unplugged, the more time it takes for us to live our daily life.
For instance, one day we are hoping to/planning to purchase a wood cook stove to replace the gas stove. Now let’s say we want to take a bath – right now? Not so fast! You’ve got to chop wood, put it in the stove, allow it to heat and then you can take your bath. So much for daily showering practice!
Fortunately for us, it won’t be too drastic since we take baths only once a week (twice if needed) and for those wondering, no, we don’t stink (our friends can attest to that — I think?)!
Dailybaths/showers are a western luxury and use too much precious water and energy. For as long as I can remember our family has taken weekly baths, and for years we also conserved water by not flushing the toilet following this rhyming guidance ” “if it’s brown flush it down and if yellow let it mellow.”
It’s a shame to use perfectly good and valuable drinking water for such purposes – another wasteful western tradition.
This path is certainly a challenging one but with the looming energy or global warming crisis, I think more and more people are going to have to look what we, Westerners, come to take for granted and consider “normal.” Thankfully, we have had this opportunity to get a head start and help others with the skills and knowledge we have learned through trial and error.
It’s frustrating at times, for instance, to have to choose between using the hand washer/wringer (which takes time — hours) or the convenience of the electric washing machine ( that happens to be an energy and water saving model ), knowing that one really should use the hand washer. Somedays you just don’t have the time. Washing the old-fashioned way forces you to wear less outfits. We really have too many closets filled with clothes. A few hundred years ago, people had a couple of outfits and wore them until they were worn out.
Here on the urban homestead, we do laundry about once or twice a week, wearing the same outer clothes (unless soiled) for days at a time.
This year I would like to depend less on store bought items from the grocery store to beauty supplies. I’ve made yogurt before a few times; but continuing to make your own with so much going on is challenging. Instead ,it’s so much more convenient ( … ah, that devious little word! ) to pick it up at the health food store. To make my own yogurt I still would have to buy milk; or for deodorant I would have to buy witch hazel and essential oils.
So what’s the difference — buy all the ingredients or the already made product? Well, the later choice is definitely easier, but not always satisfying. I hope once all these new projects and construction work are completed the homestead will go back to its regular paced rhythm where we can find time to go back to making our own yogurt, deodorant or other products that we now have had to buy pre-made and packaged.
It’s liberating to learn how to do things that are basic to survival — the true reality show. Stay tuned for our next episode!
It’s the end of an era for the unique and original bunny hutch that Jules designed. It’s been dismantled and a he built smaller bunny hutch. The new bunny house was moved into the chicken and duck enclosure, making room for a shed to store garden tools and animal feed (which we desperately need). It was sad seeing the hutch go, but it’s for the better.
Another structure to go was our homemade solar shower built from all sorts of scraps. It’s been in need of repairs and the guys are planning on building an improved solar shower structure (one that has sides!, one that will include an outdoor urinal that will empty into a nearby compost pile. (Human urine has been dubbed “household liquid activator” and is practically sterile, available to everyone, and a perfect nitrogenous compost catalyst). The arbor that was used for the structure of the solar shower now will become an arbor in the backyard garden, covered in pole beans in the summer.
In the garden, we just need to build two more raised beds and then we are finished with that section of the garden. The backyard is taking on a whole new look and it’s exciting being a part of it taking shape. Plans and designs are being adjusted ,sometimes right on the spot as we go about transforming the backyard.
It’s been a constant flurry of activity these past few days, hopping from one project to another! First on the agenda is getting things in order for the soon coming compost toilet. There are so many different projects going on at once, it makes your head spin. But we are determined to tackle them and try and complete them this year (hopefully, with the help of a friend who’s a skilled carpenter) . We always like to do things ourselves, but sometimes you need a helping hand.
There’s an urgency now to finally finish the redesigning and revamping of this site. We’ve fooled around with it now and then. We silently and sometimes verbally mutter to ourselves ,wondering why we have taken on such an immense task, taking up so much of our time. In the long run, we know it will be worth it when we experience the feeling you get when you finally tackle a unorganized and cluttered room. We are now shooting for the site to be completed sometime in February or March.
Thankfully, we are skilled enough to take on the website development ourselves; otherwise, like Jordanne often reminds us, “we couldn’t afford to pay ourselves for our work.” Doing things ourselves and relying on others as little as possible is certainly a step towards being self-sufficient and frugal. We save money this way so that we are able to purchase other more necessary items such as the compost toilet! I believe our homeschooling experience has helped us not be afraid to tackle new things, allowing us to learn without having to take paid courses. We learn by doing or observation.
Lots of work to be done today:
1. daily chores
2. clean up cellar and back bathroom for compost toilet installation
3. repot, divide strawberries
4. dispose of the graveled soil
5. research cisterns / price compare
6. work on website
7. find a knitted summer top pattern
8. finish knitted “thing” for a friend (not saying in case you are reading this!)
9. call Tree People about their rainwater harvesting project
10. repot taro roots
and much more