Friday, June 18, 2010

Seems like it's been a pretty big change.....

I never felt my life changing; it just evolved from reading a few environmental blogs to where it is now; shunning modern distractions and trying to reduce my impact on Nature. If you saw me on the street you would not recognize me as a crunchy tree-hugger. I might be talking on my cell phone or shopping at the local grocery, but other than the organic items and cloth bags in my cart, I look like everyone else in the store. I just don’t “live” like everyone else around me. Here’s where I’m at now:

My One Small Change status is the same as it was for May. I have been plateau’d for the past few weeks, which I feel is a sign of my need to regroup and decide where my focus needs to be. All indications point toward my clothes closet and food preparation/storage.

As a working person who needs to dress in office attire and current said attire is beginning to show signs of distress from age and wear, I will be replacing my working wardrobe over the summer. There is very little I purchase “new”, basically socks, underwear, and shoes. During this spending splurge I will still be buying secondhand, however I will be refashioning these items to suit my needs. The stimulus for this is my having joined “Self-Stitched September”, an online challenge created by Zoe. I find that I push myself when involved in a group project, and this one will have me sewing over the summer to accomplish 30+ items of clothing to greet the fall. I believe that the two challenges will work well together.

The greater difficulty lies in the food storage and preparation area. The lack of community garden space here leaves me with little opportunity to grow abundant crops. My container garden is for immediate use and cannot support long term supplies. (Oh, how I miss my gardens of the past, turning over the dirt and making mounded planting beds, and creating supper from fresh picked veggies…..) This leads me to focusing on food preservation as a goal. My choices are freezing, canning, drying, and fermenting. Having only the freezer portion of a standard refrigerator, I am limited and choose to freeze summer berries and vegetables for enjoyment when they are out of season. I can by water bath, which means only tomatoes or pickled varieties. I do not wish to purchase a dehydrator now and cannot leave trays outside (condo rules). So my chosen field of experimentation will be fermentation. With the opening of the farmers markets and the growth during the summer season, I can now crack open my books and find a few good-sized crocks or jars. I’ll be posting about this next week, and asking for help from you experienced picklers out there.

The second experiment in my kitchen lab will be creating a “starter” for bread baking. I have been making my own bread for several weeks now, and would like to progress from opening a packet of yeast to reaching in the fridge to find that little jar of gaseous life. Keeping a living culture should be more difficult than owning a cat but easier than a pet rock. Right?

Other than that, I still use a drying rack for most of my laundry since line-drying is not possible in the condo.
I use a power strip on everything except the stove and fridge.
Heat is kept low in winter and summer air conditioning is only for extremely hot days.
The coffee maker is still packed away – cold brewing is my way of life now.
I’m still making my own bread, pasta, granola, and crackers.
TV is a thing of the past. The birds and the radio are my chosen background sounds.
I politely refuse plastic bags at checkouts whenever possible, and carry cloth produce and grocery bags.
I spend more time at the library than the mall. :)
A few items have been Freecycled this spring to keep them out of the landfill.
Whole Foods now has a bin for recycling #5 plastic, so I bring my yogurt and similar containers there.
I still only eat beef, pork, and chicken on occasion, preferring grains, legumes, and fish.
Last year I signed up for the reduction of junk mail, which works fairly well. Somehow, local businesses sneak there oversized laminated postcards through.

But you wouldn’t know all that if you passed me on the street.

Have a wonderful summer weekend!



Yiota said...

Oh, wow! Such commitment! I'm really impressed!
I think I need to try harder now.

Maria said...

Wow, I think I need to take an inventory, now! You are doing quite wel1! If I can do half as good as you are doing, I'll be happy! I can sew an apron or a seam or a hem, but other than that....well, I have tried :)

But anyway, you deserve a pat on the I'm sending one your way. Enjoy your progress and be proud......

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Hi folks,
I have my weak times, too. Like the Eggplant Parm sandwich yesterday from Duchess (a fast food joint)....definitely not local, not organic, not even low-fat. One for Mom and one for me. Yum!