I came across an article today, "The Value of Minimalism," that reminded me of the many benefits we've experienced by downsizing and simplifying our lives. We are fortunate to have had the choices to change our lifestyle in a way that many people do not.
In 2015, we sold our 2,500-square-foot house on almost four acres of land and our two cars and left our jobs to move into a 100-square-foot camper, storing what little was left in a 5 x 10 storage unit. After traveling across the country through the summer and fall, we returned to New England that winter and rented a furnished 600-square-foot cabin. When we bought another house the following spring, we went much smaller in size and acreage than our previous house – about 900 square feet and a 1/2 acre, half of which is wooded and undeveloped. We also bought one 18-year-old car that we now share. We have much, much less stuff than we did before and we don't miss the things that we gave away or sold. At this time in our lives, as empty-nesters seeking a work/life balance that's right for us, we have less stress and more free time. There's less to clean, less to mow, less to maintain, less to repair.
Our biggest problem so far? When one glass breaks in a two-glass household (as happened this week), our glass inventory is suddenly cut in half! I guess it's time for a visit to the local thrift store to restock. But I'm still calling the glass half-full.
He walked around what my Tom calls the "experimental pile" of compost, where random plant compost accumulates when he wants to see what happens to it.
Maybe we'll see a rafter (yes, that's the right word – I looked it up!) of turkeys next spring, if love blossoms over the winter.
#sustainablegreenlife #nature #wildlife
When nature comes to your window, it's hard not to take an interest. This mama spider settled in earlier this summer, so we've avoided washing this window. (Well, to be honest, we haven't washed any of the windows this summer, but we'll chalk it up to wildlife conservation efforts.)
Kerry A. Thompson
Most of our potato plants are winding down their growing season, having been ravaged by a variety of pests. We've harvested another three pounds of Burbank Russet potatoes, making our yield about five pounds so far.
I had never actually seen a potato growing in the ground until yesterday. Getting my hands dirty digging for potatoes that were big enough to harvest was like looking for buried treasure. It was an exciting moment when I'd spy a round beige dome half-buried that was big enough to be pulled out. Five pounds of potatoes may be the same amount as one bag you buy at the grocery store. But these potatoes grew from seed potatoes that we planted ourselves and watched grow, so we won't be calling this experience "small potatoes"!
Although garden abundance sometimes turns into the cold summer soup, gazpacho, Tom turned our garden gifts into a despacho tonight instead.
Tom could feel the life energy of the recently picked vegetables emanating strongly. How lucky we are to be able to grow some of our own food!
Our organic, non-GMO seeds came from High Mowing Seeds. If you're interested in the details, these are the varieties we planted:
Since last summer, Tom's been busy setting up a rainbarrel, composter, and garden system at our new house. We started with new gutters and then added the rain barrels last fall. Tom built the garden beds over the winter. The last piece assembled was the composter, to which we add kitchen and yard waste and have nutritious compost to add to the gardens.
We've just posted our first video and it describes the details of our "Rain-to-Roots Story." You can find it here, on our Sustainable Green Life channel on YouTube.
With our two 50-gallon rain barrels that remain mostly full at all times, we haven't ever come close to needing to use town water for watering our gardens. The four watering cans fill with overflow from the rain barrels with each storm and we use them for daily watering of the garden. If we need more water, we use the diverter hose to fill the watering cans again, so we always have an excess of rainwater at our ready.
I read an article today that gave me even more ideas about ways to stretch my knowledge of iced tea brewing. It also inspires me to learn more about herbs and perhaps add them to our garden offerings next year. Click here for extra refreshment: Medicinal and Refreshing Iced Herbal Teas for Summer.
Kerry A. Thompson
Picking our own lunch is so much fun. We've been watching our first head of broccoli as it's been growing larger over the last few weeks. When we've had gardens in the past, we kept waiting for a grocery-store-sized head of broccoli and waited too long to pick it. Today, the broccoli looked like it was the perfect size (about the size of two handfuls), so Tom brought it in for lunch. Its petite size made a delicious appetizer for two, cut up and eaten raw with ranch dressing. Apparently broccoli plants like their soil in the 65- to 75-degree range, so mulching and cool water are said to help you grow broccoli in warmer weather without it "bolting" (going to flower) too soon. We will need to use those tips in growing the rest of our broccoli to enjoy more appetizers soon.
Tom and Kerry
We're two people trying to do our best to bring about the change we want to see in the world.