Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wow-What a Weekend

Since Spring has sprung, I have been so busy taking workshops and going to lectures about sustainability, permaculture, going green, eating local, gardening, gardening, gardening...that I have literally dreamed about it three nights in a row. So much happened thi...s weekend, I don't know how to present it to you. Should I break it up in manageable pieces or just give ya the highlights. goes.

Friday morning, we planted in the community garden. It was great! I am so sore in so many places, I could barely sleep Friday night. (A welcome reprieve from the gardening dream trilogy.) But we accomplished so much, the pain and sleepless night was worth it. We have rows of potatoes, corn, beans, onions, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  Carrot and radish seeds are lying in beds, sprouting (hopefully) as I speak.  The entire family joined in and we all had a great time. True is the saying that many hands make light the work. The kids (the boys and the girls) even double teamed on "hilling" the twelve rows of potatoes. Great going guys!

Saturday we attended a "Redbud Festival" that had added a Heritage and Folklife program this year. We heard lectures on permaculture, local food systems, heirloom seeds, going green, sheep and goats, and bees. The lecture (or rather discussion) I most enjoyed was Nancy Sleeth's Go Green, $ave Green. Nancy's message is powerful and I hope that one day you will be able to hear it in it's entirety. The message is that the earth is dying and we need to do all we can to replenish the earth and take care of it. For those of you who believe in the Bible, Nancy spoke of Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:..." You know I always combined that thought together with being fruitful and multiplying, but there is a separate sentence there that says to "replenish the earth and subdue it." So, we are to replenish the earth and take care of it.

Ironically, as we spoke of the things we could do to be better stewards of the earth, my thoughts drifted to the natural disasters that are happening every day of our lives. Scenes flashed through my mind of news reports of the tsunamis with the waves crashing over cars, buildings and people and washing them away. It almost reminds me of how a cow or horse will whip their tail, trying to get rid of the parasites and flies that are on their backs. I almost feel like we are parasites, sucking the life out of mother earth by our wasteful ways and she is fighting back, trying to rid herself of the catastrophe at a time.

What are we leaving for our children and our future generations? We know there is a problem and we are the solution. Make a commitment today to change two bad habits right now.
1. Recycle, reuse, reduce.
2. Plant a garden, donate the excess to help feed the hungry: or
3. Plant a fruit or nut tree. Again, feed the hungry. Get your local city government to stop planting ornamental trees and start planting fruit and nut trees to feed the hungry or homeless.
4. Give one thing away to someone who needs it.
5. Wash your clothes in cold water.
6. Brush your teeth or shave with the water off. If you are reading this Nancy, thanks for that suggestion. I had repeatedly asked my husband to turn off the water as he shaves, but he wouldn't, until this workshop.
7. Put your clothes out to air dry instead of using a dryer. We have been doing this for almost a year now and have also saved significantly on our electric bill. And the clothes smell wonderful.
8. Crank your heat down in the winter or your air up in the summer. Only a few degrees will help. Or, you could try to acclimate yourself to no air in the summer. We cover our South facing windows with dark curtains or even blankets during the heat of the day. We circulate the cooler air from our North facing windows that have a porch overhang, to our South facing windows. We were able to tolerate last year without using the air. We did the same thing this winter, by utilizing the heat from our South facing windows and covering all windows with plastic and heavy blankets and all doors with blankets at night. It really made a huge difference and we felt all snuggled in.

I think one of the biggest impacts we made on our electric bill and our lives is the no electricity day we enjoy once a week. We designate a different day each week to not turn on the switches. We don't wash clothes that day, run the microwave or stove, no lights, no TV, no computer (yes, this is hard for me). We enjoy more time together, work in the garden, cook on the grill. Of course, we can't turn off the heat in the winter or the fridge or freezers, but when it gets dark, we use oil lamps or simply go to bed.  It is kind of fun to push ourselves past our comfort zones once a week. Your kids will probably protest, because there won't be any video games, but they get used to it. You can play chess, Monopoly, cards, charades or whatever. It brings you closer. 

Make a game out of it. Be careful when using live fire in your home though, it can be dangerous.    

Nancy Sleeth's book is filled with wonderful suggestions on going green. I suggest you purchase a copy. It is great. Also, check out their website:

Earth Day is April 22, make a commitment to change two things in your life that will reduce your carbon footprint and help mother earth.

I already wash my clothes in cold water and haven't used my dryer in almost a year, so I will try to:
1. I commit to taking more showers and less baths. (I love a hot bath, so this is a biggie for me.) This will save water and electricity.
2. I am going to try to buy my food locally as much as I possibly can.
3. I am going to go the extra mile here too. I am going to call my county and government officials and petition for more sidewalks so we can walk safely on our roads.
Saving money and having better health will improve my preparedness level.... See More
What are you going to do to reduce your carbon footprint or make better choices in your life?

Learn a new skill. Serve someone. Love your neighbor and yourself.

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