This weekend I reconnected with my vision of voluntary simplicity, self sufficiency, sustainability and independence. I had been feeling a bit down about all the gloomy things going on in the world, but a healthy dose of vision and action always seems to help.
On Saturday I spent quite a lot of time in the garden: Taking out the last of the cool season crop, spreading the compost we’ve been ‘cooking’ for the last few months and mulching garden beds in preparation for planting of our warm season crops. There is something so satisfying about hard work and getting dirty when you know the outcome is going to be food to feed your family.
On Sunday, Brendan, Zoe dog and I headed up to the mountains for a morning of hiking. I just love it up there and even though it was a hot day, there was a cool breeze blowing and we could get some respite in the shade of the pine trees surrounding the meadow. Spring is in full bloom up there at the moment. I thought the flowers must have been done for the year, but I guess they come later at altitude. The meadow had seen snow this year, and it was the greenest I’d ever seen it. The wildflowers were swaying in the breeze and the insects and birdlife were humming with activity. We let Zoe off to splash in the shallows of the lake and saw that it was teeming with tadpole life. Most of them had their two hind legs already so in a few more weeks there are going to be thousands of new frogs up there. We stopped in a shady spot overlooking the lake and enjoyed the peace and quiet. It was just such a fantastic morning and I don’t know why we’ve left it so long since we last visited.
Even though I know this already, I’ve re-realised that it’s unlikely that our society is going to avoid some sort of collapse. I’m resigned to the fact that we just have to let it go and rebuild something better. There are weeks when I mourn the loss and get angry about our society’s lack of foresight. However, I hope I’m now back into the acceptance phase and once again moving into action .
I’ve been reading more about building resilient communities and am excited at some of the ideas floating around in cyberspace. We need to concentrate on energy independence, food security and thriving local economies. I’m still brewing some ideas in my mind which we (Brendan and I) might be able to act upon in the next few years, but in the meantime, I can focus on my own plan for Self Sufficiency and Independence.
Getting off the economic grid
- Even though my debt is now paid off, we are still living frugally and are focussed on saving as much money as we can for tangible assets. We are buying items in the US which we know are going to be more expensive in Australia. When we get back home we have to make all our big purchases, such as a car and appliances so we are focussing on those aspects of our financial plan at the moment.
- Brendan has been doing some really interesting stuff with this renewable energy start-up. They submitted their first proposal last week with Brendan’s design and it sounds like it might be going ahead. Exciting times.
- We are tapering off our stockpile of food in preparation for moving back to Australia later this year. Having said that, I’ve been pickling beets this last week. They are so delicious in salads on warm summer days.
Grow some food
- We have one garden bed already planted with a riot of food. I say riot becuase I’ve planted with no plan other that to abide by companion planting techniques. So, in garden bed #1 we have beets, garlic, onions, leek and a couple of new tomato plants.
- I spent Saturday preparing our other two beds for planting, by adding compost, mulch and plenty of water. We don’t till the soil after removing the crops. We just add compost and mulch as layers on top of the soil. If a plant’s root structure is big and deep, I leave it intact. I simply cut the top off the plant at soil level and lets the roots decay in place. This adds nutrients deep in the soil and aerates the soil when the roots decay to nothing.
Reduce Energy Dependence
- I’m back on the bike and riding to and from work. I stopped over the summer when roadwork made the trip dangerous and then we had a wet start to the year. All those excuses are gone now so I’m back on the bike. I actually find that with the traffic as it is, it’s quicker to ride home than it is to drive. Also, now that the roadwork is done, there is a brand new bike lane that goes most of the way to work. It feels so much safer and I’ve seen more people riding this year than during the last couple of years.
Photo by: Nicholas T