Monday, 23 July 2012
I must warm you - I'm coming off a busy week with my husband home... it's been a whirlwind of fun, work, celebrating, a houseguest and lots of fun play, so my thoughts are perhaps a little disjointed. Bear with me, dear readers :)
As I went about my daily tasks this week (amid the busyness described above), I spent a lot of time thinking about connections and how they have changed my thinking. Not that long ago, I viewed many of my daily tasks as isolated, but I now know that not to be true.
While reading up on permaculture recently, I've learned so much about the deep connections that exist in ecology, and although I've been a gardener for a long time, I see now that I lacked the true vision of wholeness and connection that permaculture embraces. That reading and the understanding that has come from it, has altered my view on so many tasks that we undertake here (in the garden and otherwise).
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Take acquisition for example.
Spending any amount of time in stores lately has me seeing consumerism in a much different light. So many goods that we see offered for sale (food and material things) are created by TAKING energy, materials and labour without giving back to the cycle of life. Paying for things with money doesn't give back to that cycle. Buying new mass produced items (whether food or material goods), for the most part, takes from that cycle. Of course, there are MANY exceptions to that - handcrafted items, organically farmed food to name just a few...
Not that we don't buy new things - we do.... but we've figured out that most things we truly need can be made, bought used, found or even given to us by someone no longer needing it (used or handmade). Acquiring things in this alternative way, connects us to our true real needs, the manufacturing process and most importantly, to people. Connections.
While I've enjoyed shopping at thrift stores for many years, previously, my motivation was to save a little money and find unique things. Those reasons do still resonate with me, but on the whole, the bigger (and more important) reason (at this time) is recycling and reusing an item with useful life left in it. The quality of older things is usually much better and we find that they last far longer than their new counterparts. I LOVE to think about who owned the treasure I've bought and I think about how it was used and where it came from. Connections....
I made these pot holders as a gift after becoming inspired recently while sewing another set for a swap I'm involved in at the Down To Earth Forum. These potholders are made using 100% repurposed materials:
gingham cut from a thrift store "cherry" blouse in near new condition
linen backing cut from a thrift store blouse in near new condition
batting cut from 4 layers cut from a clean flannel blanket bought at the thrift store
thread from my Grandma's sewing stash that I inherited
I even left the button holes from the blouse on the piece of fabric that I cut out as a reminder that this fabric once was a shirt (albeit briefly due to it's mint condition!)
A Lemon Supreme Pie (upon request) was baked for our oldest son's 21st birthday using lard that I rendered from the hogs that were raised by friends, on their hobby farm, 15 minutes from our home.
Raspberry pie made with the first pickings of our own berries this year. The canes were given to me by my Mother who generously brought splits from her canes a whole province away nearly 3 years ago. It's taken those 3 years to see a bountiful harvest but it's here now and the connection is huge for me.
My dear husband has been busy siding the greenhouse using leftover material from our home renovation. While vinyl siding is hardly eco friendly, it is making use of scraps that would otherwise be discarded. The entire structure (save the roof) was made using second hand materials that were either free (like the windows from our mortgage rep. - yes, I'm serious), or bought *extremely* cheaply through Kelly's old job.
The tomato plants that grow within this shelter were started from seed many months ago (they even sat at the family table with us for a while), and have been fed with manure from our chickens, watered with rain captured from our roof and tended with care by me. They are now bearing fruit in abundance.
This healthy garden is here thanks to many people saving seed from organic plants all over Canada. Think about that! The soil has been "made" thanks to a complex dance of activity (both passive and active)... our hens (who have eaten every scrap we have offered) have recycled those scraps into fertilizer and debugged and weeded for us, the worms (by the millions) have nourished and aerated, the rain has watered, the sun has given energy and I have given my sweat and my heart to it. Connections.
This meal is literally grounded to our land. I grew from seed and ultimately picked those veggies half an hour before cooking and serving them to my family. Connections.
This lamb was raised naturally on lush, peaceful pasture close to our home by caring friends. Connections...
Connection is a big word for me just now... as I dig deeper into this journey. It seems the more I learn, the more I discover is still left to learn.
A whole lifetime of learning and connecting is to come...