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#301 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 03:04 AM
 
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That's interesting, Leo. I was forced to eat beef and liver as a child because I was pale and anemic and it never helped. Neither did vitamins. However, I haven't died from it yet, either.

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#302 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 08:52 AM
 
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I'm curious as to if the meat needed to be raw (or prepared differently) for proper absorption.
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#303 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 08:57 AM
 
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Forgot to say thanks for the honey info! I think I'll look around to find a natural-er honey farm. I've heard that some honey farms just feed a sugar solution that the bees turn into honey. Gah.

I think we've always had unpasteurized honey, since ours always crystalizes. : A pet peeve of mine. But I see it's worth it.

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#304 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 09:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mountain mom
I just want to qualify that B12 based anemia is called pernicious anemia and it is an inherited disorder of the stomach's level of acidity that causes eventual lack of b12 absorbtion.
Ah, I've never heard of this before. Sorry, I thought there was some confusion there... it was all mine.

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#305 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 09:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by iamprego
this is Off topic, but i was just scanning another thread about drugs like prozac... anyway, i am wondering if everybody worked as hard to do the things you all are doing... would so many people be on mood altering drugs???? i figure in "the olden days" people worked their butts off all day long and did not have time to be depressed.
Interesting question.

We read the Little House series last summer, and when Laura is boarding away from home as a teacher, we see quite a different picture in the family she lives with than her happy home. The family consists of a mom, a dad, and a young boy. The mom is not happy about being stuck out on a homestead claim away from her family, nor is she happy that they have a boarder in their little claim shanty. Laura depicts her as being a sloppy housekeeper, and says that once the minimum work is done, she spends the whole day just sitting, ignoring her crying kid. She's verbally nasty to everyone. She threatens her husband with a knife one night, demanding that they go back east. I don't know how unusual her situation was, but I don't think that, for example, every pioneer ma was like Laura's Ma -- cheerful, gentle with the children, hardworking, etc.

So as a pp stated, the first question really is are more people depressed today? Or is it just more reported/recognized? Are people overmedicated? It's hard to know, since the medications are new, we have nothing to compare to. As far as I know.

My personal thought is that it's a little of both. I think that we don't necessarily work less hard today, but it is very different work. I haven't read a whole lot of first hand accounts of life by pioneer-types, but in the reading I have done, I have been struck by the fact that they did seem to have a lot of free time. In the winter, especially. But I think the work we're doing is pretty unnatural for what we expect to be doing. IMO, the epidemic of modern diseases and obesity is a huge red flag telling us that we're not doing what our bodies expect us to be doing. I recently read through "Farming for Self-Sufficiency" by John Seymour ( , btw), and it was written quite a while ago. One of the author's concerns about modern/city life is the degree of specialization that everyone has to obtain to make it work. Working on an assembly line isn't exactly stimulating work. Even other careers don't offer as much variety, especially by the seasons, as farming can. My dad does tree work for a living -- trimming, removals, restorative work. It would be classified as manual labour. He comes home from work dirty, works with his hands all day, and doesn't have any post-secondary education for it (though he's done some courses to learn about trees, and equipment). Not exactly glamorous. My mom works at Employment Insurance, basically she makes sure that people who are getting EI should be getting EI, and wades through any conflicts/complaints. She has an honours degree from Queen's University (considered one of the better Canadian universities). She has been working there since she graduated. Office work, in front of a computer, needs training for it, good people skills, etc. Not glamorous, but certainly not manual labour. Benefits, pension, job security. My dad is by far more happy and fit than my mom, and more happy to go to work in the morning. He finds his work stimulating, mentally and physically. I worked with him summers in high school, and there were always different kinds of problems to be solved. He has developed and patented new machinery for tree removal. He's developed his techniques for roping down big trees. He's built a couple of stumpers basically from scratch at a local garage, having to learn how to use the equipment, what kinds of metal are best for which parts, things like that. He's dealt with droughts and blights and all sorts of health problems with trees. He has long-time customers whose trees he has nursed through problems. He's rescued kittens, bats, squirrels, birds from trees. He's harvested honey from a big old tree that needed to come down, and that led to him being called on to get rid of a massive hive in a church. My mom has had to solve problems, but they are always within the very narrow scope of EI claims. When her computer acts up, she's on a deadline, and IT is called in. All of those other problems are solved for her, she only has to think within a narrow frame. She's behind a desk all day. She's with the same people all day. She is counting down the days to retirement. My dad has no retirement plans -- partly because he's a small business owner and not really great at the buisness side of things, but I think he just doesn't think in terms of retiring. He'll keep on improving his machine designs and building units to sell once he can't climb trees anymore. He's 53 now and can climb a tree -- hauling his equipment -- better than the average guy my age would be able to. His dad is a farmer, and still does some work. I don't think he ever thought about retirement, either.

I do think that the way we live now is likely the root of a higher rate of depression than there has been in the past, but I don't think it's a completely modern phenomenon. I think, too, that nutrition plays a large part. I've been struggling with my moods during this pregnancy, and I think it is largely a problem with nutrition. Isolation is a factor too (not just for me, in general) -- people are more able to shut themselves off from other people. We're more affluent, and tend to buy solutions to our problems, instead of going to others for help. I think that living in cramped quarters in the city forces people to detatch themselves from everyone around them somewhat, to deal with the closeness of everything.

I could go on and on... but I think I made my point a while ago. Yes, I find it interesting.

*wishes we could move back to the country.... country girl at heart, stranded in the city....*

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#306 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 10:18 AM
 
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So, I've been wondering how modern, electric appliances factor in to sustainable living. Obviously everyone posting on this thread has access of some kind to a computer, and likely many of you own that computer. So we're not all Luddites.

When I think about sustainable living, I often think about how pioneers lived. No electricity or running water, no cars, no running to the store every week (or day), that kind of thing. No breadmaker, for instance. Well, not a mechanical one. So I tend to feel like a bit of a failure if I resort to using a breadmaker to make my bread. Right now, it's either the breadmaker, or store bought bread.

On the other hand, pioneers weren't completely self-sustaining. They bought stuff -- stoves, cloth, sugar, tea, tobacco, beans, pots, that kind of thing. And if pioneers hadn't been enthusiastic about modern labour saving devices, well, we would still be doing things the same way that they did. So, I'm likely not really emulating a pioneer if I eschew all the modern labour-saving devices available to me today. To do things "like the pioneers did," I would have to pick a time frame, since every generation of pioneers did things differently. And I'm just thinking in North America.

On the other hand, I would like to know that I could take care of my family with minimal outside help if it came to that. That means -- only using the breadmaker if we have some kind of system in place to create electricity (solar, wind, water power, or a bicycle generator), or figuring out how to make good bread efficiently without it. And, I suppose, it would mean figuring out how to grow, harvest, and store enough wheat to feed my family, with enough seed left over for next year. I guess what I'm asking myself is, where do I draw the line? Does it matter? At what point am I doing myself and my family a disservice by making use of labour saving devices? Kneading bread is, in theory, great exercise for my arms. Helping me knead the bread is fun for the kids and a good experience for them, in many ways -- learn about the texture of the bread, exercise their hands, shape it into creative shapes, learn the value of working to make something needed and worthwhile -- but when I've tried to regularly make bread from hand, they get bored with it, food gets wasted, and I often just don't do it. Am I not cut out to live self-sustainably? Or, should I be glad that these tools free up our time to do other things. We don't live on a farm, so going anywhere that isn't boring lawn to "experience nature" is a big hassle and to-do and takes a lot of time. Much more involved than when I was little, and my mom would open the door and out we went. Also, we don't have a garden or livestock, so I have to shop for the groceries. I go to one store for diary (since they have organic, but their normal groceries are $$), one for produce, fish, and canned goods, and some household needs, and bulk store for most of the dry goods. And then we have to shop for lots of other things too -- clothes, lightbulbs, bedding, envelopes, storage bins, soap, toothpaste, yadda yadda yadda. So that takes a lot of time. If we lived on a farm, we would be producing much of our food there, and the other stuff I could ideally shop for monthly, or less often. Much less time involved than what I spend doing errands now.

So, I guess this is a vent as much as it is a question. What are your thoughts about labour saving devices? Do you think that less is more, or it depends on your situation? Is there a cutoff point where you just aren't doing enough physical work if you're relying on these things?

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#307 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 12:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Wildcrafter
I'm curious as to if the meat needed to be raw (or prepared differently) for proper absorption.
Interesting question. I know in my family, we regularily ate raw ground round from our own cattle. Everyone in our community did this- it was even served at weddings. I know it didn't help my anemia.

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#308 of 329 Old 06-24-2004, 12:53 PM
 
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Brisen- I totally believe in labor-saving devices. If you have a community to support you and help, you can get by more simply.

There was plenty of drinking in pioneer times. I can't believe there wasn't depression. I think it's easy to idealize te past, or even rural/farm living. I remember alcoholism and domestic violence being rampant in the country. It probably was in pioneer times as well.

I think a nomadic existence is ultimately more sustanable and nourishing than agriculture. Hunter/gatherer tribes existing today have more liesure time than agricultural societies. They tended to have smaller skirmishes and less full-scale wars, and probably ate better as well as getting more exercise.

I'm working on a more sustainable suburban life for now. I think modern techology like solar panels, new wind-harvesting technology will make labor-saving devices available. Then people would have more time to care for each other and not have to work so hard. Community is an antidote to depression, as well as people caring about their neighbors and having time to help each other.

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#309 of 329 Old 06-26-2004, 07:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by joyfulheart
Have any of you made a simple clothes line for hanging laundry. I am looking for a simple way to make one as I am tired of throwing clothes over the lawn chairs and table!

p.s. I am also wondering if any of you in the PNW have had luck with solar systems? We are thinking of getting a solar water heater, but am wondering if there is enough sun here in the fall, spring and winter? Or do you keep your old system as a backup for the gloomy days??
I live in Port Orchard! We just moved back this spring. I bought a wooden folding drying rack. It's super easy to move when I want to put it outside. I can fit one in my laundry room. When it was cooler this spring I put it in the kitchen overnight and let the clothes dry there. If you have a fire going you could put it near that. I can fit a whole load on mine. You can find them at any big supercenter or at Gaiam. They fold up nice and neat if you have visitors coming over. I put mine outside on our covered porch when it's nice outside. I think it's so much nicer than the average clothes line and you don't have to worry about pollen or dirt or bird droppings if you have it inside.

I don't know much about Solar, but we thought about putting the type of panels that attach to your house and then if they don't have enough power you use your electricity.

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#310 of 329 Old 06-26-2004, 09:08 PM
 
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Heather (I like your user name!) -- thanks for the advice! It's funny, because when we moved into our new house this week, we found that the old owner had left us a huge laundry drying contraption in the yard...yippee!

And regarding solar, I spoke with an engineer at Puget Sound Energy. She was telling me that the cost of solar panels and hook-up (?) into their system for net metering, etc. was about $7,000 and that given our climate here, you could expect to save about $100 year in electicity bills. I am curious to speak to someone else in the area on this issue, though...
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#311 of 329 Old 06-26-2004, 09:12 PM
 
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Joyful- What about contacting Backwood Solar? They are a great company and have some really good solar kits. Or I could call them... anyhow, back out to the garden.
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#312 of 329 Old 06-27-2004, 12:13 PM
 
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farmer mama, Where are they located? Do they have a web site? Maybe I will google them! Thanks!
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#313 of 329 Old 06-27-2004, 01:38 PM
 
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They are out of Sandpoint, Idaho, and their web address is www.backwoodssolar.com. I know that when you call them you always get to talk to a person. Let us know what you find out.
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#314 of 329 Old 06-27-2004, 07:12 PM
 
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Thanks, farmer mama! I'll let you know what I learn...

I am wondering what everyone's favorite resource is for canning/preserving -- book? website? I've done jams, jellies and fruit butters but have yet to delve into anything else! TIA!
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#315 of 329 Old 06-28-2004, 03:43 AM
 
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Well, Leo...we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I still contend that plant sources do not contain B12; but B12 analogues--they are similar to true B12, but not exactly the same and because of this they are not bioavailable. It may interest you that these B12 analogues (its actually an inactive type of B12) can impair absorption of true vitamin B12 in the body due to competitive absorption, placing vegans and vegetarians who consume lots of soy, algae, and yeast at a greater risk for a deficiency. Veganhealth.org warns against these analogues and the Vegetarian Resource Group states on their website...."Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12 except when they are contaminated by microorganisms."

This said, I do believe that the typical diet of the average (meat-eating) American is extremely unhealthful and that the practice of raising huge amounts of grains solely to feed these cows that are turned into fast-food hamburgers is wasteful and destructive of our environment. We probably have more in common than you think

Sorry I haven't written sooner....we're staying with my in-laws and are subject to...*gasp*....dial-up internet. Ocean momma....I'll have that book summary for ya tomorrow (I just finished it tonight).
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#316 of 329 Old 07-02-2004, 05:41 AM
 
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Bumping this thread again as we;ve been on holiday.

I really think there is a tendency to romaticize pioneers. I always remember that they generally wreaked total havoc where ever they settled. Here anyways they cut down & burned the bush, decimated the native bird population, decimated the local whale & seal population, did some very nasty things to the indigenous peoples & so on. I think things like domestic violence are prevalent in any society where the women have low status. One big reason I don't want to go back to the good ol' days is coz of the total lack of women's rights then. Not to mention I kind of appreciate the little things like having hot water in my tap when I turn it on & having access to information if I need it. Whilst I appreciate the survival skills the pioneers had & feel I could learn a lot from them, I personally would rather adapt them to a modern way of life.

To me sustainable living is about leaving a light footprint on the earth. I also think it is about leaving a light footprint overseas. So I try to buy only locally & nationally grown organic produce. I work so I have enuf money to get fairly traded commodities. I cannot tell you how many environmentalists I know who do not do this.

I would dearly love to have an alternative power system but right now I can't afford it. Nowhere near. I do have an old copper hot water cylinder dh got for me when he was doing demo that I am planning to make a solar shower with. Anyone know of any free plans on-line? There is someone literally up the road from me who is developing an "affordable" wind generator. What "affordable" is is anyone's guess but I am keeping my eye on things there.

Brisen about the bread makers thing. I don't think they are a problem myself. I have one but never use it anymore. m-i-l gave it to me. On the grand scale of things I doubt they make that much diff. Think of all that plastic packaging you are avoiding by making your own bread regardless of how you make it! I make sourdough so it takes a few days. What I do with the kids is I get it to the stage where it is ready to prove before baking. So I do all the kneading myself. Then I let them make some buns & do stuff like put sesame seeds on them & I put the rest in a bread tin to bake. I don't think buying flour instead of growing your own is an issue either. I get mine from local organic growers. They are sustainably farming so them growing it is as good as me growing it IMO.

Spyiispy I've got a dial up connection. Can't get anything else down here!
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#317 of 329 Old 07-02-2004, 01:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OceanMomma

I really think there is a tendency to romaticize pioneers. I always remember that they generally wreaked total havoc where ever they settled. Here anyways they cut down & burned the bush, decimated the native bird population, decimated the local whale & seal population, did some very nasty things to the indigenous peoples & so on. I think things like domestic violence are prevalent in any society where the women have low status. One big reason I don't want to go back to the good ol' days is coz of the total lack of women's rights then. Not to mention I kind of appreciate the little things like having hot water in my tap when I turn it on & having access to information if I need it. Whilst I appreciate the survival skills the pioneers had & feel I could learn a lot from them, I personally would rather adapt them to a modern way of life.

To me sustainable living is about leaving a light footprint on the earth. I also think it is about leaving a light footprint overseas. So I try to buy only locally & nationally grown organic produce. I work so I have enuf money to get fairly traded commodities. I cannot tell you how many environmentalists I know who do not do this.
ITA with this post completely. The damage the pioneers did on our indigenous peoples is still so evident in so many ways as is the damage to the land.

I work in a locally owned organic food market that specializes in sourcing locally grown organic produce from small independant farmers. In the winter it is very difficult to do this thus we try to bring produce from the closest destination possible.

When there is a lack of selection we try to offer this explanation to seemingly aware and conscious shoppers only to discover that they would rather be able to purchase out of season crops in the dead of winter. It makes me sad that this happens.
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#318 of 329 Old 07-02-2004, 06:06 PM
 
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Me & dd have been having the where have strawberries gone discussion for a while now. Fortunately when it is winter we get fejoias & mandarins, which we don't get in the summer, so she is seeing it as a difference as a pose to a deprivation.

I've got a very good cook book written in NZ called Body & Soul which has lots of recipes using seasonal produce. I think as part of my efforts towards sustainable living it is important that I need to adapt our diet to use what is in season. I'm still grappling with the elements here & the vege garden. But I will get there
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#319 of 329 Old 07-03-2004, 09:11 PM
 
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OceanMomma.........just have a minute, but wanted to give you this link. There are some simple plans for a solar shower. Looks like you'd need a mechanically minded person to really put it into place....but here ya go:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/index...ge=arc&id=4302
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#320 of 329 Old 07-03-2004, 10:16 PM
 
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A question...

How do you find other likeminded homesteaders/light earthwalkers/back to nature folks when you live in the boondocks? I have to believe there are others out here in my area, any thoughts on how to find them? We don't even have a store or any public buildings other than a town office. In fact that's the only building (other than houses) in our town.

Also, I know of a 25-acre piece of prime river front land with awesome farm potential, with wild blueberry fields, meadows, wooded area, swimming hole and access to larger lake. 10 min from ocean in Whiting, Maine. House is custom-made, all in pine, may need work or enlargement for family depending on needs. Will be on market on 15th of July. Not much work potential in that area, that is the downfall. PM me if interested and I'll send along realtor's name.

Hope this is not inappropriate. It's my mil's and it's really a beautiful spot with so many natural resources. I've been wildcrafting my butt off there for years, I will surely miss that!

Mary
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#321 of 329 Old 07-04-2004, 04:13 AM
 
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spyiispy thankyou so much that is just what I was after dh is a builder so no worries there. I am getting very frustrated about the handsculpted home book. I found it in the library catalog but it was on loan. I put a hold on it for when it was returned. It was due back on the 24th of June & it still has not been returned!!!
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#322 of 329 Old 07-04-2004, 12:07 PM
 
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Oh wow Wildcrafter that sounds so wonderful. We would jump at the chance if it was in the area we are looking.

We are sooo far away from you

Imagine though, we could wildcraft together!

Oh well one can dream.

12 more months and we will be moving out of the busy hustle bustle!
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#323 of 329 Old 07-04-2004, 04:32 PM
 
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LOL, OceanMomma.......patience, patience!!! I imagine the person who has it probably is so inspired they don't wanna give it back. That's how I was when I got it out of the library! I renewed it several times and felt sad when I had to return it......but it was someone's turn! Here's to hopin' you get your own copy soon Are you still reading the Nearing's book? They talk about how they extended their VERY short growing season to get fresh veggies *almost* year round.

For those of you who read the Nearing's book.......how do you think they managed those first couple of years when they were just composting & building up the soil??

Lisa
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#324 of 329 Old 07-05-2004, 12:09 AM
 
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Maybe I should find out who has the handsculpted house book as it would be nice to have as many peeps as possible to help me with the cobbing. They could come get inspired IRL!!! I am sorry I missed which nearing book it is. Our library has about 4 in which look interesting. I will try to get them when I finally go to pick up my copy of handsculpted home to read.
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#325 of 329 Old 07-06-2004, 02:43 PM
 
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I posted to this thread a long time ago, and I've kinda lurked since then. I got bummed reading about all the great fun being had, and I so desperately wanted my own land, I stopped following closely. Well, now I'm back, and we're buying a house with 2 whole acres! We really didn't want a martgage, we planned on saving money to buy land and then build a cordwood, which we still plan on, but this house is so cheap, our mortgage will be far less than rent.
There is now way I can go back and read all 17 pages at once! I just finished 7 pages of "food growing mamas", but I hope to, with time.
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#326 of 329 Old 07-06-2004, 11:40 PM
 
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Congratulations, PandA on your new home and acreage! I hope your time their is fulfilling and fruitful! Good luck!
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#327 of 329 Old 07-07-2004, 01:00 AM
 
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I've really enjoyed reading this thread, but I haven't contributed much, so I went back and read the first post, and I hope no one minds me jumping in.

I got the book "The Simple Living Guide" which really describes just how I want to live. I think that I will stay in the city for a long time, but I want to live as sustainably as I can while I'm here. I want a garden, and a clothesline, and I'd like some chickens and sheep and goats (though I don't think I'll be able to have all those in the city. Chickens at the most.) I want to forage for food like mushrooms and greens. I want to make food from scratch, and preserve food with freezing and canning. (Maybe drying too?) I really enjoy making things, and I would like to do a lot of crochet/knitting and sewing. I also think living this way will help us to save money so that we can live comfortably in our old age. And it will keep us healthy so we CAN live comfortably in our old age. Plus, it just makes me feel good.

Right now, I'm not doing much besides dreaming. We've just gotten married, and we live in a very small place with no porch or yard, so we can't garden. I make our food from scratch as much as possible, and shop at the farmer's market when I can. I don't forage, at least not yet. I may change that this week. I do make homemade bread instead of buying it though. But I'm looking forward to being able to slowly incorporate more sustainable ways into our life.

Thanks for listening to me.
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#328 of 329 Old 07-07-2004, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Persephone
we live in a very small place with no porch or yard, so we can't garden.
Do you have any pea patches near you? You could do a window-sill herb garden, too if you have a sunny window! That is always good for the soul...
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#329 of 329 Old 07-07-2004, 02:21 PM
 
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We have two windows in our one bedroom apt, and they're both north facing. We get a lil bit of weak early morning sunlight, but it's gone by the time I get up.

I asked on another board about what kinds of things I could grow indoors in very little direct sunlight, and someone said lettuce. So I'm going to try that, hopefully.

What feeds my soul is this giant bush outside our windows for privacy. There are some birds in there that have a nest, and I love to sit on the couch and look out the window and watch them. They make me happy. I've got to find out what kind they are! They're gray, but they look like finches in the beak, sort of.
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