Half Way Through Our Year of Plenty

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Melissa thought it would be a good idea to share thoughts on getting to the half way point. I was thinking the same thing, so here are some of my observations. I'll add others as they come to mind.

1. Eating food seasonally makes everything taste better. We got strawberries from Greenbluff yesterday and they tasted so good it was like eating pop rocks. Six months of eating carrots, lentils and potatoes will do that to you. We also find ourselves appreciating foods that were off our radar before like kale and kohl rabi. We had those for dinner last night and I felt like Popeye when he eats his spinach.

2. Being a one car family can be a hassle but it really works for us. I'm enjoying riding my bike and taking the bus. One thing I don't complain about is only filling one tank with gas every week instead of two.

3. Buying used can be fun, kind of like a treasure hunt. It can also consume time and energy, and force you into fashion flexibility.

4. Everything becomes normal after awhile. These new patterns that were once so radical are now just the way it is. While it was hard to imagine before, now they seem like no big deal.

5. We don't miss the 1,000 square feet of lawn we dug up to make more space for the garden. At first, it seemed like a ridiculous thing to do, but now what seems more ridiculous is tending a water hogging, weed infested, chemically dependent lawn. We've also learned that curvy garden beds are fun.

6. We've enjoyed getting to know the farmers and producers who grow and make our stuff. It has given us a better sense of being part of a community with shared gifts and responsibilities.

Nancy's thoughts in the continuation...  

I want to echo what Craig said in #s 1-5.  Originally I was the biggest critic of the "food not lawn" idea.  I thought the girls would miss the lawn and we'd regret taking it out, but it seems like the opposite.  The girls LOVE walking through the "maze," and they especially like when we eat dinner in the center green space.  The only problem with eating meals out there is that I get distracted by looking around at all the weeding I have to do!

The stressers:  Shoe shopping for the girls.  UGH!  Thank goodness it's flip flop season, because it's been hard to find tennis shoes that fit right.  If the used ones don't look very worn there's a reason, which is they don't fit/feel right!  Craig's sister just sent the girls a gift from REI, new Keen sandals(!)  Hillary, you're spoiling us, but THANK YOU!  (Funny though, even with the Keens Lily kept saying, "they don't feel right!" and ended up with North Face black flip flops instead.)  Another stresser comparable to the shoes is bathing suit shopping.  There are just some things that are better new, even if they do come from China.  (Am I allowed to say that on a blog like this?) 

Other stressers:  gift shopping, especially for little boys' birthdays.  What do you get them that's used, homemade or made locally?  Girls' gifts are tricky too, but not as difficult as the boys.

What we won't change after the year (I don't think):  making our own ice cream, bread, butter and granola.  We'll probably stick with buying our beef from Dave and our chicken from So- don't you think, Craig?  Also, I love consignment shops.  We spend WAY less time shopping at 2nd-hand stores because there's less variety.  Either they have a t-shirt that goes with that skirt or they don't.  Having less options is good I think, UNLESS you're looking for something REALLY specific.  You've got to learn to be flexible...

What I really want to buy right now but can't:  MASCARA.  Spray 'n Wash.  And hair products.  I found local lavendar shampoo, but I'm talking mousse-type stuff.  (Have you noticed that Craig and I have had goofy-looking hair lately? I guess I should speak for myself!)  And I'm craving watermelon.  HUGE BUMMER:  I mistook a watermelon plant for a weed and pulled it!  Got a scolding from Craig and a lesson on "what's a weed and what's not."

From the girls:

Noel:  I like going to Ron's Drive In.  That's where we go for Daddy-Daughter night.  Also I like looking for BUGS in the GARDEN!!!   I'm excited for the asparagus in the garden- it's not ready yet but I guess we can eat it next year.  I like shopping at Value Village and Other Mothers because we get to look at all the toys when the shopping gets boring.  Those strawberries from Green Bluff are SO TASTY!  The only thing I miss is cereal and sometimes I miss the grass that daddy took out.  Only sometimes though.

From Lily:  I like Ron's too.  I miss going to McDonald's (Noel chimes in, oh yea, me too!). 

More later...

I know some of you have said you are on your own journeys around new patterns of consumption. We're curious to hear some of the lessons you are learning.