Posts tagged gardening

Homesteading & Sustainability

Ready to dry/freeze

Hello blogging world. It has been a while but I have had homesteading on my mind and decided to write about it.  I have been on a homesteading and sustainability mission lately.  We are trying to slowly increase our self-sufficiency now that we have settled into our first home.

In case you were wondering, here is the definition of homesteading via Mother Earth News and the EPA’s definition of sustainability:

  • Homesteading is “….a lifestyle that promotes greater self sufficiency – wherever you live. It’s about using less energy, eating wholesome local food, involving your family in the life of the community and making wiser choices that will improve the quality of life for your family, your community and the environment around you.”
  • Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.  Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.

We choose to adapt this lifestyle as much as possible for several reasons:  to leave a small carbon footprint on this planet, for better health, and it’s good knowledge to have and to pass onto our children.  We have a lot of respect for those who came before us who homesteaded out of necessity.  And in some respects I feel it has come full circle.  As a health practitioner, and health conscious individual, it is frustrating and scary the amount of toxic chemicals that surround us:  in the grocery store, the cleaning isles, garden centers, the make-up counter, they are everywhere.  In a way, I feel homesteading is a necessity, not in the same way as our ancestors, but as the best way to reduce the toxins in our lives and to not contribute to the growing toxins entering our environment.

 What we have done so far

We have been making small steps toward becoming more self-sufficient and sustainable.  Here is what we have accomplished:

  1. Vegetable and herb garden

    Photo by Elizabeth Bernstein Photography

  2. Green house
  3. Line drying our clothes in the summer
  4. Composting
  5. Well water and septic
  6. Canning
  7. Homemade candles
  8. Homemade vanilla extract
  9. Shopping at local farm market
  10. Homemade household cleaners
  11. Some woodworking and handy work
  12. We buy pantry items from amish and online co-ops with organic and fair trade products.
  13. Homemade gifts
  14. Rain gauge and barometer (does that count?!)

What we want to do in the future

  1. Plant apple, pear, cherry and maybe peach trees
  2. Build and instal 2 rain barrels
  3. Chickens! And build a coop first
  4. Find new ways to reduce electricity usage
  5. Grow some mushrooms
  6. Make our own soap
  7. Sewing
  8. Grow more and new produce
  9. Save seeds
  10. Grow herbs indoors in the winter
  11. We are installing a portable generator this fall (thanks to my generous in-laws)

ARE YOU HOMESTEADING?  WHAT DO YOU DO FOR SUSTAINABILITY?  WHAT ELSE CAN I ADD TO OUR FUTURE LIST?

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Getting Back to Green

seed-starterLately I’ve been posting on family updates but have drifted away from my GREEN tips and treasures.  So This posting is devoted to a hodge podge of GREEN tips, and thoughts and random facts.

 

  1. Following 20 yrs of warm summers, the spruce bark beetles are thriving in Alaska.  They have chewed up to 4 million acres of spruce trees.

  2. Prvent moths and other bugs from invading your closet by using dried lemon peel.  It’s a natural deterrent and it smells freshlemon

  3. Unplug!  If you’re not using an appliance, save energy by unplugging it. 

  4. Slow down.  It’s more fuel efficient to drive at slower speeds… this is a tough one for me.

  5. “Conservation means development as much as it does protection.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

  6. Start gardening, both indoors and outdoors and get your kids involved too!  Some fruits and vegetables can be potted for year-round consumption.  This is a great time of year to get your indoor starter kits going, as my good friend Molly has done.  Greg has lemon and Calamondin potted trees under florescent lights in our basement that we brought from Florida.  They will be making the transition outdoors soon!calamondin

  7. Top—loading washing machines use 45-50 gallons of water per load.  High-efficiency front-loaders use as little as 13 gallons per load!  Wow, what a difference. 

  8. Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land service and now cover a measly 6%.

  9. The World Health Organization reports that indoor air pollution causes 14 times more deaths than outdoor air pollution (2.8 million lives).

  10.  “Nature is the most thrifty thing in the world; she never wastes anything; she undergoes change, but there’s no annihilation, the essence remains – matter is eternal.”  – Horace Binney

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