Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Simple Musings on Living Simply

My mother's family is from LaGrange County, IN. If you aren't familiar with the area, it is the home of the largest Amish community in the state, the famous town of Shipshewana, and the respected Howe Military Academy. And that's about it. It's a farming community. What led the family there all those years ago is unknown. Maybe it was all that wide open space upon which to plant corn and soybeans?

When Alex and I were first married I was a typical newlywed bride. I hadn't live out on my own yet. We were both 23 when we got married. I was a lousy cook and housekeeper. We spent more time laying on the couch than contributing to society. But I always had this desire to make the weedpatch next to our patio turn into something productive. I've had that desire from our first apartment to our rental house to the house we live in now - which, by the way, is now an overflowing jungle of growing things.

Every year I take inventory in January of what I NEED to grow, what I'd LIKE to grow, what I KNOW will grow and what might need to be put off for another year. I know that I will always have basil and chamomile and tomatoes for example. Those 3 things never change. I usually try a few new herbs every year - this year I planted lemongrass, lemon verbena and golden sage. They've done very well. I also planted more squash than I think I will be able to handle, and I tossed a couple potatoes from the pantry into a pot full of dirt and got some decent little plants out of them. And come October, there should be pumpkins! That's pretty exciting to me.

Simple living means a lot to me. I hate the idea of having to keep up with the neighbors or have better things than our friends. I'm not fond of having to leave my house for trivial things either. If I can make it, I would rather do that. And boy have I got a knack for making! Food, supplies, clothing, blankets.... the list goes on. I have even started looking into homemade cleaning supplies and first aid. My children are gonna hate me. :)

My garden is my pride and joy. I have been journaling about it pretty regularly now. I also absorb farming lore like a sponge. For example, I am going to find some cabbage seeds today because I read that if you start cabbage from seed in July and then move them to the garden in October and then cover them with a cold frame in December, you can harvest fresh vegetables in January. I really want to see if that works! Supposedly leeks also benefit from frosty weather. I can see myself now, bundled up and trudging out into the snow on Christmas Eve to pull leeks out of the ground for soup. Romantic, right?

Anyway, I've been questing to live in a more simple way for four years now. We've reduced our debt and our grocery bills substantially. With any luck at all over the next year, we'll completely defeat our credit cards and build up a savings account too. Then it's on to defeating the student loans. When those are done, I may never work a 'real' job again. No, I'm kidding. When those are done it will be time to have babies. :)

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