Sunday, July 23, 2006

Wow, it's been too long since I added an entry to the blog. I blame work. I'm an assistant manager now, and won't be for very long.
I'll be stepping down as soon as my boss has her vacation.
I decided on this for a few reasons, not the least of which is the increased stress and reduced family time.
I was raised that family comes first, and I'm unable to even have a game of cards with the kids right now, unless I do my paperwork early.
Anyway, it's all got me thinking about what I want from life, what I want my legacy to be, and how I want the kids to remember me at my funeral. I don't want my kids to look back and think 'she wasn't there when we wanted her'. I want to be remembered for putting my family first, putting them above the job. After all, right now, we have a comfortable life. We aren't starving, the kids have plenty of amusing distractions (aka toys), we are taking steps to spend more recreational time (gradually, so I don't get too much resistance) as a family.

Why did I feel the need to persue a promotion I didn't really want? Good question, but at least I came to my senses before the company gave me my own store. Oh, they tried, but I escaped by the skin of my teeth, thanks to my manager. The pursuit of the almighty dollar isn't all it's cracked up to be. Now, don't misunderstand me, I'm not the type to quit life and job and become a hermit. I couldn't if I wanted to; not with three kids. But if we're doing fine with the money that we do have coming in, and we're not happy because I'm always working either in the store or on paperwork, why work harder?

I want to pick up my hobbies again. I want to pursue gardening, and write more. I want to learn the skills that will allow us to live comfortably should "guerrilla existance" become necessary. I want to pick up my quilting again and stop having to make excuses for why my parents Christmas gifts are not finished. In short, I don't want to work my way into headaches, stomaches, panic attacks and stress leave; which is what so many managers are suffering from right now.

I don't expect that the boss will take it well, and I don't expect her to understand.
I only hope she won't give me the silent treatment.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good morning one and all, and happy easter!

Yesterday was a red-letter day for me. Freckles (my beagle) and I went for a walk in the morning, to allow him to "do his thing" before I went to work, and we were welcomed to the end of the street by a red fox! It stared at us for a couple of minutes before taking off across the cornfield, but it stopped half way. It became distracted by a couple of crows and it was interesting to watch it try to catch them. Of course, my grand hunting hound only stood there and watched. We watched it until it ran behind a house across the field. It was a little disappointing to it go. On the way back, I spotted some maple seedlings growing up between the sidewalk panels, so I just had to come home and go and relocate a couple. Now before you all start hollering at me for disturbing nature, you need to know that the landscapers are going to trim any and all greenery with a weedwacker next week. So I'm only prolonging the life of those seedlings. My folks and I used to do the same thing up north. We lined the front part of my parents property with cedar seedlings, and almost all of them grew quite nicely with a little TLC.

I'm still doing research into eco-friendly building methods. I've been doing some reading on earth bag building. Basically, the idea is that you fill bags with non-contaminated earth, and use this as the foundation for all walls. The sheer mass of the walls helps regulate temperature as the sun heats up and cools during the course of the day. This is also a wise way to build in earthquake regions because the walls are more flexible than those built with metal framework.
Adobe is also an ancient building technique that is enjoying a rebirth. There are adobe villages in the American Southwest that have lasted hundreds of years, and if that doesn't convince you that there is something to these methods, then nothing will. Another perk I didn't know about before is that earth shelters absorb sound, smells, moisture and moderate humidity. This means no mold, a more silent home, and a more comfortable environment. All at a fraction of the cost we would pay for a home like the Jones have down the street. And there is no reason for a owner built home (or even one partially owner built) to loo like something out of the seventies. With a little foreplanning and logic, a home could be designed and created that will be pleasing and envied instead of ridiculed. Did I mention the inexpensiveness of natural building?
If you'd like to know more, or know someone who would enjoy it, get a grip on a book called "The Art of Natural Building", edited by Kennedy, Smith, and Wanek.

Well, time to get a kidlet in the tub, talk to you later!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A friend pointed out to me that it's been a long time since I posted a blog, so here I am.

I suffer from the bad habit sometimes of getting too into whatever reasearch I'm doing for my latest book/story. For the past number of years, I've been captivated with the idea of homesteading. My family and I did try some sort of self sufficency many years ago, in Northern Ontario. I was teaching myself how to trap and track, grow vegetables and herbs, we started to raise chickens for eggs (although, truth be told, they made me nervous). I learned how to make a stone wall, how to make my own bread, how to preserve and scads more. But my one regret was that life dealt me a deck of cards that took me away from all that. True, I am happier these days; in a new relationship with two great kids and a pretty good job...but it seems that my heart really wants to just get back to the land.

Last year I joined a urban homesteading mailing list, pleased as all punch that there were others out there who felt as I did. I am now a co-owner and still thrilled that so many of us share the same enthusiasm for being a little more self sufficent. I have found so many sources for information that it can be mind boggling, it's hard not to dive head first into it all.
You might be wondering why this fascinates me so, well, let me explain.

When Hurricane Katrina made such a mess of things in New Orleans, it became clear to me how dependent we, as a society, have become. So my housemate and I started talking what if's. Not to far from here there is an old, mostly abandonded farmhouse, and it was my idea that if something were to happen, we would go there. The property has an older, but neglected garden, nearby running water and is on a main road. I thought (and still do think) that if a disaster strikes, I'm going to think of my family first and deal with the trespassing and squatting laws later. I have enough foraging skills that I could keep us from starving; but then I got to wouldn't be enough. We would need to know how to provide for ourselves. The government would be too slow, it would up to us to keep us alive. Now, you might be thinking that this is an alarmist atittude, and maybe it is; but I am sometimes jolted awake at night by the knowledge that if disaster happened; I'm not ready.

I'm not going to run out and build a bomb shelter or stock my spare room with "in-case" food (although I do know folks who have done this), but what I am doing is learning the skills necessary to not only survive, but live in eventual comfort. I can sew quite well by hand, I'm learning all about eco-friendly building techniques (more on that later), re-learning how to make a fire the old way, and doing my part in trying to get a community garden running. There's more too, but my point is that I'm doing and not just worrying any more. I still want to get a piece of land and do things our way; but I recognize that I will probably have to keep working at my job to put enough money by. I'm a realist.
An impatient one, but a realist.

Next time, I'll tell you all about those eco-friendly building methods I mentioned earlier.