Friday, December 3, 2010

Reflecting on Anyway..

Since deciding to participate in the Anyway project begun by Sharon Astyk, I have been thinking that I should take some time to really reflect on the different catagories that the project asks the participants to consider. We are asked to consider what we should (or in my case would) be doing anyway; regardless of external forces such as resource depletion, economic disruption, climate change. For example, even without all these considerations we really should recycle or use less or be wiser with our dollars. Basically, it is what we should do anyway.

For us this really is what we would be doing anyway; only we have lost our way a bit and need to really consider the life we want to live. Our family has been functioning over the last year or so reacting to circumstances. Really bad neighbors, new job for Mark, living separately last school year, worries over a potential job loss; we have done well to react to each challenge that has come our way over the last couple of years. What has suffered as a result of this is our hopes and dreams. We have stopped asking ourselves if this homesteading pursuit is working in all areas. We instead have fallen in the familiar rhythm of the seasons: planting in spring, preserving the summer bounty, putting up wood for winter and hibernating in winter. Now that we are in a better location, with more land, stronger community, better soil, and fruit trees; it seems that we can take the lessons we have learned from our first 4 years of homesteading and improve our efficiency and self reliance. In the process maybe we can reach some of our long held goals.

So this is why we are doing the Anyway project. Each category can be a challenge to us to consider what the goals for our life and homestead are. Sharon's original idea for the challenge was Whole Life Redesign. And for us, it may just be the impetus to realize our original intent when we began to homestead.

So the first category, domestic infrastructure on the surface seems an easy topic to think about. A short term goal for us to finish the shed that Mark is building in order to get our tools undercover for the winter. There are just a few more boards needed to complete the siding. We have a temporary roof on it right now and will put a better roof on it in the spring. Next summer we are planning to build a barn. We have begun to send the word out to friends and family that we will be hosting an old fashion barn raising. Long term building goals are to replace our roof and extend the roof line so that we have more usable space upstairs. Ideally, I would like to build a small insulated, passive solar shed for a studio. I do not have a good work space. I would like to get my knitting business up and running and earning real income for us. But I do not have a good space for my knitting machines to be set out right now. I would also like to build a root cellar and greenhouse. I also need to put a fence around the garden in the spring. We have apple trees but no fallen fruit on the ground; something (deer) must be eating them.

As for regular household infrastructure. I would like to start painting some of the interior of the house. This seems like an economical alternative to tearing walls down for the moment. We have a lot of old tongue and groove pine and it makes things pretty dark. We have concrete floors on the first floor. These are no friends to any falling glass. They are painted gray. I would like to investigate what alternatives might be available while still maintaining the passive solar integrity of the house. These floor work as heat sinks and we want to preserve that quality.We are getting by with a small dorm fridge and our cold room and this is working pretty well. But I would like to see if we can get better use out of the cold room. This is going to require some venting in summer and a thermometer to gauge the temp differences during the changing seasons. Until I get a studio built I need to really think about a better work space for my equipment and materials.

And of course, the ultimate of this will be to have all the projects done economically while paying attention to quality. If a project is done right the first time, we don't have to do it again.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Hm. Anyway Project. I think I need to spread the word a bit. Not that I spend a lot of time on thinking about what I'd be doing anyway, but I can spend time on what I can do better, or more of.