Living for the future

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Living for the future

Postby paikea » 06 Feb 2012, 21:20

So from another thread in this forum (veganism for the environment) came the dicussion what we can do to live life in a way that is sustainable and I wanted to allow the vagan discussion to return to veganism and take the living discussion to another thread so here I am :D.

I thought I tell a bit about how we live ( and maybe I can show you that what was mistaken for aggresion in the other thread is infact mad passion for this subject :D)
So we live in Wiltshire in an area that has a great number of organic or biodynamic farmer. public transport is acceptable. I do not have any paid employment my husband works fulltime in IT. We have 3 kids who are home educated. We bought a 2 up 2 down ex council 1920's semi detached house with a very large garden (10x5 meter at the front and 8x43 meter at the back) We have a small extension at the back with a flat roof. The front garden and 2/3 of the backgarden are for growing food. the backgarden also has a run with chickens. the extension roof has pots with crops too. I follow permaculture principles in a way that makes sense for the location we live at. This means that for 6 months of the year I don't buy any veg (including potatoes) and even in off season I get a large amount of food from the garden. I don't buy eggs ever and my only product with egg in it is mayonaise (I'm Dutch I can't live without the stuff :)). All our meat (2 or 3 times a week) comes from a local farm (45 minute walk from our house) who use permaculture and bio dynamic principles. Any veg we buy comes from the market on wednesday or the monthly farmers market occasionally from the local supermarket.
I don't drive (don't even have a license) and we don't own a car. We compost all our foodwaste and are in the process of extending this to include human waste.
I bake mour bread and cook all meals from scratch. I mend all our clothing where neccesary and knit our socks/mittens hats and a wooly jumper for everyone, the wool from these comes from a friend who has a small flock of cotswold sheep. We tend to buy clothing from the charity shops and rarely buy new.

I am sure there are changes we made that I am forgetting now. I'd love to hear how you live life *green* and maybe we can debate/inspire each other?

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Re: Living for the future

Postby WrenWyrd » 07 Feb 2012, 09:19

Wow, paikea, well done! It does, however, sound like a full-time job.

I rent a room in someone's flat, which is another (cheap) way to have a very low carbon footprint. It doesn't allow me to accumulate too much stuff, either - except for books I'm afraid. Since I live in a city, I have access to a farmer's market where I like to buy organic/local produce, and I go to the butcher's for quality meat. I would love to buy half a veal from a trusted source but do not have the freezer space required for that. I also buy from a small organic supermarket, and sometimes other organic foods from a regular supermarket. However, I am often broke and do not necessarily have the time required to push things further, and I make many exceptions. I don't have a car so I use public transports or walk.

Is this a "green living" contest? :o
Hedge-bandit, song-bomb, dart-beak, the wren
hops in the thicket, flirt-eye; shy, brave,
grubbing, winter's scamp, but more than itself–
ten requisite grams of the world's weight.
Carol Ann Duffy

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Re: Living for the future

Postby paikea » 07 Feb 2012, 09:55

no contest :)

You know people say that it sounds time consuming but it isn't. I spend no more than an hour every day doing all 3 meals. half an hour or so for the big meal and 10-15 minutes making breakfast and lunch (and thats really generous) Because I leave the breaddough overnight it doesn't require the same amount of kneading as if I did it the "normal" way. I add the flour yeast salt and a bit of oil add more water than normal and mix it making almost a batter instead of a dough.Cover it and set it aside. The next day I add more flour knead for a few minutes shape it and put it aside to rise. Then when its time for lunch to go in the oven I put the bread in. One of the projects on the list is to build an outdoor oven but we are not yet decided on how. We are looking at the classic coboven but incorperating rocket stove into it somehow because they are far more efficient.

As for the garden I seed everything directly into the soil and spend no more than an hour a week to do the neccesary maintenance. most "weeds" are edible or useful in some other way. Because we are on heavy clay I allow them to grow and chop them down before setting seed so that the rootstructure adds organic matter to the clay. in the 4 years that we've been here it has gone from a solid clay to a much more workable garden. I don't do any digging except for getting roots up (oca's carrots dandelion etc)

I still spend the vast majority of my time playing with the boys painting going for walks etc :D.

Have you seen farm for the future?
Its free to watch on the above link. It is well worth watching. They show a permaculture forrest garden that supports a family and then some and I can't remember how long exactly they said they invest on maintaining the gardens but I remember it was a lot less than you would think.

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Re: Living for the future

Postby NovaStar » 07 Feb 2012, 13:59

I'm green with envy, paikea.

My partner and I bought a typical 1920s mid terrace in a south London suburb in Summer 2010 and have been oft-quoted that we seem to be living 'the Good Life' stereotype. I have a background in Zoology, Sustainable agriculture and farming.

The house has 3 bedrooms and a large open-plan living/dining/kitchen downstairs. It needed much renovation so we've not made as much progress on the 'eco' aspects as we'd like, but we're getting there slowly... At some point we want to build on a front porch and conservatory for insulation purposes, and put solar panels on the roof. The large garage needs tearing down and rebuilding, and we hope to put a turf roof onto the new one this year. It will become OH's workshop and our general storage for 'toys', including all of our bushcraft camping gear.

We are 'runabouts' for our 4 'wonky' hens (we had all the imperfect ones from a local supplier) - we'd love to have ex-batts, but egg production is a key aspect for us as we were worried that batties wouldn't give us what we need, so we have one-eyed Gabrielle, fox-scarred Boo, odd-tailed Jaffa and tufty-headed Token who despite it being winter are laying us about 20 eggs a week. They live in a converted brick-built bomb shelter with a run extension which we built ourselves, and are allowed into the garden when we are at home (to protect them from the urban foxes and the attentions of our two 'Battersea Boy' ginger cats, Simba and Gizmo.

Having just moved in, last year's vegetables were mostly grown in large pots on the patio and in my new greenhouse - we had an abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, rainbow chard, squash and assorted herbs, which we didn't consider bad - I made a LOAD of tomato chutneys, cucumber pickles and jam!
This year we've plans to re-design the garden with a large raised bed and to plant some more fruit trees (we already have a great Victoria plum and a cobnut). I've been overwintering kale in the greenhouse but I generally buy the 'cheaper' organic and seasonal veggies in - potatoes, onions etc

We are both meat-eaters but all meat is local (as far as it can be, given location) and/or organic. Supermarket shops are done via Ocado/Waitrose as I believe they have the best ethics and support the better farming practices, and delivery means we are not out on the road.

We are transitioning to eco-cleaning (bicarb, white vinegar etc), I use minimal chemicals on face and body (made my own mousturiser yesterday - go me!) and we are in the process of setting up our own business blogging, web designing and selling eco/environmentally friendly products (link to blog (still in development, with 'green' web hosting) and shop (up and working) if anyone's interested). Working towards the day when neither of us have to commute into town to work...
~ Nova

.~*~* You can only fly as high as the dreams you dare to live *~*~.

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Re: Living for the future

Postby IsabelC » 16 May 2015, 21:49

I know this an older thread but I just don't want it to die. I feel that living and acting in a sustainable manner on a daily basis is an important part of being a druid. We can "talk the talk" but we should also "walk the walk" and NOT just on a spiritual level (IMHO).

I've posted elsewhere, but my husband and I live on 1.5 acres in very rural northern California. When I met him he was already very deeply into sustainable living, but coming from "main-stream society" it took me quite a while to not only get used to living green but also just getting off the hamster wheel of buying and going and doing and buying...The world is set up to take your money and we're determined to cancel that out where we can.

Since we live far out of town we have to drive, but we own a 2007 Prius and she still runs sweet! It's the best we can do, because where we live an electric car would not even get us to town!
We grow all of our own veggies, most of our grains (unfortunately I have a lot of food allergies and can only eat quinoa and buckwheat-I'm allergic/sensitive to all grasses except rice) potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes and zucchini (I consider these starches not veggies) and we have chickens for an abundance of eggs. We try to keep meat down, and buy sustainable where we can, but it's difficult in this rural area. We can get organic beef but I don't eat beef, so we harvest our chickens once in a while and get goat when we can. We are hoping to have a few sheep soon so I guess I'll have to learn to like mutton!

I think the biggest thing that we "do" or rather "don't do" is we stay home. We are retired and we can literally go two weeks without going to town. We keep a well stocked food pantry and if we run out of something we don't run out and get it, which is something I'm keenly aware of my family in the city doing a lot-they "run out" for a bite to eat, or some small thing at a store maybe three times a day! STUFF is a big addiction, and hard to break, but the less stuff I have the happier I am. Except books :grin:

We do things like try not to buy things in excessive packaging, and no magazines, (but boy do we have books!) and what junk-mail comes in gets burned in the wood stove. We sustainably harvest downed pieces of oak and have small coppice trees growing so that in a few years we will have a sustainable harvest of firewood.
When we bought the place, we made sure that we were not buying new construction-this place was built in the 70's.
We rarely buy clothes, and I usually go to the thrift store once or twice a year for some "farm clothes". I have dress clothes that are ages old for those rare times I go anywhere.

We also harvest acorns. It's that "when life gives you lemons" thing, and the acorns literally rain down on our house, so we are learning how to harvest, crack, store, grind and leach and how to cook with them. Free food! :yay:

We are in Northern California and the water situation here is not good. The massive quantities of "big ag" (now mostly tree nut) production here as well as fracking is using an INSANE amount of water, and while we get rainfall, this year we had VERY LITTLE snowpack, which means come summer there won't be water for anyone-so one of the biggest things we do is conserve water in any way possible. We use drip irrigation rather than sprinklers, and don't water until necessary. We have a greywater system for the kitchen sink, and another for the only shower/bath. We also have a "humanure" system set up...

Some of these things may seem small, and in light of the big corporate users it may be of no consequence, but both my husband and I feel very deeply that we must try, and also must try to set example for others. I've already interested my nephew's family in growing a garden, which makes me proud! They are listening!
I just really feel that if one wants to call themselves a Druid, it means far more than a spiritual path, or rather maybe that path has more levels than just ritual and study.

I hope this thread and these posts can help other Druids be inspired to say home, think small, and grow food!

Isabel /|\
And this our life, exempt from public haunt, 
finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. I would not change it. -Shakespeare

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