Friday, September 3, 2010

Goodness how one's life can change

For anyone who's followed this blog for while (and for those who haven't--Hi there! Nice to meet you!), you know that our lives have been pretty upended several times over the past year. I'm hoping that now we're settling into some kind of pattern, but I know life well enough to understand that it just waits there in the corner, biding its time until you let your guard down, and then KABLAAMO.

Yes, that's a technical term.

Anyway, I thought I'd spend a post getting everyone more or less up to speed on where we are in our lives these days. First, with respect to this blog and its focus of adapting to a low/no energy lifestyle while in-town, we've doubtlessly backslid. In our defense, it's been a really, really, really, really hard year. And now that things are evening out a bit, my husband and I have gone through a role-reversal. This means that now I'm the full-time breadwinner, and he's the housespouse. But in practical terms, this also means that he's taking over a role that I had 5 years to work at and improve. He has a steep learning curve ahead of him, and he knows it, but he's also tackling things pretty well. So to be perfectly honest, a lot of projects I'd been working on have been pushed to a back burner. And that's okay. At least, I hope it's okay. I've been assured by Sharon Astyk that you've still got at least until Friday before the end of the world. Hm. Oh crap, that post was date-stamped Aug. 3rd. Maybe I'm screwed after all?? But aside from applying personal salve to my wounded deep-green ego, I must recognize that peak oil is no respecter of persons. Our world energy situation doesn't give two craps if we've been unemployed or not. So while I (like everyone else, I suspect) am praying for a nice, slow decline, perhaps it's time to start ramping up again. (Or is that ramping down? What's the appropriate metaphor here?)

Both of our children are now in full-time school, and both seem to be enjoying it. It may surprise some readers here that we do not homeschool, given the sorts of people we are and such. I've got no issues with homeschooling, just like I have no issues with goat ownership--as long as it's someone else doing it. (FYI, I hate goats. And they hate me, so it works out.) But I am grateful to live in a nation that, over a century ago, recognized the critical importance of having an educated populance for running a democracy, and instituted compulsory, universal education. I am further blessed with living in a pretty good school district, with teachers and principals that I very much like. In a more long-term, philosophical sense, I also have some grave concerns about the abandonment of said compulsory, universal system of education as a society, but that's a post for another day (and, just possibly, for a different blog). For now, I will quote my dear friend Kate, who once said, "I like to think of public education as a personal gift to me from my government."

My own life is now quite interesting and different. My full-time job is unlike anything anywhere else. I work for a Motherhouse (yes, the place where nuns live) in their eco-justice ministry (yes, that does make sense. Think it through, creation, god's gift to us, care for each other and the world.... there ya go.) This means I have done all of the following in the past three months: written a draft of a business plan; dehydrated over 40# of tomatoes and 20# of apples; created a new yearly budget; been named head of the Safety Committee; worked the farmer's market; scooped alpaca poop; written check requests; paid bills; planned an invasive species workshop; planned a workshop to introduce peak oil to Sisters; and wrote a proposal for getting chickens. All as a part of my job. My job rocks. A lot. A whole lot.

On a related note, my job has also done wonders for my posture. I must pass at least 5 seriously osteoparetic (is that an adjective?) sisters every day, and nothing says "stand up straight, girl!" like that does.

My garden did well in the early season, but now is in... shambles? No, not shambles, that's unfair. But it is DONE. And I planted out my fall crops too early, so the seeds all fried. Gonna try again, possibly this weekend. At the least I'd like some beets & lettuce, ya know? And, of course, there is the new CHICKEN COOP! But no chickens yet, alas. I will likely need to wait until next spring and get some chicks, which is probably the best way to do things anyway. I am also investigating various chicken + garden alternatives. We shall see what we shall see...

So, onward and upward, right?


  1. Chicken/garden: One of the neatest things I have seen (and I will be doing this once I get these stupid free range across 80 acres chickens caught) is having a double fence around a garden.

    Visualize from the inside out:

    After final harvest, take down the inner fence and let the chickens have at it all winter. They will eat it down and leave behind a nice fertilizer while also leaving it tilled for the spring.

    Come spring, put the inner fence back up and plant.

    Now, how does one go about capturing chickens across a very large yard?

  2. By the way, as far as goats go, Robin liked you. :)

  3. Mrs Hoppes, that is called a chicken moat and I think it is a grand idea, but it requires alot of tall hens fly over a 4foot fence. One could put a gate in the inner fence to let them in the garden, instead of taking down the fence. Of course one needs a gate anyway to get in the garden. As for catching those chickens, I am clueless! Good luck!
    And Robyn, you have an AWESOME job!!! Glad you are back to blogging, as one of your newbies followers and a fellow doomer!