And then shake it up.

Is it weird that the weather often matches how I’m feeling? Perhaps I’m just looking for it. Today is calm and cool and a little drizzly. So nice. I’m listening to lots of appropriate music, too. Lots of Nick Drake and Martin Sexton. Oooh how I love some Martin Sexton.

I’ve been working hard lately. I really like work… mostly. I helps that it’s all work for those that I love, for my life. It’s all relevant work. I see now that the ways in which I was lazy or distracted in my youth or in my pre-baby life had less to do with my work ethic and more to do with the fact that it didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t see my purpose in it. I mean, yeah, I could make sense out if it if I wanted. Mostly that came down to some version of "don’t get in trouble", which I don’t think is a good reason to do anything. Then it was about money, which is a fancier version of "don’t get in trouble". My life now, though, with it’s fair share of overwhelmed, brow-wiping, sigh-heaving moments, is so gratifying. I do the things I do because I want to. I want to nourish my family and friends. I want a warm and easy home. I want to be strong and healthy. I want to watch things grow strong and healthy with my care. I want to foster love in everything I do. It’s all happening!

Jeff and I are actively working to rid ourselves of our dependency on a system that keeps us working too hard for things that don’t matter and are ultimately destructive. I always wonder where I’ll be in another year. Things change so fast for us. I’ve basically settled on the realization that, to quote Derrick Jensen, "civilization is not, and can never be, sustainable." Yeah… I’ll talk more about this in a separate entry, but this realization is going to affect many aspects of my life and thoughts. I no longer am holding on to the misconception that we can maintain this way of life, not by a long shot. I suppose I wasn’t really hanging onto that idea, but there was a part of me that was kind of waiting until we cleaned this all up and worked it out. So. We have been really thinking hard about how to deal with this, and ultimately how to live our lives in a moral way. It isn’t easy to think about. We feel as if our whole foundation is being shaken. However, it’s also clear to us that if we don’t shake our own foundation then it will crumble beneath us, and I’d prefer to change my own life thankyouverymuch. I’m also dealing with feelings of anger towards the majority of human life- for their unwillingness to change, for their destructiveness, for their shortsightedness and selfishness. I know we can do better than this, and I believe we’re worth saving. But damn, can we be destructive and stupid little buggers. It leaves me a little stranded at times. I now see all sorts of ways in which my life is destructive, and it’s hard for me to see how to change it. All the more reason TO change it, I think. I’m sure there are loads of people who feel that way, unable to move forward. If we can do it, then so can they. All it takes is me, and then you. And then we are us. And then we have a new world. I have to keep that in mind every day. That as complicated as it can seem, it really is that simple. I guess, what I mean to say is, it’s hard to do, but it’s simple. We know how to fix this problem, we just don’t do it. I’m trying to figure out how to do it now, because I have no more excuses.

I’ve got lots of before and after posts coming. We’ve just done so much with the house and we want to record it in some way. I love before and after pictures. One really good thing creating an apartment in our basement does (aside from making a home for a good friend), is it forces us to go through all our shit. I think it’s amazing that we are going to be fully unpacked only 6 months after moving in. Wild. I was sure it would take us years. I’ve also been able to seriously purge. I don’t know how we collected all this crap that we don’t need, or even look at, but convince ourselves to keep in a box somewhere "just in case". I’m really trying to teach myself discernment in that area. It’s harder than it sounds.

Now, pictures of flowers, garden, and baby.


I’m loving all of the new color in the garden. With tomatoes ripening, it’s just beautiful out there.

The old owners left us with all sorts of viney pretty things, and this one looks like it’s going to bloom! I’ll have to figure out the names of these things…

Turnips!

Chard!

It’s getting harder and harder to get a picture of this little one. But that won’t stop me from trying!

A sea of kale. Yum.

Quote of the day:
"I’ve got a little faith on the table
Find a little hope in the jar
There’s got to be sanity ’round here somewhere
And then shake it up. " (Martin Sexton)

Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (19)

  1. prophetsong

    Great entry. I’m feeling really empathic to some of the thoughts you describe. Right now I feel caught between the practicalities of the life I have the need to push forwards with the life I want Zakary to absorb which unfortunately feels a little too radical for the environment we live in. Sometimes I fantasize about just moving to a more communal living situation where we can really embrace slef sufficiency but that really couldn’t happen without some significant upheaval as there is no scope for that where I live. Trying to find the middle ground is tricky :S

    Decluttering is so good for the soul. I took 3 bags to the charity shop just today and felt sooo much better.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      It is hard when there’s so little support for this. I have a feeling that will change soon. I don’t think it should stop us from doing what we believe in, though. I’ll be interested to hear about your struggles/triumphs are in the future!

      Amen, sister.

      Reply
  2. 93_millionmiles

    And then we are us.

    I know we have some slight differences in our views, but our goals and motives are mostly the same, I think.

    You should watch Garbage Warrior with us. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Re: And then we are us.

      Yes! We would love to. I told Jeff a little about it and he’s up for it too. This Friday would be bad though, we are really trying to get this apartment up and running. So, next week sometime? When are you guys free?

      Reply
      1. 93_millionmiles

        Re: And then we are us.

        I start school next week and I have classes on Monday and Wednesday so… Thursday? Friday?

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          Re: And then we are us.

          Thursday? That would be so fun, I think. Maybe you guys could bring it here? That way we could put baby to sleep at some point. Let me know. πŸ™‚

          Reply
          1. 93_millionmiles

            Re: And then we are us.

            Okay, I like that idea. πŸ™‚

          2. Gracie (Post author)

            Re: And then we are us.

            Bah, Thursday won’t work. It’s one of the only evenings our bro-in-law can come help with some plumbing and stuff. What about Saturday evening?

          3. 93_millionmiles

            Re: And then we are us.

            That’s okay. I’ll have to check with Noah, but that’ll probably work.

  3. cknk

    Do you eat the nasturnums?

    I really appreciate reading your posts. I would love to hear more about what kind of changes you’ve been making.

    I’m going to reread this one a couple of times in the next few days probably. I have at different times in the last five years really felt motivated to try to free myself to live the type of moral life I want. Then there’s times when I’m just frantically trying to keep day to day stuff going, and other times when I wish I could just live “a normal life.”

    I think one of the hardest things for me is the sense that when I do strive most to live the type of life I want, I end up withdrawing from much contact with people other than my husband and children. In some ways that is okay, but in other ways it makes this all feel very self-indulgent, like then I’m just one more person living with enough luxury to be able to live whatever lifestyle I want.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yes! I love putting it in my salads (people love the flowers), and this year I’m going to make nasturtium pesto to freeze. Do you grow it? What do you grow?

      I appreciate your posts, as well. I felt like we were kindred spirits when I read what you wrote that day. πŸ™‚

      I think so much in this life is like building a muscle. It’s hard at first, but you just get stronger and are capable of pushing yourself that much more. I think it’s normal to be overwhelmed or feel like you don’t have the capacity for it at times, because essentially, you don’t. But if we stop pushing ourselves further, if we stop “feeling the burn”, then we’ll never be able to do what we want.

      You know, I think you’ve got a point. This is, in some ways, kind of an elitist thing to think/do. I mean, are the urban poor really sitting around thinking about how to live more sustainably? We are definitely privileged to be able to ask these questions and do these things- however, it doesn’t make it not worth doing or any less the right thing to do! I think to combat the feeling you describe we should get out and spread this message- at least regularly talk to others with the same goals and encourage each other. It’s a shame that you end up withdrawing. If you think about it, if things changed how we’d like them to, you’d have a whole community around you helping. I see this in our future. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. cknk

        Yes, I have nasturtium’s growing in my yard. I heard that they were edible and wanted to try growing them. I haven’t done much more than pick a few leaves to throw into salads. Pesto sounds like a good idea, maybe I’ll try some too. I also have violets, which I heard were edible but haven’t really tried yet, and Sweet Williams that are just about to start blooming.

        My garden is pretty small. I have some carrots, onions, sunflowers. I have both arugula and mustard that I’ve let flower and am hoping to harvest the seeds of. I have mint, rosemary, basil. I’m trying a few things I’ve never tried before, like salad burnet and lovage. I have evening primrose that I’m thinking I’d like to dig up and eat (I’ve heard the roots and leaves are edible) but I’m waiting until next year to try to let it get established as a perennial. I don’t have much room, and because I am getting vegetables through a CSA, I thought I would put what space I have towards the odder plants. And tomatoes. At the last minute, at Merritt’s urging, I filled every available last little cranny of the garden with tomato plants. I though they’d wilt and die quickly like my parents always did, but for some reason they are thriving and I’ve been able to start harvesting.

        Some thoughts are starting to gather in my brain about that idea of getting out and spreading the message. But I’m just about to put the kids to bed and don’t have time to write them out now. So I’ll probably post on it later.

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          I had violets on my wedding cheesecake! They are… edible! Mostly I just think they are beautiful. πŸ™‚

          Sounds like a beautiful garden! You should post pictures.

          Reply
  4. purerandomness

    Dear Lord, Vera is so beautiful!

    For some reason, my tomatoes are not ripening. We have lots and lots of bright green ones, but nothing is changing colors yet. I’m sure as soon as we get home we’ll see some improvement. I love fresh tomatoes right off the plant–YUM!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      You are seriously behind on posting Ben pictures. I miss him already!

      I’m sure those tomatoes will pink up soon. Or you could do fried green tomatoes if you’re really anxious!

      Reply
  5. unicorntapestry

    If you got a cow and grew parsnips and mustard, you could make root veggie casserole without ever having to leave your house!
    That kale looks delicious.
    Your baby is adorable.
    You are awesome.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      I love you.

      Oh, man, and that bra thing? SCARY. HORRIBLE. AWFUL!!!! I could hardly believe it when I read it. Here’s wishing you a comfortable non-toxic bra in the very near future!

      Reply
  6. ardenseye

    Reading this the first time, it blew my mind really. In some ways I’m really struggling with the idea of having a second child and your thoughts really brought this internal debate home.
    Also, I’ve met and fallen in love with swiss chard this summer… amazing!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Oooh, the “do we have more kids?” thing… I struggle with this too. On the one hand, there are too many people- well, too much consuming, really. It’s not as simple as just numbers. But even still, there are too many. And yet, if all the people who are motivated to make positive change and live sustainably are to stop raising children, then who are we left with? Jeff and I are not (and won’t be) in a financial position to adopt- and I have issues with that industry anyway… it’s just hard. I haven’t settled on this issue yet. What are your thoughts? I think mainly we should just be really brutally honest with ourselves and have open dialogue about it.

      Reply

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