Tag Archives: beehives

Made from scratch

19 Apr

I just finished reading Jenna Woginrich’s lovely book Made from Scratch. She tells the story of moving to a small rental farm in Idaho where she puts in a garden, keeps chickens, rabbits, and bees, goes sledding with her dogs, and makes her own clothes. Not to mention antique shopping, mountain music and baking bread. She interweaves her personal account with easy to follow instructions and information on how to do all these things yourself.

I already know how to sew and knit and bake a loaf of bread, but I like her humourous advice on gardening and keeping chooks. In fact, her chapter on pack dogs has almost got me tempted to have a dog. But not quite. And definitely not here!

I related to the book, as she is a young web designer who yearned for a more ‘simple’ and self sufficient lifestyle, and did it in her own small way. From the beginning. Although the fact that she rents a farm rather than a house with a yard in suburbia, as I do, helps a little. It also probably helps that she has a full time design job and no children, and therefore money, which I don’t. Nonetheless, I DO have a garden, and I have a wonderful little boy who deserves homegrown veges and fresh eggs, and therefore I am going to attempt to create my own little slice of homestead pie, on my piece of rented suburbia. Until I can move to a farm and do it for real.

Check out Jenna’s blog here: Cold Antler Farm I like being able to see some photos, although I haven’t yet had a chance to read any of her entries.

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The question of poverty

12 Apr

OK, so here’s the problem. (Starting with a problem may not be the most positive of attitudes, but the solution is something to work for.)

The negative impacts of Peak Oil are going to take effect at some point in the not-too-distant future, and my family lives in a rented house which is totally dependent on the grid for power and water, with no vege garden or fruit trees, a bike that doesn’t even work, and not a chicken in sight. What’s worse, we have no money.

It’s easy enough (OK, maybe not easy, but do-able at least) to head out to the countryside, install solar panels and a rainwater tank, get a chicken coop and a cow and some beehives, plant some fruit trees and a vege garden and buy an electric bike if you have money. My question is: how does one prepare for Peak Oil when one has no money, few practical skills and not even a piece of land to call one’s own? I don’t foresee a web designer and camera operator being highly sought after when the markets collapse and there is no food.

It would be nice, to ignore it all. I did just that up until a few weeks ago. Despite the evidence, I chose to believe that it would all be alright. Maybe things would be a little tight and we’d have to do a bit more walking, and it might get a little warmer and we might not be able to eat mangoes at all times of the year, but it would be alright. It would be really nice to remain in ignorant bliss. But now that I am no longer ignorant, I can’t ignore it. I just can’t accept that point of view anymore. There’s a precious little boy asleep in his cot in the room next to me who deserves a chance at a good life, not a short one. I can no longer be an ostrich, I have to be a mama bear, fighting for my baby. If that means composting toilets and chopping wood and gasp! getting my hands dirty in a vege garden, then so be it. If that means working so hard that my hands get cracks in them and I can never get the dirt out, so be it.

The trouble is, I just don’t know how. How do we buy a piece of land when we are on a single income living in the city, paying high rent? If we move somewhere that is cheaper to live in order to save, we wouldn’t have an income at all. If we move to a two bedroom instead of three bedroom house, I won’t have enough space to run my business, which is the lifeline I am holding onto in the hopes that I can actually bring in some money we can save. And if we can’t buy a piece of land, there’s no way we can build a house, and if we can’t build a house, there’s no point in having solar panels, even could we afford them.

It’s all well and good to say ‘Peak Oil is coming, run for the hills’. Self-sufficiency is a great thing to strive for. But in practicality, it’s a bit trickier than that.