I’ve moved. Yayness! I’m now living near the Cumberland Gap. I am also going to be starting med school in a couple of weeks. I will try to keep posting regularly, but if a long span of time goes by without an update, then you’ll know why.
Time past, whenever I moved, I simply took stock of the chain stores in the new location. Despite their many drawbacks, box stores have the advantage of comfort and familiarity for people, like myself, who move often and/or have RoadTripping in their blood. I know that wherever I am, I can walk into a Walmart anywhere and know that I will can get exactly what I need and that it will be solid quality for a low price. I’ve got the inventory memorized, and the stores only have two layouts which are mirror images of each other, so it’s also easy to get in, get out, and get on with my life without even thinking about it.
But mindfulness is the name of the game now, which means that moving entails not only physically transferring all my possessions from one place to another, but also reassessing how to acquire all the goods and services I need in the most sustainable manner possible. I’m now living in a small rural town as opposed to living right in the city, which requires quite a significant adjustment in this regard. Aside from Walmart, the town has a Kroger and a Food City, a handful of fast food and casual dining, a smallish mall, a Good Will, and a handful of smaller stores. Like many small rural towns, the downtown is a bit shabby and most local businesses are struggling, though there is supposed to be a nice coffee shop that is a popular hang out. I’m going to be good and check out the local businesses to see what they are like, but I suspect that they won’t carry most of the goods that I use on a regular basis. One promising thing is a farmer’s market downtown that I have yet to check out.
This sounds a little limiting the way I’ve written it, but frankly, I’ve never been a fan of cities or suburbs, and I’m far happier living in the middle of nowhere, like I am now, than be within a stone’s throw of all the shopping I need. It just requires a bit of planning and strategizing, like scheduling long distance shopping trips, mail ordering, and doing without. What I’m hoping to do is make a once a month trip into the city to visit the food coop and Earth Fare and any other shopping that I need, visiting the farmer’s market on a regular basis when it’s open, and shopping at Kroger and Walmart as sparingly as I can. It’s possible that I’ll be able to network at the farmer’s market and find some more local food sources. I’m particularly hoping that I can find milk locally, since I really liked being able to buy local milk from pastured cows when I lived in Raleigh. It’s pretty much the only thing that I won’t be able to get from the food coop, since milk only lasts a couple weeks at most.
There are other advantages of living here too. One is that the town is very amenable to walking and biking, much more so than Raleigh. I may even be able bike commute to school (which is in the next town over). So I’m hoping to limit the driving to these once a month trips into the city and any other necessary long distance trips. That will be a great relief for me, because as much as I love RoadTripping, being forced to drive to get around anywhere in town has always really bugged me. I’m also planning on move to a much more rural location eventually, so living here will be a good way to transition.
As I’ve been packing and unpacking, I’ve found myself pondering about how people moved in the olden days, before our infrastructure supported such a mobile lifestyle and people’s wealth was much more tied to place and community. I guess that the only people who moved frequently were the very rich, who could bring enough material wealth with them to survive comfortably until they could establish themselves in a new place and build new social ties, and the very poor, who having nothing left to lose, either hit the road and survived any way they could…or they didn’t. As much as I love the mobility of contemporary society, I can’t help but be troubled by how it contributes to the eroding of community and the ties between human beings and their environment, when there’s the expectation that almost anyone can up and move to a new location if needed or wanted because of a job or anything else, but wherever one goes, it’s exactly the same, comforting and familiar. Migration patterns end up being based more on economics than on the ability of the land to sustain population.
Filed under: crafts
I finally taught myself how to crochet. It took a little while to get started, but once you get the hang of it, it goes really fast. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
I’m not sure what my next project is going to be, but I’d like to get into making something functional like socks. (If anyone can point me in the direction of a simple, easy sock pattern, feel free to leave a comment.) I’m also planning to use up my stash of plastic bags to make some tote bags.
I’ve recently acquired my grandmother’s knitting supplies, so I’m also going to get into knitting as well. My grandmother taught me when I was little, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to relearn.
Filed under: garden
I took these pictures at the beginning of June, but didn’t get around to posting them until now. Oops.
Rosemary. My attempts to grow rosemary from cuttings completely failed, but then I picked up a bush from the Duke Homestead Herb and Craft Fair. And yes, I do realize that using the grass as a backdrop was not the best idea.
Garlic. This died off at the end of May and I’m not sure why. I’m not really sweating it because I was just growing it on a lark. I got the cloves from the supermarket and I have no idea what variety is or where exactly it’s from, so I don’t know the specifics about ideal growing conditions and so forth.
Tomato. The plant is growing pretty well and there’s a dozen or more tomato-lets growing. They seem to be small, but bigger than a cherry tomato or a Roma tomato. Slightly bigger than a golf ball, I guess. Still not sure what variety it is.
Filed under: garden
There’s been some good growth on all the plants in the past months, as well as some new additions.
Rosemary. I picked this up at the plant exchange. It’s actually a cutting, and may not be the right kind for growing a new plant. I’m going to try anyway and see what happens. The big one is the original cutting, then I took three smaller offshoots from the big one and I’m going to try getting those to root as well. Everything I read online really confused me as to what type of cutting will work, so I’m hoping that one or the other is the ticket. Here goes nothing. *crosses fingers*
Tomato. Bottom leaves turned yellow and died while the upper part of the plant was thriving, which worried me until I finally read something that said that the lower branches typically die off as the growing season moves along. Phew.
Filed under: transportation
I bought a bike! Let me tell you that I am such a wimp that the first time I went for a ride, my legs totally gave out after wards. Anyway, practice, as they say, is key. Riding with the cars really freaks me out, too, and the Piedmont topography is also a little challenging. So far, I’ve biked to the Farmer’s Market and back a couple of times. I’ve got a running calculation of bike expenses and money and gas saved and I will do a periodic update on the balance. I will also post updates of my progress in shifting from car to bike as my primary mode of transit.
Yes, it’s May already, I know. But I took these pictures at the beginning of April and the time got away from me. Everything seems to be doing rather well, but I’m still holding my breath. Also, I discovered this platform of sorts below the porch, so I moved my plants there because it seemed like that’s what all my neighbors were doing.
Chandler Strawberries. Got these at the Farmer’s Market. There’s actually three plants in here, but I only have a limited amount of pots (which I got from Craigslist and other assorted places), so I’m keeping them together for now. I’m tentatively planning on separating them next year to let them grow some more. That strawberry you see ripened the day or so after I bought the plants. Tasty.
Tomato. My roommate got me this for my birthday. She works in a greenhouse and is apparently sick to death of tomato plant so she thought of me when there were plants not being used anymore. She has no idea what variety it is. Possibly a Money Maker? If anyone has an idea, please leave a comment. Also, I’m going to have to figure out the best way to handle tomatoes if/when they do ripen, since I don’t like raw tomatoes, only cooked or in sauce.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tiny Choices, as the name implies, is a green blog that focuses on the little things anyone can do that add up to big changes. It’s a philosophy that I also share. Recently, I filled out their survey. Here are my responses:
Vital statistics (name, age, location, link to website/blog)?
Liz; 28; Raleigh, NC;
How do you reside (apartment or house, roommates)?
I’m renting a townhouse with 2 roommates.
Are your housing decisions dictated by choice or necessity? Please explain.
By necessity. I’m in transition between grad school and med school and this was the best temporary accommodations I could find on craigslist.
How do you travel (transit, car, etc)? Are your travel decisions dictated by choice or necessity? Please explain.
Mostly by car, though I’m planning on getting a bike soon. This is by necessity. Raleigh does have public transit but it’s not set up to make it easy to get to any of the places I need to go.
Tell us about a Tiny Choice you’ve made in your life.
Using reusable bags rather than the plastic ones was one of the first things I did. It did take a while to remember to take them into the store with me, but after that, it’s one of the easiest things you can do. And I’m so happy not to have the mounting pile of plastic bags taking over my closet anymore!
What is the one environmental dilemma you personally struggle the most with?
I love the freedom and independence of having a car, which I’m loathe to give up despite the emissions that driving causes.
What is one Tiny Choice you can make in that direction?
Getting a bike will really help cut down my driving around town. I’ve also contemplated using Amtrak for long distance traveling when possible.
What is the one environmental Tiny Choice you make that people question (in either a positive educational or a negative hassle way) you the most about?
I’ve started using cloth wipes instead of toilet paper (just for #1 at the moment). I haven’t told anyone in real life about this, but I imagine that a lot of people I know would feel uneasy about that.
What is the one environmental Tiny Choice you would like every single person to adopt?
I’d like everyone to start thinking more about their resource use and to consider in each instance whether the end result is really worth the resources expended. I think that all other changes result from becoming more conscious of one’s actions.
Do you feel like you make sacrifices for environmentalism? Please explain.
I make a few sacrifices. I kind of miss taking long showers and that hot out of the dryer feel that my clothes used to get, but these are minor. Major sacrifices can be effective in the short term, but I’m trying to do is create a more sustainable lifestyle and that’s not going to work if I feel deprived. It’s the destructive practices that one has no particular attachment to but does anyway because of cultural inertia that should be the focus of one’s efforts.
Are you generally: optimistic, pessimistic, neutral about environmentalism and the future?
I’m ambivalent. I sometimes feel like things are so overwhelming, but I choose to have hope because to fall into despair will only compound our problems.