Monday, June 10, 2013

local adventure #3: no impact month

We're having our second low impact summer (inspired by no impact man). Our rules are adapted for our lives in rural Indiana and not quite as flashy, but we like it. This means that we limit our consumerism as much as possible by following these simple rules: 
  1. no buying new things
  2. no electricity
  3. no eating food from outside a 200 mile radius (note: this radius includes Bell's brewery).
We read by candlelight in the evenings, bike when possible, shop only at goodwill and garage sales, and acquire no packaging.  We have a “bag of shame” in the kitchen where we put all non-compostable waste we acquire in the summer as a reminder of our consumer-oriented lives.  The goal: to support local farmers, to be aware of the waste we produce as consumers, to reduce screen time, and to simplify. 

We have allowances. We allow ourselves one fan (this is after sleeping in wet t-shirts one unbearably hot summer), the washing machine, the refrigerator, and the stove.  All lights and small appliances are cut off.  We are also allowed to eat food that is hiding the back of our cupboards, so it is a good time to get rid of things like spaghetti, canned beans, and sprinkles.  Candles, books, farmers’ markets, and bikes become the symbols of these times in our memories. We look forward to it and remember it fondly. 

This drastic change of habits brings many things to our attention. For example, one needs very little light to brush one's teeth. But it's a habit to have day light in all spaces, so we instinctively turn on the light when we walk into a room. The very first morning of low impact this summer, Lisa got out of bed and said "no lights, no lights, no lights" to herself outloud, preparing to battle the unconscious reach for the light switch. She said this all the way down the hall. When she walked into the bathroom, the first thing she did was flip on the switch. BAH! It's in our reflexes. That morning we were guilty of 3 violations: 2 light switches, and one electric coffee grinder. Really. 

Some of the only waste we have acquired during low impact summer has been the bubble wrap that came with a Jean-Luc Picard Christmas tree ornament that Lisa bought at a garage sale. It cost 4 dollars. Everything else at the garage sale was around 25 cents. Just sayin. Although it was an investment, we are learning after being married and merging our lives that some things are worthy of sacrifice. In our case this means acquiring bubble wrap for purchase of Star Trek paraphernalia during low impact summer. 

Below: home made candles from recycled wax. We go through candles these days, which are necessary for all things in the evening, like connect four, scrabble, and brushing teeth.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

local adventure #2: morel feast

today near wolflake, indiana, we...
  • saw 80 species of birds, including magnolia warbler, american redstart, black and white warbler, nashville warbler, and common nighthawk
  • saw a small raptor (we think a cooper's hawk) snag a tree sparrow right out of the air
  • stumbled upon a morel forest and had the best meal of the year so far

Friday, November 4, 2011

local adventure #1

tonight, in our kitchen, we broke a bottle of red wine on the floor. didn't have to go too far to do that.