Can we ‘make’ it?

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Don Delillo’s White Noise.

“Here we are… knowing all these great things after centuries of progress but what can we do…? Can we make a refrigerator? Can we even explain how it works? What is electricity? What is light?… Name one thing you could make.” from blog post at fair companies

Sustainable living continues to intrigue me on many levels. As I am sure I have said before in one of my blogs somewhere, the term has been upcycled over time encompassing everything from waste not want not thriftiness, frugal cost saving, simple and/or meaningful living, do it yourself, homesteading, living off the grid, recycling, green or eco-living, but whatever it might mean to you, I have a stronger sense of what it has meant and means to me.

A few years back I set upon myself the task of learning to do more that would equate to what is today’s term of sustainable living by trying to teach myself more of the old homemaker skills that seem to elude my grasp. It was both fun and challenging and I learned some few new skills, but not nearly enough to survive if the way of life as we know it does not sustain.

I keep thinking I will blog about it, make a website collection about it and I do go about getting projects started but fall seriously short of goal. Enough years have elapsed with the internet now that there are many such blogs, websites, groups, forums, social networks that cover sustainable living far more comprehensively than my meager collection efforts.

So what is the point of this blog entry? I have One Note which is a great piece of Microsoft software that works like several expanding file folders. For the most part that is where I keep my collections. There is no need to blog it as a means to harvest or collect information intended for my personal use. Blogging then has changed shape for me as blogging is a sharing of information enterprise, and I am not sure what I have to share that hasn’t been shared somewhere else by someone else.

I’ve seen a number of blogs that serve as collections of source links pointing to other peoples accomplishments. I could perhaps do that as well, and find I am likely unwilling to devote the time to keeping such a blog updated regularly, nor spending great amounts of time searching out the internet. So this blog will be a bit more random and irregular in it’s purpose, theme and what catches my interest to share. Mostly though, it still feels to me like the overarching theme for me is what amounts to sustainable living – on several fronts.

Having taken all my blogs and integrated them into one, I find I have far too many category tags for the tags to be functional. Yet I am unwilling to spend the time to condense the category tags for each blog post into more functional categorization. Wishing any interested reader well in trying to sort through the too lengthy list of tags, but I sure wouldn’t blame you if you gave up after seeing the list.

Deersong

Sustainable Christmas? The year of ‘No Consumer Shopping’ gifts

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lighted Christmas tree

I’ve issued what I think is a fun challenge to the families that make up some of our family tree. This year, with the economic issues, downright crisis in some instances, and with sustainable living – green – recycle – reclaim – reuse – global warming, well seems a perfect year to make a change we’ve been gradually making anyway.

Say No to Consumer Shopping and Yes to Joyously Remade Christmas. In my challenge to my families , I put out simple rules; No purchases at stores, not even Dollar Store but Thrift Stores okay. Food gifts okay, but cannot purchase outside your normal food budget (so can’t run out and buy up all kinds of holiday food items to make food gifts). How creatively can we recycle items into gifts?

I’ve been interested in this for a while now, and with re-fashioning clothes into other fashions, re-making used items into something else, and all the crafty, sustainable living, green, recycle, re-use, re-claim websites and blogs online, I think it would be a fun challenge for our families. What do you think? I’ve asked also for fun links to websites and blogs with how to tutorials, diy (do it yourself), trash to treasures kind of thing. I welcome your participation too. Tell me about your effort towards no consumer shopping Christmas gifts this year.

Deersong

What we did, what we do now

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My husband started a blog we intended to partner and write as a daily journal, using the blog as a vehicle to chronicle some elements of living our life in this wonderful treasure of a hamlet called Bay Center (named so because it is a peninsula that juts out into the center of Willapa Bay). We didn’t do what we intended with that blog. Some years have passed and elements of our life and activities together are reflected in bits and pieces spread out amongst our other blogs.

It would be a bit time consuming to capture the last five years of our life living here in this village on the bay into one blog entry, so I won’t try. As we move on with postings about our lives now, likely some of our past activities will show themselves in our future posts together.

He is five years to retirement, and I ‘retired’ a little earlier – May 2003 – but since I only put in sixteen of the required twenty years, I’m not going to be receiving any kind of a retirement pension. Thus, I am not officially ‘retired’ whereby I receive monthly retirement compensation (income). We are trying to figure out how (if) our income in retirement will meet our daily needs. We used the rules we grew up with as the basis for our retirement, but we can see those rules have become antiquated and outdated for these tumultuous economic times.

So in between our intense efforts and activities to speak out as military family with loved ones deployed in Iraq (see more on our activism at one of my blgs, Dying to Preserve the Lies), there have been some other things we do in our daily lives besides activism. Although it has taken me about the last year to clear my head a bit from the intensity of the previous five years of activism, enough to see that it became so all consuming for me, therefore for us, maybe we are finding some balance in our lives now. Looking out at the horizon, there are new challenges for all of us ahead in these difficult times with the looming oil/food/economic crisis. As we blog, we expect to be addressing our efforts at how we are trying to be somewhat prepared for an uncertain future.

Recognizing that we don’t have the survival skills of our ancestors, we are trying to learn a thing or two about a thing or two. Learning about food management is one of several of our current shared focus – growing our own food, harvesting, preserving what we grow – and that is a large enough chunk to bite off as the peripheral topics that accompany it become their own kind of challenges, ie, making a root cellar.

I think because it is something we CAN do, it helps us to feel like we are attempting to do something concrete in the face of knowing that the wolf is at the door. We have spent a goodly amount of the last five years being messengers, and it feels good and right to turn attention now to spending less time messengering, and more time doing. Amen.

Deersong

It was fun, and then it became too real – our fun little Skinflint Curmudgeon character

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Then and Now

Over the years, the imaginary character, skinflint curmudgeon, has been evolving as our own times have been evolving. When he was invented, there was a movement towards abundant simplified living, living off the grid, meaningful living and enriching the act of living. Since he was invented, politics in this country (USA) has so altered the landscape of living life enough that there are economic conditions that rather force a change in lifestyle for those not among the wealthy and more wealthy.
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Erosion of middle class economics, inflated housing market prices, inflated and rising petroleum/gas prices which absolutely will have impact on our carbon-based economy and way of life. Meanwhile the discretionary income margin we permitted for ourselves when we deliberately reduced to one income lifestyle has been consumed by the ever increasing petroleum-based essential products, like groceries, heat for our home, and for us there no longer is a discretionary income margin. Every dollar is budgeted and accounted for and we have yet to make what will be required cuts to manage the cost increases ahead.

So while our fun little character, skinflint curmudgeon, was just going to give ornery type old fashioned advice in a whimsical kind of way, it is becoming less fanciful fun and more a necessity to shave costs, squeeze more out of the dollars we have and look at new ways to manage our lives since the foundational plan of our younger years will not carry us well into our later years.

Deersong

Subprime Lending Crisis: Millions of Families Face Losing Their Homes to Foreclosure

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(in March 2015, I’m not posting the entirety of the article from 2007, it’s old news now, however, it is accurate – millions did lose their homes, millions did face foreclosures, millions did have underwater mortgages.  And the economy crashed and somehow resilient Americans created a new normal)

If interested in reading the article from April 2007 it is at Democracy Now

Deersong