Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trying to slow down, but who cut the brakes?

I am continually being challenged by the need to simplify my life and slow down the pace. Yet every step I take towards this goal seems to be redirected and I find myself in the same situation that I was trying to escape, and my life remains as complicated as ever.

This is true of so many different areas of life. I have been trying to establish a veggie garden to reduce reliance upon commercial food production. Not only should this reduce the cost of food, it is intended to increase the freshness and flavour of the food we eat. But the desired reduction of cost doesn’t seem to be working. Creating and maintaining a vegetable garden seems to be very expensive.
A few years ago I moved from the city to a country town, hoping to maintain a more frugal, less job-dominated life. I worked out that I could easily earn enough money from part time employment to sustain a simplified lifestyle. Yet despite my intentions I could only find fulltime work and have been unable to realise the hoped for slower pace.

Full time work has also had other effects. Once again I’ve become used to receiving a “full time” salary, and it seems like my lifestyle has moulded itself to fit the incoming funds. I can no longer imagine how I could survive without that income when there’s a shed to build, a bathroom to renovate, an evaporative air conditioner to replace, ceilings to repair and paint, gardens to complete… There’s always something else that needs money. And note I haven't yet mentioned all of those other things required to decrease my "ecological footprint".

It would seem ideal to be able to live a more self-sustaining lifestyle, but one thing I’ve noticed is that self-sufficiency is a very expensive business as can be seen from the example of so many who are trying to move in that direction. Even with Government rebates, people are spending a fortune on water tanks, grey water irrigation systems, solar panelling and who knows what other technologies that are "essential" for a simpler, less damaging way of life. Clearly the “ideal” does not come cheaply and I suspect it may be another consumerist con; this time targeting those with a social conscience.


Staying Alive said...

To hell with the green stuff nd the carbon footprint and all of that crap. Live your life with your family and have a blast! Your garden is feeding you FRESH WHOLESOME food and not genetically modified frankenfood. Stay with it. Your food will help you out.

Study dehydration and how to do it. It works and though not as good as home canned it sure makes good food. Stock up on canned goods and gt ready for hard times. Hard times ARE coming.

Good look down under!


Onesimus said...

G'Day Michael,
I'm quite new to gardening and growing my own food. There have been a few successes and a few failures.

We are now coming out of winter and the garden has been unproductive for a while - then just as we approach Spring, we start to get heavy frosts. Our growing season for many things seems to be regularly shortened by a combination of late and early frosts.

At the moment I'm trying to decide how to increase my garden area devoted to food production. We live on a 1/4 acre block, most of whihc was lawn when we moved in. The lawn has shrunk over the last three years but we still have about half left that needs to be reclaimed for a more uselful purpose.

I have a concern for environmental issues, but I'm not obsessive about it. I am perhaps more concerned about the consumerism that has led to so many of the environmental problems.