First steps

It might not seem like much to look at. The below picture is one of the first steps on a journey that our family is embarking on in 2018.

Our first steps: small Norway Spruce planted in a grassy area.
First steps: planting our living Christmas Tree.

Let me explain.

We are busy people. Two adults and one child. The adults have full time jobs, parental responsibilities, and are responsible for maintaining the full array of pets (two dogs and a tropical fish tank). We have many existing social commitments that we don’t want to give up, but there is one thing that we decided ┬áto do this year.

Busy world

It’s been a particularly hectic year for us. Actually, it’s been a pretty hectic decade when we stop to consider it. Raising a child can be demanding, although utterly rewarding. We both have jobs that can quietly take over your thought processes. Both of us have hobbies that delight us, but sap our time.

We have only lived in our current house since November 2015.

For more than a decade before, we lived in a terraced urban home without a garden, just a yard. As time passed we felt more and more constrained by the property. We ran out of room to grow there.

Now we have a bigger home with a large secure back garden, even if the house does come with double glazing from the Eighties (and a kitchen to match)!

Panoramic photograph of our back garden in 2015
Here’s a panorama shot of the garden from when we first moved in. There have been some changes since then but I’ll talk about those later.

Better living

We have often tried to live in a generally ‘better’ way.

This encompasses better for us in terms of

  • quality of life
  • balance between home and outside obligations
  • better for us as a family
  • better for the environment

Sometimes these efforts disconnected entirely, sometimes they were at odds with each other. It seems as though the discord between what we want sometimes outweighed the feel-good factor. So this year we decided to make a distinct push towards better living in our busy world on all of these fronts, and more.

Grow, Make, Mend

We want to

  • celebrate our achievements in growing as a family
  • growing some of our own food
  • growing as an eco-friendly household
  • want to make more of our time
  • make more of our own food
  • use our existing skills to make things to improve our quality of life (and share with others!)
  • rejoice in being able to mend and reuse things
  • recycle more and appropriately
  • create less waste and consume less resources
  • and (finally) to use less plastic
A fresh from the oven pastitsio, with multicoloured tomatoes on top.
More of this lovely home cooking, please!

We definitely want to develop a balanced kitchen that will allow us to eat well, healthily and economically, with minimal waste.

Also in the mix is our desire for a productive garden, that will produce food we will eat on our own land, in a way that does not take over our lives.

First steps

So here we are again, back to the beginning of this post. Our first steps.

This year we donated our artificial tall Christmas Tree to a home that needed a tree, and purchased a NeedleFresh container grown Norway Spruce. We coddled it over Christmas, watered it regularly but sparingly and kept it in the house less than we could have. Today we planted it in our front garden, where the birds can take shelter in it on the way to the feeder, and next Christmas we will probably put some outdoor lights on it and be happy.

What’s next?

We’re going to keep posting under one or more of our three key topics.

And even better, we hope to get some guest contributors so that we don’t feel lonely on our journey forward!

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