The sustainable living journey so far: May 2019

It’s been a bit of a rocky road for this website blog over the last few months. Real life got so busy that some well intentioned plans fell by the wayside for a while. Most of our communication with the outside world about the sustainable living journey so far reverted to Instagram and subsequent feeds onwards to Facebook and Pinterest.

The good news though is that some priorities have been shuffled around. The daily job scenario has changed just enough to buy some more spare time back and, well, the blog is back!

Grow

For us, growing is about primarily our journey as a family together towards living in a more sustainable way. Climate change is upon us. Many political factors around the world seem to be influencing the way we as humans are reacting to this. It is hard, however, to take photographs that tell a story at the precise moment when our thoughts and behaviours change subtly. So for that reason, Grow as a category for us does tend to become about the practical growing of plants and trees, about our ability to produce our own food.

Brief recap on the Grow journey so far

There have been some substantial changes in the garden since we last posted here. Particularly when we look back over the full three years we’ve been managing this space (actively or otherwise). The Leylandii have gone, for a start. So have all the half full bottles of weedkiller, slug control pellets and treekiller that we found in the garage, left behind by the previous owners. By not having as much time to actively manage the garden as we would have liked, we have found rewilding parts of it to be slightly easier.

The chickens remain, in their now permanent run for the most part, although they free range as often as we can allow it in the whole garden. We have mown less this year. The play equipment has moved, and we are now only three fence panels away from having entirely renewed the wooden fencing. Four raised beds came in earlier this year. Potatoes are in (finally) and all doing well. Some other tentative planting is slowly taking place too.

Make

This category for us really encompasses physical things that are, well, made. There is always overlap. Putting together a run for the chickens is Grow + Make. Upcycling a piece of old furniture is Make + Mend. Making our own cleaning spray from water, vinegar and essential oil = Make + Mend as well.  Cooking a meal from scratch with some of our own produce rather than buying in ready meals in plastic = Grow + Make + a bit of Mend. Maybe we should start calling them concepts rather than categories.

We’ve been constantly evolving in the Make category concept since we last blogged. Every month we try to do something marginally different in our kitchen and with our eating habits. Many of our projects in the last year have involved Making something. Best go catch up on Instagram for a historic blow by blow account!

Mend

Last but not least, the Mend concept. Yes, this is directly fixing broken stuff. It also covers upcycling, reusing and repurposing. For us, again, it’s that larger body of work that is all about trying not to be utterly nasty to the planet that we live on. Actively reducing plastic = Mend. Phasing out an item of waste entirely = Mend. Switching to ecologically friendly loo paper = Mend. Deliberately not buying products with palm oil in any more = Mend.

Zero waste and our sustainable living journey

Zero waste is a term I didn’t like before we started this journey. In some regards I still don’t like it. It implies an absolute must be achieved. A 100% perfection standard should be reached. Over the last year it has come to mean zero avoidable waste. And yes, the concept of ‘avoidable’ moves. It evolves just as we do. It can mean less physical waste (e.g. buying items with less packaging) as well as less unwise consumption (e.g. turning the central heating down half a degree).

We’ve done so much Mending since I last blogged that it would be impossible to recap even the key points here. Again, go look at the Instagram feed for a full record.

(Robin says “hello”, by the way.)

Stay tuned for more sustainable living

You should expect updates on our sustainable living journey every week or fortnight from now on. These updates should give an enhanced focus on something we’ve already posted about on social media.

Our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds are now synchronised. In the past we have posted big batches of photos in real time during the activity. For those updates that aren’t time sensitive we are now going to experiment with scheduling posts ahead of time. This means that you should get more regular updates, even if they are no longer all in absolute real-time.

Finally, we’ve just brushed the dust off our Patreon account. This will be relaunched during June: we’ll post about that when it happens.

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