Monday, March 26

"...but then you have to eat it."

With everything we do to make our homes and ourselves more sustainable, it is easy to get that burned out feeling of being in a rut. Not that there are not new challenges and ideas around every corner that we can assimilate into our homesteading, but sometimes the desire to do so is just not enough to get us off the couch.

There comes a point when a person has done so much to change that although it feels great and the benefits are plain to see, the effort in making and keeping with such changes can be daunting.

There are days, and we have all had them, when I want to throw my hands up in the air and say "the heck with it!". I want to be ignorant as to the origin and composition of my meat products. I want to run loads of laundry on hot with bargain brand detergent. I want to operate under the completely sweet assumption that product manufacturers have our best interests at heart and would never do or making anything that would harm us consumers.

Wouldn't it just be so much easier? A little less work? I little less money spent on non-organic products?

Yes, it might be. But as the fast food commercial says, "You can buy a hamburger for 59 cents, but then you have to eat it."

So on those days that I am contemplating the trade in of my homesteading library to clear shelf space for my new high definition flat screen, I just go with something small.

I pick a room in my house and when I have a moment or two of peace and quiet, I go into that room and ask the question: What can I do in this room to make it more sustainable/efficient/productive/organized/home-stead-ish? (I say home-stead-ish when I mean using oil lamps for reading instead of an electric one, or using homemade rag rugs instead of buying a new one that smells of stain-resistant chemicals.

For example, the family room. The other day I was feeling a bit down in the sustainability dumps so I asked the question and came up with cleaning the windows. We have an old house and the windows in the family room are very old. They have the counterweight system of opening and closing and they are not the most efficient windows we could have. Since we can not afford to replace them right now and we have used caulking methods to seal gaps to save heat, I thought that I could give them a face lift of sorts.

The exterior facing side of the windows are hard to clean since they require a step ladder and a long handled brush and must be cleaned from the outside. But in doing so this not only gave the whole room a new sense of freshness, it let in more light and it made the view better for taking pictures of birds at the feeder. These windows had not been cleaned on the outside for some time, so although this may sound like a trivial idea, it really did make a difference, not only to make the room more pleasant, but to provide me with that small accomplishment to keep me focused.

Cleaning the windows: lets in more natural light (less artificial light needed), better view (better bird pictures), lets me get a good look at the outside of the frames to take note on any needed repairs (catching problems before they turn into a big job and saving on costs and lost heat), and proof that using a great home made glass cleaner really does work.

I know it's a small thing, but when I am feeling like throwing in the dishtowel I will take any little motivational tool I can think of to keep me from eating that
59 cent hamburger.


  1. Great post...and lots of wonderful ideas.

  2. I tend to think they way you do, when I peel myself off my chair to actually think. Your post reminds me that simple changes, simple tasks, simple choices are what makes my homestead. Thanks!