Over at Backyard Feast, Toni put together a “A day in the slow life” meme and asked me to participate. In a follow up post, she wrote about The Paradox of Slow, which is equally as interesting. I pondered this topic earlier in the year when I decided to take more of a zen approach to my sustainability efforts. The fact is, sustainable living tends to be slow at times. Growing a tomato from seed to table is a slow process for example. At other times, it feels as though we’re racing around, moving from task to task and never quite keeping up. I know I could have done much more than I did this year, but I don’t think I could have done more without pushing me into burnout. Below you’ll see a typical day for me in early fall, as the major gardening and food preserving tasks are winding down. With no more ado, here was my day.
8:00 am: Wake up and feed the animals. The goats each received about a cup of grain. We don’t always give the goats grain. It depends on the season and how much grass they have available and whether or not they have a fresh bale of hay. I also took out a small of bowl of chicken scratch and tossed this out over the pasture and then let the chickens out of their coop. I checked their water and food and made a note to myself that I need to add more wood shaving to their coop tomorrow. On weekdays, Derek takes care of these tasks.
8:45: The kids are playing in the living room. Andrew is playing with his “spaceship” which Derek made out of used storage bins. The kids quickly began squabbling about how best to play with the spaceship.
9:00: Mix together the ingredients for no-knead bread. In the background, I listened to our local NPR station, KUOW, which is currently doing a pledge drive.
9:30: Head to the treadmill for about 45 minutes. The ecological impact of the treadmill isn’t horrible, but it isn’t ideal either. And I do also watch TV while I’m on the treadmill. Bad, but I need something to motivate me to exercise.
10:30: Get out of the shower, dress, and then throw the first of about five loads of laundry in the washer. We haven’t solved our laundry problem yet but have continued to participate in the Puget Sound Energy Green Power Program. We pay more for our energy to fund bringing green power into the system equal to 100% of our energy usage. Right now, this continues to be our main way to leverage green power, but we continue preparing for the day when we will be able to do more.
11:00: Start soaking dried navy beans for soup for dinner. Next, I used my Roma food strainer to process the last batch of tomatoes and then took the leftover tomato skins and seeds out to the chickens.
12:00: Use up various leftovers for lunch.
1:30: Start a new batch of vanilla ice cream and freeze in the Cuisinart ice cream maker. The nice thing about making your own ice cream is that you have complete control over the ingredients. The recipe I use is super simple: 1 quart whole milk, 1 pint whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla. It’s simple, but really good.
3:00: Run errands. As much as possible, we try to group our errands to save time and gas. We went to PCC Natural Market for fruit and dried goods (some croissants found their way into our cart as well) and then headed to the library. After that, we stopped by a friend’s house to drop off a jacket that accidentally ended up at our house. For these errands, we drove my 2004 Volvo. I still plan to buy an electric or hybrid or high-efficiency diesel (that can run biodiesel) vehicle at some point, but I want to get at least 100,000 miles out of my Volvo first.
4:30: Start White Bean & Squash soup. I used tomatoes (the ones I prepared earlier in the day), squash, sage, and garlic from my garden to make the soup. Derek also left at this point to take Lily to The Borrowers at the Seattle Children’s Theater. It’s a bit of a drive over to Seattle, but we believe the arts are very important. While I cooked, Andrew watched Scooby Doo.
7:00: Soup for dinner. Then lightly flour the bread dough and put it back in the bowl to rise for a couple more hours.
Later this evening we will have some ice cream for dessert, get the kids into bed, and then watch something like True Blood. We are avid users of Netflix streaming, which now that I think about it is a highly environmentally friendly way to deliver content. While we are watching a show, we’ll bake the bread.
When I read through the above, it seems like a lot. In fact, many of the tasks that we did required a bit of prep and then we could go off and do other things. I made my through the second half of No One Would Listen this afternoon so there was actually plenty of downtime. If I had tried to go out and add any gardening tasks to my list today, I’d probably be feeling a whole lot more tired. Maybe I’ll do some garden tasks tomorrow. See, trying to maintain the zen.
To continue the meme, I am inviting Laura at The Modern Victory Garden, Ali at Henbogle, and Lisa at Lisa Has Chickens to participate and share their days with us as well. Don’t forget to go back to where this all started and read about Toni’s day at Backyard Feast. Enjoy!
Update: “A Day in the Slow Life” posts
- Toni at Backyard Feast’s A Day in the Slow Life
- Ali at Henbogle’s A Day in the Slow Life
- Laura at The Modern Victory Garden’s A Day in the Slow Life
- Heather at Heather’s Homemaking A Day in the Slow Life
- Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelion’s A Day in the Slow Life
Thanks Sandy; what a full day! I haven’t had a chance to read through your archives, and I didn’t even realize you had goats–something I’ve been reading about voraciously these days. Nice to see how the animal routine works into your day; we’re aiming for a few chickens and ducks next year and have never kept animals before… And thanks for including the photo of your boys. What a happy Saturday morning scene. 🙂
What a fun idea for a meme. One of the questions I get alot is “how do you fit the garden, chicken, and the related cooking/preserving into your workaday life?” Doing a “day in the life” blog post would be a good way to share how a typical day goes. I just actually posted a blog update that could have been modified to suit this purpose easily but I did not read this until after I had written and posted it. I think I will just keep track of my Monday (which is a holiday for me) and post that instead.
I loved reading about your day. You and your family have done some really positive things to make your overall lifestyle enjoyable and fulfilling but more environmentally sustainable at the same time. You are an inspiration.
Thanks for inviting me to participate. I found it interesting you were talking about taking a more zen approach to your sustainability efforts, as today Dan and I took a day off to go to NH for a foliage ride on the Conway Scenic Rail. I’ve been really trying to be better about planning some “us” time for Dan and I, as I tend to be pretty task focused. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in struggling with this! I’ll have to post my day tomorrow.
ps: thanks for the soup idea, it sounds good.
Toni and Laura, I’m glad you both enjoyed the post.
Toni, as people start publishing their “A day in the slow life” posts we should link them all together.
Ali, I look forward to reading your post. And the soup was yummy!
Sandy, that’s a good idea–I have no idea how to do that! 🙂 Would we just publish a list with links on all of our blogs? Still new to the blogging thing…
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