Monday, July 27, 2009

what we've apparently forgotten along the way


i've been rereading laura ingalls wilder's little house books (thanks bee for the idea) and i realize that we don't know how to do anything anymore (except google stuff). i'm so struck by how much ma and pa could do. everything from process maple syrup from tree to a usable sugar supply for the winter, to tanning hides, to butchering a hog, to building a sod house to sowing and harvesting crops. we have become so distant from the food chain that the coming climate change is downright frightening.

all of this is on my mind thanks to the lifestyle change that husband and i are contemplating and blogging about here (after all, the blog is the medium of choice for thinking things through). regardless of what happens with the COP15 meeting here in copenhagen in december, we are all going to have to change the way we relate to the world. we're simply going to have to use less energy and what we consume will have to come from much closer to our local area. the life we know now is simply not sustainable. it's more and more indefensible that we treat the planet the way we do (she says as she's packing her bag to go to singapore next week, so she does realize she has a ways to go in transforming her thinking and her lifestyle).

so, in thinking about how to live in a more responsible way towards the earth, we're thinking about getting a large farm house that would be a property big enough to share with at least a couple of other families. farms houses here tend to be one big main house with often three barns/outbuildings forming a square courtyard. most of the places we're looking at have barns of solid construction that could be easily converted to living space (especially if you know an awesome polish guy who can help you with that). the idea isn't to go amish, but to have space to raise more of our own food and to share some of the things--like a kitchen and a car--that today we all think we need our own of--all while keeping your regular job. obviously that's the short version, but you can read more about how our ideas are evolving over on the livet på landet (life on the land) blog.

but i feel a little overwhelmed, reading the little house books. there's just so much i have to learn. so i guess i'm off to google a few things...

12 comments:

Bill Stankus said...

Skills both practical and durable can be lifelong quests. There's irony in the fact that today we have more information, more and better tools than in the history of human kind - yet few people know or understand the common skills every school child knew a hundred years ago.

But the quest to understand and be solid with practical things is so rewarding ... and one can include techie things with how to shape wood into buckets or chairs - preserve summer's crops or sew blankets and weave cloth for shirts.

I hope you can do your dream.

Bill Stankus said...

ps:
Look for the incredible books done by Eric Sloane.

Maggie May said...

I just wrote a post about happiness in life, and part of what I talked about what the importance of hard, meaningful work in our everyday lives. I adored LIW books growing up, and in fact still have all my originals of the series. Marie Howe (the poet)wrote a column recently in Oprah magazine discussing how the books changed her viewpoint in parenting/life.

Eternally Distracted said...

I think it is amazing that you are thinking about making changes and taking steps to do so. Mostly people complain about their little lot in life, blaming the government, neighbours, friends and families. Not many people are prepared to start the changes within themselves. GOOD LUCK TO YOU.

Rainysoul said...

Don't be to hard on yourself, just think Ma and Pa can't Google anything!

Sounds like your considering quite a challenge, I can barely stand my neighbors (not to mention the kids) most of the time. I don't think I could handle sharing a kitchen with another family...

The Fragrant Muse said...

Like rainysoul, I'm sure the Ingalls would have done anything to have many of our conveniences, especially Ma. There seems to be a pendulum effect to everything ~ we worked so hard to make life easy and now life is so easy we've forgotten how to work hard. Balance in all things.

smith kaich jones said...

There's an old Aboriginal saying that the more you know the less you need. Absolutely. When you say we I respectfully disagree. The people I know can do things, and can also google & blog & read & think & reason with everyone else. As for lifestyle changes - only if the gov't pries my a/c from my cold, dead hands. I wish you well on your endeavor, and if it is a dream, I hope you are happy. My goal is to learn to make fire without matches.

Debi

kristine said...

wow, that is so inspiring! Great idea. I am working on climate change here at the moment - Belize is of course one of the countries thats already experiencing rising sea levels and we are trying to help them articulate good arguments together with the countries in the region before Copenhagen. I agree with you that what is needed is a real and comprehensive paradigm shift in the way we think. A change in the publiuc imagination on a par with the enlightenment - seriously.

I'm not tanning no hides though.

jane said...

wow julochka this is friggin amazing (excuse my French) I´m off to the link to read more! besos! p.s. i had every little house book. maybe i should start reading them again...

I'm Kim, by the way said...

I finished the Little House books when I was about 9 and I still think about them All The Time. And I usually think similarly to what you're saying here -- what a totally different worldview the folks of that era had, and how completely foreign it is to the way we live now.

On the other hand, Ma and Pa couldn't really stalk/admire talented gals in Denmark from the Shores of Silver Lake.

Char said...

I admire you that you are even considering it.

Bee said...

Wow. This is a really big topic, and I can't wait to talk it over with you IN PERSON.

More proof that we can communicate telepathically (or perhaps share some of the same mental wave-lengths): I have those same thoughts about Ma and Pa every single time I read a chapter from one of those books. We've lost so much basic knowledge so darn quickly. It's scary.