Saturday, 31 July 2010

Little families in little boxes

Yesterday I had the privilege of someone sharing their dream with me about living in community with another family and caring for each other. It was wonderful to hear someone else thinking along the same lines as I do but actually doing it! It was also great to be able to affirm her dream when so many people had reacted negatively to it because it doesn't fit the model of security and success which our society promotes. I couldn't help thinking how sad it is that when someone suggests sharing with others that as adults we see it as such a risky business. Do we all believe the world is such a dangerous and awful place that we better just look after our own? Or do we fear losing all the comforts and possessions we have been persuaded we need? Are we so frightened of living in places where people are not exactly like us and leave us to our own little world?

Since becoming a Mum I have realised how healthy dependence on others is. I need community like I need air. I have only coped and enjoyed motherhood and parenting because of the love and support of my friends and family. Being alone in our little box trying to do life just feels all wrong. My husband and I often talk about how difficult it is to cook for two and how there really is always enough for more and we often feel that we should invite others round to share it because it feels unnatural to be sitting at the table just us.

Part of the reason I feel that way is because I look to other people for security and that certainly isn't too healthy. But also I wonder whether the idea that myself and my husband should be building a little kingdom of our own is also not healthy either. How must stress is caused to people each weekend as they list the jobs around the house which need doing and the big but ordinary tasks if life that we all have to do but end up doing alone, such as cleaning out the garage (this has been on our list for about 6 months). It makes so much more sense to share resources and share the labour that daily life requires.

One of my daily challenges is getting the washing hung out. Ella ends up covered in mud and chicken poo if she comes outside with me and until she was walking it had to be nap time for me to get the load on the line, by which time there often wasn't enough time for it to dry. And I couldn't take a nap. Now this may sound a minor issue but as any Mum will attest, laundry backlog is a nightmare and little dilemmas like this cause stress. But if there were other Mums around we could share the load, watch the kids while another Mum hung out the washing or vice versa. Seems so simple but so impossible with the way we live right now.

You may have seen the t.v programme Big Love, about a Mormon family practising polygamy. Now I am certainly not in favour of sharing my hubby with any other woman, but having more women around to share the workload and for support would be wonderful. In all our striving for independence and the white picket fence to keep others out have we lost something that is actually essential to be able to live well as people? Are we all just chasing after nothing and in the process losing what life is supposed to be about.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Thanks Henrietta!

We bought 3 chickens in December last year. There was great excitement as hubby and father in law built the coop and the chickens arrived. There were a few days of fear as the local cats got used to the fact that chickens fight back and a few months of getting rid of ratty and his relatives. Thankfully the neighbours must have intuitively known about our plight and cut down the bamboo which was the home of the plague of rats. So come February, as had been promised, we waited for the beautiful eggs to appear. But nothing. We realised that they still looked a bit young and needed some more time so patiently waited. They started growing lovely red combs and those wibbly wobbly bits under their chins. Do hens have chins? Anyway, still nothing.

So come June we were thinking that the joke of the chickens which never lay was wearing a bit thin. Especially when they poop all over the deck, need feeding rain, hail or shine and cleaning out the coop is less than pleasant, though good for the garden. Hubby was even heard yelling at them and threatening to turn them into stock.

But low and behold a couple of mornings ago I lifted the lid of the nesting box and there they were, two beautiful, beige ovals of goodness. I came squealing into the house and my Mum was sure one of the chickens had died! Instead the next morning we enjoyed the eggs with some bacon.

So thanks Henrietta and keep up the good work. Hopefully Willamina and Gwendoline will get the idea soon and I might have enough eggs for a hen shaped cake to celebrate!

Tough challenge

So it has been a few days since I committed myself to the year long challenge of shopping consciously and the warm glow of self righteousness is fading into the reality of few choices and priciness.

So did the supermarket shop and stuck to the usual routine. Bought only NZ produce, didn't check the back of the cans and went with price so I hate to think where the tinned tomatoes are from and got completely stuck when trying to buy a face wash. Firstly there are none made in NZ and secondly if I did buy a NZ made one from the health food shop it would cost over $40. So in a moment of madness I bought a Neutrogena one. But once I got home I realised I could have just used the baby soap which I use on Ella. When I am due to buy a new moisturiser I will have a challenge cause I really need one with SPF and don't want to spend the earth.

I have actually been thinking about the challenge a lot and wondering whether it is a bit legalistic to have rules rather than just doing my best. Or maybe that is just the part of me that is realising that Glassons and Max are no longer options and I have no idea where I will find lingerie or shoes. I may look very different in a year's time!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Be brave, be idealistic

I am a very idealistic person. I know how I think life and the world should be and I get disappointed quite frequently that it is not that way. You would think I would learn, but instead I have decided to go with it. I think if a marketer described me they would say I am a "reformer". I want to change things and make them better. Well, most of the time, except for when I am tired, can't be bothered and just want life to be easy and comfy and tidy and simple. But it isn't, even when I try.

So late last night when I was awake and thinking I decided to go with my idealism. To not let cynicism and age creep in and kill the dream. I had been thinking during the day about doing some sewing and getting a hair cut and not buying lots of new stuff. And usually I let those late night flights of fancy disappear in the morning. But not today.

So my hope for the next year - July 2010 to July 2011 is to shop consciously.

So I am going to try to avoid buying things new and aim to buy as much second hand as possible.
If I have to buy new then purchases should be:
  • New Zealand made
  • of if not ethical/fairtrade/sustainable
  • upcycled/recycled
I am already trying to buy local or unprocessed when it comes to food but I want to keep working on that.

I guess I figure that if I can't live up to my own ideals then I can't be disappointed that I don't see those ideals around me.

Current purchasing projects on the go:
  • dinner set made up of retro eclectic crockery
  • wool pants and some bigger clothes for Ella
Current make it myself progress:
  • spare room being set up with crafty stuff at my finger tips.
  • got a book on sewing baby stuff out of the library and hope to do some holiday projects.