Be Still My Heart ( by Whitney)

When you hear of people living sustainably, what do you think of first? I unfortunately go right to composting toilets. After reading a book, appropriately named, “Holy Shit!”, my mother declared this not as disgusting as you would think. Still and all the same, I’m on the fence.

I watched a television program a decade ago about a New Zealander couple who had turned their property into a 100% sustainable domain. They ate, drank and clothed themselves off their land. They filtered their own water, composted their own waste and relied on solar panels to provide energy. I was intrigued but totally convinced they were a couple of fruitcakes. Who would do that out of choice? Fast forward to the present. I would like to know how to do those things but believe you me, as long as I can get cane sugar from Hawaii, Coffee from South America, cotton from Egypt and olive oil from Italy, I’m all over it. I want to know how to be self-sufficient if I have to be. I do not want to put myself through it if don’t have to. The learning curve is high enough without adding unnecessary discomfort to the mix.

I eagerly look forward to raising my own chickens and having farm fresh eggs out the wazoo. I’m grooving on growing all of our own food. I’m a little jazzed about having a sheep or alpaca and learning how to spin and die my own yarn. All of this appeals to my sense of adventure. Of course I will be a vegetarian if no one else is willing to butcher and trade me meat. I cannot know my meat before eating it. I cannot feed it, pet it, name it (because I would) and then serve it for Sunday dinner.

To prepare myself for the unsavory aspects of sustainability, I have begun looking into making our own alcohol. Thankfully, my brother Reiner is a brewer and will keep me in beer. But I got to thinking that we could make some fancy martinis if only we could distill our own vodka. Although I have shockingly discovered that improper distilling can lead to blindness. Crap. Just what I’d need, having to be self-sufficient and blind. Pass. I’m now contemplating dandelion wine and hard cider. Maybe after a couple of vats of that composting toilets won’t seem so revolting.

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