just this, right here, right now.
Letting go of controlling the macroscopic outcome,
action becomes a kind of prayer,
a kind of aligning oneself with the world one wants to see.
Our lives are made up of moments...most of them quite mundane. We shower, prepare meals, eat meals, brush our teeth, sleep...over + over again. When we are raising children, we wash hands, change diapers, feed them, read to them...over + over again. Children, however, also have a way of pointing out things they have never seen before. We stop to watch a ladybug meander across a leaf. We admire a unique stick or stone. It's the noticing that makes all the difference.
We set out this morning to stretch our legs + to enjoy the sun + breeze on our regular walk route. Every bit of the way is familiar + yet...there is something to notice every time. A new sort of mushroom to stop + admire, a woodpecker to match with its drilling sound, the way the shadows play in the leaves overhead + this magical spot. Right here between the school + the houses. Just in this spot the grasses have grown long + wild with all the rain...the trees cast dense shadows...and the sun dances with the breeze blowing blades. Cottonwood fluff floats in the air. Birds sing their morning conversations. We stop + take it in.
Our lives are made up of moments...most of them quite mundane...and yet...there is magic just waiting to be found...and noticed.
Sophe of Urbanroots Handmade wrote something recently that she exemplifies so well..."wear plants, eat plants, grow plants". It resonated deeply with me. We are eating strawberries from our garden every day now. The sun + soil + rain play such a large role in the food we put into our bodies. The same can be said for the clothes we put on our bodies.
Linen is a natural fiber that is breezy + cool in the summer. It is sturdy + long-lasting...gets better with age, time + wear...resists odors, so can go a little bit longer between washes ...and looks best a little rumpled.
Last summer, a thoughtful soul shared that she had bought a couple of lovely, linen tops to add to her warm weather wardrobe + that they played a vital role in the enjoyment of dressing all summer long. I love the idea of just a few linen basics forming the backbone of a warm weather wardrobe. A few simple linen tops, a pair of swingy pants + a pair of shorts + a breezy dress could make quite a lovely one. No need to buy everything at once, but maybe as a couple of tops wear out + need to be replaced...one linen top could fill the gap. After a few years a small collection could form + be maintained...slowly + sustainably.
All lovely photos via links. Many more linen pieces can be found via the ethical brands page.
The biggest little farm sounds important.
Zero-waste sewing patterns.
Like swallowing a meter of plastic rope.
Turning carpet into clothing.
I trust the wind. I trust the sun.
Why should a deodorant she'd use for a few weeks or months come in a plastic case that would be around for longer than she'd be alive?
Enjoy the weekend, friends!
Going zero-waste can effect the ease of figuring out what's for dinner. I've found that having a few go-to categories (rather than meals themselves) allows for simpler grocery list making, seasonal vegetable enjoyment + a bit of variety. We've touched on five of those categories over the past few weeks, and now we have arrived at the sixth category :: pasta.
When we first started seriously shopping the bulk bins, we could purchase bulk pasta there. At the moment I can't locate bulk pasta, but can buy orzo + couscous in bulk. Now that we avoid gluten, we don't choose those either. The first year we ate gluten-free, I skipped pasta altogether. Now we choose a gluten-free pasta in a recyclable cardboard box. (Anyway, there are a few different zero-waste options for pasta.)
Pasta is a familiar meal choice for most of us, so I probably don't need to elaborate too much...but I will just a bit. :) Pesto pasta can be made by blending a couple of handfuls of tasty greens (basil, most commonly), a small handful of bulk nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, pecans), a clove or two of garlic (if you like), a glug of olive oil, salt, + pepper. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or grated parmesan, if desired. Mix this pesto with seasonal vegetables, chickpeas + pasta for a tasty meal like the one above.
One of my girls loves anything cheesy, and macaroni + cheese is a favorite. Our zero-waste mac + cheese is better than any I made before. I melt a small block of butter over medium heat, stir in a spoonful or two of flour (gluten-free works too) + add some milk. Whisk, whisk, whisk until this mixture thickens into a bubbly, gravy consistency. Remove from the heat + stir in some grated cheese (we love pepper jack). Poured over pasta + some steamed broccoli = decadently delicious.
My favorite way to eat spaghetti type pasta is to make a sauce of chopped fresh tomatoes (or some of my sauce) added to a skillet already sautéing red onion (add some red pepper too, if desired) + to cook it all down a bit. Stir in some salt + pepper flakes for a tasty sauce.
A hearty vegetable + legume + noodle soup is another tasty way to eat pasta.
Parts 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 of building a zero-waste meal plan. :) We eat vegetarian at home, but any of the meal choices offered here can easily incorporate meat, if desired.
A conversation I had this weekend involved habits + sustainability + shopping. I mentioned choosing food that we put into our own containers + buy in returnable bottles. Inevitably the increased cost of such choices came up as a reason for not choosing items packaged this way. I totally understand the hesitancy, but at some point I just had to decide that it was worth it.
It's always necessary to remember, acknowledge, accept + respect that not everyone can choose a more expensive option. At the same time, some of us can...and are simply choosing not to.
Another piece of this conversation is that it was with someone of an older generation. I really do not like generalizations about generations, and I do not mention this in order to make any generalizations about people. I have great respect for the person I was conversing with. They have grown food + canned it + baked bread from scratch + lived a life of simplicity based on the principles of enough + less.
This conversation sparked some thoughts about times past + present. Choosing a more expensive option is not a new concept. The last century (in much of the world) was full of choices that cost more...but brought an increased level of comfort, entertainment, +/or quality of life to the purchaser. People installed indoor heating, bought cars, televisions, microwave ovens, + cell phones for the first time. These purchases were gratifying + satisfying + induced feelings of being "worth it".
In the age of climate change, we are faced with increased costs that don't always feel "worth it" in personal + immediate ways. Converting to solar or wind power, buying an electric car, or investing the time it takes to use public transportation...while offering the possibility of financial returns down the line, do come at a cost. None of these choices really improve the function of our lives in the short run. The value is in the long term health of our planet.
Like Bill Nye said last week, "By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on earth could go up another 4-8 degrees. What I'm saying is...the planet is on fire. There are a lot of things we can do to put it out. Are any of them free? Of course not, nothing's free!" (I left a couple words out, but you get the idea...if not the urgency.) :)
The thing is that choosing the cheaper status quo (packaged food + fossil fuels + disposable fashion, etc.) comes at a far greater cost. Nothing is free.
Lots of zero-waste chatter seems to focus on tools like beeswax wrap, wooden dish scrubbers + glass straws. To me, zero-waste is not about a new set of things to buy. It's about a whole new mindset. It can be tough to remain focused within this new mindset, when the world around us bombards us with advertisements + social media full of people looking cute in their new outfits + coworkers discussing their new cars.
I feel that zero-waste essentials are less things than practices. Practices that focus our minds on truth...connection to our planet...the goodness of simplicity. If we are raising children, these practices inform their young minds too.
I love visiting the ocean + the desert, but I don't live near them. We've lived in lots of different places, and each has its own beauty. There are trails to be found, yes, but there are also just neighborhood walks that provide connection to place + creation. Our walks have allowed us to notice yucca plants in New Mexico + snowdrops in London. Sunsets + cloud scapes draw us outside often where ever we find ourselves.
Getting into nature is about the most transformative thing I can think of in my own life right now. It feels like the most amazing cathedral (no manmade fortress could compare). There is grounding + connection + wonder under the tree canopy...at the edge of the ocean...between the boulders. Control is not mine here. Significance gains perspective. I emerge reborn, cleansed, energized.
Somehow I often require a reminder to prioritize the simple things...to notice the simplest things...to stay in the moment...and to act accordingly in the rest of my life. Nature provides a reset...a motivation...a passion to work toward as much harmony as I can muster with this glorious planet. Zero-waste (+ the fairdare too) depend more on motivation + passion than anything.
Getting into nature is not a ground breaking idea...simplicity never is. ;)
It's been raining for weeks, but today the sun was shining when we woke up. I couldn't help but smile. There's nothing like a garden to make us realize just how dependent on the weather we really are. Too much rain can wreak as much havoc as too little. My tiny stakes don't begin to compare to a farmer's, but they do open my eyes to the enormous effects of climate change on our food supply.
Growing our own food is one of the most zero-waste things we can do. From a little paper packet of seeds come whole bunches of the freshest + tastiest food. There is no packaging + no transport emissions. There wasn't even a trip to the farmers' market. Not all of us have a patch of dirt to cultivate, but we might be able to grow a pot of peppers on a balcony, basil in a windowsill or onions from the core of a used onion.
Eating food fresh from the garden is pretty amazing! Never are the radishes so spicy or the chives so pungent as when they've been harvested minutes before that first bite.
Planting + watering + caring for + harvesting + tasting our own food just must be one of the best ways to share a connection with our planet...with our children. I felt it imperative to be able to let my girls pull a carrot out of the soil...pick strawberries off the vine...dig potatoes out of the ground. I'd done it as a child + there was just no way to explain the pure magic of it to them. Before having our own garden, we made sure to find pick-your-own apple orchards and strawberry + blueberry fields. We ate things straight away, and we made jam + apple sauce too. Establishing connections between the land + weather + farmers + our bodies is crucial. These connections form our thoughts + attitudes + actions...and the connection is there whether we acknowledge it or not.
on a journey toward zero-waste, simplicity, + compassion :: daring to choose fair one choice at a time