Category Archives: home improvements

Intersections!

I find myself these days watching and reading things related to:

  • Permaculture
  • Minimalism
  • RV or van living

Permaculture started because David Holmgren was wondering what the interrelationships were between three things:

  1. landscape architecture
  2. ecology
  3. agriculture

After discovering that, it occurred to me that I’m not really interested only in any of the 3 things I first listed, but the intersections between THEM.

So, I made the chart below in an effort to understand what it was they have in common and what they do NOT!

Permaculture

Minimalism

RV/Van LIving

Mobile?

No

Possibly

Yes                         An emphasis of this life

Less Stuff?

Possibly             More reuse/eco friendly and multi- uses

Yes                         An emphasis of this life

Yes               Mandated by space limitations

DIY Food?

     Yes                   An emphasis of this life

Possibly

No                     Space limitations again

Less Commercial reliance?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fewer Support Systems?

Possibly

Possibly

Possibly

Lower Costs?

Possibly

Possibly

Possibly

What does this mean, exactly? I guess I’m ready to become a hippy of some sort. As usual, the first step is to continue to get rid of a lot of “things.” And, considering the discussions we’ve been having about aging in place, it seems more likely we’ll end up permaculturists with a possible minimalist bent?

I don’t know of course, but it has been an interesting exploration, trying to find what it is that all of these have which appeals to me so!

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Photo by Tania Malréchauffé on Unsplash

Not All Revolutions Need Guns

Some are just heralded by phone calls.

Today my life programming got turned on its head. This has happened to me once before, with DH and my therapist. But I thought, “Both of them have a huge amount of time and energy invested in my well being,” and although what happened was revolutionary,  I couldn’t ignore it, but it didn’t cause a sesimic shift.

Today just might.

At one point or the other we had 4 neighbors here, raking, etc. and keeping DH company.

One neighbor’s son split and restacked the 8′ wood pile which had fallen last winter. His dad dismantled the rack and told me what I needed to buy so it could be used again. I was offered cabbage salad (good, even though cabbage is NOT my fave). And, and….

One neighbor asked me to call and asked how I was and I said, “Near tears.” and it wasn’t because anything was bad, it was because there had been people here, almost all day, doing things for us.

Frankly, yes, I was worried how we’d get through winter with DH partially disabled. He’s fine, he stopped taking anything that wasn’t over the counter when he left the hospital > a week ago now, but he’s not his normal self, yet.

And here were all these people, raking, helping me move boxes, splitting and stacking wood, etc.

A part of me went numb. That same part had the past two days been looking for the “gotcha,” the catch, because there had to be one, right?

Except there isn’t.

We’ve been here for 25 years+. I try hard to be the neighbor I’d want to have. And I realized today that I discount all of that, because I do it without thinking about it most of the time. But I guess it does count.

The echo from my past is several things:

“No one who really gets to know you will want to admit it.”

“No man will ever love you.”

Whenever anyone is nice to you, they’re just being polite.”

etc. etc. ad nauseum.

 

And today cried BULLSHIT to all of that!!!

Not all revolutions have guns.

mohamed-nohassi-odxB5oIG_iA-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

I changed the image, this one seems to work much better!

The Plan

The plan now is not just a mini-split and general culling; it’s a final culling, mini-split prep and a major reorganization.

I have been in contact with my friend authors whose books I still have and asked if they’d like copies of their books? And explained. So far 3 of 3 have said yes. Nice!

I made a list of the various things set aside for people that need to be mailed. Many of them are ready to go, tomorrow. Two sets were mailed today: some books sent out for resale and other books sent as a donation to a conference organizer.

But there are other packages too: many of them. Art work going to family, heirlooms to same, I figure there’s about 8 more packages I’ll mail away in the next week or so. That will help. Will it solve the problem? No, of course not. But it’s a step in the right direction.

I made a 2nd list of things waiting to be hung up: mostly art work, of course.

We figure that we’ll take pictures, maybe, to document the big steps in the culling. Then maybe do the same for the reorganization/rehab. We may have access to a tiny grant. Not enough to do a lot with, but it should be enough to replace the ramp outside one door — the current version isn’t wide enough  for a wheelchair or walker and it doesn’t have hand rails.

Last night, I went to sleep thinking about free resources we could tap into: aging councils, AARP, Home Depot’s kitchen designers, etc.

So, this blog will still for the immediate future be about culling stuff, but then is slated to make a major shift.

Also, an announcement I’ve been putting off for some time. The memoir has sold. If/when I have a publication release date, I’ll post it here.

But in the meantime, this blog is going to go into high gear and then change directions!

street signs

 

 

(I have no idea where I got the image from. I’ve used it before. it is NOT mine!)

Decisions, decisions!

Things got complicated here.

Life got in the way of my plans, but also goaded them on. My plans were for the summer to remove 1/2 of all the stuff here, right?

I didn’t make that goal. But now I really need to, one way or the other. We have decided that we’re going to live in the main part of our house, and turn the areas where we currently sleep and work into storage and other auxilary space. It makes a lot more sense for aging in place; it also will be easier to use the mini-split by itself to heat/cool this place, etc. It will be more economical as well.

This requires a huge shuffle of furniture and stuff. It will also require a huge cull of the same. We talked this morning about what moves where. What the obvious culls are. About getting  estimates for moving the kitchen plumbing, etc. We intend to sell what we can of the excess stuff to pay for this, or just pay down the debt, either will put us in a better place in the future.

I have become completely fascinated by self-sufficiency videos. I’m not chasing the idea that if we don’t grow it, we don’t use it. But one video I watched talked about turning a house into a place producing what you need, instead of being a place where you consume what you need — and get somewhere else. I found another where a retired first-generation geek has automated his house in various unique ways. Many of the videos I’ve found are of people in Texas, California, etc. and we don’t have weather which enables us to use some ideas they do, but there ARE things we can do, sanely.  Consolidating our living space is a big way we can cut down what we own, what we “need,” and use.

It’s remarkably easy to think you need socks when you can only find one pair, because the others are in another part of the house, waiting to be washed or whatever.

Consolidating our living space won’t automatically solve all our disorganization problems, but it likely will help quite a bit!

The minisplit may be put off until spring 2020, but the beginning of the consolidation won’t.

 

The Ideal

Years ago it must have been, one of my parents or someone got a brochure for a housing development in SoCal. For some reason, this has always been my image of an ideal home. I guess the marketing people got me right!

It shows a 108′ x 300′ lot. the lot is divided into 5 (from the street):

  1. House, driveway, drying yard, etc.
  2. Pond, grass
  3. Swing set/play area, tennis or badmidton court, veggie garden,
  4. four rows of fruit trees, 4 per row, (40)
  5. chicken house/goat pen.

Tennis courts take 42′ in length. Dwarf apple trees take 10′ each, an orchard of 4 x 4 trees would take up 40 linear feet

Those items take up 82 of 300 feet, leaving 212′ in length for the animal pen area (chickens/goats), the grass/pond, and oh yes, the house and front lawn.


The lot as shown is 3/4 of an acre. We have more than that, although not a lot! I wouldn’t have thought we had room for 16 fruit trees, a chicken coop,a tennis court, a pond AND the house? I’m not interested in the tennis court, swing set, etc., but the  pond, fruit trees and chicken coop are interesting. Hmm!

 

Sunshine!

One, I finally feel NOT sick, which is a real blessing after 2 months of being sick!

Two, it’s a not too hot, not too cold day out there. The bean trellis got planted yesterday, it rained so I didn’t have to water the seeds in. The greens I’d planted last week are starting to sprout. Although I won’t get any where near as many plants as I’d hoped, all my seed is at least 3 years old.

The plan this year is to use it ALL up, and start fresh next year. This is what happens when you don’t do a garden for 2 years….

The car is loaded with flea market items going to the storage. At the moment, I’m waiting on the chimney sweep guy, who’s supposed to be here in the next 1/2 hour. After he leaves, I’ll haul a load to the storage and a load back (there’s no room in the storage for a car full, so something has to come back too.)

But, it’s also DUMP DAY, so a load or three of leaves and books and asst. stuff will go to the dump today. And that, if nothing else, will create a small hole in the pending stuff waiting to be dealt with. Hurrah!

There are 3 rugs on the lawn waiting for DH’s help to shake them. The 2 smaller ones will come back in the house, the bigger one is slated for the flea market, and will go into the car.

It’s spring, I don’t feel wretched, and I’m finally getting things done I’d planned to do two months ago. Hurrah!

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Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash

This Week & the Neat Muscle

This week is going to be centered around the upcoming flea market. (If you’re local and want info, let me know!)

Afterwards, I hope to have a hole here AND a hole in the storage. As with April’s flea market, I’ll set aside a wadge of the unsold items to donate, hopefully to the thrift shop down the street. If we can’t donate it there, I’ll put it in storage to donate it elsewhere or take it to the dump’s swap shop.

A major purge: a box of books and 10 bins worth of leaves, that’s 260 gallons were taken to the dump! There remains 2 small leaf piles I missed on the lawn and a larger pile next to the compost heap, I just had to get them off the grass!

Today’s work:

  • The bean trellis needs to be anchored further and the beans planted. That’s the next step in the veggie garden. Of course, more leaf raking.
  • The dryer is acting up, so clearing the porch under where the clothes line is getting put up for the summer is another. Moving the dryer away from the wall and see if the drain is plugged? DH did this. The dryer is back in place, hopefully usuable — I had a large load of rags, kitchen towels, etc. to wash and did so!
  • The living room also needs to be cleaned, amongst other things, our chimney will be swept Weds.

Other projects:

Dining Room & Rug:  The rug effort made great progress yesterday. I got the 3 rugs stitched together and started on the first border. I need to do 2 sets of border stitches. Then I need to clean up the stitching, knot and tie off the ends. THEN I’m done! Still several hours away, but definite progress!

The rug effort required the dining area be cleared out a bit, which it was. Still more to do there as well, quite a bit, with the furniture move I have in mind, but it will happen, eventually! We are loaning our old table to a gallery, that will help, but the table top detaches from the legs, so that’s only 2 pieces in what is an overcrowded room. Still, every bit helps!

Electronic Purge: Re the electronic purge? I have about 2800 emails in my email’s trash folder. They are purged automagically when they’re there for 30 days. That leaves approx. 25,300 in my in box.

We went to the dump THREE times yesterday, so aside from the 10 bins of leaves, there are definitely fewer items here!


Much of this process, which now has gone on for years, has seemed futile. I keep relearning what I’ve happened on every once in a while. That is, that the people with neat houses make it a priority. To them, the mess is simply unacceptable. For me, for years it was inevitable and another sign of how “flawed” I was.

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Photo by Kristian Seedorff on Unsplash

I’m not flawed, I just need to learn to think in new ways. The bins being used in the leaf effort is an example.

The bins were bought to hold twigs and other kindling. Fine. Most of them were empty on the porch this spring, making a bit of a mess, but not much, they stack. However, I’d run out of trashcans, used most of my reusable leaf bags, and still had many piles of leaves in the yard. A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that a summer use for the kindling bins could be holding leaves before hauling them to the dump’s leaf pile! And the yard became instantly more attractive as the full bins were stacked in front of where the cars park and the leaf piles disappeared.

I just don’t have the “neat muscle” yet.  But I’m working on it!