Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 25, 2009

[My grandson, picking apples]

I am a recycler. I am a green green green person. I don't see this as being defective, the way lots of the people I know see me. They think I'm crazy.

Back in the '70's, when I was a wee thing, I was a subscriber to a new magazine called the Mother Earth News. It was published in the little town of Hendersonville, North Carolina. I didn't know that, at the time. In fact, I didn't know it until I actually moved to North Carolina much later, in the 1990's.. In the little town of Flat Rock,(which BTW you may know as Carl Sandburg's home called Connemarra, where they raise blue ribbon goats) . I had a PO Box there because I liked the name. I was always driving by this store front building that said "BackHome" Magazine on the side in big letters. One day, intrigued, I stopped and went inside. It was a small reception area in front and I just said "Hey." (I learned to talk southern while I lived there). The girl said "Hey". A guy came out from the back, and after exchanging more pleasantries, we started talking and he showed me their magazine and told me that the owners (he and another guy) were the original MEN staff...and that it was published right here, before it got sold to the highest bidder and moved to New York. I had no idea.

While I lived in NC, I went to several Alternative Energy Fairs and procured a few copies of BackHome magazine. It's a beautiful little thing. Lots of interesting articles and info on everything you never wanted to know. I subscribe to another homesteading magazine called Countryside's my all time favorite magazine and I can't wait for it's arrival. When it comes, I read it from cover to cover in 2 days or less. It is the single most useful piece of literature I have ever seen. I think I have all the copies I have ever gotten, and I'm not sure how long I've been a subscriber.

My point here is this: I'm not a Johnny-come -lately when it comes to all this stuff. It's in my genes. My grandmother was one of the original recyclers and I am just carrying on the tradition. In her time, and she would have been about a hundred and four now had she lived, people used everything up until it was gone. There was no tossing something out because you didn't want it anymore. You made quilts with old scraps, and used even older blankets for the batting . You cut down kids clothes to make them fit the next kid in line. You saved things like wrapping paper and paper bags and whatever else there was. You cooked a meal that could be made into another meal with what was left over. And you ate iot until it was all gone. You fixed things that were broken. You believed that everything and everyone had a purpose.

When did it happen that we became such a throwaway society? We buy cheaply made goods for lower prices and then throw them away when they break or don't suit our purpose anymore. We buy more than we need, spend more than we make, never have enough and can't understand why that hole in our soul never gets filled. I know women who have more than 20 pairs of shoes ! No one needs 20 pairs of shoes. I nearly had a stroke a few years ago when we were having Thanksgiving at my brother's son's house and just when we were finished eating, his wife started throwing all this leftover food in the garbage can. I said "My god--what are you doing????" She said, "we don't eat leftovers". It was more than my delicate constitution could take.

I have been trying to live more simply in my life and be more mindful of things. Some of it is pretty politically correct stuff, like buying Fair Trade coffee and using ecogroovy cloth shopping bags. But most of it is just daily life stuff, like composting and using reycled paper and green cleaning products. I do save wrapping paper. I do reuse plastic bags. I do grow my gardens organically and raise my own eggs. I do conserve water.

Mostly, I try to leave the earth a little better than I found it when possible, and always try to do no harm. I live in harmony generally and I like it that way. I bake bread and I grow flowers and I love my husband. I won't win any awards for my life, but I am happy.

And in the end, that's all I ever wanted anyway.



  1. Love this Annie -- I have spent years planting drought-tolerant indigenous trees and taking up the lawn wherever I lived in southern Africa.

    Little things that might make some difference.


  2. I know...

    Did I ever tell you that I once met a gardener from Germany who was aghast at all the wasted dirt in America used for lawns? lol I had never thought about it like that til right then. He said (I swear) "Think of all the cabbages you could plant!!!"

    And I'm convinced that it IS the little things that make the real difference. Every time.



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