Welcome To Living Simply Free

Welcome, to my online home where I share with you my life in my 300 sq ft apartment living and my goal of saving my corner of the world one day at a time.  As New Year’s is a time of change,  Living Simply Free needed a bit of a new course as well.  I hope to provide a bit more structure while leaving a little room for flexibility.

  • Monday’s I will share with you some good news I heard concerning the natural world and the environment
  • Wednesdays, I will continue in the challenges of Change the World Wednesday with Reduce Footprints.
  • Fridays you will find my Friday Faves containing link to the  articles I found most interesting or thought-provoking.
  • Saturdays you may find an occasional guest post.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are a bit of a pot luck where the subject may be anything from upcycling items to natural cleaning or holistic health all with the goal of living lighter on the earth.

I would like to start a new feature sharing your projects.  You can send me pictures of your organic gardens, a green DIY, or even pictures and stories of life with a small footprint and you don’t have to be a blogger to join in.

Thanks for stopping by, please grab a cup of coffee or tea and stay awhile. I love to hear from each of you, let’s share ideas and make 2014 the year we end the waste and make a difference in the world.

Change the World Wednesday, Plastic

I lost a day this week. I thought it was only Tuesday so this is a bit late.  Small Footprints decided to focus on Plastic bags.  Before I share this week’s challenge, I did follow up in searching for butcher paper to replace the food saver bags in my freezer.  I found them, but I didn’t purchase them.

freezer paper

What is the point of buying paper, of which has its own environmental impact if it’s going to be coated with plastic?  I don’t know what the answer is.  I could look at the problem as one of finding something reusable. That wouldn’t be real hard, a bit pricey, but not hard. I could use glass mason jars like Small Footprints does or take her suggestion and buy stainless steel containers that might stack better.  But if I am trying to keep my footprint as low as possible it takes resources to make those stainless steel containers. Glass then would be the best option I can think of.

Now that I have shared my latest disappointment, how about a challenge that ties in nicely with Plastic-free July?

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Nature in Distress

Things are different this summer.  I have gotten a couple of mosquito bites, the first ever here in my little sanctuary. The reason is that we lost our bat colony.  We had hundreds of bats that would fly out of the pines each evening. It was a sight to witness.  The most we’ve seen at any one time this year has been four.

My grandson found this dead bee. There was damage to the one wing.

My grandson found this dead bee. There was damage to the one wing.

Then there is the field. Where are the bees?  It used to be that I would see my plants covered in bees.  They were every where in the gardens and around the wild plants.  This year I added some bee loving plants such as lambs ears. Nothing. I know we’ve had to have had some bees visit the garden because I have a couple tomatoes forming. Yet I worked in the garden for several hours Sunday and saw not one bee.

We haven’t seen a praying mantis, or a lady bug yet this summer. Where are they? We had one Monarch Butterfly in the field this week, it was the first and so far only one seen this summer.  The milkweed is growing in several spots around the field, I thought it would be good to spread it around.  Am I helping, I don’t know and that’s what has me concerned.

I’ve left more of the field wild than I’ve allowed to be cleared, did we do harm by clearing what we did?  I don’t have any answers.

I think the little ones are picking up on my concern.  They are noticing the lack of insects in the garden.  My granddaughter picked my brain Monday asking me what each insect and animal ate.  She wanted to know which ones were bad and which were good.  Her list began with  birds, including the hawks and crows, bees, deer, groundhogs, snakes, lions, and the list continued to grow.  I explained to her how a bee pollinates our plants, and how birds eat insects (and worms) that keep our field healthy. For example if the birds eat ticks we have less chance of being infected by one. We then talked about scavengers and how their work keeps nature from being smelly and riddled with waste.  She already knew about the worms but wanted confirmation, she got it.

She wanted to know why I put tree branches in the bottom of my garden beds. The best way to answer her was to go into a wild area of the field where we have piled tree branches and I showed her the lovely soil underneath. It was dark, moist and filled with life. The branches were softening and teemed with insects.

But then I need to come back to reality.  The areas left wild so nature can flourish are only partly doing what they should. There still aren’t bees flitting on the flowers.  We haven’t seen any snakes this year other than two dead ones. The butterflies are fewer.

My granddaughter surprised us by walking so silently and slowly she was able to pick up this moth she still calls a butterfly.  She gently held it felt how soft then let it go "to eat".

My granddaughter surprised us by walking so silently and slowly she was able to pick up this moth she still calls a butterfly. She gently held it felt how soft then let it go “to eat”.

I hoped to be comforted by taking a look at my neighbor’s garden beds. She started most of her plants in cold frames so they are much bigger than mine.  Her squashes and pumpkins flowered weeks ago but still nothing beyond the flowers. I’m getting worried.

Then I catch this article on impotent roosters, reading through the article I learn that roosters aren’t the only problems coming to light.

The rooster problem comes from a genetic tweaking that causes the roosters to overeat and become impotent, this has reduced the poultry production estimate by 195 million pounds.

What about pigs? There has been a deadly pig virus that has taken it’s toll on available pork products. It was believed that once a pig contracted the virus it would be immune but that turned out to be just wishful thinking.

Domestic cattle (cows) is at it’s lowest numbers in 60 years. Just when in the US meat consumption has risen.  Add to the consumption burden is the increase in exports of beef to China a country where people want to eat beef but not raise it.

Back to the bees.  California supplies the nation with almonds, 80% of the world’s almonds come from California along with many more foods (see this I wrote earlier on the droughts effects on food supply).  What I didn’t know when I wrote that was that bee hives are traveled across the country to California to pollinate almond trees each year.  This year there weren’t enough hives to do the job.

While I don’t buy meat, I do need my protein from somewhere, one of my main sources has been nuts and seeds.  But what do we do when our crops fail, when the bees are gone and we no longer have fruits, vegetables or nuts?

Aside from the question of my diet, there is the question of the planet itself.  Each of these insects and animals plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Just like the conversation with my granddaughter we need every animal and insect nature provided. We need wild areas where decomposition can replenish the earth and give habitats for life of all sorts to flourish.

Mainstream media downplays the severity of what’s happening in nature. Children don’t understand the need for bugs they don’t like, who likes being stung?  I believe we need to look at nature differently.  This year my son and I watched Cosmos (new television program) in which one episode it was shown that trees, and every other living thing on earth has the same DNA components humans do, just arranged differently. We are connected down to our DNA but we don’t stop to think about that connection and how much we need nature to survive.

Today my grandchildren asked me about air. I told them how trees and other plants breathe in the air, cleaning it, using what they need and breathing out cleaner air that we human’s need.  They picked a leaf, studied it together for a few minutes, then brought it to me to ask if the veins were what carried the air inside the tree to clean.  They were amazed to think a leaf with no nose can breathe.

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~Osho

 

What about your area have you noticed changes that have you concerned?

Staying In Touch with DIY

While I may complain about texting and people who are obsessed with their cell phones, the technology that comes with them allows me to continue the close relationship with my daughter-in-law who relocated with my son for his employment.  Just as she was learning to embrace a DIY lifestyle they had to move.  The internet and our cell phones has allowed us to stay in touch regularly and continue her “education” of the DIY-ing she was falling in love with.   Today I want to show you  how technology has helped us to continue this relationship.

A couple of weeks ago I received this picture via text message.  The question that followed was “Could you do this”

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Tiny Houses, are They a Good Idea?

Yesterday I asked how small a home you thought you could live with and still be comfortable and what you thought you could give up to live in that smaller home.  EcoCatLady turned the tables on me and asked me about my impression of the tiny houses such as these. I have to admit I have mixed feelings about the tiny house movement.

Dee William's tiny house

Dee William’s tiny house

If you aren’t familiar with the tiny houses, these are generally under 150 square feet,built on trailer beds (with wheels) to get around zoning laws and  involves a ladder to access loft sleeping spaces.  Many do not have indoor plumbing and most use composting toilets.

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Living Small Friday

It’s hard to believe it’s the end of another week.  I don’t want summer to be over so soon and have to move back indoors most of the time again.  Speaking of indoors, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to make living in a smaller home easy and comfortable.  When I showed friends and family the apartment I was moving into everyone shook their head in disbelief that I would be happy without a separate bedroom. The children were the funniest because they came to the situation with complete innocence and pointed out the “rooms” that were in this one space.  There was the office, the living room, the bedroom and the kitchen. To them it made perfect sense, but maybe that’s because children are used to keeping their belongings in one space designated as their own, that being the bedroom.

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Change the World Wednesday; Green Kitchen

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I was busy again today finishing up the sewing projects I had, and now two packages are ready to be mailed later this afternoon.

Wednesday is our day for the farmers’ market.  I returned my empty honey jar (glass) and purchased another bottle, I had my reusable produce bags made from a set of sheer curtains which were filled with broccoli, lettuce, and potatoes.  The eggs were less than half the price the stores want so a dozen came home with me too. The woman selling fruit insisted I had to have a paper bag, I’ll return them to her next week.  I brought home red raspberries, blueberries and these cherries.

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Good News Monday

I hope you had a fun-filled holiday weekend. I spent so much time with family and friends I took a three and a half day leave from the computer.  Looking for good news to share with you I came across stories I wish I hadn’t seen and you probably have.  If you don’t like the news you’ve heard lately I hope you will keep reading to see there are good stories out there.

good-news-monday

My first piece of good news is that I received confirmation that a sidewalk will be built connecting the grocery store plaza with the rest of the town.  Of course not all good news comes from the goodness of the heart.   Years of wrangling over a sidewalk with residents who didn’t want it the decision was made after a young woman was hit by a car on this stretch of the road.  Luckily, the victim is doing well and wasn’t seriously hurt.

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