The past few days the subject of community and saving our natural resources has been a big topic. When I participate in the Change the World Wednesdays at Reduce Footprints I sometimes think that it sounds like I am the only one around me who lives a conscious, lighter lifestyle. I thought I would clear that up for you. Since I spent the day working in the gardens (yep first day without rain in over a week!), I’m also going to share some pictures with you of the field.
I live in an apartment building where 12 of the 16 apartments are studios without access to a stove. We live in matching 300 sq ft spaces and have had to make the space fit our individual needs. While taking a peek into each apartment you would find no two look the same in how we fill our homes but you would find plenty of similarities.
Only 2 of the apartments have a full-sized refrigerator, the remaining 9 have small dorm-sized fridges and of course I have none. One neighbor has figured out how to have a larger freezer by changing the setting on the refrigerator section of his fridge which causes all his food to freeze. I never thought to try that and would have to look to see how much energy he uses.
None of us use pesticides, and most of us use all green/natural cleaners. We all respect the natural world, one jokingly refers to the deer, bunnies, groundhogs and the skunk that live in the field as his pets and will apologize for his “pets damage to the gardens” :-)
Only one person (in his 70s) seems to live lightly but would be fine with the use of pesticides.
Every one of us uses counter top appliances Only two have hot plates, the rest of us use a slow cooker as our main source of cooking and two grill on a regular basis. One person uses a toaster oven to be able to enjoy muffins or other treats. Every one of us prepares our food at home, preferring to cook from scratch than eat out. While I am the only vegetarian in the building, I have learned that only two people drink milk.
I often run into my neighbors at the farmer’s markets and know that the majority of the tenants have boycotted shopping at the local WalMart. And three of my neighbors have degrees, or are finishing up their studies, in Environment Sciences and in Environmental biology (didn’t even know there was a degree called that). Which shows in their concern for the planet and the life forms that we share the earth with.
Every person in the building believes sharing what they have is the most economical way to live and even the younger university students will remark that we are like one big family. If I am outside the majority of the day working in the field one neighbor in particular will bring me a glass of fresh lemonade or even prepare a little extra for dinner and bring me a plate as a way of thanking me for doing work she can no longer do outside. We share books, knowledge, tools, and cooking appliances, Yes, I was recently told to stop by if I want to borrow a couple more slow cookers when I begin to prepare my harvest for the freezer.
One neighbor is extremely allergic to the Sumac trees out back and can’t enjoy the field, but he is the first person to show up with a rototiller and till as many beds in the field as we want before the trees bloom. I find this very generous as he can’t garden back here due to his allergy.
While we each plant our own gardens, when it comes time to water (when needed) the first one to turn on the water takes care of all the garden plots. When I weed, I will pull weeds I see in another plot. And when food is picked by the one who grew it, that person delivers extra to the neighbors.
When I moved here I did so because I wanted to live in a tiny house, but this was the next best option. I had open space on one side and the lake on the other. I never believed I would find that my neighbors would share so many of my values.