Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grow my pretties!

There are seedlings in my mini planter!  My mint is growing!  I seriously did a squeal of joy when I saw that, and baby talked the little things as I was watering them.  My red pepper plant is also looking perkier since I brought it inside.  The LED light is working!  Now let's hope that my watering is enough, too.

In other news, I went to a needlecraft group today at a library in a nearby town.  I was invited last Saturday by a woman at a Farmer's Market since she saw my knitting tattoo.  She told me to bring an apple and a chopstick, and she was going to show me how to spin yarn.  I almost did a backflip right there, because learning to spin yarn was something I really wanted to do.  So, today I went, and she gave me some roving.  Here are the results:

The yarn result isn't pretty, but it was fun!  I never thought of using an apple and a chopstick to make a drop spindle.  The woman gave me some more roving to play with, so I'll be goofing around with that.  I'm thinking of getting a nice spindle now.

I'm also looking at getting a new bike helmet.  My current one is made for sport riding, and is a pretty blue, but I want something more interesting and unique.  Yakkay makes some pretty helmets with covers to make them look like hats, but they are $120 each.  The ones I am really liking are by Nutcase.   My favorite designs are Star Bright, Daisy Stripe, and Sunburst.  Once I figure out how much money I'll have left after my next rent payment, I'll be placing my order.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Self Sufficiency and taking care of our environment

This is one of the books I've read recently.  I read Alas, Babylon in my high school Sci Fi class in my senior year, and I've been going back and reading some books from that time again.  Set in the 1950's during the tensions between the US and Russia, Alas, Babylon takes a look into the life of the town Fort Repose after a nuclear war.  It goes through the hardships and successes of survival in a post nuclear war world.  I love this book, and it easily ranks as one of my top favorites.

As I was reading, I started thinking more about our society and our lives.  We are so dependent on luxuries of technology and life that were nuclear war or any other disaster to happen on that scale (zombie apocalypse anyone?), that it would be a huge blow.  Pat Frank, the author of Alas, Babylon, touches on these topics.  One character's life is totally based around money, and when he finds out that it's useless in a post-apocalyptic world he can't live with that idea, so he commits suicide.  Little things we take for granted like coffee, electricity, and even salt, become such luxuries in Fort Repose.  We can go to stores and buy as much coffee and salt as we need, and we have electricity available anytime, so we don't really think "what would happen if this were gone?"  Sure, we've dealt with power outages (I remember the Northeast blackout), but to deal with it being gone for an indefinite amount of time?  I don't know how some people would cope.

A few days after I finished the book, I was watching National Geographic and there were shows on about different apocalyptic scenarios that could happen to humans.  Topics ranged from the Earth slowing down its spin, running out of oil, and population overgrowth.  The first topic is out there, but the other two are real threats.  We use so much oil based products and processes in out lives, and the population is expanding at an exponential rate.  These are real threats to our world.  The shows talked about what could happen after certain amounts of time passed.  As I watched these, and thinking about the novel, I came to one conclusion:

Wow, we're fucked.

Okay, that's probably an overstatement, but still, it's scary!  I didn't stay scared for long, however.  The book made me realize that I should work on some skills to be able to survive on my own in events like war, and the shows made me realize that I need to work on how much I impact the environment.  How can I lessen my impact from things like overpopulation and destroying our resources, and also be more self sufficient?  Why, being green and developing more self sufficiency skills of course!  One of my first ideas for being more green was to buy this:

A bike!  I got it for $40 at a garage sale, and it came with two baskets, two horns, a chain and lock, and a tire pump.  After getting it fixed at a bike shop, I have a new mode of transportation and exercise!  I can use it for short shopping trips instead of wasting gas in my car.  I still have to drive almost 30 miles every weekday to go to work, but it's a start.

Next, I worked on both self sufficiency and being green.  I started a container garden!

Okay, it's just a Sweet Red Bell pepper plant right now, but it's a start.  I haven't had that much luck in the green thumb department in the past, but I hope to change that.  I've got a container to plant small carrots, a kit for growing zinnias, and I have a "tater pot" mini pot with mint planted.  I had to move the pepper plant inside to my craft room and give it an artificial lamp since I don't get enough sun on my balcony, but that's okay.  I want to be able to learn how to garden and grow my own food and to contribute less to buying goods that had to be transported to me by burning fossil fuels.

There are other little things I'm doing, too.  I'm slowly changing all of the bulbs in my apartment to CFLs and turning lights off when I don't need them.  I also bought some ingredients to make homemade cleaning products that are better for us and the environment.  More of my groceries will be certified organic, and I am going to try to prepare more of my meals at home and eat out less.  It's all little things I'm starting with at first, but it will add up.

Besides, knowing how to survive and live more efficiently would be a big help in the zombie apocalypse.

Bring it on.