A lot of my attention lately has been on a new dream of mine: living at the Gypsy Café, an all-female collective focused on sustainability, permaculture, and active community
. Oh, and they like to have fun, too! That's very important. No sanctimonious monasteries for me, no matter how self-sustaining they may be.The ladies at Gypsy Café also produce the We'Moon calendar
, an astrological datebook. Within its insightful pages, I found the following gem on transforming community, by juliett jade quail.
No matter where you live, or what your community looks like, let this be an inspiration to you
as it is to me:
how to transform a suburb into a community
Life as a farm hand sure does take up a lot of time - so much that I've got no time to talk about it!
Farming is already an overtime job... I also work as a professional modern dancer two days a week, plus I spend wonderful days with loved ones, then I spend the rest of my free time doing all the homesteading projects I normally write about!
Phew. It's tiring just to write about it. So, my apologies for the lack of brilliant, insightful, and helpful posts - I'm too busy living! And that's a great thing.
My challenge to you today, dear reader, is to pick one project / action / idea from the vast web of inspiring blogs, then shut off the computer and run with it. Have fun!
What have you (yes, you!) been doing to:
use your resources wisely, gain skills, heal yourself & others, connect with the Earth, reach out to community, and take creative action?
I want to hear about it!
I'm a 23 year old feminist, am unmarried, don't have kids, live in rental housing, and have no plans to 'settle down' any time soon. Yet, I identify as a homemaker.Call it urban homesteading, simple frugality,
traditional skills... I like to call it radical homemaking
. I am creating home, wherever it may be, with conscious intention.My version of homemaking often doesn't look like
others' - mine is a bit more ragged, opportunistic, and environmentally focused. My homestead is less fleshed out than others' - my home is rented and shared, and my gardening
projects are tucked away into corners and windowsills. My motivations are my own, too - though I'm sure many of you share them:
- Make what you need. If you run out of lip balm, make your next tube. If you love yogurt, make some more. You can make most of the things you would buy.
- Learn to want less. We need food, water, air, shelter, exercise, meaning, and love. We want comfort, beauty, entertainment, sensuality, and so much more. Control your desire to consume and learn that you can live on much less.
- Choose your projects based on need and interest. Do you love eating tempeh? Make some. Always wanted to learn to garden indoors? Do it. A note on pretty DIY projects: Yes, we all crave beauty. Craft a home that reflects the beauty of your spirit, of your dreams and imagination. Don't just start a project because you're bored and the tutorial online looks pretty.
- Use what you have. Upcycle and re-use, don't buy new materials. Be resourceful.
- Source materials that are used, free (gifted, traded, found, dumpstered), local, and recycled. If you really need something you don't have, do what you can to avoid buying new and imported.
- Choose function and frugality over appearance. Don't buy fancy fleur-de-lis contact paper to decorate your new plastic wall-hung organizers, no matter how well it matches the curtains. That's just wasteful.
- Learn skills as you go. Don't let inexperience stop you. Read, plan, read some more, learn from others, and give it a shot!
- Ask others for help. Other people are so smart! Ask questions, work together, and build community.
- Teach others what you know. Trade your skills. Network, barter, organize skillshares - the more everyone knows, the better.
- Consume less, produce more. Radical DIY returns the power of production to your hands; it doesn't lead you to consume more.
I spend a fair amount of time searching for ideas and like-minded folk on the web. In my search, I've noticed a few patterns in the 'homemaker' crowd. Some I jive with, and others, well...
I'm slowly but surely finding my place(s) on the web, though I fit into several digital crannies:
What do you think? Did I miss anyone?
I don't know about you, but when I think of queer feminist radicals, I think of combat boots, hand-lettered zines, and fair trade coffee. Not knitting. And certainly not homemaking. Turns out I'm not suited to knitting (I'm an angry, impatient knitter, who makes very ugly crafts). But luckily, I found out several important things along the way:
- Knitting can be bad-ass (check out Slave to the Needles, via Microcosm Publishing: knitted beer muffs and thongs, anyone?)
- Femininity is powerful, but only when embraced.
- Taking the means of production into your own hands (however clumsy) is one of the most radical acts in which you can participate.
Fast-forward three years, and enter Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers
I got tickets to the Sustainable Living Fair
in 2011, and while researching the presenters I came across Ms. Hayes' biography. Something struck a chord, so I followed my gut to the library and to her book....
When I was 20, I learned to knit. This was hard for me, because I identified strongly (and still do, to a more mellow degree) as a queer feminist.
And since [my entry, 'do! go! more!'], I've:
~ bottled immune support & mood balancing tinctures
~ made pickles
~ made kimchi
~ tended a winter garden
~ started kombucha
~ gotten supplies to make yogurt & cheese
~ gotten supplies to make tempeh!
*Note: This is a retrospective entry from the early days of my homesteading journal, hence the far-back date.
Yet, in just the past 6 weeks, I've:
~ learned to pickle
~ learned to boil-can
~ made wild plum jam, dilly beans, & stewed tomatoes
~ dehydrated stores of apple, green onion, & tomato
~ built a cold frame
~ built a hanging herb spiral and propagated rosemary, mint, & thyme
~ pressed apple cider
~ baked bread
~ wildcrafted mullein
Let's keep doing it.
I want to:
~ make herbal remedies, esp. w/ lemon balm & peppermint
~ make pickles!
~ can salsa
~ replant cold frame
~ make cleaning/beauty potions
~ bake bread regularly
~ make my own wine
I've done so much already, though it feels like so little - there's an urgency to do! go! more!
*Note: This is a retrospective entry from my homemaking journal, shortly after I got 'the bug' - hence the far-past date.