One of the principles of permaculture is “to make the least change for greatest effect” or to put it another way, “don’t use a bulldozer when a trowel will do”. I am finding that the decision for me to be a homemaker at this time is in keeping with this principle in a variety of ways. For instance, we have one vehicle, a 1993 Dodge pick up, and are perfectly content with being a one vehicle family. By getting a “real job” I would “need” to get another vehicle, thus buying more gas, oil, rubber, etc to maintain and drive it. Instead, most of what I need to do everyday I can do on foot (this has the advantage of me being able to exercise regularly for free and to truly observe what is going on around me). I also eliminate the stress of commuting on a daily basis which for me is really important. Life is too short to live it in a car, truck or van. So one decision eliminates stress, lessens fossil fuel use, and keeps expenses related to vehicle upkeep low. Sounds like a good plan to me and a least change for greatest effect.
Another opportunity to make a change with great effect came when I asked the owner of the house where we live if I could take care of the lawn instead of the person who normally does it. He uses a variety of very loud, consumptive machines including a blower (which I find to be absurdly pointless and annoying). I am happy to do it and was thrilled to learn she had an old school mower like the ones Amish families use–i.e no gas motor. Mowing affords me the opportunity to connect with my yard. Using all hand equipment saves on expenses, lessens fossil fuel use, and really gets me close to what’s happening on the ground. Eventually I will really know this yard. I’ve also started a compost pile with all the trimmings instead of blowing it into kingdom come. All of that fertility will end up on my garden beds eventually. My landlady also decided to pay me to do the yard work.
A few weeks ago I asked my landlady about gardening here. As a result, she allowed me to dig up the yard for garden beds. Food, therapy, critters,and connection! The weather has finally warmed up and we’ve had some good rain showers so now the garden is beginning to come along rather well. The transplanted greens (kale and collards) are growing large enough to harvest from soon. The green peas are starting to flower and radishes are growing well. I planted several types of dry beans and a couple types of squash which have all germinated. There are even some strawberries already which was unexpected. I love walking around the beds and noting the progress of all the wonderful plants and I make multiple trips to the garden daily to do so.
Being a homemaker is a learning process. It is taking some getting used to at times. Now I am more clearly able to see the benefits that it brings at this time in the eternal now. As time passes I will learn new ways to be productive, to connect, and to learn. I hope to make it a joyful process.