Oh… hello there. Are you still paying attention, patiently waiting for more posts from me? You have the kind of perseverance and attention span that seem to be sorely lacking on the internet (and elsewhere) these days.
Well, yesterday, I broke up with Facebook for good. It was becoming an abusive relationship. (Apparently I’m not alone given the number of articles and sites on facebook addiction.) She was beginning to be controlling and manipulative about my time. It may take me some time to recover from this relationship. For example, yesterday after I got home I was in awe of my wife who had made an amazing dinner of fresh baked bread and ground nut stew for us and a friend who recently had a baby. On top of that she made pumpkin squares for dessert, granola and a fancy fruit thing for the homeschool co-op she’s a part of. I have to admit that my first thought was, “Great! Now where am I supposed to brag about how awesome my wife is, if I can’t do it on Facebook?!?”
I have not had the time or energy for this blog in a long time, but without Facebook in my life I think I might be able to delve back into these waters. In my absence from this blog life has happened and continues to happen. Whatever you want to call what happens on Facebook will also continue without me there. Here’s what I’ve been up to this year which has kept me very busy and which may give you context for whatever comes after this post:
Dreams and Meaningful Work
In addition to my full-time job, I have been working hard all year on developing the small business I started, Edible Lawns. This business is a direct outgrowth of much of what I’ve written about here. It is my attempt to build something that would make it possible for me to live into the things I dream and hope for. It is a way to spread the gospel of my eco-theology, converting suburbia into mini-homesteads of productive ecosystems.
There have been many versions of this dream throughout this year as I have discovered what will and will not work and what I am willing and not willing to do. For example, I toyed with the idea of a solar-powered lawn service, but soon realized that I don’t want to mow lawns… even if it’s solar powered.
What I really enjoy is teaching. So, I have tried to work towards more opportunities and avenues for educating people. We have held workshops on native landscaping and raised bed gardening. We hope to have workshops next year on backyard chickens, compost, rainwater harvesting and other topics. My goal is to eventually take the permaculture design course and begin offering more classes on those topics, perhaps eventually hosting a design course here in Waco. We have also started a premium section of the Edible Lawns’ website with articles, forums, etc. for people to learn more about these things from a trusted source at relatively low cost, $20/year.
I have also realized that people pay a lot of money for landscaping often with pretty poor results. Most landscaping companies are happy to plant annuals and non-natives, because it means they will get more business. This is planned obsolescence for your yard and the environment. With rising temperatures and two years of drought, people are looking for alternatives that require less water (which means less money) and will survive our Texas heat. So, putting this all together means a business that thinks differently about your yard and has more than profit as the bottom line.
We also continue to become more deeply involved and rooted in our faith community, Hope Fellowship, as well as the Waco community (with great folks from the HOT Urban Gardening Coalition and the Waco Downtown Farmer’s Market). The experiment of our community in diversity and community continues to stretch me in new ways. Living out ideas like reconciliation with flesh and blood people sharpens my theories and theology all the time. We continue to simplify our lives by growing more of our own food, finding ways to share our resources and transforming our household from primarily a place of consumption to a place of production. These adventures shape us and how we view the issues that I discuss here.
While I may never again have the time to read like I did in Bolivia, I can’t live life without a book beside the bed… and in the bathroom… and at work… and in the living room. I’ve read several relevant books to this blog that maybe I will be able to process without the abusive, social media partner in my life.
One of those books was Endgame Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization by Derrick Jensen which as you might guess has a lot to say about what’s wrong with the world we live in. It raised a lot of questions for me about violence in particular, but also how change is possible and the nature of the culture we live in.
Another was The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka which is also known as the natural way of farming or as I like to call it the lazy way of farming. Part agriculture, part philosophy, this book also raised issues about the possibilities for other ways of living and raising our food.
I also read Bobos in Paradise by David Brooks which made me laugh and cry at myself and our culture. There is much fodder in this one for unpacking modern consumerism and marketing, as well as our image of ourselves that we project based on what we consume and how we might (or might not) be able to get of that hampster wheel.
There may be others I’ve forgotten, but let’s see where all this might lead us as I enjoy my new found freedom from the shackles of social media addiction.