Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tiny Balcony Garden

A few days ago, I ran into the grocery store to grab a few things, and saw that they were selling herb starts and potting soil. My mind raced back to the apartment, where a stack of empty pots I stole from home were sitting, empty and sad, on the balcony.

Oh, heck. So much for not succumbing to impulse purchases.

But you know what? I really can't find that I have even one tiny shred of regret.

Really, when you think about it, what is the point of trying to live sustainably when you don't even have a single potted plant in your apartment? It's such an easy step to take. I'm not in a position to grow much of my own food, but I can certainly manage a few herbs... I hope.

My bounty includes basil, thyme, golden oregano, chives, sage, and Italian parsley... more or less the heavy lifters of the culinary herb world. Well, my culinary herb world. No rosemary, this time around. One day.

Ideally, I would have my own compost made from my own kitchen scraps... but I've only been here five weeks. It's on my list of stuff to accomplish. One day.

I've read a lot of how-to container gardening articles and books that say you need to have layers of pebbles, sand, pottery shards, etc as drainage material, and you need extra fertilizer, and this and that. I pretty much ignored everything they said, and did the following:

Potting soil in pot. Dig hole. Insert start. Fill in with dirt. Water. Admire handiwork.

So now I have a respectable little herb garden on the balcony. It will have to make its way indoors soon, however, since the temperature's due to take a sharp drop this weekend.

So there it is... one of my first forays into sustainable urban living. And there will be much more on the way.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Communities: Or, Why I Haven't Been Updating

I realize that it has been over a month since my last post. All I can offer are sad excuses, like "But I was moving to Pittsburgh and starting grad school and everything was going really fast and it was super hard and it will never happen again I swear!"

Well, they do say not to make promises you can't keep, so I will avoid saying that never again will I avoid this blog because I have, I don't know, a thesis due or something. But I can promise that I will be making a concerted effort to regularly update this tiny slice of the internet so all my lovely friends and family can see what I am doing, where I am going, things I'm learning, stuff I'm accomplishing... I'm sure you get the idea.

To be honest, I was inspired this weekend to update my blog. By this lady.

This weekend was the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, a mere 90 minutes down the interstate from here. Fortuitous, no? And in exchange for manning the Chatham University table for a couple hours and participating in the Farmer Olympics (my team came in second to last... but we get a year's subscription to Mother Earth News so it's hard for me to be too sad about it), I got free admission to the fair. Which was only $30, but I am a poor graduate student. And while it was very cold and I was so unprepared to the point that I failed to even bring a jacket (AND we camped out Saturday night... you can thank my 20 degree sleeping back for my continued existence), I did enjoy some of the workshops and keynote speeches. Especially the indoor ones.

One of the speakers I had the pleasure of seeing was one Jenna Woginrich, a lady homesteader, writer and blogger from upstate New York. Her keynote speech, about the importance of community, was particularly poignant for me, considering that I have completely uprooted myself (again... it's what, the fourth time in as many years?) and moved to a completely new place with completely new people to do something I've never done before.

She discussed the various levels of community... the community we come with (family), the community we choose (friends, folks with similar interests), the communities we hire, brush against on accident, seek out intentionally... there are many, too many to describe really.

Yet here I am, deliberately putting myself into a new community of people who, like me, value food and learning and making positive change in the world. By reading books and blogs, by attending conferences, by deliberately moving away from what I thought I should do and choosing a world that was unknown to me but infinitely more exciting, I am building my own community around me, a little bit each day. It's a very exhilarating time, to feel like I'm where I need to be and making the best choices I can make. How can it get any better?

So thanks to all of you who every come to this blog - my family and friends, my neighbors, my long-lost acquaintances who Facebook-stalked me and found this, and you, person who randomly found me because you Googled "sexy girl on a tractor". Thank you for making yourself part of my community, even if it was only for the briefest of moments. I am indeed blessed.