Saturday, April 24, 2021

Choosing a value driven life

With so much going on in the world, I choose to hunker down here in my house and garden, trying to live a value driven life, rather than a life buffeted by fashions, advertising or even bad news. This is where I can provide those I know and love with my time and the results of my efforts and work. This is where I am nurtured and where I am content. I concentrate on the three big Permaculture values -care for the earth, care for people and Fair Share. The kind of values which most spiritual paths will identify with, too. 

I started this blog in 2008, when I was on the first couple of rungs of  the ladder of learning to live simply. I was in a stressful job, and I felt stuck. I needed a plan in which I could be kinder to myself and it wrote about it here

When I go back and read the first couple of years, I can see how much things have changed since then. I have added new skills such as making bread and quilting, along with new garden beds, new habits such as budgeting with YNAB along with a new garden shed. The blog was my way of both documenting and creating accountability for my determination to live a more value driven life. I wanted to be less busy but more happy, to work less and spend less but enjoy life more, and to be more creative and to live out my values. Eventually I was able to move to part time work, then finally to retire, having paid off our suburban home and ready to live more on less. 

This beautiful illustration is from Brenna Quinlan

We are all feeling a bit overwhelmed, I think, by the stresses and changes of living in 2021. Right now we are back in lockdown here in Perth. 

I try to concentrate on what is in our power -to do all the good we can do. Some of these things are remarkably easy to do! But they will 'leave a trace' for others to follow.

Brenna says "We're always talking about doing less bad, but why don't we shift the conversation to one about doing more good? Imagine if your ecological footprint was a measure of how much carbon you captured? Or if the goal wasn't just to achieve net zero, but to assist our ecosystems to thrive once more.  We can all kick start this way of thinking in our homes and communities. We can be a beacon in the dark, inspiring others to do the same, just like so many have inspired us."


We have moved our 'parked' savings to a bank which does not invest in fossil fuels or live animal exports or the weapons trade. They invest instead in projects which will be good for the earth and the community. We are very happy with Bank Australia. 

Find out if your bank is doing this by checking out or dontbankonthebomb.

We try to spend our money with local businesses and services. I firmly believe we can do good this way, keeping people in work and letting the money circulate in places where it can do the most good. In Australia large businesses swallow up small family owned businesses -especially in hardware, groceries, fruit and vegetables and butchery. I get better quality services and goods from small places and usually reduce the food miles by HEAPS as well. For example, here in Perth one grocery chain sells eggs from Queenslad -over 3000km away. I shop at an independent store where I can get them from either Harvey (a town a couple of hundred ks away) or Gingin (quite close to my northern suburb home). 

We try not to spend it all on ourselves! The past few months I have been using YNAB as the tool for managing our budget. I have no personal or business relationship with YNAB but I can heartily recommend it as a way of giving us power over our money. With the tools and tutorials it offers us, we have been able to feel more completely aware of each dollar and what it is for.  This then means that, because we are in a very fortunate position of having a bit more money coming in than we can justify in spending on ourselves, our charitable giving can be supported.  We also donate to a small number of regular charities. Our long term favourite is St Judes School in Tanzania The Pat Giles Centre for Non Violence , St Barth's homeless services  and CARAD -Centre for Refugees and Detainees.  

We try to invest ethically. In Australia, we have a superannuation arrangement which puts money into an investment fund during our working life, to use when we retire. DH and I arranged for our superannuation funds to only be invested in ecofriendly investments. No fossil fuels! No weapons! The superannuation manager was a bit surprised, to be honest, that we requested this, but they did have options for people like us-even if he had to go and look it up first! 

One thing I am interested in exploring, is using our money to invest in small, local, eco-friendly business ventures. I don't have much money to spare, but it could just make a big difference to someone starting out. 

These are just a few of the ways in which we can do good with our money. 

Next time I will write about how we are trying to do this sort of thing by living our values with regard to what we buy and how we take care of the things we own.

Here are some links for you to enjoy: 

The shearwaters are doing well this year 

We found some daisies! Check the story here 

A great inspirational book about gardening: 

Happy -when surrounded by nature and especially lots of it

How to keep cool -click here 

Farming productively using old methods here 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Simple days, getting simple things done

Our days have been going on in the usual way, with simple things taking up our lives. We are most grateful for our happy, quiet home.

 In the last few weeks a number of important milestones have been passed -DH and DS both had birthdays, and DH is through his hand and back surgery and well on the mend. We have both had our flu injections for this year -DH got one for pneumonia last year so probably doesn't need it to be done again this year. We are not yet on the list for the COVID vaccine but I will be lining up as soon as I am called. 

The tumbler quilt top I started some time ago has become a flimsy over the last couple of weeks. I will always remember this one for the way my 3 year old grandson enjoyed turning the handle on my Accuquilt Go as I cut the tumblers, and them put them up on the design wall. I am planning to use a collection of orphan blocks on the back. I am trying to think of a name for the quilt, but given the helper I had I am thinking of it as 'tumble tots'. 

It  has been school holidays and we have been having a 'sleepover' with the older grandchildren as a special treat. I took both Miss 8 and Mr 6 to the local pool and they had a wonderful time. The pool is geothermally heated at a constant 32C and it is quite wonderful. When DH is a bit more recovered we both will be using the pool again for our 'walking in water' exercise regime -it is good work but kind to arthritic joints. 

Miss 8 continues to progress in her scrunchy making skills with my sewing machine. I think we have made 3 so far, and each one requires less of my attention.

I took advantage of an early in the season rainfall to start putting plants in the verge garden. After the hot dry summer the earth was absolutely rock hard out there, so I bought an auger attachment for DH's drill to help me dig the holes. I had a couple of indigenous plants ready to go in, and have some more to plant this week. Once the rains fell the earth softened a bit and I hope that gradually we can turn this semi-desert into living soil again. In a couple of weeks I hope DH will be able to help me get a trailer load of mulch to protect the bed and feed the soil a bit. 

 We are eating the butternut pumpkins I grew under the citrus out the back, and just this weekend started harvesting the limes. The myer lemons are colouring up, and will be abundant very soon. I managed to get abut 7 good pomegranates from the tree this year -a smallish crop, but I have frozen some kernels for salads later in the year. I have some rocket now growing -it needs cooler weather -and some seedling celtuce coming up from one I let go to seed. I have prepared some of the raised garden beds in preparation for winter crops. 

The nasturtiums are returning to the front garden, and the autumn flowering daisies and salvias are in bloom again.  

Finally, here are a few good articles I found about simple living and growing things 

Simple living vs Minimalism

Why we should embrace regenerative gardening 

The self-sufficiency myth