Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Independence Days week 7

Well, I'm traveling again, this time quite reluctantly. I done gone off to the Big City to get me some learnin. But I was able to squeeze some Independence Days stuff in before the trip, and even a little during the trip.

I think we must be onto something with the lifestyle adjustments we've been making over the last several years. I remember when I used to love traveling. Now, both on our recent family trip as well as this business trip, I find myself thinking how I can't wait to get home. Even on a when I have a good time, I can't wait to get back to "our world."

Walking around Manhattan, I can sort of see the appeal of the place. I love the fact that I can walk to everything. I love the fresh fruit and grilled food being sold on virtually every corner. I love the fact that I've heard at least three languages being spoken that I couldn't identify. Hell, I couldn't even make a guess! I love the fact that on one side of the massive St. Bart's Cathedral, they have a glamorous outdoor garden restaurant, but if you walk around the cathedral to the other side, you find the big line for the soup kitchen. I love the big burly dude with cornrows and a jacket from a tattoo shop walking some prissy little dog with a pink bow. I love the casting call line for some reality show in the lobby of my hotel, and the all female marching band inexplicably lined up on some city sidewalk doing their thing.

But there are an awful lot of people here who take themselves way too seriously. You know, the ladies in their thigh-high boots and expensive shades and hair pulled back tight. The guys with too much hair gel and tailored suits talking to little voices in their ear. Black Lincolns and Caddies lined up in front of every glass high rise. Walking along Madison and Park Ave's a couple times a day and seeing all the shops and gimmicks and pretense. Overpriced clothes and artwork and handbags and shoes. Cafés and pubs trying to pawn off twenty dollar turkey-spinach wraps and nine dollar American beers. No wonder I hardly ever see anybody smiling here. (Compare to Carlisle, PA, where everybody was smiling. Even in line at Walmart. That was weird.)

Here I am, right in the heart of both Big Finance and Big Commerce. It's a distorted lens to view the world through, no doubt. But everything I see here just reinforces the notion that our entire economy is built on the idea that we should all spend money we don't really have on stuff we don't really need that won't really do what it's supposed to do, and we're supposed to keep doing it over and over again.

Anyway, on to the Report...

1. Plant something
- (These were all seed-started transplants.) Peppers: a couple cayennes, a couple jalapeños, nine Golden Cal Wonders, and one Mini Red Bell. I have bad luck with peppers, so I'm hoping that if I plant enough of them, I'll actually get a few to harvest. Tomatoes: Way too many, including 15 Bonny Best, 15 Amish Paste, 9 Romas, 2 Weeping Charleys, 2 Mortgage Lifters and one Red Grape. I'm hoping to sell these at work along with the eggs. And obviously we're hoping to try some more canning.

2. Harvest something - Eggs. And also one lemon balm leaf, just so I'd have something more to add to the list. I keep eying the fruits, but nothing yet. Looks like we've got some greens ready though.

3. Preserve something - Nothing this week, though hopefully strawberries soon.

4. Reduce waste - Well, I'm doing the best I can here in NYC. I unscrewed one of the two light bulbs in my hotel room lamp. It was too bright anyway. I've walked everywhere. I put the Do-Not-Disturb sign on my door when I left this morning, so I wouldn't get the never-ending supply of fresh linens. Do I really need brand new laundered, starched, and fluffed sheets and towels every single day? Of course the housekeeping folks had to come bug me this evening, but I assured them I was fine. "You have to have clean towels at least!" "I've got some, look, right here on the towel rod. See?"

5. Preparation and Storage - Started reading the new edition of Small Scale Grain Raising. Haven't managed much else on this one.

6. Build Community Food Systems - Tried to drum up some new material for Hen & Harvest, which I haven't had time to update yet. Not sure if that counts. I can't think of anything else for this one.

7. Eat the Food - I think just some eggs and strawberry jam. It's hard when I've been gone most of the week.

I think that covers it.


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At 6/10/2009 10:40 PM, Blogger Madcap said...

I love your description of the contrast between "your" world and the one you visited.

So often I get desperate for a trip to the city, but it doesn't take more than a few hours for me to wish myself home again! Still finding it a little hard to settle...

At 6/11/2009 9:38 AM, Blogger Wendy said...

I've noticed the same thing, since we started making the bigger changes in our everyday life. It is much harder to just pick-up and go - not so much because of all of the animals that need to be tended, but mentally, it's harder to just leave all this that we've created.

Both my husband and I were in the military and enjoyed our traveling then, but now, we're just happy to be home ;).

Hey, great job on the lemon balm ;). Every little bit counts, right?


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