Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not the to-do list, or past and future challenges

We all have a to do list. I don't know about you, but mine is epic, vague, scattered across my computer, my phone and my memory, and nothing ever gets done. This is something I do intend to address.

However, today's post is not about the to do list, but the want to try list. I don't know if this happens to other people who start to build a more deliberate, individually crafted life, but the list of things I want to try keeps getting longer and longer and longer. I really want to render lard. Why? I don't use lard in anything, but maybe I could or should. And it's another skill, a historical one linking me with generations past, and one which would come in very handy should we ever raise and butcher our own animals (in another lifetime). Plus it looks so white and fluffy in blog posts. Want.

It's not a ripple when you drop a pebble in a pond - smooth, even circles gradually spreading. The process is more akin to simulations of how pandemic diseases spread (there's an example here if you don't know what I'm talking about). One dot glows. Then several close by. These fade as glowing dots appear, covering ground but seemingly hapharzadly, faster in some directions than others. It always looks a very wild kind of spread, unlike the orderliness of the ripples. (Hope I haven't freaked anyone out with the pandemic simulation!)

That's how simple living is evolving for me. Not a steady, orderly, progressive interest, but surges of interest in certain areas, drawing me into related fields, before another surge draws my attention elsewhere but the prior interest draws me back and soon, before I know where I am, I've covered the globe. 

Yoghurt making leads to cheese making and sourdough and beer and fermented foods. Homemade beauty proucts lead to homemade cleaning products, no-poo and growing my hair out, which leads me to begin to develop confidence in my own unconventional fashion choices prompting me to try Project 333 and ultimately set out to customise and handmake my wardrobe. Setting out to grow a few herbs introduces me to permaculture and soon I've put my name on an allotment waiting list and started looking into heirloom seeds, green manures and polytunnels. Now I find myself reading about rendering lard, building a garden smoker to smoke bacon at home, and goats' milk vs cows' milk.

I'm just taking a moment to step and think 'woah!' It's great that I've read loads on keeping chickens and am already aware that, for example, chickens are not naturally vegetarian, they like taking dust baths, they need grit in their diet and fresh eggs do not need refridgerating. However, given that keeping chickens is a long way off, maybe I should focus on things I can do now? So I can add to the progress I've made which, when I get caught up chatting with a colleague, seems to be rather a lot by 'normal Western life' standards. To be entirely honest with myself, reading about chicken-keeping is another form of escapism, a distraction from the life I'm trying to build here, today, and which requires me to step away from the computer screen.

It's very easy to get so caught up in the idea of the simple life that we put less energy into actually living it. Perhaps it's better to log off and just be present here.

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