Tuesday, February 7, 2012

So you want to break the norm and loose the Lawn.

I say 'L'awn here because of its iconic stature. I've heard it is a throwback to the days of large estates. Perhaps even it gives a modern home owner a primal feeling of security being able to see people approaching their household unobstructed. Doing the norm and not sticking out could even be taken out of our childhood schooling. Never wishing to be pointed out or the center of attention. Please don't call on me, Teacher, not because I lack the answer, but because I would fear my peers jeering. Probably not that.

When I am outside working the earth many people come by and ask. It is gratifying that most of it's positive. Wouldn't it be a shame to hear jeers for the next years we lived here. After all, it wouldn't stop us  would it. Sociology has always fascinated me. It is my belief that it does most. We simply call it people-watching. People are generally quite civil to one another but certain things elicit this great change in them. Say politics. While this is my very corner of blogville I'm not here to rant about my leanings.

Something very similar elicits a response in people. Ideas that challenge their own choices by simply existing. One that I have dealt with on a personal level is being a conscious herbivore. Years ago when I was still learning to fly in Arizona, I happened to ride the bus. There was one occasion where a gentleman had noticed some patchwork on my flight bag that pertained to Ahimsa. Live and let live. Compassionate living to all that surrounds you. It is my personal belief that everything has a right to live. Who am I to choose whether it does or not. Quite a responsibility we as human beings take on to judge that. (This is something I have pondered now with my mass scale gardening ideas. Where do I sit with the plant munchy bugs? I have already determined my stance with the mosquitos. Since leaving AZ where the dry conditions allowed me to never have to deal with them I've found that I react quite violently from the bites. Huge welts. My take on it is this : I won't go out of my way to kill them, although I will keep their breeding areas clear, but if it goes for me it's self defense at that point.) The man at the bus stop without any interaction from myself proceeds to chastise me about my own choices. A conversation that develops into him discussing with me about how fish and crustaceans aren't conscious enough to warrant ethics. I barely spoke throughout the entire encounter. Sometimes you just really wanted to get to school, y'know?

These things challenge people. It somehow causes them to debate their own choices. Perhaps it was myself calling for the attention with a patch on the bag. I don't think that is correct though in much the same way having a symbol of anything you cherish is a call for another to chastise you for it. Religious symbolism for example. Maybe, just maybe, the conscious choice to 'boldly' place our food self sufficiency right out in the public view is the same thing. Taunting those around us. Forcing them all to rethink their own hard worked choices in life. A stretch indeed. Most likely not, but having your lawn willingly torn out and placing food out in front where the good sun is does get passerby's to question. Once again, thankfully it's so far positive!

On the side of this blog there is a section that details the cost of our conversion. Tonight we were thinking about how more people could do what we are doing. Nothing special to it after all. Earlier I was conversing with another garden blogger about how even if you didn't have any money you could garden. Trading in more manual labor for the lack of finances. $20 bucks of seed could grow quite a supply. Could we have demonstrated this better with our own yard? We did choose to create raised beds with wooden borders. Very utilitarian in look. We could have used those plastic borders that you unroll to create curved flower beds etc. Our front garden is currently 585SF. This turns into 402 linear feet. A good thing to know for when we decide to use masonry to edge everything. Turns out that with the economy untreated pine boards we went with it comes to $.48 a foot. That plastic edging is $.45 a foot. Guess the only way to make it any cheaper than we did is to not have bordering at all. Choose inexpensive seeds from the store. Gardening is truly something everyone can do. Less than a hundred dollars would suffice including the purchase of a shovel, fork, and seed could feed you for the year assuming you had the minimal space needed. According to Jeavons, a vegetarian diet would be 4000SF. Ours will be Little over 1500SF.

At its core that is what this page is about. It's my attempt to continue to elicit a response in myself. To become a better person. To validate that I can in fact take care of myself. Life really isn't as complex as we want it to be. I mean, really?

Here's to a year of letting you, and me, know if I did it.


  1. Interesting post. I have found that sometimes when I make different choices than those around me, a lot of folks will feel the need to defend their own choices, even though I never ask nor comment about how they live their lives. Homeschooling and liking to wear skirts come to mind. I think though, that if folks see us enjoying what we're doing, like gardening, they begin to consider it for themselves. It's amazing how much we can influence others by actions alone, and no words.