Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yet another project

For quite a while, I've wanted to write a book. I never really knew what subject I wanted to use, but I just knew I wanted to write something. Several idea's went through my head, and I even started writing a few of them. I started one on backyard gardens, but that has been done hundreds of times over. I wrote 6 chapters of one on disaster preparedness, but thought it sounded repetitive and like other books I had read. I considered another on suburban homesteading on a budget, but it just didn't feel right. I tossed a lot of ideas around in my head, and had almost given up the idea for a while, when yesterday morning it hit me.

I want to write about our journey over the past twelve years in escaping "the norm" in suburbia. As anyone who knows me, or reads this blog is aware of, we don't exactly fit in here. We live simply, homestead our one acre the best we can, live *gasp* without television, and man other things that put us outside the circle from everyone else. Since my last post about our weekend fire, I have felt rejuvenated from the long winter, and inspired to do more than ever while completely embracing who I have become over the course of my life. It may sound strange to many, but it's almost like a rebirth, not far off Spring itself being a rebirth of nature. I feel happy, alive, and inspired.

With all of this in mind, the idea for a book subject came to me early yesterday morning while sitting here at the computer over coffee. It was the same as many other ideas and thoughts. *facepalm* "Why didn't I think of this before??" I decided on a theme, and the title just came from nowhere. "Unplugged-Escaping Suburbia from Within". It fits. It's me. It's everything that Lisa and I do and have done. That is exactly how it is being written. It won't be an instruction manual or a how-to book, but just be the story of our "unplugging" from being somewhat typical suburbanites to where we are now. (note that I used "somewhat. Who am I kidding, we've never quite fit in.) I'm writing is as if I was documenting our own personal journey; step by step in great detail. I have a very rough draft of the first chapter started, and want to spend more time, possibly today, writing more. It's funny how little details about our choices come back to me as I write and remember. I'm doing my best to document every one of them, just so someone out there may understand our decisions a little better. I'm really enjyoying writing this.

I have no desire to be a best seller or to get famous. I just want to share our experiences with anyone that would want to listen to them. I want people to try understanding that just because you live in the suburbs;or anywhere else for that matter; you don't have to live the same cookie cutter life as everyone surrounding you. You don't have to keep up with the Jones's. You don't have to die with nothing to show the world of your existence but a nice little house with a perfectly manicured lawn. You don't have to rely 100% on the grocery store. I have a lot of topics to cover,and plan to make each one a chapter. The first one I have started is, of course, on one of my favorite subjects to despise-television and video games. I'm trying to do the same as I have lately in the blog, and play nice guy. In previous posts here, I've tended to be pretty opinionated, and I want to get away from that. I have to face facts that no one will listen to anything I say if I come across as being insulting, or insisting that my way is the only way. I've leared to keep that part of myself restrained, and I'm happier with my posts because of it.

Since I am due to start the new job next week, and the busy spring outdoor season is almost here, it is going to take some time to write this book. I won't have the spare time that I do now, so this will have to be pushed to the back burner while I concentrate on more important things. I'll definitely finish writing this one, unlike the other two that I started, just because this one is closer to my entire life than just one or two aspects of it. I'm excited bout doing this more than I have lead on to most people so far, but a lot are catching on to my childlike giddiness. I've talked about it to friends and on Facebook, and I'm getting a lot of encouragement that I never really expected. Maybe I'm just too used to getting strange looks or getting somewhat ridiculed by my family and a few others. Thanks to those people, and also the ones that read this blog, I'm inspired to write this book, and encouraged by all of you and your words and comments.

Well, so much for that whole going Amish bit. I don't think I could go without the internet and everyone that's kept me going. DRATS!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring fires and good friends

Saturday night was our first bonfire of the year to celebrate the spring spring equinox. We decided to have one to see the giant moon we had heard about, and though it was a bit disappointing itself, it was a great night with a small group of friends. It was a little cold, but the wind layed down to almost nothing, and it was toasty warm around the fire. Rather than the usual BS and idle chit-chat, we were able to have some really in depth conversations. Lisa's friend talked openly about her experiences from coming back from a coma, after the doctors had said she had flatlined more than once. My friend Mike talked about some recent happenings, (I'll just say "spiritual" and leave it at that), and how those things have changed his thoughts, focus, and future. I even got to discuss my thoughts on the modern world, it's affect on people, society, and ultimately myself. My friend Bill was here, along with my stepdaughter Holly, but eventually it ended up being just the four of us. When Mike was the last to leave at 1:30 in the morning, I was exhausted; but I still sat in the house talking to Lisa about how wonderful the night was. We'll have more bonfires throughout the year like always. I just hope more turn out the same way.

For the first time, others finally began to understand my views and opinions. For me, it's extremely rare to try explaining myself and not get ridiculed by someone. I've had friends, acquaintances, and even family joke about and belittle my choices and the paths I have chosen to live. I've tried explaining myself, but it never seems to work. Most of the time, I just let the jokes and comments roll off like rain; but other times they make me wonder if I am really that odd; and sometimes they can be slightly hurtful. I can take a joke from a friend, or ignore a comment from an online forum or other media, but when the ridicule comes from my own family, it's hard not to take it to heart. But, finding new support from friends, especially Mike, give me the strength and encouragement to keep going. Thanks Peanut!

Most of my life I've felt that I was born 150 years too late. I've always been able to relate to characters more like Jeremiah Johnson, the Ingalls, or early homesteaders more than I could anyone or anything post-Civil War. I can't relate to the laptop computer at a 6 bucks a cup coffee shop type. I can't relate to the sitting in front of a tv all day type. I can't relate to the sports crowd either. I've never really fit in anywhere, and as I get older, I make decisions to make me fit in even less. While someone is out pricing a new weedeater for spring, I'm looking for a good used scythe. Someone else is looking at a new game system, and I have a list of books as long as my arm that I want to buy. Most of the time I love being outside of the circle, but now and then I want someone to come out and look back inside with me.

As spring approaches, I'm looking at more things I can do here at home. Beyond the gardening/growing food thing, there are many things that I want to teach myself to take me further down the path to where I want to be. I've been reading books for months on wild edibles, herbs, and herbal and old-time home remedies. Sure, I won't walk away from modern medicine if I was to get extremely ill, but I would rather work with natural remedies for simple ailments for things like headaches, sore muscles, upset stomach, and a few others. I want to embrace more things natural, and get less reliant on over the counter drugs. If I can drink a simple herbal tea from things I grow or gather here to get rid of a headache, why would I want to take a pill?

While the books I have are full of incredible information, most list ingredients that are grown in another area of the country, or even from another country or continent. I want to break things down to what I can grow or harvest locally, and work with those ingredients and their capabilities and uses. I've taken my books, and marked those herbs and wild plants, then marked their uses. When I'm done marking the pages, I'll start a notebook with everything I want. I've loved this reading so far, and the idea of my own home apothecary fascinates me. I haven't read anything else in a month and a half.

There are quite a few other things that I want to learn this year. I want to learn how to tan hides, use primitive fire starting methods, make my own clothes, (by hand or with the old treadle sewing machine I restored), make simple wooden furniture, carve kitchen utensils, and...................... The list goes on and on. The turns I have made in my life, the choices I have made, have made me want to learn. I want to know it all. I want to tell people that most of these skills aren't primitive, they're just forgotten. I want to continue this journey and see where it leads me. I'm pretty sure it will lead me back to 1815.....150 years before I was born.

Just like I do with anything else, I'll share those experience here. Experiments, failures, successes; you'll go through them all with me. Thanks to all of you who have become regular readers. When I started this back in September of 2008, I never imagined that there would be 160 people following my misadventures. Thanks again people!

Blog Archive