Re-skilling for sustainable living

Ages ago Rhonda at Down to Earth had a post about reskilling for simple living.* The other day I came across the first post I wrote in response, and it made me think about it some more.

I’ve never been terribly handy and neither has Mr SustainableSuburbia. Over the years (we’ve been together for 16 years), we’ve gained a few home handy skills, doing a few small projects together (paving, building an above ground sandpit, building a straw-bale chook house, a few other things), but I still feel very limited. I think in recent years Mr has learned more than I have in the home handyman arena, partly because since we’ve had children there has been a more traditional division of labour, however we’ve tried to avoid it, and partly because he was just enough more handy than me in the first place, that when one of us has to do something (while the other one looks after the kids), it ends up making more sense, often, for it to be him. Not to mention he can’t breastfeed…

Rhonda writes that we can get caught up talking about food production and forget the other things we can learn to do to help us live more sustainably, but for me food production – and equally food preservation – is still a great place to start. I often think that I know a little about a lot of things, but haven’t quite mastered anything. We have apples on our apple trees this year, but are not doing anything at the moment to prevent coddling moth (should we be?); we have our moreorless organic vegie garden going (not truly organic since our compost includes our conventionally farmed food scraps and we often buy conventionally grown seedlings), but we grow fairly haphazardly and probably with far less productivity than we could have; we’ve had our own chooks for years, but don’t make nearly the use we could of their skills beyond egg production; the past couple of years I made apricot jam, but that’s pretty much the only food preservation I’ve ever done, so in winter we eat almost entirely store bought produce.

Anyway, this next year I’d really like to focus on learning some more do-it-myself skills in more depth. Whether that means food production and preservation, learning to crochet or improving my knitting, or building myself a work bench for my seedling production I’m not sure yet, but it means something!

I just have to keep reminding myself that right now I don’t have much time to do anything in depth (much less learn new things), but as Babe#3 grows I will have more (although I’m thinking that crawling/toddling period is pretty intense too…), so I just must be patient with myself. As I’m writing I’m feeling a bit discouraged and impatient, but then last night I was up with Ms 9months from 3:00-4:30 and then she woke again at 5am… and because she usually sleeps through I didn’t go to bed until nearly midnight. So yeah, I’m a little tired today. Gotta cut myself some slack.

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*Okay, I’ve just gone and re-read her post and it’s not all about reskilling, but it does mention reskilling and it is about simple living, but anyway…

keep having floods!an
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