Progress in the vegetable garden

Let me start by saying that I have the best husband ever (ok, so I might be slightly biased on that one ūüôā ).

Remember the shed that I included on my vegetable garden plans? Well it’s finished, built single-handedly by the previously mentioned wonderful Mr S.

At last no more hunting around the garden looking for my tools as they now have a home of their own.

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Elsewhere in the garden everything else seems to be making a late appearance this year as the wet start to the summer delayed progress. Unfortunately our apples and plums are virtually non existent as the rain stopped the bees pollinating early in the season but we do have a glut of beetroot and courgettes!

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When Only a 4 x 4 Will Do

Ok, we’re the Simplicity Family and we drive a gas guzzling 4 x 4. Sounds like a confession doesn’t it?

Well it is and I have to confess that it doesn’t sit quite right with our ideals.

Whilst I sympathize with those who think that 4×4’s are the machines of the devil and I agree that in a lot of cases they are driven unnecessarily there are times when only a 4×4 will do…….

In our defence we have been running it for quite a few years now, have maintained it and run it for more than the all too common 3 year turnover. This is far better for the environment than changing every few years as the amount of energy required to produce a new car is massive. I guess what I am saying that it isn’t black and white and let’s face it is driving any car enviromently friendly?

The Uncomfortable Truth

Sometimes you happen upon something in the media that makes you sit up and think and occasionally really rocks you to your core……that’s what happened to me today.

For a while now I have been thinking in detail about what I eat, I guess that when you are growing your own food this is to be expected. I have not eaten meat for nearly 25 years, not because I don’t like the taste of it but because of the issues with animal welfare. At the weekend I saw a piece on TV about the slaughter of male calves in the dairy industry and this led me to contemplate ¬†adopting a vegan diet.

Whilst searching for more information about becoming vegan on the internet I came across the documentary “Earthlings”

EARTHLINGS¬†is a powerful and informative documentary about society‚Äôs treatment of animals, narrated by¬†Joaquin Phoenix¬†with soundtrack by¬†Moby. This multi-award winning film by¬†Nation Earth¬†is a must-see for anyone who cares about animals or wishes to make the world a better place.”

I wasn’t quite prepared for what followed and although I am quite aware of many of the topics cover in the¬†documentary¬†Earthlings has got to be the most important film I have ever seen. Yes it is shocking, brutal and very, very hard to watch however¬†I firmly believe that every person should watch it, so that they are able to make informed decisions.¬†The film offers footage that most people would rather not see, and rather not contemplate but if you are prepared for an emotional and intellectual challenge then you must watch it.

So am I changing my diet for a vegan one? Watch the documentary, I think that you’ll find the answer to that question there.

You can watch Earthlings online at http://www.earthlings.com/ 

The One Thing a Day Challenge – 30 Days On…..

Well here we are at day 30 of the One Thing a Day Challenge and what an interesting journey it has been so far.

It has been reletatively easy for me to find one thing a day to get rid off despite my home being reasonably clutter free already. Just before starting this I had a major clearout and so I look at the One Thing a Day Challenge as a way of fine tuning my possessions.

So what happened to all of the stuff that I got rid of over the last 30 days?

Well most of it went to a local charity shop, some was sold on Ebay (making me a profit of £104.08 ) and only two things were actually thrown away Рthe leaky water bottle which was unfortunately not recyclable and the sewing machine which went to the local tip as not safe to pass on as the peddle was held together with tape!

Any lessons learnt?

It’s been an interesting excersise so far. Even though our house is fairly clutter free it has been easy to find one thing a day and I would urge anyone wanting to live with less to try it. One thing doesn’t seem much at all but it adds up and it’s quick and easy to do too – I left a box by the back door and put each item that was destined to be donated in it as I found it, once the box was full off it went to the local charity shop.

The other thing is that I don’t actually miss any of the items that have gone. Many of them had escaped decluttering sessions over the years, take my old sewing machine for example. This was the only item that I actually struggled to get rid of as it held quite alot of sentimental value. It was an 18th birthday gift given to me by my Grandparents – my Grandad died the day before that birthday so this was his last gift to me. However it didn’t work, was taking up room, was very dusty and had been replaced by a new one. Now that it has gone I don’t miss it one bit and my memories of my Grandad still remain.

The main thing for me though is that by spending the time getting rid of something each day it has actually made me think about what I bring back into the house.

Firstly it has made me think about if I really need something when faced with buying it. Lets face it if you’re going to the trouble of getting rid of stuff you hardly want to fill your house back up again, so by doing this task it has made me consider carefully what I am buying.

The¬†knock on effect of this is that by carefully considering each purchase and I’m now taking greater attention to what I’m actually buying. Buying less stuff means that I can spend a little more on quality, chemical free products that will last – whether that’s food, clothing or household products.

This for me is the important part. By learning to live with less my hopes are that as a family we will be consuming less. Last night we sat down to discuss this and watched the¬†fantastically¬†thought provoking video “The Story Of Stuff”. If you haven’t already seen this I would recommend that you do, the link to it is here¬†http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/

So will I be continuing the one thing a day challenge?

Of course! It’s said that it takes just 21 days to form a habit – I reckon that I’m just about there.

If you have been doing the One Thing A Day Challenge I’d love to hear how you’re finding it, why not post a comment below!

Why The Simple Life?

I was recently asked why were we looking to simplify our lives? I think that the person asking the question was looking for a succinct answer Рconcise and easy to understand Рunfortunately all they got was me rambling on.

Which is probably how this post will come across for which I apologise in advance. You see I don’t really think that there is an easy way to explain what we are doing mainly because we are doing it for various reasons.

So why are we doing it?

One of the reasons we are doing it is that by reducing our¬†consumption it allows us to free up our income for other things. By not subscribing to keeping up with the Jones’ we are able to spend our income on the things that matter to us and eventually we hope that this will enable us to reduce the time we spend earning money.

At the moment our short term goal is that it enables us to save for our Son’s higher education, should he wish to study further. With university course fees costing as much as ¬£9,000 per year ( I hate to think how much this will have risen by the time he goes) we want to be able to help him by not having to start his adult life with thousands of pounds worth of debt (and of course if this isn’t the path he wishes to follow we will have a nice safety net for when we finally give up the day jobs).

The long term goal is that by living simply it will allow us to reduce the time we spend earning money. Looking at it at a basic level the more money that we spend equates to the more time we have to spend earning it which means that we spend less time doing the things that we want to.

Simple living is fast become a way of life to us. It isn‚Äôt just about getting rid of stuff, decluttering and getting organized, although this certainly helps with simplifying life. ¬†It’s about focusing on our priorities in life and for me living a simple life really does help me¬†recognize¬†the important stuff.

In the past I spent money on stuff thinking that it would make me happy. It didn’t of course because most of what I bought had no real purpose, it was a want rather than a need, put into my head by some clever marketing ploy.

As we have simplified our lives alot of those wants have disappeared. Of course I still want things but those wants have altered, where as once a new handbag may have topped my list now it’s more likely to be something with a purpose such as a new spade or a packet of seeds.

So the next time someone asks us why we are doing all this the answer will be simple – I’ll just tell them to read this post.