Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How we wash now...the multi-purpose bin

the multi-purpose bin
Very water-wise and surprisingly convenient, unless we get lazy for a day and procrastinate.  Then the pile seems insurmountable...We use water from a variety of sources.  Cleaning products: baking soda for pots and pans and difficult food stains (blender sometimes gets funky with chia seeds and fruit seeds) and lavender castille soap for everything else.  Both are gentle on cookware, silverware, plastic, our bodies and the environment.
After dishes are washed the bin is scrubbed with baking soda.  Laundry goes in next.  Clothes are soaked in the sun with a little castille soap -- mostly for fragrance and "suds" action.  Soapy water is dumped (without risk of harming any creature in the local environment) and bin is then refilled with fresh water to rinse clothing.  Wring then hang on line to dry in sun.  (Need to post a pic of our line...which is really a metal bar that extends or collapses.  Versatile for a family on the road!)

The bin is scrubbed once again with baking soda.  Sage takes a bath, sometimes with a teaspoon of baking soda and on other occasions she uses castille soap.  We wash her hair with castille soap, usually, and use conventional conditioner (usually something eco-friendly...but not always.)

How we make coffee now...

No space for a coffee maker so we switched to instant coffee and boil water on the propane stove.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Space of mind

Sometime in the middle of the night, David shifted his body, his part of the blanket and all four of his pillows.  One of the pillows smacked me in the face, and according to him I swatted it away, annoyed.  On a conscious level, I am happily adapting to our new lifestyle.  Deeper in the subconscious, however, I must have been feeling crowded and yearning for my own space.

Let me make this clear: the camper where we sleep is approximately 50 sq feet.  I won't pretend that sharing this space has been effortless, but it has been much easier than one might think.  Most of the day we spend outdoors under the canopy -- our outdoor living/dining/office.  We hike through the vegetated areas, or run along the camp roads, or bike to the lake.  If the weather is agreeable, we live among nature.  When it is not -- like the lightning storms of last Saturday -- we shoehorn ourselves inside this teeny space.  By the time the skies cleared nobody could wait to dash outside.

Last night I must have been feeling cramped inside my little bed-space, upset that the tiny corner against the canvas wall I had carved for myself was now being invaded by David or his things.  But this morning, after he told me about my response to his falling pillow, I laughed.  I thought about the ways we are rapidly adapting to this small space and actually enjoying having less square footage to live.  When I want to stay up later to write, I sit on Sage's bed and face her so the light from the laptop shines on me, not her.  Or, when we boil water for coffee on our propane-powered stove, we heat our home.  We must open the ceiling vent while the burner is on.  The past few nights have been cool, so as soon as we turn off the stove we also close the vent to keep the heat indoors.  One tiny burner could not generate enough heat for a large living space but it's perfectly sufficient for heating the camper.

Over these first two weeks we all are discovering that we still are transporting too many clothes, too many toys (that never seem to be played with), too many books (that never seem to be read...much), too many food storage containers, and on and on.  I have proposed that we each have one spoon, knife, and fork; one food storage container with lid; one cup, plate and bowl; one towel; and two changes of clothing per season.  Perhaps we will purge more items, and improve our organizational structure, as the journey continues.  My goal is to eliminate more of the "noise" (as I call it) so that we can make more room and time to live, work and travel together...comfortably.  Hand-washing a bin full of dishes -- a task that took nearly all day -- inspired this next heat of purging, I'm sure.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Told you we aren't 100% raw...

Sometimes, the only answer is beef.  Oh yes, that's beef...and red bell peppers and onions...oh my!  It was a delicious batch of chili.  In fact, David's best batch yet.


Sage and Daddy celebrating the end of another day lived with purpose and meaning.
One of the free perks of living among nature.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New friends

Our temporary "home" has brought us many new friends.  A gaggle of Hackberry Emperor butterflies dance around my shoulders when I walk along the wooded path.  Golden Garden Spiders spin webs on the junipers and over our camper and trailer.  One brave little squirrel is stalking me today while I write and Sage and Folsom nap.  My new scorpion friend hung around the sink in the women's bathhouse for two days before I remembered to tell David.  He liberated the poor guy last night.  Aside from very curious wood ants, there really are not a lot of pesky pests.  The ants do not sting, unlike their saucy cousins the fire ants.  So, really, they are just minor annoyances.  And, of course, the ducks love Sage.

the pied piper of ducks

Week 1 Recap...different from biz and personal blogs

If you want to read about the ups and downs (and believe me, this first week has been stamped with extreme situations), please check out and  On day one we left our house in Corpus Christi in the early morning light to watch the sunrise over the Gulf.  Stunning.  As we left the beach, raindrops began to sprinkle a little.  No worries.  While putting my vehicle into storage, a sprinkle turned into a full-throttle gully-washer.  Undeterred, our family marched northward and emerged from the storm unscathed...and dry.  Let's go!  That night we stayed with friends...a wonderfully generous respite from planning and preparing for this adventure.

Day two, we drove to Plano and stayed with my Dad for three nights.  In his driveway.  Tethered by an extension cord.  We enjoyed quality time with family; I even had a girls' night out!  Probably the last I will have for a while, I guess.  Thanks for the laughs, ladies.  You really helped me let go of the stress of the past several months.

Day five marks the de facto beginning of this journey.  I will stop calling it an adventure, because this is not a trip or a vacation.  It is a total change in lifestyle that challenges our suburban upbringing.  David and I have taken other adventures together, true.  But for most of our life, we have been surrounded by an ethic that promotes (over)consumption and a system of identifying oneself according to a professional title, the location and size of one's home, designer brands of everything from clothing to kitchenware and everything in between.  Imagine my friends' and family members' horror when we announced we were scaling back to as a family in less than 100 square feet!  I know, it's a foreign (and some have said INSANE) concept to most people, especially for the people we have always known and loved.  But, really, it is not that unusual in a global context.  Suburbia is only one lifestyle, it is not THE lifestyle.  I cannot claim to fully understand what I will glean from this experience -- yet -- but I have a few objectives.  One, I hope that by minimizing our footprint I will spend less time managing "stuff" and more time educating and exploring with Sage.  If I do not seize them now, I might miss some of her earliest momentous accomplishments.  Two, I hope by becoming a mobile family and business we are able to reach more clients in more markets to share our messages about sustainable landscaping and living.  Three, I hope to use these blogs to document our experiences, but also to finally plunge into my passion (writing) as a paid professional.  Four, I hope I will use the extra free time to run more, hike more, learn more about raw food, maybe become a raw food coach and an herbalist.  I've become very interested in the various culinary, medicinal and household uses of native and adaptable plant species.  Four, I hope that our journey inspires others to peel away the superficial layers of their life and focus their time and energy on whatever it is that truly makes them happy.  Consumerism is not evil, but too often materialistic pursuits mask an underlying dissatisfaction with one's life.  I have discovered the essence of Me but I do not hoard happiness.  I want you to feel as wonderful and happy as I. 

Deep.  Wonder what revelations week two will bring...

Day One on the beach on Padre Island, Corpus Christi

Monday, September 6, 2010

Departure date pushed back

We need a few more days to finish some modifications to our trailer, finish moving out to storage and deep cleaning our house ceiling to floor.  Next post will be from the road!  Stay tuned...and please recommend this blog and our others to everyone you know.  Grateful for you.