We’ve been quiet. Really for some time now. What we want you to know is that our voice and presence, although absent in recent weeks, months, and maybe even years, has not been lost. It has looked differently for us and we have not been able to commit to the same sort of consistency with Creating Sustainable Roots you may have come to know in our opening acts of 2016-17. We can assure you that creating the posts and content that defines us has not ceased… it just has not translated to pen and paper, keyboard and screen. The conversations surrounding our core values and our Family Mission Statement still pervade our home and the avenues of relationships, skills, and adventures we have chosen to invest ourselves in.
Many of us live in the I Can Always Do More reality. Well, this past Monday evening, Joelle and I heard a speaker that may have come the closest I have seen to pulling herself out of this reality by simply maximizing her sustainable efforts every moment of every day. Even though I’m sure she would say she can still do more! The speaker; Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home.
The event took place at the Shedd Aquarium, who we were very enthusiastic to find is taking sustainability, and teaching others about sustainability, very seriously right here in Chicago. They partnered with Zero Waste Chicago, which is the local chapter of the movement Bea’s book and efforts have triggered worldwide.
Where we’ve been?
We’ve taken a much longer break than we anticipated from contributing to this site… and are ok with it. Seasons ebb and flow, life changes, speeds up and slows down. So, we thought we’d give you a little insight into what’s been going on and where we are headed.
Fall has finally begun to settle in and our bodies are feeling ready to move into this next season of shorter days and new focuses. Our summer has been interesting and different for us, but also exactly what we wanted to pursue. The two most shaping occurrences were hosting a young girl through Safe Families and expanding our backyard micro farm.
Strawberry Rhubarb Granola Crisp
Tis the season when strawberries and rhubarb abound in gardens and farmers markets! These late spring/early summer crops pair together perfectly with the sweetness of the strawberry offsetting the tartness of the rhubarb. Rhubarb has always intimidated me, but this year I am determined to harvest and incorporate everything we can from our garden into our meals. I’m so glad I did because rhubarb is super easy to harvest and prepare and this crisp turned out amazing. In fact, Jim complimented that it was one of the best things he’s ever had! I’ll link to the homemade granola recipe that we make and used for this but any granola should work. Enjoy!
We Gave Up This for TV and Videogames?!
Any spare time we have had over the last two weeks has gone to tilling, planting, watering, chicken coop building, and related activities. In one of these planting sessions, Jim made the above comment “We gave up THIS for TV and videogames?” The more we learn about growing our own food and the industrial food system the more we are compelled to really know where our food came from. Not just was it organically grown but what was its life really like. There’s a lot of marketing ploy mumbo jumbo out there you see often: all natural, cage free, grass fed, etc. Companies know these labels will sell their product and commonly do the bare minimum to get them on their packaging. Which is why we encourage everyone to grow your own food, talk to your farmer yourself, or better yet, go visit the farm. How else will you know what you are really eating?
I could go on and on about this but the great farmer and writer, Wendell Berry, does it so much better in his essay The Pleasure of Eating. I highly recommend giving the whole essay a read but this excerpt summarizes why we are so convinced that it is important for our own health and the health of the world to know the source of our food.
Learning to Nurture
In Wendell Berry’s, The Unsettling of America, he describes two types of people: the exploiter and the nurturer. He states:
“Let me outline as briefly as I can what seem to me the characteristics of these opposite kinds of mind. I conceive a strip miner to be a model exploiter, and as a model nurturer I take the old-fashioned idea or ideal of a farmer. The exploiter is a specialist, an expert; the nurturer is not. The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. The exploiter’s goal is money, profit; the nurturer’s goal is health – his land’s health, his own, his family’s, his community’s, his country’s. Whereas the exploiter asks of a piece of land only how much and how quickly it can be made to produce, the nurturer asks a question that is much more complex and difficult: What is its carrying capacity? (That is: How much can be taken from it without diminishing it? What can it produce dependably for infinite time?) The exploiter wishes to earn as much as possible by as little work as possible; the nurturer expects, certainly, to have a decent living from his work, but his characteristic wish is to work as well as possible. The competence of the exploiter is in organization; that of the nurturer is in order – a human order, that is, that accommodates itself both to other order and to mystery. The exploiter typically serves an institution or organization; the nurturer serves land, household, community, place. The exploiter thinks in terms of numbers, quantities, “hard facts”; the nurturer in terms of character, condition, quality, kind.”
Spring Chicken Fever!
At Creating Sustainable Roots we believe living more sustainably means bringing agriculture back into urban settings and we’ve found raising backyard chickens is one of the most fun and productive ways to do this! Chickens have the capability to provide soil cultivation, weed control, insect control, natural and super effective fertilizer, compost, education for children, a very abundant and healthy source of nutrition in their eggs, and bring a lot of joy to your life.
We first got 6 baby chicks in the spring of 2014 and have been hooked ever since. They are easy to care for and there really is nothing quite like checking the laying box and seeing a fresh bundle of eggs just waiting to hit the frying pan! We parted ways with those chickens just before this past winter when their egg laying had more or less stopped and have been dreaming about new ones each day since.
Hi! We are so glad you found creatingsustainableroots.com. Our site is just beyond conception but we are looking to progressively launch in the weeks and months ahead. We believe in a life that is pure, simple, and sustainable. To us, the phrase “Creating Sustainable Roots” captures this perfectly and our goal is to live it daily. Come back soon as we document our many adventures.