Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dinner last night

On a lighter note...last night I made the best dinner! Our friend was given a whole bunch of fresh spinach grown right here in Wimberley and he gave it to us! So I steamed up fresh asparagus and spinach, and served it with brown basmati rice, butter, lemon, and wild sockeye salmon cakes. I got the salmon cake recipe from my friend Kimmie-- super easy:

An egg, saltine crackers, canned salmon, thyme, dill, cayenne, spike, a little mayo and lemon juice. It was delicious!

Monday, April 28, 2008

How it work(s)(ed)...

I decided to take pictures of how things have been working at my house-- you know the basic stuff that you do everyday. Things are changing a little bit around here and I'll get to that part of the story but I figured I better capture this stuff for the sake of history... for my kid (s) so he/she/ they can know how things were done before they came along...

First its important to know that I use a lot of bleach water...for sanitizing countertops, dishes, cutting boards, toliet seats...
This is where I cook-- I have a gas stove which is my preference for cooking anyway-- I am used to always having four burners, which come in really handy for my creative cooking style...but I have learned to do pretty well with the two burners. Also notice my handy cutting board to the left of the stove, and some of my cooking spices. The best thing is my view-- I have a GREAT view from my kitchen window. This is where I keep my pots and pans and dishes
This is my sink-- and my version of "running" water which comes out of the little spigot at the bottomof the cooler-- and my medicine/bathroom cabinet
This is how my sink drains (and where I keep my extra bleach)
This is how dishes are done...note the hose nozel. I spray everything down (usually the water that has been sitting in the hose is pretty warm for the first go around), then I add a soap droplet to each item and lather them up and scrub, then I rinse, then towel dry. This is usually not too big of a deal-- except when bugs are out, and when the hose gets a mind of its own and soaks me-- I have taken to doing dishes with no clothes on and my crocks so that it doesn't matter how wet I get...and sometimes I throw in a shower at the end...
This is where I pee. Pee only. No tissue or ANYTHING else can go in here EXCEPT bleach. I use it a lot in the nighttime. I was going outside but since I now pee A LOT more than i used to, and I tripped a couple times trying to go outside in the dark half-asleep, I brought this trusty little toilet into the house. I empty it about twice a week and sanitize accordingly. This is self explanatory I hope. When you gotta go number 2...Take the lid off, and sit on the seat. Its Murv's job to take care of this one. I refuse. He buries it...

There is one nice thing about this little jewel... I do enjoy coming out in the late evening and looking at the moon, the stars and the fireflies, and listening to the birds and watching the sunrise early in the morning. I am not going to lie- I hate the bucket, but if you have to go... it is a pretty peaceful bathroom, and one you don't experience when you an indoor flushing toilet.

So anyway, I said I would get to the part about how things are changing:
I got the electricity hooked up to the pole on our property last week. Murv was pretty upset because he had visions of us doing everything totally off the grid-- and I was really down for the idea too-- until I was almost 8 months pregnant and not close to getting the solar power hooked up, and still without a complete kitchen and bathroom...

I have to say I am having mixed emotions-- I feel happy and sad about the electricity. Have you ever seen that little movie "The God's must be Crazy?"

Here is the jist of the movie:
A Sho in the Kalahari desert encounters technology for the first time--in the shape of a Coke bottle. He takes it back to his people, and they use it for many tasks. The people start to fight over it. Misery is brought to a small group of Sho in the Kalahari desert in the form of the cola bottle. In his quest to throw the evil object over the edge of the earth, Xixo encounters Western "civilization."
It also reminds me of this great little book by Claudia Davila-- an amazing woman that lives in Canada. It's called SpOILed http://franpages.blogspot.com/2007/07/spoiled-book-launch-at-toronto-comics.html.
SPOILED, a print comic about a boy, his mother and his grandfather as his connection to Nature gets sidetracked when he discovers, and then loses, petroleum. An allegory about humankind and our inherent connection to the natural world, even in this brief era of fossil fuels.
Granted, I know, not everyone sees the problems I see with the way we live today, but I know many people are aware and trying to find ways in thier own lives to DO SOMETHING about it. To radically extract yourself from civilization as we know it, yet still have to live and function within that society, is no small task--. I struggle with it everyday. It's tough. I mean try washing clothes by hand in a day and age where fabric is so weak and flimsy it can withstand about two rubs on a rock... you know what I mean?
Or cooking a meal on a fire every single night. It's just not realistic-- unless you don't need to make a living also. Or living outdoors when there are torrential rains for six months straight.
When we first started this adventure, we really felt this strong desire to "regress" you know-- get back to our pioneer roots. Live off the land. Simplify. Make less carbon footprint. Be more self sustainable and not so dependant, and not so into instant gratification and the "I need, I want" syndrome...
But even in its unfinished state and with just bare bones basics-- I am still using orange plastic home depot buckets and propane and a hose, and driving a vehicle that cost $4.15 PER GALLON to fuel it, and typing this blog entry on an electricity powered computer at the library with the web right at my fingertips and access to ANY information I could possibly ever imagine wanting to know about!?! And still wishing I had a way to keep my food cold and wanting things I don't have that "everybody else" has....(at least most of us here in western civilization).
I have just come to accept that I don't know how to regress to that extreme in this world as it is today. So, I am trying to find some kind of balance. I haven't found the right word yet, or actually achieved the balance I am looking for. But I am trying to somehow stay connected to the natural world and the quiet and peace and serenity of a space that doesnt have man made power buzzing through it, and live sustainabley, but still take advantage of and utilize some of the technology we do have available to us today-- that can make life "easier" in some senses (and so much more complicated in others)...anyway this is my current dillema...
any thoughts?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Padobe Progress

Murv stacked up all his bricks... looking pretty good! He has been cutting some of them up and giving them out as business cards... People either totally get it or totally don't get it :)

Friday, April 25, 2008


I made dinner AT my house-- on my little two burner propane stove with my yummy food...(now I just need the fridge for the leftovers...) Since I am really trying to learn how to prepare foods in their season, and use what is available, I decided to experiment with all the stuff I got this week-- I steamed 1 sweet potato, 1 beet, and 1 yellow potato with thyme, ginger, spike, sea salt, pepper and at the end I threw in the beet greens, some tangy pickled relish that my friend celena canned and chopped fresh cilantro-- I served it over brown basmati rice and added fresh avocado on top (the perfect touch)... It was delicious! Murv even loved it-- and he is always complaining that his stomach hurts after he eats-- he said his stomach felt great...hooray... I love cooking at home :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back in Texas

Well-- I got brave enough to come back home to Texas. So far the weather has been really nice-- I am accepting the humidity and trying to enjoy it, since the beautiful flowers and green come a long with it-- it makes it easier... I did get a bunch of mosquito bites on my ankles the other night-- which are already swollen enough. I am trying to adjust back to the lifestyle here. It's going pretty well. I'd say my spirits are pretty high, in spite of things not being the way I would really like them at our cabin. We still have no power. Murv's brother was going to send us an inverter but that never happened-- so, no power and no bathroom...still...But the dogs are healthy and safe and sound, and Murv is still Murv. He had a little boy and his tutor come over for a padobe making workshop and it was really fun to show the kid about recycled paper and padobe making. We also made some test tiles and put bright colors of tumbled crushed glass in them. We are going to see if we can use them to tile the floor in our cabin. So far they look pretty good but they aren't dry enough to figure out yet.
Sifting the sand out of the crushed glass (yes that was the condition of Murvs hair after 6 weeks)

buried in paper
smoothing out the bricks

Another exciting thing is that our little food buyers coop- The Bountiful Sprout did a test run order with a produce outfit in Austin. Even though I am not officially on the board, I got to be there to help divide up the order. I left with a box full of fresh, beautiful organic beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, asparagus, cilantro, bananas, pink lady apples, grapefruit and avocados. All for about $21.00! It was a bit confusing dividing the food out but all in all it was a very exciting first run! Now I just need a refrigerator so all my yummy healthy food does not go bad, and I can keep getting more!
Jamie and Evan unloading the goods!


P.S. Murv did get a haircut thankfully

Monday, April 14, 2008

Home again Home again...

This one goes out to my cousin Jared for reminding me that I haven't posted for way too long...

So about 6 weeks ago I ran away from home (with the generous help of my dad). I just had to get away for awhile...and it has been sooooo nice. I have had such a good time with my family and I got to stay long enough to be able to actually spend some good quality time with each person and each little person (I even got to see Lindsay and Eli and my mom but forgot to take some pictures-- oops-- hormonal interference). All the sisters, baby and little kid time has been good preparation. I also enjoyed working at my dads office and even got to go to Utah for a few days and see some friends and family there. I will be really sad to leave everybody-- they have been such an awesome support to me! And I will also miss the running water and fridge too.

Here are some pictures of my trip home:

A super fun sunday afternoon picnic with Dad, Heather, Phil and the girls near the Owyhee mountains at Swan Falls--

about 30 weeks
My favorite sister in law Mary! We are 2 weeks apart -- we enjoyed being swollen and uncomfortable together!
Rebecca, Amelia, Hadley, Cash, and the baby bean
These kids are soo cute-- we were missin' ya little Eli
Ryan, Reb (and the bean), Dad and Heather (We were missin' ya Lindsay)

Me and Tammi resting our tired eyes
Happy First Birthday Amelia Joy! Don't you just want to eat her?Mermaid Princess Hadley Grace

Cash Ezra-- the super happy kid-- I miss them already