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Small Steps: Recognizing Progress

August 15, 2011

I have a vision for my future, involving children, a rambling old house, a garden, a woodstove, and loaves of bread rising in a warm kitchen.  I spend a lot of my idle minutes adding to that vision: planning what breeds of chicken I’ll raise (definitely an Ameraucana or tw0 – such pretty blue eggs!), figuring out how many tomato plants will supply a year’s worth of sauce, and debating with Chris the merits of hardwood floors over carpet.  I love my little dream; it keeps me motivated, reminds me that there’s something I’m working toward.  But too often, I get so caught up in the how (How can we find the home we want in the Bay Area?  How can I justify working less with a mountain of student debt?) the small stressors of daily life, and the impatience to have it all now, that I forget how very far I’ve come already.

I’m lucky that the progress I’ve made has been thrown into sharp relief this week, in the shape of a visiting former roommate I haven’t seen or talked to for a couple of years.  After a number of exclamations about things that feel so normal to me it’s as if I’ve been doing them forever (You made yogurt?  And laundry detergent?  How?!), I finally got it through my thick skull that a lot of things have changed around here in the last two years.  Moving forward, I plan to spend just a little less time planning the future, and a little more time being happy and proud of where I am now.

(And a little more time feeding the compost worms.  I’ve got to stop forgetting about them!)

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenny permalink
    August 15, 2011 10:36 am

    It took me a while to get into a good patten of feeding our worms. We got at little compost bucket to keep our scraps in, we had it by the sink until, the fruit fly’s attacked! Now it sits outside our door and I fill it up during the week and then I only have to feed the worms once a week. Mudwiggle has grown huge, I need to harvest some of the casting but it feels so overwhelming. How long have you had your worms?

    • Ashley permalink*
      August 16, 2011 3:42 pm

      Jenny, I’ve had my worms for just a couple of months. Ours lives out on the back porch, and I keep the scraps in a bag in the fridge to minimize the fruit flies, and (try) to feed the worms once a week. As for harvesting, I’ve heard of some pretty low-maintenance ways to do it. My setup is a big plastic tub, with holes drilled in all over for ventilation and drainage. The advice I’ve read says that when the first tub gets full, set a second tub on top of the castings, and start putting scraps in that one. Supposedly, the worms migrate up through the drainage holes over a couple of weeks, and presto! You have a (mostly) worm-free pile of castings. Let me know how it goes! It’ll be a good long while before I’ve hit that point myself, I think.

  2. Geraldine permalink
    August 16, 2011 3:04 pm

    I can completely relate to the stress of “how”. I worry about that a lot, too, especially since I’m not sure where we’ll end up. It’s great that you’ve come so far – I’m still working on making a sourdough starter and yogurt.

    It’s a beautiful dream… It sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read about it someday!

    • Ashley permalink*
      August 16, 2011 3:50 pm

      Oh, the how is SO overwhelming at times – it’s hard to see any light at all at the end of the tunnel. And not knowing where you’ll end up is certainly stressful – we’re pretty sure we want to stay near(ish) where we are now, but as a renter, nothing ever feels very permanent. But there are lots of good things now, and I can’t do anything at all about a future I can’t see. Right? That’s a lesson I’m learning, anyway.

      I’ve enjoyed reading about your sourdough starter. I can relate to THAT – I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to make one and had it go thoroughly nasty. After lots of reading, I think the trouble is not starting with white flour. I think I’ll follow your lead and try the instructions from The Urban Homestead. Have you had success with yours?

      P.S. – Yogurt is WAY easier than sourdough starter. Try these instructions – they’re low-key and pretty much foolproof: http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/2010/08/how-we-make-yogurt.html

  3. Geraldine permalink
    August 16, 2011 3:41 pm

    I meant to ask if you made your pincushion? I love it!

    • Ashley permalink*
      August 16, 2011 3:51 pm

      I didn’t, though I wish I had! I got it in a bag of sewing notions I scored on Craigslist when I first started sewing, along with some vintage wooden spools and lots of handy stuff.

  4. Robin I. permalink
    August 19, 2011 7:07 pm

    Gorgeous photos.

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