When my wife and I purchased our home several years ago, we found ourselves faced with a multitude of immediate and long-term repairs and projects. Our new home was over a century old with beautiful interior flourishes and the proverbial “good bones.” Although we lived in a lovely remodeled apartment during the first three years of our marriage, this was our first true home. Building a home for our shared future invigorated and inspired us.
One of our first projects was to transform the weedy, hard dirt patch behind our house into a proper backyard. I quickly discovered my latent passion for gardening, likely inherited from my paternal grandmother. I read books, websites, and blogs about gardening, homesteading, and simple living. The long recent recession and the evisceration of the middle class have led to a renewed interest in such hobbies and skills throughout America. We’re rediscovering our grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ home economics and tricks for stretching the budget and the larder.
My interests in gardening and simple living dovetail with natural foods, health, and a distrust of global corporations. To put it mildly, I find myself uncomfortable with the constant barrage of advertising and media surrounding us and the steady praise of consumption in our society. I try to lead a simple life. Just like every mortal, I am a bundle of contractions, failings, and hypocrisies. Nonetheless, my research included watching documentaries about the Amish, delving into novels set in a candy-coated future after technological collapse, and perusing websites spinning comical predictions and conspiracy theories.