Many times, finding the right answer has led me to asking the right question… such is the case with permaculture. Learning about it has helped me understand the why of what I do. I’ve been practicing making simple life choices in line with a growing awareness of what is important for me. Coming to understand that my ecological footprint is how much it costs the earth for me to live the way I do has helped me see that those life-friendly choices are also earth-friendly choices.
It’s interesting to look at our choices through other people’s eyes. A recent visitor commented…. “this is a weird house”. I pointed them to what is intended as a helpful and succinct ‘Country Housekeeping for Visitors’ list I put up on a blackboard in the kitchen, created with reference to actual past visitor interactions.
No outdoor shoes inside.
See dirt, below. Also, outside the house yard there is the possibility of treading in chook, cow and wallaby poo.
Keep screen doors closed.
See insects, frogs, huge Huntsman spiders and occasional snakes, below.
Wash your hands.
We’re water-wise but there’s enough for basic hygiene.
Wipe up water around sink.
Where there’s water, ants will come.
Clean up after yourself.
This is our home.
Use a coaster under drinks.
Our furniture is old but we don’t intend buying new stuff.
Put rubbish in bins located in kitchen or outside.
Yes, the kitchen bin is tiny. If you didn’t buy so much stuff you wouldn’t have so much rubbish.
Because we have septic sewer and rainwater tanks, and no clothes dryer:
Old-fashioned. But we cope.
Put toilet lid down.
Not just the seat. See septic sewer system, above and frogs, below.
Use full flush button only.
To make sure everything goes all the way into the septic tank.
(There are 2 toilets: his ’n’ hers. When it’s just me and the G.O. we follow the old maxim ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down’.)
Do not flush anything other than T.P.
The buck so-to-speak stops here. The septic system processes waste onsite using healthy bacteria. For this reason, we don’t use chemical cleaners.
Do not put anything down drains.
See septic system, above. Bathroom waste water goes through it into the ground. Laundry and kitchen grey water is how we water the garden.
Short showers please.
If you don’t stink we won’t judge you if you don’t shower at all.
Turn off taps.
Those big round tanks in the yard are where the house water supply comes from after it falls from the sky.
Hang damp towels on verandah line.
See no clothes dryer, above. Or you can walk out to the backyard Hills Hoist.
Dirt, dust, dog hair, cobwebs, insects, frogs, huge Huntsman spiders and occasional snakes… are part of the deal.
We don’t use chemicals to clean; just lemon juice, vinegar (which also doubles as shampoo and conditioner), eco-friendly detergent, bicarb soda, essential oils. Nor do we get the property chemical sprayed for pest control. The barking geckos and skinks do a good job. No, they won’t hurt you, neither will the frogs, Huntsman spiders or mice.
The list could have been longer:
You can’t put your favourite t-shirt on its own through the washing machine.
There’s no room in the fridge for all those plastic bottles of sugary drinks. It’s full of food we made to eat. There’s no spare fridge. Keep the drinks in your esky.
Yes, that ‘floor’ is dirty… it’s outside.
(Response to visitor telling child not to crawl on the pavers outside “they’re very dirty”.)
The nearest shop is in town, 30 kilometres away. No joke. But there is a pub.
There’s no home delivery.
The tank water out of the taps is safe; we drink it all the time.
There aren’t any teabags; I’ll make a pot of tea.
The eggs come from those chooks.
We don’t have a dishwasher.
The tea-towel is for drying dishes when there’s too many to fit on the drainer, the cleaning cloth is for benches, the hand-towel is for hands.
We don’t need a new TV with a bigger screen.
We don’t need a new lounge; it’s only 15 years old.
The vege garden is big enough for us. Yes, we eat nasturtiums.
Tonight’s dinner is fast food. We call it leftovers.
It’s homemade. Really.
Relax. Enjoy 😊
My youngest sister gets it.
During her first visit after our treechange she summed up our house…
“nothing matches but it works.”
Your thoughts? Comments welcome.
Between now and July 2020 I’m studying Certificate IV Permaculture via Tafe NSW and the National Environment Centre flexible online learning. Studying online, I discovered, involves a lot of writing. This year of study, I think, might lend itself to some blog posts… follow along if you are interested in learning what I learn during my permaculture journey.