Monday, May 5, 2008

hiatus and recombination

Astute observers will notice I haven't updated this blog since December...make that November. Couple of reasons: the homesteading-specific research project ended, and I got so busy with school, etc. that I wasn't even updating my primary blog much, let alone this one. So I have decided that I will be abandoning this blog in favor of the other, but that doesn't mean I won't be posting homesteading-related things from time to time. It just means that it'll be mixed in with all the rest of my absurd yet delightful-to-me life posts over at the second long rise.

Of recent note is a series of posts I wrote on my newest beauty practices - deodorant free, more-or-less chemical free, and happy happy alternative skin and hair care. So if there are any loyal readers left out there, head on over and check it out!

As a consolation prize for the demise of this blog, I offer a parting gift. Here's a fun little game/quiz from American Public Media that you can do to figure out how many earths your lifestyle would require if everyone on the planet were to live like you do:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tools: On being part of the culture and finding [some] validity!

A Homesteading Neophyte (forthwith AHN), as she promised, has started a new series of posts about the tools that homesteaders use. She's started with gardening, both Tools for Planting a Garden and Tools for Maintaining Lawn and Garden. She announced the series in a blog post where she mentioned my post on tagging, where I noted my surprise at the lack of the use of "tools" as an emergent category in the homesteader blogging discourse. I suggested that this was probably not because homesteaders weren't talking about tools, but instead that the tools discussions were embedded in other conversations. AHN confirmed this in a comment on my post, but also picked up on it for the new series to talk explicitly about the tools of homesteading.

This is clarifying for me how I participate in this community; I am not only observing and responding to the community, but actively sparking changes in the discussions that are happening. This tells me first of all that I have encountered a very welcoming, flexible, and reflective group of people. It is not so much what I have done that has realized my inclusion in the discourse, it is primarily a feature of the community itself.

This instance is also indicative of the homesteaders' larger practice of reflection on their lifestyle(s). These are people who have very intentionally taken a step back to evaluate their participation in consumer culture, and rejected some aspects of that culture in order to embrace alternatives. Similarly, when I suggested (albeit indirectly) a category that might be highlighted as interesting but hadn't been, at that point, a community member reflected on the significance of tools and chose to devote more explicit attention to them in future posts. This, for me, is the essence of productive dialogue between action and research, between practice and thought - and there's no reason why that dialogue should ever be confined to academia, or for the practice to be excluded from academia.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

traveling, and post-Thanksgiving bread

The end of the semester is rapidly approaching - seems like it has been since the middle of September - and with it all the anxiety-inducing assignments come due. Still, the calendar has seen fit to bless us with a bit of a break and a holiday, so I had a few days to spend with my family. Travel is one of my relatively few indulgences. My life has led me some 900 miles away from my parents' house, and slightly shorter distances from my siblings. So even though the combined driving of four cars for us all to meet Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania, is rather ridiculous, it's important to me that we do it anyway. It's important for me to have four days of cooking and feasting and taking walks and playing music and playing games and being silly together (without cell phone or internet service). I think the world doesn't have enough of all that.

Of course, the goal today was to come back and get research and writing work done, and of course, I did very little of that. I did, however, begin to decorate for Christmas, and, more importantly, make three kinds of delicious fruit breads with friends: apple, banana, pumpkin.

With all of that, "progress" on the homesteading front is slow. Plans for the indoor winter herbs, compost setup, making handkerchiefs from an old sheet, making a rag rug, and all the rest are on hold for now. A poor, beleaguered grad student has to sleep sometime.

Thanks to all who have been stopping by, and especially for the comments - your thoughts about homesteading and community and technology are especially welcome. I'll be catching up on other blogs soon! More thoughts about the meaning of it all are also forthcoming.