What have you done today to lower your impact?

We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

It's been a year!

Yesterday we celebrated the one year anniversary of our arrival in America and the start of The Sustainable Living Project. After a much needed night of rain, It was a beautiful, cool day with lots of sunshine; a lovely breeze stirred the new green growth of spring.

We spent the day planting three more trees, six more blueberries, a saw palmetto, twenty-four tomatoes, did some weeding, visited with a few local growers, and finally cooked a celebratory fish dinner garnished with some our own collards and wild garlic with an appetizer of our own fresh strawberries. Dessert was the last of the latest pumpkin pie made with last season's pumpkin and stevia.

When I look around the site I see so much to do, but more than that I see so much we have accomplished. Extensive mulching and growing beds have replaced 60% of the lawn we found when we arrived. The sickly holly hedge has tripled in size and been bolstered with fruit trees, leaf mould piles, perennial veggies and flowers, and is doing an admirable job of buffering the road beyond. After two failures, I have finally got one very successful bamboo and another holding its own next to the new pond. One massive terrace spans the width of the east side of the property while two more are rising on the south. Two of our grape vines are rapidly climbing the new arbor I'm building just fast enough to keep up with them, while a third is thriving on one of last season's cucumber trellises. Our kitchen herb bed is exploding, our nectarine trees are lush and healthy, standing five feet or more. The strawberry beds are profligate; the wood piles are sufficient to take us through next winter; my store of bagged leaves should meet our needs for mulch till fall; we've got a wide variety of double glazed windows and doors set aside for the conservatory, greenhouse porch, passive solar hot water heater and patio cover yet to come. Indoors we have removed a wall and installed the wood burner, cut insulating reflective inserts for the windows, but unfortunately are still living on subfloor as we have not found the 'right' tile, much less had time to install any. I'm now dismantling the temporary greenhouse which kept us supplied with greens all winter and helped to bring on spring plantings.

I've  included a few before and after shots below.
EAST side before
EAST side now

WEST side before

WEST side now

SOUTH side before

SOUTH side now

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