Growth is a double edged sword. Unchecked, growth can be cancerous and destructive. It is this type of ceaseless expansion that has put our society into the precarious environmental and financial positions in which we currently find ourselves. On the other hand, growth can be regenerative and life-giving. Following a forest fire or a bitter winter, the first green shoots to emerge from the earth bear witness to the earth's ability to restore life in the wake of disaster.

My goal for this blog is pretty simple and open-ended: I want to document and share with family and friends my efforts to incorporate an ever increasing degree of self sufficiency, voluntary simplicity, and environmentally-conscious design into my life as a would be urban homesteader.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Old habits die hard...but new ones are easy to kill

When you do something on a regular basis - be it blogging, working out, keeping a journal, or whatever - it's pretty easy to stay in the habit as long as you don't get lazy with it. Once you let yourself slip, however, it can be hard to get back in the groove. And the longer you let yourself go, the harder it gets. Case in point: it's been 5 weeks since I put anything up on here. My goal would be to post something every week or so, but I've let is slide for over a month. So here I am forcing myself to get back at it. For right now, some miscellaneous jabbering. In a couple of days, a full blown, mid-year 'Burbstead report.

Most people assume that Summer is all rest and relaxation for teachers. That's not the case if you teach Summer School, which I did all June. I'm now looking at 3 1/2 weeks before faculty meetings, football practice, and Student Council events signal that Summer is over. Yeesh! This Summer has at least afforded me the opportunity to go visit some good friends that I haven't seen for a long time. Renee and I were up in Omaha, Nebraska for a college friend's wedding this past weekend. On the way up, we swung through Seward where we stayed with Tim and Kari Huntington. I met both of them our freshman year of college, but since graduating 8 years ago, we've only been back to S-town once (and that was in 2004!). Emailing is no substitute for catching up in person, and hopefully it will be much less than 7 years before we get to see them again.
Tim and I in search of Eskimo women, circa 1998

Tim and I, both much better looking 13 years later
I'm constantly digging things out of the trash to use around the garden. Access to a waste stream full of useful stuff is one of the few things I like about living in the city. Last week, however, I found something in my school's dumpster that wasn't really 'Burbstead related, but awesome none the less. As I was getting ready to dump a load of trash, I spotted what looked like 4x12 speaker cabinet for a guitar amp. I pulled it out, expecting the speakers to be destroyed or missing, but they weren't! Aside from some tears in the cloth grill and a lack of Tolex covering on the sides, it was in fine shape. I took it home, plugged it into my bass amp, and it worked great. I may need to replace one speaker at some point, but for now I'm still able to play my guitar painfully loud. After hearing me tinker with it, the kids wanted to come down and play music too. I slapped together a drum set from some buckets for Erik, let Alex play the keyboard, and plugged a microphone in for Taylor to sing. A raucous good time was had by all.
A couple shots of the music/art cave in my basement

Lastly, I came across this website tonight via The Survival Podcast. It's a group of people doing some heavy duty urban homesteading in Kansas City. Holy Cow! I've just started going through their site, but it looks awesome. I want to live out in the country, but if I'm going to have to live in the city, this is how I want to do it. Amazing stuff.

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