Friday, January 28, 2011

CSA dilemmas

It's that time of year to decide what (if any) CSA we should join this year. We've never joined one before, although if we hadn't been moving in the middle of last year we surely would have joined up with our friends Raluca and Ed and their phenomenal farm/CSA in our old town. Alas, we knew we would be moving in the middle of the season, so it made more sense to continue buying from farmers' markets.

But, as I've posted before, we've really been let down by this area's farmer's markets. The options for organically grown produce are extremely slim. The farmer's market in our neighborhood we found to be devoid of even one natural grower. What a disappointment for those who want both local and chemical-free food.

Our CSA options in this area are somewhat limited. Our neighbors just asked if we want to share a share of a farm in town. The great advantage of this farm is that it is local with a capital L. It's right in our town. The downside is that they do use "limited" pesticides and herbicides. At least the farmers are willing to talk about it and tell us how/when they spray, and how they do it so as to avoid large amounts of chemicals making their way into the food they produce. Still, do I want to commit to having all our produce come from a farm where I know they use non-organic methods? Not really.

The other CSA we are considering is a good 20 minute drive from our house. Not hugely inconvenient, but certainly not around the corner. I can see us missing a share now and then due to conflicts. They, however, do not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. I like that! They also are a pricier farm, and while I don't doubt for a second that the food is well worth the cost, it doesn't actually make my bank account any bigger. If it were around the corner, I would buy into it without question. The 20 minute drive may not sound like much (and it's really not), but on some days, especially in the heat of the summer, I can see us missing out on occasion. It's one thing to pay well for good food that will nourish the mama, papa, and baby bear. It's another thing to pay well for food we only pick up sometimes.

Of course, we can continue buying produce from farmer's markets and not buy into a CSA at all. That's certainly what we've done in the past. Another option, and probably a totally unrealistic one (but the one I secretly fancy) is joining the CSA in our old town, and driving over an hour every week for our "local produce." Talk about missing our shares .......

Thursday, January 20, 2011

the b-word

I really need to get down and dirty with my basement.

I usually feel like our home is moderately under control, but I also feel like it's a bit of a sham covering what lies beneath. We're lucky to have a fairly nice basement, or at least when we bought the house it was nice. Painted walls and floors, but not "finished" in any kind of way. Spacious, dry, even somewhat bright, and with an enviable bulkhead. But after the move one would hardly know the space's virtues. It's now the wasteland of half-rifled through boxes and furniture and kitchenware that we *may use someday*.

Now this is where I get really confused about what I'm trying to do with my lifestyle. I try to live by the Reduce/Reuse/Recycle motto, especially the "reuse" part. See, I have a hard time letting go of things that still appear to have a lot of life left in them. I even accept things like chairs and tables from purging relatives to the point where we now have several extra sets in the basement and garage. It's really a mess. I have odd plates and cups and kitchen stuff from before I got married that is cool and usable, but simply unused and unneeded now. I need to purge, but I don't like throwing useful things in the trash. Frankly, I find the idea revolting.

But I also find my basement revolting. Not maggoty-gross or anything, just disorganized, overwhelming, and although I hate to admit it, wasteful. Because even though I am not throwing useful things in a public dump, I'm kind of using my basement as my private resting place for old stuff. Old stuff, mind you, that someone else could be putting to good use. I have to remind myself that the act of not putting something out to the curb for "bulk waste" doesn't matter too much if I'm simply stashing it.

Then there is the sentimental stuff. Boxes of old photos and letters, clothes that I mean to "make into a quilt" (mind you the only sewing I've done in the past 10 years was a pair of curtains for my son's room and they were made on a nesting rampage in the weeks before his delivery). My husband's boxes and boxes of old tape recordings of him and his brother making up plays and paying music. Some of this junk is actually really cool. But it's bringing me down nonetheless.

I've been using my 2 year old as an excuse. Since our basement is not very toddler-proof, I cannot do anything down there while caring for him, thus I cannot work down there until.... until... until he is in school? Until he has moved out? Until I die and the poor kid has to do it all himself? It'll be dumpster time then, for sure.

So I resolve to not make that excuse anymore. I certainly can bring one box at a time up to our living level and tackle that particular box. That's doable, right? Then bit by bit we may be able to reduce/give away the junk and use our nice basement for studio space.

More art! Less junk!

More creating! Less stashing!

Any tips are welcome....