Radical Homemaking | The Early Stages

Six years ago, my husband and I moved to Dallas from Seattle so he could take a tenure-track job with a university. Since that time, he's been working diligently as an assistant professor in hopes that at the end of his six year contract, the university would tenure him and make it a permanent position. Well, he did it!  This month, he made tenure! He gets to keep his job and our family gets to keep our home. (Insert huge sigh of relief here.) Now that I know we're here to stay, I've been thinking about how I want to settle into this new phase of life... which brings me (finally) to today's post.

Ever since I heard Joni Mitchell's "Ladies of the Canyon" as a kid, I've had a romanticized the idea of living a crunchy, eco-savvy, organic, handmade, off the-grid kind of life. I have little spurts of domestic enterprise - I bought a canning set-up last fall - but mainly I shop at Target, drink coffee from Starbucks and carry credit card debt like most Americans. But I'm getting kind of tired of it. Handing my dollars and energy over to big corporations is really bumming me out.  Really. Bumming. Me. Out.

Every summer my husband takes us all to Cedar City, Utah where he works at the Shakespeare Festival as a voice and speech director. This does two awesome things for me: it gets me out of the Texas heat and life slows down enough to read a book or two. I usually pick something about homesteading, new domestic lifestyles, conservation, waste-reduction or some such thing. Last summer I dove into Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle. This year I've been reading Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes. Both espouse a lifestyle that is impossible for me to undertake whole cloth let alone maintain. But they both have some fabulous key principles that might help me to shift my home from a consuming maw that poops out tons of trash every year to something, I don't know... healthier.

So that's it. I'm ready to start making some big changes that shift my home towards greater self-reliance and a more holistic approach to homemaking. How will that manifest?  I'm not sure. But writing about it on a blog is a start, right?

Art by Phoebe Wahl

"Remember this - that very little is needed to make a happy life." - Marcus Aurelius