So, we are now more than two weeks out since Sandy hit. Among the many haunting and devastating images – and there are many far worse than this – I can’t seem to get out of my mind the plain sight of hundreds of people lined up at gas stations with some variation of the red gas can in hand. Many post-storm conversations, with people who lost power and heat and water for over a week (or more), have been centered on the idea of finally purchasing a generator. While I fully understand this impulse to have a back up plan, it ultimately doesn’t offer up a lot of solace. In the short term, perhaps, but in the long term, all it does is create another outlet for our use and reliance on dwindling resources. I increasingly think about what it would take to get off the grid. This may be a fantasy, and in some ways a luxury, but it’s a good time to think about it. I have to admit, I’ve been doing my own form of research regarding generators. Solar and/or wind powered generators. I’ll let you know what I find out. All gas can images from Amazon.
With the exception of an occasional watering, I had almost nothing to do with the planting and growing of these potatoes. That credit is bestowed upon my spouse. BUT, on Saturday afternoon, my husband and I dug them up. And can I tell you that it was one of the most enjoyable pursuits, ever! My friend Jason, an excellent gardener in his own right, and the one who gave us the seed potatoes to begin with, has always said (correctly) that it’s like a fabulous treasure hunt trying to find the tubers in the dark soil. Last night, in celebration of our modest bounty, we cooked the smaller ones for dinner. We were duly rewarded for the many weeks of waiting. My gosh, they were delicious. But, before cooking them, I singled out what I consider to be the world’s smallest potato. And, take notice of that gnarled one in the bottom left portion of the first photograph. It reminds me ever so slightly of Rodin’s The Thinker.
Well here is a skill I wish I had. If only I knew how to repair that unsightly little hole in my shirt…comme ça! This linen chemise, found in a flea market by my friend Molly Meng during her annual visit to southern France, is remarkable. It’s also a reminder of how beautiful something can be when it is no longer new. Photo by Molly.
Great piece in the NYT yesterday morning about a group of individuals in the Netherlands who, as a small but meaningful way to help reduce waste in the community, have organized the first ever Repair Cafe. Got an iron that’s burning your shirts, a sweater with holes, a vacuum cleaner not sucking up its share of dust and dirt…well, just bring all of the above and more to the repair cafe, and a group of talented and devoted volunteer fix-it practitioners will tend to your needs. As a result of their original success, thirty additional groups have started repair cafes across the country. There are so many things that are right about this program!! The primary one being that it takes a real stab at the planned obsolescence that has become so readily accepted in our material world. It brings to mind one of my earliest posts on this blog: The Repair Manifesto from the very thoughtful people over at platform21, a site that is sadly no longer.
I think these Tub Trugs are indispensable. I use them for countless chores and storage. I find the yellow ones to be especially lovely. The shallower designs are also new to me…so quite exciting. For even more sustainability there is a recycled plastic line as well. If you’re gonna get someone a gift, it might as well be useful, right? I’ll take one of each please. Oh, and by the way, these last forever!
Sustainability can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To me, the ultimate green product is the one that you never ever ever throw away. You buy it once and then you are finished. Done. End of story. And that thing you just bought…you use it! It’s the tool you reach for every time. This approach is not exactly the one that the manufacturing sector wants to promote, but it is a standard that I go back to over and over again. So, to that point, let me introduce the one and only serving spoon you will ever need or want. It was designed in 2000 by Antonio Citterio for the Finnish company Iittala. The thing is a workhorse. And what’s better, it looks good, feels really great to use and…here’s the kicker…it survives the cous cous test. It is the only serving spoon I have ever owned that does not spill a single grain from pot to plate. Pure genius. Yes, it’s a little pricey. For more info click here.
As a kid, my fantasy was to live in an RV. I was fascinated with the idea that everything had a dedicated spot and that there was essentially no space for anything extra. Dining tables converted to beds in the evening, and there were built-ins galore. Like a lot of people, my dream house has since morphed into a series of small sheds: One for sleeping, one for cooking and eating and relaxing and definitely one for working. If need be, I could easily combine both of the “non-studio” structures into a single unit. When I came across the Just Sheds site I found myself plotting some teeny future compound.