Category: "Living off the Grid"

Use What You Have

by Doreyl  

Years ago in the Western North Carolina mountain community of Tuckasegee there were ministers of good will. Some called them missionaries. The closest one to our family home was Mrs.Farmer. She gathered used clothing discarded by the wealthy folk, and would offer them to needy families. When Mother received a large bag of clothing she took the articles apart and resewed them to make my sister Amy and I beautiful dresses and my brother David shirts and pants. Fine fabrics of linen, cotton, silk and velvet were transformed into skirts, shirts, dresses and pants we could wear to school. Overjoyed with our new treasures, we’d dance around, modeling our fine fashions. This was one of my first experiences of recycling and I became hooked on it.

There’s hardly anything more rewarding to me than reusing and recycling. Even today I love to go shopping at consignment clothing shops like REACH and Goodwill. It’s like treasure hunting, every now and then I find a finely crafted jewel-like article of clothing that I could never find in the regular stores.

Here at Nature’s Home Preserve My husband Jerry and I take recycling to it’s extreme. One of the most exciting innovations is to come up with a new system for reusing water in a creative way. This growing season Jerry designed a way to soak our garden with reused water. As a result of his work, our garden has grown much larger and tastier vegetables than last year. By hooking a waterline from the run-off valve on our Koi Fish tank, the fish water gravity feeds down to our garden, instead of falling on the ground. This reused water is full of rich nutriments from the fish, so it becomes a healthy organic fertilizer for the garden, as it waters the garden. This is recycling at it’s best!

Our compost systems also recycle waste over time, into rich new earth for gardening both flowers and vegetables. Our greywater ponds recycle household water into plants around our fish ponds and other pond water overflow goes into the trees and wildflowers.

Nature is the master recycler. From Autumn’s color comes falling leaves and fruit to fuel the growth of trees and wildflowers in the spring. Summer creates fresh green leaves so the earth’s inhabitants can breath and the plants can produce seeds for regrowth. Winter preserves the fallen seeds with warm blankets of snow and frost so they can slumber and rest before their work begins in the spring. Like clockwork, new life bursts out each spring to begin again. All of life moves in circles; creating, growing, fading then renewing.

It must the Scotch-Irish in me that shouts out “create, don’t waste!” This year I’ve stepped closer to being a good gardener and I’m creating new pictures of what it’s like to recycle.

To see some of my art click on Photoblog: