The Organic Rabbit Hole

Part of my back garden. The cherry trees and kitchen garden feed me. The meadow feeds the birds and bees, of which there are precious few.

Right now folks are demonstrating, to bring attention to climate change, as if crazy weather and disappearing glaciers weren’t enough. But still, good for them.

I see a lot of greenwashing. I’m sure we all do. So I started thinking about what it would really mean to live while making little or no negative impact on the planet. I think it might be so different from the way we live now that it won’t happen.

I’m looking a what I do and have done. No kids: I guess extinction of the human species would solve things pretty quickly. It seems a little drastic, though. I have the heat exchanger, which heats water and the house. Solar panels are in the cards. The upfront costs of those are pretty high, though, beyond the reach of a lot of people. Plus if you are renting or live in an apartment building, it’s going to be tough to organize. I have been buying organic food and cleaning supplies, been careful about sourcing clothing and all. That’s expensive, too.

Lately I have been looking at doing more for myself. I knit anyway, just as a hobby. Due to the exquisite, artisan spun and dyed yarn I buy, that costs a bit as well. So what about other stuff?

I have gone back to sewing. Many people do; it’s a bit of a fad right now. I even picked up a book on mending as an art form. I haven’t asked where the fabric comes from. My kitchen garden, seen at the right in the photo, is growing. The permeable polythene cloth keeps the weeds down, but is it more planet-friendly than just looking for the « bio » stands at the local market? Maybe it is, if you count the soaker hoses, which also provide one of the few sources of water for the birds and bees. I’m reading guides for making soaps and salves and who knows what all. Julien is about to build bee hives for me: horizontal Langstroths, on the off chance that you were wondering. From what I can tell, the only people who actually do all these things all the time are people who make it their life’s work.

That doesn’t seem very practical or very likely. Railing at the government or faceless others doesn’t seem terribly effective, either. So, I don’t know. Are we really, most everybody on the planet, willing to go back to a kind of agrarian society? With wifi and maybe Amazon, but still. And if everybody did that, would there be space on the planet to manage it?

Somebody must know the answer to these questions. I sure don’t.

8 thoughts on “The Organic Rabbit Hole

    1. Wow. Good job. I thought about it, but I dislike fireplaces and didn’t want to spend the winter in just three rooms. I had the good fortune to be able to afford the heat exchanger, which extracts heat from the ground water and runs it through the floor heating coils and the radiators. At the rental house, I installed a fireplace insert, which of course works like a wood-burning stove. It actually does a decent job of heating much of the roughly 150 sq. meter house. And thanks to the trees that fell in last year’s high winds, we have wood to last for ages!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is your heat exchanger what they call “geothermie” here? That’s one of the best options. One of the first things we did was get a thermodynamique water boiler and that works beautifully.
        I haven’t gotten the hang of gardening for food yet. Other than herbs and the fruit trees which do their own thing, everything else seems a bit haphazard.


        1. Yes, I think the system was sold to me as “geothermie.” It pulls in ground water and then returns it. I live with an engineer whose whole family is in engineering or the sciences, some way. They have explained to me until I just don’t want to hear it any more that Iceland has true geothermal heating, where your home is actually kept warm by heat from the earth’s core. My system extracts heat and converts it, which makes it a heat exchanger. I don’t care. I love it, it works, they keep telling me it saves me money, let’s move on.

          My fruit trees took a big hit in the heat waves. They were planted just last January, so their roots are not yet established. We watered almost constantly and they were still parched every day. I think they will all pull through.

          My vegetables were a pest buffet until this year, when I found the woven polythene. That’s great stuff. Water goes through, but not light. It keeps the weeds down, plus the snails and all are not good at crossing it. It gives the squashes and cucumbers a dirt-free place to spread. It holds up for years. I’m a big fan of Charles Dowding’s “No Dig” method and I’m taking his online course, so I wrote to confess to covering my potager with a petroleum product and ask, in essence, whether it made me a bad gardener. Sweet guy. He wrote back to say, no problem, go for it. I’m about to expand and reorganize the thing for next year. When that’s done, I’ll post something.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Had a talk with my more-openminded sibling recently. Or at least used to be open-minded. Doesn’t believe in climate change. A hoax. Sees no reason to do anything. I am so sad.


  2. Here in California we made the ultimate sacrifice and banned plastic drinking straws. Now what the hell more do you think we should do? Huh? Huh? There’s only so much we can accomplish. /sarc

    Oh by the way, your lawn and garden have given me extreme size anxiety. For God’s sake don’t show the AJF. I couldn’t handle 5 million Japanese vegetable plants.


    1. I know. I get a huge kick out of these symbolic gestures. Really, I thought, people outside of hospitals use straws? It’s not a bad idea, I guess.

      If Madame gets wind of my kitchen garden, you can suggest that you do as I do. Cover every inch that doesn’t have a plant actually stuck into it with this woven plastic stuff, made of recycled plastic bags and straws, no doubt, but it does a brilliant job of keeping the weeds down. And for the rest, hire a gardener. Seriously, without Julien, that place would be a disaster area.

      Now I start planning for spring. Kitazawa is calling to me. The yuzu is starting to bear fruit. There will be photos. Fair warning…..


Comments are closed.