buying local, consumerism, voluntary simplicity

Buy Nothing Day

Buy Nothing DayIf you’ve known me on the Web for a while, you know that I am an advocate of Buy Nothing Day, which is celebrated in the United States on the day after Thanksgiving. I try to live frugally and make careful choices about what I buy. That means that I have tried to purge those items and activities that I have to come to realize that I only buy or do because I am expected to, not because I need or particularly want them. This is why I have been able to do a lot of traveling and I don’t bitch about the cost of healthy food. I drive an old car when I need to drive, I wear my clothes until they are worn out, and I don’t have a large fancy house, and it is usually a mess because I consider my time and energy more valuable than money. I seldom watch TV anymore and I buy used and handmade items when possible.

Black Friday, so-called because it is the frenzied day that will put some businesses back in the “black,” is a dark day to me because it focuses on what dismays me about this society – our priorities are all about stuff and how to get more money to get more stuff. In fact, we are told that to be patriotic, we must participate in the rampant consumerist mindset of this country. I am not alone in my disgust for this focus on money and stuff during the holidays. I know many others who say that they will not be in the stores on Black Friday. And a few very wise folks turned the tables on Black Friday to make it an official holiday for us who are not consumed by the thought of hitting the sales at 3 a.m.: Buy Nothing Day.

This year, I noticed that another day has been established: Small Business Saturday. That’s a shopping day that I can support. Small businesses are in danger of becoming extinct in this country. If you must shop for the holidays, please consider the positive impact that shopping locally has on your community.

Our family decided a few years ago to not exchange presents for the adults on Christmas, thank God. When I do give gifts, I try to give handmade.

The First Friday Indie Market will be downtown Greensboro again on Dec. 3 from 4-9 pm, in conjunction with Greensboro’s Festival of Lights. You’ll find lots of unusual and beautiful gifts at the market and in the shops on Elm St. Please save the money that you would have spent on Buy Nothing Day, and bring it to downtown Greensboro on December 3rd!

buying local, coffee pot posts, Local food

Saturday afternoon coffee pot post

Yes, it is cool enough here that I can stand drinking coffee after noon! What a beautiful day – highs in the low 80s, low humidity. We seldom have a summer day like this around here, and certainly not lately.

I spent Sunday-Wednesday fighting a bad cold. The human body’s ability to sneeze so much always shocks me when this happens to me. Getting sick does explain why I was in a super depressed mood last week, though. Today I feel great!

Last night I set up a space at First Friday Indie Market in downtown Greensboro, and it was a delightful time. I had been dreading the heat, since this takes place in a parking lot and the high reached the high 90s. However, the humidity was low, there was an occasional breeze, and the organizer put me in a place where I had a little bit of shade to sit in. I barely broke a sweat.

Susanne joined me and put some of her colorful blank books and marbled papers out for sale. Between her friends and my friends visiting, we had a marvelous time. Our work goes well together because we do the same thing in completely different styles. And we enjoy each other’s company a lot – we are very much alike in personality, and we energize each other.

So I have already applied to do October First Friday by myself, and Susanne and I have applied for a tent in November and December.

I’m not really worried about having enough to sell anymore since I don’t sell much anyway! It’s nice not to be focused on the money. Now I can do some fun stuff, and either I’ll put it out for sale or not – makes no difference and my work will probably improve for it.

I do want to make some small inexpensive books for the kids. Whenever I sell a book to a child, my heart fills up with the thought of what they might do with it.

I went to the farmers’ market and came home in a much more positive mood. Simply put, I’m just not studying those negative people. I bought a CSA share for the month of October from Handance Farm, marinated goat cheese for me and to take to the department party next Friday night, apricot/pecan/cream cheese spread and organic whole wheat pita bread from Annah at Zaytoon’s table, corn from Clapp Farms and Vern Switzer’s farm, milk from Homeland Creamery, salad mix from Flora Ridge, hamburger from Rocking F Farm, and red onions from Faucette Farm. I scoured the red and yellow onion skins from their baskets to include in the next batch of paper. The red skins will be awesome!

Sandy and I will take advantage of the gorgeous weather to put down pine needles over the cardboard mulch that I have spread out, weed, and prune. The willow and Carolina Sieva butterbeans are just now producing. They are mostly vines and leaves. The Henderson bush beans were very productive this summer for such small plants. I might plant more of them next year, although I do appreciate the verticality of the pole beans. And peppers – wow, so many different kinds of peppers. The tomatoes seem to be done.

Now I need to tear up and soak some paper for recycled pulp to mix with the cotton pulp left over from last Sunday. I gotta use it – pulp doesn’t last forever, and I filled up my freezer space when I realized I was getting too sick to deal with it. I’m thinking blue for this batch, with red onion skins. The skins will probably turn the paper purple around them. Yeah.

buying local, coffee pot posts, Local food

Saturday morning coffee pot post

With Theo in my lap. He is one hot kitteh. Yesterday I called him Goldilocks in the ruse that we were searching for a mattress that was just right for him. We found one, and we now have TWO real beds in our house! I guess this means that we have risen up in ranks. Theo responded by throwing up a hairball on the comforter.

As a result, I don’t feel like I’ve been pummeled with a bag of bricks this morning. Instead, I feel like I’ve been pummeled with a bag of old tennis balls. I hope to reach the point when I feel like I’ve been pummeled with a bag of mashed potatoes.

I gazed out upon the mess that is the Back Forty this morning, and noted that the fig tree is nearly 20 feet tall. I think that we’ll need to cut it back by half this winter. My second crop of field peas will be ready to pick this week, and I’m getting a few okra to toss it with them.

This morning I plan to make some woodcut prints, some on handmade paper and some on Stonehenge paper. I have some rubber block prints that I’m going to make some cards and bookmarks with too. I decided that if I set up in September’s Indie Market I want a few less expensive items for sale. I have a couple of woodcuts that I’ve never made prints from, and some prints that I made a couple of years ago that just need mats.

I still have a bucket of cotton/corn shuck pulp so depending on how my hands feel I may pull sheets of that today too.

One thing that I’ve been working on a little at a time is the Friends of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market website/blog. Others have been entering the information and I’ve been monkeying around with the format and structure and links. Please link to it if you have a blog or website. We need to raise our presence on search pages. After I finish here, I’m going to try to figure out where to put some meta tags on that site.

Yesterday, Sandy and I went to the market and bought corn from two different vendors, milk, boiled peanuts, watermelon, walnut/pomegranate spread, pita bread, ground beef, and a Cherokee Purple tomato. We ran into old friends there, and Sandy remarked as we walked out what a great social place it is. One of the reasons that it is so special is that people are so friendly – it really is a community of like-minded spirit. Mornings like this make me doubly proud to be a part of the Friends group.

Based on one of our interactions yesterday, we are visiting some good friends in Summerfield for dinner late this afternoon. I’m bringing corn on the cob and I made whole wheat pita crisps yesterday to go with the walnut/pomegranate spread (both from Zaytoon’s table). If you are doing an Eat Local Challenge this month, as I know that a lot of people are, and you are suffering for crackers or chips, pita crisps are easy peasy. Buy your pita bread from a local baker or whip it up yourself from local whole wheat flour. Then divide it, tear or cut it into pieces, drizzle it with olive oil, and bake it on a metal baking sheet at 350 for 10 minutes.

Okay, since I just winged away to post the last paragraph on Facebook, which also has a Friends of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market page – please join – I guess my coffee pot post is over. Have a great day, y’all. I plan to.