Thursday, December 4, 2014

Critter, and sustainability as we learn to be parents.

Today I'm going to talk a little about having a small person while being involved in this homesteading lifestyle, and thoughts about sustainable living and having an infant. The first thing I'm going to note is that especially as relatively low income working parents, sustainability is frankly going to be the first thing to go out the window if it starts being a problem. Given how we are handling the Critter though I think that won't be a problem. We're doing cloth diapering which I'm finding is actually really easy, partially because cloth diapering isn't the same as it was in the nebulous past. Using cloth diapers is a good first step on being sustainable with an infant. I think though, that the big thing we're doing that is sustainable in terms of critter care is that very little of what we have in terms of clothes, toys, and baby care stuff is new. Most of it is hand me downs, leftovers, and the like. Babies use things for 3 months at the outside before you need a new size, so why would we buy primarily new when there is plenty in excellent to near new condition out there not being used right now. Due to some wonderful friends, and an excellent community we didn't end up having to get much. In our hilltowns area there is an idea I like called the Country Closet that facilitates this. It is a place for folks to leave un-used baby clothes, toys, diapers, and furniture, and others to pick it up when they need it. Sort of a local store of baby things. Our plan is to give what people we directly know need to them, and put the rest in the Country Closet. I think on both a community and sustainability aspect these community resource sharing centers are important.

One of the things that has occurred to me as I've been thinking about sustainability, homesteading, and a baby. Other than the necessary increase in resources for having an infant, just going on as we have been and trying to reduce what we buy and increase what we produce is going to be the way. Obviously we're having to spend more fuel to keep the house warmer than the often debated 50 - 55 I prefer to keep it. We're going to have to have more food, more clothes, do more laundry, use more water. That is the nature of another person, but if we just make the effort to stay conscious of what we are doing and what we are using I think that continuing to make ethical choices won't be any harder than it already has been in our situation. Especially if we continue working with and being part of our local communities. Offering and accepting support in turn as we have to give, and ask when we need.

Another aspect of sustainability is us the parents being able to keep up what we are doing, and I think that sustaining function is probably a challenge for all new parents. The big one for us has been sleeping, and getting anything else other than infant care done. If it weren't for the help we've been receiving from friends and the Hilltowns Families group the house wouldn't be being cleaned, we wouldn't have clean dishes, and we'd still be tired. As it is what we've been able to maintain ourselves is the animal chores since livestock will be deadstock quickly if not, laundry including the every other day baby laundry, keeping the wood stove going, and that's about it honestly. We've been starting to get somewhat on top of cleaning. We've been really supported in terms of house cleaning, dishes, and just sanity checks that we've desperately needed. As with so much in what we're doing out here, we keep coming back to the community. I feel very fortunate that we'd been starting to get involved in the community before we had a child, we hadn't planned it, but having that support structure is what is contributing to our success on the homestead, and as a family with a new child.

Homestead side, next week I'm going to try to remember to talk about the chickens, the rabbits, and light cycles.

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