A Day in the Slow Life

Tag!  You’re It!

I’m attempting a blog meme/hop to encourage those of us striving or transitioning to more sustainable lives to share with the world what a day in our lives looks like.  So many folks out there are longing to make changes in their lives, but I think it can be hard to visualize what life might actually look like if you did things a little differently.  You know, those who are wondering, “what would I do with my time if I didn’t watch TV?” “I don’t know how to cook!”  “Making jam must be really hard and complicated!”

I’ve noticed that since we moved and started on this journey toward a wee homestead, we are busier than ever.  The slow life is intended to be the antithesis of the “fast-food life”, a life lived in alignment with human-scale values and activities.  But in our experience, this life isn’t really slow!  We have a long list of projects and ambitions and are constantly looking for time and money to pursue them as we juggle our other responsibilities.  However, we are also happier than we have ever been. I think that sometimes in our frantic, modern world we equate busy-ness with stress, which is often true when the busyness comes from being pulled in too many different directions, some of which feel like obligations rather than joys.  The busyness that we’re experiencing these days comes from a deep sense of how we WANT to spend our time, where we WANT to put our energies.  We pack in lots of activities because we love them all so much we just keep trying to fit them all in.  It’s a very different feeling.

So what does it look like to live this life?  Here’s my day yesterday:

6:25am The alarm goes off, and I give myself a few minutes in the pale, not-quite-dawn  light to listen to the news and enjoy the warmth under the covers.  The Skipper’s kissed me goodbye a half-hour ago and headed off on his commute (his job starts before 7:30am.  Ouch!).

7:00am I’m showered and dressed and savouring my Scotch cut oatmeal with raspberries I picked yesterday from the garden.  The red ones are almost done, but the golden ones are still producing nicely.

7:20am I’m on the road to the university where I teach, about a 45 minute drive away.  As I’ve written before, these commutes are the least sustainable parts of our lives, but for now, they enable the rest of the things we get to do, so we accept them gratefully.  I do this drive 3 days a week until early December; in January I’ll be teaching at the campus just 10 minutes away.

12 noon I’m eating lunch at work: simple leftover pasta with a fresh and chunky garden sauce: onion, garlic, peppers, lots of tomatoes, lightly sauteed, and then tossed with a little pesto and feta cheese.  Yum!  I made enough last night to give us lunches for a couple of days.  We take our portions to work in glass containers that are slim and easy to microwave.

12:30pm I’m back on the road to meet a friend at home that I’m doing some work for.

1:30pm We meet and enjoy a chat and a cup of tea, then get to work at the computer.

5pm The Skipper gets home.  My friend and I aren’t quite finished, so he offers to go and haul the crab traps while we finish up.  We work for another 20 minutes or so, and then part with another chat and a warm hug.  So good for the soul!

5:30pm The sun’s peeking out from the clouds of the day, and I haven’t been out for a walk yet.  I put on my jeans and running shoes, and start off down the road to the marina.  I’m smiling as soon as I walk out the door, watching the sun and shadows move over the cows out grazing in the farmer’s fields as I walk down the hill.  When the Skipper passes me, headed home with the day’s catch, I’m having too good a time to hop in the car.  I keep heading down the road, and then turn around to watch a spectacular fading sun on my walk home.

6pm Time to think about dinner.  We’ve got leftover pasta for another day’s lunches, so I don’t need to think big.  I take a mental inventory of what’s in the fridge and the garden.  I suggest a simple meal of toast (from the bakery in our little village), cheese, scrambled eggs (from the farm up the road), and some steamed swiss chard from the garden.  Sounds good to the Skipper!

6:30 Dinner is served!  We sit down to all of the above, plus a few other treats:  some leftover mashed potatoes got refried, there was a ripe avocado that needed eating, and I had the brainstorm of the English-style fried tomato (slice a tomato in half and just let it sizzle in hot butter for a few minutes.  Flip over if you like).  The tomato is so good we agree it will need to accompany every meal from now on!  We enjoy a bottle of white wine from the vineyard around the corner over the course of the evening.  The fresh caught crab have steamed on a back burner while I made dinner, and now they are cooling nicely.

7pm We have 3 types of grapes growing in the garden, and the green table grapes are ready.  I picked the juicy bunches yesterday so that we could start some grape jelly tonight.   After dinner, we strip the grapes off the stems and drop them in a big pot.  The pot goes on to boil and we mash up the fruit periodically.  After its simmer, it will be strained and put in the fridge for the night.

We shell the crab: 2 caught and cooked yesterday and the 2 from today.  The meat gets vacuum-packed and frozen, the shells I’ll bury in the veggie patch tomorrow.  As we work, we chat and listen to the radio, talking about our days and our ideas, big and small, and comment to each other about what we’re listening too.  We talk about the week ahead and the long weekend coming up, and all the things we would like to do…  The evening is busy and calm at the same time.  We feel a world away from our jobs and stresses, but also prepared for the next day.

9pm We’re beat!  We do a minimal tidy-up and the Skipper heads off to the showers.  The bird feeders are stocked up for another day, the gold fish in the small pond are counted and given treats, and we check the forecast for the week.

9:30pm We’re not to bed this early EVERY night!  But there’s a good program on the radio, so we snuggle down and the Skipper’s out within a few minutes.  I don’t have to rush off in the morning, so I listen to the program.  After the 10pm news, I turn off the radio, and call it another day in my slow, striving-toward-sustainable, life.

So that’s me!  Are you willing to share a snapshot of a day in your life as you move toward self-sufficiency?

I’m tagging:

  • Sandy over at 10yearchallenge–because she’s been at this for a few years and I’d love to hear more about her experiences and
  • Andrea at Locavore, who’s knew at this farming thing too, and has been jumping in with both feet!
  • Stacey at YarnSalad is working numerous jobs and is too busy to call her life slow, but she and her husband are living a simple life on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and they are big canners and preservers.  Tell us more, Stace!

Once you’ve shared your days-in-the-life, tag 3 more of those at your favorite sustainability blogs, and let’s keep learning from each other!

12 thoughts on “A Day in the Slow Life

  1. o boy! Well, I started a migraine yesterday (it’s still with me) so yesterday might not be the best day to feature. I will say though that friends called us last night after having opened and finishing the jar of mustard pickles the other day, the batch that Dan made last week. That is a good story in itself, so I will feature it. But yes, this is a good idea and I will give you your day-in-the-life soon!

  2. Hi Toni, Sometime I’ll give you a day in “the life that was”, ‘way more interesting than “what is”… but for now, I’m thinking that you’re being more than a little facetious with this piece, but just in case you’re not…
    I don’t think that the “Slow Food Movement” really has any connection to the speed at which we work, only to how long it takes to prepare compared to “Fast Food”. How many actual “working” farmers have you ever seen that are overweight? I remember my Grandmother talking about the meals that they used to prepare for everyone (when farming was a whole lot more labour-intensive and the term “man hours” literally referred to the amount of time an actual human being had spent making something happen) when haying was being done… absolutely massive amounts of food and several pies with every meal of the day.
    Doing it yourself takes a lot of time. Hey, I’d even call it an occupation in and of itself. Oh yeah, that’s what it used to mean to be called a housewife: butcher, baker, candlestick maker… ; D

  3. I love your day in the life. And I love that you and Skipper listen to the radio. It sounds really happy and contented. I hope you are enjoying and appreciating your moments as much as you sound like you are. Your day added peace to mine!:)

  4. What a lovely thought for a meme! Thanks for sharing your day – it’s nice to see how others are managing as well. It also gives me others I can point to when my husband questions my level of activity!

  5. Hi. I got tagged for this meme and found it so interesting that I had to trace it back to it’s source. I’m not usually a meme person, but this one intrigued me and I’ve had a great time following links and getting a peek into other homesteaders’ days. Great idea Toni. Fun, and encouraging too.

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