Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Day in the Glamorous Life of an Eco-preneur

"Just to live in the country is a full-time job. You don't have to do anything. The idle pursuit of making a living is pushed to one side, where it belongs, in favor of living itself, a task of such immediacy, variety, beauty, and excitement that one is powerless to resist its wild embrace." ~ E.B. White (this from a man who writes about talking pigs, rats and spiders...)

6:00 a.m. Wake up, decide it’s too early, take a nap

8:00 a.m. Really wake up, jump out of bed, try to find that pile of clean underwear (no closets in our house yet, everything of mine just gets piled up, higher and higher, until it falls over. Kurt, however, is much tidier.) Wonder for the ten-millionth time why we are starting a business instead of finishing our house. Hmmmm.

8:15 – 9:00 a.m. – Downstairs in the kitchen grind coffee beans, heat up water, and make coffee with a cone drip filter (not enough power to run the electric coffee maker). Be glad that today is supposed to be sunny and know that our batteries will be full again soon. Rearrange the two days worth of dirty dishes piled all over the kitchen, move the box holding 25 lbs of ripe tomatoes off the kitchen table and onto a footstool in the living room, make breakfast (organic oats, raisins, apple pieces, sunflower seeds), serve and eat.

9:00 a.m. Talk with Meadow who stops by. Be reminded that this is one of the reasons I love living here. Clear the table, ignore the piles of dirty dishes, kiss Kurt good-bye as he finishes up a Suduko puzzle over his coffee. Grab the Mercantile checkbook, head upstairs to my desk (Milkweed Mercantile International World Headquarters). Write a check to a Pam of Purrfect Play for more fabulous organic catnip toys and one to Amy Radford for web-store work. Open email, get distracted. See that Sandor Katz has confirmed the Fermentation Seminar he’ll be presenting at the Mercantile in March, email him back and ask a few questions. Delete spammer comments from blogs. Try to figure out a more efficient way to do this. Check Facebook.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. It is sunny and a perfect day for laundry. Fill a laundry basket with dirty laundry, grab 6 quarters and head to the Community Building. Put a load of laundry in – notice that we’re almost out of laundry soap; time to order more (my responsibility since Kurt and I own the washer). Remember that there is DR laundry hanging on our clothesline (from yesterday’s Community Clean – it was our team's turn, which includes not only cleaning the building but washing the community towels/cleaning rags which have accumulated in the past week) which will have to be taken down before mine can go up. Back to the house, back upstairs. Check online for new orders on the Mercantile website. We have two since last night. Yay! Try to add the new email addresses to our Constant Contact mailing list: Constant Contact is not available. Argh. Go back downstairs, print out packing slips (on Kurt’s computer, which is connected to the printer) and dash to the Mercantile to get merchandise to fill the orders. While I’m there run upstairs to check on the progress that Meadow and Sparky are making. Trade jokes, forbid them to call the Rachel Carson room (which is being painted a very sophisticated shade of gray) the “Elephant Room.” Know that it is futile, and that they will always call it the Elephant Room. Go back downstairs in the Mercantile to the store, appreciate how pretty it is. Collect merchandise for the two orders, grab appropriately-sized boxes and head back to the house (where the packing materials are still stored in our bedroom) to pack up the orders. Can’t find the tape gun, go back to the Mercantile and get another one. While I’m there fill and carry a bucket of planer shavings for our composting toilet back to the house, since we’re out. Tape up the previously flattened boxes, carefully wrap merchandise with recycled tissue paper and reclaimed bubble wrap (from all of the incoming packages here at DR). Go online, print mailing labels, affix to boxes. Find stamps for the envelopes containing checks; take the whole mess out to the mailbox. Enjoy the warm fall sun and the gorgeous blue sky. Stop by the clothesline, take down the DR laundry, fold and take it to the Community Building. Pick up my laundry, which is washed and waiting in the washer. Turn off the power strip for the washer, load up wet laundry, haul it back to the house, hang it up. Reflect on how great the sheets are going to smell tonight when we’re sleeping on them. Realize that it is noon, and time for lunch. Curse. Feel overwhelmed, and think evil thoughts about how Larry Ellison and other male business figures never had to make their own lunches, or wash their own dishes. Eventually get over it.

Larry Ellison wants to wash my dishes. Just as soon as he's finished sailing...

12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Make lunch for me and Kurt - fabulous chicken sandwiches with leftovers from last night’s dinner, garden cukes with spring roll sauce, fresh sliced tomatoes. Notice that we’re almost out of bread. Remember that Alyson, from whom we buy bread each week has a broken bone in her hand and will not be making bread this week. I either have to go to town and buy (mediocre) bread, or make some of my own. Larry Ellison never had to make his own bread, either.

1:00.-1:15 p.m. Continue to ignore the dirty dishes. Worry that if I die suddenly the police will gossip about how dirty my house is. Go back upstairs and Google the top ten American CEOs are (big surprise: my BFF Larry). Find the answer on the Forbes website, along with this quote: "Finding a way to live the simple life today is man's most complicated task. ~Henry A. Courtney Decide that Henry may have known what he was talking about.

1:15 – 2:20 p.m. Go to Mercantile and finally finish taking the "starting" inventory that should have been done four weeks ago. Feel proud. Brag to Kurt about all of my inventory-related accomplishments.

2:20 – 3:30 p.m. Wash the dishes. And then wash more dishes. Larry Ellison, Larry Smellishon.

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Wash, core and cut up 25 lbs of tomatoes. Listen to NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me while working. Cook them for a long time. Flip through Sierra, Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines. Wonder why all of the models look dead. Wonder what trends I can possibly find that will be applicable to the Milkweed Mercantile.

4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Take Baloo and walk to the mailbox, pick up the mail. Stop and chat with folks.

5:00-6:00 p.m. Try to think of something to eat for dinner. Decide on pesto pasta. Go outside and pick two cups of fresh basil leaves. Come in, put pasta water on, and make pesto. Slice onions, zucchini and garlic; sauté. Add chopped tomatoes, top with mozzarella, and put a lid on the pan so the cheese melts. Be seriously impressed at how good this made-up dish is. Slice and toast a few pieces of Alyson’s sourdough wheat bread. Sit and read the WSJ for a few minutes.

6:25 p.m. Plate up dinner and take it over to the Community Building for community dinner (on Monday nights we all get together to eat; on Thursdays we all have a potluck). Sit with Kurt, Ali, Rachel, Sharon, Sparky, April and Ziggy. Talk about books (Sharon is reading something really long and wonderful but I cannot remember the name; Rachel just finished Bonk by Mary Roach). Then talk about things we really don’t like. Rachel doesn’t like blood & guts, Ziggy is offended by casseroles, I really dislike fermented foods (miso = ick!), Sharon gets the heebies around pears, April detests grapefruit. More stimulating conversation ensues.

8:00 p.m. get too cold to stay outside chatting and come home. Ignore the dirty dishes, put away the leftover pasta. Sit on the couch and read for a bit. Relax.

9:30 p.m. Take Baloo out for the last time. Admire the moon, the stars, the clean fresh air. Listen to the crickets and peepers for a few minutes. Go inside and go to bed, read for awhile, then go to sleep. Dream and prepare to do it all again tomorrow!


sparkey said...

no ma'am,to me it is the soothing cerebal inspireation sanctuary-pachyerms are darker...btw,monday's dinner was amazingly awesome,it really doesn't get any fresher or tastier,thanks.

Kafeyan Family said...

As I sit in suburbia surrounded by cute perky mommies who I have nothing in common with, your day sounds like paradise! It must be so wonderful to be surrounded by people with the same values. I think I will go pick some basil leaves myself. Your post really refreshed me.

Akannie said...

oh Alline...

I so want to come visit DR...I live on a little piece of dirt in the farmland of IL, an hour south of Springfield. Your days sound much like mine, and although I am not the working woman you are, I am constantly amazed at how full my days are. In a REALLY good kind of a way.

I am baking bread right now, and my gardens are winding down. I have been eyeballing even MORE of my lawn...perhaps a cabbage field.. We are not off grid, but I have reduced my electric bill by 35% this past year. I make my own laundry soap and I cook from scratch and I try to live a little more simply every day. It's a good life....

Someday, perhaps we'll meet...