When, in the morning, a dump truck takes out a nearby power pole and with it goes electricity and internet for the rest of the day, you're forced to change plans a bit. Adjust the blogging schedule to run Thursday's post on Friday, and Friday's post on Saturday, then go out in the birdsong and sunshine and work in the garden. Not such a terrible exchange.
Now then, let's talk about With What You Have. Words about contentment inspired this series that celebrates ingenuity, creativity, and resourcefulness. Join me in the comments and share what you've done with what you have!
Although compelling, the landscape of environmental stewardship can be a tricky one to navigate at times. Opportunities more easily had in cities, such as public transit, full-scale recycling, farmer's markets, and bulk food and supply bins at the nearby natural grocer's can be almost non-existant in rural areas of the country. For example, I have to drive twenty miles one way to arrive at a store that has maybe twenty bulk bins along one wall at the back of the store. There's rolled oats, trail mix, dried fruit, and nuts, but not oils or shampoo or dish soap. We do have a recycling wagon just down the road, but it only accepts certain things. Public transit here means pre-arranging to carpool with a friend who is heading the same direction. There's a farmer's market twenty miles away, but just on Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings in summer - not times of the week that we're able to regularly lose an hour and a half of.
Tricky business, for sure. But, the conclusion I've reached is this: no matter where you live, you can do something. Maybe not all the things, but something. By realizing first of all that stewardship is not a prize, but a guideline, you can be more at peace with the options available to you. In short, you can do what you can with what you have.
This week, for me, that meant sewing the first of a handful of linen market totes. I already have an assortment of mis-matched tote bags hanging from a hook on the back wall of the coat closet, but hanging on the back wall of the coat closet means they are forgotten most of the time. I took an honest look and realized that, to be most successful, this endeavor needed to be easy, with its own designated bags that could hang on the coat rack beside the front door, ready to grab on the way out. And if I have something hanging on the coat rack by the front door, I want it to be pretty.
Enter: linen tote bags in light gray.
In late afternoon, I smoothed out a length of brown craft paper that had recently arrived as packing material, and drew a pattern onto it. I measured the length of the handles on a favorite bag, and decided to use that same length here. I chose a simple gray linen for the outside and a white linen for the lining. This first attempt was really a prototype, which meant I could relax and enjoy the process, knowing I could make changes to later bags if need be. By dinner I had a finished tote (I mention my timeline to help you & I both know that these things don't actually take that long).
Turns out, I like this one just the way it is, especially when it's hanging on the coat rack by the front door.
Do what you can with what you have.