I had to take stock of how things have changed around the house tonight. Three years no TV, one year plus vegan diet, home production on the upswing as I am bottling 18 gallons of brew every 14-20 days. I noticed even the recycling has gone down as every spare glass and plastic container seems to have an immediate or eventual purpose. An old can of dried parsley now holds a cup of groundt chipotle/ancho powder. Old hot sauce bottles now hold two batches of homebrewt hot sauce from the garden. My basement storage area, once a dumping ground for old clothes has been emptied after trips to goodwill and converted into a brewery/seed cellar. The first of 6 avocado stones has sprouted and an old tomato sauce jar now holds ...you get the picture.
What is most amazing about this, albeit modest, home production is the amount of time it takes up. Just as we all have our internet routine (ap top news->case.webmail->hotmail->loserboard->fantasy sports/nationstates) it fills the dull minutes of the day I used to spend watching some miserable Alton Brown cooking show or sinking several hours in a video game. When I'm bored at home, its reharvest basil for the third time-> check tomatoes-> check chilis-> compost. And now that winter decided to show up and my harvesting is done these activities have been replaced with new ones when Im bored: save seeds-> check drying seeds-> drop finished seeds in basement-> check beer fermentation-> release pressure from bottled brew-> kick buckets not bubbling fast enough.
The entire lifestyle has melded perfectly with me and Anna's unschooling philosophy as well. The kids quietly observe at first, then want to participate once they have become more familiar with the processes. Aleks and Bastian think it fun to find ripe tomatoes or peppers hidden in foliage. They know the names of recipes by the smells from the kitchen and help out mixing batter etc. Aleks, who has only seen me brew a few times, followed me into the basement with a fresh bucket and told me I needed a "cup with water for the tube to go in." Im sure he has no idea about the chemistry behind the process, but he knows you need to do these things--the why and how will come later.
For now, Im happy simply witnessing the progress Anna and I have made so far in our 9 years together. Growing from a couple who ate pizza and ramen and slowly taught themselves to cook to where we are today makes me look forward to where we are going. To chicken coops and rabbit dens.