A Non-Commercial Christmas

It’s less than a week until Christmas, and today is the shortest day of the year. I am looking ahead to spring as from here on in the days will be gradually lengthening out. For now, it’s enough just to keep the pipes from freezing and to keep myself warm in my lovely, but totally uninsulated 190 year old home. With careful husbanding of my limited funds, I plan to have completely replumbed the house by next fall, making it easier to keep water flowing; and with any luck may also have added another heat source as well. Below is some of my winter’s wood for this year….

But looking forward to spring is the way this year. Planting plans are being thought out, and local sources for what I cannot grow are being found. Check out http://www.taprootfarms.blogspot.com/ a local organic farm that has been around for a long time and curently offers CSA distribution of produce in the Valley and in Halifax/Dartmouth, and also sells direct at the farm gate. They are located outside Port Williams, north of Wolfville. The farm also offers workshops in various aspects of sustainabloe living, make sure to check it out.
I have always lived as non-consumer driven a life as possible, and at the moment do not even own a television set. I have never owned any modern furniture bought new in a store, relying instead on antique and vintage pieces bought second hand, made or inherited from family. I avoid box stores like the plague and try to do my grocery shopping where the products are locally sourced, and minimally packaged. it’s not always possible to buy everything locally but even a portion is good. Next year I plan to buy right at the farm gate and will be buying a small chest freezer to store both meat and produce that I source locally.
I’ve been involved in the cause of sustainable rural development for many years and buying locally is a big part of this – if you don’t use it, you lose it and we can see now what North American and World Free Trade has done to the hog and chicken growers locally. We won’t even go where importation of cheap goods to be sold through big box stores like Walmart have left smaller local producers and smaller local store owners, as well as local artists and artisans. Just check where so many of the museum stores source their goods for sale – it’s not mainly in North America!
As the realities of declining tourism due to financial crisis, rising fuel costs, and tightened security and border procedures, I saw in the last ten years my “through the door” traffic at my quilt studio decline to almost nil. I have kept the studio open as a gesture to tourism stimulus in my small rural community, but only because I am here and working anyway since it’s a home based business. It’s been many years since I sold a quilt through the door, and I have come to rely on my faithful customers from Cyberspace. I want to thank all of you for your business and invite you to visit me here in the future as I continue to add antique and vintage kits and my new pieces as I complete them. This past year has been a very successful one for me. I have also added fresh lavender sachets as another renewable household item – they are priced comparably to the air fresheners and oil burners you can purchase in the supermarkets but contain no petroleum based products or harmful artifical oils or scents, and are a gentler, more traditional way of freshening drawers, linen closets and rooms. An added bonus of no packaging to dispose of or recycle.

I invite my local readers to visit me either on a nice day this winter – I keep my driveway plowed out and my path shovelled – or in the spring – make a day of it, visit other artists and artisans, antiques stores and farm stands and perhaps finish up with a meal out somewhere. I would be happy to help you plan your itinerary.
Remember, quilters are very welcome too and you will be surprised at the variety of items I have for sale, from books and patterns and spare fabric, to vintage kits; through small collectibles and folk art – most of my folk art sold this past summer, but I still have several very significant pieces that are too large and fragile to ship economically.
I hope you have a lovely, sustainable Christmas and that you consider giving truly renewable gifts – I have donated to a local food bank in the name of friends and will be giving gift certificates from http://www.kiva.org/ to my immediate family. Kiva makes small loans to business owners in developing countries who would not otherwise have access to lending facilities. I have personally made 90 loans over the last couple of years and have always been repayed in full so that the money can be rolled over into more loans – if I chose or needed to, the monthly reimbursement can be payed back to me into my Paypal account. Having struggled with limited cashflow in establishing my own business I know how essential this programme is. Try it by lending one or two $25 units – it is truly gratifying.
Blessings of the holiday season to you – and please remember that we are only stewards of the earth’s riches, and also stewards of life here in every form. Peace and good wishes to you all!

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