I took a couple of before and after pictures so I remember never to let it get to that state again. Although I still have a bit more to go, I ended up bringing 3 bags of books for donation to the library, donated 3 bags of winter clothing for adults and kids, 2 garbage bags of junk, a list of items to sell on eBay/kijiji and some piece of mind.
I had both the pleasure and disgust of watching Food Inc. this weekend and it was an eye opener. Although I was aware of most of what the film had to say, the message was really driven home as to how far removed we are from our food in our "modern society".
Filmmaker, Robert Kenner, "lifts the veil" on the American food industry exposing the industrialization of food production and the powerful companies that control it. And when I mean control it, I mean through brute force and intimidation, they can keep farmers under their thumb and seem to be concerned only about profit, not the product or the people for which they supply. A few scenes that bother me are the fact that farmers seem powerless to fight the large conglomerates that run the meat industry and the fact that the US Supreme Court allowed a company to patent seeds.
I don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not watched it yet, but it is well worth the view and I would highly recommend it. It is a bit graphic at some points and if you are tender at heart, you might shed a few tears. One thing is for sure, you will "Never Look At Dinner The Same Way Again". It certainly changed my points of view and we will make more changes in our choices.
For the past 3 years we've planted a traditional type of row garden in a 14' x 40' and 20' x 6' sections of our backyard. When we bought the house from my parents, there was a large ornamental flower bed that we slowly converted to a full vegetable garden. Not really knowing what we were doing, we started slow, learned along the way and know there's much more to learn.
This picture is the only one I could find that showed the entire garden. Even though it's a bit small you can see the rows and the 2 apple trees in the back that we planed last spring. The large tree in the top left corner will be moved as this year we want to move towards raised garden beds. We want to go down that road for a few reasons:
Sometimes I feel like I have A.D.D. When I start researching a topic through books and/or online, one thing leads to another, then to another, and before you know it I have 10 new projects on my to-do list. I always have a notebook with me to try and keep my overzealous plans in order and in check.
I am doing research on winter gardening in my climate for next year. We live in Eastern Canada just north of Maine, so we get cold snaps and lots of snow. I got started reading a couple books that touch on the subject: "Intensive Gardening Round the Year" and "Solar Gardening", that I picked up from the Library. I've done research on Cold Frame Gardening which was the route I was going before I stumbled on a few very inspiring YouTube videos about Dome Greenhouses and people actually using them to grow during the winter months in Northern climates and in the mountains.
I had the opportunity to watch Les Stroud's documentary called Off The Grid. It's a great film documenting how Les Stroud, Sue Jamison and their 2 young children bought a 150 acre abandoned 1930's farm land in Northern Ontario and started what a lot of us dream of: living a sustainable life closer to the land.
Les Stroud is probably better known for the TV series Survivorman where he spends 7 days marooned and surviving in various hostile locations throughout the world. He filmed this documentary between seasons when he and his family decided to take the leap into this great adventure.
I like the documentary because of its personal approach. If you follow Survivorman you will see it follows the same format of narration and self interview. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised that it is not a be all end all film of latest technology stuffed with technical data and crap. It's really a story of how and ordinary family can accomplish living a more simple life, off-grid and without a deep pocket book. How the move affects different aspects of their lives and the overall pros and cons of this lifestyle change. One of my favorite parts of the film is how they go over their concerns with how the move will affect their children. Being a father myself, I could relate to their struggles of trying to have the best of both worlds: Urban activities and Rural lifestyle.