People who knew me back before I had children would have died laughing at the idea of me ascribing to any sort of “crunchy granola” lifestyle. I recall when, years ago, my dear friend J told me she’d bought a menstrual cup. I thought it was the nuttiest thing I’d ever heard of, and chalked it up to associating with too many hippies in her art-school town. Years later I stumbled upon the MotheringDotCommune in search of information on breastfeeding and cosleeping; next thing you know I was cloth diapering my babes, had a stack of cloth menstrual pads and a cup for myself, and was subscribing to a parenting newsletter called The Daily Groove. I’m probably best described as “urban crunchy”; I don’t dress in tie-dye and flowing skirts with birkenstocks, nor do I fragrance my home with incense. But I do sleep with my kids, nurse my 2.5 year old pretty much on demand, and buy organic groceries.
‘Twas a strange enough transformation from the logical, punk-ish scientist type I was before. But still I was a definite City Girl. Now, with our plans to buy a place in the country, I have begun immersing myself in the Country Living lifestyle (online, at least). First I found a lovely blog that I’ve become addicted to. Then I found a Homesteading discussion forum where I can get tons of great information and advice. Now, homesteading, as I understand it, means trying to become totally self-sufficient: living off the land, even “off the grid”. I confess it all seems a bit extreme to me. Yes, I want land and goats and chickens, but how can I live without high speed internet access and hot-and-cold running water? I’ll save the composting toilet for camping trips. I’m not interested in living like a pioneer – I like my mod-cons thank you very much. But still I have a great deal of respect for homesteaders, and the community has already been very welcoming. There isn’t much these folks don’t know about living on an acreage.
I think I will always need to retreat to the city for short bursts between working the land and tending to the horsies. DH and I figure we’ll eventually buy a condo downtown, since neither of us can see ourselves foregoing fine dining and the cultural diversity of our neighbourhood for good. I want my kids to grow up seeing gay couples holding hands as they walk down the street, chatting with the senior citizens, hearing 10 different languages on the playground, and witnessing homelessness firsthand (thanks, AnnaB, for the suggestion of growing food to feed the hungry). That, combined with the joy of acres to run and play on, animals to tend to, and growing food in the earth, makes for a wonderful life, IMHO.