July 31, 2016

Every Day Seems Like A Holiday

This is my 1214th post on Not Buying Anything. Since Linda and I started this blog in 2008, we have been honing our simple living skills and sharing our insights with you, our readers, friends and mentors. There has been the odd rant, too. But the times are ripe for rantings, are they not?

The way things have been going since we started blogging, it has often felt like Survivor, with most of the institutions and foundations of our consumer-based, rich-get-richer system being voted off the planet one after another. Soon the simple living contestant will be the only one standing.

The rate of change has continued to increase since we started watching in earnest, and it is often difficult to get your bearings to see where this is all going. It is an important time to have good people around. Like all you NBA people.

The response to our blog has exceeded all our expectations, and it has been a great comfort to discover so many wonderful people that grace us with their presence and the sharing of ideas, knowledge, good humour, and general camaraderie on our blog for all to enjoy. For that we thank you from the bottom of our minimalist hearts.

Here are some of our stats since the beginning in 2008:

  • almost 1.5 million page views
  • hosted 4390 comments
  • published 1214 posts
  • our most viewed post is "Average House Size By Country"... hmmm
  • the country with the most visits is the US, rounding out the top three are the UK and Canada
  • we have had simple living visitors from almost every country in the world, because the yearning for simplicity is universal
  • over the past couple of weeks Russian visitors have been more frequent than any time before, and we welcome them to our growing community 

Plus my keyboarding skills are at an all time high.

As a matter of fact, keeping this blog has been so hopeful, educational, and engaging for us, that we have never taken any kind of break. And boy, are my fingers tired, not to mention my brain.

Now that the heat and humidity have settled in, we thought that now would be a good time to dial things back for a while to focus on our garden, sit quietly with a cold lemonade in hand, and regenerate.

Therefore, while we usually publish every Mon, Wed, and Fri, for the next while we are going off schedule. I may post material from the archives, or post new material irregularly, or maybe go off line entirely for a cyber-holiday... after getting caught up with reader comments (there is always something to be done).

We will see how long we can keep ourselves from ranting on the latest development, or sharing our latest good news, or hearing about yours.

Thank you so much for everything you have done to make the Not Buying Anything blog one of our favourite places on the internet.

Happy summer. Or winter. Regardless of season, happy simple living. May every day seem like a holiday.

July 27, 2016

Riot of Food vs Food Riot

Our garden is not a riot of food yet. More like a small, but promising disturbance. The radishes are really shaking things up.

I have never experienced a food riot, although in the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008 my food store looked like there had been a riot prior to my arrival. For the first time since I can remember, shelves were empty of staples. What was there was disheveled and picked over.

It was scary not knowing if things would get worse. Was this it? Was this the moment everything changed? Would the food riots I was reading about in the news come to my own city? Or was it different here?

It kind of was, and wasn't. The store soon returned to normal, although food prices have been steadily increasing since then. Now there may be lots of cauliflower on the shelves, but you may not feel like paying the price the grocer wants for it.

Either way, I would rather experience a riot of food than a food riot. And the way to ensure that is to grow a garden. That is what we are doing this year.

Although our garden got off to a slow start, we are off and running now. When our first planting of beans and peas did not go well, we planted again. The second planting was more successful - our perseverance paid off.

What a joy it is to be tending a garden again. It is a total immersion in nature, in life, in growth.  And most importantly, it is to experience hope for the future. Hope that you can take to the food bank and share with those around you.

July 25, 2016

S'less Please

"S'less please."

The sickly sweet, over-the-top campfire confection known as a S'more is a perfect symbol for overconsumption. Sweet, glorious consumption. Extreme treats for extreme living.

Take a simple base (graham cracker), add some more (chocolate bar), then even more (roasted marshmallow), mash it all together in one dripping destructive mass and consume. Why stop? It feels good. Have some more. Go ahead, and forget about the consequences. YOLO!

But does it really feel good? These things make my teeth hurt just thinking about them. And it isn't just painful dental bills to be concerned about.

"Eating too much sugar raises your risk for gaining weight and the health problems that are associated with being overweight. You are more likely to suffer diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and many other health conditions when you indulge your sweet tooth too often."  - from Livestrong.com

I propose an alternative I call a S'less. Like with a S'more, you start with a graham cracker.

The next simple step is: eat it.

Nothing further needs to be done, because a graham cracker is enough. More than enough, actually, as the cracker alone contains one gram of sugar. So when you enjoy a S'less, you just have one.

If you are used to the S'more lifestyle, that probably sounds boring, or plain. But I have found that the healthier I eat, the less I crave for things, including sugar. In the same way, the more simply I live, the less I crave consumption, the sugar of modern lifestyles.

S'mores are said to have been named after everyone asked for "some more" after eating one. Because we are trained to want more. More S'mores, more everything. "More", as the lie goes, "is always better."

This is a good summer to make a switch from craving S'more to being satisfied with S'less. Around the campfire, and everywhere else. It is the healthier alternative.

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