I've always felt a bit put out by John Gray's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stereotypes, but when SIX dumpsters landed at Lake View Organic Farm, I couldn't help but wonder, William, what planet are you from??? Haven't you tuned into my gigantic need for clean, tidy and minimal? Haven't you heard me tell stories of my trail blazing minimalism? I was the minimalist movement long before Joshua and Ryan, the so called "Minimalists" launched a website and got a documentary! I was assessing pleasure levels derived from my possessions when Marie Kondo was just entering her teenage years. I even understand the minimalist concept at the level of food. When we do pizza parties, I put out a sign that reads, "Less is MORE." If you want a great pizza, don't overdo the sauce or toppings. Neopolitan pizza in a wood burning oven is not meant to be loaded. It is far better when each topping's flavor is allowed a solo in every delicious bite!
Before this psychological and attitudinal turn towards less is more, like many of us, I spent years collecting, keeping all the "heirloom," memorabilia and "just in case" items. Through the trajectory of my years, I worked at collecting enough stuff to fill a six bedroom home, eventually downsized into a three bedroom, then a two bedroom, and finally to a backpack for world travel. I came to understand that outside of a well-stocked kitchen, five shirts, one pair of jeans, one pair of shorts, two pairs of shoes, a sweatshirt, a down stuff coat, a few toiletries, undergarments and whatnots is all I really need. This load weighs about 12 pounds, and sometimes that feels a little heavy. Of course, once again, I have a home full of stuff, but most of it is hand made, recycled or purchased new with a load of confidence that each THING is exactly what I want and will be able to use for the remainder of my years.
I began to see that much of what I moved from one home to another really meant very little to me, that my family wouldn't want these things, and as paper became digitized, I found no need for books, certificates, letters or even photos. About 14 years ago, I threw most of this stuff away. High school yearbooks, childhood honors or certificates, and a huge collection of books (remember when having a library in your home was all the rage?) Everything extraneous got tossed out.
Of course, what do you do when you're cleaning out, clearing out and organizing? You throw stuff away. Or, you take it to a thrift store. We all understand that a thrift store will help us relocate our gently worn name brand clothing items, and that a fish tank or wooden chest of drawers might get snagged off the curb if we live in a city, but what to do with a set of crutches or a broken outboard motor? I wouldn't have a clue what to do with a motor, so in a cleaning frenzy can easily see that a garbage can or rental dumpster might be just the trick for most of us. Just get it out of here, we think, allow me to simplify, give me freedom. Put it in the bin and the guy comes to haul it away. So refreshing!
I'm not the only one to understand that material possessions are an albatross around the neck. Visual noise disturbs the soul, rattles our psyche and clearly has Mother Nature UP IN ARMS! Fly above the clouds and marvel at the mess we humans have made! "People aren't doing the world any good," William likes to say. So true. But, it seems some are learning that downsizing, releasing, relinquishing, and giving it all up is so unbelievably rewarding to the human soul. However, this trajectory is NOT rewarding for planet earth. We take so much junk into our homes. We live with things that are meant to make life simpler, but in the end, bring us unhappiness and discontent. When we finally realize this, the earth suffers because there is nowhere for our goods to go - plastic containers, kids' skates and toys, kitchen gadgets, gardening tools, workout equipment, clothing...the list goes on and on. Humans and our gadget factories make stuff, then we bring it into our homes, but when we don't want it anymore, we either stuff it into a closet or throw it away.
And, what exactly, does it mean to THROW IT AWAY? Psychologically it means out of sight out of mind, no? The person doing the throwing, puts the unwanted articles in some sort of container and moves them out, or has them removed from their property. Our space is left clean and tidy and we are happy. We don't think often of the next place the thrown away stuff goes - landfills, "developing countries,"(Huge bales of unwanted clothing are sent to places like Honduras) and incinerators. There are millions of piles of unwanted junk all around the globe.
William always wonders why I get so grumpy shopping. Every purchase I make that brings sjit into my home causes me extreme anguish. I have grown to detest shopping - no, actually, detest wanting and needing. I fight my human inclination for taking the path of least resistance when I wonder why all of our containers in the grocery store aren't refillable or reusable. Recyclable isn't good enough. I tried to live without plastic in my life for awhile, and holy god is that impossible. Right? We humans aren't doing the earth any good. We know what we should do, we know we should change, but the way things are, that path of least resistance is too durned easy. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" some folks say. Or, "that's just the way it is." Well, it brings me down.
So, right now, in American culture, it has become cool to simplify, downsize and really evaluate all the stuff we have. I think that is a good thing. And, I hope it will lead all of us to analyze and evaluate the purchases we make from the get go. We have created a culture of consumption whose backbone is luxury and laziness, and all great minds, thinkers and empaths, I suspect, will suggest it is time to reevaluate.
As the guy who ran the Salem Township dump for years when he was a young man, William is paying attention to the trend towards minimalism with an eye on helping recycle some of this rejected stuff. This means, property clean out bins come back to the farm where recyclables are gleaned before the dumpsters are sent on to the refuse station. To my consternation, as someone who loves a tidy, well-organized view, we've got piles of stuff laying around the farm! As this is a new business, there is not yet established a clean and tidy system for managing the stuff. I can only hope William is not totally from MARS, and will recognize that his extreme minimalist wife, lover of a natural view, can respect the idea that there is value in another man's junk (sorry about the gender specific detail there), but that visual noise is upsetting to the soul. I'm all outta whack when things aren't orderly.
As someone accustomed to the "Get it out of here!" mentality of minimalism, and increasingly irritated by human over-consumption, the idea to bring garbage onto my property never would have dawned on me as a good one. However, I do think the idea to help folks clean out their space is smart, and I love that we help break consumption down into recyclable parts. Ultimately, when it comes to STUFF, age, life and its resulting wisdom have shown me that LESS is ALWAYS MORE.
If you are "local" to our neighborhood and need a 14 yard dumpster, call William at 715-222-8234. Dumpster rental $385. He'll let you know what can and cannot be dumped.
A few days ago, the last of the sap went into the pan - an all night cook to finish this batch.
The greenhouse is getting a revamp. We cleaned out all the landscape fabric and drip line, we're bringing in some good old-fashioned soil amendments in the form of composted manure, building a few bermed beds and planting veggies where hemp once grew. I'm nervous that I won't be able to stay ahead of the weeds, but I am going to give it my best shot!
It looks to be a lovely weekend with warm temperatures! The store will be open Thursday, April 1 - Sunday, April 4th. Yes, we'll be open on Easter. Our hiking trails are marked for your travels, the chickens are pecking around looking cute, there are goodies in the store, and maybe the piles of junk will be cleaned up!
Sending love to you all,