Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oddly enough, green was my mother's least-favorite color...

I don’t consider myself crunchy. In fact the word itself conjures up images of long, fly-away hair, Birkenstocks, jars of sprouts, and the distinct smell of doobie floating through the air. (Yes, yes, I know – I just described one of my aunts circa 1985. I’m happy to report that she now eats meat, refined sugar, and shaves. Don’t know about the doobie, so I’m opting to go Clinton on that one: don’t ask, don’t tell.)

But I’m beginning to realize that crunchy has come a long way, and while it still seems to be planted squarely in the realm of politically liberal ideology (Ed Begley Jr, anyone?), it’s becoming apparent to me that this Republican from the middle of the Bible belt is enchanted by it as well.

Evidently I’m late to the party on this, as Rod Dreher has written a whole book about crunchy conservatives entitled, appropriately enough, Crunchy Cons.* I haven’t read it so I can’t claim to be a true Crunchy Con myself, but the little bit that I did read here does seem to line up more or less with my own beliefs.

Anyway, this is not a political post.

What I’m discovering is that the ideas of reusing, repurposing, reinventing, growing, harvesting, storing, sharing, simplifying, saving – all of these are incredibly appealing to me. The choices I’ve made thus far in life might not tend to support this statement, but it’s true. And really, it’s not all that surprising. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve found in my parent’s house that have sparked an idea about how I could fix it, or change it, or display it, or whatever. I’ve done it before (those of you who helped move my grandmother’s painstakingly refinished ten-ton secretary in the middle of a monsoon can attest to this), and I am quite certain I’ll do it again.

Only this time, it seems to have a purpose.

Right now, on paper at least, we are worth more than ever before (in other words, we have a net value that is greater than zero -- a novel concept, no?). Whether it is the current economic situation, my ever-increasing understanding of responsibility for our daughter, or my overwhelming desire to chuck my day job & stay home to care for my family, I am feeling a tremendous need to preserve what we’ve got and make it last. Being in the throes of major – did I mention MAJOR? – renovations doesn’t do much to help the preservation effort.


That doesn’t mean that I can’t continue, in whatever small way possible, to put what might appear to be cast-offs to good work once the construction is completed:

An old, rusted table base without a top? How about a “new” table to use in our herb garden, with a top fabricated with stone scraps from the renovation?

A ridiculously heavy and oversized wooden locker, covered in 60-year-old stained & disintegrating fabric? How about a reupholstered storage bench for the guest room?

A toilet & pedestal sink, unused & tucked under a staircase for the better part of the last 15 years? How about using them to outfit our new powder room? Really – it’s already new. Why replace them?

A bent and warped cold frame, that long ago lost it’s membrane to the elements? Yeah – we’re fixing that too. Because, in case it’s not already perfectly clear, we plan to garden our brains out next summer.

Canning party anyone? (Amy H, I’m talking to you!)

I could go on & on. There are so many things that we’ve forgotten we even have that I can find a use for – and I fully intend to do just that. Sites like this one only stoke my fire. The best thing is that I like doing this. I enjoy finding creative uses for “trash,” cleaning things up and giving them new life & having people say “That is so neat – where did you get that?”

So if that makes me crunchy, then I guess I am.

Bring on the granola!

*Thanks, Amy for mentioning this to me. I'll have to add it to my never-ending list of things I'd like to read once I have a house to read them in.

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