Being healthy is incredibly important. Especially to the traveler.
Anyone who has ever met me knows I’m not exactly a beacon for healthy living. I love beer and I can’t ever remember a time I turned down ice cream. However I’m coming to find out that living at least a semi healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to cut out the foods and beers you love.
We all know vegetables are great for your body. I’m sure most of you know that some or most of the vegetables you get from the grocery store aren’t exactly grown in the best conditions. I’m referring to genetically modified plants, harsh chemicals for pest control, and sub-par handling after being harvested.
Depending on whom you talk to about GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism & Genetically Modified Food) you’ll get a different story. Some say that GMOs are perfectly safe while other say they will kill you. Personally I feel that we don’t have enough data on the subject and it hasn’t been long enough to see if there are positive or negative effects. That being said, why risk it? There has been studies done on pesticide ingestion in humans and it’s not fun. When it comes to sub-par food handling all you have to do is think back to when the last salmonella scare was.
Between GMOs, pesticides, and poor handling of food I feel it’s a and safer and healthier option to grow you own. That, along with many others is one why I chose to purchase a house. As I make more posts I’ll reveal even more reasons why purchasing a house was right for me but for now we’ll get started with this.
Where am I going to grow all this produce? Like John Hammond in Jurassic Park said “I’ll show you.”
The house sits on a long narrow lot that’s about 50 feet wide and around 170 feet long. The house sits near the front of the lot and the back yard was already semi divided into a garden section. When we moved in there was few already established and mature fruit trees. Two apple and a peach tree along with 2 mature purple grape plants. There are two other big trees but I’m not 100% on what they are and they didn’t produce fruit last summer. Other than a few established trees I’m starting with bare land.
The previous owners also enjoyed growing plants so there was a few things that were left over. I’m pretty sure they were into growing the wacky tobacky but the equipment is essentially the same. There was a green house that was falling apart, a few derelict fences, and a handful of flower pots and garden figurines.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!
We moved into the house mid-summer last year so we didn’t have much time to do a lot of prep. This year that has been the name of the game. The old green house has been ripped down along with some of the fencing. Invasive non-fruit bearing plants and vines were pulled, cut, and chopped down. A small chicken coop was built and chickens were installed. Two larger compost bins were built from old pallets. And as of lately 4 large and 2 small garden beds are being built. A lot of work has been done but there is still plenty to do.
Along with the edible benefits of having a large garden comes a few other unexpected benefits. In today’s world A LOT of us sit at a desk all day in a windowless box. I am one of those people. This means that my physical activity level is pretty low. Working outside and building has changed that. I’ve dropped a few pounds and am already feeling better. The other added benefit boils down to life skills. I’ve learned how to build gates, how compost works, how to trim a tree, taking care of a flock of chickens, and so on. These skills I’ve learned have come in handy more than just in the backyard and it’s a great conversation starter. In my experience people are intrigued when the subject comes up and I end up answering tons of questions.
If done correctly I believe growing some of your own food can also reduce your monthly cost of food. Finding a free or low cost source for your garden materials is key. When you’re able to save money on food costs that means you can pay down other debts, stash it away for a rainy day, or spend it on travel.
Hopefully this has given some insight into why I’ve gone slightly off the minimalist path and bought a house. Can I still be minimalist while owning a home? I think so. It may be a bit trickier and come in a different form than what we are used to seeing but I believe it cane be done.