Sustainable living in action
An epic journey in ecological self-fulfillment
Introduction to the Sustainable Living in Action series
For those of you who have no previous knowledge of us 3 – Cheryl, an American expat girl, just shy of 40; Roland, a Hungarian born in Romania a hair over 40 years ago; Csermely, a Hungarican born in Hungary and life-educated for almost 8 years since –, we have recently arrived to our searchful lives’ destination: Breb, a peripheral village in mountainous Romania.
After a year’s time of settling in, readjusting our inner compass to match the circumstances found, smudging the epigenetic more distant past we adults surely have carried with us like a contagious plague, posing the risk of possibly infecting our daughter too – the law of attraction introduced us to the people and very place that will have to (must!) form the seed of our future. And why could it not be, vicariously, the future of as many of you, as many dare, to live the bold life you want to see manifested world-over?
Take it as if we, regular people like most of you may be, no offense and no judgment intended here, got to this clean slate with not much more than the loving commitment to each other… and rock-hard, down-light, nature-based set of values.
Gathering our intuitive experiences and interpreting them outwards throughout our over a decade long walking-the-talk, has effectively turned us into the sustainable life designers we are.
We decided to dedicate an open-ended series of posts on ForestCreekMeadows, having to do with nothing else, but how ordinary people with out-of-ordinary eco-principles, and ethics to match, go about filling that slate with our ahimsa bliss.
All this will happen slowly and thoroughly, as life that loves itself should take its course. You will, therefore, be able to easily assimilate the intimacy found here into your personal life at home, should you choose to follow suit in this epic journey of fierce self-reliance, self-governance, so an independent life that recognizes all its dependability of nature.
Be prepared to always question, to break traditions, conventions and rules previously thought of as immobile in one’s life. This is to free our imagination of ballast, so it can alight in flames, in the air as it pleases, like it has been supposed to be doing all along, from conception and birth.
Be with us, be you! For the benefit of all…
Join us now for a day in the life of our family digital detox:
This second half of March finds us under a new mantle of sleety snow in our cozy, wood-fired wooden home that we rent for €100/month.
Today (happens to be a Sunday, but it could be any other, with or without sun) is a no-digital-connection day, so these words are written on paper with pencil (to be typed up tomorrow) as we’ll keep our internet off, won’t open our laptop at all and only turn our one cell phone on briefly if must know what time it is (we don’t own a wrist watch or clocks of any kind). We listen to music through Csermely’s radio set, in between her harmonica solos, and shorter-longer stretches of relative quiet.
Cheryl revised our existing and planned-to-buy garden seed lists. Now, when it comes to gardening, you are going to witness a lot of passion pouring in. By no means are we novices to growing food and back in Scotland, over three years ago, Roland developed the basis of a nature-sensitive food provision theory he dubbed Symbiontic Food Provision which – once we gain ownership over a piece of land – we can hardly wait to implement in practice.
Imagine a forest garden combined with grazing animals on openings, flowering meadows, water surfaces incorporated into a native-only, robust guild of flora and fauna, where the human presence with all its activities is but the self-expression of a true symbiont. Hence the given name. This scheme is based on perennials and all food processing is carried out by hand, work exclusively aided by mechanical tools and the crafted food full of artisanal finesse.
Until then, however, the previously also practiced no-dig gardening will do. We found sufficient dry hay in the barn’s loft, that we can use as mulch as soon as the snow melts.
Meanwhile, Csermely is writing in her “journal”, practicing her Hungarian literacy, this being her first true written down poem (because otherwise it is not uncommon for her to be surprisingly poetic):
FÚJ A SZÉL ≈ ÉS A LEPKE ELBUJDOS
EGY LEVÉL ALATT NEM ÉREZ SEMMIT
(THE WIND IS BLOWING ≈ AND THE BUTTERFLY HIDES
UNDER A LEAF IT DOES NOT FEEL ANYTHING)
A tiny piece of pictographic sign has made it into her all-capital-letter text, as though it was a flash-back from her distant Egyptian-Hungarian cultural heritage she has recently been exposed to.
Outdoors Cheryl just noticed an agonizing songbird in the snow. Her and Csermely went to see it from up close right away. The back of its neck was bleeding, but the invalid responded to their gentle caress given over its head. By the time they came in and looked out the window again, the bird disappeared with just some blood drops and a few feathers left behind in memento… Paw prints show that it moderated the hunger of the neighbors’ cat.
We will never have cats ourselves – appreciate wildlife so much more.
Soon we’ll bring the beeswax melting double boiler from the attic and Cheryl with Csermely are going to dip candles. They can comfortably dip 8 candles in one go, each of them lasting at least 2 hours in continuous burning. The wax we bought from an old beekeeper in the village.
On to lunch, two boiled pig hearts are waiting… If you are new to offals, heart is a wonderfully mild flavored organ to ease yourself into this nutritious food stuff. The girls crunch on locally grown potatoes fried in lard rendered by us, with some import tomatoes (just a flirtation with the warm season far ahead) and hot pepper on the side, that we often eat nowadays alternating with garlic, for its antiseptic traits. A one-time ruccola as leafy green garnish is squeezed some lemon juice over to round off the hearty meal.
Cheryl brewed herself a woman’s health, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer tea of red clover, willow (both foraged by us) and ginger.
We had to restock the firewood underneath the cooking stove, so the logs can come to room temperature and dry out a little more before we put the pieces on the fire. With one time of us adults (those who have seen more years – as Csermely prefers putting it so eloquently and beautifully) cutting 1-meter logs into cordwood with the crosscutting saw and Roland splitting them kitchen stove-ready, we have enough stash for 2-3 days before we grab the saw by its horns again.
While the beeswax is slowly heating up to a good liquid phase, Csermely is giving it a go (for the umpteenth time) at her Ravensburger puzzle – at least the patience game is of good enough quality to withstand the many touches, trials and errors.
Otherwise we are listening to pop music in the background while us parents are putting our thoughts to paper. The bilingual Csermely who is easing herself into Romanian now too, day by day, with absolute naturalness in her tone of voice, brings up the question of why can we not listen to Hungarian music on Romanian music radio stations besides the countless English and, of course, Romanian hits? We gave this issue some consideration and concluded that it is characterized by much cultural-political narrow-mindedness, something typical to seemingly all of Europe in fact, and its anachronism is doing a huge disservice to the different ethnicities understanding each other better, even come to enjoy the undeniable presence of the other, to truly embrace that cultural multi-coloredness which Europe is so wonderfully rich in.
It is up to people like us and yourself to bring the change about that we would love to live in. And we are enjoying a French hit song at this moment, which brings back Parisian memories to us. It is a step forward. Thank you, Digi FM.
What does your day without the internet look like?