Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Good Things Will Come . . . I Promise

If you are serious about beginning a move toward a sustainable life, there's one very important thing to understand.

This is a life of delayed gratification.

And when I say delayed gratification, I don't mean that you'll need to next week to get those back yard projects and those construction projects done.  I mean you may have to wait years (and years) to get those projects done.  If you've been looking at tiny houses on the web or in magazines and have seen how adorable they are in their pristine settings, I can almost guarantee that you are seeing one of four things.

(1) Selective Photography - in which the cute parts are emphasized and the mess is edited out (you've seen this on on my own blogs a number of times)

(2) Big Money - in which the people starting their sustainable life had a big nest egg to start it with

(3) Cosmic Convergence - in which the alignment of the stars was just so and the people managed to have just the right amount of time and money at the same time to be able to complete all of their construction projects while also keeping up on the back yard projects. 

(4) Time - in which the people have been at it for decades and have finally gotten everything under control.

This fourth is what I'm talking about.  In your own situation, no matter how long it takes, when the job does get done, the sense of satisfaction you will feel will knock your socks off.  Let me give you a couple of recent examples from our place.

When we moved into our house about thirteen years ago, it was a 12 x 16 room with no wall coverings, just plastic and tar paper covering the outside to keep the weather out.  There were five of us.  Home decoration was out of the question, and survival was key.  As we added on to the house over the years we had more to take care of so some of the walls of what was now the kitchen remained unfinished.  When I say unfinished I'm not talking about paint I'm talking about lack of wall covering.

After about ten years of looking at this wall this way everything came together a couple of days ago.  The tools and materials were brought in and in a matter of hours . . . Voila!
You have no idea how pleasing it is now to look at that little corner.  You may wonder why it took so long to accomplish a construction project that only required one day of work, and all I can say is that's how it goes sometimes.

Now for example number two, the back yard project.  About ten to twelve years ago, Eric and I transplanted a bunch of raspberry canes from our neighbor's house to our back yard.  He wanted berries so badly and I did too.  In the ensuing years however little was done to help the patch along.  It became completely overgrown.  For the past two or three years Micah and I have been going in every spring, cutting down saplings and tearing out the honeysuckle and poison ivy.  Not much fun but we started getting berries.  This year Dominic got in on the action and he and Micah sheet mulched the patch and covered it with wood chips which the acid loving berries should thoroughly enjoy.

Before.  The work Micah and I did the last few years is still somewhat in evidence.
During.  He's happier than he looks

What boy wouldn't be happy tearing up old school books to use as sheet mulch!
And after.  A weed free berry paradise!
So you see, even if it seems to take forever to accomplish your goals, if you remain steadfast they will be accomplished.  Delayed gratification is better than it sounds!


  1. It's good that you assured us of Dom's happiness, overall. LOL Great post! And, yeah, it's probly gonna have to involve some kind of nest egg when we get moving. THAT'S requiring a LOT of patience, but I know that if you guys can do it, there's hope for us, as well. :)

    1. It can be done starting with nothing. It's hard but we've done it twice . . . Maybe three times. There's definitely hope.

  2. Looking great!!! I can taste the berries now. Well - almost.