Saturday, March 12, 2011

making sustainable choices a bit easier

Let me face it, I am not a leader. I am very solidly a supporter, a follower, a hop-on-the-bandwagon sort of girl. That's not to say that I'm mindless about it. But when I set my sights on something that I believe or want to accomplish, I don't do so of an independent mind. I want others to guide my way. Maybe it's fear of failure, or I could very well be mindless and not know it :)

But I do know that life is better knowing that there are others like me out there, and goals are easier to accomplish when you follow the beaten path of knowledge and advice.

So why did I try giving up shampoo? Why do I use aloe? Why do I can foods, prefer homemade bread, dream of having chickens, turn down the heat in the winter, use a cup of water while brushing my teeth, compost with worms, try to use baking soda and vinegar instead of chemicals? Why didn't those choices feel like a great leap of faith into the unknown world of sustainable living?

I do because I read about these things all the time. My Google Reader is full of Crunchy Chickens and Chile Chews and Cage Free Family and a ton of other blogs that don't start with C. I read daily about their lives, their choices, and how it all works together. I have a few friends who live in sustainable ways, and I see it being done, taste the fruits of their labors. It is not an unknown world. It is as familiar as your mother's kitchen.

And it all becomes the norm. The way things can be. Or should be. Or will be when we have the opportunity.

I have no green thumb, as I'm sure I've mentioned. But I read their posts and have conversations about seed collecting and seed growing and transplanting and cold frames and greenhouses and harvests and pests and fertilizer and compost and plant food... and I start to get a better sense of the process. And maybe I kill a few less plants because of it. Or I ask my dumb questions. Or I try a simple project based on something someone else did, or linked to.

That being said, here's a bit of a blog roll for you, in case the sustainable concepts I talk about appeal to you, but you don't know where to start. Just read. Not religiously. Not mindlessly. Not every word of every post. But maybe something here or there will seem feasible, or will catch your eye, or you'll just hear so much about it that you can't dream of life any other way...

MOSTLY ENGAGING: Blogs like these are great, because you can decide based on the subject if it's relevant/interesting to you. And if it is, you're sure to learn something!  Lots of tips, recipes, and information summaries in an engaging format.
One Green Generation: Melinda's got a great thing going here, with tips, reviews, and giveaways. Very informative!
Simple, Green, Frugal Co-Op: About a dozen bloggers whose co-op blog provides tips, insights and resources for the budding homesteader.
Crunchy Chicken: Live Crunchy. Love Crunchy. She is the mother hen. Living an urban homestead life, finishing a book on toxins, and giving away all sorts of fabulous stuff. She's just awesome.
The Green Phone Booth: Another co-op blog with information and commentary on green living. A nice mix of topics and types of posts.
Living the Frugal Life: Kate provides a fabulous mix of window-into-the-life and recipes and tips and reviews, AND she lives in my region of the world!
Rowdy Kittens: A simple living blog. Mostly tips-based.
The Greenists: A green-living tips blog. Giveaways too!
Tiny Choices: Mostly tips, but also has some interesting essays and "Eco-News Friday" news summaries.
Toward Sustainability: Julie's blog, straight from Australia, about trying to leave a better planet for her kids. Gardening and choices in consumerism. In both the Engaging and Windows sections.
Two Frog Home: A window-into-the-life of Kathie's simplicity: gardening and canning and the like. Also with recipes, a Friday summary of good things she's read, and some giveaways.
 In both the Engaging and Windows sections.

MOSTLY ESSAYS/COMMENTARY/RANTS: These types of blogs give you the "why" of what makes all this relevant. Some get a little long/tedious, others are more engaging, but all will give you a bit more voice for your own thoughts.
Arduous Blog: Ruchi's commentary on living an "eco-balanced life".
My Plastic Free Life *formerly known as Fake Plastic Fish: I haven't quite wrapped my brain around how to live a plastic free life, but Beth's got a lot to say about it and I read for those pearly tips that may help me make a step in that direction.
Green Couple: They don't post very often, but they mostly post on energy reduction in their lives and similar topics.
Surviving the Middle Class Crash: Barbara's premise and politics are quite a bit beyond what I am ready to believe, but her tips and information are very useful so I politely ignore the apocalyptic depression stuff.
The Chatelaine's Keys and Casaubon's Book: Sharon's two blogs are quite well-known in the eco-blogging world. Keys is going to give you a bit more practical stuff, while Book is a bit more global/political. In either case, the posts get a bit long. Tough to read at times, but there are gems in there - especially when she gets funny :)
Little Blog in the Big Woods: A grandfather's ranting from off-grid life. Pretty interesting stuff :)
Powering Down: Aaron's politics are also a bit beyond what I believe, but he's got some great information and advice. His recent neighborhood farming post really struck me as amazing.

MOSTLY WINDOWS-INTO-THE-LIFE: Most of these blogs are just homesteaders writing on whatever is relevant at the moment. The thoughts aren't always organized, but it gives you a sense of the choices and challenges that go along with their lifestyle.
Chile Chews: Chile is a homesteader in Arizona, experienced in off-grid living, but currently living on the grid. She's probably five steps ahead of me on a homesteading-knowledge scale of 0-5.
New to Farm Life: Just my sort of fairy tale: they gave it all up for farm life. They haz goats!
Frugal Homesteads...Not Just For Hippies Anymore: Another family homestead, posting about daily life. Mostly a window-into-the-life, but lots of great tips and insights in there. Recipes too!
Adventures in Urban Sustainability: Australian-based, mostly a window-into-the-life but some great insights and showcases of the lifestyle.
My Fair Share: Brian lives in Australia and is part of the Fair Share International group. Interesting to see how he integrates their goals into his life.
Throwback at Trapper Creek: A window-into-the-life with recipes and photos galore. Which is sometimes bad because she has Australian Shepherds and I want to steal them :)
Two Frog Home: A window-into-the-life of Kathie's simplicity: gardening and canning and the like. Also with recipes, a Friday summary of good things she's read, and some giveaways. In both the Engaging and Windows sections.
Toward Sustainability: Julie's blog, straight from Australia, about trying to leave a better planet for her kids. Gardening and choices in consumerism. In both the Engaging and Windows sections.

Farm to Philly: A lot of great news and event information about classes and projects going on in the Philadelphia area. It's how we learned about the PASA chicken class. And they have a lot of great links to locally-grown food sources, if you live in the area.
Cage Free Family: Follow along as this wonderful little family lives their dreams and gets down to the things that really matter.
Contemplating Change: Willow lives in southern England, has a beautiful garden, and posts the most peaceful nature photos. It's a nice change of pace from some of the other blogs.

What else do you recommend in the eco- simple- homestead- garden- living blogosphere?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl



  1. This is my second day on my adventure to living a healthier, greener way of life, thanks for the encouragement and links!

  2. thanks for the links...can't wait to check out the ones that are new to me. I also am trying to live greener. Getting there bit by bit.

  3. Hi there! Thanks for posting this on the TBUH page. Since starting the page I've come across hundreds of blogs and they're ALL good! I think I need to take a week off and just read them all. ;) Here is my new urban homesteading blog: