January 1, 2019

Happy New Calendar

Our corn (one of the 3 sisters) did well this year.

Winter solstice is my celestial New Years. January 1st is the time we go to an unblemished, fresh calendar. Both events are full of promise, hope, and excitement. 

On the one hand, the deepest dark days are over, and the sun begins to return. On the other, we get 12 new pictures to hang on the wall. Either way, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the year gone by, and plan for how we are going to improve in the year ahead.

It is nice to be able to say that 2018 represents the best garden year we have ever had. We grew more food, and varieties of food, than ever before. Because of that, we also preserved more of our own food than any year previous. We refrigerated, froze, dried, pickled and canned to our stomach's content.

This year our cooking has reached new levels of nutrition, flavour, and self-sufficiency. We experimented with a Three Sisters portion of our garden, consisting of corn, pole beans, and winter squash, which is supposed to be a winning combination. We agree.

What a joy it is to prepare and eat food you have carefully nurtured yourself. It is also immensely satisfying to wean ourselves from the carbon-intensive industrial food system, and all the plastic packaging that comes with it. And food isn't getting any cheaper. 

Projections are for a 3.5% increase in food prices this year, due to expected increases in the cost of fruits and vegetables, which is mostly what we buy there. Have you notice how things you don't need, like 1000 inch TVs, are getting cheaper, while things you do need, like food, are going up in price?

It will help to be able to grow and collect as much food as we can ourselves, and we look forward to another successful garden season this year. 

Another highlight of 2018 was celebrating our 10th year of the Not Buying Anything blog. It has been inspiring to hear from people around the world sharing how they are living the changes they would like to see in the world. 

Nothing gives hope quite like hearing from people who are living more sustainable, and enjoyable, lives right now. For me, there is no stronger evidence that it can be done, and it can be great. 

We are looking forward to further advances in simple living in 2019, whatever they are, and wherever they happen to happily occur. Living better with less is the new American Dream. Except this time it is real.

Note: Today is Public Domain Day, the first such occurrence in about 20 years (in the US), due to legislation passed then to extend to Disney Corp an extension on their copyright for Mickey Mouse. It also prevented tens of thousands of published works from moving into the public domain as they should have.

Until today.

"At the stroke of midnight, such beloved classics as Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “Yes! We Have No Bananas” will become the common property of the people, to be quoted at length or in full anywhere when the copyright expires on work produced in 1923. 
Then, works from 1924 will expire in 2020, 1925 in 2021, and so on and so forth."
Read more here.


  1. Happy new year Gregg and Linda! That's fascinating about the public domain information. I'm going to read that link shortly so I can learn more!
    Glad to read that the three sisters method of planting worked well for you guys. I've got it set up in my very hot summer garden as we speak so will look forward to the results.
    Regardless of the result, I'll have learnt something and that's what i think is one of the rewarding things about being as self sufficient as possible. Even mistakes are good, they teach me something valuable which in turn means I can learn to do it a different way.
    One of the other projects I'm currently working on is making a rug out of plastic bread bags. We've cut right down on plastic however my husband ears more bread than I can make, so we end up with lots of three bags. There not recyclable, so I figured I'd try to do something useful with them! New Year, new skill 😊

    1. Anonymous1/02/2019

      Karen, kudos on the plastic bag rug making! I have been making them for awhile and they are great, especially for making concrete floors in screen rooms nice and cushy! It's also fun seeing the random patterns emerge. I also make reusable market tote bags from bags. Happy new year crafting ! Nancy

    2. Wow that's awesome Nancy! I love the idea of making tote bags from them too, what a great plan. We've just phased out single use plastic bags here so good timing too. Happy new year!

    3. Someone gave us a tote bag made from plastic bags 30 years ago. It is sturdy, holds a lot, and I am sure will last forever. Happy New Year, and new skills.

  2. Happy New year, I love your blog and you are an inspiration to me. I am a true consumer and want to be more like you. Keep it up!

    1. Happy New Year. May this be a year of increased simplicity and decreased debt.

  3. This post and these comments are inspiring and exciting! Love the rug and tote bag making!

    Out My Window, it's great to have you here with us on Gregg and Linda's exceptional blog. One thing (and there are many) that I love about Not Buying Anything is all are warmly welcomed, encouraged, and supported no matter where you are on the path to living more simply. People here are genuine and share a kinship with learning from each other and making large and tiny steps toward a more simple life. But you've already figured that out. I've been following this blog for quite a few years now, the only blog I've followed this long! But I've been "on break" for a time. I missed it greatly.

    Gregg, so glad you pointed out that the things we don't need are going down in price and the things we do need are going up. So true and I hadn't thought about it. I could add that the quality of our food is declining as is the quality of many other needed items. I often cut into a peach, an apple, a cantaloupe, or tomato and ask, "what is this?" This doesn't look like fruits I've had as a youngster or even 10 years ago. And the taste that used to burst in delight in your mouth is gone. Vanished. I return a lot of 'fresh' produce because there is NOTHING fresh about it and it's downright unfit to eat. I'm not paying for food I can't eat.

    Onward to your very positive hopeful post! This is great news, all of it! Inspires me to hear about all the food you guys grew and preserved and improved nutrition. Three Sisters farming has interested me for years, glad it worked in NS. I saw an article about published works going into public domain. 'Bout time. You are free Mickey Mouse! Finally!!


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