Our Footprint


Yesterday was dreary.  It was gray, rainy, and in the 50’s.  Not to mention, the day was long – it started very early – because someone decided that it was playtime at 6 am. And, worst yet, we did a lot of driving yesterday: to the recycling center and landfill, back home, to Annye’s Whole Foods, to drop Chris at work, back home, to the market, back to Annye’s, back home, and then to pick Chris up from work.  All that driving might seem par for the course in anyone else’s day (considering that we were never further than four miles from our house), but it’s all relative.  I was not thrilled to be spending that much time in the car – even if it is a newly registered Massachusetts car.

One of the happier side effects of moving to Nantucket has been a substantial reduction in our carbon footprint.  I like to think of myself as a very sustainably minded person and I strive to live as simply as possible.  Moving here has allowed for simple living much more than in New York, where I was driving 70 miles per day just to get to work and back (and Chris was doing 36 in the opposite direction).  Now I drive no miles to work and, thunderstorms aside, Chris walks instead of driving.  Since moving here 15 days ago, I’ve only been in the car four times, but have put many miles on my Nikes and the jogging stroller.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Running errands that required a car was exhausting.  The back-and-forth and in-and-out, having to deal with Nora’s car seat and even some traffic, was a great reminder of one of the things I’m not missing at all.  So maybe it was good for me.  But, combined with the March weather, it really put me in low spirits.  I completely forgot the excitement I felt in discovering the Lucky Field Organics CSA and was second-guessing signing up — which I suppose I could still do since I haven’t paid them yet — because of the carbon footprint issue.  You see, the farm isn’t on Nantucket; it’s on the cape, which is really close but still requires a ferry ride and a truck ride from the ferry to Annye’s.  And yesterday, I discovered Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm, which grows fruit, vegetables, and the most gorgeous tomatoes I’ve ever seen in June, right here on the island.  Think local first, kept echoing through my brain, so I started trying to do the carbon footprint, cost, and value math for the CSA versus just shopping every week at Bartlett’s.  I still haven’t figured it out, but Chris is going to help me decide Monday with another trip to Bartlett’s…although after eating a sandwich exploding with pea shoots this afternoon I’m more than leaning toward the CSA.

The question of where to source vegetables is important because, besides being key to my first housewife challenge, our postage stamp yard is not big enough to grow anything other than a few herbs.  And fresh and local is incredibly important to that goal of simplicity – which is why I will never purchase a banana, and Chris and I are currently debating switching from apple cider to cranberry as our juice of choice (orange, what’s that?).

The best part about yesterday, besides the day being an excellent barometer for how great our life is now, was over and done with in about five minutes of excruciatingly deliciousness at 9 am.

I guess having a very noisy early riser isn’t all bad if it means Chris makes breakfast.  Too bad he can’t be here for dinner too…

Today was better.  It was summer again.  Nora and I filled the window boxes, cleared out the little bed next to the house and planted herbs.

Digging in the dirt always makes me feel better.  (As does hanging cloth diapers on the line to dry.

There’s something just fundamentally right about cloth diapers drying in the sunshine.)

It’s late and we direct seeded so I have no idea if they will take, but it was worth a try.  Either we’ll have beautiful herbs next year just outside our kitchen door or I’ll do it right and start seeds inside in March (using my psychic powers to see what will be there after the thaw).

After gardening, eating local organic veggies, and using the solar-powered dryer, you’d think there wasn’t anything else green that we did today.  But that’s not the case.  We recycled.

Yes, my artist and photographer friends will be horrified to know one of my little decorating secrets: I almost always have framed artwork and/or photographs in my house that started their life as a calendar.  These ones came from my mother, who gave me the pack rat gene.  They are much happier to be hanging on my walls than sitting in a landfill somewhere (and our bank account is happy about this, too).

That’s what we did today to reduce our footprint.  What Nora and I want to know is…

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3 responses

  1. Megan M Avatar

    Okay, that answers my question about bananas. And I didn’t even think about oranges. But those are two fruits I know Matt simply WILL NOT give up. The boy eats bananas like a monkey around here.

    Well the photo of breakfast gives me an idea of what to do with our leftover asparagus from dinner tonight – being only 2 of us a bunch of asparagus lasts a few meals. Can I get a recipe… ish?

  2. 1. we ate bananas…. aria can feed it to herself…. so…. it saves me a lot of time. if i buy her the tiny african kind, is that ok?

    2. we have recycling in sherman! i re-use paper bags to hold our recycling stuff.

    3.that’s all. geez, today was not green. we drove around a lot looking for a house…. that’s really not green. you win!

    we do usually do better than that. i keep my house at 78, if that helps : )

  3. Yeah, lots of people eat those fruits. Oranges aren’t as bad, they just violate our rule about not eating produce that has been on an airplane. Bananas…well, did you read the article?

    It’s an interesting conundrum, Sarah, because a lot of those fruits and veggies are a perfect baby food. Like avocado, which sometimes finds its way in our grocery basket anyway, because at least it comes from the US. Ultimately, we decided that we’d rather not give our money to a completely unsustainable and not-fair trade product. I hate to think someone might have died for Nora to eat a banana. There are lots of other things babies can eat on their own that are grown locally. Like yams, cooked carrots, beans, etc. One of the other downsides to this type of living is that Nora will have less exposure to variety – but we’ve decided that trade off doesn’t matter in the bigger picture. Sort of like her not being exposed to meat.

    I guess it comes down to what value you place on your food’s source and whether you’re willing to sacrifice if that source doesn’t live up to your standards. (For what it’s worth, this is all MUCH harder for Chris.)

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