By Victoria Rolfe / Red Hook, NY
Hello again. If you have been a fan of mine in the past year, maybe you have been following my “sage” garden advice in my Weed It and Reap series of articles (and I thank you from the bottom of my heart if you have been). And if you are a superfan, maybe you have even gone back earlier and read a few articles that I have written for The Insider in my capacity as a family budget coach. (Brightfuture2budget4.weebly.com)
Well, these two passions of mine (gardening and budgeting/frugal living) do not live in isolation from each other. They are both part of a bigger picture that we all share in common. We are all running our own lives and households (well, unless of course you are still living in your parent’s basement, but that’s quite another topic).
Many years ago, when I left the workforce to become an at-home mom, I discovered an affinity for running my own household with maximum efficiency. I found joy in living more on less money. It was, and still is, an exciting challenge for me. This acquired skill has allowed me to not only give my children a very rich upbringing on a shoestring budget, but also to put away a very tidy nest egg for myself and the hubby to see us through our golden years in security and comfort.
Of course, growing our own food was a natural outgrowth (as it were) of this efficient living. And this led me to explore and learn all I could on the subject of gardening., as I have been sharing with you. Eating our own homegrown vegetables Is not only economical, but healthful and an environmentally sound practice as well.
I must admit that at first this lifestyle was really only for the benefit of me and my own family but, as time went on, I began to see that not only could I reach out beyond my household to help other with these skills but that what I do in my household and each of you do in your own affects much more than just our own individual lives and homes.
One person may feel that he or she cannot do much to better the world, but the fact is the world is impacted by the actions of each and every one of us each day, as has certainly been brought home by our current world dilemma. We must not only wear a mask and get vaccinated to save ourselves but to help save others at the same time. And if each of us does our own small part it will have a huge impact on the outcome.
This concept goes well beyond just our current Covid situation. With nearly 8 billion people in the world right now, the actions of each and every one of them matters. We can be the change that we want to see happen if we each make some changes for the better.
You are all familiar with the necessity for putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help others. Well, you need to clean up your own act (i.e., debt, eating habits, spending habits, clutter, unhealthy lifestyle choices, etc.) before you can use your life to impact a positive change in the world.
Now when I think about my own lifestyle choices, I consider not only how it is affecting me, but more globally. If everyone were to adopt this particular lifestyle choice, how would it affect everyone else? Whet kind of impact would it have on the environment? Is it causing harm to anyone?
I hope you can see the point I am trying to make here. While the at-home life of a “home economist engineer” (or as my husband likes to call me a “domestic goddess”) may seem quaint and homey to you, it really involves more than just sitting around, watching soap operas and baking cookies. You should be running your own home the way you would like to see the world run.
In this new column, I would like to invite you to feel right at home as I give you a peek into our little homestead here in upstate New York and the many practices that we employ here to keep our own lives frugal, secure, healthy, happy, and sustainable, and thus do our part to make the world a better place.
Now is a great time, with the New Year upon us, to think about what practices you have instituted in your own world and how sustainable they are for your own life, as well as your community, and our Mother Earth.
How are your household affairs? Do you have your oxygen mask on? Are you ready to do your part to save the world? When you are making your resolutions this January these are some things to keep in mind. It's a collective effort and we are all responsible. And it all begins right at home.
Victoria Rolfe has had a love of gardening all her life, from the time she was a tiny child coveting the daffodils growing in her neighbor’s yard (and wondering why she couldn’t have them in her own), to her teenage years when she took her pot experimentation in a different direction by growing the seeds she extracted from the bag into a beautiful marijuana plant on her bedroom windowsill. She went on in her adult years to feed her family by growing a huge and bountiful vegetable garden, as well as beautifying her three-acre property with an array of ornamental trees, bushes and flowers in the magnificent Hudson Valley region of New York.
Victoria learned a great deal in the process of all this plant experimentation. She then added to that knowledge by taking courses with the Cornell Cooperative Extension to become a Master Gardener Volunteer. In her volunteer capacity, she helps to educate the public on gardening through classes and information booths, most notably at the Dutchess County N.Y. Fair each August. Throughout the summer months, Victoria is most likely to be found among the weeds, either in her own garden or those of others who actually pay her to play in their dirt and do the thing she loves best, delight in the magical world of gardening.
Victoria is not only a gardening aficionado; she is also passionate about helping people live a better life on less money. Visit her website and blog at brightfuture2budget4.weebly.com, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.