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Country Living is Naturally Green

Country Living is Naturally Green

butterfly found in the country

The three R’s of Recycle, Reuse, Reduce come naturally when living in the country. Instead of watering my garden from our well I carry buckets of water from the rain barrel. I’ve learned that the ashes from the wood stove that we use to heat our house are used on the driveway as a natural ice-melter. We now take apart all of the packaging that stuff comes in and recycle the plastic and burn the paper/cardboard. By doing this we have reduced our garbage to the point that some weeks we don’t have enough to fill a bag! Junk mail is no longer an irritant – it goes into the wood stove! Same as the phone book that we received – instead of it taking space in the recycling box it is used as kindling when starting a fire. Speaking of the wood stove and fire, I discovered that burning wood is considered carbon neutral. Also we buy some fire wood and harvest our own from our property from dead fall trees or those that need thinning out. Another form of recycling is getting rid of old clothes: instead of throwing them in the garbage or a donation bin, there is a sharing centre in the local store where stuff can be dropped off or picked up…just like that. Also produce that is not really fit to eat, can be put out on the property (away from the house) and magically it is gone after a night! We also don’t run out to the store every-time something is needed, shopping lists are made and trips into town are planned so that the trips are at their most efficient. During the longer days we reduce our electricity consumption by hanging our clothes outside to dry. In our former neighborhood, it was illegal to have a clothesline in your yard, let alone hanging your clothes outside! Here everyone hangs their clothes out – and it’s a reminder that it’s a good day to do laundry when you see clothes hanging elsewhere. And there’s nothing better than sleeping in a bed where the bed linens had been hanging outside – detergent manufacturers try to chemically reproduce that smell and feel. The real thing is better.

Another side benefit or aspect of country living is that if you maintain your property and do the work necessary to keep your house warm if heating with wood, is that membership to a gym in not necessary. Hauling and stacking wood is exercise, along with chopping/splitting it. As a wood stove is not turned on with the flip of a switch, it takes physical effort to bring the wood in from outside, to build a fire and keep it going at the right level to keep the house at the right temperature. And when we are not inside, we are outside in nature’s playground. (see below) There are many lakes in the area that are by now frozen over enough where it’s safe to walk and as an added bonus, the light covering of snow on the lake allows us to see who else has visited….

These are just a few of things that we do on a daily basis as part of our life. But when you examine these aspects of country life, it comes as a realization that this is a green lifestyle probably because we are so close to the elements whereas people are insulated from this in cities.