Low Impact Life

have less, do more, be more

Category: Life (Page 1 of 52)

Our big picture plan: the Low Impact Homestead

Lately me and Mr LIL have been discussing at length what we want out of our life. It is not an easy question to answer and takes time and self reflection as well as reflection together to start figuring it out. Now we feel like we have found our heading that both of us feel equally passionate about and our ideas also feel ripe enough to share here on the blog.

Before we dive into our plan I want to raise a very important point that the last couple of months has lead us to which is we have fully embraced the fact that we don’t need or want to be mainstream in any way. It is such a freeing thought, like a weight was lifted and made us see our path clearer. Before we were trying to fit our plan around the mainstream way of living which made it very hard to figure out (aka we would have to wait until retirement at probably 70). The financial independence movement has opened a completely new world of possibilities. By saving money aggressively over a couple of years we can create the option of never having to work again or to be able to do what ever we want knowing that our base cost of living will be covered. That’s why we have started to save a large part of our income and become (more) frugal. That in itself is very good but now we also have a plan connected to our general saving. So without further ado, presenting:

The Low Impact Homestead

The Homestead plan comes from a couple of different interests/passions: we both want to live sustainably (obviously), we love being outside and connected to nature, we love doing things with our hands, we love animals and being self sufficient greatly appeals to us.

Our plan will be divided into stages so that we can learn the skillset necessary to be able to graduate to running a proper homestead/farm in the future which is our goal. So what will the stages look like?

Stage 1: learn how to grow vegetables

First off we’ve started on a tiny scale by growing salad and some herbs indoors. Our next step is starting the seeds that we will then plant in my dads garden as soon as Swedish weather permits it. In this stage we will continue living in the city and work on “homesteading where we are”. This might include making most food from scratch, eating seasonally, composting, learning how to preserve food and how to mend things. All the while saving as much as we can for our money making machine.

Stage 2: learn how to raise chickens (and possibly rabbits)

For this stage to come into play we will need to buy our own plot of land with an existing house or build a house ourselves. This is a very real plan for us within a couple of years because 1. we really want to live in the woods and 2. want to be able to create a self sustaining house. When that is in place we will be able to grow our own food and have some smaller animals. Since we eat an amazing amout of eggs chickens are the first animal that we want to keep (except for the LIL wolf of course). We will keep saving as much as we can and will live in this house until we’re financially independent.

Stage 3: The Low Impact Homestead

By the time we’re financially independent we will have had plenty of time to figure out if we want to move on to the full time homestead plan. If that is the case we will buy more land and a farm to have room to grow more and have larger animals. This will of course be as self sufficient as we can make it. In this stage we will have our base living costs covered to there will be no pressure of having to work normal jobs at the same time (although it might be something we want to do but probably not full time if we’re pursuing to create a larger homestead) or figuring out how to earn a living from the homestead. If we end up being able to produce enough so that we can sell the excess that will be bonus money.

 

So there you have it, our three stage homestead plan! I thought that presenting our long term plan might tie together what otherwise looks like quite random posts on the blog. I will be writing posts with updates along our journey under the category Homestead.

Södra Törnskogens nature reserve

Today we did a almost 9 km/3 hour hike in a beautiful nature reserve Södra Törnskogen which is quite close to where we live (15 min drive). We packed a bag with water, frugal snacks (boiled eggs, bars, nuts and a termos with coffee) and the LIL wolfs dog food. The nature shifted from swampy areas with birches to pine and fir forests  to open areas with decidious trees like oak. It was amazing to find all the different vegetation in the same reserve together with a lake and lots of little streams. Because the snow/ice hasn’t comepletely melted it wasn’t super muddy yet. A great saturday hike!

The highest point!

Snack break

High five for a hike well done

 

Living a simpler life

Simple living is something that I have been thinking a lot about since it’s obviously connected to frugality and low impact life. I think it is a reaction to all the stress, information overload, consumtion and the pressure to constantly be busy and productive that surrounds us on a daily basis. We’re supposed to work a full time exciting and fulfilling job, transport yourself to that job, have quality time with your significant other (and children), exercise multiple times a week, cook delicious homemade meals, have a spotless home, have a vibrant social life with lots of friends and family, have fun and engaging hobbies, travel to exotic and exciting places and have time to yourself. It is unsustainable to try to do all of these and do them perfectly which society expects us to do. Just reading that sentence makes me exhausted…

About two years ago I was trying to do everything. Working a full time job, meeting friends after work almost every day, cooking food, exercising a couple times a week and meeting Mr LIL on weekends since we lived in different cities at the time. I almost got burnt out even though none of these things were extreme. During that period I identified that I am an introvert. What I mean by that is not that I’m a social outcast that hates people it just means that I get energy from being by myself (in comparison to extroverts that get energy from being with people). So my super hectic life was draining me of energy and I had no time to charge. I decided then that I needed to plan my week with days in between seeing friends or doing stuff that were meant for time to be by myself and relax. This was a life changing moment since I was quite sucked into the extrovert norm of always hanging out with people and that it is weird to sit home alone that started in university.

It has taken time to accept that I can’t do everything and I have had to learn to say no to things when I feel that I don’t have the energy. That way I can plan so that when I hang out with people I bring a fully charged and focused person to the table which makes the time together so much more enjoyable. Since I actively took control over my weeks my life has really slowed down and I have created a nice balance between doing things and relaxing that works for me. The pressure of the life with dinners out/bars/partying which is the norm of friday plans of young(ish) people without kids has lifted. Now I can really enjoy having a friday plan to “just” read a book (with a glass of wine), cook dinner with Mr LIL, go for a walk with the LIL wolf and then go to bed quite early.

Cheers!

Summary March free time

March is when I finally got healthy again after being sick on and off since December. With that came the energy to meet people and do stuff! We went on our ski trip which was amazing. There we both got to do an activity that we love and hang out with friends for a full week. Around that I have managed to meet friends and family, had a full day of hanging with the gang of girls that get together now and again, had an after work with colleagues, started up our seeds, read 4 books, started going to the gym again, biking to work and of course hung out with Mr LIL and the LIL wolf. Easter was spent at the house in the achipelago with Mr LILs family.

I have been thinking about skills to learn and have landed on gardening since we will be starting the garden outside as soon as it is warm enough (still – 10 degrees in the mornings) and agility for the LIL wolf!

Growing our own food part two

Me and Mr LIL are learning how to grow our own food. Our first step was growing salad and herbs indoors, read more in my post growing our own salad. We harvested everything we had grown before we went on our ski trip so now we are starting again. Growing salad indoors went really well, beyond expectation, and you enjoy eating something so much more when you’ve grown it yourself. We also learnt that spinach really doesn’t grow well indoors and that we didn’t particularly like one of the salad varieties that we have grown so now on to part two with a different set up.

We have started planting the seedlings for our strategy of growing some stuff inside, some on our balcony and hopefully some in my dads garden. So this time we have planted tomatoes, bell pepper, chili pepper, parsley, basilica and salad. The plan is to keep the salad, bell peppers, chili peppers, basilica and parsley indoors and then to put all the tomatoes and squash (which we will plant in April) on the balcony. In my dads garden we want to try growing vegetables in pallets. Here we are thinking carrots, onions, sugar snaps, spinach and some other vegetables but it depends on how much we want to take on our first year.

Using the floor for planting our seeds

We have been saving the plastic food packging to use as starter pots for plants and also our baking trays as bases for them so that we don’t have to buy lots of new plastic trays.

Sauze d’oulx ski trip

We got back from Italy late on Saturday evening (unfourtunately our skis did not… still waiting for them to be found). We had an amazing trip with unbelievably good weather! It snowed loads on our first day and our fifth day and then in between it was super sunny. So me and Mr LIL  who have skiis that do well off pist got to ski in amazing powder snow which was so much fun!

6 month update on my goal of buying nothing new

Is has almost been 6 months since I started my year of buy nothing new in September so I thought that I’d give you an update on my progress so far.

I have to start by saying that things have been going great! I wrote in my one month update that I was experiencing some knee jerk reactions when it came to wanting to buy things as soon as I thought about a need/want. This has as I hoped stopped (YAY!). Instead my first reaction is to think do I really need it? And then if the answer is yes I start looking on Blocket (a second hand website in Sweden). Since the exact thing that you are looking for isn’t usually on there immediately I get some more time to think over if I do really need it.

Me and Mr LIL have a new interest in growing our own food so we have bought some things connected to that: a shelf, greenhouses, lights, pots and a bokashi (indoor compost). Since it’s the middle of winter we knew it would be hard to get gardening related stuff second hand so we ended up buying most of the things new but with the intention that we will be able to use them for a long time.

The only other thing that I have bought new is a pair of ski gloves. When skiing in Norway I noticed that mine were really bad and didn’t keep the warmth in at all. They are 10 years old so I feel like they have lived a long life. I tried getting gloves on Blocket but people tend to only sell children’s gloves unfortunately. But I found a good quality pair that will hopefully last me many more seasons that were on 50% sale so that feels good.

It is so freeing to disconnect the thought of wanting something and the action of buying it. I feel as though I am not as caught up in our consumer society as I was before starting my challenge. I enjoy having to really engage my brain in analyzing and problem solving instead of taking the short term easy way out and just buying it. I.e. I have to think about do I really need it? Is it worth postponing my savings goal for it? Do I already have something that can work? Can I borrow it from someone? Can I find it second hand?

I am amazed by the mental peace that going trough life with less and learning not to put so much energy, time and money into our things gives. It is way more fulfilling than the quick pleasure spike that a new purchase gives. I have quite a way to go yet but just from these 6 months I feel that I have made huge progress that also alines with my values of living a Low Impact Life.

 

March free time

Now I am back to focusing on my free time for a month. I started it off with going to dinner and a dance show with my mum yesterday that I got as a Christmas present. I also have a week long ski trip to the Alps in Italy coming up where I will spend time doing what I love with Mr LIL and two other couples which is going to be great!

Other than that this month I will focus on:

  • working on the blog
  • starting to grow seedlings for our garden
  • meeting friends
  • figuring out a new skill to learn
  • Mr LIL and the LIL wolf are always a central part of my free time

There is so much snow in Stockholm and it has been freezing cold for the past week

Growing our own salad

Me and Mr LIL have dove into a new area of interest: growing our own food! Growing your own food is appealing to us for several reasons:

  • no pesticides
  • no ecosystem destruction
  • no transportation
  • no packaging
  • increasing our self-sufficiency
  • cheaper
  • healthier
  • and fun!

We are starting small with growing our own lettuce and herbs indoors during winter and then when spring comes around we’ll start growing vegetables on the balcony and at my dads or brothers house. The set up that we have started with indoors is some grow lights and mini box greenhouses, two glass greenhouses (I don’t think you need them but it is easier to retain moisture)  and some pots. This is what we did:

  1. we put a layer of soil in each little compartment
  2. put some seeds in each
  3. covered with a thin layer of soil
  4. used a spray bottle to water the seeds properly
  5. covered it with plastic and put it under the lamps (although the seeds don’t need light to germinate just warmth)
  6. water a lot since the soil isn’t supposed to get dry because the salad will taste bitter and place under light (30 cm from the leaves) when the seedlings have started to emerge
  7. we have the lights on for about 12-14 hours a day (we have energy efficient LED lights)
  8. when the plants had grown real leaves (not the two first heart leaves) I removed the smaller ones and put in separate pots
  9.  I mixed some organic fertiziler and sprayed some on after a couple of weeks (or if the leaves start turning yellow)

the heart leaves have started emerging

Maybe a month later

What’s great is that if you just take some leaves the salad and herbs will continue growing new leaves so you can get a couple of harvests from each plant. We are really happy with how it has turned out. We lost some plants along the way that dried up but most of them survived and have given us plenty of salad and herbs. The feeling that we actually managed to grow the plants ourselves, having to wait for the results and then be able to eat them gives us imense satisfaction. I also love knowing that no pesticides were used, that I don’t even have to rinse the salad before eating. This is the first step towards being more self sustaining when it comes to food.

How I became a frugal weirdo

Reading a post on the Frugalwoods blog about being a frugal weirdo and loving it made me reflect on my own path and how I ended up where I am today: a frugal weirdo and proud! (spoiler: it’s very linked with being an environmentalist)

Let’s start off with the statement I’ve never been one of the “cool” girls in school. As a child I spent most my weekends on a boat in the archipelago exploring islands, playing games with my family, reading books and writing my own stories (still a dream of mine to actually finish one). I am pretty nerdy when it comes to books (don’t get me started on Harry Potter!) and have always had a strong passion for nature and animals. Being outside wether it was sailing, hiking, swimming, canoeing, skiing, skating or just playing outdoors was a natural part of my childhood. When I was little I first wanted to be a wildlife photographer and then a vet (until I realized that I have a problem dealing with blood and injured animals…). When the vet dream died I got into environmental science and the huge challenges that we as humans face today (read more here). I wrote my 9th grade project about the problem with too much nitrogen in the Baltic sea that is disturbing the ecological balance.

one cool sailor right there 😉

From there on my passion for the environment grew although I made few changes to my life at this stage (I was 16 and trying to fit in and going shopping after school was a common activity with friends). After high school I worked at a kindergarten for 6 months to save money to study one semester abroad in California. This period was marked by me being extremely frugal and having the mindset that “either I buy this now or I do something cool in California” which made me put down whatever I was going to buy. Worth mentioning is that although I have been quite a shopaholic I have always had the frugal bug. I think it has to do with me not having an extra job when studying until I was 22 which lead to me having to save and make my monthly allowance stretch very far (I must add that I had the privilege of help from my parents although I never took it for granted that I would get money from them).

Hiking in Yosemite National Park

When I was living in California I studied environmental science among other courses, all natural science focused, so my interest continued and I spent a lot of time hiking, skiing and being outdoors (the California climate makes that a bit easier than in Sweden). I watched the documentary Food, Inc and after that I became a vegetarian mostly beacuse of the horrendous situation of the industrialized production of meat.

Having to explain again and again why you don’t eat meat and bring your own food to dinners with people having to deal with depressing discussions with me about the future of the earth was definately the start to me inhabiting the weirdo box. Before this stage I had kept a lot to myself but getting more and more worried about the state of the earth I couldn’t just keep going on like it wasn’t happening.

I studied environmental science at Lund University and though my class all understood the no eating meat (I think half the class were vegetarians) and the environmental problems were old news to them everyone else I hung out with definately though that me and my friends from my class were slightly weird. I kept being frugal during my university years (most people are!) and worked with babysitting children and walking dogs for some extra money. I didn’t take out the full loan that is offered to Swedish students through the government but I have some debt to pay back. I am glad that I did take my loan so I didn’t have to work like crazy while studying (studying in Sweden is quite different compared to other countries – tuition is free, we get money every month from the government, the student loans have really low interest rates).

Graduation from Lund University

When I moved back to Stockholm at 24 I lived with my mum for a year first to write my thesis and then because I didn’t have a permanent contract at my job I couldn’t rent an apartment. This was also a frugal period since I didn’t know if I would have a job the month after and I lived at home. Although I didn’t actively track my money so a fair amount was still went to different purchases like food out, things, travel and so on.

When I started the blog about 1,5 years ago I started properly owning and loving being a weirdo. Before that I had kind of been trying to hide my weirdness (and failing) and trying to fit in somewhat. I wasn’t being true to myself and the knowledge that I was carrying about how we are treating the planet that we live on and especially how I was contributing to it. Because of that I was feeling quite a bit of despair, guilt and sorrow. Now that I am alined with my values of a Low Impact Life and a frugal lifestyle which have lead to a lot of changes in my life I feel lighter and more at peace with myself. What is even more awesome is that Mr LIL and I share the same values. He is also a frugal person that is worried about the planet. With the support of each other we are taking frugality/LIL to the next step in 2018.

Page 1 of 52

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén