Thursday, May 7, 2009

Introduction: Vision and Purpose

Mojave Momma’s journey to self-sufficient living and urban sustainability in the City of Sin & Entertainment Capitol of the World.

This is my first and opening post to share and chronicle our journey. Let me start by sharing a little about us and what we are (hopefully) going to do.

Family dynamics:
I am disabled, currently a full-time mom, flexible and easy going, stubborn but also lazy. For anyone that knew me before my TIAs (mini-strokes) I am not the same driven type-A corporate work-aholic I was before. In addition to the physical limitations, I have some cognitive deficits and often have a hard time remembering things and learning new information.

My husband of 15+ years, Chris, works full-time, goes to school full time, is in the Air Force Reserves, and is involved in many other things in the community. He is our glue, or moral compass, and leader.

We have 2 boys of our own, “Joe” and “Aj”, and we also have the joy of having with us my husband’s little brother “Walter” during the school week. “Joe” and “Walter” are both 12 years old, and are in 6th and 7th grade – respectively. The boys are sometimes best friends, and sometimes like oil and water... and we love them for their authentic expression of the individual beings they are.

Joe is an introspective, efficient, thoughtful, young man who is interested in solving problems, legos, star wars, and robotics. He has a sharp wit and sharper tongue (he got that from me).

Walter is our entertainer - enthusiastic and energetic, creative, and passionate. He is a smart young man who marches to his own beat (sometimes with total disregard for authority or convention).

Aj, our miracle baby, is turning 4 on August 2009. He is a pistol, and keeps me on my toes every minute of every day! He challenges everything I believed about motherhood and about children. Aj pushes me to be my personal best, pushes me past my limit, and often brings me to tears (happy and frustrated tears, often at the same time).

We have 6 lovely cats, and my assistance dog Jasminder.

Where we are:
Our home is a modest middle-class 1889 sq ft, single story, handicapped accessible, 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on 0.16 acres with virtually no current landscaping (rocks in front with a tree, and a broken sprinkler system). We live in the Centennial-Hills/Summerlin area of Las Vegas, NV – in the Mojave Desert. If you don’t know what it is like in the Mojave, it is HOT and DRY with cold nights, high winds, caliche and poor soil, and unpredictable changes. This is our ‘palate’.

Our vision (the details):
Respect each other and Enjoy the Journey!
Become financially self-sufficient through ecological minded lifestyle changes.
Grow our own food and store it and use it: Garden, backyard orchard, drying, canning, freezing, the whole shabang.
Make our own soil via vermicomposting (indoors so the little guys don’t die in our 120 degree weather).
Extend the edible landscaping to our front yard.
Follow our family's values and religious beliefs (self-sufficiency, hard work, food storage and emergency preparedness are part of our religious culture – Yes, we are LDS).
Develop the skills to create and maintain as many of our needs as we can (sewing, woodworking, repairs, etc).
Create a habitat that is:
  • Kid friendly
  • Edible
  • Low-water-use
  • Tailored to our environment
  • Welcome beneficial creatures such as bats and birds (pigeons are NOT birds – no matter what anyone tells me!)
  • Utilizes native plants with landscaping choices that are both practical and respectful of our unique desert ecosystem
Living with Purpose - Thoughts on goals, modifications, and limitations:
The thought of becoming self-sufficient is a comforting and appealing one to me. However, I realize that in our family's individual circumstance it is not at all practical, or even probable. If we could purchase a plot of land with water rights, build a little home complete with storage, orchard, and garden and live off-grid then sure it could be probable. Because of the special needs in our family, it is not at all practical. I have a rare autoimmune clotting disorder, and have had very serious and life threatening complications in the past. Being far from the qualified physicians that have succeeded against all odds to keep me alive and reasonably healthy is not an option I am willing to exercise. The whole goal is to raise our 2+1 boys and see them build successful and fulfilling lives of their own. I am determined to be here for that.

In lieu I have accepted some limitations, realized that I must modify my ‘ideal’ goals, and create something that is tailored to and works for our individual families needs. For Example: My family is not entirely willing to do a strict 100 mile diet, ditch cars for walking and biking exclusively, use a bike-powered blender, or not go to the movies. They are willing to reduce our energy usage, help grow our own food, recycle and reuse reclaimed items, make our own items when we can, and all with good attitude. In addition, I have physical limitations that present some challenges. Thankfully there has been much written on disabled-gardening and handicraft, so I have some resources. Financially purchasing land that is zoned for livestock, total remodeling of our backyard, or even purchase of some basic necessities such as soil is not an option. Managing day-to-day needs on limited income is… well… limiting. We have used reclaimed items as potting containers (much to my husband’s chagrin) and other creative solutions in lieu.

Thank goodness that there is room for such individualism. I have spoken with others in the like-minded (self-sufficiency) community that take a militant “all or none” exclusive stance. I think that if every person did what bit they are willing (and capable) of doing to be self-sufficient, reduce waste, and live in some small part ecologically minded the world would be a much better place. Even if it isn’t a complete lifestyle make-over.

So, off the soapbox.

This website’s purpose is to chronicle our family’s efforts and journey toward a self-sufficientish sustainable urban life.

With limited money, time, and space it may be a long journey towards growing our own food and living with a low-ecological impact. As I am always telling the boys, the Lord never promised ‘easy’ only ‘worth it’.

Thank you for joining us in our journey.

Mojave Momma

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