Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hobbies

Here There and Everywhere sometimes describes my thought stream.

We all define ourselves by what we do.

It takes a lifetime to really find out everything about ourselves.  And as we progress we pick up habits and hobbies that define who we are. These change as we mature and grow.

When I'm not hiking, backpacking, traveling, and working I have actually begun to do some constructive activities. Not so long ago, when I had downtime I would try to fill it with something just to fill it - either television or video games or reading - all the activities that produce nothing (granted they can produce something personal, education or dexterity, perhaps). Recently though, since being in my first truly meaningful relationship (all others before were like watching TV or playing video games, sometimes entertaining and occasionally educational but time wasters for all intents and purposes!) I have begun growing and doing meaningful activities.

It began with no longer renting. My fiance owns her house. There are things to be done, to improve the house and things to do to keep the house running. Mowing the lawn, fixing a leak, re-running out of code wiring, changing a light switch. There's also the big projects that are gratifying too - assisting with putting in a closet, renovating the kitchen, laying hardwood. The sum of these things is pride. Pride in the work that it took, pride in knowing we're capable, and pride in the improving house around us. The chores of mowing the lawn, putting mulch in the flower beds, planting flowers and trees are all gratifying too. Pulling up to a house knowing the time spent to make it look the way it does is very personally gratifying.

So now in my downtime, I'm not just trying to fill the space until the next event. I am trying to be a producer of things, no longer just a consumer of things.

Beer

I began brewing my own beer. I am producing something (for me to consume, true). And it's nice to be able to make something and then enjoy the fruits of your labor and time waiting on it to be ready. I've only brewed 7 batches so I'm still very "young" in the process, but I like the process, I like the beer I've made so far, and I love sharing it with others.
The process is relaxing and habitual; wash the bottles, sanitize the equipment, brew the beer, move the the secondary, bottle, cross-your-fingers, wait.

Garden
We've wanted a garden. But it's always been, "Next year". This year I was going to turn the soil and begin conditioning it for next. Start a compost pile this year so it will be ready "next year".
So I went to Lowes to get chicken wire to make a compost bin and ended up getting enough to enclose the garden as well. One thing lead to another and I'd made a garden!

I've tried to go as organic as possible. Next year it will be with my own compost. This year was more an experiment to see if we would enjoy doing it, and would stick with it throughout the summer. Again, I'm producing to consume. We've got tomatoes, potatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos, blueberries, and onions. Not bad for such a small plot! We'll see what survives.

 What began as just an empty sloping piece of yard...



... soon became something I think I can be proud of and find some happiness in.

I went to Texas last week and so was gone for five days. The spring rains fell often and Cara didn't need to manually water our vegies. It was nice to see that everything had survived a week and had very much flourished too! Our thumbs are turning green-ish.

Texas
As I just mentioned I went to Texas for the week, I didn't get to see much except that Dallas and surrounding area has new construction everywhere, miles and miles and miles of it. And considering the road system they are prepared for more.
I did get a chance to go to a private park (couldn't find a state park anywhere) and take a stroll. After seeing nothing but new houses in developments I really couldn't get a feel for what Texas was supposed to look like. Everything was manicured lawns, stone and brick fences, and house after same-looking house. At Hidden Cove Park I glimpsed what the state was supposed to look like. The smells were wonderful, wild flower and grass, spring, and warmth. The park had a backpacking loop with remote camping. I would have liked to spent the night under the stars in Texas. As it was I had time enough to enjoy the bird-song, the nodding wild flowers, and the warm breeze but not much more.

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