Bow Low to Your Earthworm Overlords!

Sharon September 10th, 2009

I don’t really have a “winding up the AIP class” post this time, so I thought I’d just repost something I came up with during the class.

That is, there will be times when we each of us have to make decisions that commit us one way or another to a particular vision of the future – it isn’t possible to both put your 401K towards insulation on your home and keep the investment; it isn’t possible to both take the high paying, earth-destroying job and also not take it.  Life sucks that way ;-) .

But a lot of the time, I think it is useful to ask yourself this – what if a miracle happened, and all the limits were taken away?  How would I look at the choices I’ve made in my life.  Would I be happy?  Would they be to my benefit or detriment?  Do they serve me when times are good, as well as when times are hard?  How do I choose to see things.

My feeling is that you can look at your work in the garden as endless enslavement to cruel earthworm overlords who demand turnips as tribute, or as a chance to live a life of basic and true and valuable things, eating well and earning your literal bread.  You can see putting down the car keys and getting on a bike or your feet as a loss of time, privacy and convenience, or the gift of the wind in your hair, time to notice things, better health and greater strength.  You can see your composting toilet as a big bucket of, well…you know…or as the gift of clean uncontaminated water and fertile soil. 

Me, I’m having a grand old time, and if you took all the limits away, I’d still be here, digging.  Of course, it could be the worms are just making me say that, ’cause I drunk the turnip juice. 


8 Responses to “Bow Low to Your Earthworm Overlords!”

  1. Ed Straker says:

    I think you’ve hit on the main reason why people stay in denial, and don’t prep, even if they have an idea we’re in deep sh*t. The only way they could be truly and sincerely motivated to prep is if they felt it was a matter of life and death. Otherwise life is too damn easy. So easy in fact that the temptation to go with the flow of BAU is darn near inescapable. (Think Jevon’s Paradox)

    I’ve read many an essay about how life will be better when we don’t have American Idol, iPhones, cars, packed grocery stores with out-of-season foods, air conditioning and refrigeration, and we’re all happily toiling in the fields without the aid of tractors or fertilizer, and while some of that may be true, I think there is a degree of self-serving rationalization in those arguments.

    In order to really move through grief, you have to admit to losing something of value, not to deny it ever had any value. “Petroleum Man” as Heinberg calls it, affords humanity (at least in the 1st world) to live like kings. As long as we continue to be able to live that way, most will continue to indulge, including most peakers–who fall quite short of the mark of complete self-sufficiency or one-earth environmental footprints.

    No matter how hard we powerdown and prep, nobody really cuts the umbillical cord completely in a way that truly simulates what life could be like in the worst stages of collapse. Everyone has clearly defined limits to their intentional austerity. And as long as that’s the case, then those actions speak louder than words when it comes to defining the things that we value in life.

    I try to move through this with a dose of self-deprecating humility. I don’t think anyone’s going to attain sainthood.

  2. squrrl says:

    My husband and I get a little crazy sometimes, what with trying to live in the world as it is, with nine-hour workdays and hour-round-trip commutes just so that we can pay the protection money–insurance, I mean–at the same time as we try to both create a sustainable lifestyle and maintain the homestead we’ve managed to pull together so far. But we figure we can’t be doing too badly by life, because our answer to the question “what would you do if you won the lottery?” is pretty much “More of the same.” We love the way we live, and I am proud to serve the earthworm overlords as well as I can. I do absolutely know what you mean…the 401K in particular, since you mention it, is a really hard idea to work around. Though honestly I think my husband balks at the tax penalty and not so much the idea of mythical future retirement. Anyway, yes, though the Theory of Anyway covers a great deal, there are plenty of hard either-or choices to be made, and no one can take every path.

  3. All I have to say is …

    Could someone please pass the turnip juice?

  4. curiousalexa says:

    Is *that* my problem, I haven’t drunk the turnip juice? [g]

    I’m going on the theory that there are other people with better earthworm relationships, and that I will trade my own skill set for their vegetables. That said, I am working hard at developing those other skills (small animal husbandry, hand-tool wood working, and eventually woodland management) so that I have something to trade with the earthworms minions!

    I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I’m just *not* a gardener. Although I’d like to encourage/start some plants I can forage from!

    Alexa in Maine

  5. I recently learned of several neighbors who are out of work, at the end of benefits (over 10,000 will lose unemployment the end of November here in Utah)and are very worried. Many are looking at losing their homes.

    Yet, down to the last family the following holds true:

    They never had time to garden. They were too busy making money…..and spending it.

    They simply couldn’t yard sale. Used stuff? Really? And, hello……..LAST year’s jeans?

    Cloth diapers? Eww. Gross. Not to mention unsanitary. And….uh……GROSS!

    Why store food? If anything horrible ever happened the state/church would demand that everybody pool their food stores and then hand them out evenly.

    Gardening is one thing Reed and I have done since we were married. It has been the source of date nights too. (Yeah, medical bills can really rearrange how one sees things.)

    Now, gardening, buying in bulk, on sales (and I coupon), cloth diapering, cooking from scratch, etc. may not make one a millionaire.

    But the lifestyle. The mindset. The way we look at choosing to live a frugal lifestyle has helped us to stay in our home and have food on our table even with all of Parker’s medical bills. We are happy. I’d even venture to say that our family is at it’s happiest.

    I think it is interesting that Reed and I were asked to teach a home canning class next week in our home. We may have to teach twice due to the demand. And suddenly I’m getting all kinds of calls about cloth diapering.

    Oh, and the earthworms in our garden are huge, healthy, and doing a wonderful job! ;D

  6. sealander says:

    Ha! Funny, I finally decided I just can’t learn to love turnips and traded all my seed packets for chili seeds on the weekend. I find the chickens are good at keeping those worms from getting too uppity ;)

  7. MEA says:

    My brother, then age 8, once exclaimed, it’s it great we live on a world of worm poo — it grows our food.

  8. found your site on today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..

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