Lee and a curious calico crisscross the country in a RV, living simply and sustainably.

One of my passions is cooking for people. At a recent get together with friends, I brought the makings of an apple pie for a birthday celebration. One of the guests had never witnessed a pie being made from scratch before, and asked about the process. So, I handed him the rolling-pin and showed him how to roll out a circle of dough between two pieces of parchment paper. He works in nuclear medicine, yet he really seemed to get into the simple act of rolling out dough, intently making a more perfect circle than I’ve ever accomplished.

A fresh apple pie made from scratch

A fresh apple pie made from scratch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I enlisted a helper to peel and slice the apples which were then sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.  The bottom crust was filled with the fragrant apples, and my friend rolled out a second circle for the crust.  Everyone else watched with mouths watering as I pinched the edges together and made a wave around the edge.  The pie smell of baking pie teased us throughout the day and was a big hit after dinner. The best part for me was that it had turned into a community project.

As I pack for my move to the cabin this Saturday, I’ve had to consider every single thing I own: take, leave behind, or give away?  My new miniscule kitchen is as big as my current clothes closet. It features a sink, a standard-sized refrigerator, an electric double burner (the kind you see in buffet lines). One small cupboard. So here’s the question I posed on Day One  “How much does one person really need to survive and thrive?”  To survive, I guess I could get away with one large pot and a spoon.  To thrive, though, I’ve decided to take two pots – one large soup pot and one sauce pan.  And two frying pans – one massive one with a lid that’s great for stir fry, and one small omelet pan.  The small frying pan was a bargain at the local Goodwill Store for $1.98.  I’ve literally given away carloads of like-new stuff to Goodwill and other thrift stores over the last few years as I’ve gradually downsized.  So, it was a thrill to find 6 summer shirts, a metal hanging fruit basket, a metal hanging shower caddy, and a non-stick frying pan for $35 total.

Two of my other favorite sources for giving or sourcing material goods are Craigslist and FreeCycle.  Craigslist is a great place to sell items that still have a lot of life in them.  I’ve sold furniture, gardening tools, fire wood, and small appliances on Craigslist.  Yesterday I realized that I don’t have a toaster (or oven for that matter) at the cabin.  As you know, I love to bake for other people and make wheat-free treats for myself, so I looked at convection toaster ovens online – they sell for $60 to $300 new.  Then I remembered Craigslist. Just hours earlier, a family had posted an ad for a convection toaster oven.  They lived just a few miles away, and explained that they’d renovated their kitchen and it didn’t fit the new decor.  The toaster oven is in excellent shape, so they were happy to have someone else make good use of it. Price? $10.

FreeCycle is even a better deal – everything listed is free for the taking.  During a prior move, I offered up a Eureka HEPA vacuum cleaner that someone had gifted to me through FreeCycle. When my cat passed away, I gave away cat toys and a clean litter box to someone with new kittens.  One time I was given free flower bulbs and made new friends during the exchange (I helped them install a goat-proof fence while I was there, no small matter).  As you look around your home and garage, notice the things you own that aren’t being used anymore . . . and find them good home.  It’s as easy as apple pie.

Recycle logo

Recycle logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Think:  What areas of your life are too cluttered? What activities have you outgrown? Why are you holding on to things you don’t use?

Say:  Tell some else that you intend to clean up your act.  A fun way to clean out clothes is to do a fashion show with a trusted friend – someone who’s not afraid to say “What were you thinking?” or give a thumbs up to an outfit.

Do:  Start with one drawer or closet or corner of a room. Pick a dozen things that can be cleared out and given away or sold.  Consider selling these items and donating the money to a good cause – two blessings for the price of one! For the things that are not salvageable, check for recycling centers in your area – some places recycle old electronics, plastics, metals, paper, and even Styrofoam.

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