Friday, January 02, 2015

Monthly Themes in 2015, and January's Theme: Settling In

This year, I want to let my blog be guided by a themed framework.  In today's post, I will talk in brief about what those themes might be, and then introduce January's theme.

So, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I plan on making this year's posts grouped into monthly themes.  Not all posts will necessarily follow the pattern, but generally, each month will focus on projects, topics, and research into the theme.  I don't really know exactly what all the themes will be yet, but instead I plan to try to find the natural rhythm and beat of what those themes end up being on this piece of land, and in this town.

With that said, this month's theme is "Settling In".  As I mentioned, Kelsey and I bought a house last October, and we're just about done with the moving in part of moving.  Unpacking is almost done, we've painted the house and updated some details to make it feel like our own, and finally, just a couple of days ago on New Years Eve, we got the new carpeting we needed in the living room and were finally able to move the last of our furniture out of the garage.  It's time to start settling in.  Nesting is what Kelsey calls it, but I think settling in is a theme that applies even after we've got our house arranged and organized to our liking.  January is a time for settling in for the winter.  The "holidaze" are over, the frantic nature of Christmas time is one that makes settling in and relaxing a little difficult in December, and so January in future years will be settling into books, settling in to relax and enjoy the bounty of the past autumn's harvest, and rejuvenating oneself for the coming work of spring.

With that said, this month on the blog I'm going to talk about settling in slightly differently, because we're not just settling in for the winter, we're settling into a new place.  It could also be thought of as Zone 0 permaculture.  I know many people don't necessarily like the use of Zone 0 in design, but I find it useful.  I interpret Zone 1 to be any place on your land that you visit every day, perhaps several times a day.  Of course this includes the house, garage, mailbox, gardens, chicken coop, etc., and all those elements certainly add up to Zone 1 systems and require permaculture thinking to design and arrange, but what about smaller systems interconnecting to make one of those systems within Zone 1?  Sure, my garden and my kitchen are linked, which is why I'll be implementing the garden right outside of my kitchen windows, but what about the kitchen itself?  My cooking workflow is usually prepare-cook-serve-store-clean.  How do I design my kitchen so that that work really does flow smoothly through the kitchen space, without any given step interfering with the step that follows?  I think of this as Zone 0 design. 

Likewise, in my garage, how do I organize and arrange elements such as food storage, recycling bins, cars, tools, etc. to be convenient for the way they're interlinked to the kitchen and the rest of the house?  I want my recycling bins close to the garage door that leads into the house.  Likewise with food storage.  I don't need my all tools close to that door though, so I can put the "shop" element of my garage further away.  These minute details are what I like to think of as Zone 0 design, small system interlinks that make my workflow within Zone 1 more effective.  It's not as big as the garden connecting to the kitchen.  It's small, like the sink connecting to the stove.  Or my plates and bowls connecting to the sink, or prepared food on the stove, or pyrex dishes connecting to the stove and refrigerator for leftovers..  You could argue that my idea of Zone 0 is just Zone 1 in greater detail, and you'd probably be right... it's just easy for me to think of it that way.

So, this month, I'll be working on these minute systems and settling into our new house.  I'll be organizing the kitchen, organizing and reorganizing the garage, updating some features of those areas, and writing about all of it.  Hopefully my permaculture approach to interior design has some usefulness to you.  I should have a couple of projects in the works that I'll share plans and instructions for.  If you find any of it useful, or have ideas I might find useful, please make sure to let me know in the comments!  Thanks for reading!

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