RE: More Green Party

From: altamira (
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 21:22:26 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Bryan Moss
> Can I grow my own food, build my own shelter, look for work,
> and (re)educate myself all at the same time? I'm doubtful.

I can't answer that question for you, but I CAN say that it's possible to do
it, because it's what I'm doing. At the moment I'm making money by doing
bookkeeping and tax return preparation for a few clients; making concrete
donuts to go around lawn sprinkler heads; from time to time I sell art
work; once in a great while I sell stuff I write to magazines. The most
important thing to me about working for money, though, is that I DON'T HAVE
TO DO IT IN ORDER TO LIVE. If I don't make any money for a while, it's OK.
I have zero debt. I pay zero taxes, other than advalorem taxes on the land
and state sales tax (technically I do pay a bit of FICA tax, but the "earned
income credit" offsets it). Almost 100% of every dollar I make is mine to
spend as I please. I spend around five hours per week doing accounting work;
seven hours per week doing the concrete donuts (there seems to be a rather
large demand for the things, so I may end up having to hire some help in
order to keep doing the other things I want to do); the art work comes in
spurts, so I might spend hours and hours one week and then not touch it
again for a couple of months; the writing's the same as the art work only
not as lucrative (it pays almost nothing, so I probably shouldn't really
count it as money work, more like just a compulsion).

I spend two or three hours per day in the garden, but most of that's spent
on ornamental plants or expanding the garden beds rather than maintaining
the food crops. If I were just tending a food garden, it would probably
average 15 or 20 minutes per day (more in some seasons, less in others). (in
the interest of not being misleading, I should say that I DO buy food at the
grocery store sometimes, but, like earning the money, it's something I don't
HAVE to do). My daughter helps with the work, too, but it doesn't cut too
seriously into her teenager stuff like talking on the phone for hours or
going places with her friends. (again, in the interest of not being
misleading, my daughter's covered by her dad's medical insurance--if this
weren't the case I'd want to earn enough money to cover that)

The hovel is an ongoing project, but the basic shelter with kitchen, 2 small
bedrooms, and bathroom took a couple of months to build. I didn't know
squat about building houses when I started out, and my plan was to hire
someone to build the house, but a family emergency came up, and I had to
spend all the money I'd saved on that, so I was left having to scrounge for
materials and do the work myself. It's turned out to be surprisingly fun. I
spend about five or six hours per week working on house projects. This week
I'm putting lath up on my 2-story guest house, which has been quite a
triumph for me, because I'm afraid of heights. Something I've been wanting
to do for a long time is to design and build a wood-burning kiln for firing

I'm currently studying the following subjects, using books from the
Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and supplementing the books
with info off the internet, and I've found that many university professors
or other experts are very happy to answer questions via e-mail (or in person
if I find someone within easy driving distance of where I live): fuzzy
logic, molecular genetics of plants, C4 plant biology, and C++ (I'm
embarrassed to say that the only computer languages I know are Fortran,
COBOL, and Basic. That pretty much dates me, doesn't it? The first "real"
job I ever had was working for Houston Lighting and Power Company, and when
you ran a program on the computer, you had to run the Fortran compiler via a
stack of punched cards about 2 feet high).

So, yeah, a person can grow their own food, build their own shelter, educate
themselves (for me education is a fun, never-ending process), and look for
work--or do the work, as the case may be, and have time left over for
socializing, listening to music, reading novels, just hanging out, or


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