Sometimes when I'm doing something really mundane and manual, I go off on little mind trips. Recently, while making strawberry jam, I was transported back to Missouri and my Aunt Gwen's kitchen in her super eco-friendly house and I thought I'd share this little journey with you...
Early in the 1980's, my Aunt Gwen and Uncle Shanny sold their lovely, traditional, brick home to build an earth contact house in the open countryside of the Missouri River Valley. This meant the new house would be constructed underground with only the south facing wall having large windows to maximize passive solar heat. It was pioneering stuff... seriously ECO WARRIOR! This raised a few eyebrows in my family, I can tell you!
They thought it would look like a Bear's house, something out of a fairy tale. Dad said he didn't fancy having to chop wood for the wood burning central heating. Mom said she was sure it would be dark, like living in a cave. My other aunts and uncles just tutted and shook their heads.
But when it was done, the house was beautiful. The front was traditionally styled with a lovely brick facade, elegant windows and brass outdoor lamps to light the way to the welcoming front door. Inside, it felt like home, decorated in Aunt Gwen's immaculate style!
For me, the best part was outdoors, several acres of bountiful gardens and orchards. I would arrive early on Saturday mornings to pick fruits and vegetables, often bumping into deer munching the pea shoots or rabbits having a go at the cabbages. It didn't matter, there was so much grown there and Uncle Shanny and Aunt Gwen loved having nature all around them.
It was magical stuff and I knew it at the time. I made the most of it,too. I learned how to preserve vegetables, freeze soft fruits and make pickles with Aunt Gwen in her sunny kitchen. It was so much fun and the food was fabulous!
Now, when I make jam in my little English kitchen, I remember those lovely days at the earth contact house. I didn't realize then, but quietly, in their gentle, domestic way Aunt Gwen and Uncle Shanny were Eco Heroes and truly inspirational!
Who has inspired you? I'd love it if you'd tell me... leave a comment!
The photo is NOT Aunt Gwen's and Uncle Shanny's house. : )