Archive for July, 2010

Urban vs. Rural

Posted on July 28th, 2010 by Tonia 4 Comments

…Which is the better way to live?  Silly question, in my opinion.  In fact, I’m going to go ahead and say that one is not “better” than the other.  We need both.  There are too many different kinds of people in this world for a one-size-fits-all lifestyle or environment.  But.  But, no matter where you live- in the suburbs, or the big city, or the boonies- there are ways to be a good steward to the Earth and ways to not.  And I do believe that some environments lend themselves to good stewardship a little easier than others. 

In my experience, living in an urban suburb is probably the most difficult place to execute a green/low impact lifestyle.  The city’s downtown public transportation usually does not reach into the suburbs, so unless you work from home, your daily commute to the office is most likely about 45 minutes, twice a day, in your vehicle.  Not to mention the commute to the grocery store and your kid’s school/activities. 

On top of that, your suburban housing situation is most likely a development of some sort, named after whatever was there before the houses and lawns {Pine Grove Estates}.  And on top of that, there is the social pressure to have a beautiful green lawn, this year’s paint colors on the walls, the cutest fiesta-ware for your weekly book club BBQ, and a two-car garage full of, well, two cars and various other material “necessities”.  I know these types of pressures first hand, and they’re tough. 


Image courtesy of

Good stewardship in a suburban setting is possible, however.  After all, that is exactly what this blog is all about!  You may not be able to ride the train to work, but you can carpool.  Your lawn can be just as pretty if you watered it by collecting rainwater instead of with the sprinkler.  Your BBQs can be a great chance to educate your community about some of your low-impact lifestyle choices.  Your two-car garage can have a hybrid in it.  Your home can be just as pretty {prettier!} decked out with homemade decor instead of trendy made-in-China crap. 

Downtown city living comes with a whole realm of different pluses and minuses.  On the up-side, you probably have the benefit of super-awesome public trans, or you can probably ride your bike to anywhere you ever need to go.  You probably have a farmer’s market not too far from your pad, or you probably even know a couple crazy people growing gardens on their patios/roofs.

The downside it that you live in a concrete jungle, breathing smoggy air and drinking chlorinated water.  I can’t relate to this situation very easily, so maybe some of you who actually live this way can enlighten me…It just seems unnatural to have to visit a park in order to see dirt or trees or rocks.  When everything is man-made around you, don’t you lose touch with what is real, gritty, and alive?  I think I would.  But then again, maybe you appreciate nature even more when it’s something you need to purposefully seek out.  When every day is a reminder of how fragile and rare nature is, maybe you think twice before dumping chemicals down the drain or tossing a plastic bottle in the trash.

Image courtesy of

I grew up in the middle of nowhere, in the woods, and I can attest to the fact that many, many country folk take the woods, lakes, trees, clean air, and plentiful fresh water for granted.  They change their fishing boat oil right there on the lake shore, and inevitably spill it into the water.  They burn garbage in their backyards, or bury an old broken refrigerator in the ground to avoid the recycling fees. The list of transgressions is long.

But the list of upsides to country life is also long.  You can live off the grid if you so choose.  You can raise your own food.  You can use the natural resources all around you to support yourself.  You can separate yourself from societal pressures and the pull of material things, and build a home that is centered around what is really important.

Image courtesy of Jason Kravitz

Image courtesy of Jason Kravitz

 Perhaps I am biased…ok, I am definitely biased…because Mike and I are choosing to move from the city into the boonies, and so I see country-life as the ultimate way to live simply and live greener.  But I stand by my original statement that we are in control of how we live, no matter where we live.

What do you all think?

Featured on Going Home to Roost

Posted on July 23rd, 2010 by Tonia No Comments

What a nice surprise to log on today and find out that one of the blogs I read daily has featured Itty Bitty Impact!  Going Home to Roost is such a beautiful blog about all things handmade & homegrown {diy projects, seasonal recipes, organic gardening, and ways to live a simpler life}.  The first time I stumbled upon it, I couldn’t help feeling like Bonnie was my long-lost-soul-sister.  A big huge thank-you to Bonnie for sharing my blog with her readers!  Keep up the great work over there in North Carolina!


Itty Bits: Summer Daze

Posted on July 7th, 2010 by Tonia 6 Comments

Summer is in full swing, and we’re melting.  Yes, even in Minnesota, the weather gets hot.  And we of course refuse to install central air in our house, or to even keep fans running all the time…so as a result, we’re pretty sweaty, all the time.

It maybe wouldn’t be so bad if we were just sitting around with iced tea in hand, but this summer has been the opposite of leisurely.  As you all know, we’re planning our wedding {two months away!}.  But what you may not know is that we are also getting our home ready for sale {are we crazy?? Yep.}

The pull of country life has just become too strong.  Mike and I both grew up in rural areas, and we can’t kid ourselves any longer.  We constantly crave more space, more quiet, and more flexibility.  We love Duluth.  Love it.  And we love our beautiful house and cute neighborhood.  But…

We found our dream hobby farm {and I mean, OMG this place is awesome} about an hour from Duluth, and we have not been able to get it off our minds ever since we first stumbled upon it.  It is everything we have always talked about someday having.  After much thought, we’ve decided to get our house on the market as quickly as possible, and make an offer on Perfect Magical Dream Farm. 

So, instead of working on my wedding tan and sipping iced tea, I have been painting walls like a mad woman.  They look awesome, by the way.  Anyone want to buy a beautifully restored old Victorian {everything is brand new in it, we were the first folks to live in it after it was restored} home on Duluth’s west side?  It has really been an amazing place to live…I am going to be a total wreck on the day we drive away in the U-Haul.

house 1 

The probable move to the country brings up an itty bitty issue……Itty Bitty Impact has always been about how to live greener while still being a “normal” urban person/family.  So, the nature of the blog might be changing in the near future.  I am a little bummed about this, because I think more people can relate to our current urban situation…Whereas I don’t think very many of you live on a solar-powered hobby farm. 

But I hope that I can keep the blog relateable, helpful and interesting for everyone nevertheless!  And, many of the topics that I will likely be writing about “from the farm” are totally do-able in an urban setting as well {canning veggies, gardening, solar-power living, keeping chickens, etc.} 

Speaking of urban vs. rural…which is the greener way to live anyways?  I think it totally depends.  That issue would make a great blog post…but for now, I must get back to beautifying our house so we can sell it!!


Bits of green from around the interwebs:

Green cleaning for your car.

Stay cool.

Make some festive 4th of July jewelry from a recycled plastic cup.

Eat an orangelo.

Pick berries, and freeze them.

Go enjoy some peonies.

Something funny…or, at least we think it’s funny, because we’re obsessed with our dog. :)