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Introductions – It All Started in Scotland

Let me introduce myself. My name is Alice. I love books, coffee, and apples, and I’m about to try something very new for me.

I’m starting a blog. Why? I’m not entirely sure, but it all started a few months back. I was in Edinburgh, Scotland with a group of students from the University where I worked. Once upon a time, Edinburgh was home. During the course of my year long master’s degree, I worked out of its library’s, froze in my tiny, mostly unheated flat, ate countless jacket potatoes, and fell in love with the rugged countryside of the Highlands.

After three years, I returned to co-teach a class called “Culture and Climate Change in Scotland.” In planning the class, I wanted to share Scotland with my students. I wanted them to love the countryside like I did, and for many of them who’d never been out of the country, I wanted them to fall in love with traveling. Discussing climate change was an important, but secondary goal at the time.

It didn’t stay secondary. We talked about struggling fish populations and an Earth running out of resources, met basket makers who chose to do without, and calculated our climate footprint. While I taught, my heart began to break. I came home filled with purpose. While I was only one person, I was going to find what I could do to change my little corner of world. I decided that would try living live as locally as possible. I’d attend local farmer’s market, grow my own food, visit the library instead of book stores, minimize my use of plastic, and cook as much of my own food from scratch as I could manage. In short, I would follow the legacy of my mountain great-grandparents who lived frugally and produced most of what they needed in their home. I would try to be a modern day homesteader.

Fast forward a few months, I sit in my 585 square foot apartment in a mid-sized city in the heart of Appalachia. My apartment, while comfortable and affordable, lacks land for gardens, fruit trees, and has a tiny kitchen with minimal storage. I’d like to see the expression on my landlords’ faces were I try to fit a goat on the small deck attached to the back of the apartment. My circumstances aren’t likely to change anytime soon. I will be here for three years alongside my equally farm loving partner, lovingly referred to on this blog as “The Llama”, as I pursue a PhD degree in Natural Resources.

So how do I start my journey to sustainability without land? Without animals? I don’t really know, but I’m going to find out. I intend to learn a lot, and I hope to meet some interesting people too. I don’t have much in the way of a homestead, but I’m determined to determined to start by living as locally as possible. There’s lot of research and experimentation that’s about to happen, and I’m going to document it all here. Let’s see what happens.

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