Sunday, November 9, 2008

Around the Water Cooler

Photo by Duncraft:

I could have taken my own photos but picture taking is not one of my stengths and I could never have gotten one with the birds on it because my camera's zoom feature is pathetic.

And yes the birds do indeed perch like that as shown in the photo. I love to watch them take a sip of water and tilt their little heads back to drink it in. You just gotta love these little creatures!!

Check it out! Isn’t this one of the cutest things you have ever seen?? That is what I said to myself as I was shopping at Duncraft on my lunch hour at work this past summer. What started out with a tube feeder of thistle and another of black oil sunflower seed had soon developed into a full blown obsession. One of the reasons why I decided to get into gardening and bird watching in the first place was to save some money by planting my own vegatables and herbs in my own garden and spend a little money on bird seed for my daily entertainment. I figured I would save a lot of cash watching birds instead of shopping or going out to dinner or all of the other things I did for fun. You see I have a bit of a shopping problem that I have had since my early childhood years. It has been a long struggle for me and I always try to control it somehow, but it always has its own way of sneaking up on me.

I wanted to change this not only for my financial well being, but also because I found myself getting kind of turned off over how materialistic many Americans had become. We want the biggest house, the newest car and everything else that money can buy. I had also started to develop a strong dislike for China due to how they treat their citizens, their animals and the environment and I realized I too was contributing to the country’s wealth with every purchase I made because many of the things we buy in this country were made in China in one form or the other.

That was it, I made up my mind. No longer would I be a prisoner of consumerism and contributing to China. I was going to be like those people you read about that survive on $100 a month by cutting out unnecessary purchases and living the simple life.

The first thing I did of course was google ways to save expenses. Coupons, hmmmm, I guess I could try that again but I always lose them, pack your own lunch for work, yup that’s certainly doable, and then I saw something that caught my eye. Shop at thrift stores because not only is it thrifty, but you are helping the environment by buying recycled items and not buying brand new things made in China. HA!! Why didn’t I think of this on my own?

I had heard of a place called Savers the next town over from me and I knew it was a thrift store. Off I went in my car to go check the place out and save the world!! At first it was a tad overwhelming and the store had a smell to it I had never smelled before-but I was soon over my reservations once I saw all the china dishes they had stacked on a shelf. I looked at the prices and was floored over how inexpensive they were. I flipped the dishes over and not only were they not made in China, but they were made in faraway places including France, Germany and Switzerland. I was like a wild woman putting fancy plates in my cart. Yes it was true that I rarely entertain, but if I ever did these dishes would certainly impress my guests! Soon enough I would visit Savers every weekend and I later realized that I was not really changing my buying impulses, but only how much I spend.

Around this time I started to develop a close relationship with my neighbors. They are the thrifty types that I always admired but could never understand because I had such hard time saving money. I would go over to their garden and they would show me where they were going to plant the tomatoes this year and point out all of their nectar producing perennials that were guaranteed to attract the hummingbirds. I really enjoyed my time over there and had a sense of peace that was severely missing in my life at the time. This is when I started getting back into gardening and was introduced to birding and nature which I truly believe has helped to bring a sense of inner calm to me that I did not have before. It has also helped to control my spending because it is rather difficult to find time for shopping when you are weeding the garden or searching for birds.

That’s not to say that it was easy at first. I never knew how much money you could spend on birds. The water cooler above is an example of one of my bird and garden shopping sprees over the summer. The funny thing about this purchase though is that I have no regrets in buying it. It is early November here in New England and the birds got much use out of it two weeks ago when many of the local bird baths were frozen with ice. Even the squirrels like it and they let me know when it is empty and time for a refill!!

I find myself relaxing more and learning to enjoy the simple things in life instead of the local sale at the mall. For it is not about the things we own that makes life special, it is really about the things in life we take for granted. Like the smell of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning or jumping in freshly made rain puddles after a hot summers day, and of course watching your thirsty feathered friends taking a good long drink as they gather around the water cooler (which by the way, I found out was made in China when I opened my package)….. Baby steps I keep telling myself, it’s all about baby steps…………

1 comment:

Jayne said...

Indeed, baby steps! :c) It worries me too about how we've become such a "consumer" based society and could not take care of ourselves if our very lives depended on it. Everything is disposable or made elsewhere. Times used to be so much simpler. My dad always says (I hope jokingly) that the best thing that could happen to this country is another good depression. People used to know how to be self-reliant. Now, we'd be floundering.


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