I have recently learned to bake in the pressure cooker! This is a revelation to me. A little rock salt in the bottom, preheat, and viola! I made a beet cake. And the best part…I didn’t have a pan that fit into the pressure cooker. So, I asked around the marina and one of our fellow liveaboards suggested fashioning one out of tin foil. Again a revelation! Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, or at least inquiry where someone else’s former-inventiveness is revealed to you.
Then, I did some inventing of my own, and removed the handle from a small sauce pan to make a frittata in the same pressure cooker the next day. No more tin foil pans for me, baby.
I’ve also recently found my local Buy Nothing group. They are hyper-local groups that focus on a particular neighborhood and connect folks looking to unload some of their unused stuff. But, at least in our local group, it’s about much more than that. I’ve seen someone share that she’s lost her job and needs some help feeding her dog — she had loads of donated dog food within hours. Someone picking up a discarded bed frame and delivering it to her neighbor’s house with just the online note “it’s in your backyard now.” A weekly Stone Soup Sunday where everyone throws wilting or overabundant veggies into the pot and picks up a container of steaming wonderfulness the next day. Neighbors looking out for each other, and sharing virtual (and more importantly REAL) community.
In a related story (wait for it, I promise they connect) we went sailing with a friend (who we incidentally met on the Buy Nothing group when I asked for interested potential day-sailing crew) and her wonderful aunt yesterday. Her aunt lives in the Bahamas on her boat and knew enough to give us a few pointers and then sit back, put her feet up, and have a couple glasses of wine. Wonderful sail! With light winds we made 7.4 knots at one point, which felt really fast to us. The kids and I were below, while the boat is heeling over 20 degrees or so (based on my internal incline-o-meter). It was wild! Invigorating!
So, the connection…we couldn’t have made a tin foil sheathed beet cake or 7.4 knots (with 2 small children underfoot), had a cup of french onion heaven or found a new (free!) power cable for our computer without the advice, ideas, experience, and community around us. A little help from our friends.
We embarked — no pun intended — on this life to be less dependent on post-peak-oil fossil fuels, mass-produced consumer goods, and non-local food. To find more ways of making or finding used what we need, instead of buying something new. To work less (to pay to live well) and live well more (with work we love). To learn skills that help us contribute to our nautical neighbors. To be more “self-sufficient.”
But, here’s the thing…we’ve been truly grokking how much we need those around us. Not the corporations or convenience stores (I’ll walk up a big hill to trade with a neighbor instead of taking the easy walk to the corner store)…but the farmers, sailors, and everyday good humans that are everywhere around us.