Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lessons learned from Possum Living

Though the production of the 'Teenage' film itself seems to continue to pootle along slowly (it was originally expected to be finished by this Summer) the accompanying blog provides endless gems where old documentaries and various nostalgia-laden 'teen memorabilia' is concerned. So in my book the website surpasses my own expectations of the yet-to-be completed film and continues to be one of my must-reads when it comes to finding 'totally awesome' stuff I might not otherwise know about. 

Possum Living falls under this category of cool stuff unbeknownst to me (although I'm sure that plenty of you are already in the loop) and since watching the three-part documentary on youtube which follows Dolly Freed, a teenager living off the fat of (suburban) Pennsylvania in the late 70s with her Dad, I've been thinking about what exactly Turtle Soup must taste like and I've added 'Possum Living: How to Live Well Without a Job and With (Almost) No Money', Dolly's guide to self-sufficiency to my reading list.

In my search for more things Dolly, I found this brilliant interview with her over at Vice Magazine. It turns out that in addition to dropping out of school at the age of 12 and writing Possum Living at 18, she went on to become a NASA aerospace engineer. Awesome! I recommend you watch Nancy Schreiber's documentary in full (the second and third parts can be found here and here) I'm always interested in hearing about how people live frugally, and though after two years of studying at University without a job I've rather reached my 'poor threshold' (of course my use of the word 'poor' is relative-I always have enough money to actually eat, just left to treat myself to nice things that might cost a little bit more money) and I'm now enjoying earning once more, it's still nice to think about the little ways that we can maintain some frugality even whilst earning. Buying second hand clothes is something that is pretty much second hand nature to a lot of us, but it would be nice to also apply this creativity to what we eat too. Yesterday I was in the park next to my house picking blackberries for the cafe I work at (to be used in our fruit compote) and realised how ridiculous it is that I rarely buy fresh summer fruits like strawberries or raspberries (or in Autumn, blackberries) from the supermarket because of how much they cost when all along there are hoards growing in abundance in the park right beside me. And instead of moaning when I can't find kale in the supermarket, why don't I just grow some in a window box instead? Despite the whole 'buy local, grow your own' ethos having been the food manta a la mode for a pretty long time now, it's still easy to miss the glaringly obvious solutions and still fall in the trap of buying overpriced vegetable boxes when you could grow some of your own greens and spend those saved pennies on..well, a delightfully overpriced jumper. Those are my priorities for now, at least. To continue to embrace frugality but to stop being such a martyr about it. Less 'all or nothing' and more 'I like Lidl and I also like pricey mojitos and the two needn't be mutually exclusive.'


blue roses said...

very, very excited to watch all three parts this evening (after a not-too-terribly-overpriced-hair-cuts.... it is one of my only beauty indulgences....)

if you fancy, or at least can tolerate, french and subtitles, i HIGHLY recommend checking out "les glaneurs et la glaneuse," a beautiful and lyric documentary by agnes varda on the history of gleaning, and the concept of gleaning in contemporary culture. very complementary to everything you are meditating on here.


Anna said...

I. Love. Lidl. Lasagne. xxx

I have just quit the ciggies in a bid to save money. Have NEVER been so MORTIFIED as when I worked out how much I spent last year on something so un-good. Mohair, however = good.

naivebones said...

seriously how great is teenagefilm? I'm a regular contributor for it and it's so much fun. At the moment I'm compiling an article about 90s rave culture which is due this week but I haven't even started it :Ssss

best love!
alexa xxx naivebones.blogspot.com

Camille said...

I'm really looking forward to watching the whole thing, great find. I haven't been so good at being frugal lately but I'm attempting to go back to my better habits. I bought my first (very polyvalent) pattern in years today, and I'm looking forward to becoming a better seamstress--I feel like any skill one can acquire is a good step towards self-sufficiency.
It's a long story as to why I know that, but turtle soup, in my experience, tastes a bit like chicken but with a fish-like texture. It's not so bad, actually!

ZO said...

Thank you so much for posting this, what an amazing find! I have been reading your blog for a few years now but have never commented before. I was sad to see your posts become less frequent over the past few months but now whenever you post it's a lovely surprise and I am always delighted with how thoughtful your updates have become. Quality over quantity any day!

bubu said...

Hey there, have you seen this film by Agnes Varda yet? It's one of my favourites and it's really amazing - it's all about how to live in a parallel way in our consumer scoiety without having resort to possum soup!



Wanda said...

Lovely blog :)