2014: Five-Year Plan, 5. Eat only Food, Mainly Leaves

The fifth point of my plan is reall a sub-set of the fourth, Live Simply. The basic theme is that you can make or grow almost everything you need. My house was moved off the street around 1900 and put in the back yard of two three story appartment buildings (we call them three-deckers in Boston.) I have six feet on either side of my house and a ten square foot section in the front of the house next to my porch. That’s the land I have to grow food. I started by building a green house off my second story bedroom window. that’s where I start all my seedlings.

windowwith newell

On the side of my house I grow my greens, lettuce, arugula, chard and herbs. I also have one grape vine that travels along the fence and then up onto an arbor. I get 30 bottles of nice white wine from the grapes every year.


The front yard is where I grow most of my vegetables.


My best crop are the pole beans. I grow them up the side of the house so they get sun into October.


A few weeks ago I wrote a post about building houses with what is on hand. The post is called Everything you need is within fifty feet.

Clothing is another area where one can do a lot for oneself. I swear to you that I am not an expert at the sewing machine, but I used to give my girls $50 for their yearly clothing alowance, and they could go to the thrift store, or we could go to the yardage store and I would make their clothes. There are two prom dresses I made for Anna, my eldest.


Gifts are another area where we can all benefit from simplification.  The U.S. accounts for abouty 25% of the worlds economy, and Christmas gifts account for about 40% of the U.S. economy.   I never buy presents any more.  This past year I wrote children’s stories.  The Christmas before I made pillow casses.  Here are two of the four that I made for Esther Emery’s family.


The point of all these pictures is not that I am talented in a variety of ways, but that we all possess talents.  If we spend our time “making money” then that is what we get.  If we spend our time making life-giving things, then we get life.  This is especially true for food.  Try it.  It is so rewarding on so many levels.


About Newell Hendricks

I have lived a good life. Maybe a counterculture life, maybe a normal life. I have written operas, built houses, been involved with cross-cultural education between Latin America and the U.S, and hardly ever had a job I have helped raise two wonderful children with my amazing wife. It's been a good ride. And I go to church. I've just finished a book of stories from my life, I am still connected to an organization in Nicaragua that promotes sister relationships between communities, faith communities, or schoold, and to the extent that my cancer doesn't pull me down, am attempting to share some of what I have learned, or at least tried out. Welcome, and let's share.
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6 Responses to 2014: Five-Year Plan, 5. Eat only Food, Mainly Leaves

  1. Astonishing, Newell. You may not think so, but all of this truly is.


  2. I agree with Diana, heartily! You’ve touched something deep in my heart, the truth-seeking place, and this story resonates within. Thanks… thank you for writing!


  3. Newell, your story and the way you have stewarded your life is … well, simply gorgeous. Thank you for sharing it with us. Reading your posts feels like Sabbath to me.


  4. Pingback: Economics in the Bible | Newell Hendricks

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