Thursday, April 18, 2013

About being self-sufficient

With Earth Day and all, I was browsing Facebook sites like: Mother Earth News and many DIY sites.  It's nice to know I have a good friend, Suzanne, who, like me, loves to garden and is pretty good at it.  I have a husband who loves to garden and is quite good at it.  I once lived in a log home on 4 1/2 acres of land and that is where I learned to garden.

We had all those acres of mostly clay.  But I learned to raise chickens, milk goats and rabbits so I had plenty of organic fertilizer.  I also learned when it comes to compost and animal fertilizer, one can never have enough.  But eventually, with the help of raised beds, I turned that clay into very nice soil that would grow nearly anything from 

But I think about the younger generation.  They move to the cities for jobs and if the economy ever gets very bad, well, those super markets will run out of food in probably 24 hours.  They can grow rooftop gardens and patio gardens, but I often wonder how many actually do that.  

Growing up, we lived on five acres and quite a bit of that land was a huge garden.  My dad grew every vegetable we ever needed.  Mom never bought vegetables, she canned and froze everything we needed for winter months too.  That little farm was where I learned to drive a standard shift too.  By the time I was twelve, I was driving that tractor down those rows of food and soaking up sunshine.

My Mom told stories of how she would make 21 loaves of bread a week, to feed a bunch of growing kids.  She said that, in those days, if a bride bought bread the rumors flew about: "Poor thing, she cannot cook."  It was essential to know how to sew on a treadle sewing machine, using nothing more than skill and physical labor.  We also used, every Monday, a wringer washing machine, requiring more labor, filling rinse tubs by hand and filling the washer by hand.  Then we would hang it all outdoors on the line.  I feel sorry for the kids who don't grow up with that wash day smell.  I still recall it, a mixture of bleach, laundry soap and sunshine, glorious sunshine.  Nothing feels, or smells, nicer than snuggling into sheets hung on a line, freshness never smelled so good.

I feel sorry for the kids who have never experienced pickling day.  Walking into the house, smelling dill, vinegar and fresh cucumbers. 

Do I think everyone should live like that?  No, our days are much busier, maybe, although there were the same hours in a day then as there is now.  But I do think everyone should know these skills, just in case.  Some skills are invaluable and might make the difference between going hungry and being able to eat.  There isn't anything quite as satisfying as knowing how to feed yourself if you need to know how.

Well, thanks for stopping in again.  Have another cup of coffee and some homemade muffins.