from bread to the chicken coop

8 years ago

I have made some fun and important changes to our family in the last couple of months.  We have gotten on a really great budget, we've stopped using services that we can do on our own,  and we are now making lots of homemade foods that we once bought prepackaged. I feel like we are truly headed in a direction that I feel proud of, but there is a lot more work ahead.

Another byproduct of all of these great new changes has been that my brain is producing ideas faster than I can implement them, (or convince Rob that we should implement them).  I thought it was so fabulous when I realized that we didn't have to buy bread, that we could simply make our own when we needed it. I only needed to have my pantry stocked with the ingredients.  The bread epiphany spawned the homemade granola bar discovery.  Why, I now had the power to make anything I wanted out of the ingredients I kept loaded in my war chest!  Indeed, it was power.  Yet, it was so much more.  This was the planting of the seed of subsistence living.

I have tried before to talk to Rob about letting us get some chickens and a coop in our backyard.   He loves me and supports most of my "I Love Lucy" kind of ideas, but even I knew he wouldn't go for us becoming organic egg farmers.   So, I had to start small with my desire for self sufficiency. He is on board with bread making, he makes a loaf every day.  Tonight he marveled at how he has his own technique for making it come out level and square, I am so proud of him!  Here is a guy who grew up watching, playing, and obsessing over sports.   Now, he can revel in his goal of bread making as if he just launched the lacrosse ball into the net! So, I know he is feeling it too, that tingle in your gut because you know you just produced something with no help from anyone else!

As I was saying, the seed has been planted.  I have grand plans for things that I will now create and no longer purchase.  Last week we became independent from the peanut butter manufacturers.  (click here to see the video of my PB production) I have a ball making my own PB for us to enjoy, and it is so delicious! Continuing along the lines of bread and PB, I will give jam a try next!

I am also on my way to creating things other than food.  I have been researching how to make soap, shampoo, laundry detergent and household cleaners.  I think I am ready to take the leap.  This excites me on many levels.  First, I am beyond excited that I will be cutting down on how much plastic we will use.  I end up with tons of detergent, shampoo, and soap bottles come recycling day.  The thought of me making my own and not needing a billion plastic containers is a euphoric thought!  Second, I know I will save money.  Lastly, I am just psyched to know that I can do it!  I love making stuff that is good for my family, for my budget and for my earth, (that sounds a little corny, I will admit).

The plans are in place for Christmas as well.  I already foresee a gift basket for the women in my life that contains homemade herbal shampoos in delicate glass jars, sweetly scented handmade soaps, maybe a pair of earrings made with recycled glass beads, and a sample of my homemade peanut butter cups!  The love that I will pour into these things as I make them will just seep into the hands and hearts of the recipients, (at least that is my hope).

The last thing that I will say about all this wonderful stuff is that my kids are also supporting the cause.  They love seeing the food that comes out of the kitchen and into their lunch boxes. My little one helps with the peanut butter and is always the first to sample the newest batch.  If we happen to make a loaf of white bread instead of wheat, the kids line up to have it with their breakfast with butter and jam.  They are connoisseurs of the good stuff.   It feels like we have gone back to a better time when the focus was on the quality of what we gave our families.  I can't wait to see what new ideas will jump into my brain next.  Maybe if I add the chickens one at a time I can get Rob to believe that they were strays needing a good home...or possibly a runaway milking cow perhaps??

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