Wednesday, April 17, 2013

eat to live: do it yourself.

i wanted to write about grains next but i feel gardening is pressing because it's spring...yipee for spring, right?  remember any word with an * is a link you can click on.

more and more people are selling their homes and moving into the country.  it seems everywhere i go the subject comes up...people are sensing that times will get hard{er}, and i have to agree with them. people are being led to grow their own.  to raise their own meat, collect their own eggs and milk their own goats and cows {ick!}

to some, it's no sweat because their grandparents {or parents} lived on farms and they were exposed to that life.  to others, like myself, it's an entirely new world.  chasing down a bull, collecting dead chickens, scrubbing poop off eggs and having soil crusted produce in my kitchen sink has taken some getting used to.  and i'm putting in nicely.

so what can be done if you are a newbie?  you can start by educating yourself!  never gardened before?  you could buy some herbs and tomato plants, pot them up  and put them on your porch.  have some space in your backyard? check out a book, read some websites*, and buy some seeds* and get your feet wet...literally!  heirloom seeds* are best.

i'm blessed in this area because mountain man is a landscaper by trade.  gardening, fruit trees and making yards look pretty is what he loves to do.  so...i just leave it up to him. oh, i help plant, weed the beds and pick/prepare the produce but he and the kids have always done most of the work.  but, it's not always easy or fun.  i can be heard saying, "what in the world am i supposed to do with all these turnips?  and there is dirt all over the counter!"  i'm such a girl. or my favorite, "you want me to can* HOW many pears?"

there are plenty of great books on the subject. it is fun to get the kids involved and there are many websites* and books on the subject.

and...did you know you can have chickens in city limits?  {check your ordinance first =}  we have rooster is needed unless you want fertilized eggs.  roosters are not allowed in city limits, although someone has one in our neighborhood...sigh. 

it is fun and healthy to have chickens.  you know that your eggies come from happy hens.  if you've watched documentaries* about the production of meat, eggs and dairy then you know it's best to stay away from conventional animal products.  

meat birds can be purchased and raised.  they can be sent to a butcher or do it yourself.  now...this is gross in my opinion.  but, the more you do it the easier it becomes.  you are "growing" food for your family and butchering is a part of that.  more than likely your ancestors did it without another thought. have you heard the stories about little grandmas marching to the chicken coop with an axe?

if you have grazing land i would highly recommend doing research into buying one or a few grass fed cows to raise and butcher.  many people we know do this and it's reasonably easy.  grass fed is the most healthy meat you can eat regarding beef.  i will not*purchase regular meat at the grocery*.  we will eat if we're guests but otherwise, conventional meat {chicken, cow, pork} is NOT on our menu.  i do sometimes buy the rounds of honeysuckle turkey. meat is not a main part of our diet.

there are all kinds of problems with conventional meat...everything from inhumane living conditions and slaughtering to antibiotics and hormones. there are some theories that girls today are maturing faster due to the steroids and hormones* in the meat and dairy they consume. really makes you stop and think.

if you have a hunter in the family, venison meat is a great and cost effective choice.  also, friends can go in together and purchase a grass fed cow to have butchered or buy it local.  meat at natural markets can get VERY expensive.

if there's a will there's a way and in times like these, google is your friend!  there is all kinds of information and websites available.

so if at possible...

please do some research and make adjustments to become more self sufficient. 

your family will thank you! and let me know how you like having dirty veggies in your sink! ;)

  i'm sure i missed something...have some ideas?  please leave a comment!

1 comment:

  1. Great suggestions, MM!

    For the last nine months we have been living off of the lamb Lydia raised in 4-H last year and the elk my husband and kids bagged last fall. We've had chickens for about six years and can hardly stand to eat store bought eggs anymore. Still working through canned vegetables from the last couple of gardening seasons... We have a bit of acrage now, but don't have the stomach to buy a cow/steer... they seem so much "messier" than horses. We'll stick to the wild game as long as we're lucky during hunting season.

    I have had dirty vegetables on my kitchen counters for over 20 years and I don't think I'll ever be happy about it!

    From one former city girl to another,


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