Monday, September 5, 2011

Finding My Inner Pioneer Woman

As baby time approacheth, I don't really find myself nesting...

Don't get me wrong, I want things to be clean just like I always do...but what I have been finding is a much deeper urge.

I have been really thinking lately about being self-sufficient. I think most of this urge comes from the fact that I am opting to try to have a natural labor (I'll let you all know how it goes, of course- though I totally reserve my right to wimp out and have an epidural...) My saying has been- If a pioneer woman could do it, why can't I?

This has become my motto lately. It started with teaching myself to crochet- which has now become a little business venture but has become much, much more.

I've always been someone who wants to know how to do things myself. The summer between high school and college, I taught myself how to can using a water bath (I still want to venture into the land of the pressure cooker), when I was little I helped my mom looked for recipes for our food dehydrators, after learning basic stitches from my grandmother and mother, I taught myself how to sew and follow a pattern, I learned cooking basics from my dad before he passed away (because he was our in house chef most of the time) and I taught myself the rest from there.

I think our world today is getting so obsessed with ease, comfort, and speed that we are forgetting some very VERY important skills. When I got to college, I was shocked how many of my roommates couldn't cook without a box of packaged ingredients...

Jeff and I find ourselves talking a lot about being self-sufficient and teaching our kids those skills as they grow. Our latest discussion has been our dream to have a house with a huge garden so that I can use a pressure cooker and water bath and can enough vegetables and fruits to get us through the winter without having to buy a single canned good from the grocery store. We also have talked a lot about how we want to be in a position where, even if we don't have a lot, we can share with those that are less fortunate. Jeff even mentioned the idea of using a chunk of whatever land we end up having as a ward garden- a place for our brothers and sisters that don't have the possibility of having a garden on their own place to have an opportunity to grow something of their very own...I have even told Jeff that I would like to can food and ask the bishop who could use it most, and if the bishop isn't comfortable sharing, dropping it off to him so that he can share the bounty...we want our kids to know how to cook, how to fix things, how to sew- we want them to have skills that are quickly being lost as we live in a world where everything is done for us in advance.

Its funny that I've been feeling this urge and Jeff and I have been talking about this so much lately, because on Sunday our Relief Society lesson was on being self sufficient and independent. I wish I knew what talk it came from- I know it was an address Elder Packer gave a few years ago at a Stake Conference. He mentioned that the youth of the church needed to focus on being prepared, that they needed to be ready to do without luxuries that they had come to expect, and that they needed to know how to do things that they never thought they would have to do... this only added to my sense of urgency- I need to make sure that this child that I am carrying now and every child we bring into our home has the skills to run a household without modern conveniences.

Its so funny to think how lazy people are these days- I'm guilty of it too...but I am trying to get better. I've been learning how to make clothing using a crochet hook and yarn, I am practicing my pattern reading skills in order to make baby slings, car seat covers, stuffed animals...the list goes on.

We need to make an effort to stop being so lazy. In these tough economic times we need the skills to do things without the aid of a machine more than ever. All I can say my friends is that I will help you where I can, and I hope that you can help me. We need to remember that our greatest resources are each other. We need to not be afraid to ask for help, or to ask to learn a new old fashioned skill that we thought we'd never need.

Yesterday I made a roasted chicken for dinner- today I used the bones and leftover meat to make chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles. Homemade noodles are SOOOOO easy. I've been making them with my mom since I was a kid. In an effort to share, here is the recipe:

2 cups flour
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 c water

Put the flour in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt, then make a well. Add all the eggs into the well and start to mix until crumbly, then add the water until all the ingredients join together in a dough. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface as thin as you can possibly get it (I always find it easiest to split the dough into 3 different balls and then roll those out individually) Cut the rolled dough into long strips and add it directly to your soup. You can allow the noodles to dry and save them in an airtight container to boil later, but we always just find it easiest (and tastiest) to add them directly to water and use them right away. I suppose if you had a pasta press this would be much easier, but let's face it- what if we are faced with no electricity one day? Its a scary thought, but sadly, it isn't that far fetched.

I'm not trying to depress anyone, I'm not wearing a sandwich board that says "THE END IS NEAR" but what I am saying is that it doesn't hurt to be prepared. Take it from someone who knows, you never know when these random skills you may acquire could come in handy. I have used the skills I've acquired in so many ways its seriously funny. It definitely doesn't hurt to be prepared! :)

Hugs and Wishing you Self Sufficiency Darlings!

1 comment:

WarmWollinWoolies said...

Your posting was music to my ears!! I have thought so much lately of providing a piece of land for a "neighborhood" gardening plot sort of a community garden where everyone helps it grow and reaps the bounty. I too want a huge garden to can the goods so that some sort of self reliance can happen. It is so very true that we need to retain the skills the pioneers had to survive all those many years ago. Sewing clothes is a passion of mine, one because wearing something you have sewn yourself is so rewarding, and two because clothes these days are so immodest, and do not fit right. If you take the time to learn how to do things on your own, you can save so much money and have satisfaction in your life. If you look at the circle of life and compare it to the evolution of "our laziness with not utilizing our own skills to produce necessary things for ourselves" you will see that we will one day have to rely on what we can make/do/sew/cook/grow ourselves to sustain ourselves and our families. I will get off my soap box for now, but I can see exactly how you and Jeff are feel about this, as this is how Jon and I feel. One day when we finally get to adopt our child(ren) they too will learn how to do things with their own two hands, learn the joys in growing your bounty, sewing their own precious things, and the basics to survive on their own through thick and thin. Keep going strong!!! :)