Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Country Fantasy

Where to begin...

Basically, my desire to "homestead" and live in the country has gone to new levels over the past few weeks.  I've been reading, researching and slowly making lifestyle changes for probably a good year now.  With my reading and researching dating back before that.  I am just convinced that I want to live more of back to basics life and raise my children in more of an old-fashioned setting.  My dream would be to live on about 10 acres with a mix of cleared and wooded land and have a beautiful, restored farmhouse.  We would have a gorgeous, plentiful vegetable gardens, many fruit trees and bushes, chickens, maybe a couple goats and of course, 4 wheelers and dirt bikes. Preferably, my boys could hunt right on our own property.  I would wear an apron and cook completely from scratch. We would harvest and can our own produce for the winter.  I would homeschool my children and ring a cow bell to summon them in for dinner.  I would line dry our clothes and my children would be alongside me all day, doing the chores of a farm life.  Learning real life skills and a getting a rich hands-on education, not a government mandated agenda.  We wouldn't watch tv or be in front of a screen all day.  No, we would experiencing real life and learning real skills and developing character traits that will serve them well.

There you have it.  My country fantasy.  And we are slowly figuring out how to make it happen.  Jackson, thankfully, has a wonderful job and we can't move too far away and have an unrealistic commute for him.  So, we have a limited area that would be feasible for us to work with.  Also, I'm not introverted so I want to be careful not to be too isolated from other people.  I'd imagine us at our homestead most days and maybe venturing into "town" twice a week.

We've looked at several properties but realistically, we are probably several months away from a move. The country ain't as cheap as you might think!  We have a great set-up right now and I can implement lots of homesteading practices right where we live.

In the meantime I have:

  • Switched to cloth diapers!   
  • Started soaking my grains and flours. 
  • Purchased and am reading Nourishing Traditions (basically the "bible" of traditional, nutritious cooking, highly recommend it to discover what really is good for you, like butter!)
  • Switched our (kids too!) bathing soap to a pure goats milk soap made locally.
  • Signed up to take a Homesteading course at a local farm.
  • Signed up for a 2012 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) with a local farm.
  • Purchased almost all of our meats from a local farm
  • Taken Parks out of pre-school (more on that later, but it just wasn't meshing with him or my general education/parenting philosophy) 
  • Done another toy purge and simplified our playroom.  
  • Taken every chance we can to get outside and enjoy God's beautiful creation! 
We have already:
  • "Greened" our laundry.  I use Country Save or 7th Generation detergent and only wool, dryer balls for softening our clothes.  Dryer sheets can cause cancer
  • Stopped using paper towels and switched to cotton rags and microfiber cloths. 
  • "Greened" my cleaning supply.  I make a great general all-purpose cleaner with castile soap but I have started purchasing a couple 7th gen. products for bathroom cleaning.  I've been dealing with lots of poop lately so let's just say, I'm more comfortable with a product that says "disinfectant" for now.
  • Gotten rid of HFCS and Trans fat from our diet completely and cook from scratch as much as possible. 
  • Purchased mostly organic meats and dirty dozen produce.
  • Replaced canola and vegetable oils (not good for you) with butter and coconut oil (good source of saturated fats).   
I would like to : 

  • Bake our own bread
  • Find a regular source for eggs straight from the farm
  • Hang a line outside to dry my clothes
  • Get a raw milk share (gasp! it's not the dangerous substance you've been lead to believe it is)
  • Learn how to make Kombucha and other fermented drinks

Every effort I have made to slow down and return to a simple, back to basics lifestyle has been so worth it.  I am thrilled with each and step we make towards a simpler, sustainable life.  For us, it's all about priorities.  Yes, our pastured meat straight from the farm is more expensive than ground beef in a grocery store on sale for 1.99/pound.  (That by the way, is really disturbing when you know more about what it costs to properly raise a cow!).  But when you think about the investment we are making in our children's health, it becomes worth it and I figure out a way to save so we can afford it (like not buying paper towels).  I'll do a real food budget post later.  

This has been a journey for us.  One that I am glad we are on and one that you can't rush.  I wasn't ready for these things 4 years ago and I have slowly, but surely added things one at a time.  Take one step at a time! We are still such newbies compared to other people (like the ones who use cloth toilet paper!! ahh).