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).


Mary Ann said...

Mallory! Good for you! This is my dream as well but unfortunately I am not as motivated as you..yet:) I may have to follow what you've done so far and see how my 'city boy' husband adjusts!:)

mallory said...

Haha Mary Ann, my husband has been reluctant about some things too! It's hard to change old habits. I've found it's best to introduce new things slowly and explain why it is beneficial for the whole family. Also, most of these things really affect you, the homemaker, more than than the husband so I always emphasize that. He usually always jumps on board with my crazy ideas after a couple days. Good luck with your changes!

Laura F. said...

If the location was not a problem, we have 3 acres we are selling, which does not come with a house but you could build your dream farm house:) We own 20 acres of which you all could put animals on if wanted. I've got lots of hook ups to good meat (we raise cattle), milk (good friends own dairy farm), and the other resources! So if you all ever want to relocate to the Blue Ridge mountains...the offer is there :) I definitely do not live the "simple" life like you do or you dream of. But it is nice to be closer to basics.

Dana said...

flippin' sweet! We want a farm too. ha. But, I'm not sure I'm quite up for it just yet. Baking bread is way easy - I've started doing that one and it's fun too. Also, have you tried cloth wipes? I'm about to do that, but don't yet. You can use a baby oil/baby soap/water mixture or there's probably other mixtures out there that work well - squirt and then wipe with the cloth wipe.

Love this post and your others as well - very encouraging to me as I feel we have a lot in common - going back to basics, health, etc.

allaboutthebrittons said...

ahhh. my dream. one day this will hopefully become a reality for us Brittons too. :)

Hannah said...

you'd fit in great in Charlottesville! Though I recently heard of a lady that eats her lunch in a tree and thought that was a little weird. All the practices you mentioned are pretty common here though.

Diana said...

Mallory, I just love this! We have been making many similar changes in our lives which thrills me... haha. I find myself wanting land and cows more and more... I remember that day in 5th grade when Mr Elder first broke the news to you that hamburger comes from cows! How far we have come :) You should have seen how hysterically excited I was when Joel got me Nourishing Traditions for Christmas this year!

Karen said...

Hi, Mallory, I just found your blog in my quest to find a more natural alternative to Miralax for my daughter. I read that blog post and have been reading through the other portions of your blog this afternoon. Your subject matter is great, and I share a lot of your same views.

I have been trying to get back to better, cleaner living as well, and I found a green manufacturer whose products I have fallen in love with. I love them so much I decided to partner with them to help others learn about how to rid their homes of many common household toxins in addition to being proactive about their health. I would love the opportunity to share it with you if you might be able to spare about 45 minutes of your time.

It's at least information for you to consider, and it could also give you the opportunity to make a part time income if you wanted to make a home-based business out of it; although, that's not necessary if you are just interested in being a customer and shifting some of your shopping dollars that you are already spending each month to our online store.

Just food for thought from a like-minded mom from Colorado.

Thanks! -Karen