Monday, October 14, 2013

How far do we want to go with sustainability?

So how far do we want to go with sustainability?

I want to be able to do it all from scratch. ALL of it. Or at least, as much as can be made practical in price and time.

Chicken stock with one of our chickens

Like "meat" chickens. I don't want to have to buy the chicks each year because they are special hybrids. Ideally, I'd like to have my laying flock have a few broody hens that will hatch some chicks each year that we watch grow up with good mommas and then gratefully use them for eating when they get big enough. They'll take longer than Cornish X or Red Rangers/Red Broilers/Freedom Rangers, but I get to watch the whole process and see it happen on it's own. Minimal involvement.

New chickens just starting to lay eggs

I'd also like to culture my own mesophilic, thermophilic and fresh starters for cheesemaking. Maybe even make vegetable rennet out of nettles. So we'll have milk from our grass fed cow, rennet, and a sustainable culture that I don't need to buy.

Use our own winter manure/compost for the summer garden.

Capture wild yeast.

Make vanilla flavoring.

Maybe make the vodka that went into that vanilla flavoring.

And grow the potatoes that go into the vodka.

I know, I know. Sounds crazy. Sounds incredibly old fashioned when I could just pick it up at the store. Or at least pick up something that gets me part way there at the store - like the vodka, or the meat chicks.

But this is my personality. I like researching, learning, adapting, investigating, knowing how things work, and learning special skills. I enjoyed difficult book requests when I worked at the library because I had to search and use all the acquired knowledge I had. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a self taught mechanic if I didn't get married right away. When I was considering college, my interests were engineering, science, forensic science, chemistry, and math.

Instead of all that, I have the best job as a wife and mom and get to use all this curiosity to find creative and enjoyable ways to help take care of our family. I'm motivated by wanting wholesome food for my family that was raised in a responsible, caring way and by wanting to find ways to do it cost effectively. But what drives me back to the beginning and wanting to keep it going sustainably, is enjoying learning how God designed it!

Indian Corn and savings seeds from year to year

I get to see how things work from start to finish! And I'm always wondering how they made/did "such and such" before they could conveniently buy it at the store.

I want a little of both worlds though. I'm still going to like having a computer, external hard drive to back it up, food processor to make pie crust easier, and other nice tools around the house that make homesteading and homemaking more doable. With all these handy modern conveniences, I can learn, and do a large variety of homesteading tasks.

So, I'm not really concerned with going back in time to see how humans made machinery 100,or 500, or 1000 years ago and living that way exclusively. (Unless it makes a certain task easier, but generally, we've invented things that make tasks easier as the years go on.) I'm just interested in seeing how GOD made something and how He designed the food and life cycle that nourishes us.

Eggs from our new layers compared to eggs from our old layers.

So to give you a taste of the things I like experiencing and seeing in God's creation:

The personality of the food we eat
Motherly instincts in animals
Their life cycle
Where the sirloin steak comes from
How the soil receives nutrients and the natural way God designed it to
The natural ingredients that allowed humans to craft cheese, and baked goods
The way the woods and the fields can be used together in a sustainable way
What the things we eat, eat

The list could go on.

Thankful for a vehicle that allows us to make trips to buy feed
and travel places that would once be difficult to get to.

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