Me? A Prepper?

Here’s the problem with media and ‘reality’ tv. They never show the ‘normals’ – it is always an effort to show the most, the weirdest, the best, the worst, the extremes, the extremists. The result is that often times through the negative images sent through reality tv, people who are associated with those things are viewed in negative ways as well.

What am I talking about? Prepping. Or Homesteading. Or self-reliance. Pick a label.

You may have noticed that I have been missing (yet again) from Marcaritaville. I have been struggling with what I want this space to look like. I have also been struggling with what I want my home-space to look like. We are a family in transition, and in the midst of growing and developing it is sometimes difficult to articulate the path. Particularly when you are trying to move into a space of more self-reliance. Particularly when this move is occurring at the same time as all of this attention is directed at this tv ‘reality’ show called “Doomsday Preppers”.  *Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THIS SHOW! It just isn’t reflective of my beliefs or goals*

So, where am I going with this? Well, I am coming out of the closet. Our family is getting back to a more self-reliant way of life. It started a couple years ago when I decided we needed to grow our own veggies and can them for the winter. And then we had the massive logger fiasco, leaving my garden-to-be area covered in downed logs.

Future home of my canning garden

Future home of my canning garden

This summer we have already hit this area hard, getting much of it cleaned off, and renewing my hopes of a fabulous garden. While we were out there over the past month, looking around, I decided it was time to really get planning. Not just the “someday” type of planning. But planning with a time frame.

After the loggers came in and pretty much clear-cut our 1 1/2 acre fully wooded lot we had a great deal of anger. A month ago, I thought I was past the anger, but as we were working outside I realized I was still so angry. IT was then that I decided that the only way to make the anger go away was to plan on how we could best use this land FOR us. The trees are down. The land is a mess. We can’t take it back. We have to move forward. So plans are now set in action.

Welcome to my massive garden site which be small this year, but by next summer will have a Corn field, as well as all of the veggies any respectable gardener would want for harvest:

DSCN8101

This? Old broken down screen house?

DSCN8099

 

Is becoming my chicken coop. For Mother’s Day it was cleaned out

Last remnants to be cleaned out

Last remnants to be cleaned out

 

And Kevin laid sheet vinyl as a base for easier cleaning

My love being a handy man

My love being a handy man

 

Our coop-to-be is 9ft x 10ft. We are starting small with only 4 chicks, but once we get it all figured out, I have plans of growing my flock and including roasters as well!

We have plans for a small fruit tree grove, as well as some other fancy ideas in the mix.

So, do I plan to stop blogging about knitting and sewing and cooking? Heck no! All of those things are a large part of being self-sufficient.

Am I a prepper? well, not in the “Discovery Cannel” version of the word. I am preparing, I am hopefully more prepared than I was last year at this time.

Am I preparing for a global economic disaster? No. But a family economic disaster? I am ready for that. A short term family emergency? Yup, ready for that as well.

I grew up watching my grandparents garden and can and prepare their stores for the winter. I grew up milking cows at a dairy farm for fun during the summer. I grew up with a mom who taught us by example how to garden, and cook, and sew, and how to make a home. It is strange how all of these skills were lost to so many over the past 30 years. I think it is time to go back to that place of producing for our own families (even if it is just a small portion).

Maybe a little less time running around town and a little more time running around the yard is what we all need.

 

 

 

Work In Progress Wednesday

All over the blogoshphere, Bloggers host WIP Weds. Today I am taking a crack at it, but with a slightly different approach.

It is amazing how only 3 days in to this challenge, I am looking at things completely differently. I am finding double and triple purposes for everything. (As a side note, I can’t tell you how many times my van almost pulled into Dunkins for a Pumpkin Spice!)

Last night I made this amazing Chicken noodle soup. It was from the Cooking Light Magazine.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This morning I was running errands, but when I came home I dove right into making the Strawberry Jam – Super simple – 3 ingredients – Sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and strawberries.

First, Zest the lemon, and squeeze the juice out of the lemon into a saucepan. Add the sugar and heat over low for 10 minutes. At first it will look like this, and you will wonder where you went wrong:

Messy lumpy mix

Messy lumpy mix

 

But then after you keep heating it, and checking it because you are sure it is wrong, then trying to decide if you need to add more lemon juice, all of a sudden it becomes this fabulous liquid…

Fabulous Liquid!

Fabulous Liquid!

While this magical transformation was occurring, I was sorting through a huge thing of strawberries – tossing out probably 1/4 of them – and then hulling and chopping them. At that point, I tossed them (very carefully, the sugar is HOT!) into the sauce pan.

Gorgeous strawberries

Gorgeous strawberries

After cooking them for 20 minutes, they were at a low boil and looking B-E-A-U-TIFUL!

Strawberries Ready for the Jar

Strawberries Ready for the Jar

And Voila – 35 minutes from start to finish!

YUM

YUM

 

Now… for all you canning fanatics… I know all about food safety. These are both going right into the fridge and will be consumed this week, one jar here and one jar at moms. Otherwise, I would have boiled the jars, filled them to the top, checked for the proper headspace, finished with a hot bath, yadda yadda yadda.

*NOTE: If you are planning on making jam for preserving – or any other canning, please be sure to follow proper canning techniques – a great resource is Ball Canning.*

I think this weekend I am going to try my hand at making homemade Brioche Bread.

And… Just in case you want to keep track of our cashless month – today is day #3, and I have spent NO MONEY! Tomorrow I have to go to Shaws and will pick up some basics, but am hoping to keep it under $30.

Are you joining me here? Are you up for the challenge? Let me know how you are doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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