Hippie Foodoo

Flashback: 2018 garden beginnings

I’m running on the assumption you know me. Or at least have known about me for a while. So most of this should not come as a surprise.

I’m not normal.

A few years ago, I posted this, which talks about my longing for the old ways. Traditions. Historical practices. And that’s a thread that runs through my DNA to this day.

As time has passed, the urge to grow and raise our own food has only intensified. The desire to do as much for ourselves from our property has only grown stronger.

That’s why we have a garden bigger than the apartment we moved from. That’s why we have laying hens, and are (hopefully…. fingers crossed….) in the planning stages of co-raising meat birds to process this fall.

That’s why I want to buy up all the land around us and run dairy cattle and sheep and hogs. Just don’t tell the neighbors…

I love the taste of food cooked in cast iron or over charcoal, I’ve never met a Mason jar I haven’t liked, and I have dreams of a properly shelved crawl-space where we can store our root crops and our canned goods.

And it’s why I sat outside last night and made a list of everything we buy from the grocery store, in an effort to determine what we can stop buying and what we can make ourselves.

I’ve said before I’m no hippie. And the fact the definition explicitly denotes the consumption of hallucinogenic drugs, I am absolutely no hippie. I am unconventional, however, and tend to swim my own current apart from the mainstream.

That means different things to different people, I realize, but here’s what it boils down to for me, and why I titled this post “Hippie Foodoo”.

I believe we were created to be, live, and act in the healthiest of ways. In today’s market, that means I’m growing and preserving as much of our own food as possible. I’m sourcing ingredients I can’t produce myself in an effort to avoid processed, and all too convenient foods.

Is that more work? Absolutely. Will my family enjoy a better life as a result? Absolutely.

I can tell you in the last two years, since we’ve significantly cut back on eating out and buying pre-made or pre-packaged foods, our entire family has been healthier for longer stretches of time, than ever before.

Also? I’m kind of motivated to avoid the grocery store this winter, with the exception of dairy products.

I want to see just how long we can feed ourselves with our own stores of vegetables, fruits, and meats during the coldest and darkest months of the year. I made it the month of January when I did our first ever pantry challenge, but I want to plan and prepare (that was just on a whim the first time) and have a better handle on what we’ll need and when. But I think we can do it for the whole winter. We’ll see…

So from our huge garden, we’re hoping to harvest and preserve what I’ve blogged about here. And at the time of this writing, right now is the hardest part of the gardening season for me. There appears to be little to no progress, and there’s nothing ready to harvest yet… so there’s just a lot of waiting. And waiting. And hoping. And more waiting.

But when the harvest yields and doesn’t stop producing, we’re longing for the days of rest and waiting again!

I digress.

I’m motivated to keep my family as healthy as possible. From food-borne illnesses, from inflammation, from recalls, from gut issues. The beauty of growing your own food is 1) it tastes better, 2) it doesn’t get more convenient than coming from your own yard and 3) when you nurture and steward the land you’re growing your food in, it nurtures you in return. (My gosh, that sounds so hippie…)

I’m motivated to hold on to as much of our money as possible. If I can make it, I’m going to try. If it’s worthwhile, I’m going to keep making it. If we can harvest a deer every fall, we can cut back on purchasing red meat. If we can catch our own fish, we don’t have to check the label for farm-raised or wild-caught. If we can process our own meat birds, we don’t have to wonder what that chicken went through to stay alive or healthy “enough” to end up on our plate. We’ll know because we’ll have put it there ourselves.

If we can grow (or raise) it, we will can it or freeze it or dehydrate it or some combination of all of the above.

And with all the growing and harvesting and canning we’ve been doing and plan to do this year, there really is no reason for our grocery budget to stay the same or decrease only minimally. A big part of the point is to make a significant decrease in our spending. So I’m also motivated to cook up what we’ve preserved and produced ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong. I still crave Taco Bell. But after having grown up on eating it, I’m well aware of what it will do to me, and all it doesn’t do for me. So I have to become stronger than my cravings and teach my body the right way to eat, to live, and to function.

I’m also well aware of the delicious food they cook up and serve right next door at the bar and grill behind our house. It’s. So. Good. But it also comes pre-made, pre-packaged, pre-processed and usually leaves us feeling worse than better.

So I’ll keep oiling up my cast iron skillet. I’ll keep gathering eggs from the chicken coop. I’ll keep shelling and blanching peas, or canning red beans, or flipping through my cookbooks to find another homemade soup I can store away for the winter.

And I’ll make our own tortillas, fill it with our own homegrown beans, shred some cheese over top, and make my own Taco Bell.

Then a year from now, I’ll report back to this post and see how much we’ve saved, how much we’ve spent, and how different our lives are – if at all.

If my hippie foodoo works… well, we’ll all be better for it I guess. If it doesn’t, I don’t see how we’ll be any worse off.

And if you’d like to look into a few of my favorite resources for yourself, I happen to have some recommendations: (and these are only a scant handful of my favorites, but I don’t want this to be a four-million-word blog post)

Farmacology by Daphne Miller, M.D.

Fresh – Documentary currently streaming on Amazon Prime

Farmageddon – Documentary currently streaming on Amazon Prime

Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin

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