It Might Be A Good Idea

Given the state of our country/world lately, I’ve been overwhelmed. Sometimes with anxiety and dread of the uncertainties and unknowns, but most of the time with gratitude, thankfulness, peace, affirmation.

It wasn’t all that long ago the four of us were in an apartment going berserk because of the noise and traffic from other neighbors, or from being cooped up together in a small living space and hardly a spare square of concrete to get out and stretch our legs on.

Today, we’re cooped up in a completely different sense – we’re following the shelter-in-place order, but we have a comfortable, spacious home on beautiful, spacious property. Every day we get outside, whether to play, to check the mailbox, to take care of the chickens, and I’m exceptionally grateful.

These are completely unexpected and unprecedented times, however, and who would have known how to be aptly prepared for them? I’m especially thankful we had practices and habits in place so we could be mostly prepared to shelter-in-place, and I wish I could have helped others prepare themselves as well. So I’ve been thinking.

It might be a good idea…

To Plant A Garden

Of the innumerable lessons this pandemic has taught us, one of them is you can’t be solely dependent on grocery stores to supply your dietary needs. We have a short growing season here in Minnesota, but the good news is we can still grow plenty.

Root crops do well (carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, beets, etc.) as well as beans (green beans, red and black beans, etc.), corn, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, asparagus, berries… the list is a lengthy one. You can grow plenty of food to feed your family an entire year, or until the following growing season at least.

Additionally, being outside, digging in the dirt, harvesting something you’ve worked so hard to make fruitful – there’s nothing better! Gardening is an absolute joy for me, even when it’s hard and frustrating and unpredictable.

Even if you have a small garden, some food is better than none, and what’s better than to know exactly where your food came from, how it was cared for, and how it will care for you? It might be a good idea to grow a garden.

To Learn To Can Food

I remember as a little girl, walking into my grandmother’s basement to fetch a jar of green beans and thinking 1) her basement was entirely too creepy and 2) I absolutely could not trust the food she didn’t buy at the store.

Oh, how wrong I was – on the second point, anyway. Before I was ever even pregnant with Little Miss, I had a desire to learn to can but was terrified. What if I poisoned the people in my home, or broke jars, or wasted food? I put it off for years. Finally, around five years ago, I finally learned to can my own food.

I started first with peach butter, then jellies, salsa, tomato sauce – and now there’s almost nothing I won’t can. Applesauce, soups, meat, vegetables, fruits – it’s incredible to open a cupboard door, pull out a few jars, and have an entire meal at the ready in a matter of minutes. Especially when we were able to grow most of it ourselves – it’s as soul-filling as it is belly-filling.

It’s a lot of work upfront to stock a pantry, but it’s more than worth the return. It’s safe, it’s delicious, it’s cost-effective, it’s convenient. You can grocery shop straight from your cupboard! It might be a good idea to learn how to can.

To Cook With Cast Iron

Hubs bought me my very first (and second and third) cast iron cookware several years ago. I didn’t love it, but I also didn’t know how to use it. Once I learned, though, it became my absolute favorite kitchen cookware.

My inlaws bought me more cast iron a few Christmases ago, and I’m so thankful! Cast iron cooking has changed our kitchen in the best of ways.

We cook with cast iron all. the. time. I’m including it as a good idea because it’s so incredibly versatile. You can use it indoors or outdoors, in an oven, on a stovetop, or over an open fire.

The flavor of food cooked in cast iron cannot be beat. There are no coating chemicals to worry about, no scratches to ruin the pan with, essentially no way to destruct it without hope of it ever being usable again.

Our cast iron is becoming so well-seasoned, I can cook eggs in it and you won’t even be able to tell – nothing sticks in the pan. It’s incredible and so rewarding!

It might be a good idea to replace some of your cookware with cast iron, and to use it often. It will change your meals for the better, especially if you find yourself in a situation without power, and still able to cook over an open flame.

To Raise Backyard Chickens

Last fall, Hubs wanted a winter off from caring for the birds. He wanted to cull the flock and start over fresh in the spring. I debated it, but ended up asking him to reconsider, and promising that I would be the one to care for them over the winter.

Praise God we kept them!

Not only did they continue to lay through the winter, which is basically unheard of in this part of the country, and with aging birds, but they’ve supplied us amply this spring with eggs. They’re also available for meat should the need arise.

They’re entertaining. They’re productive. They’re beneficial. They provide ample fertilizer for your garden (and the bottom of your boots). They’re amazing. Sometimes they get a little clucky, but otherwise, they’re pretty chill, quiet birds. Sometimes they get to smelling badly, but a quick clean up of the coop and run fixes that. Sometimes they even like to snuggle. ALL THE TIME they’re working to provide for our family, and they’re my favorite.

It might be a good idea to look into how many birds you can get, and to take excellent care of them so they can take care of you in many ways.

To Enjoy The Outdoors

And not just on playground equipment, or poolside chairs. I’m talking hiking, camping, fishing, hunting – get to know nature. Walk on the grass barefoot. Get outside and face the sun as it rises. Marvel at the colors in the sky as the sun sets. Start identifying birds and their calls. Get to know how nature behaves before a storm.

Follow the patterns of nature, mimic it, learn from it. I’ll tell you when God created us and the world we live in, He didn’t forget about or overlook anything. The more you’re familiar with His original design, the better you can enjoy what He gave you and how it works. It might be a good idea to get outside for your health – physical, mental, and spiritual.

Those are my ideas. Learn to do what you can, learn to work with whatever you have available. God forbid if anything like this ever happens again, you’ll be able to bust out the cast iron skillet to fry up a fish you just caught, open a jar of homegrown home-canned green beans to serve with it, and bake a few popovers using eggs fresh from the coop.

Also, it might be a good idea to learn how to make popovers.

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