Keith and I have desired to simplify our lives as much as possible, and do you know that even as we have successfully done that, our lives still seem sooooo busy. I can't imagine how it is for those who do everything and go everywhere! Part of the definition of simple living is a desire not only to reduce one's possessions, but also to increase one's self-sufficiency. Slowly, but surely we are trying to learn as much as we can to become more self-sufficient. We both were not raised this way, so it is taking some time and lots of effort.
We have had our chickens now for almost a month and they are getting fat and sassy! We let them out during the day and watch them peck around at the grass and scratch to find bugs. The kids love them and Joshua in particular has taken a special interest in them. During this past month we have dug potatoes and canned them.We have picked buckets of blueberries and frozen several bags and baked blueberry cobbler and blueberry coffee cake. We have picked corn and blanched it and frozen it in gallon size bags. We have been blessed with people who have offered their abundance to us and we have tried very hard to not let any go to waste!
This was my first time ever canning potatoes and the directions, of course, had to call for a pressure canner. I have NEVER used one and was very intimidated by them. I borrowed one from a friend and I am glad to report nothing blew up and the potatoes did very well. I hope to save these for later and use them for mashed potatoes.
Our beloved tomatoes are coming in. They are heirloom and completely organic! We have about 25-30 plants. We hope to can some of them, but I am afraid that they may not make it past the supper table!
After waiting 6 long (really doesn't seem that long at all!) months, I finally have homemade vanilla extract. I was able to order some organic vanilla beans from the co-op that I am apart of at a reasonable price and a friend of mine (because I just couldn't bring myself to do it!) bought some vodka for me. I know that seems really terrible to say, but it was necessary to pull the good stuff from the beans to make the extract. And anyway, that is what is in your extract sitting in your pantry right now! It is very strong and delicious. I will be doing this again. Hopefully my next batch will make it into pretty jars with pretty labels and we will give some away at Christmas time. It is so super easy and I got the idea from http://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/.
This is definitely not very much in the arena of "self-sufficient" living, but it is a start. We have thoroughly enjoyed everything and the kids have been such a big help in every step of the way!
Thankful for black dirt under fingernails that have been digging potatoes, cucumbers on swollen eyes, chickens getting plump, tomatoes turning ripe, blueberry covered faces, warm cobbler, vanilla flavored everything, a God who makes all things grow (even me).