I've spent quite a while focused on myself and my little farm, removed from the general realities of what's going on around me in the world. Not necessarily a bad thing, LOL. As usual, it takes the latest issue of Mother Earth news to remind me that even tho we may be struggling from week to week to keep the bills paid, we are pretty fortunate to live way out in the country. while this country setting may not be the optimal place for an internet connection or finding decent work, it does allow us to provide healthy, clean food for ourselves.
I spent a little time this week sweating under a tree in the town closest to me, connected to an unsecured wi-fi feed. Sticky and uncomfortable but I had a serious urge to read a little news. I found this story about the Raw Milk police once again attempting to control free will. Plus, another new story I just found today. Honestly, I drink raw milk all the time and with the exception of some sort of udder infection in the cow itself, the rest of the bacterias the government claims will harm me all come from poor hygiene/cleaning practices and poor milk handling. I view the USDAs attempted control over my personal diet to be a serious threat to my freedom. Now that I have made my own cheese, there is NO WAY I will ever go back to eating the store bought crap sold as cheese. The simple thought of drinking BGH laced milk makes me shudder. The difference between store bought and home made yogurt is amazing. But, of course, the government thinks we are too stupid to think for ourselves and it's only going to get worse if we do not fight for our right to choose what we eat and when we eat it.
Mother Earth news has an article in this months issue talking about Living on less. I thought overall it was a pretty good article. A reminder for me though, since i do almost everything here myself already. There's also a neat little chart based on an average gross income of $63,000 a year (yah, I wish). It shows where the majority of expenses for the average family are. I found it pretty interesting with housing being the biggest expense, transportation being second and food being third on the list just slightly above insurance. That of course leads right into the very next article- Save Money on Groceries. This article I found to be kind of neat too. the price comparison charts are a big off but maybe they are area specific. I would love to find organic sweet corn for $2.00 a dozen around here. Even at the farmers market where it was picked the day before and sitting out in baskets prebaking in the sun, they still want $1 for 3 ears which is double what the article quotes sweet corn at. I wish I could find peaches so darn cheap too, LOL. $9.00 for a peck of "2nds" from the local orchards here. Since that Dericho, I don't have any fruit trees left and do I ever miss them! But the whole idea is to buy in bulk and preserve it for later use. That's what I do with my garden produce. No doubt I get it in bulk, LOL. No matter what you do tho, the best deal you'll ever find is the cost of what you can grow for yourself.
I once tried to figure out how much money I would spend to stock my pantry with purchased food in the amount equivalent to what I produce for myself. It gave me a migraine headache and I gave up. I did figure out that we saved more than $500 a year just in cheese. Of course, if we had to buy cheese, we'd not eat nearly as much as we do when I make it for us. LOL The way we eat around here, I could easily spend more than our mortgage payment every month buying food from a grocery. We eat pretty well most of the time. I say "most" because every now and then we run out of meat before something else is ready to butcher or a hunting season comes around. We're meat eaters here and not having meat makes us a little cranky, LOL.
I even learned how to make my own laundry soap this year. Thanks to some survival/prepper friends a bit north of me whom I am very fond of and wish I could visit more often, I have a great washing powder that costs just .09 a load! It really does a great job and the clothes have never smelled better. I'm always up for learning something new. Any new little trick to save myself some time and money, make life easier.
I look back over the last 12 months and realize how truly blessed I am to still have a home to live in. Still be here on the farm, thanks to some wonderful people and I am truly grateful. So, all in all, even with this economy and unfriendly job market combined with a government denial of recession, the price of things we need about doubling in the past 18 months, we're still very fortunate folks to be able to provide for ourselves in ways others can not. I pray I can continue to live this free for a long, long time to come.........
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