This morning, I had an email asking me to put a link on my blog to an editorial about frugal living. The title of it was 10 famous penny pinches that teach frugality. Frankly, the article was pitiful and offended me from a self sufficient and frugal viewpoint. Going to Bloomingdales on double reward days, buying food from the Cheesecake Factory and stockpiling hotel soap is frugal? WHAT???
I learned several years ago that I would never enjoy the easy life. The luxuries so many people take for granted like running hot water, cable tv, telephones, air conditioning, new clothes or vacations weren't something I was going to get no matter how hard I worked. Yes, it upset me, but I learned to deal with it and go on with life. My family decided I needed hot water so they helped out with that. The rest of it, the only thing I really miss is the air conditioning. It really gets miserable in the summer here. I choose to go without because having it would create a debt (electric bill) that I could not pay for.
Once again our farm is suffering from the low side of life. There isn't anyone to blame, we didn't get lazy and quit working. We didn't develop an alcohol or drug problem. One can not predict or prevent a physical illness. Through all the bad times, we've come perilously close to losing our home. More than once in the past few years due to physical illness. As anyone who has been down and out knows, once you're down, it takes a long time to get back to breaking even and even longer to get up over it. We never got that chance this time. So, I reached out for help and some great people stepped up to help us. For that I am very grateful. For me, it's not even close to over, the bad news on the health front just keeps rolling in.
The other day I wrote about the words “self sufficient”. Needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, esp. with regard to the production of food. Emotionally and intellectually independent. Let's look at this definition a little bit. Needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, especially with regard to food. That's right, this farm is self sufficient in regards to food. I do that for us. I also do that for my farm animals. The animals that help to feed me. Emotionally and intellectually independent. It is my opinion that I qualify with this as well. I do not choose to follow along blindly. If I did, I would be eating store bought food and collecting a welfare check for my disability. Emotionally independent, for the most part I am. I don't think asking for prayers qualifies as emotionally needy.
All the work I do around this farm in my efforts to feed us is all being done with, old, used equipment. Nothing came to me new. I make it work. That's part of my job. For the things I can't do around here, I barter with neighbors and other farmers close by to get what I need done. Most of the time, it doesn't come cheap and I end up giving more than I get. Sometimes, it's just how it works. I just deal with it.
The hours I spend tending the gardens and the animals is a labor of love. You can not do this-feed yourself- and hate what you're doing. It just doesn't work. The people out in the world that think they can just throw some seeds in some dirt and feed themselves are in for a huge surprise if and when they ever really have to grow something to eat for themselves. The hours of labor and the gallons of sweat during harvest time are something your average office worker can't even begin to imagine or relate to. Not to mention the feeling you get when you get covered with anything from the business end of an angry cow, or the bruises on the back of your legs from that baby goat who was just dying for his bottle and you took too long.
If you really want to be frugal, try your hand at baking some bread or making your own soap instead of buying it from a store. Nurture a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket and make your own salsa once in a while. Better yet, go to your fuse box and turn off the main breaker for a weekend and learn to live in a more simple fashion.