This post is for those of you who wonder why we do what we do. For those of you who are now wondering, "What do they do?" here is a brief explanation:
We grow/raise about 80%a of all the produce and animal products (with the exception of milk, butter and cheese) we eat all year long. If we don't grow it, we try to buy it locally.
If we can't buy it locally, we ask ourselves, 'do we really need it?' Often we don't. If we do, we buy it at our local, non-chain grocery store. We try to keep all other non-produce/animal product-food purchases to a minimum (flour, sugar, peanut butter, spices, etc. are allowed). This is why I am in a putting-up frenzy this time of year.
Here are a few (ok, more than a few) reasons why we do what we do:
We are in awe of God's creation. The miracle of watching a seed become a plant, produce flowers, bear fruit and yield seed is amazing. The sheer variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs that have been created for our pleasure is overwhelming. We want to respect and relish this by participating in the process first hand.
For our children. We believe that organic homegrown food is healthier. It's picked at peak ripeness and untouched by chemicals. Therefore it's tastier. We want our kids to enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. Who can enjoy (or learn to enjoy) eating a mealy pink tomato or an unnaturally hard and tasteless pear?
We want to teach them patience along with an appreciation for what they have to eat. This means waiting for spring if you want asparagus. And, waiting for late summer if you want tomatoes and watermelon. Earlier this summer, I handed Sam a small bowl of strawberries and told him to share them with Sadie, explaining that these were our last strawberries. He took them in to her and I could overhear him telling her, "Sadie, these are our last strawberries. We won't see them again until next year." I would like to note, he wasn't complaining. Just explaining. He was, in part, incorrect, but the spirit of what he said was dead on (There is a lot of frozen crushed strawberries and jam in our freezer that they will see before next year).
It's in our blood. Both Jamey and I come from gardeners and farmers. I bet it's in your blood, too. If you look.
My double-burner, 8 quart canner inherited from my grandmother.
We want to tread softly. I don't know who coined the phrase 'tread softly' but it explains how we feel. By not buying produce that has to be trucked to us from miles away or flown to us from other countries, we are minimizing resources used. Our kids aren't deprived. I would venture to say that they eat more fruit (and more of a variety of fruit) throughout the year than most. We did buy a few bananas for Sam last Christmas. He hadn't complained about not having them, he just put them on his Christmas list. We bend our rules for very special occasions.
We want to live simply in order to give. This is a reason that has been here all along (at least under the surface), but officially became an integral component to this blog in September, 2010. We strive to live simply so that we are able to give to causes that have dual purposes- those that provide aid (water, food, clothes, shelter) as well as the message of Christ. You can read more about this reason/purpose here where you will also find a list of related posts on the topic.
These values have taken several years to develop. In case you are interested, a few of our MANY inspirations have come from...
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover
Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannon (request a free book here)
"The End of Suburbia", a documentary carried by Netflix. (Thank you, Laura!!)
The British series, "The Good Life". Also carried by Netflix
See You in a Hundred Years by Logan Ward
Path to Freedom's blog and website
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Family and friends who have supported us and inspired us to try growing new things.
So! When you read my posts and are confused by the quantities and frequency of my canning, freezing, etc, thinking, "They are only a family of four!" maybe you'll remember why we do what we do and understand (or at least understand just a little:-)).