Good morning everyone!
My usual Saturday post is a little delayed, as we had a BIG birthday party in our family yesterday! Our little nephew Nolan had his FIRST birthday bash yesterday, and it was so much fun! I can’t believe time has gone that quickly already… It seems like just yesterday that he was just a little fart, now he’s a solid 20 pounds of love (and super adorable)!
I think that one of my favourite things about our family is that I am the go-to cake maker. For Nolan’s birthday, I was asked to make some Emerson-friendly cupcakes (Emerson is Nolan’s older brother who has a dairy and egg allergy), and it was fun to find a recipe, tweak it a little so that it worked for us, and made something for the party that everyone could enjoy. I was worried that my first kick at vegan cupcakes would be a bust, but from what I heard, they were delicious!
The recipe that I started with can be found here:
This weekend has had us going over our homesteading goals, and really finding out what it means for us to be homesteaders. As we are SUPER excited about it, when people ask us “What’s new?” in the past couple weeks, we have been telling them that we are heading down the path of homesteading.
And we get the blankest stare.
Then come the questions about what that means, as there really is a variance in what people think of when you mention becoming more self-sufficient. Most people though, have the perception that we are going to go off grid, cut ties to the world, adopt a more Amish mentality, and stop bathing. Although some of that is correct, we both have been quick to explain that for us, it really is the baby steps that I had mentioned in my last post being put into motion, and building onto that as we see fit. And it is coming up with a more purposeful life as we currently live it. Our main thing is focusing on us, our families, and things within our control, while reducing the amount we waste, whether it is time, energy, or money.
In the past couple months, we have done a few things that have set us up for a more simple set-up around here, that are extremely basic. They are as follows:
- Washing the dishes by hand everyday instead of running the dishwasher every day.
Now this seems simple, as people do dishes by hand all the time. My grandmother did her dishes by hand every single day, twice a day, so why is this a feat? Well. In our modern day society, it’s convenient to do things the easiest way, and having a machine that washes your dishes is the bomb, right? But honestly, doing dishes by hand gives me time a the end of the day to think about life, set some goals, slow down an evaluate, and in looking out my kitchen window, realize that one of my chores really needs to be wash the outsides of all my windowpanes. I also have realized that in our kitchen remodel in the next few years, I want a bigger kitchen window overlooking my yard, so I can take it all in at the end of the day.
- Using the clothesline for (almost) every load of laundry Again, something to take it back. And in looking at the Amish and Mennonite families that have moved in around our area, I am definitely behind on the times in using 0 power to dry my clothes. As mentioned above in the varying degrees of “homesteader”, I am very much still pro washing machine, but in the summer time, I want to be able to harness as much wind and sun energy as I can and have my dryer (almost) never run. For the past couple weeks we have been watching the weather reports and planning laundry days accordingly, with our dryer only running to dry up our undies and socks, and that’s mainly because our currently clothesline is only so long, and it fills up quickly with each sock and pair of underwear being hung.
- Using the power of our township’s recycling system So, I want to say, about 3 weeks ago we received a sheet from our dump attendant, letting us know what we should and shouldn’t be recycling at our local landfill. Now, I wish I would have had this list MONTHS ago, when I believe that the new recycling contract was issued, as the list of old items (newspaper and plastic containers) literally exploded 10 fold, and now there are very few items that you can’t recycle that would be bound for the pit. I highly recommend that if you live in a rural municipality, you start by recycling as much as you can through your municipality’s system, and if your area doesn’t have a recycling system, you put yourself on the next counsel meeting and ask why not. Now it’s just to keep reminding Jim that the item he just threw out is in the wrong bin!
- Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without This is really a big thing around here. Admittedly, I am still not where I’d like us to be on the minimalist front, in that we still have a ton of acquired junk hanging around our house, but we essentially have stopped buying (outside of groceries of course). We really are looking at all our our possessions in terms of time to maintain vs. the level of happiness and enjoyment brought, and we have come to learn that there isn’t a whole lot around here that is critical to our spiritual well being. That being said, if something we have has an alternate use to it, we will recycle the item into something that will be more useful for us. For the most recent example, yesterday I took part of my hoard of old ripped jeans (who can ever throw out denim?) and made new bean bags for our cornhole boards. Team dark skinny jeans vs. light wash boyfriend cut anyone? And they didn’t cost me a dime to make!
- Delete the Facebook account. (yes, I said it)
Admittedly, a couple months ago I was absolutely overwhelmed. Mentally, physically, spiritually. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I knew I had to make some changes.
In talking with a sweet therapist, I learned about myself that I am one of those people who can’t stop mulling over things that I have 0 control over, and I use the word “should” more than I need to.
In essence, I was spending way too much mental time focusing on things I couldn’t control, and I also learned that I was big on comparing my life to others. Deleting Facebook has been one of the most amazing things that I have done for my own well being in awhile. You’re taking an amazing trip? Great. Post that on your blog or Instagram and I will be all over it. But there is SO much stuff posted consistently on Facebook that isn’t interesting, constructive, or that I give a shit about. So I don’t!
Plus, honestly, as naive as it may sound, not worrying about world issues and containing my mental, physical and emotional strength to things in my bubble has helped me chill out. A lot. Even ask Jimmy.
So now we are just putting the finishing touches on the gardens, are working on revamping our cold room, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new chickens!
Sending tons of ‘steader love,
Laurie & Jim