Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Greener Pastures

After last week's post on DIY plastic bag storage, I started to feel bad about my usage of plastic bags! It just so happened when I went to Kroger on Monday, I found a cute tote that says "Less Plastic. Fantastic!" on sale in the clearance rack, which is so cheesy its cute. Then the Simple Truth grocery bags were $1.99 and positioned very conveniently next to my beloved Luna bars. So, I've officially crossed over into the world of green shopping bags. Literally, and figuratively.

And yes, those are 2 cases of mason jars! Kroger had a bunch of Ball mason jar & canning accessories for sale at a slight discount with the Kroger Card. They had Quart, Pint, 1/2 Pint, and Quilted Jam jars as well as jar 'grabbers' for canning, funnels, herb containers with shaker lids, and tons of canning additives like pectin and dill pickle stuff. Am I the only one who hears "half pint" and thinks "My little half pint of sweet cider half drunk up"? Surely I'm not. 

I bought the jars because I love the vintage look of the glass jars, the versatility they provide, and the fact that I can put drops of my essential oils in them to drink from (which you can't do with plastic - only glass)! You can buy lids with straw holes in them from tons of online sites like this one, and probably even in store. I've also seen that the lids from Parmesan cheese shakers will fit mason jars and you can just slide a straw into the holes. 

Lately, I've really gotten into a kick of learning about homesteading and old fashioned or natural living. Dillon has been telling me for years that he wanted to "own a ranch", which I balked at because I always pictured a huge plot of land with horses and cowboys. (Idk why??) But lately I feel like God has been working on my heart to align me with Dillon a little more and I've turned away from my strong desire to live in suburbia. We are both excited to live on a few acres right outside of town one day when we have the finances to make it happen. (Until then, we are renting in town!) I'd really love to garden and can my own produce, so the display of canning supplies got me itching to buy...but I was good and just got the jars I can use now. 

Until we are financially able to get some land for our forever home, we really want to build up skills to help us be a little more self-reliant and less apt to pay for a product or service that we can save money by doing or making ourselves.  If  you're wondering, we aren't doomsday preppers or survivalists. Those things are often associated with homesteading. We don't think we will live 100% off of our land or live totally like they did 150 years ago. We still love modern stuff like the internet (duh). I just find the "simpler" things like making something from scratch and knowing it came from my garden to be really fun and interesting. I want to learn and pass on skills that most people my age cannot do. We want to steward our bodies well by putting healthy food in. I also love the frugality it will provide after the initial costs are paid off. I've already been saving my family money by making our cleaning supplies. I know for a fact that I am called to homeschooling, homemaking, and providing my child(ren) with practical skills. Growing food will teach them responsibility, as well as many science lessons, history lessons, and team work --  as I'm sure we will have more than one child working together. We are also looking into having chickens to yield fresh eggs daily, which could bring in some money at a farmer's market. In the not so distant future when we have a deep freezer, we plan to buy half of a grass-fed cow in different cuts of meat because I've heard its so much better tasting and of course, has health benefits.  

farm fresh eggs

Literally, when we talk about this stuff, we are both just beyond excited!  After my post about transitioning out of college, its obvious that my life needs to be simplified. I need to submit to God's will and connect with Him. I need to forego the typical 'American Dream' of consumerism-to-a-fault and thrive on the cultivation of my family and our land. And yes, I know that gardening and natural living is hard work, but the fulfillment it will bring makes the difference. 

By preparing myself with skills that our great grandmothers were all expected to know, or were at least familiar with, by the time they married (which for mine was 15 years old) I am obviously helping my family, helping the planet, and keeping myself mentally on my toes. It will be a fascinating journey. 

If you are interested in natural living, if you garden, raise chickens, or frequently shop the farmer's market, message me or leave a comment! Point me towards good boards on Pinterest, Blogs, or Facebook pages. I want to hear from you!