Back To Basics - SoGirl Blog at - 243149


Back to basics 
Jul. 12, 2011 5:12 pm 
Updated: Jul. 14, 2011 7:07 am
I had a privileged childhood.  Oh, we weren't by any means least not in monetary terms.  But I had a family who gardened and took full advantage of that garden to preserve the bounty for winter.  We had apple, pear, and persimmon trees in the yard, and a sizeable strawberry patch growing wild in our pasture.  I picked tons of blackberries growing wild along the pasture fence every summer. 

I spent the better part of my childhood with my great grandmother.  My family is "country folk".  They gardened, they grew their own chickens and meat (and smoked the meat, too), they harvested honey from the wild, and made butter churned by hand with milk from a local farmer.

I was privileged to grow up this way.  Trips to the store were very simple;  flour, sugar, peanut butter, coffee...that's about it.  Everything else was right at your fingertips;  you need only go pick the vegetables, shoo the chickens to gather the eggs, or step into that wonderfully fragrant smokehouse to get the ham.  Or head to the root cellar for preserves, jelly, etc. 

I learned to cook largely by watching (and helping) my great grandmother who rarely went a day without cooking at least 2 meals.  I grow misty-eyed thinking about those days. 

And to the present.  Here we are in a society that places the greatest value on monetary things and is willing to pay a premium for convenience.  You need only walk an aisle in the grocery store to see that convenience.  Premade, prepackaged, and consisting of host of ingredients you can't begin to pronounce let alone know exactly what they are!  And they are loaded with salt and sugar. 

The movement has always existed to "live off the land" as they say.  I know that is true.  But never have I desired to be able to do this more than today.  I live in the suburbs, so some of the things are beyond my control.  I can't have cows or goats for milk and butter.  My garden can only be so big, and I am not able to have beehives for my own honey. 

But you know what I can (and will) do?  I can grow as many vegetables as my space allows.  And I can give my business to the farmers in my area who try to wring out a living from the land by visiting my farmers market every week.  I can refuse to buy processed foods.  And I do these things.  I can, I freeze, I pickle.  I buy dairy and meat raised or produced locally, if possible.  Regionally or at least within the state if not possible locally.  I can stay away from McDonald's.  I can actually cook at home! 

If I must buy from the store, it's not processed food.  I make my bread, yogurt, granola, etc.  I am a firm believer that anything the food companies can make, I can make better.  Perhaps not on the first try, but I can do it eventually!  And I can make it healthier with less sugar and salt and with natural ingredients. 

In a few years, my husband and I will move South where we'll find a spot of land.  We'll garden even more (longer growing season--YEAH!!), we'll have a few chickens, and we may even try our hand at a cow or two or a couple of goats.  And we'll continue to visit the farmers markets for anything we can't grow. 

Back to basics.  That's where I'm headed, and I can't wait to get there. 
Jul. 12, 2011 5:47 pm
Best of luck with your dream. Keep believing in it. If I didn't have to work for a living I would be doing more of just what you described myself. If you ever get to do it, it is worth it.
Jul. 12, 2011 7:03 pm
every back to basics idea you succeed at is a good thing. Good luck and hope you get a small piece of land to make and grow more of your own
Jul. 13, 2011 7:25 am
Chef Cheapo, I also have to work which does somewhat limit what I can do. Unfortunate but the meantime (or until I can win the lottery, I'll do what I can! : ) Thanks for the wishes.
Jul. 13, 2011 7:27 am
rg, thanks for the wishes. And I agree...every small step is a success.
Jul. 13, 2011 2:30 pm
The dream is not unattainable. We moved to rural southern VA over 13 years ago, purchased a small farm and added to it as we could. sold some of it to good neighbors and now have 46 acres, pond, barns, etc. Our initial 26 acres + home, barn, pond was an investment of a little more than 100K. You probably won't find that today in an area that is growing economically. The "recession" hit here LONG before the rest of the nation and it will be here long after the rest of the nation has recovered. Jobs are scarce, but if you have an entrepreneuerial spirit and are willing to work hard you can make it. We raised our kids here from age 8 and 4 to fully grown (the baby is turning 18 soon.) We raised chickens, goats, dogs, cats, a garden, and turkeys on occasion. We still have some meat goats and chickens, and the eggs cannot be beat. The best crop we ever raised was our kids. :) Important tip: start looking into property where you'd like to move, try to visit there a couple of times a year, get to know the people there, subscribe to the newspaper, and keep your ear to the ground re: properties and job opportunities. You need not win the lottery to afford a rural life, you just have to be willing to do your homework, work toward it constantly and it will happen. Good Luck!
Jul. 14, 2011 7:07 am
goodfood4ursoul; awesome that you made it work. And thanks for the tips. I was born and raised in the South, and my family is still there. I know the area in which we want to settle very well, and I have been keeping tabs on the real estate market in the area for about a year now. It's a small town area with plenty of reasonably priced real estate available currently. We won't be able to move just yet (my husband shares custody of his son, who has 3 more years of high school left), but we are planning now! I'm very lucky; I work from home and can take the job anywhere. How lucky your kids were to grow up living that life! Thanks for stopping in.
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About Me
I'm a born and bred Southerner now living in the Midwest (temporarily!). I learned to cook by watching and helping my grandmother and great-grandmother, both of whom were wonderful Southern cooks who cooked by "feel" rather than by measuring. And that's how I cook now, too. Recipes are more of a suggestion than instruction for me. I love to garden and use my fresh veggies in my creations, especially salsa and hot sauce, which are my specialties.
My favorite things to cook
Baked goods (especially yeast breads), soups, pizza, roasted and grilled veggies...
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas candy making with my mom. She lives across the country now, so we haven't been able to do that since I moved..better on the waistlines!
My cooking triumphs
Planning an outdoor party for 20 people where the main course and the main side dish were to be grilled. It was POURING when the time came. I moved everything inside and prepared the food on stovetop and oven, and it turned out beautifully anyway.
My cooking tragedies
Making biscuits at my mom's house one time and accidentally using plain flour instead of self-rising. Needless to say, I had to make another batch of biscuits when I realized what I had done! Otherwise, I've been pretty lucky!
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