Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How We Homestead Series-Week Three

This is the third installment in a 5-week series 
about the origins of our homesteading endeavor.
Today we discuss
 Real Food.
Please make sure to join these four bloggers 
who write from their own perspectives:

 In all honesty, 
there was a time when I didn't give food much thought.
Once I started working full-time, some 30 years ago,
food was a means to an end.
I just needed to keep myself fed so that I could continue working
and doing the things I enjoyed on my time off.
Most of this time has been as a vegetarian, 
although I now eat fish.

 Several classes were taken along the way.
Courses on vegetarian cooking, 
nutrition and other health-related issues
were a few things that were explored in my 20's and 30's.

 After I had Lil' Guy, my perspective changed.
It was one of my highest priorities 
to ensure his good health by cooking from scratch.
We cut out preservatives, dyes, artificial colors and flavors
and wafted toward more organic and natural products.
Most of our meals were prepared at home by me, 
so that I could be sure we were eating as healthily as possible.

Then Lil' Guy developed asthma.
Or so I thought.
After a few years of being on all kinds of meds to treat it,
trips to the pulmonologist and numerous tests and treatments,
I finally figured out that he was actually sensitive to wheat.
Once I removed that from his diet, his "asthma" disappeared.

He hasn't taken asthma meds in over 7 years.

He still suffers from many sensitivities,
so I'm still cooking from scratch.
He must avoid wheat, dairy, soy, 
apples, bananas, coconut, white potatoes
and a few other foods.
 I had to learn a whole new way of cooking to keep my boy healthy.

I think he's the only 12-year old I know 
who's never been to Mickey D's
and has absolutely no desire to sample their wares.

 It wasn't until I watched "Food, Inc." 
that I really thought about where our food was coming from.
I forced Big K to watch it too and his eyes were opened.
It was decided then and there 
that we would make a more concerted effort
to support food providers 
who treated their animals with dignity and respect.
We started going to the farmer's market to seek out these vendors.
Unfortunately, in our town, no one was growing organic
or even selling their own produce.

I was determined to find the resources we desired.
 A small garden was started in our backyard with inconsistent results.
I had a lot of growing to do, in so many ways.

It got me started on a local search for organic and humane providers.
It hooked me up with a local CSA, about whom I posted a story.
As much as I really loved what they were doing there,
we weren't able to make the monetary commitment.
The next step was Craig's List.

I found local free-range eggs.
I went to meet Colleen and her hens and liked what I saw.


Then I hit the Motherlode.
In the "farm & garden" section, I had seen a small ad stating, "Pesticide-Free Produce".
The phone number stayed on my desk for a couple of weeks 
until something compelled me to call the number.

The most amazing folks were on the other end of the phone.
We've been buying produce from them ever since
and we now consider them good friends.
As if that's not enough, 
 they are allowing me to apprentice at their farm
so that I can learn to be a better gardener.
All I can say is that I am so very blessed.
It's been a long journey,
but I know that every step was a necessary part of the trek.

One of the best things I started doing since 
diving into this homesteading lifestyle
is make homemade bread.
Bread is almost a religion around here.
We are big carb lovers.
If you think making bread from scratch is too much trouble,
perhaps we don't share the addiction.
Count your blessings.

But try it anyway.  You won't regret it.

I still have plans to master canning, 
hosting bees for honey and chickens for eggs,
but we aren't able to pursue those things in our present location.

When we relocate to North Carolina,
we will be using the Local Harvest website 
to aid in finding our new community.
We want to live near farms, farmer's markets 
and folks who share our concerns about food and the environment.
We are willing to work hard to lead a more independent lifestyle.
We want to know our food is safe 
and that the earth that grows it is being well cared for.

We want to live a conscious life in every way possible.
These priorities in our lives will surely lead us 
to the perfect place to start Maple Hill.
The dream is taking flight...

How We Homestead Week One
How We Homestead Week Two

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