Saturday, April 4, 2009


I’m not sure where I’ll end up but I plan on having a good time getting there. Like many, I am learning to be more frugal, thrifty, want to eat healthier, and make more of the foods I eat and products I normally buy.

kitchen cubby being converted to pantry

Due to the economy and other circumstances I have begun to explore getting back to basics. A bit of sustainability, some stock piling, organic gardening, and a lot of home cooking.

I’m lucky that my mother, who lives nearby, did a lot of crafty/homestead type things in the 70s and already has a good knowledge base of such things like soap making, gardening, canning, preserving, wine making and more. it’s her renewed interest that really got me going.

newly organized baking and spices cupboard

I’ve started with buying in bulk. I have a small stock pile of canned goods, both ready to eat soups and other foods, and vegetables like corn,beans and tomatoes, that I use a lot of. Also flour, oats and other dry goods. I bought a lot of new storage containers and re-organized all my cupboards.

lots of jars and an old, large canner

Then I started learning to make things we buy a lot of; bread, yogurt, granola etc, and learning to waste less like making croutons and bread crumbs with all that bread I can’t finish, freezing the old carrots, celery, onion bits and fading parsley for chicken stock.

my old garden, now just weeds and a tree

Next came an amazing opportunity that I can’t believe. My neighbor is going to garden my garden. She is going to use me as a guinea pig for a gardening service she is planning, and plant and tend a food garden in my own yard. For free!! (marcia, I hope I can at least barter and supply you with croutons for life!)

planter awaiting herbs and tomatoes

That means canning and preserving! I’ve got tons of jars. I’ve saved, scavenged, and yard-saled. Big jars for veggies, small jars for preserves, tiny jars for dried herbs, bottle for seasoned vinegars and oils.  Found a deal on a canner last week. My mother has a dehydrator. That means beef jerky, fruit leather, dried herbs and the usual dried fruit.

jars for dried herbs

This all sounds so wonderful but part of me questions my own motives. Why am I really doing all this? Will it turn out to just be a hobby? How important to me is organic food, sustainable living, and being frugal. While these are things we think about, they are not (yet?) a passion.

I want it to be more than a hobby. I don’t want this to be a fad for my household. I love doing these things and find it very satisfying but is that enough? What if I can’t get my husband’s support? (He is a techno-geek and is not yet convinced that handmade=better.)

I’d love to wrap up this post with this answers to those questions but I think it will take more time than that. I need to further evaluate why I’m doing this, why I enjoy it, what I expect to get out of it. I’m going to ask the same questions of my husband. If I can’t get him to come on board can I at least get him to understand and respect my motives?

In the meantime I’m collecting recipes, planning for a better pantry and trying to find a spot to put a chest freezer. I’d love to hear others’ experiences, failures and successes as well.