Make the investments
A dear friend called me late last night to see how my day went. I told her it went well but we didn’t do much. She said oh’ so you sat on the couch all day? I laughed and told her no…
I spent part of the day walking around the yard and house looking and thinking about the investments we are making and the pay offs we have already seen and will see in the future. I thought about this as I did my daily chores of cleaning and caring for the animals, cooking our meals, doing the laundry and cleaning up the dirty floors from the rain the day before.
Sometimes the hard work is in the planning and not the doing stage of projects….at least for me it can be.
I spent some time in the garden looking around and pulling the first few weeds. I am happy how well the radish are doing so far. We had a few for dinner the other night. The cold has kept them crisp and very tasty, not bitter like they will get later in the season. Just about perfect I would say.
I took a chance and planted them weeks early. An investment I was willing to make to cover them each night.
It’s good that even the smallest area can grow food to add so much to a meal and really help with the food budget. Just the few radish we had for a single meal would have cost us around $2.00 for a bunch of 12 or so. They are fresh right at the door step so I didn’t have to drive to find them. I know how they were grown and that they have not been sprayed with who knows what.
This rather sad pot of rosemary has overwintered on my kitchen window sill. It’s not the happiest I have seen it but it will perk up once it warms up a bit. This same plant provided us with plenty of rosemary all last winter for cooking, medicine and crafts. I have plenty both dried and fresh until it starts growing again.
If you are lucky to live in an area where plants live from year to year, or you can grow all year long all the better. I think that if you can take the time and effort to save some of your plants from year to year and they stay healthy its a small but worth the effort investment in future food for your family. Sadly the sage I brought in last fall didn’t make it, I ground up the dried leaves and stems and sprinkled them on the floor of the chicken coop to help with the flies later in the season and the girls may just find it tasty too.
Saving seeds is another small but easy thing to do. In the long run it will pay off. The spinach seeds I saved last fall are doing okay in the early spring garden. They are just getting their first true leaves.
These cute girls are a reminder of an investment last year that didn’t pay off for us. We had chickens and guinea just old enough to start laying when our neighbor’s dog killed every one of them.
We didn’t give up, these were bought at our local farm store and hold promise for the year to come. Now I am not convinced they are Golden Comets although they were sold as such. I think they are a meat bird.
If you notice the single black chick that is a Barred Rock it is quite a bit smaller that the others the same age. Thats okay if they turn out to be meat birds either way they are worth the investment and care to see them to adult hood and their journey from their.
This weekend we picked up the Delaware chicks. A few months from now we should have our own fresh eggs again. Keeping chickens is a good way to provide fresh local food for our family. Their pay back is well worth the little effort the care for them properly. This past winter I have traded baked goods, soap and mending for local fresh eggs. Soon I should have eggs to trade for something else, perhaps fresh produce or fruit?
They should provide 2-3 good years of eggs before their production drops off, and after that they will be good for sitting hens to further the flock here on the farm. We try to keep the cost of keeping them down. I use shredded junk mail and news paper for their bedding vs hay or shavings that we would have to purchase. We are working on a garden area for fresh greens for them. I will let them out to roam around the yard during the day to find their own goodies.
We are putting in a small solar panel to run the electric fence needed to keep the critters out and to provide light come fall and winter. Another small investment that will pay off for us. It will pay for itself in the electric cost and in the cost of running underground wire to the chicken coop.
There are other things around the house that you can do. Making soap is another way I invest in our future. It’s a way for me to slow down, watch what goes into and on our family. It also provides a small income here at the farm.
Baking from scratch using basic recipes is very good for eating healthy and being economical at the same time. By using basic old recipes you are avoiding the use of many new pricy ingredients such as canned milk, exotic herbs and spices. Keeping food basic, simple and tasty is always a good investment. It’s even better when some of the ingredients come from your own back yard.
Baking at home from scratch is one of the best skills you can learn. Any young person will be well served through their life when they learn to cook for themselves from basic ingredients. Both for your health and budget.
Sewing and mending our clothes is another way I invest in our future. It saves the cost of buying new. Sewing curtains, and knitting hats, mittens, face clothes and dish cloths all help our budget. This also serves as additional yet small income here.
It’s an activity I enjoy knowing that a patch on a pair of old work jeans will put them back into service for another day. That the quilt folded on the end of the bed or hanging in the window was made from scraps of fabric saved from old clothing and now has a new life keeping us warm.
All this planning and investment of time and skills is so worth the effort when you look at this happy face covered with peanut butter frosting. It’s so good to know this little face is never further than 2 steps behind me taking it all in and learning to care along the way in this simple life we lead. She one day will be a fine home maker and have the skills needed to care for her family.