A few weeks ago I read an article in Acres USA about a successful Eco-Farmer. One of his tips in order to succeed in today's world, was to keep an updated blog. He advised that no matter how busy you are, to at the very least add a new blog post once a week otherwise your website will become stagnant. This really hit home for me. Here is a farmer who is wildly busy yet he manages to update his blog. If he can do it, shouldn't I be able to do it too? But what to blog about? There is so much going on but what will my readers be interested in hearing about?
While browsing Amazon.com for books on farm business I read many review where the buyers of these books were terribly disappointed because they wanted to learn how to farm, not learn how to do the bookkeeping. Yet this is exactly what I was looking for. I am already farming, already homesteading. I don't need to read yet another book about how to till or not till the soil or how much sun a tomato needs or have chickens explained to me. This is not to say I don't read these types of books, I do, I just don't read as many as I did in the beginning. The more books I found of interest for my farm business, the more reviews I discovered with this same complaint. This sparked an idea for one of my blog sections. What better way to practice this minimum of a post a week thing then to discuss homesteading?
I will start at our humble beginnings. I hope you enjoy our story.
If you visit your local natural food store, you have probably seen the free health magazines. Delicious Living, Better Nutrition, Energy Times, etc. These magazines along with a host of health issues at a very young age are what started me on the path I am on now. It started very simply in the beginning. Go to the doctor for an aliment. Have the doctor run tests, say there is nothing wrong, that you are young, write a prescription or two & send you on your way. Obviously something is wrong because I know I don't feel right. Anyone with common sense will know that this approach didn't help me get better, if anything it made mw worse.
Our diet was your typical sad American diet. I diligently clipped coupons & shopped the local grocery stores sales flyer to get the best deals. I fell for the soy milk is better for you than regular milk lie & as a result started drinking loads of soy milk and eating loads of tofu. We would bring Slim-Fast to work to have for lunch. We added a generous chunks of tofu to our Slim-Fast & put it in the blender, then stored it in Tupperware tumblers with lids to tote to work. It helped us stay full longer & we were getting all that so called healthy soy protein. We ate fat free cookies, TV dinners, Quorn (because we were told meat was unhealthy), cereal bars, instant oatmeal, used artificially sweetened & flavored coffee creamers, used Splenda, enjoyed mixed drinks of hard alcohol with diet coke, ate chips & fat free crackers. We used conventional beauty products such as antiperspirants, lotions with artificial fragrance, fluoride toothpaste that made the lining in our mouths peel away, wore perfumes & colognes, had Glade PlugIns in every single room, used harsh toxic cleaners & laundry detergents, the list goes on & on.
We did not exercise. We had sedentary jobs that took us 45 minutes to get to and 45 minutes to 1 hour to return home from thanks to rush hour traffic. We sat on our bums in the car, sat on our bums at work, sat on our bums at home watching TV. We were not obese but we were certainly not fit or at an ideal weight.
Not once did a traditional doctor ask me about my lifestyle. I never was asked what supplements I took, how well I slept, what my job was or any other relevant information.
As the health problems grew, my mother started sending me the free magazines from the health food store along with vitamins & healthy snacks. We started to shop at the natural foods section in the grocery store. We were floored at how expensive everything was. This is how rich people shop, not a couple barely making more than minimum wage. Yet this was working for us.
Gradually all our conventional food items were phased out & replaced with natural or organic foods. We started to question what the doctors told us & began to take our health in our own hands & we began to heal. We ate nearly the same way as before except we swapped out conventional for natural & organic. We switched from conventional household products to natural & organic. We threw away all of our PlugIns, room sprays & anything else we learned contained toxic ingredients.
At the time there was no USDA Certified Organic. It didn't exist. We had to trust the manufactures. These were small businesses then. Now most of them have been gobbled up by the big manufactures. Back then Burt's Bees, for example really was a small business, not part of the Colorox Company like it is now.
Health problems like unexplained rashes went away. Headaches became a thing of the past. We had more energy, slept better & to put it simply started to get more joy out of living. All of this just by switching from a conventional lifestyle to an organic one. The extra cost of such a lifestyle proved in more ways than one to be worth every penny.
We decided to start our own organic garden next. This proved to be much more work than we'd anticipated, yet we stuck with it. There was something about being outdoors with our hands in the soil that was addictive, even therapeutic. We no longer sat on our bums when we got home from work. Instead we would come home, pour a glass of home brewed organic unsweetened green tea, then hit the garden to pull weeds, squish bad bugs, & bring in that days harvest so I could make dinner.
We stopped spending so much time on the couch watching pointless TV shows & sipping hard mixed drinks. We cancelled our cable. We went for long bike rides & walks to the bay. We jumped in the creek during the summer to cool off. We caught frogs & let them go. We picked wild blue berries, watched barn sparrows & crawled around the cranberry bogs in the fall to make cranberry sauce. Life was busy but in a good way. I read more, including a lot of homesteading books such as The Encyclopedia of Country Living & Back to Basics. I also read a lot of books on natural health such as Nourishing Traditions & Wild Fermentation. These types of books & our new healthy lifestyle made us want more.
We started visiting Murray Mcmurray where we oo'd & ahh'd over all the beautiful birds. We wanted them all, preferably one of each & all hens. My much younger half sister was going to a livestock auction & she offered to pick us up some chickens. "Get us big ones!" we exclaimed. The next day we were the proud owners of two spent hens. We knew nothing about caring for chickens. We didn't even know what kind of chickens they were. All we knew was, we had chickens!
In my next post: Chickens, Housing, Eggs, & Entertainment!
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