Real Life

One of the things that country living means to me is making do, or self suffiency. It all ties in with frugal living, simple living, even preparedess, but it's at heart, a hands-on type of doing for oneself by choice.

It's the difference between making a quilt from leftover fabric and worn out shirts and in buying one ready made. It's the difference in buying yogurt and making your own, in adjusting a thermostat and adjusting a log on the fire, in going to a movie theater and going on a leisurely stroll to watch nature.

What brought this on is watching the changing seasons. We are slowly turning from winter to spring. Leftover winter projects need to be finished now, before warm weather lures us outside.

There is mending to be done, jeans to be hemmed, a pouf footstool to complete and a myriad of other things to get finished and/or put away while watching for daffodils to bloom and seeing the pinkish balls of rhubarb begin to push up from the earth. Seedlings have to be watched, other seeds have to be started.

When you do things for yourself, you create the kind of life that depends on the changing seasons. You're in touch with nature, no matter where you live.

You don't have to give in to the pull of concrete and plastic and blacktop. Shopping malls have their allure for almost everyone, but that's not where real life is.I find that in my back yard, in my pantry still offering with good food from last year's garden, from my sewing basket and my knitting needles.

Where do you find your real life?


The best seeds to have in a long term emergency

There are so many fear mongers out there that are simply selling fear and making a good deal of money at it. This includes doomsday seed packages. Please don't buy them.

I'll tell you why.

1. Seeds don't keep forever, no matter how they are stored. You will find the germination rate of certain seeds to be disappointing after even a couple of years.

2. If you don't grow these foods now, how will you know how to grow them in an emergency situation? Learning to garden is one of the best disaster preparations you can make.

3. If you don't know how to save your own seed from the food you grow, what will you do after the first season in a long term "emergency"? You will use up your seeds and then what? Now is the time to learn and to keep the seeds from year to year. Then you will be prepared.

4. Those seed packets may be good seed, but the best seed is that which is acclimated to your garden. Plants become more acclimated every year you grow from your own saved seed.

5. Not all foods are domesticated. Some of the most important foods will be found in the wild. As a rule, wild foods are more nutritious than those we humans have manipulated for other reasons, such as color, how long it will last and how well it holds up to marketing conditions. Besides the seeds you know how to grow and can save, learn the wild foods in your area.

In an emergency situation, the last thing you need is a plant that needs extra water or that doesn't like a few weeds or that needs precise amounts of sunshine.Wild foods, foods that you have learned to grow and foods that are acclimated to your specific area, will grow with less work and worry and produce more and better food.

So if you're still thinking about preparedness, get your garden going this spring. Plant the food you want to eat, learn how to save the seed from it and how to preserve it, too, so you won't starve in the winter.