Sunday, July 5, 2009

Holiday weekend and a new challenge

This weekend was really nothing special whatsoever. None of our families and friends have any big holiday get-togethers to go to. We would have one here, but some wouldn't show because we have dogs (yea I know, its a silly reason), some wouldn't come because they don't understand the way we live, and my folks wouldn't come because it's the other side of the county and you obviously need a passport to come here. So.....we just stayed home by ourselves, caught up on some things around here, and Lisa made a delicious roast in the dutch oven over a fire with potatos and corn on the cob. We didn't even go see fireworks, though we were invited. Our friends like to get there THREE HOURS early to get a good spot, and neither of us was up for that. Three hours early, 45 minutes worth of fireworks, and an hour to get home from what it usually 15 thanks. My friend Bill came over and we sat around a nice small fire till about 11:00 then came inside and gorged ourselves on ice cream and watch a concert DVD he brought with him. (Whitesnake-Slide It In tour 1984! Oh yea!) So, it was a good 4th of July, just not the kind you usually hear about.

On Friday I had to take the belly mower off of the LoBoy because one of the 3 blades wasn't turning. Luckily it was just a loose bolt, but while I had it off, I removed all the blades and balanced and sharpened them. I greased all the fittings, gave it 3 coats of yellow impliment paint, and put it back on. BOY did it mow better! lol Amazing what sharp blades do, hahaha. Saturday was nearly a whole day standing at the chipper, making enough to fill the 4x8 trailer. It was enough to fill the whole flowerbed in the front of the house, so it worked out great. It's not the pretty dyed color coordinated mulch that everyone around us has, but hey, it does what it's supposed to do and it didnt cost me but just a gallon of gas. Today I hauled the giant brushpile to the neighbors fire pit, then cleaned and raked that whole area which will now leave more room for firewood, which we'll need since we have been cooking entire meals outside at least 3 days a week now. We discussed the other rr ties and concrete bumpers I have to get out at mom n' dads place, and what to do with them. We decided on 3 new areas for food and herbs, and layed out the spots in the yard. Hopefully later this week I can get those here so we can start planting them. I'll have all the sod pulled and the area's tilled, so all I have to do it set them in place and plant/seed. Here we grow again.....more food, less to mow. We even talked about adding 2 more dwarf apple trees out front, and making a long (48x2) bed around them all, so I dont have to zig-zag mow around them all. At this rate, sometime next year I will be able to mow in 5 minutes, lol.

Over the years, and especially the last 2-3, we have set ourselves goals and met them. We have faced challenges and conquered them. We have simplified and frugal-ized our lives more than I could have ever imagined.
We grow & raise most of our own food
We make our own bread
We make our own household cleaners
We make our own bar soap
We make our own laundry detergent
We make our own deodorant
We have no cable or sattelite tv
We eat no processed/frozen/prepackaged food
We will soon be using a wringer washer for washing clothes
We are in the end of week 4 without a hot water tank
We make our own jam, jelly, tomato sauces, soups, salsa, hot sauce,horseradish, and more
I buy most of my clothes from thrift stores
Etc, etc, etc.

Now this weekend we discussed yet another change/challenge-Eating Local. Our plan is to follow that of many people we have read about, and ONLY buy things we cannot grow or raise ourselves from someone/place within a 100 mile radius. Since we do so much here at home, it isnt much of a list, but some things will be challenging.

Finding local meat was easy, we found a place not 10 minutes away that raises and processes their own beef, and buys their pork from someone less than an hour away. The challenges will be finding a local dairy, and finding local grown/ground grain/flour. Sugar, salt, & some spices will be impossible, but the rest should be easy to find. Changing eating habits to eating what is in season will make things much easier, though we will have this season's canning to fall back on. Anyone who buys a tomato at the grocery store in January knows what it tastes like.....usually the styrofoam packaging it is packaged in. Eating in season will eliminate that completely. So....we have decided to skip the usualy 30-40 jars of salsa this year, and concentrate on pasta sauces, tomato soup, etc, being things we won't have to worry about trying to find locally. The one family we read about allowed themselves 2 non-local items per month, which in our case could be as easy as salt and sugar. We're starting this challenge this week, so we'll keep everyone posted on how it goes.

Beyond all of that, I will be finished that wreck of a basement at Lisa's work this week. Tomorrow I will start hauling off the things they don't want, which will be coming here for a yard sale. Then I get a construction sized dumpster on Friday morning and have until 4pm to get it all hauled up and in, before it gets picked up at 4pm. probably Wednsday since it is Lisa's half day at work, I'll get the shrubs pulled up and the soil ready to plant something yet undecided in their place.


Anonymous said...

glald you painted the mower deck...will look better in the wedding pictures! lol You shower in cold water?? eeek. The new gardens sounds real good!! ...debbie

Chris W said...

LOL Lisa said the same thing about the mower. No we don't shower in cold water. We've been heating water on the stove in 2 big stock pots and taking baths.

mmpaints said...

Hey Chris, I like the challenge idea, very cool. You guys are ahead of me on the laundry soap and deodorant, are you making milk/lye soap for the bars? I'm dying to make goat milk soap. It's kind of liberating without TV, isn't it?
Have you thought of a "camp shower"? Since you heating your water, it would work well. Or, maybe set up a wood fired hot water system? Like you need another project, eh? LOL

Chris W said...

mm, the soap Lisa has made so far is from lye, just scented with oils. So far its been chocolate and grapefruit tangerine oakmoss. I'm thinking of making our own lye sometime down the road, just not sure when.

I actually thought of the camp shower, it's a good idea. Right now though, it's another $100 that we don't have, so it has to wait too. I'd love to have wood fored hot water AND heat, but the township won't allow outdoor burners here. For now we'll just stick with the stove top method. lol

Angie said...

Love the idea of the 100 mile diet, just never have made the effort to look at whats available around here. I imagine I probably can find all I need here with all the agriculture here in western Ohio. Thanks for the reminder to get going with this idea! BTW, we have just installed an outdoor woodburner that will heat our water also.

Lynnanne said...

There's a really cool solar shower idea in the June/July issue of Mother Earth News that you might like. Worth checking out -- pg. 18

I'd like to hear more details on how you make your soap... where you get your supplies (especially the lye), etc.

Anonymous said...

Having had worked on tug boats and many other boats, After the wedding you may want to repaint the engine a lighter color(green , red , orange even) so you can see the oil leaks and fix them before they become a problem..just a suggestion.It really does allow you to catch things that just need a tightening of a bolt before it turns into something much more expensive.

Anonymous said...

ohhh and a bug sprayer makes a ok shower, you can leave it in the sun to get warm or use the hot water in it..another boat trick. The stream is kinda weak but it works and you wont use the whole thing of water. You can shop around for a high output one...that might have a better stream, but I used a discount one..I think it held 1 1/2 gals. I used it for about 9 months while I was anchored out on a sailboat with only solar power and propane for cooking.Looking back it was one of my favorite places Ive ever lived.The 15 minute row to shore kept me in pretty good shape too.

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