Thursday, August 27, 2009


I decided to re-post this from Dec 30th of last year. With the economy going the way it is, with me being layed off for so long, and all of us not knowing what the future holds, it just seems more relevant now than it did in December.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

After reading Farmergeeks response on his blog about the Boy Scout books, it somehow reminded me of my youth. Nope, I was never a scout, but I had always wanted to be one. I wanted to wear that uniform, I wanted to go on outings, have friends, and learn from them, but it never happened for several reasons. One, my parents never liked to drive anywhere other than work or to the store. Two, they could never have afforded anything I would have needed to be in the scouts. And three, dad always said they were wimps, lol, I imagine he couldnt get in either...grumpy old fart. Plus I was a very nervous kid..really withdrawn,shy, and afraid of everything. Hard to belive ain't it??? lol

While growing up, I never learned any of the wilderness survival skills in the scout books like making a shelter or tying knots, but I learned a lot from just living, even though at the time I didn't realize it. I learned to garden, I learned to shoot and hunt, I learned to fish, I learned how to preserve food, and I learned how to live on next to nothing. Times were hard at home, nearly my entire youth was spent from check to check by my parents barely making ends meet.At that time in the late 60's and early 70's, concrete guys just plain didnt work in the winter, so dad was always layed off.

To understand where I'm coming from, I'll go into a little detail:I grew up with my mom, dad, and sister on 3 acres in a small township in the same county I live in now. Our house was a 3 room basement home. NOT 3 bedrooms, 3, living room, backroom, thats it. We slept in the same room as our parents on bunkbeds till I was about 12, when dad seperated the 2 rooms. Heat in the house was via an oil burning stove in the center of the living room,no ductwork, just radiant heat.(so even though we had our own room, we had to keep the door open when it was cold) We had well water attached to a kitchen sink and a washing machine, and that was all. We bathed in an old galvanized washtub with hot water from the sink. Our toilet was an indoor outhouse of sorts, inside a closet in the backroom. Basically just a frame with a seat and bucket underneath, with a matching real outhouse behind the old shed that was about 80 yards from the house.In the evenings after dark, dad carried that bucket to the outhouse, 365 days a year. We finally got a real bathroom with a tub, shower, and toilet when I was 15, so we (sis and I)thought we were rich. We had a black and white tv attached to a 25 foot antenna tower dad scrounged from a jobsite, with a grand total of 5 stations. (anyone else remember antenna rotors?) I believe I was around 18 or 19 when we got basic cable.I remember an old rotary phone in the house till around '85 as well. The flat tar roof leaked, the floor was almost always damp, the bare block walls cold, and the place always smelled of heating oil and Hoppes gun cleaner. (though I still love the smell of Hoppes, lol)

Food was always a big issue. During the warmer months, we ate what we deemed as "normal" food, though most was the cheapest cut available, and usually other things from the dented can bins at the local Sparkle Market. We busted our asses with a decent sized garden all summer, and I grew to hate it as a kid. I remember many days of pushing myself and my sister through green briar to pick blackberries, as well as wild grapes, so mom could make jellies and jams to can or freeze. (I still hate freezer jam though!) We never had any animals other than beagles, so our only meat source other than the store (when dad was working) was hunting. I can't begin to imagine how many meals we had that were duck, squirrel, or rabbit. At the time there were still pheasants in this part of Ohio, and we were always excited to bag one since it meant a good sized dinner. I think the worst time we had was one winter when dad and I set off hunting on Thanksgiving morning hoping to get a pheasant so we didn't have to have rabbit for dinner. Luckily we got one that day .

Funny how life works, isn't it? Most of my life I hated the way I grew up and resented my parents for making us live that way. We were "forced" to help around the house and garden. We had to use an outhouse when everyone else had a real bathroom. We had to watch an old b&w tv when the neighbors had color, remote control AND cable! All through my teens 20's,and early 30's, I pulled myself as far away from that life as I could, buying and doing everything I could, just because I could.

But here I sit, typing and thinking about all of this and realize something. I'm going back to that way of life on purpose. It makes me chuckle to think about it, but it also makes me kinda sad. I wasted all that time trying to ignore who/what I really am. It took me all this time to find myself, but I made it. Without my childhood, and without Lisa's encouragement I would never be where I am now.....make that-WE would never be where WE are now.Without going into any detail, she grew up ver similar in a house not much bigger with FOUR siblings...and I thought I had it tough! Sometimes I write in this blog like it's all me, but it's far from it. Lisa had taken every step right beside me the whole way,taking this incredible journey of lifestyle change that we are on.Though they'll never see this, thank you mom and dad for making me who I am today, and thank you Lisa for your love and encouragement. You are my guiding light down this path to self sufficiency.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Today the forecast calls for sunny and warm, a nice break from the wet and cloudy weather we've had off and on the the last week. I plan to spend most of the day outside, catching up a bit and generally cleaning up. I need to finish tilling the new herb bed, mow, weed the garden a bit, do some laundry, clean the chickenhouse,and just pick up things kinda laying around. I'm horrible for leaving garden tools out! lol Not a really busy day, and nothing really labor intensive, just a lot of little things that need done.
Yesterday we decided to take a day away from the house and go out shopping a bit. One of Lisa's co-workers told her about a store in a mall an hour away that had some bellydance skirts, so she wanted to just go look. For those that don't read Lisa's blog, she has been taking lessons once a week and working with a dvd every night. She's always loved to watch bellydancing, and finally decided to try it. The lessons are only $10 a week, so it's not really much of anything off the budget. She's feeling better, her knees aren't aching as much as they used to, and she is losing weight. She's happy about all of it, plus loving to learn something that has always intrigued her. I'm very proud of her.
Anywhoo.......we drove to this mall yesterday and found two stores that had some outfits. (did I mention that I *HATE* shopping malls?? I'd rather take a beating than go to a mall lol) We walked the whole place, and only one store caught my interest. It was just a t-shirt store, and I do love concert/band shirts. I looked around, saw a few I liked, but decided I didn't really need a $20 t-shirt right now. I decided that instead, I would look for a new hunting vest since squirrel season is right around the corner, and my old one finally fell apart. Dicks Sports carries huntin' stuff right? this particular one, their hunting clothes section consisted of camo raingear and a couple hats. There was also a chinamart attached to the mall, so I tried there as well. That was actually a joke. I have more in the basement than their entire outdoor section had. I suppose I shouldn't have expected to find much being in the Cleveland area, but I was still disappointed and kinda ticked off. We left the mall and headed for home.
Lisa decided she didn't want to go home yet since we haven't been out much since the layoff. We stopped on the way to this really big health/natural market that my sister worked at for years. That place was PACKED! We had no intenetions on buying anything, we just wanted to look at produce prices and at some of the more natural cleaners and such. Ummm...."organic" tomatos, 2 for $1??? I don't think so. "free range organic" ground beef for $8 a pound? You gotta be kidding me! All natural/eco friendly dish liquid for $7 a bottle????? Not a chance in .... There are some great products there, but the prices are just insane. But.....that doesn't stop the customers. I saw baskets and carts full of produce and other groceries, all smiling at the checkout line like they themselves are saving the planet from doom and destruction. I just had to laugh a bit, knowing that most of the same people have manicured lawns and flowerbeds that could easily grow the same produce for a fraction of the cost. I just can't imagine spending $100 a week on groceries there, it just boggles my mind. I guess that right now it's just the "trendy" thing to do. Lisa picked out a box of cereal to try, we got drinks, and the latest copy of Mother Earth News (our subscription ran out),and got the hell outta dodge.
Foolishly, I ran across the street and tried yet another Dicks and Chinamart, and both of course didn't have any vests. Dicks of course, had racks and racks of camo clothes for the upcoming deer season. Leafy camo, 3-D camo, scentblocker camo, fall camo, green camo....a sea of neverending camo. Not a one thing out for the average joe small game hunter at all.UGH!! I again got disgruntled and left. I finally decided to go past the house to a Gander Mountain store, surely THEY would have a vest. Well....they did. I wanted a plain old Carrhart hunting vest. No frills, no fancy camo, just a canvas vest with pockets and a game pouch. Of course, there weren't any. I did get one that was similar with some hunter orange on it, figuring I wouldn't find any others unless we headed further south or went to a store I knew of an hour and a half away. This one will do just fine. I got my vest, Lisa found 2 pair of jeans (buy1 get 2nd at 1/2 price) since she needed new ones, (down 2 sizes! Great job hun!) and we finally headed for home.
I wanted the vest because I plan on doing more small game hunting this year. I miss hunting as much as I used to,and I want something else to suppliment the freezer. I have no problem at all filling it with squirrel and rabbit, and *possibly* the occasional pheasant. I grew up on all of these as regular meals, so there is no reason not to now. I need to call my uncle and see if I can sight in my 22 rifle at his place, and go get a box of 20ga shells since somehow I don't have anything but 12's laying around. I WON'T use a 12ga for squirrel, thats just insane. That's like using a 30.06 to keep chipmunks out of the garden, lol. I remember the days back at the gunshop when guys would come in for shells to go Squirrel hunting...Winchester 3"XX copper plated 4 shot!! Their excuse was "them tall tree's". Funny, I didn't know Ohio had any 100 foot tall sicimore trees, hahaha. I can't imagine what was left of those squirrels after being blasted with those, wow. I never used anything beyond 20ga 6 shot for ANYTHING. Guess it takes all kinds....Hey! Maybe those guys were after that squirrel on the top of my page! hahahahahahahaha
At the request of someone who commented on my last entry,later tonight I'm going to work on a post of recipes. Not food recipes, but some for homemade cleaners. We haven't bought any cleaners or laundry detergent for quite some time, and all have worked well except for the latest one. It was for dishwashing liquid, and we're just not happy with it at all. We'll look for another recipe, but in the meantime, I'll post the ones we do use on a regular basis.

Blog Archive