Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sometimes while reading online forums, emails, blogs, comments here, or even talking to Lisa and friends, I get reminded that I am not the "normal" husband or guy. At times it makes me laugh, and at others makes me wonder what other men really do at home.

A *huge* amount of comments I get are about sports. I've never watched a game of anything in my life, it's simply never interested me. This always gets reactions, especially from guys. It's either that dog head cocked sideways look, or comments like "what kind of man are you". I've tried watching football, and frankly, never got the game or the big interest in it. You wanna throw me a ball and then knock me on my ass to get it back? Here, I'll save ya the trouble...handing back. It's been the same with baseball. YOU hit a ball with a stick as hard as you can and expect ME to go chase it? I don't think so. Golf by far, to me, is the worst of the worst. You take a little crooked stick, hit a tiny ball as hard as you can, then walk after it?? Ummm....we have a name for that, it's called FETCH. You find your little ball! yay! You win! Ok wait..what? You're going to hit it again? WTH!?! I'll never get it.

I know I've made quite a few posts in the last year about things I have done around the house since I have been layed off, but I've always done things around here. Sure, it was never this much since, of course, I was working 40 hours a week, but I've always helped. There is just no reason NOT to. Even with just the two of us now, dishes and laundry can pile up, things still need dusted and the sweeper still needs ran. Sharing the housework leaves more leisure time for both of us, and now with me being home and Lisa working, I do as much as possible so she can come home and relax. She did the same thing when I was working and she was able to stay home, so there's no reason that I can't return the favor. I like helping, and I like keeping busy. Now that it's winter and I am stuck inside, I still do my best to keep busy.

For a very short time, in my early 20's, I was more of the "typical guy" as most see it, but it didn't last and it wasn't me. I went out drinking or to the strip clubs with friends, but that got repetive and boring fast. I realized that the time and money could be spent on better things. Rather than spend that $50 at the bar, I could put it towards a new rifle scope. Rather than get in at 3am and sleep till noon. I could go to bed early and be on the lake with dad at 5am. Guys I knew would take their vacation at beaches, or at races, or at a resort somewhere, while I spent a week at a friends cabin on 300 acres 9 miles from the nearest town, spending my time walking around or shooting the .22's all day. They came home with sunburns,hangovers, and empty pockets while I came home with lifelong memories of seeing black bears, paper targets I could show off, and a great sense of relaxation that I couldn't get anywhere else.

With me being so different than most men, its not surprising that I have very few guy friends. Sure, some are work buddies, some are old hunting buddies, and some are music oriented friends, but NONE of them share my interest in homesteading, gardening, self sufficiency, or cooking...not a one. The only friend I have who shares most of my interests is Tammie, who I met through the local homesteading group she runs. Yea...a woman and not a guy. While guys wanna talk about the latest football game, Tammie is more than happy to spend 2 hours talking about heirloom vegetables or being self sufficient.

I guess I'll never fit in with most guys, and I'm fine with that. I don't want to waste 3 hours of my day yelling at guys on tv throwing around a ball. I'd rather spend my time learning something, or taking on new challenges. I guess in 10 years when some other guy can spew off figures from super bowl 2010, I can talk about how I taught myself to tan hides and can chicken soup. lol

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Confessions of a house-hubby

While the past 11 months have been hard financially, I have to admit I've become a bit used to being home and taking care of things. Sure, like anyone else, I get a lazy day here and there and don't do anything, but I try my best to stay productive and busy.

I did a lot of canning last summer and fall, more than I ever have before. I've gotten used to doing dishes, running the sweeper, doing laundry, and all the other things that need done. i've made (and canned) soup and chili this year, and learned to cook beyond the few simple things I knew a year ago. With it being winter now, and being stuck inside for the most part, I've decided to take on some new ventures in my house-hubby duties and skills. I made cereal!

Thats right, I made cereal, lol. Monday morning I wanted some cereal, and low and behold, we didn't have any. I remembered Lisa making a few different kinds a few years ago, and figured that I would go ahead and give it a try. I found a recipe online, and modified it a bit to suit my (our) taste. The one I decided to try called for wheat bran and oat germ something or another, so I eliminated a few thing, and added a few things. Lisa and I have both eaten some, and Lisa has taken to eating it crumbled in yogurt.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup veg. oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, and mix in 7 cups of quick oats till all the oats are soaked in the mixture. Preheat oven to 275. Pour on large cookie sheet, and bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15. The recipe online said 45 minutes, but I kept it going until it was dryer, so I imagine oven time will vary.
After it cooled, I added sunflower seeds and raisins without measuring, just for added flavor and goodies. (lol no stars, moons or clovers were handy) You don't have to add those, or you could add anything you'd like-nuts, etc. I dehydrated a bunch of apple slices coated in cinnamon-sugar to add, but Lisa decided these were better as snacks rather than add them to the cereal....maybe next time.

Lisa and my friend Tammie have been having quite the time with me and my house-hubby adventures, along with my mom. They laugh at me, kicking around apron jokes and saying that Tammie and I's weekly coffee meet is a chance to vent about our husbands and our "monthly's". Yea, yea, laugh away girls, I don't mind. For now I'm just gonna grab the cat, get some chocolate and tea, and go finish my newest Harlequin novel.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Continuing on my thoughts...

The other day, I made a post about now the need/want for money took people away from the farms and homes to the factories. Today I'm going to ramble a bit about how this has affected generations of people afterwards. I do love getting on my rants, lol.

The earliest of factory workers came straight from farms for the most part. They left farming for an earned wage to buy their goods, rather than grow, raise, or otherwise provide things for themselves or their families. I'm sure that some of them saw it as an opportunnity to make a better living, just as some saw it as a way to avoid the possible 12 hours of hard labor involved in farming, but no matter the reason, they left. Some chose to live in an apartment or worker homes, and others continuted to live on the family land yet not doing much with it. The steady job provided them with a steady income, and the income provided them with their needs to survive. By doing the same chore over and over at a job, they had the means to provide for themselves. Some worked up to 12 hours a day, stamping out some metal part or assembling something or another, to earn that pay.

At the time, with the man of the house being gone at a job, the things around the farm, house, or homestead that entailed hard labor were left to the women and children, or usually just byassed. This in turn left the need to buy even more things for them. The father and/or husband wasn't home to repair the clotheslines, or plow the gardens, or feed the horses. It wasn't many years before this turned into drying racks (later dryers), buying canned vegetables, and trading the horses for a motor vehicle, which for a price, could be "fed" gasoline by your local station attendant. Slowly the need for more money grew and grew, while the knowledge and desire to do for themselves was lost.

Now jump forward to present time and see how this switch of lifestyle has affected us today. People can go to the grocery store and buy anything they want without the need to grow it or raise it for themselves. The choices at the store are endless. You can buy basic bread, and all the way to fully prepared and frozen meals in a box. Frozen, microwavable, instant, dried, prepackaged anything you can imagine, and make it with the touch of a button. We have to look far beyond what we are used to in todays world to realize what these things have done to us. People always say that these things are "convienent" and "easy", but it's far more than that. We have lost the most basic of skills to provide for ourselves when we rely on the grocery store and the packages and boxes.

I'm not necessarily talking about raising your own chickens or growing a garden, I'm talking about skills. Many people try the frozen meatballs or canned soup and say "this sure isn't like grandma used to make", all the while continuing to buy the same soup or meatballs over and over rather than try grandmas recipe that is collecting dust in a closet somewhere. It's easier to buy them, and a huge majority simply CAN'T make them, and that is the reason for this post.

So many people now can't make even the simplest of foods. I personally know people who can't make soup even if I was to lay all the ingredients out in front of them and the recipe tattooed on their arm. I know some that have tried to make various things, and have given up after one failed attempt. My mother is one of them. She has tried to make bread many, many times, but never kneads it enough. It's a simple fix, but she chooses to go to the store and buy bread like most americans do. My grandmother used to make the most amazing pastries-kifli, struedel, and baklava, all rolled so thin and perfect you could almost see through it. She baked liked that until she passed away at 82, simply because she loved doing it, and because she refused to buy a factory produced poor substitute for home made. Grandma W passed away with no one to carry on her traditiions or baking skills. Everyone else chose the easy way out via the grocery store.

It's not just cooking skills I am talking about, its day to day skills that our ancestors lived by. I don't expect everyone to have the ability to make a log cabin or house, or hand make furniture and make all the quilts for the beds made from timbers and feathers. It's the most basic of things that we have lost. I know grown men who cannot read a tape measure or hang a picture on the wall.( I was once given an apprentice that I had to teach how to read a tape. Don't they teach people how to use a ruler anymore? Afterall, it is just a 25 foot ruler!! ) I know people who can't cook without a microwave and a box. I know people who have no idea how to check the oil or air pressure in their own car or truck. I know people who will throw away a perfectly good shirt just because they can't replace a simple button.

Maybe I was just born in the wrong century, I dunno, but I can't help but sometimes look around at people and wonder what happened. The early settlers built their homes by hand 100%, and today people pay someone to replace a simple light switch. Has the desire for a paycheck and buying what we need made us all lazy and somewhat uneducated? Sure, Mr so-and-so may have a bachelors degree in physics, but he can't start his own lawnmower or replace a toilet seat. It's far easier to buy it or pay someone to do it for you than learn to do it for yourself. People can write a computer program, yet can't do the simplest of things in their own homes. We've taken the education for skills and shifted it from skills to survive to skills to earn more money. Every generation loses more and more basic skills, making them more and more dependant on the machine. We all live in a giant hampster wheel, and very few choose to learn how to jump off, or for that matter, are taught how to jump off.

To me, the worst of those two, are the ones who don't WANT to learn. They're so used to the instant gratification just buy it society that we live in, that they can't comprehend actually doing something for themselves. The idea of making bread, raising a simple tomato plant, or fixing your own sink are just silly, afterall, you can just buy that stuff or hire a plumber. Slowly but surely, generation after generation, skills and knowledge have been lost. From the earliest settlers ability to build a cabin and survive bitter cold new england winters to my grandmothers baking, the skills, crafts, and trades of our ancestors are slowly being lost and forgotten. Imagine what will be lost when our grandchilren or great grandchildren are our age. Everything they will need will be given to them with the touch of a button or the swipe of a credit card, without ever having to lift a finger.

Over and over in my blog posts I tend to touch on modern civilization, whether it was one of my early ones about men getting lazy, or about frozen foods, or about modern "conviences" and gadgets. I tend to always get the same thoughts in my head, and they always end up here as an entry. Some make sense to those of you who choose to read it, and obviously, by the lack of comments to some, don't. I just tend to go off on our things at home sometimes to just put out my views and opinions on the modern world we live in, and as is well obvious by most of my comments, I simply don't like it. Like I said earlier in this post, perhaps I was just born in the wrong time or century, I despise many things that we all live with today and talk about them a lot. I hate our reliance on electricity, I hate our reliance on the dollar, I hate the fact that so many sit around with nothing but won't lift a finger to fend for themselves, and at times I'm scared to death of where we are heading.

For now I'll stop running off at the mouth and work on another post, this time actually revolving around things happening at home...maybe lol.

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