Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring fires and good friends

Saturday night was our first bonfire of the year to celebrate the spring spring equinox. We decided to have one to see the giant moon we had heard about, and though it was a bit disappointing itself, it was a great night with a small group of friends. It was a little cold, but the wind layed down to almost nothing, and it was toasty warm around the fire. Rather than the usual BS and idle chit-chat, we were able to have some really in depth conversations. Lisa's friend talked openly about her experiences from coming back from a coma, after the doctors had said she had flatlined more than once. My friend Mike talked about some recent happenings, (I'll just say "spiritual" and leave it at that), and how those things have changed his thoughts, focus, and future. I even got to discuss my thoughts on the modern world, it's affect on people, society, and ultimately myself. My friend Bill was here, along with my stepdaughter Holly, but eventually it ended up being just the four of us. When Mike was the last to leave at 1:30 in the morning, I was exhausted; but I still sat in the house talking to Lisa about how wonderful the night was. We'll have more bonfires throughout the year like always. I just hope more turn out the same way.

For the first time, others finally began to understand my views and opinions. For me, it's extremely rare to try explaining myself and not get ridiculed by someone. I've had friends, acquaintances, and even family joke about and belittle my choices and the paths I have chosen to live. I've tried explaining myself, but it never seems to work. Most of the time, I just let the jokes and comments roll off like rain; but other times they make me wonder if I am really that odd; and sometimes they can be slightly hurtful. I can take a joke from a friend, or ignore a comment from an online forum or other media, but when the ridicule comes from my own family, it's hard not to take it to heart. But, finding new support from friends, especially Mike, give me the strength and encouragement to keep going. Thanks Peanut!

Most of my life I've felt that I was born 150 years too late. I've always been able to relate to characters more like Jeremiah Johnson, the Ingalls, or early homesteaders more than I could anyone or anything post-Civil War. I can't relate to the laptop computer at a 6 bucks a cup coffee shop type. I can't relate to the sitting in front of a tv all day type. I can't relate to the sports crowd either. I've never really fit in anywhere, and as I get older, I make decisions to make me fit in even less. While someone is out pricing a new weedeater for spring, I'm looking for a good used scythe. Someone else is looking at a new game system, and I have a list of books as long as my arm that I want to buy. Most of the time I love being outside of the circle, but now and then I want someone to come out and look back inside with me.

As spring approaches, I'm looking at more things I can do here at home. Beyond the gardening/growing food thing, there are many things that I want to teach myself to take me further down the path to where I want to be. I've been reading books for months on wild edibles, herbs, and herbal and old-time home remedies. Sure, I won't walk away from modern medicine if I was to get extremely ill, but I would rather work with natural remedies for simple ailments for things like headaches, sore muscles, upset stomach, and a few others. I want to embrace more things natural, and get less reliant on over the counter drugs. If I can drink a simple herbal tea from things I grow or gather here to get rid of a headache, why would I want to take a pill?

While the books I have are full of incredible information, most list ingredients that are grown in another area of the country, or even from another country or continent. I want to break things down to what I can grow or harvest locally, and work with those ingredients and their capabilities and uses. I've taken my books, and marked those herbs and wild plants, then marked their uses. When I'm done marking the pages, I'll start a notebook with everything I want. I've loved this reading so far, and the idea of my own home apothecary fascinates me. I haven't read anything else in a month and a half.

There are quite a few other things that I want to learn this year. I want to learn how to tan hides, use primitive fire starting methods, make my own clothes, (by hand or with the old treadle sewing machine I restored), make simple wooden furniture, carve kitchen utensils, and...................... The list goes on and on. The turns I have made in my life, the choices I have made, have made me want to learn. I want to know it all. I want to tell people that most of these skills aren't primitive, they're just forgotten. I want to continue this journey and see where it leads me. I'm pretty sure it will lead me back to 1815.....150 years before I was born.

Just like I do with anything else, I'll share those experience here. Experiments, failures, successes; you'll go through them all with me. Thanks to all of you who have become regular readers. When I started this back in September of 2008, I never imagined that there would be 160 people following my misadventures. Thanks again people!


jimmycrackedcorn said...

You're speaking words I can relate to here brother. My wife and I constantly complain about how hard it is to find 100+ year old cook books that would have recipes made to combine in-season-at-the-same-time foods. Or farming manuals that use organic techniques but just call it "farming" because when the book was written there wasn't any alternative choice. It doesn't help much that I am actively reading through the Off-Off Grid Book right now.

ab65 said...

I can really relate to this post. My husband is alot like you and when he shares his viewpoint, some people look at him as if he is from another planet. I have been reading alot about medicinal herbs and am intrigued by all the uses for dandelion. I knew that pesky weed had some redeeming qualities after all! As always ,thanks for a thought provoking post.

Happy Days said...

Just remember it takes all kinds of people to make the world go round. Variety is the spice of life. No single person's view is right. We are all different and different styles, likes and dislikes. Your just happens to be one that many people don't understand. Doesn't make you weird or wrong. It's just your way. Those that think of you as odd or weird or stupid...well, they are ignorant. A lot of them just don't GET what your saying, because it threatens THIER way. I think your way is fine - don't let others get to you...debbie

small farm girl said...

If you ever find out a book on herbal remedies and such, please pass it along. I'm starting my herbs this year too.

AutumnRose said...

....and the wheel turns again :-) Sounds like your spring Equinox was fabulous!

Ralphy said...

The Ohio country was at the very heart of the eastern woodland Indian civilization. It contained everything they needed. I am sure the natural items that you need can be found in Ohio. Keep up the good work!

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