Summertime and time to get the canning done.
I have been asked why we work so hard to grow and preserve our own food. Since I can't remember if I have discussed that here or not, I'm going to tell you. Please pardon me if I am being redundant and feel free to just come back tomorrow.
Do we do this for health concerns?
Well, yes and no. We are concerned about the changes that have come about in the food industry. I prefer to be able to pronounce the names of the ingredients in my food without having flashbacks to high-school chemistry class. After working in the drug-research industry, I do get a bit concerned about the potential long-term side-effects of some of the things we are putting into our bodies. At the same time, we are known to occasionally indulge in junk food and even a fast-food lunch or two.
Are we doing this for financial reasons?
Again, yes and no. We are on the "Dave Ramsey Plan" and try to be frugal and intentional about how and where we spend our money. It is nice to go to the store and not have to buy vegetables (with a few exceptions), eggs, herbs, or as much meat. I have learned to do things like make my own condensed soup mix and other mixes that save me from having to buy those things at the store. I'm even hoping to try my own mayonnaise soon since I have the eggs.
However when you start gardening and preserving, the initial cost is higher than you might think. Especially the first year (or three) when you have to purchase things like a tiller, a canner, jars (have you priced those lately?!), etc. Each year you have to spend money on seed and other garden equipment. Don't forget the cost of the actual processing. If you are set up in your kitchen to do this, you not only have the cost of the water, running the stove, and the dishwasher (to get the jars ready), you also have that hidden cost of cooling the house once you have heated it up. Even with using my outdoor kitchen and camp stove, I still have the cost of the dishwasher and buying propane once or twice a year. And it is a BIG time investment!
Is this just part of how we were raised?
Yes, but. Yes, we were raised with fathers and mothers who garden, and mothers who can. This part of our heritage goes back many generations, but that is not our primary reason for doing this.
So what is the primary reason?
Ah. Thought you'd never ask! The primary reason we do this is stewardship.
The circumstances of Mr. Marvelous and I finding this house were pretty remarkable. Being able to purchase the house, even more so.
I am bad about second-guessing myself and everyone around me. I made a promise that when we found a home I would not play that game but would accept the home as the one God wanted us to have.
God provided a place with lots of room indoors and 3 acres outdoors. It is hilly, and when we moved in it was mostly woods. God provided us with the energy, strength and knowledge to take care of what He gave us. At different times we have received unexpected financial bonuses that have allowed us to purchase things like a chainsaw, bees and other needed equipment.
Mr. Marvelous has worked hard to make the land something that can be gardened. He has cut trees and cleared brush and built fences. He built chicken tractors so that the chickens could help till and fertilize the garden area. Some lessons we have learned the hard way. Each year we do this we learn a little more. Like what crops are better suited for our area and soil, and what crops we need to just give up on (like corn).
I grew up watching in fascination as Mom canned and preserved. I watched even more closely as a young bride in my mother-in-law's kitchen.
All of the knowledge, experience, ability, and resources that we have been given are a gift from God. We are asked to take care of this knowledge, experience, ability, and these resources and use them for His glory.
So we do what we do here as care-takers of what we have been given.
Through our efforts to be faithful stewards of knowledge, experience, ability and resources; we also are more careful stewards of our health, our finances and our heritage.
All those things were entrusted to our care by God.
And oh yeah; it's fun!