Are You Cut Out for the "Simple Life"?Laura Negron-Valentin
"Being a staying-at-home woman, who works as a teacher for her children, as a maid for her house, and as a farmer for her homestead, I can tell you… is not for the faint of heart. The often called 'simple life' can be rather intense and demanding. However, for me, it has all the necessary ingredients to make the best career possible. Who knows, it may for you, as well.
Is it really the 'simple life'? Well, yes and no. It can be emotionally simple, but pretty challenging in many other aspects, as well. Of course, this is compared to what most women my age choose to do or have to live like in our culture. It all depends on what you like, what your needs are, and what fulfills you.
Immediately after pondering this idea, reality steps back in and financial, logistical, and personal issues arise. Here comes an exercise that is inescapable if we are to make some life adjustments and potential changes. Some questions must be answered. What are those things I am willing to give up? What do I need or want to gain? What things must not be changed? Why am I considering this?
Answers to those questions will have unique characteristics. The more unique, probably the more customized to our own reality. This is not a copy-paste exercise and is good to know it beforehand. If anything can describe changing to a simpler (back-to-basics) lifestyle in any degree is that it is a work in progress."
Southwest-style Brown Rice
"Here's a fresh, tasty dish that can be served warm on a cold winter's day or chilled at a summer fiesta. Spiced up or mellowed out, packed with fiber-filled frijoles and whole-grain goodness, this is a healthy dish that delivers on flavor and satisfaction. Hearty brown rice, savory black beans, sweet corn, and fresh greens combine for a colorful combination that's sure to please. Top with jalapeño for a little heat, avocado to cool it down, and/or a squeeze of lime to brighten up the flavor."
"A swarm isn’t just a group of bees, it is the reproductive unit of a hive. In spring, when the food is coming in, and the bee population is swelling, the hive may collectively make the decision to swarm. Swarm season is usually from April to June, depending on the weather, but can extend out into late July. Eggs are selected to be made into new queens and, when they are capped and ready to go, a large portion of the bees along with the current queen up and leave en mass.
This is the 'prime swarm'. They gorge themselves on honey before they
go which leaves them able to rapidly build new comb when they arrive
at their new home. The queen is already able to lay, so things
progress pretty rapidly.
Why It's Still a Good Idea
"The first summer kitchen we’d ever seen was at a local
pioneer village. In the doctor’s house—a lovely Victorian rambler—the
large kitchen at the back opened onto a smaller functional summer
kitchen. This is where the weekly laundering took place, where the
children were bathed, and where all cooking was done during the heat
needed a mobile workshop, one that was large enough to carry my
materials, supplies and tools, but small enough to maneuver in and out
of the mountain rental properties I owned and repaired. I also needed
enough room to move appliances and to be able to do so by myself. I
had spent years twisting my back into a pretzel trying to slide a
refrigerator over the tailgate and under the ladder rack on the old
Dodge. A used refrigerator simply wasn’t worth the risk to my back,
but, neither could I afford to buy new refrigerators and have them
delivered each time one went out.
"We hooked up the trailer and set out on a three hour drive through the beautiful rolling hills of Cypress River, Manitoba, to pick up our piggies.
The fact that the people, despite expecting us, had not rounded up said pigs should have served as a red flag. With sinking hearts we trudged out to a lush, half-flooded late-Spring pasture whose grasses almost brushed our midsections.
'They’re in there,' the farmer jerked his thumb. Indeed it appeared not only did we have to find these piglets in the grass, but also attempt to catch them in a roughly ten-acre pasture. Defeated, we both looked at the farmer.
'I brought a bucket,' he said helpfully and proceeded to bang on it with a stick and call for the pigs. Like something out of nightmare, enormous black shapes materialized from the shadows. They were still with their mothers and the sows (roughly the size of our sofa at home) glared at us with belligerent, glittering eyes.
The ensuing hours were a blur. Given the circumstances, we agreed later, it was amazing it had only taken us one hour per pig caught. The mothers proved not to be as fearsome as they seemed, and while they barked insults at us as we hurled ourselves upon their weaned children, none attacked. Coated in slick grass, mud, and pig excrement we finished. Bruised and battered we drove home in silence. I’m not sure what my husband was thinking, but I was wondering how we were going to handle them (particularly the boar) once they were bigger."
Like Pulling Food Out of a Hat
By Regina Anneler
has a few memories of Elmer Fudd out hunting 'wabbits' during rabbit
season. If you raise your own rabbits you never need to worry about
when that season is. Many of us dream and work toward a more self
sufficient lifestyle, preferring to raise our own food and provide a
healthier, more natural diet for our families. Raising rabbits can
also be a true family project, as they are small and so easy to care
for that they can even be maintained by young children. If you’re
interested in providing a healthier meat source for your family than
you can normally get at your local grocer, then this article will
definitely be of interest to you. Rabbit is one of the meats highest
in protein content; it is delicious and nutritious and it is also one
of the easiest and least expensive types of livestock to raise and
By Neil Shelton
"When the '70's came along and the back-to-the-land movement was luring young people my age into our rural area, I came to realize that even though I hadn't even been paying attention, just growing up on the farm had taught me quite a number of things that city kids didn't seem to have a clue about.
In fact, quite a few of these folks seemed completely unaware of how to even exist beyond pavement.
I realized that many of them were innocent of things I had learned, despite myself, as a bored, eye-rolling teenager.
In fact, compared even with someone as hopeless-appearing as myself, they seemed like complete sissy-boys, even the girls.
If you have just recognized yourself as a complete sissy-boy (or girl) this page is for you. If you're not sure, keep reading.
The complete sissy-boy makes his first mistake before he ever leaves the metro area. That is, he doesn't trade his car for something more appropriate to the back roads while he still has a job."
"Some people swear by meditation; others tout the virtues of cutting up your credit cards, or joining a cult, but for me simplifying life is all about fence.
That’s because fence is all about keeping the critters out of your garden, keeping the neighbor’s critters out of your critters, and keeping your critters off the highway. However, merely securing the food supply, staying on good terms with folks up the road, and avoiding lawsuits aren’t the only things that fencing can achieve for you. Fence can mark your property boundaries, and in certain instances even become your boundaries. Keeping these things in mind, you can see that fencing may well be the most important construction on your property.
Fence can also cost a lot of money, but it doesn’t have to. As a rule of thumb, the lower the cost, the more maintenance is required. If you have a small garden spot you want to protect, then you might not mind doing a bit of routine maintenance to keep the groundhogs out of the greens, but if you have a few hundred yards of livestock fencing adjoining a busy highway, animal, and even human lives, can depend on your ability to keep your animals off the roadway 24/7/365.
Of course there are about as many kinds of fence as there are fencing materials. (We’ve even seen a fence made out of old bicycles.) However, I’ve put together a collection of some of the more significant styles of fencing that might be of interest to the small landowner. The first group is timeless and cheap and the second group your keeps livestock out of traffic about as securely as the current state of the art allows."