Sunday, September 19, 2010

Transition and Change

As mentioned in my previous post I have been reading and thinking.  Sometimes a dangerous combination!  It has always been bothersome to me to not be able to fully live as I wish.  When I think of  my ideal lifestyle it would be that not to far off of a pioneer woman.  Everything home made, nothing bought from a supermarket.  Everything that you need coming from your own homestead.  Wool for clothing,, cleaned, spun, and woven into whatever needs your family had.  Milk made into cheeses, yogurts, etc.  Meat, grains, the list goes on.  All from my own home.  That is what my mind thinks of when I think of my ideal life.  A true puritan I guess.  In reality that is not possible for our family.  In my reality it is not physically possible.  I rely on a dishwasher due to skin problems on my hands.  Lye soap would play havoc on my skin for sure!  I am not willing to go without my washer for a wash board.  All those chores would be amazingly difficult for one person.  It could be done but would not be without it's challenges.  But the bigger reality is that our society is no longer set up to be conducive to this way of life.  As we have moved away from the family farm and homesteading as a nation in the states we have moved away from bartering for needs, in fact if I am not mistaken it is illegal to barter because there is no taxes collected from bartering to help our government.  I realize the taxes are important but at the same time it is another step removing people from surviving on their land and raising their families with everyone at home.  In my mind we are moving further and further away from any traces of the family farm and that is scary.  Where we live there are ranchers and farmers but those that do not work in an outside job struggle.  Someone in the home usually supplements with an outside income for several reasons.  So while the lifestyle of a homesteader is not physically or financially possible for our family and not even in the equation for us, I do make an effort to provide as much from our home for my family.  No I do not have a field of grain in the back yard for our breads and baking needs.  We found an organic wheat farmer and purchase our wheat berries.  I then grind our wheat and bake.  I do not yet bake for all of our baking needs in our home.  I am striving toward this goal but not as of yet  have reached it.  This brings in the topic of transition.

I am blessed and eternally grateful that I am able to stay at home and take care of my family.  I feel that along with being home all day I have a responsibility to do more than just make sure that their laundry is fresh and they are fed.  I want to give them the best that I can.  I get caught up in finding the balance when transitioning from purchasing items to making them at home and how far  back I should go in the process when deciding to provide those items myself for my family.  For instance when transitioning from purchasing our baking needs to baking our own breads at home.  One must choose between purchasing flour from the market, or do you take a further step back and purchase wheat berries and grind your own, or do you step back even further and grow your own berries?  There are decisions like this with everything you choose to do and you must find a balance and accept what you cannot do.  I cannot plant enough berries to provide for our needs and still have room for my children to play in our yard and have a garden so I have accepted purchasing our berries.  However, I do not choose to purchase  ground flour for my bread needs so I grind my own.  I have discovered that the more I learn to do for my family the more I struggle with the decision to purchase from outside our home and not make it here.  I find that I start thinking about other items in our home.  For instance, soap.  Right now I purchase hand made soaps, however I have decided as soon as I am able to secure the final soap making ingredients that I will also be making soap for my family.  Even before I have been able to do this I am already thinking to making our shampoo's and have been for some time making our laundry soap.  I find that one area soon spills into other area's of our home and that is where the struggle comes in for me.  The more I do  at home the more I realize other things in our home that I should be transitioning from purchasing to making or finding a new source besides what I have.

It is a transition from one lifestyle to another.  With change also comes opposition.  I find that while I feel positive in knowing that these changes are healthy and positive for my family, it is not the "norm" and going through the local drive through after sports practice creates an inner struggle.  Purchasing a soda from the gas station after filling up seems contradictory to the lifestyle I am striving for.  Yet these are "norms" in our society that I feel is important for my family as well.  I take into account that my daughters may not have the privilege or means to stay at home and care for their family depending on where they choose to live and their spouse's salary.  I also need to take into consideration peer pressure and the delicate issues of "fitting in".  This is important to their mental well being to be accepted.  We live in a farm community so I do not have as many worries as children in the city would have but it is still a consideration I am keen to pay attention to.   They need to relate and "fit in" with other peers.  It has caused a lot of thinking and reflection on my part.  It is a very delicate balance.  Raising children presents a challenge that often I must consider when I am excited about another transition and change in our home.  We appear to be the same as others in our community yet just by staying home I am different.  Taking that a step further by quilting, baking, and cooking I am sometimes very removed from others as this is considered something that our grandmothers were noted for, not women in today's society.  Let alone staying home to take care of your family!  I must say that I have been extremely blessed to have several friends that I have these things in common with and have encouragement and support.  We support each other in our endeavors to take the best care of our family as we can and save money for goals that are important to our family not our society.  It is difficult to live the way that you feel is right and not the way our society and economics in this country demands.  It is a two income world we live in now, and it takes dedication, work, and financial responsibility to live on one income and take care of  our family's.  I want to encourage each and every person that is working so hard to take care of their family.  I know it is difficult, I know how hard it is to not go through the drive through each night for convenience, purchase to keep up with the neighbors, and the work that it takes to make what your family needs so that you know what ingredients are in what your family is eating!  I also know there is a whole lot of mothers that are not able to be at home with their children but work so hard at doing the best they can with their circumstances to take care of their family.  They are doing a wonderful job as well.  As we each make transitions from purchasing to making things at home with pure ingredients and healthy choices I wish you well in the changes going on in your homes.  The harmony and sense of peace is worth the struggles that we encounter and face from our society.  You are not alone there are many many blogs out there that are full of women that are working so hard to provide a loving home nourishing their families to the best of their ability.  Sharing what they know to help others succeed!  Have a beautiful day, keep thinking about those areas that can be transitioned and changed in your home.


Rita said...

I'm not sure what you meant about lye soap but you can make hand soap with lye and the lye is neutralized in the process of the soap making. There are a lot of recipes online and down to earth has one if you have visited her site. I am looking forward to making hand soap as soon as I have time off or retire. It does not take a long time it is just a process to follow and I'm excited about it. Sure hope you try it too sometime. Enjoy your new discoveries. :)

prairieharmony said...

I am so sorry to be confusing with my lye soap comment, my understanding is that in the "pioneer" days women made soap from ashes. This soap was very strong and abrasive. It was very hard on their skin and they suffered dry skin from all the wash they did and scrubbing with lye soap. Now we have so many wonderful soaps that are hand made that are gentle on the skin. That is why I choose to use handmade soaps in our home. I have gathered recipes to try and love to read what Rhonda at Down to Earth has posted. She has a wonderful tutorial and recipes for those that would like to know about soap making. I am so thankful to Rhonda for taking the time to work so hard on her blog. She has so much information and she works very hard to share with others so that we can all learn! I encourage everyone to visit stop by her blog and "look" around. Thank you Rita for your comments and coming by I enjoy reading all the comments and try to make sure I respond. Please stop by again and let me know how your soap making venture worked for you.

Donna said...

Excellent post! Have you read "Radical Homemakers" by Shannon Hayes? If not you might find it very interesting,she talks about how families went from becoming producers to consumers,and by doing so lost their power to corporations.

I know what you mean about people thinking this way of life is odd..but I too have good friends who share our viewpoint and don't think it's odd that we have chickens,turkeys,water barrels,make our soap,candles,laundry soap,cleaning supplies,bread,brown sugar,do canning...etc.

I make my soap with lye,coconut oil,crisco and canola oil,and it does a nice job keeping hands soft. In fact,it's time for me to make another batch! :)
Have a great day!

prairieharmony said...

Donna, I actually just received Radical Homemakers in the mail and have only been able to read a few pages so far. I am anxious for a block of time to curl up and read :) It came very well recommended and I am looking forward to reading further. Thank you for your recommendation. I am happy to hear that you liked it as well. It is so nice to hear from others that share in striving for a healthy "homemade" lifestyle as well. Thank you for commenting I appreciate it. Your soap ingredients look very soothing to the skin.