Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Livin' off the Land

There was a time when I liked to imagine living off the land. I read stories of America's early settlers. I admire their courage and fortitude. Part of me is drawn to the simplicity of their lifestyle. Not simple, as in easy work; but uncluttered by outside influences.

Families stuck together. They had to! Children learned to work hard because even their young efforts effected how much food the family would have during the coming winter. The family's schedule centered around home, not sports and lessons and jobs and committees and so on.

Church was important, first of all because when a persons very life was so dependent upon God's grace, it was much easier to remember His providence. It is much more difficult now, when all one needs is a paycheck and a grocery store.

And secondly church was the social center of the community. When a family had to choose just one time a week to leave home, church was it. I wonder what kind of choices Americans would make today, if given that choice. "You can only leave your property once all week. What's it going to be?"

There are many things about those times that appeal to me. But I no longer glamorize them. I can't even get a garden to grow, let alone provide vegetables for an entire year for my family!

Used to hang all my clothes to dry. I had indoor and outdoor clotheslines; I used cloth diapers for my first four children and and some of the time with my fifth. Now I have a clothesline that stands empty most of the year and I am really thankful for disposable diapers.

And I have found out that the older I get the less brave I am about trying new foods. When some of the older folks around here talk about blood sausage and head cheese, tongue and so on, I smile and am thankful I live during a time when we can choose our foods. What a blessing! To have the luxury to make food choices.

Since we moved to this home six years ago, I have gotten used to eating venison and lamb. I have also eaten and not gotten used to goose. But if I was hungry enough, that goose would probably taste really good.

And right now, even as I write, I have two jack rabbits in the crock pot. So tonight I will have rabbit for supper. I am not sure how I feel about that. But I will put on a brave face and maybe even say, "Mmmm," if necessary to set a good example for my children.

The rabbits were shot by Matthew, 13, and Louisa, 11. I now have the comfort of knowing that if something happens to Joe, my children can provide jack rabbits for our dining pleasure.

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