I realize that opens up a *huge* can of worms, but my thoughts are going in about 95 different directions of what to do next/what is important. We have a master list and we work of of it, but it does not seem to be enough… There are the obvious things that structurally need to happen in order to support livestock etc, but since Kem does most of this I am feeling like I am spinning my wheels.
So, I am going to put some of my thoughts about where to go next on virtual paper. Any comments/directions would be greatly appreciated! I am a city girl at heart, so even though I have lived in the country, had chickens/rabbits and a garden before…. this is really, mostly, new for me.
We are looking at permaculture/companion gardening. I like the idea of plants and animals helping each other out – isn’t that the way things are supposed to be done? As a retired nurse (the profession before corp travel manager…. another conversation entirely) I really get the symbiosis of nature doing what it does rather than a crap-ton of human intervention (if only most physicians got that…). So I am thinking since I am in zone 7b should I put some things in now or wait until spring? We did buy 2 pear and peach trees for the streetside yard, should I expend time looking for companion plants that will benefit them now or should I wait? We also put in a few fall plants – cabbages, squash lettuces etc. for a small kitchen garden, mind you this is the old fashioned row plantings, but that will be ‘fixed’ after this go round. 🙂
How much produce do I really need to put in for just the 2 of us, and the boys coming up to get what they want? I have been canning for several years and we enjoy the product, but we have not gotten away for the consumer mindset entirely and my kids have commented that Kem is addicted to grocery stores (and they may not be wrong, LOL). I abhor shopping and he is an extremely savvy shopper, but I want to get to where toilet paper and such are all I need them for (yes, I hate them that much).
I am throwing around the thought of learning to spin… I may go to my mother-in-law’s and have her teach me, but for many, many reasons this is not appealing to me! But it would kill the proverbial 2 birds… I can learn and she can see her son; it has been a while. I do not want sheep to shear, but we are thinking maybe hair sheep – can they be used for fiber? I can say that I do not mind purchasing clothes (Kem is 6’8″ and grew up with homemade and hand me down everything and is not a fan of homemade clothes – even if his mother is extremely good at it. BUT the injustice of the clothing manufacturers is not something I want to contribute to either, so catch 22…here is my question – the fabric that is purchased to make clothing is made where? No I am not going to weave my own, so which is worse the fabric or the clothing? Now, in all honesty I was thinking of learning to spin as a way to calm my mind (knitting does that to me, so I am sure once I learn spinning it would do the same – something about the fiber in my hands), not as a source of clothing – we live in a mild/moderate climate and wool sweaters are fairly useless to us.
I have gone to using homemade laundry soap – Kem didn’t even notice – for the past few months and have finally landed on a recipe I really like. I use only baking soda to ‘wash’ my hair and apple cider vinegar to rinse and am seriously contemplating making soap. I am thinking goat’s milk but how many goats would I need to make soap, have milk, make our butter? Am I thinking too large – should I just get one and see what can be done then branch out from there?
So sorry for the rambling, but this are things that are pressing my mind and I feel as if I am spinning in circles until I get them sorted out. Spinning = livestock choices… Livestock choices = products possible (cheese, soap, etc.)… Gardening choices = being able to ease off the consumer mindset so that when the farm is our entire livelihood (a goal) we are not in for a culture shock.
The big stuff seems to be going well…. it is the periphery things like this that keeps me awake at night.