Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Living With Less...
A blog about living with less money, time, space, chemicals, etc.
I plan to use this blog (really, for realz) for my normal thoughts and daily bullshit, just to get it out of my head. If you've stuck around through all these months and years of silence, I thank you.
Monday, June 28, 2010
In practically no time, they'd outgrown their little cage (and gotten really ugly).
Pictured: Ugly Dinosaur Chickens Eating the Xbox.
So we moved on to building the coop. I mentioned here before that we intended to use the kids' old clubhouse for a coop, with a few modifications, and that's exactly what we did. With my husband's gracious help (long, LONG story that starts with me saying to him "I don't need your f***ing help and I don't want it!", and ends with me saying, "Please help me for the love of God."), we built our ladies a nice sized coop and a little yard to scratch in. (pics of the coop later).
These pictures were taken this morning, while I fed The Ladies some grapes.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Still here? Good. My son killed a deer yesterday. If you've been here lately, you'll know that means he brought home a hide for me to tan. In the book I bought, the author called the process of prepping the brains for use in the tanning process making "brain soup" .. and that was enough to make me run screaming from the whole mess. I had intended to use the brains, because it's the most natural and authentic you see, but decided on an
The most exciting part for me was that I handled this whole thing without a single gag reflex. I'm not sure if it was because it was fresh and not all that bloody, so there was very little smell. Or maybe because I wore gloves, eliminating the problems caused by my texture issues. Or maybe because I had to do it in the dark, in 40 degree weather and was more concerned with just getting-done-for-chrissake-so-we-can-get-in-the-house. It didn't bother the kids much either. As Cadence and I scraped, Riley played with the head. "Look, Mama, I closed his eye." "Look, Mama, I made his ears point up/back/sideways." **shudder**
There are harder steps ahead, as far as actual work and time spent on the hide, but the grossest part is over, and we all handled it really well. More photos and updates soon!
Monday, November 23, 2009
(This picture was taken last winter, no actual snow around here yet. The apparent tilt is the result of the camera-operator - likely me.)
When the clubhouse was new, it was a place for reading, a lookout, an advantage spot in a water gun fight, and a place to keep the toy kitchen and all the bazillions of dishes and plastic food. In the last year, it's become an ignored and empty waste of space. The kids still climb up in there, but now it's just to sit and chat for a few minutes, or stop off on the way further up the tree.
So really the only thing making the difference between a clubhouse and a chicken coop are a door and some insulating. I'll post more pictures of those, the fence, etc. as we go.
Friday, November 13, 2009
A pile of old fence pieces and some random boards. I'll be taking more pictures as we build. Just hoping to get done and get those chickens settled (wherever they're settled) before I have a hide to tan.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
But now I'm starting to understand that it's not doing things; it's the things you do. Busying yourself with unfulfilling things still leaves you feeling unfulfilled. Facebook is fun, online games are entertaining and doing those things seem like ways to enjoy my life, but all they do is take up some time - my life is not changed by them in any way, just put off. Cleaning the house for half the day makes me feel better; not because it's taken up half the day, but because my house is clean. Because I've worked diligently, and can see and enjoy the benefit of that work. If my daily activities don't change anything, benefit anything, or provide anything useful, it's not a wonder I start feeling useless and unsatisfied with my life.
When I first started knitting, I was excited about it, but I also felt more upbeat and positive - I was using my free time and talent to create something beautiful and useful for my family. After a while though, the slow, slow stitches seemed like a chore, and I thought, "Well, I was just doing it for fun, so I can quit if I want to." As soon as I started viewing it as "just for fun" it was no different than wasting an hour on the computer - unimportant, unsatisfying. But mostly I'm seeing that putting in that extra effort - like cleaning the house - really pays off in the satisfaction with the completed project. I think that effort might even be one of the most important parts of the equation. I worked for this, it benefits me/my family/the world; I did this hard thing, and it was worth it. How empowering and satisfying and rewarding!
I'm not giving up my FarmVille any time soon, nor am I willing to exhaust myself with busy things, but I am making a point to fill the gaps in my time with more useful activities, even those that require a lot of work. The more difficult projects, new skills, and even little (but still a mountain) jobs I take on, the more satisfied I feel with my life, my home, my family, myself. It is self-sacrifice, when you think of the work involved, but it doesn't feel like a sacrifice at all when you reap the joys and benefits of your hard work. Kind of like parenting, isn't it? I'm parenting my life.
Monday, November 09, 2009
My son, all of his life, rejected his dad's offers to go hunting together. Refused to eat fresh-caught fish and said he'd sooner eat dirt than a rabbit. He told me in no uncertain terms that he could never hunt, could never even support hunting, because it was stupid to kill a wild animal when there were animals raised specifically for food. And come to think of it, he wasn't so sure he was okay with that either. I was bracing myself for a declaration of vegetarianism. I even went as far as researching vegetarian diets, variations on meals we already eat.. the whole deal.
Then something strange happened. Suddenly he was eating all the beef he could get his hands on, and a few deer burgers convinced him deer was the Best Meat Ever. He thought maybe he'd like to try hunting for NON-food animals, so my country friend took him prairie dog hunting in SD for a few days. You could almost smell the change on him when he came home. It happened one step at a time, but it felt like a flash to me. Now he's gun-crazy, scanning guns & ammo magazines, visiting the local Bass Pro and drooling over the rifles. He can't stop talking about how much meat we can get "for free" (ha! hasn't bought a hunting license lately, I see).
Then there was this crazy thing I did. I went and bought a book on brain tanning, hoping to try making buckskins. Call it a homeschool project. I bought the book before my son's drastic transformation from border-veggie to hunter-killer, and had asked several of my hunting friends, "Hey, when you get a deer, save me the hide and brains, k? And it has to be fresh, so call me right away. Cuz I'm doin this thing.." They shook their heads, because they know how
Well, without me even noticing, it's Deer Season. The day of reckoning approaches. I, one who can barely handle boiling a chicken, will very likely have a large - and freshly killed by my firstborn child - animal in my back yard being cleaned (why is such a bloody messy job called "cleaning"?) I will, regardless of my son's success, have someone's deer hide with bits of .. you can imagine what.. on it, waiting for me to soak and scrape, stretch and oil. And brains?!?! What the hell was I thinking??
Please keep me in your thoughts. I have made my bed, so to speak. It would
**sniff** that's my baby