Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trading Knowledge for Dependence

We've gone soft. Humans, I mean. American ones, at least. Most of us have never had to forage or hunt or go further than our refrigerator or the corner store for our meals. As a result, people like me grew up thinking our grandparents were silly to still be canning all the time and storing food away for "just in case."

It is time we wake up, bootstrap ourselves into the position of knowledge, and once again endeavor to grow, preserve, and store our own food. We think we are so chic with our "modern" amenities and electronics, but look at what we have lost!

As you know, I have been attempting to follow homesteading practices and get closer to self-reliance than my younger urban self. I have been trying to go back to the days of my childhood when I would help my grandmother garden, harvest, dehydrate fruit, and tend the animals. In some ways and at some times, I have been somewhat successful.

But this year, I have not been very successful at all. In fact, if I were a Pioneer woman on the plains alone with my husband and child in my log cabin this year, I (we) would have starved. My garden this year has not done well. Many of my seedlings withered before they even made it into the ground. My soil in one bed has gone alkaline and has zero nutrients, despite mulching and composting earlier in the spring. We have had two tomatoes, a handful of strawberries, one meal worth of asparagus, and three zucchini so far this season. The only thing we have in abundance is bunching onions (green onions) and garlic. Mr. Nature's garlic turned out great!

We also have eggs, and that might have been enough to keep us from starving entirely, but that is not even certain. Some days, we don't find all the eggs. Yesterday when I went to pick up my raw goat milk, I was greeted there with a wheelbarrow of potatoes that had been dug up that day. I got to take six home with me. I saw 100 burgeoning tomato plants, two rows of tall, straight corn, rows of squash, and many other plants with food ripening on the vine. I was given a little batch of freshly made raw ricotta cheese. It was heavenly on a water cracker with a slice of my one measly tomato.

I have lost the ability to be self-sufficient. I say lost, but I never had this knowledge. Mr. Nature and I have been trying to regain this lost knowledge for several years now, and we are still not in a position to fully take care of ourselves from the land. We as a society have become dependent. We depend on an industrial food chain that only cares about dollars, and we have become too soft to escape. We are spoon fed, and we collectively don't even know what real food looks like anymore. We don't know what is safe and what is not safe. We rely on our government agencies, who themselves are taking money from Big Ag and Big Food, to tell us what is safe. And, let me just say, in my humble opinion, they are NOT interested in our welfare. They deal in misinformation and over burdensome legislation.

Any agency that pushes poison such as fluoride in our products and our water or allows Big Ag to douse thousands of acres with harmful, dangerous, toxic pesticides and herbicides,while at the same time attempting to make the child/family selling fresh fruit, vegetables, honey and other farm goods a criminal is not an agency I can trust.

It is time to kick it up a notch. Oh, Grandma, where art thou? Send me the Pioneer Newsfeed!

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