Planning not worrying

So I finally did it.  I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a pressure canner.   Yup, that’s my big news for the week! But seriously, with all that has been going on with the hurricanes in the south, wildfires out west, and WINTER IS COMING my husband finally talked me into just doing it. Just buy the darn thing and get on with it!

I have a water bath canner, but I can’t can veggies, meat, broth, etc. so it is a needed item. And it’s an item I have wavered on buying for ten years. It is one of those things that I just kept putting off buying. Well, sure I need/want one, but we also want/need all these other things as well. But I finally did it (well, almost, it is still sitting in our Amazon cart!), and the timing couldn’t be better. It is September, harvest season, preparedness month, time to get on with it!

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With all the natural disasters going on right now, we do have to plan ahead. I know that I have written about some of my views about self-sufficiency before, but I do believe that we should be prepared to a certain extent. Yes, God will provide all we need, but hiding our heads in the sand and pretending that there aren’t real issues going on is wrong. God will provide, but He also provides for us now. He provides plenty so we can place some away for when there isn’t any. Yes, trust ultimately in His generosity, but also realize when He provides above and beyond our current needs.

Since it is National Preparedness Month, I have been thinking a bit more about what would happen if we didn’t have access to the grocery store. Even if it was for a couple of days or weeks, would we be ok? Would we have enough food on hand to make it through? Would we have enough variety to not experience food fatigue? I was inspired to can up some Apple Butter, we made some Apple Jelly, and I have some more apples waiting to be made into Applesauce. (Do we see a theme here?) I am trying to add some variety to our stores. I am trying to think ahead, not worry, just think. What if? What if we can’t get out of the house for a while? What if we are snowed in? (Trust me, it’s a real possibility up here!) What if there is a natural disaster? What if there is a man-made disaster? (North Korea, I’m looking at you!) So yes, I trust in God ultimately to provide, but I’m also trying to act wisely and recognize God’s blessings in the here and now for an unforeseen time in the future. Our ancestors didn’t have access to grocery stores. They had to plan ahead. I am sure there was plenty of worry mixed in, but they were wise. They used what God provided them and planned accordingly. I only hope that we are doing our best to do the same.

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Matthew 25:1-13

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.”

Who will you be like? The five foolish virgins who did not plan ahead? Or will you choose to plan ahead and be ready to meet God when He comes?

This is the canner I bought…

Check out some of my favorite canning books…

Blue Ball Book

Jackie Clay’s “Growing and Canning Your Own Food”

I’m getting some of these next year….or maybe for Christmas!

Tattler Reusable Lids

Happy Harvesting!!

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Plant something and watch it grow

Every year I plant something. Maybe it’s just flowers, maybe it’s lettuce, sometimes I get ambitious and plant potatoes, lettuce, turnips, etc. I just like the feeling of digging in the dirt and making something grow. I even weed on occasion!

This year however, we were in charge of planting the ‘big’ garden. You see, my husband’s father passed away last year on this day from leukemia. The garden had always been his passion and this year we did our best to make him proud. It was a group effort and we got it done! My husband was in charge of tilling, which he did, by hand, with a shovel. He hand-turned the entire garden. And can I just say, we will be doing it this way from now on. It is a LOT of work, but it was worth it. The dirt is nice and loose, rich, and well-turned.

The kids, my sister-in-law, and I then went through and planted. We did turnips, lettuce, carrots, peas, zucchini, summer squash, and potatoes. We put A in charge of the potatoes. We made the lines of hills, she made the holes, and the other kids came through and put the potatoes in. The way she took charge made my heart happy and heavy at the same time. You see, this is an activity the kids have done with their Grampa every year since A was old enough to walk. And this was the first year they planted without him.

After the potatoes were planted, I waited with baited breath for them to come up. I knew how much this meant to A. I hoped, and I prayed that they would poke through the dirt. We waited, and waited. And then finally, finally they came up. I was so happy for the kids and for A in particular. She had decided how deep to make the holes. She told the other kids were to put them and how to cover them up. She learned all this from her Grampa over the years. This was her project in honor of him. I hope she feels half the amount of pride in herself that I do in her.

potato

So whether or not we harvest anything else from our garden this year, we will definitely be harvesting potatoes. And we will be thanking Grandpa for taking the time to teach our children how to provide for themselves through the very simple act of planting potatoes.

Ecclesiates 3:1-2

There is a time for everything,

And a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot.

Self-Sufficient

chickens

Self-sufficiency has become such a buzz word nowadays. The minute you hear it, so many different images come to mind. A solar-paneled cabin deep in the woods with goats and chickens and firewood stacked up high with a huge garden laid out neat in rows. Preppers with underground bunkers and enough storable food to last for two lifetimes. And then come the not so extreme images. The ones of apartment gardens, backyard suburban chickens, and repurposing everything you can possibly imagine into wonderful and creative items.

I believe in self-sufficiency. I think it is a good thing. I want to be self-sufficient. I really truly believe that we should not be quite so consumer happy and maybe focus on producing items that we can. Maybe we should not always go out and buy something new the minute the old one breaks down.

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We have chickens. I would love a couple of goats. We cut wood to burn for the winter. We have a reasonable-sized garden. I would love to have a small hydro-powered system. I want to can more food, dry more garden produce, and get some storable foods.

Why? Because I like the security of knowing that if something happens, we will have a small security blanket. I am not a massive prepper. (Props to you out there who are!) I am also not someone who goes out and buys something new every time something breaks down. I like to think I am more of a middle of the road type. Someone who re-uses to an extent, prepares for emergencies to an extent, and tries to live within their means as much as possible.

garden

 

But then I think about the flip side of this situation. What does self-sufficiency really mean? It means relying on oneself. Producing, using, and maintaining all that you need. In theory, this is a good thing. But the more I think about this, the more I realize that we were not created to be self-sufficient creatures. Our God did not create us to be self-sufficient. From the moment of conception, to birth, and beyond, we are dependent on someone else. We are dependent on our mothers for our birth. We are dependent on our parents for our continued growth and well-being. As we grow and mature, we become dependent on our peer groups for our own mental sanity.

And I fear that we lose sight of the fact that God never meant for us to be self-sufficient. He meant for us to rely on Him as we rely on our earthly parents. He wants us to come to Him with our needs, our wants, our everything. When we try and be self-sufficient from God, we fail, miserably. Our creator, created us to be dependent on Him. So while we go about our lives looking for self-sufficiency in whatever form, we must remember not to take it too far. To remember that we are not in control, that we are dependent on Him for the now and for the future. As the Bible says in Matthew 6:26-29,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”

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So how do we balance to two? How do we balance wanting that security while also trusting in God to take care of us? Honestly, I think this looks different for every person and every situation. We need to listen to His calling, we need to listen to where He is leading us. And we must trust enough to follow and believe that He will provide for our every need.

 

What does self-sufficiency mean to you?

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