Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome 2012....

Ahhh, a new year full of possiblities! I love this time of year because I get a do-over. I get to try and fix all the things I did wrong in the past or at least some of the major ones! I don't do resolutions because I think that just sets me up for failure so I prefer to think of it as "improvements".
           1.  Try to eliminate as much grocery store food as possible. Yeah, I know that is a HUGE undertaking. But what is more important than taking care of your family to the best of your ability? How am I going to accomplish this? First by growing a bigger garden and preserving A LOT more of the harvest than I have in the past. Also, I will start replacing store products with homemade ones. There are so many great ideas out there that I would be a fool not to take advantage of others research and testing :) Hubby already hunts and provides about 65% of our meat. We figured that we need just 2 extra deer, and 3-4 decent sized hogs and his hunting could provide 90% of the meat. We have a pond that can provide some fish. My chickens are safe because their eggs are too valuable to me to eat the birds themselves so I am trying to find someone here that raises meat chickens. Someday I will tell you the story of the mass rooster slaughter we had on Easter morning a few years back.

              2.  Look for ways to save money on everyday things. This spring, hubby is making me a clothesline so I can drastically reduce the need for my dryer. We already cut the satellite bill down to almost nothing because we just don't watch much tv.( I was willing to get rid of the satellite altogether but hubby didn't want to get that drastic...YET)We are currently going through our bills and seeing where we can negotiate lower rates or cut things out that we can live without.

               3.  Sell things that we don't use or can live without.  This one is a little hard because I hate dealing with people. I know that sounds horrible but the older I get the more of a recluse I become. Thank goodness hubby has no problem talking to people. We have a big cargo trailer that we bought when we moved here almost 7 years ago and it really isn't doing anything other than storing tools and stuff so that will be going to a dealer to get sold. We are also in the process of harvesting trees on our property. Six years ago we harvested the mature pines but left the hard woods. Now they are ready to be cut. All proceeds will go towards eliminating our debt.

               4.  Make all our food from scratch. This one goes along with #1. Whatever I can make from scratch means I don't have to buy it from the store. Plus, homemade always tastes better! So far, our "from scratch" stuff includes: all our bread products and desserts, ranch dressing, taco seasoning, cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups (both for cooking and eating), all sauces and casseroles, all breakfast foods including some awesome granola, applesauce, jams and jellies. Once I make something myself, I no longer will buy it's counterpart from the store. Takes a bit of planning. I wanted to have burgers one night but forgot to make the buns. Can't exactly whip them up in 30 minutes so we couldn't have the burgers but I am getting better at keeping a good supply of breads on hand.

               5.  Get a milk cow. I am looking forward to this one more than anything! I cannot wait to have our own raw milk, cream, whey and cheeses. Where we live, selling raw milk is illegal so I cannot buy from any of the dairy farms here. If I can't get it from them, I will just get it myself. Yes, I know this is a GINORMOUS time commitment that will require a ton of work on my part. We have a friend who has a dairy farm in Maine and he has given us a pretty good look at what we will be getting ourselves into. The amount a time that this will require will be enormous but, again, what is more important than taking care of my family the best way I can?

These are just my top 5 improvements I want to make over the next 12 months. They are the ones that will take the most amount of time and planning. However, I think the planning part is the fun part!

Stay tuned for my bread recipe tomorrow. It is by far the easiest, quickest yeast bread recipe I have ever made and it NEVER fails!!!!! My 12 year old daughter can make it almost by herself.

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