While I await the final timeline on my outing in March due to work issues, my mind has turned to prep for the trip. Since this most likely will be my only vacation this year, I want to squeeze all of the good things that I can from it. So far I’ve contacted an online friend or two to see if we can meet up for a lunch, dinner or such while I’m in their neck of the woods. I’ve added a stop in GA to look at a shed builder that has a very good design for a conversion-to-home product. I also want to plan a trip to the local winery and check out their menu, as my family has been raving about it since they took a visit there a year or so back. Their dessert wine is quite nice, especially with a nice flourless chocolate cake recipe. One of my best lady friends is in nearby Kentucky and I’ve swayed her to perhaps come down for a day or so and visit as well. So yes, I’m cramming a lot into this little trip, lol. But since the middlin’ part of the trip should be traipsing about in the woods and camping under the open skies, it should provide a very nice balance.
I know my tent is in good shape, as I used it within the last year to camp on my patio. Yes, it is unusual, I know. If you’ve not figured out that I am a quirky, unusual sort by now, you’ve not read much yet. I plan on charging my two portable generators since I’ll want to charge the laptop, the phone and the camera batteries while I am out and about. I’ve finally ordered my custom knife, and hopefully it will be delivered prior to my departure. I’ve owned custom jewelry in a past lifestyle, but never a custom-made tool, crafted just precisely for my own hand. In trying to simplify my life and my possessions, I find a daunting task. So many things there are that we think we need. But do we? William Morris said it well I think, but doing it is far more challenging than reading the blurb itself!
Tools are important, be they for cooking, for repairs, or for gardening. I look forward to building a solid base for life from these useful things that, like the knife on order, can also be beautiful. The knife handle will be purple heart, a hardwood that takes a bit of extra work to produce the end result, but it should last beyond my lifetime, if I don’t lose the damn thing. And while purple isn’t a color that I wear well, it adore its richness and depth. I’m a female, you didn’t expect me to have a black knife did you? LOL!
I’m trying to decide what foods I’ll take with me, and how to store them without mechanical refrigeration. I’ve a nice cast iron stew pot, but have no idea what became of the tripod for it. So possibly just a few days worth of soups that can be easily heated over a fire, along with some eggs, butter, salt and maybe some canned meats. Coffee is a must, so I’ve located my steel percolator as well. You’d think with all of this advance thought and planning that I’ll be ready when the time comes, but trust me, unless something changes inside of me, I’ll still be running around like my hair is on fire the day of departure. Why that is, I”m not sure. One day maybe I will outgrow that – at least I can hope.
I’ve been surfing around the ‘net today studying up on food forestry and natural systems of land preparation. If you’ve never seen Geoff Lawton in action, I highly suggest you look him up if you’re into such things. The man is amazing and infectious, overflowing with practical knowledge on sustainable self-contained organic food systems. There is just so much information to amass that is out there in book form, personal experience vignettes, online videos, etc., that it is sometimes a bit overwhelming. I always keep in mind that I am planning on supporting just myself, so all things must be scaled to that magnitude. Not too long ago I was watching a farming series “Tales from the Green Valley” on YouTube that showed life before electricity, before mechanization, but life as it might look should we ever be forced into such conditions by an economic or weather-related disaster. It is hard, daily work, of this there is no doubt. Really we are not cut out for such any more, and I think a lot of us would perish in first world countries. It certainly wouldn’t be a walk in the park and I think even those of us who study things and even do some of them, will be hard pressed to survive, much less flourish. Some people are more prepared than others, repositories of knowledge gained by doing and being in this lifestyle, and I read their words carefully whether I like them as people or not – they have wisdom that I sorely lack. Because I cannot eat rabbit, squirrel, pig, or even catfish, my choices will be far more limited than others should I have to hunt and eat my own protein. I think I might finally be a skinny chick if that ever comes about, hah! That is why chickens and ducks will be so important to me, both for eggs and meat, as solid sources of protein. Even if we never experience any kind of change in this country, I still want to do these things. I don’t seek it from a prepping position, but for a satisfaction position. I want to know that I can do these things. My family thinks that I have lost my mind, on both the elder side and my children’s side. I really don’t think I am a lunatic just because I want to eschew some of the grubbier aspects of civilized life. There have always been those that flourished in the country, among the wild things, and who found peace and contentment in doing so.
I’ve never aspired to greatness, only goodness. I find my greatest satisfaction in being a good friend, a good wife, a good mother – a benefit to others in some way. I tried the other path, corporate America. I’ve been the wife of a wealthy and successful man. But in all of those things for me, there was a huge emptiness that I could never express, never articulate. It was when I reconnected with land, earth, air and water, that I knew I was home. It was often uncomfortable, often overwhelming, often frustrating to me coming to it with so little knowledge and experience, with only old memories of the honesty and richness of that life. It is a hard life, make no bones about it. There is little room for frills like blow dryers, hair appointments or trips to the mall. There is hardly space for artificial beauty in this life. Having hair that I hate in its natural form (naturally curly and I don’t mean just a little bit) I find that I am the least attractive in the world’s terms when I am living this lifestyle. But my soul? It is there that it takes on its most refined form, that I feel alive and living rather than simply existing. Dirty and torn fingernails rather than tidy and polished ones, muck boots rather than stilettos, practical pants and protective gloves instead of stockings and pencil skirts – those are the outward trappings of self-sufficiency. And as long as time and money permit, once I return to this lifestyle I suppose I can gallivant into town and have some of my girl stuff done from time to time, so that I don’t become androgynous by default. ‘Till then, I don’t suppose the chickens nor the trees, nor the soil in the garden, will care one whit. I doubt it will make the greens less tasty, or the berries less sweet, or the sleep that I sleep after a full days labor any less either.
And that is quite all right with me.
Keep stretching. Keep dreaming. Be true to yourself. Expect blowback. Smile anyway 🙂