I love thrift shopping. I am not the queen…that title belongs to my dear friend Sta*. But I love a good bargain and today is 50% off all colors at the local Goodwill…score!
After picking up a couple of things for the hubs and a purse for the kid, I took a trip around the store; just so I don’t miss anything!
Today I went to my friend Donna’s house for a fall garden class. I snapped a few shots of her amazing backyard garden – she is THE BOMB. It should be noted that she put her beds to sleep for the summer and 90% of what is growing now are simply volunteers that popped up on their own. Most if it is a MASSIVE butternut squash plant…I’m so jelly. ;P
Donna is a wealth of information and was doing the whole backyard homesteading thing before it was hipster…aka cool. You can find her at Sharing Life’s Abundance…tell her Tiff sent you!
I am not sure I want to post my pictures now…I’m feeling a bit…inadequate. O well here we go!
I’m pretty stinking happy with my watermelon…BOOM BABY!
Now last, but not least, my tomatoes in buckets. I trimmed these up on recommendation and to experiment. I am getting a lot of new growth on 2 of them. But the Golden Jubilee may not recover.
After today’s class I know that my focus for the summer is to build my compost and focus on good healthy, living, soil for fall planting.
Vintage skills – are they all but lost? I often wonder in this busy, non-stop world, how the simple vintage skills of our past fit in. When I say ‘slow death’, I simply refer to the decreasing number of people that engage in these activities. I feel like I am part of a mission to keep them going.
The Slow Death of Vintage Skills?
I was watching an episode of Lark Rise to Candleford last night and it got me thinking (gasp). In the episode Queenie brings her handmade lace (bobbin lace) to sell at the local dress shop. The shop owner tells her they will no longer need her lace because they’ve been convinced that is antiquated; machine lace is the future. Later we see Queenie making some lace when the dress maker pays her a visit. The dress maker is motherless and Queenie had no daughters, so she begins to share stories and skills on bobbin lace.
For some reason this scene brought tears to my eyes. I thought about it for the rest of the night and found myself still thinking of it this morning.
Skills like knitting, sewing, cooking from scratch, canning, gardening and, yes, making bobbin lace seems to belong to a bygone era
In a generation full of technology are we watching the slow death of vintage skills?
I hear more today, than ever, about the trouble with children and teens. Could it be they, we, lack a sense of connection? Not just to one another (don’t get me started on families eating with phones at the table) but to a purpose. Have we a connection to creating the world around us?
Let’s start with education. There was a time where parents, mainly mothers, educated their children at home. Not only out of necessity but because it was expected; it was the norm. Children learned to read on the laps of their mothers or around the kitchen table; all the while watching and being part of her day-to-day life.
Now our children spend more time at school than at home during their week. They spend more time with their peers than any generation before them. They lack the connection to wisdom and maturity that once existed.
I am not saying today’s modern homeschooling could perfectly model the past, or what fix what ails our society. But I will say it is a marvelous start.
I’m a homeschooling mom…but more about that in another post.
See my book Homeschooling Fundamentals.
What about cooking? We eat out more than any other country in the world and any other generation in time. Convenience food lines the shelves at the grocery store…even the ones considered “health food stores”. According to Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, Americans spend 27 minutes or less a day cooking…. We have lost an art form in the preparation of food; not to mention our health. I for one can admit there was a time where 2-3 meals a week contained Cream of Mushroom soup from the can. Since going Paleo/Primal I have cooked a lot more from scratch than I have in years. But you don’t have to go Paleo to bring back the vintage skill of cooking real food. Check out fellow homesteader, The Elliot Homestead’s book, Cooking From Scratch.
But I know all to well how a busy schedule can keep us from a home cooked meal eaten around a table… Skills that have nearly disappeared in the kitchen – canning, fresh baked bread (machines don’t count), making delicious stocks.
Not to mention sewing, knitting and crocheting! I remember my grandmother making me pretty sundress, pillows, even dolls as a little girl. She could sew, knit, crochet and embroider! I still have a blanket she made me when I was in high school. I know all too well how much she wanted to pass these skills onto me but I didn’t see the value in them then. I sure do now. I have tried picking up the skills, I sew, but not well. My knitting and crochet skills are still lacking and I’d love to embellish a shirt. Even more, I would give anything to have that time with her; and to be able to pass those skills to my 3 daughters.
And then there is gardening… A garden used to be the life blood of communities and homes. Everyone grew and ate from their garden. During war times we were encouraged to keep gardens and chickens as a means of patriotism! Families spent time tilling, planting, tending and harvesting from the soil. I call it dirt therapy. Sure it was work, hard work; but in replacing it was factory farms and grocery shopping what have we lost? Nope, no soap box on GMOs today. There was a time when we relied on each other. There was time when we were connected to each other and our food – as families and as communities.
BUT! I see a revival!!! Homeschoolers. Backyard Farmers. Crafters. Survivalists.
Homesteaders. These movements are growing and beginning to cross paths. They are cool, hipsters, conservatives and hippies. This “vintage revivalism” is gaining momentum. I am glad to be a part of it in my small way. I hope to only grow in my skills and pray my kids will find some enjoyment and enthusiasm in joining me in them.
There is a saying that every old is new again…what do you think? Can we agree to share our vintage skills with other and continue to learn vintage skills from other? YES! Let’s do this!
A few days ago I was on the phone with a friend while I collected my morning eggs. I couldn’t help but expound my enthusiasm, once again, on collecting and cooking fresh eggs from my yard. After giving a her a taste of chicken narrative (please see One Girl’s Rant on hazards of backyard hens) she proposed a question to me…how long to chickens live?
I explained that most live 5-7 years but I had heard tales of some living into their teens and 20s. The conversation led naturally to how long they lay and what will I do with them when they no longer produce. At this time, in a small backyard, it would be unreasonable to keep hens that don’t produce eggs regularly.
To be true, I had not given this much thought. Considering my girls are all a year old this month I have some time to look at the options.
But then I stumbled onto a post at one of my favorite blogs, The Prairie Homestead, discussing “homeless chickens”. The idea that people tire of the coolness of raising backyard hens (or slow/stop egg production) and these unfortunate birds end up abandoned in shelters. These “hipster farmers” (please excuse all the italic and quotes…needed for effect) don’t know what to do with their hens so they are simply dumped. The article she quoted seemed to be calling the raising of backyard hens nothing more than a ridiculous fad…I can’t say there is no truth in that.
However, it is a blanket statement that dismisses a wonderful and powerful backyard movement!
Whoa nelly…almost got on my soap box.
So that brings me back to the question, for myself and any other small-time backyard farmer; what happens to the hens we raise when they can no longer meet our egg needs and we have not pasture to retire them to?
Dare I agree with her and say our hens should be….EATEN??????????????
Could I bring myself to put Miss Lucy or Ethel in a crock pot to make my bone broth? Or worse, could I drop her off at some shelter and let her life end with no purpose because I could not “do the deed”? *It should be noted that I have participated in humane backyard processing.*
I believe that is the course I will be following, when the time comes. How could I truly call myself a backyard homesteader if I cannot face that reality?
I encourage you to read the Homeless Chicken post for yourself. Chicken owner or wanna -be, there are questions that must be answered!