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Posts Tagged ‘Local food’

I had a grand post planned related to stockpiling and pantry stocking to make eating local and fresh easy and affordable, right up until my husband came into the house and shared with me and our daughter that one of our girlies had died in the night.  Of course my mind immediately went to weasel break-in, poison, disease, infection and for a split second I was certain he was going to tell me that we were on the verge of losing all 6 and our steady flow of eggs and I caught a glimpse of what farmers must go through when they fear that their entire livelihood could be at jeopardy.   On the contrary, however, he shared with us that he believes she was either smothered by her coop mates who all tried to huddle in a single box last night or suffered a heart attack or stroke.   Due to the extreme winds yesterday, she could have been literally scared to death.    Regardless of the cause, the other girlies appear to be fine thankfully.   Nonetheless, as someone new to livestock raising I had a twinge of sadness when I realized that one of ladies I had raised since she was a wee chick in my basement had been lost.  I also looked in my 4 year old daughter’s eyes as she processed the news that the chicken was not going to the doctor to get better and that she really was gone forever.   As we have always looked at these chickens as a food source both for eggs and for meat, our focus has always been to give them the best possible life and then a good clean death, so I decided that this despite the sadness of the moment, was an opportunity to help my child understand what was happening and what would eventually happen to all of the girlies one day.  Yes, I cannot tell a lie, this quickly became a bit of a Mufasa Circle of Life moment, but an important one nonetheless.   I have always felt strongly that whatever choice someone makes about the food they eat is there own.  Ours is to try and eat local humanely raised and slaughtered meat and locally grown produce.  We are far from perfect, but it’s what we strive for.    I hope that Amelia will grow up to make her own decisions about the food she eats, but while she is under our care, I want her to understand the food we eat and why now, and there is no better opportunity than the present to be honest about what his happening and what it means.  So, she stood there asking me why that girlie had to die.  She threw her arms around me and said that she loved that girlie and would miss feeding her grass and talking to her after school.   I felt the loss through the her preschooler eyes and it gave me pause to feel a new sense of grief myself.   So I told her it was ok to be sad and to miss that girlie, but that it was a part of life.  I told her to remember how much she loved giving that girlie grass and lettuce and how she should feel so good about giving her a good life.  I told her, that the important thing is not that girlie’s death but the life she had.   I told her we will always have animals we love and care for and that we will almost always have a point where we will need to say goodbye.   Sometimes, it will be like this, sad and unexpected and sometimes it will be part of the plan to say goodbye so that we might provide food for ourselves and others.   She was not very sure about the last part, but as she grows we can feel good that we were honest and gave her as much information as possible to make decisions for herself.   So tonight, as we put her to bed, she shared that she was still sad about the loss of a girlie, but that she was going to continue to love and care for the other 5 girlies.   She was still not clear on whether or not she wanted to eat chickens (keep in mind she hasn’t completely made the connection that her favorite dinner of chicken fries is the same as the girlies, but I am not going to push that light bulb right now), but she understood what it meant to give her animals a good life.  At the end of the day that’s all we can hope for as parents and a family wanting to raise our own animals for food.   So we keep calm, carry on and learn from our experiences with this group of girlies as we think about our plans for expansion in the future and teach our daughter the lessons and values we have surrounding our food sources.

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I am what you might call “pleasantly plump” .    This is something that I have coped with for the better part of my life.

My Before Picture

At some point you learn that your happiness is not linked to weight, you need to love yourself before you can lose weight, and yaddayaddayadda, you know the rest.    I have been successful at weight loss before by making exercise a priority, by counting points through Weight Watchers, drinking a lake’s worth of water, finding my inner chi with green tea and by eating a lot of 100 calorie snacks and frozen healthy choice dinners.   Back then I was single, worked a swing shift (which meant time for exercise in the morning without beating the sun to the punch line), and had no clue about the whole food and/or local food movement.   So, here I am 6 years, one husband, one child, one normal 9-5 job later, wanting nothing to do with ingredients I cannot pronounce or food that looks and tastes like cardboard.  I get the concept that local and organic do not always mean healthy.  An egg is an egg.   Butter is still full of fat.  Alas, the organic cow does not produce fat free milk.  However, if any of you fellow homesteaders and or farmers out there have found out how to raise a fat free cow, I will take it.    The moral of my story is that I often run into a great internal conflict between my weight loss goals and my localvore eating goals.  I know what you are about to say:  There are lots of healthy eating options in the local/organic world.   Yes, I make my own vegetable soup.   Yes, I eat apples and bananas (I know not local but they are one of my guilty pleasures).   Sometimes, though, gosh darn it, I want bacon.   I want a chocolate brownie that doesn’t have a horrible hair-raising aftertaste .   Have I also mentioned that I am gluten intolerant and thus lead a gluten free  lifestyle?   Yes, it is true, and I can tell you that low fat, gluten free and tasty do not often intersect.   So I find myself at this crossroads and asking what would my ancestors do?  Well, weight was not an issue.  Why you ask?  If they didn’t make it they didn’t eat it.  There was no supply of chips or cookies in the pantry.  Ice cream and butter had to be churned by hand.    Also, their daily routine mirrored the $100 dollar boot camp classes we pay for today.  There was not a lot of spare time for feeding your face with brownies while you were making clothes for your family to wear.  So my new focus for weight loss success will be a combination of my homesteading love and Weight Watcher’s point counting.    I will have a feed to my Weight Watcher’s log on this blog, which I will begin using as my daily confessional.  Some will be short and sweet and some long and tedious.  In the meantime here  is my Top Ten List of a  Modern Day Homesteaders Tips for Weight Loss:

10.  If it doesn’t require preparation or come directly from nature, you cannot put it in your mouth.  Convenience for  this farmgirl  means little to no self-control.

9. Become a GFree artisan.  There must be whole grain, low fat Gfree recipes out there.  Find them.  Make them.  Enjoy Them. Lose Weight.

8.  The obsession with being “crafty” and making everything yourself can be your escape.  One cannot cram a brownie sundae into your mouth while trying to craft handmade gifts and decorations for the holiday season.

7.  People managed to get around for thousands of years before the invention of the wheel.  You have two feet.  Use them.

6.  Enjoy the good stuff: in moderation.   There are plenty of options that will meet your organic/local needs without overdoing it.  A touch of maple syrup or honey goes a long way.   Dark Chocolate is God’s gift to the lifelong dieter. The Laughing Cow cheeses seem to have easily pronounced and limited ingredients.   If you have the points left over, Ice Cream and Wine should always be enjoyed.

5.  If you have your own chickens, you have a lot of eggs.   Egg whites can be your hero.    Egg yolks can be frozen and used later in a “good stuff” recipe from number 6.

4.  Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  Make it worthwhile.  Visit number 6.

3.  Keep track.   In this age of excess if you don’t, you will overeat.   So, if you bite it, you write it.

2.  Portion control.  This may have been innate for our ancestors, but not so much for us.  Measure and weigh.

1.  If you are hungry eat.  When you are full stop.  The women of old did not have the luxery of eating in front of a TV or with the Iphone on their hip.  Pay attention to what your body is telling you.  It is your only real link to a simpler time.  As it turns out we have not physically evolved all the much.  Munching on Frito’s and playing words with friends does not a mindful food experience make.

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