I woke up this morning thinking I better get myself a pair of overalls so I can wear them in the yard while taking care of the garden and chickens and whatever else I dream up for my backyard farm. Then I smiled and laughed at myself and just put on my sweatpants. I mean, really….sweatpants are everything.
But, honestly, I have been dreaming only of my backyard farm lately. I am obsessed. It’s all I want to do. I was asking around recently about getting a job at a local farm just to learn more. I would much rather shovel poop than work in front of a computer any day. (ironically, here I am writing this…)
In a way, I have been moving towards this lifestyle for quite a few months after a very successful year that in hindsight also felt very unlike me (it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement). Authenticity and acceptance of who I am, good and bad, is my goal now. For so many years, I suppressed this simpler side of me because I had a picture in my head of what I “should be” and what I “should be” making, which never involved raising chickens or making my own toothpaste. I’m a Jersey girl, for f*$# sake! But, hear me out…
Most people think that to live a “simpler life” we need to quit our jobs and move to the country and buy a cow. They immediately give up on that idea because no one wants to own a cow or thinks they can do it. But that’s just not true. Living a simpler life can happen in the city or the suburbs as well, you just have to create your own way and definitely don’t buy a cow if you have a 4th floor walkup….disastrous.
I surveyed my area. What do I have to work with? Small suburban fenced in lot. I know that I will not be moving anywhere any time soon because my children are in school and I wouldn’t dare take them away from their friends just to satisfy my need for a teeny tiny baby goat that hops and prances and let’s me take it for walks. My human kids come first (see what I did there? LOL). So, we make do with the space we have.
The easiest first step towards a simpler life is to start a garden. It can be in pots on your deck/porch or you can go rototill a section of your yard or even build raised beds like I did. Ask yourself what your level of commitment is before deciding. Not sure? Start small and just do container gardening. You can grow vegetables and herbs from containers. Sure, purchasing shiny waxy vegetables is easier, but let’s look at this for a hot minute…
We are a society of consumerism. It’s easier and faster to buy. I remember the day that I realized that brownies didn’t just come from a mix in a box. Eek, embarrassing. Back in the day, we all made our own clothing, grew our own food, made our own baskets, carved our own toys, built our own homes & chopped our own wood to heat them. Some people had specific jobs like blacksmith or schoolteacher, but most people were able to do a little of everything. We weren’t afraid of doing it all.
Now, I am not encouraging you to go out and build your own barn (unless you want to, then huzzah!), but we all should take a step back and see how much we purchase and where we are willing to slow down. Maybe try to make our own items instead. (this blog is my way of hopefully encouraging and inspiring you to do just that!) You do not have to do it all, but when you make even your own homemade salad dressing, the sense of accomplishment can make you feel like a celebrity. That sense of accomplishment is exactly what we need to get back. That confidence in ourselves and our abilities. Whip up some shampoo or hand lotion, grow some basil or fix a hole in your sock and realize that you can do this. Recipes and tutorials are everywhere, I have even shared a few so far on my journey. I am in no way an expert – far from it. Which means you can do it too.
We are all natural makers, us humans. We make things out of necessity and we make things out of love. At least we used to. Find that part of yourself and get back to being a maker. You never know how much it will fulfill your life to know that you can make instead of buy. Getting back to basics is is good for your soul, it’s good for your body, it’s good for your family, it’s good for your wallet and it’s good for our planet.
So start that garden, make some homemade cleaners, bake your own bread or maybe even raise chickens like me (I’ve never done this before – trial and error!) so you can feel that sense of accomplishment, that pride in yourself and your abilities. Think about how much happier we would be if we lived this simpler life? We can all do something.
Me, I am planning on growing as many veggies I can this summer and hopefully trying out some freezer/canning preserving ideas to stock up for the winter months. I am also going to raise these chickens to hopefully get some fresh eggs by the fall. I am also going to start baking my own bread and you know I am already replacing as many cleaners, candles and beauty products in our household as I can. If something doesn’t work out, then I will try another way.
Please share what you are planning on making yourself and are going to stop purchasing. I would LOVE to hear everyone’s plans so I can encourage you all.