Country Life

Country living vs. just living in the country. Self-sufficiency compared to reliance on outside factors.     Yes we all want electricity, indoor plumbing, etc. But what is there for backup, self-sufficiency? Not talking a generator with an extra can of gas and bottled water here, but more permanent things.     A hand pump well or stream nearby? Enough kerosene lamps, candles, etc. to light your world night after night? Wood heat and enough firewood to truly make it through a hard winter?  Non perishable food stocks for months, as well as the ability to grow a garden, hunt and fish indefinitely?     All these things are “country  living”, not just “living in the country”. We are not advocating living off grid, for modern conveniences are useful and certainly appreciated!  But country living is also not that difficult, for remember wasn’t but a couple generations back it was just normal rural farm life.     Country living is about being self sufficient, with a pride in being able to feed and care for one’s family by your own hard work and ingenuity. Judy looks forward to summer and fall because that’s when she gets to start canning, while Wade can fish and hunt. Fresh protein from the earth and sea; jams and jellies that you’d never find in a store and all these things without preservatives or additives. Yes pickles, far better than anything on a store shelf and make your own bread with the knowledge of where the wheat comes from.      Judy’s great grandma was born in 1889, lived through the depression. She taught to never waste things, though sadly sometimes we still do. But her voice rings true every time a length of thread or an old button is discarded. Fabric was never thrown away, it can be given away…but never thrown away, ever!  Clothing patterns are gold, can be used and shared over and over. Wade’s aunt cooked on a wood cook stove and often sent him outback to slice the evening’s roast off a venison haunch hanging in the meatshed.     There are so many ways to be self reliant. We still have much to learn and want to learn. In these troubled times it’s more important than ever to learn “off grid” skills.     There are books on medicinal herbs and books on homesteading that cover everything from building a house to delivering a baby, not to mention tons of information on gardening, hunting, fishing, butchering, ammunition reloading, etc.     Small livestock, free range chickens, a hog pen with a feeder pig comes to mind. How about trapping, that almost lost art? Wade had a box trap set for rabbits and squirrels all fall and winter. A trap “hunts” for you 24/7, and with several traps one multiples those “hunts”.      Gardening in most areas can be accomplished as large or small as time and space dictate. In a temperate zone a huge amount of produce can be grown with only moderate effort, with healthy fresh air and exercise a free bonus.     We also need to utilize our friends and families, elders we can learn from. That’s true “Sharing is Caring” a country lifestyle. We have so many God given gifts at our disposal…we just need to utilize them.    Be smart, capable, get one’s mindset off the pavement and onto a  country road once again!~ Judith C and Wade Pennell