Living with purpose is much more rewarding than living for fun.
I find contentment when my life is balanced. It has not felt or looked balanced lately but I know how to get back into balance and that requires me to work on what it is that needs to be done. Sometimes stress can make that seem like we cannot get back to being balanced but we can and we can find a new normal if we just keep at it.
Charles and I realized when we started trying to live a more simple life that we needed tools to do things that we would have pay to have done. I keep a tool box for our pets. There are brushes, combs, grooming sheers and old hardware from old leashes and harnesses.
A simple life does not necessarily mean less items in the home.
Over time we have been adding items that will help us to grow food.
By adding a bar to our clothesline we have way to dry rugs.
We have different tools to help with preserving food.
Over time we have bought important items such as a water bath canner, a pressure canner, a food dehydrator and large pots and pans so we can preserve and not waste our food.
It is nice to have fresh food to eat but fresh food does not last long as it will spoil quickly and if we do not preserve some of our food we are dependent on the grocery store. There can be situations where we cannot get what we need. Possibly financial difficulties, disasters, and sometimes it is just not there as we are finding to be the case recently
Part of my life with purpose is to have food in the pantry to be able to prepare meals without having to go to the store for however long that may be.
We "Need" food and water, shelter, clothing and tools. Many people spend so much money on non essential items that they do not have the money for the Needed items.
It is not good to live fully dependent on buying things often or even daily in case something happens or else we find ourselves in a emergency situation and in need of some type of assistance or in a miserable situation when it could have been avoided if we had prepared.
We must live below our means to be able to avoid a financial disaster.
Some of my fondest memories is when I lived the most simple life.
Today people often put themselves in situations that could have been avoided if they had only listened to that gut feeling. The one that lets us know when this is something that we truly cannot afford but we go into debt to get it anyway. We cannot buy satisfaction because satisfaction is never ending and then we live life dragging a heavy weight of debt.
We can start right now to fix this type of situation just by stopping the flow.
Sometimes that is to live smaller.
This pint jar holds 5 pounds of dehydrated carrots. It will sit on the shelf next to the dehydrated spinach and the dehydrated potatoes and the home canned green beans.
Sometimes cucumbers in the garden will be ready for harvest many at a time or just a few.
If there is no time to make pickles they can be dehydrated. These can be rehydrated and put into salads or powdered to make cucumber dressing.
Today we had fresh green beans, new potatoes and a piece of boiled chicken. I season our chicken and then boil it and then I save the broth that it makes.
This is a dehydrated sliced carrot.
This is carrots sitting in a bowl of cool water rehydrating. There are different ways to rehydrate dehydrated vegetables but a simple way for me is to add water and put it in the refrigerator overnight and cook it the next day. It can be put in boiling water to speed it along or put in stew and cook it all together with what you are cooking.
I think of it like this.... Some vegetables and fruits have more water in them, carrots have a lot of water and why they get so small when dehydrating. The longer it takes to dehydrate them because they have a lot of water in them, the longer it takes to rehydrate them.
Spinach dehydrates in less time and it rehydrates in less time.
When canning and dehydrating I follow good food preservation information and I never take shortcuts. I sterilize my jars when it calls to be sterilize and I blanch the food that requires to be blanched before preserving them. Carrots need to be blanched. This picture above is just a picture of the carrots at the end of their rehydrating. I do not like the taste of canned carrots so I dehydrate them. I like them best fresh or frozen but I do not like to depend on a freezer because there can be an outage and a whole freezer of food can be lost.
These are peaches to be canned, I like the taste of home canned peaches. These can be water bath canned.
This weeks outdoor Monday meal was beef tips, carrots and mixed zucchini and yellow squash with onions. We do not eat meat every day of the week. As food shortages and limits are going on we will eat meat three times per week, four if we have it. We normally do not eat meat every day anyway but we are stretching the meat more because some of it gets canned in case the shortages get worse.
Our main meal for the day is at noon. We eat light in the evening. Sometimes it is a simple salad or a sandwich. Sometimes it is soup or leftovers. Sometimes it is just dessert :)
These are pint jars of dehydrated food. The one on the left holds 30 spring onions. The one in the middle holds 6 cucumbers the third from the left is 5 pounds of organic carrots and the one on the right is another dehydrated cucumber. They are all air sealed with our food saver jar sealer. Dehydrating is less weight in food storage.
These are quart jars, on the left is bell peppers, next is cabbage, third from the left is potatoes and the one on the right is spinach. All dehydrated and air sealed.
These are just a few of our home canned food. First on the left is pressure canned beef, second from left is pressure canned chicken, third from left is water bath canned peaches and the one on the right is pressure canned green beans.
We need two different kinds of canners to do this. A water bath canner and a pressure canner. Do not confuse a pressure canner and a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker is to fast cook food for a meal. A pressure canner is for canning food.
We do not need to lose the skills that our generations of long ago had because those skills got them through wars, a pandemic, great depression and recessions.
Read and learn, there are government and EDU websites on food preservation if you cannot afford books. For books there are ball canning books and good dehydrating books. Make sure you are learning from a reliable source. There are some videos on the internet that are not safe to follow because they take shortcuts and other things that are not safe. They are not all bad but check what they are doing with what the government and educational websites say.
The dehydrating book I use is called The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff Steven Gangloff and September Ferguson. I am not affiliated in anyway, this is just the book I use and I feel this is a very good book. I do have two other dehydrating books.
I first found Tammy Gangloff many years ago on Youtube. She made many videos that are very good, she is very careful with her food handling. When she published a book I was probably one of her first to buy one. I dreamed of having a dehydrator and so we saved up for one. I do not have the type she uses because it was over our budget and still is but what we have does well.
Food can be dehydrated outdoor and the oven etc. We live in a high humidity area so I have not tried outdoor dehydrating.
We understand the importance of the purchases we make and what we spend our money on.
You can do this too. Grandma Donna