I grew up a Wyoming girl, but I never really was a country girl. I was outdoorsy and tough like pretty much every girl from Wyoming, but not a country girl.
But I always wanted to be one. I grew up riding horses, but my family lived in town and not on a farm. I knew how to cook because I grew up watching my Southern Mama cook dinner for us every night, but I didn’t know other basic things, like how to sew or how to build. Not for lack of trying. In college, I once tied a piece of plywood onto the top of my Subaru outback with bailing twine and drove it back to my place at five miles an hour so that I could put a back on an old, wobbly bookcase. At every stop sign, I’d have to get out and push it back into place as it kept sliding forward onto my windshield. That old bookcase still lives with me, by the way.
Do you know the feeling? That feeling of wanting to be competent? I had that. And I still do. But when I was younger, I didn’t know how to get there. This blog is about the journey that my family and I are on to self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency-ish, is more like it. I don’t think I’ll ever be someone who is out there living completely off the grid with no running water and and completely relying on my own two hands to meet my family’s basic needs. Not that I don’t think that’s cool. It’s just not me. I like modern conveniences. I love my food processor. I like running water and hot showers. But I also tend to shy away from commericialism for commercialism’s sake. I don’t want to feed my family processed garbage. What I want is for my kids to know where their food comes from so that they grow up to be conscious consumers. I want them to grow up in a home where we have a big garden and raise animals and can generate a lot of our own food sources. I want my children to grow up and know how to cook things from scratch so that they don’t eat out every meal. When something breaks, I want them to have the skills to fix it. I want them to raise animals so they learn about responsibility and stewardship. I want them to have room to explore without worrying what will happen to them. Childhood is so different now than it was when I was growing up. I want them to enjoy the preciousness of childhood discovery in a place where they can roam freely.
But it’s not all about my kids. I want to live a fulfilled life as well. I want to make goat cheese just because I can. I want to be able to handle things around the house without always having to pay someone else to do it. I want to be able to build the things that I see in my head. I want to know how to sew and knit beautiful things because it makes my heart happy. We all probably have great-grandparents who intuitively knew how to work with their hands and meet their own needs. But in the quest for modernization and convenience, we’ve lost these skills as a society. More than that, I really think we’ve lost a part of ourselves. There are few things more fulfilling than creating something with your own, two hands. Along with the satisfaction at a job well done, I think we can find a sense of completeness in this work as well. I just plain got sick of not being able to do things for myself, so I decided to do something about it. I want to feel competent. Anyone else?