Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Victory Garden


In the 40's, with the war going on, the American government urged its citizens to ration their food. They also wisely suggested that the average American citizen start something called a "Victory Garden." This was a garden, as large as you could manage, that was intended to feed your family with fresh fruits and vegetables that were otherwise scarce during wartime.

Some great video footage is available here. Scroll down to "Victory Garden (this is hardly organic!)" for a great blast from the past. I really enjoyed watching it, although the caveat is quite true!

This is, essentially, what we are trying to do with our new home. We've identified a piece of land which we really like. It's high on a (small) mountain, with views on all sides, plenty of land for crops (about 8 to 10 acres could be devoted solely to crops with no problems) and animals (another 3 or 4 acres could house animals, plus a hay field for forage). We're going to have our own "victory" garden, of sorts, but the victory will be ours, as human beings. As the sign says, we'll grow vitamins at our kitchen door. Well, actually we'll grow vitamins at our barn door, because the garden plot will probably be across the "road" (and I use that term loosely) from the house, beside the big barn.

We've had several discussions about what to do about our housing situation. One of them is to use the big barn as the frame for a new house. It would be bigger than the main house, which is fine. We have to have it inspected anyhow, so we're going to have them check out the foundation and such, so we know what we're getting into. With luck, we'll be able to put up a little framing, fill it with appropriate insulation, and drywall over it. Laying a floor would be last, and blocking out rooms. There's already an upstairs in the barn, quite well built. This barn is made with 10x10 beams, not the "not quite 2x4's" of today's building practices. The upper "floor" is actually two sides, and would translate into two separate "rooms" with the opening to the main part of the house in between. It would work very well for our family, because sis and I like our separate bedrooms, and this would give us lots of space, with room for the twins and living space and kitchen and bathrooms and such down below. There would be lots of privacy in the house if it were set up that way. I rather like that idea!

I think what I'm most excited about is cooking on our wood cookstove. I know there will be a learning curve, but the idea of having hot water for tea and hot chocolate, and a bubbling (but NOT burning) stew sitting on top of the woodstove just makes me happy. I can almost smell it already. Along with that lovely stove (see the picture - that's it!), in the kitchen proper there is an old electric range, which has a proofing oven! This means that, if I can just, somehow, get my stuff together, I can make bread several times a week, maybe even daily. What an idea.

See, this is what I have been talking about. We need to calm our lives down a bit, find that silent place within, so that we can be at peace. I want that, very much. I have always wanted to have a try at following Ma Ingalls' catechism for running a household:

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday.

Perhaps I could do without the ironing part. Most of our clothes don't require it, anyhow. Hehe!
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