Monday, July 11, 2016

Living From Scratch




 {From the Archives of Connie's Letters. January 2010.}


Part One

Well I wanted to write in the subject line,"Cooking From Scratch."  But really I want to write about living from scratch. 

I went to a prayer meeting yesterday.  I had a lot of fun with Terry and her husband ..They took me out for lunch after the meeting.  I just loved it.  Terry's new husband Joseph is very spiritual and interesting.  This couple is loving and humble and know what true treasures are.  Anyway they want to buy an acreage and live off the land.  At lunch we talked about how to make cheese etc. .

Back in the old days when we decided to homeschool, it was against the Iowa state law.  So we quit getting any help from the state like food stamps etc..  For me it was like getting hit over the head with a sack of potatoes ..  With food stamps, I had 500 a month to spend on groceries.  Jim could only afford to give me 200 a month out of his paycheck for groceries.  But that was okay with me.  I knew he was being honest about it.  He had to pay the house payment and the other bills.  We had to keep a roof over our heads.

We had 6 children to care for.  Well 5 at home at the time.  Jimmy [the oldest] was in the Navy.  But he came home often ..We all missed him a lot.  I had an idea of how to cook from scratch only, but hadn't done it as a way of life for so many people at one time.  It takes a lot of planning.  You can learn to cook from scratch ..You can learn about herbs and gardening, saving your own heirloom seeds each year to plant in the spring.

 Ya know we women should stay home more.

You can quit going to the Beauty Salon to get your hair died, permed, and frizzed.  You can wear a scarf on your head and forget it.  Scarves on your head make you look mysterious, like you are up to something. Or better yet wear a cowboy hat with your apron.  Just stay home and learn womanly ways.  The old time Mothers got up with the chickens and started biscuits or bread of some kind for the day.  She spent time in the kitchen.  I always got up early too, usually to write.  But when I got up I would always be thinking of feeding my army.

So while I wrote, I was frying a pound of hamburger with onions for an afternoon Hamburger, Vegetable Soup.  I made the soup here and there as I passed the kitchen. . . Writing, thinking, cleaning vegetables as I went about my morning.  It was a way of life. . . I kept the morning quiet ya know.  I didn't vacuum. . just did what I had to do as it was my time to write and pray.

But then about 6:00 in the morning I got the kids up for homeschool.  They showered and helped with chores, and I fed them breakfast.  But then I didn't have much time then to fix a lunch.  I was so busy with the kids and school work all morning.  But that meal made in the wee hours of the morning saved me for the day.

Also I would start my bread early too if I needed to.  If we had to go some place in the morning, we had that meal to come home to.  Otherwise we would have been tempted to buy fast food that we couldn't afford.  And I would be exhausted when we got home after getting up so early in the morning.  So to come home to a big pot of vegetable soup was such a comfort.

And after lunch I always rested.  This was when my children did their reading for book reports.  I rested for a few hours.  Then back to the kitchen to do more cooking.

Part 2

 I loved to see Wildman buy a 50 pound bag of potatoes and haul them over his shoulder at the grocery store.  Or 25 pounds of flour over his shoulder.  Oh what a cowboy I married.  He brought home the bacon and his wife fried it. I worked like a dog keeping up with Wildman and his seeds.

His 4 sons were creative like him, and still are.  Our home was dominated by boys growing into men.  The boys sat at the table and watched Jim heap his creamed peas or corn over his mashed potatoes and gravy, and they ate the same way.  Well not Jimmy as he was too educated to do such a thing.  David always says "Are you sure Jimmy is one of us?"  Jimmy was raised as an only child by primarily a hippy Jesus freak ..that would be me.  My life was a fright and I was afraid to have another child.  But then when Jimmy was 7, I got the Holy Ghost and thought I could do anything.  So I preceded to have 5 more children. . What the heck. .

I had to do a lot of creative thinking to keep my family afloat.  I did a lot of praying, on and off.   As my washers and dryers would break down, I used a wringer washer, and my back yard clothes line.  I used an old garden rake to hold up the middle of the clothes line rope as it sagged.  I didn't have a drain to drain the washer so I drained it into buckets.  Then I had the kids take the buckets out to the garden and water the vegetables.

I loved my 2 wringer washers.  I wasn't wasting water.  I did 3 loads of wash at a time.  Well I could use the same water for a 4th load to do rag rugs.  Anyway you can still buy wringer washers.. I know the Lehman's catalog has them.  Wringer washers save on so much water.  And it's easy to use your used up soapy water for the garden.  The soap in the water keeps the bugs out, especially in a cabbage patch.  And in a drought, the water comes in handy.

Anyway I used my wringer washer to wash all of our clothes.  Also I made my own laundry soap. But I used lye and I guess ya cant get it now at the stores.  Maybe from Lehman's catalog or on the internet.

It was a lot of work to live like we did.  But to me it was a mission or calling.  I believed God had given me my children to train for Him.  I knew I wasn't to go out to work.  So I knew God had a plan for me.  I knew He could teach me how to make it on only 50 bucks a week for everything.  I didn't know how . . .But God showed me in the wee hours of the morning when I would get up to pray.  I was confident that He knew what He was doing. . . I knew I didn't. . . but He showed me.

love Connie






 * Order Connie's book, "Dear Kitchen Saints," available on Amazon. It is autobiographical - all about homemaking and family life. It also tells the beautiful story of her marriage testimony!* 



6 comments:

Karen Del Tatto said...

Connie, This was such a delightful post!! I read it like a story that I didn't want to end! I LOVED your sense of humor and the simplicity in which you shared that God always provides. He is our provider.

It was such a treat to stop by here today!

Laura Lane said...

This is so very encouraging! It brought back some memories of my early homeschooling times and the ways we got by. It also inspired me to be more frugal.

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Jamie Jeffers said...

Love this story! Simplifying creates more work, but you have time for that because you've simplified. :) Busy hands and prayerful heart. I love it.

JES said...

Thank you for sharing this encouragement on how to stretch things, endure and trust God for the strength and answers. And thank you for linking this up to the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth!

Keeper At The Homestead said...

I love this post!!! Those hard times when washers break down or money is tight are such blessings though at the tine they don't always appear that way. You really recieve sanctification and learn to mend it, wear it out, use it up, or do without. Thanks for sharing. I'm adding the book to my wishlist.

Lori Tullis said...

I love this, Connie! I was just thinking about a wringer washer on Monday while doing laundry and how it would save money. Maybe one day I'll be able to find one. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

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