"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Barbara Kingsolver = Self-sufficiency

Some of you are reading this because you're wondering who this woman is that deserves a blog post named after her. Others of you are reading this because you've read The Bean Trees or The Poisonwood Bible (a brilliant, wonderfully smart book I've been meaning to reread for about 7 years) and love her as an author. I'd like to introduce her to you as someone you may not know: one of the very main and most important inspirations for my personal self-sufficiency movement.
I think most anyone would find this book inspiring. (okay at the very least interesting!) 
The premise of this nonfiction book is that Barbara and her family are going to spend an entire year living/eating off of things they either raise/grow themselves, or come from within their county (I believe it was county. There could have been a mile radius. But you get the point). She has a garden, they raised turkeys (which is a hilarious adventure), have laying hens, bake bread and make their own cheese. I bake all our bread now and have been for about a year (right after I finished this book! Imagine that!).

We have not bought a single loaf in a year. That also means some weeks we don't have bread...

For our one-year wedding anniversary I almost drug Brian to the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania to a weekend cheese-making workshop to learn from the same woman who taught Barbara and her family cheese-making techniques. I have spent hours and hours on this site researching what kind of chicken coop I want to build in the future, and what it takes to house and raise chickens. (I've discussed the future chickens in depth here).

My new life philosophy is a mash-up (Yeah Glee fans--I said it!) of these two sentiments: 
1) If humanity did something for thousands of years in far worse conditions than those in which we now live, I am certainly capable of doing it myself with all the modern advances I do have access to. (This covers everything from baking bread to natural childbirth)
2) Why should I pay for something that is unhealthy and marked up because of packaging etc. when I can make a far tastier, cheaper version at home from scratch?! Believe me, once you've had homemade bread (and for over a year!) the thought of having to eat store-bought is seriously depressing.

I'll leave you with this quote I recently found that really made me excited. I haven't had time to find out who Bill Buford is, but the man is a genius and I love him: 

"Food made by hand is an act of defiance and runs contrary to everything in our modernity. Find it; eat it; it will go. It has been around for millennia. Now it is evanescent, like a season." 

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