A Quiet Revolution 

​”Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.” ~Marianne Williamson

We live in a world where homesteading, which is really just living much the way our grandparents would have, is a quietly revolutionary act. In a society ruled by corporations, this is one of the few ways we can take back control of our lives and reclaim responsibility for our future and for the future of the Earth.

Growing our own food is a way to say NO THANKS to corporate greed and control. No, I’m not ok with you forcing farmers into unsustainable practices whilst offering (forcing) them ridiculously low prices for their produce. Farming is a profession which should be respected, celebrated and supported. I do not wish to be party to your bullying tactics.

Growing our own food is a way to say NO THANKS to losing touch with seasonal living. Sorry, but I am not ok with eating out of season food that has been trucked in from out of state or worse still, shipped in from overseas. Those unnecessary food miles and the resulting pollution are not ok with me, thanks anyway. I would much rather wait patiently and truly enjoy the first magical strawberry of the season.

Growing our own food is a way to say NO THANKS, I’m not comfortable with large-scale monoculture practices and the subsequent chemical use. I would rather not ingest those pesticides if I can avoid it, and I’d prefer not to be responsible for degradation of our soil. Instead I will work to repair the soil on my small patch and feed my family food that barely needs rinsing.

Keeping animals for food, even if it’s just for eggs, is a way of saying NO THANKS, I am not ok with the factory farming industry and it’s unspeakably horrible treatment of animals (buying direct from one of the many wonderful, ethical farmers in this country can send the same message). I would rather watch my hens forage around my yard and gratefully accept the eggs they gift me in return.

Cooking from scratch is a way to say NO THANKS, I am not ok with accepting the highly processed and packaged foodlike items that are robbing us of our health. I would like to know what is in my food, know that it nourishes my children’s bodies. I can do without all of the unnecessary plastic that pollutes our planet.

NO THANKS, but I don’t want to accept a one size fits all life for myself or for my children’s education. I don’t want my clothes to be made from oil. I don’t want to rely on a factory to provide me with something so simple,  so everyday, as a dishcloth. I don’t want to pay for things I can do myself. I don’t want to live detached from the Earth I came from. 

Like a toddler I want to scream, “I can do it myself!”

Suburban homesteading is a way to take back control. Control of our spending, control of our health. Through growing, cooking and preserving our own food we can accept responsibility for ourselves and for our impact on the Earth. We can thumb our noses at the corporations that try to tell us how to live, from the clothes we wear to the water we drink. 

The problems of the world can seem insurmountable. We can feel lost, powerless and afraid. Or we can take back our power. 

Each person who plants a garden takes back some control and responsibility for themselves. Each person who plants a garden inspires a friend to do the same. Slowly, quietly, the revolution is spreading from one backyard to the next. 

Have you joined the suburban homesteading revolution?

Get started with these ideas for homesteading in the suburbs.

 

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Changing the feel of your home

“Your home is always so peaceful and calm”.

I laughed when he said it because the kids had been screaming ten minutes before The Mister and His Mate walked in. But when I stopped laughing for a moment and looked around my home, soaking up the feel of it, I realised he was right. Somehow over the last year these four walls had become a haven of calm in a never-endingly busy world (tantrums notwithstanding). How had this happened?

The changes happened so slowly, so organically, that it felt like they happened all on their own. I wondered, was it the renovations? I suppose that helped. There is a lot more natural light now. I certainly don’t miss the carpet. Or that wall we apparently  didn’t need 😉

But it was more than that. Simpler than that. It was a changing of the culture of our home that has brought this feeling of calm, of quiet purpose, of peace. And as luck would have it, they were changes anyone can make regardless of budget or whether you are owning or renting. No renos required.

5 Ways to Create a Peaceful Home

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1. No t.v.

Ok so we have a tv. We even watch it *gasp*. We just don’t watch a lot of it and we very rarely watch it during the day anymore. Actually we rarely watch tv at all on weekdays. Movie night has become something to look forward to.

This is the number one change we have made that completely altered the feel of our home. It’s astonishing how noisy it feels even having it on quietly in the background now. It puts me on edge. We do often have calming music on low instead but it is always something relaxing and unobtrusive.

2. Clean and uncluttered

It’s amazing how much STUFF we can accumulate over the years. Pointless, expensive, takes-up-too-much-space stuff. Trust me- you will feel better and your home will feel calmer if you declutter. One of my favourite things about my home is the feeling of space and airiness. That all comes down to less stuff.

Jumping off the consumer bandwagon isn’t just good for the sense of calm it can bring to your home. It will save you $$$. It will also minimise your carbon footprint because less stuff equals less landfill, and less resources used in manufacturing things we really don’t need.

As for caring for your home, a daily rhythm will help you stay on top of chores without it feeling overwhelming. My home always starts to feel chaotic if I’ve strayed from our rhythm for more than a day.

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Rhonda’s book is a must read

Rhonda Hetzel of ‘Down to Earth’ fame talks about the acceptance of housework as an everyday part of life being a mindset change, and that was a light bulb moment for me. Instead of wasting our energy resenting the time and effort it takes, we can instead incorporate housework into our daily rhythm. We can take pleasure in a job well done and enjoy the resulting peace in our home.

A rhythm to our days, our weeks, the seasons, brings a sense of peace and purposefulness all of its own.

3. Organised homeschool materials

This one has taken a bit of trial and error to find what works for us, and will certainly look different depending on the style of homeschool you subscribe to. For us moving our formal activities into the kitchen, into the heart of our home, has meant that mama gets more done in a day. And that certainly helps.

It has also necessitated a change in the way we organise our materials. A pretty basket is the lynch pin of our system. I’ll chat more about the specifics of our bags and baskets another day, but the important part to note is that having a system keeps us neat and tidy, and most of all, organised. Chaos feels…well, chaotic. Organisation feels calm.

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Our homeschool basket keeps all of our materials on hand and tidy

No matter what materials you use, how many materials you have, or where in the home you ‘school’, make sure there is ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place’. Baskets are invaluable. Remember that 😉

For those who don’t homeschool,  the same principle applies to books and toys. Reduce the volume,  organise what you have and display attractively. You’ll see more use, more respect for belongings, and won’t feel overwhelmed by ‘kid things’ taking over your home.

4. Smells of beeswax, cut flowers and homecooking

Forgetting how delicious a made-from-scratch dinner smells, what is just as important is what our home DOESN’T smell like. It doesn’t smell like harsh cleaning chemicals or synthetic fragrances. We make most of our own cleaning products now. It’s cheaper and the smell isn’t stuck in your nostrils for days.

Our children draw with beeswax crayons, and warm beeswax on the windowsill and in their soft hands to model with (think playdough for big kids, but better). We burn beeswax candles instead of turning on lights in the evening.

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Beeswax candles smell amazing and contain no nasty petrochemicals

Bunches of cut flowers from the Farmer’s Market fill vases on the kitchen bench. Herbs hang to dry in the sunroom windows. Fresh air streams in through gauzy curtains and wide open windows. The home smells fresh and alive.

5. A sense of quiet purpose

Maybe I should have put this one straight after ‘No T.V.’ because this is what has filled the space. Before, there never seemed to be enough time. Time to relax or time for hobbies. Often there didn’t even seem enough time for chores.

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Baking days are a set part of our rhythm

While the chores are still there, there is now a whole lot of time that we didn’t have before. Those hours we spent watching T.V. are now spent playing games, gardening, reading, baking together, preserving food and taking up crafts. The home hums along to the steady ryhthm of these activities. The dishes in the morning, the knitting in the evening.

And that’s the key, I think. The rhythm of the home.

Homesteading and homeschooling together have given us new rhythms and a new raison d’être.

Have you found your rhythm?

Frugal meals: Devilled Sausages

This may come as a shock but I live on a *gasp* budget. Crazy right :-p But if you’re reading my blog I’m guessing you are probably doing the same. And when you think how much money gets spent on food in a week, well it makes perfect sense to cook some budget-friendly meals. Cheap and cheerful! Devilled sausages are a regular favourite here and so easy to make 🙂

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Devilled sausages are the perfect comfort food

Ingredients:

6-8 sausages of your choice

Splash of olive oil

2 small onions
1 large green apple
2 small tomatoes (you can substitute with half a can of crushed or diced tomatoes)
1 clove garlic crushed

3/4 cup tomato sauce (preferably homemade for extra flavour)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 clove crushed garlic (yes, another one. You can leave it out if you want. Or you know, add more because garlic is the shizz!)

It may look like a lot of ingredients when you could mix up a Maggi packet and call it a day, but I’d wager most people have these things stashed in their pantry.

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 180°C then fry your sausages in a pan. You can use whichever sausages you prefer or have a go at making your own.

Obviously cheaper sausages have less meat and more fat, etc. in them but sausages NEED fat to hold them together and give them that sausage-y texture. Also…they are cheaper! Because this is meant to be a frugal meal, right 😉

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Save money by buying whichever variety of sausages your butcher has on sale this week

When they are browned all over remove them from the pan, chop into bite sized pieces and transfer to a casserole dish.

Step 2

Slice the apples and onions thinly, and chop the tomatoes into a large-ish dice. Toss them into the pan you used for the sausages, add a splash of oil and the crushed garlic. Sautée for about 15 minutes until soft. When they are done add them to the casserole dish with the sausages.

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Don't wash your pan after cooking the sausages. It saves time and add flavour!

Step 3
Here is where you forget the packet of goodness-knows-what-dried-powder that you find in the supermarket, and instead make a delicious alternative with REAL ingredients. In a bowl mix together the remaining ingredients from the list and pour over the sausage mixture. Give it a good stir and pop it into the oven. Cook for 45 minutes with the lid on.

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Cook on 180°C or 350°F for 45 minutes

While you wait…
Do yourself a favour and make up a BIG bowl of mashed potato. The creamier the better. It is the perfect accompaniment to Devilled Sausages.

Enjoy!

Now I didn’t share a photo of the finished product because let’s face it, no matter how awesome this tastes it is never going to be a particularly pretty dish. Looks aside, my munchkins are GUARANTEED to eat seconds and even thirds when I cook this dish. Any leftovers make the perfect lunch for The Mister to take to work with some buttered bread.

Honestly, the vast majority of us are living on a budget so it makes sense to have a few of these frugal meals up our sleeves. 
What is your favourite frugal dinner?

Homesteading- what is it?

You’ve heard me talk about it. Suburban homesteading. But what is it?

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If you get up in the morning and put on gumboots instead of slippers, you might just be a homesteader.

If you ready your kids for school and find yourselves sitting around the kitchen table ready to start your lessons, you might just be a homesteader.

If it’s time to put dinner on and you send the kids outside to collect what you need from the garden, you might just be a homesteader.

If the change in seasons means something to you beyond a change in wardrobe…
If a hole in a sweater means work not shopping…
If you keep animals but not just pets…
YOU MIGHT JUST BE A HOMESTEADER.

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Homesteading- it’s a bit of a buzzword. You’ve probably heard it more than once, even sussed out that it refers to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. I’d wager you could even list off a half dozen or so activities you think it includes. And you wouldn’t be alone if you’re still a little…vague about the idea.

And that’s because homesteading is more than a location. More than a set of actions. It’s a lifestyle, but more importantly it’s a mindset. And that’s why homesteading can happen on a farm or in your suburban home. And it’s why anyone can do it!

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To be a homesteader all you need is the drive to become a more self-sufficient. That’s it! If you want to live more naturally, be less reliant on shops, save yourself some money, and become a maker not a buyer, then you’re set to be a homesteader!

And because this is a mindset change,  these pearls of wisdom may come in handy 😉

“Use it up, wear it out. Make do or do without”

And

“It’s not about where your home is, it’s about where your head is”  ~Rhonda Hetzel

So- are you a homesteader?

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