Light my fire

imageSo in the last week we have been collecting supplies to build garden beds, tools to tend gardens and for firewood and anything we may need.
A neighbor sold us a Husquavarna chainsaw in great condition for $200 a larger purchase that will no doubt save us in the long run. Immediately Trevor was looking for things to cut up with his new toy. We had some smaller fallen trees in the yard and he took the chance to Buck them up into firewood right away. This left behind a pile of sawdust. As we are doing our best to not waste anything we gathered the dust pile and began to make fires starters. here is what we did, and what you will need to do the same.
-Muffin liners or empty cardboard egg containers
-Old wax candles
-Sawdust, or small dry twigs, leaves etc

First we melted the wax in a double boiler the microwave can also do the trick.
We then used old muffin liners and filled them 1/2 full of sawdust
We then poured wax on top and filled the muffin liner the rest of the way with sawdust before adding more wax until the sawdust was sufficiently saturated.
Place the newly waxed dust piles somewhere to stand until hardened.
You are now ready to place them in fireplace and use as fire starter.
The moist westcoast wood stands no chance. This can also be done using old crayons or any old wax you have.
Hope these tips help you like they have us!.

 

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Cauliflower

It’s been ten days since our last grocery shop and we have had to go again, it totalled $310.54. The Canadian dollar is at its lowest in over a decade. This is reflected in the cost of everything imported and somehow even local products. I have been appalled at the price of things such as cauliflower lately. At Superstore cauliflower was about 8 dollars, that is triple the cost of only a few months ago. While ranting about it in the store another woman told a story about attempting to purchase a cauliflower the other day at another store and it rang up at $17.00 as it didn’t appear to be plated in gold she decided to leave it behind.

According to Yahoo we Canadians can expect food prices to continue to rise throughout 2016. There is a shortage of produce due to the dust bowl we call California. Average food costs across the country have risen 4.1 percent in the last year. Some parts of Canada have been hit even worse.

The Consumer Price Index or CPI for food increased 3.4 per cent from November 2014 to November 2015, according to Statistics Canada. Certain categories saw steeper increases: for example, 6.0 per cent for fresh or frozen meat (excluding chicken), 9.9 per cent for fresh fruit and 10.9 per cent for fresh vegetables.

Some parts of the country experienced even steeper increases in the same period. In Prince Edward Island, the CPI for meat (excluding poultry) increased by 19.9 per cent. The CPI for fresh or frozen poultry soared 17.6 per cent in New Brunswick. Fresh fruit was up 12.5 per cent in Ontario. And the CPI for fresh vegetables jumped by 14.9 per cent in Saskatchewan.

Last night, I plotted where our gardens will go.

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Cash Crops

How To Achieve

So now that the intentions have been clearly set, how Shall we go about achieving or attempting to achieve this goal. Who knows How close our food or even living costs could can get to zero. I fully understand and live by the rule that my time is money, but for the sake of this project only money is money.

There will be a few basic ideas and principals adhered to, but there will be no rules. The plan is to farm, forage, barter and even scavenge to provide for my family. It is safe to say that groceries will still be purchased during the attempts to reach the goal. I will blog all of my grocery bills with the hopes of first learning average costs, then later seeing those drastically drop.

To begin this journey I have armed myself with some useful literature , and the knowledge not used will none the less be informative and interesting.
Here are the books I am currently reading or have recently finished.

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This one is just to make us all better people

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This book and this woman are both amazing!

 

How this begins

How does someone go about freeing a family of four from the tight restraints of agriculture? How can a family existing in this day and age be as green and cruelty free as possible? How can I ensure my family is eating the best and most natural foods The planet can offer them?

These are questions I constantly ask myself and my peers. I have looked for the answer in books, in public opinion, in myself, my surroundings and in those around me. I definitely do not know the answers to these questions, but perhaps the real answers lie in the quest to find them. So this is my quest.

I am going to start with my most recent grocery receipt. At $353.48 this shop was average to a little on the low side for a trip to town. I have found it is safe to expect one like this or higher two to three times a month. Previously I have estimated our food costs to be somewhere from $700-$1200 per month. We try to eat mostly to totally organic, and for the past few years while on a journey to be green and what we deem to be cruelty free, have been fully vegan.

I am not convinced lately that being vegan is really what’s best for the planet. I understand this view will not be warmly received by everyone, and honestly I have yet to stray from  being vegan, but I think I may and this is why.

To be both vegan and to be healthy we need a variety of foods and sometime supplements. For example allthough I try to limit my soy intake  it still finds its way all to often into my daily meals. I know it isn’t the healthiest option but it is so often readily available. Unfortunately the problem with soy is not just its negative affects on the human body but perhaps more importantly the horrible things it does to our planet. We as humans have cleared countless hectares of land to mono crop the soy bean, and other crops like almonds, or corn. This kills biodiversity, poisons the soil, causes dust bowls and ocean dead zones, seriously you can google it, I don’t need to rant on it. This and stealing foods from other peoples, like the controversies surrounding quinoa are reason enough for me to look for a better alternative.

Using the information I have gathered, as well as let’s call it a serious gut feeling I have been led to believe that living off the land the way it was intended, staying closest to the way my pre industrialized, pre consumer, not necessarily white ancestors did may be the best hope for future generations, my family, my wallet, and the earth; not specifically in that order.