Potato sausages are making my heart sing.

As we speak I am cooking up some potato sausages that I actually had to cut apart from eachother. Real, honest to goodness, homemade sausages cased in real intestine! They are steaming on my stove right now and they smell so good.

Is it weird to be excited about the casing on your sausages?

The best part about these sausages is that my dad made them! In his home! With a meat grinder! Using his own elk meat!

Doesn’t that just make you want to don an apron, pick up a chicken, twirl around and sing like Cinderella out your kitchen window complete with a pie cooling in the window?? No?

Yeah, me either.

Last weekend I visited my Dad. We made a delicious dinner and rhubarb strawberry pies with the overgrown rhubarb picked from his yard.

He showed me the latest happenings in his garden and his plans for the mossy appletree in his yard. He let me take the food from his fridge that was going to go bad since he is going to be in Seattle working on a boat this week. This included two packages of wild Alaskan smoked salmon. SCORE!

And yes, I ate it all already. It was all mine since I’m the only real fish eater in my house.

Which is weird because one would think my husband, a manly-Finnish man from a small town on the Columbia River whose dad, grandpa, and self worked in the fishing industry would be a fish lover. But, no. I am the one that must eat all the fish. Poor me ūüėČ

When I spend time with my Dad like this it becomes clear how I have come to be the person that I am. This happens when I am with my mom too but alas, I did not get to see my mom last weekend (tear…)

My Dad is someone I would describe as charismatic, quirky, hard-working, curious, and completely capable of all things. He has the largest hands you will ever see in your life. And his fingers are all wacked-out from breaking them and not getting them properly set. He has a hot temper. He cares about this country. He fears God. He loves to cook and always has. His weakness is chocolate chips cookies. He’s perfected his recipe. It’s dangerous. He hunts, fishes, grows a garden, can fix anything, can build anything, and always has a new adventure to talk about. Since high school he has been a commercial fisherman who went on to ultimately live his dream when he bought his very own fishing vessel, Dreamland, and became it’s hard-working Captain for years to come.

My dad's hands. Hand model?

My dad’s hands. Hand model?

He used to have a shirt that said “At the mention of my name, fish tremble.” Bah ha!

And this year he will go to Alaska for the 23484987th time.

This is not to say that I am as hard-working and capable as my dad because the Lord knows I am not movin’¬† and shakin’ at the pace of my Dad. (Which by the way, makes me feel very lame because for goodness sakes I am 27 years younger.)

All I’m sayin’ is it’s no wonder I’m such a cool person. Ha ha ha…I’m totally kidding.

But seriously, it’s no wonder that I get excited about the casing on my Dad’s homemade potato sausages. It’s no wonder I feel my hot temper rise when I read articles and learn about all the destruction of freedom going on in this country. It’s no wonder I daydream all day about our future homesteading goals and living off the land. And it’s no wonder I have the fear of God always with me.

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I do wonder though, why I have such a serious case of sea-sickness when I so much as watch a boat in a movie on the ocean. That doesn’t fit the pattern.

This is not even to mention all of the things that make me like my Mom. I could go on about our poodle fetish (Standard Poodles, to be exact) and relentless need to put a bow on everything given as a gift. (Is not a gift without a bow, right!? Back me up here!)

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I wanted to talk about sausages but this turned into a post about my dear ol’ Dad.

Thank you blog for allowing my thoughts to wander aimlessly.

I love my Dad. And I love my Mom. And I love these potato sausages.

My parents camping. I'm here too but you can't see me because I'm in the womb ;)

My parents camping. I’m here too but you can’t see me because I’m in the womb ūüėČ

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Why We Don’t Have to be Sheep: Motivation for Self-Sufficiency

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Aw, but they are so cute!

Testing…Testing…1, 2, 3…Are you awake?

Let’s find out:

Have you heard of Executive Order 10998? It authorizes the government to take over all farms and food resources if they deem it an emergency.

Have you heard of Executive Order 10995? It authorizes the government to seize and control the communication media if they deem it an emergency.

How about Executive Order 11000? It gives the government power to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision (Think: concentration camps), once again if they deem it an emergency.

How do you feel after reading this information? Is your blood boiling? It should be. If it’s not, then you might want to check your pulse–or move to North Korea.

The federal executive granted itself these powers to implement only during a “State of Emergency”. The problem is that it is THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT¬†that determines just exactly what constitutes a “State of Emergency.” The Executive Branch of our government granted itself these sweeping, extreme powers to use at¬†its own discretion. No oversight. No vote. We the people did not ask for this. Most don’t even know these Executive Orders exist. Seem fishy? I agree.

It is hard to understand how anyone could consider any executive order constitutional in the first place. It is a power, given to the president, that has little (if any) justification in the Constitution. The executive branch claim to executive orders comes from Article II, Section I, Clause I of the Constitution which reads,

“The executive¬†Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows”

I see nothing there that says they can make laws without Congress. Do you? In fact, if they have read Section I of the Constitution it specifically says no legislation can be established unless passed through Congress.

Despite evidence to the contrary, let us presume for a moment that the government has no intention of abusing the power it has vested in itself. Let’s just say the vast power of these executive orders has been granted to a completely innocuous, innocent cabal of do-gooder bureaucrats who simply worry about what will happen to their flock of citizens if the worst were to happen.

Even in this fantasy realm of benign federal government, it is still an unfortunate society that must rely upon the shepherd of government to rescue it from disaster. Where has the self-reliant American spirit gone? Is everyone okay playing the role of the damsel in distress? I am proud to be an American because we are supposed to be different. We are a strong, independent, tenacious people. We don’t accept tyranny, we never have. That’s why we do not sing “God Save the Queen,” and our neighbors to the north still do. We bought our freedom from English tyranny at a heavy price. Should we now, 200 years later, allow it to slip through our fingers?

We made it easy for the federal government to assume the position of shepherd. Our quest for convenience in all things and consequent lack of self-reliance has turned us into sheeple (sheep+people=sheeple). We are quivering, afraid of the world and afraid of independence because we shirked our freedom and now realize what getting it back entails.

Our modern lifestyles have turned us into sheep. Most cannot do for themselves anymore. Most of us wouldn’t know how to milk a cow, make butter, ferment cream, grind grain into flour, bake bread, filter water, raise chickens and livestock, make chicken stock, butcher a cow, butcher a chicken, collect eggs,¬† make clothes, make soap, know which herbal remedies are for what ailments, know how to use a gun or bow, or anything else if we couldn’t buy it or pay someone else to do it for us. We all go to the store to collect pre-made, packaged foods, toiletries, and prescriptions to help us get through the week. The horrifying part about this is that your local grocery store has only enough to feed your neighborhood for 3 days if something happened and they could not receive shipments. How is that for emergency preparedness? Not much.

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But you don’t hear many politicians recommending you start learning to be self-sufficient. Instead, they pass laws that make it easier to take advantage of your dependency. Think of how insignificant the government could be if the people spread out a bit and started homesteads in the country rather than crowding all together in the cities. Rather than relying on modern conveniences what if everyone relied on old-fashioned survivalism? What if we all made a point to not be so pathetically dependent on things outside of our control? Fortunately, there is a way we can regain some modicum of control over our lives, and it starts with accepting responsibility for our fates. Yes, even city dwellers can do it.

I am not advising you to become a doomsday prepper. The point of becoming more self-reliant is NOT to ensure you can survive a national disaster–that would definitely be a plus–but that is not the main reason. Another reason is that it is better for the environment, but that too is not that main reason. The ultimate reason for becoming self-reliant is because it is good for the soul.¬†Self-reliance doesn’t leave room for us to be victims of our own design.¬†And it decreases the opportunity the government has to swoop in and “rescue” us. The more local and independent your life’s business is the less chance given to someone else to gain control. It requires us to take hold of our freedom and maintain it. Or, bring it back, since it is already gone. It ensures that We the People are in charge of our lives, with no need for a government shepherd. As Joel Salatin, proprietor of PolyFace farms and sustainable farmer, said in his book, “Folks, This Ain’t Normal”:

‚ÄúFarms and food production should be, I submit, at least as important as who pierced their navel in Hollywood this week. Please tell me I’m not the only one who believes this. Please. As a culture, we think we’re well educated, but I’m not sure that what we’ve learned necessarily helps us survive.‚ÄĚ

I couldn’t agree more. And if you need some inspiration from an expert on self-reliance I really recommend Joel’s book.

It’s not necessary that everyone go out and purchase land and 20 cows. It can be baby steps with the intention of surviving. There are things you can do even if you live in an apartment in the city. My husband is in school and we live in an apartment in the city. As soon as he is finished with his education we can really implement our full plan on becoming independent and self-sustained. Until then, we can only do small things that make a big difference. Sometimes we just have to do what works, like stocking up on cans of soup to get us through the week. There are big things you can do if you have the ability and there are small things you can do that make a big difference.

The first thing you should do to increase your independence is to learn how to cook–with simple ingredients, knowing how to prepare nutrient dense foods from scratch. If a disaster strikes and you have no access to frozen or canned foods would you know how to make them into a meal? Also, would you know where to find food? We should support our local resources. Local farmers, dairy producers, and butchers are the most environmentally and economically sound choice besides growing/raising it yourself. Even if you are eating organic, it could be traveling 4,000 miles to get to you and that is not sustainable, neither does it make your community independent.

That will lead you to become familiar with your local resources for produce, dairy, eggs, and meat. If you are living in a city, then you probably do not have the ability to grow your own garden or raise your own chickens. But you can still support your local, independent economy while eating nutrient dense food. Kill two birds with one stone! If freedom is our goal, it is crucial that our food sources be diverse and local, not centralized and far off. ¬†In addition, we can limit public expenditures on roads and transport because we won’t need our food shipped in from a mega-farm thousands of miles away.

Abandoning the principles of self sufficiency has not only made us susceptible to an over-reaching government but it has made us unhealthy. Simple foods and cooking from scratch can improve your health ten-fold. If we commit to being proactive with our health and aware of what we put in our body, we can lessen the need for doctor visits and prescription medications, and eliminate the “need” for socialized health care. ¬†As a sickly nation, the panic of massive unhealthiness has pushed people to beg for government assistance and subsequently freedom has been sacrificed. The question people should be asking is why are we going to the doctor so often? I know people aren’t scheduling appointments, thinking, “I am completely healthy but I’d like to see my doctor anyway.” It’s more like, “Why am I always tired? Why do I have anxiety? Help doctor, I’m constipated!” Take your health into your own hands and perhaps having expensive health insurance that covers hospital trips for each and every sniffle won’t be so important to you, freeing you to buy more cost effective insurance for medical emergencies.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I take great offense at the argument that we need government to be our shepherd. I don’t want to be the government’s sheep. I don’t want any American to be the government’s sheep. We, as individuals, can fend for ourselves and our liberty. We shouldn’t be herded into a pen when the storm comes.

For more homesteading and self-sufficiency tips check out these great blogs:

http://www.familynaturally.wordpress.com

http://www.polyfacefarms.com

http://www.modern-pioneer.blogspot.com

http://www.gnowfglins.com

Seriously, you guys the internet is loaded with great advice on self-sufficiency. Learning how is right at your fingertips.

WBGW: Ladies Only.

A Day on the Countryside
“Oh yes, Ethel, I love my cloth pads.”

Ok, now that I have¬†lured all the men in¬†with that title, I will warn all of you that there is nothing titillating about what follows. It’s about something you’d rather not hear. So don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Each month (a hint for you guys to stop reading NOW!), when the dreadful crimson tide comes rolling through, I find that I dread the idea of using feminine hygiene products. They are the¬†bane of my existence. I hate them. I hate changing them. I hate buying them. I hate what’s in them. (Unless of course they are organic cotton, in which case I hate how expensive they are.)

Tampons are made from cotton. Cotton farmers use one quarter of the world‚Äôs supply of pesticides, and five out of nine of the most commonly used pesticides are recognized to be carcinogenic.¬† You wouldn’t squirt bug spray up there, would you?¬†So why use a toxic tampon?

If you are still using conventional tampons I encourage you to stop. The pesticides, toxic¬†dyes, chlorine, dioxin, rayon, and perfumes in them are so readily¬†absorbed by your insides it’s not even funny. Vaginal mucous is exceptionally absorbent.

The¬†first step up from conventional pads/tampons is organic cotton pads/tampons. But I dare you to take it a step further and venture into the world of cloth pads. Yes, you heard me. Re-usable cloth pads. They are pretty and comfortable. And you only have to buy them once. What’s not to love?¬†Also, if you are having bad cramps during your period it is better to use pads. Tampons can increase crampage by limiting flow.

The company Glad Rags (founded in Portland!) began their cloth pad business in 1993 in order to decrease the amount of energy used, pesticides sprayed, and waste made by disposable pads/tampons. Not only are cloth pads healthier for your body, but they are also more sustainable (the average woman will use 15,000 tampons in her lifetime).

I recently started using cloth pads and they work better than any disposable pad I have ever used–even the big diaper-like nighttime ones.

You can order Glad Rags online at www.gladrags.com or from Amazon.

There are still times and places for tampons of course, so keep a handy dandy supply of organic tampons around so you don’t have to use a nasty poisonous one during an emergency. You can find organic tampons at your local co-op or health food store and at Whole Foods. You can also¬†buy them online. I like Emerita brand. ūüôā

This post is linked to Butter Believer’s¬†Sunday School Blog Carnival¬†and Gnowfglins Simple Lives Thursday ūüôā
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