One of the main ideas behind our goal of buying land, building a house and starting a small farm is the idea of trying to meet as many of our needs by "doing-it-ourselves". Over the past years we have learned how to make bread, sew clothing, spin wool and knit (thanks mom!), grow food, raise livestock and bees, make our own herbal medicines and teas, cook from scratch, make cheese and butter, heat with wood, brew beer... the list goes on and on. It is always funny when we create something from scratch for the first time, and one of us says, "that is just like real ... (butter, sausage, rolled oats, wine, etc)". It doesn't get more real than that.
It usually starts with looking at the things we use and the figuring out what it would take to create it on our own. I find it so satisfying to have a meal of only thing I grew and raised, or to take something complex and figure out the process of making it ourselves. We have taken it so far as to build our home from the foundation up just the two of us (with some friends helping here and there). Our last child was born at home (actually at my mother in laws, our house wasn't built yet) and the midwives stayed in the other room while we did everything.
Of course, we do have limits; we have grown what will amount to several 5 gal buckets of grain, but I will still keep ordering 50 lb bags of oats and wheat from Azure standard (I don't buy boxed cereal so we eat lots of oatmeal and baked goods, and I make all our own bread, so 50 lbs doesn't last as long and you would think). I know how to stitch a wound and do basic first aid but we take the kids to the doctor if something comes up. We do buy clothing (mainly second hand ) so not everything we wear is hand sewn or knit. We do buy items (mainly luxuries) at the store. But we do enjoy the knowledge that we know the basic steps that our involved in the things we use, and in a pinch we can create them ourselves.
The last few days I have been feeling overwhelmed with the summer work load; tending the gardens and animals, plastering the house, taking care of the kids, cooking everything from scratch, maintaining the housework, on and on. It feels like there isn't enough time to get everything done. But a few days ago my friend came out with her kids and she helped me braid garlic and make earthen plaster out of clay, sand and straw for the house. Just having a little extra help and someone to talk to while I worked made all the difference. Thanks Danielle! Of course Brian was working so hard the whole time in our fields, land and house, but he never complains. Must be a man thing, right?