Growing Up Agrarian

We are four Christian, homechurched, homeschooled, homesteading, agrarian children growing up in Central Texas on a Ranch. We are Tracy,(15) Jennifer,(10) Robert,(9) and Sarah(5) Bunker. We also have one more brother, Thomas Shepard Bunker, who is in the courts of glory. We like to read books, raise animals, and play on the land. Tracy will be writing about the stuff we do. We hope you enjoy our Adventures!

12.23.2008

December Project Essay

Hello I am back with an essay I wrote this morning. I don't have the gift of writing, so bear with me here.

My Month without Chocolate:

Just kidding.....

The December Project- My Take on Things

Well, we are nearing the close of December and it went a bit fast. I can't believe it's almost over. I wouldn't mind if it was extended, as it might be.

I personally didn't miss town trips at all. I often go many weeks without leaving the Ranch. I am usually the cook and babysitter in my parent's absence. Many times Mom and Dad will go get the necessary shopping done and I stay here to keep things running. That gives me many lessons in patience and child training.

One of the things we learned was that we can't continue to run to town to get this and that. We are hoping to severely limit that habit altogether, even after the close of the year. We will be making any trips to town more efficient and worthwhile, with sufficient lists and planning. That will be more gas efficient and self sufficient.

The children and I have gone a whole December without seeing a single Christ-Mass tree. Can't say we miss that at all! And no “Merry Christmas” salutations to make us cringe. Yipee!

The phrase 'self sufficiency' has really taken on more meaning for me during this month. I guess I knew the gist of the word but it really means a lot more to me now. During about the middle of the month we ran out of butter. That goes fast in our family. So we were able to break into our canned butter. Now, in a ideal situation, the family milk cow would only be fresh (giving milk) a portion of the year ( if you only had one, but if you had two, you could rotate). During that time you would be canning butter and preserving cheese, so that you could have dairy products year round. But if you don't, you end up eating plastic butter from Wal-Mart while your cow is dry. The same with veggies from your garden. You should be preserving non stop during the garden time so that you can have stews and sides during the winter months. And say you go through a drought or late freeze or some kind of hard time, and your garden just doesn't do well, you would still have some backup until you can get your garden up and running. There is no reason why when the stores go down that it should effect our life at all.

The things that we ran out of pretty early were paper towels, napkins, trash bags and sugar. I don't think you can pressure can any of these items, but who knows? The lesson learned here was that it doesn't take 15 paper towels or napkins to wipe up a spilled coffee or milk. Mom has been cutting up old T-shirts for disposable wipes, and we have been keeping a all purpose towel and a dish drying towel on the porch. That was quickly remedied. The trash bags, well, that is still in the air. We are going without at the moment. After this will probably keep buying them until we can find some way to eradicate that problem too. Sugar: You can make sugar from mesquite pods, we heard, but that has not been tried yet. So we are cutting way back on the amount of sugar we use.

All in all, this month has given us time to pull back and think outside the box. I am grateful.

I might write more at the big finale, but who knows?

Tracy Bunker

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Judy said...

Tracy,

I hope you do write much more. You underestimate your writing ability. Paper items are something we indulge in as well, though I know from various experiments that all the way to toilet paper and feminine products, non-disposables are do-able and reliable. Your mention of canning napkins brought a thought to mind. Medical supplies are something we try to keep on hand. We've found over the years, though, that packaging on things like gauze deteriorates after a couple of years. I'm going to start "canning" medical supplies - dressings, water for sterile use, even instruments for sutering. Thread could be sterilized in this way in the absence of real suture. Lots and lots of possibilities. After all, an autoclave (the way hospitals sterilize) is really just a big pressure canner.

Keep posting your thoughts. It's refreshing to read the viewpoint our lifestyle's young adults.

Blessings,
Mrs. Bowman

6:45 PM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Greetings!

I have to comment on the paper products, also. Cloth napkins and rags are a great thing! We have been using them for many years. I have even used cloth feminine products for almost twenty years and have recently (in the last couple of years) crossed over (slightly) into cloth toilet paper territory, although my beloved draws the line there. Really, it is not that hard. You don't wash a whole load of cloth napkins, you put them in with other stuff, like towels. Also, make tons of them and you won't have to wash them so often. Soaking helps, too, with other things. I know you all do your laundry by hand, so I would just soak all the paper-product-substitutes (some in their own bucket), agitate, rinse, and hang. To make them, I use old clothes, old towels (new cheapos, if necessary), even old socks. (I love old socks for dishrags!) To make all my cloth rags and stuff, I just cut them the size I want and zigzag the edges. I don't hem them. They last for a LONG time.

I agree with Judy. Keep posting!
:-D

7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tracy,

First thanks for the update on the Dec. project and your well written viewpoints.

Before reading Judy's comment where toilet paper was mentioned, I was reflecting on your statement that you ran out of paper towel. That got me reflecting back on my childhood on the farm, and what I used for TP when out there and no roll in my pocket! Due to a brainfart...pardon the expression...I went online to recall for my frozen brain the name of 2 plants that I can usually recall instantly.....Milkweed, and Lambs Ears. Once I found those online, I played around with various words...plant leaves used as toilet paper, etc....and came across this cute and funny, but helpful discussion forum. I can't get it to post it's website correctly here, so just put the title in the search engine, which is:

Which leaves make the best toilet paper?

Seems to have plants for every region mentioned. Enjoy.

Seriously though, I appreciate the useful information you shared and especially your maturity in being appreciative of the whole process. You're a very responsible mature young lady. Have a good day!

Mrs. Haggerty

P.S.~Judy, I liked you're canning medical supplies idea. Thanks! The big 1/2 gallon jars come to mind for that (or even larger).

10:25 AM  
Blogger Bunker Children said...

Thank you all for your tips and advice, they are thoroughly appreciated and noted. I like the idea of canning medical supplies, being interested in midwifery, I think that stitching supplies(i.e. curved needles, cat-gut) would be good to preserve. ( do they even age, I wonder?)

And thanks to yall for the paper good advice, and I will look over that link. I will make sure I know which leaves to use before trying out my new knowledge, ya know? Thanks again,
Tracy Bunker

6:29 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Wow! I think I will be trying this next December, just to get away from all the "Merry Christmas" stuff, as you said! That would so be worth it!

4:00 PM  

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