Sunday, April 29, 2007

In today's culture of 'want it now' and 'want it fast' I seem to be the odd man out. People everywhere are always looking for shortcuts and how to get something fast, faster, fastest. Take a look around you-- fast food, drive-through, emails, heat 'em and eat 'em foods at the grocery store to name a few. How hard is it to cook up some rice the old-fashioned way? 2 cups of water, a cup of rice, 20 minutes on simmer and voila! Why is it with all the so-called time-savers we have, IE: microwaves, cars and computers, that it seems like we have less time than ever before? If we can cook a meal for 5 minutes or less in the microwave, drive a car and arrive at your destination in 10 minutes, wash and dry clothes in an hour and a half, WHY are we STILL busy?!?!

Gone are the days of washing clothes in a big old washer and squeezing the water out through the wringer, then hanging up the clothes on the line where it will then take most of the day to dry (if its a nice hot day and not overcast). No more do we have to pump the well and carry 10-20 pound buckets of water to the house so there will be water to cook, clean and bathe in. Need meat? Go out to the pasture and pick a cow to butcher and then spend most of the day gutting, draining the blood, skinning and cutting up the meat to feed your family. Time to cook a meal? Head out to the garden and pick enough vegetables and fruit for everyone to eat. Seriously, life was hard work before all these time-savers came about, but I think time-savers steal away time with family.

Not only is it quick to make a meal, we now scarf down our food in 5 minutes and then scatter to our respective rooms; free to watch TV, play video games, surf the Internet, call a friend. Instead of the whole family working together, weeding the garden or chopping wood, we spend time with electronics. We talk on the phone while we drive and listen to the radio and put lipstick on all at the same time. If you saved 15 minutes on dinner, how come you don't have time to put lipstick on before you get into the car? Why is it when I meet you at the mall, you answer your pager every time it beeps and put me on hold? As my Hubby likes to say: the phone is there for me, I'm not there for the phone. In other words, if I don't answer, it doesn't mean something happened to me, it means I am out doing something else, instead of waiting for the phone to ring!

We moved to a house with 15 acres with the intent of having a bigger garden and a bigger yard for our children to play in. I started to can my own food a few years ago, as a way to preserve some of the extra fruits and vegetables that we couldn't keep up with and people who would see us coming with armfuls of garden goodies would turn the other way, afraid we would unload more tomatoes and zucchini on them! After moving here and discovering berry bushes and trees, I wanted to try making my own jams. So we spent our summer evenings walking around the property, picking berries, half would go in the bucket and the rest into my children's mouths. What fun that was, to talk and laugh and play, instead of cooped up inside the house with our electronic friends. I like to tell people that Hubby wasn't very enthusiastic about helping us pick berries for jams, because he thought I would leave the seeds in them. After my very first batch of seedless jam, he started walking with us and pulling the higher branches down for us to pick! He quickly changed his mind after tasting my jam!

Today, we all spent time in the garden, tilling the soil to get it ready for planting. The kids had fun taking their shovels and digging holes, looking for worms, while Hubby started trimming the branches of trees around the garden. We have a fence around the garden, so I could let the little one run around and not worry too much about them running away and concentrate on the task at hand. Eventually shoes came off and they ran around in the soft soil and left trails of little footprints everywhere. Then Hubby attached the wagon to the tractor and pulled the children around for a ride. It was a most perfect day! The TV remained off the whole day, dinner was made from scratch, and dirty feet were washed before bedtime. Who needs all those time-savers?? Instead of buying shortcuts from the store, I made time with my family in growing our own food. My kids will know that food comes from the earth, meat comes from animals, and they will know that there is more to life than video games.

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