Friday, 22 May 2020

Shop Local or Shop Affordable?

For all the shop local crowd, listen family has been operating on a single income for a very long time now and there's one thing I've learned over the years when it comes to shopping for groceries and necessities, shopping local only works if local is affordable.

You see when most people say "shop local" what they are really saying is "only buy stuff at small businesses in your own town vacinity". "Shop local" NEVER means "do your groceries at Walmart" or a big chain store. Well, why the hell not? They employ my community! I have a teenage boy to feed on my husband's single, good income (And we are fortunate and blessed that he's still working). If I can buy my son shoes, my husband undershorts, and bacon for cheaper in one store, then I'm going to and I'm not going to let anyone who "only shops local" make me feel like I don't support my community, because my family kitchen comes first. If someone else has the luxury of additional income to always shop at local small businesses that's wonderful! Truly, don't get me wrong. I love my local small businesses and if I could support them affordably I would. They have to eat too! Its not like their prices are so outrageous that they're getting rich of it. Not at all,  but...and this is a big family's needs come before yours.

If I can get my liquid iron supplement at Superstore for $10 a bottle cheaper than I can at my local (small business) natural food store, then, I'm sorry, I'm going to buy it at Superstore. For the $10 I'm saving I can also buy milk, eggs, & bread while I'm there. And...And...I'm NOT going to feel bad about it. I'm going to feel awesome about it, because I got myself something that keeps me healthy and I provided additional food for my massively tall teenage boy who eats like he's preparing for the big fight with Rocky Balboa.

Now, again, before people jump down my throat for suggesting "Shop Local" is bad, I will say this one more time for the people in the back....MY FAMILY COMES FIRST!

Feeding my own comes before supporting you so you can feed yours. That means that, although I LOVE our small local pet stores, I will continue to buy my dog food at Costco...its half the price of comparable dog food anywhere else. It means that I will buy my travel trailer parts from up north, because its the same part for less money than the RV dealerships in my area. I love the people who own these local businesses and I'm blessed to call some of them my friends, but they don't put food on my table eventhough they love me back.

Lets put this in perspective. If I shop at ten different local small businesses and each item costs me between $5-$10 more (and rightfully so, there's more overhead costs for small businesses) than at a larger chain store that's anywhere between $50-$100 more if I only buy 1 item at each place. That means I have to do more with less food or necessities by a large margin. I don't know about yours, but my family can't afford to have $50-$100 less in our fridge. And we have a good single income. I definitely couldn't afford it when we used to be poor!

People assume A LOT!  People assume that, because we live in a nice house and have 2 vehicles that we have a six figure income. We don't! We are careful with the money we have and we spend it very wisely. We stretch our dollars and save anywhere we can so we can get everything we need and have a little left over for camping, hunting, & fishing. We don't rely on credit to get us by. Cradit is a tool, not an income. We live off the money we have and that money has to do a lot of things as well as feed us and our pets.

Please, shop where you can afford to shop and be proud that you're providing for your family. Sometimes shopping affordable means buying a local farmers eggs and other times it means getting everything at No Frills or Co-op, because that's who has what you need on sale this week. All those options have just as much value, because you put food on the table. You provided! Our responsibility to our communities is important, but it has to start at home.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

The Big Hunt is On!

With the beginning of November comes the full swing of hunting season, where most zones are now open for general season for deer and other large game, along with bird.  My guys have already had some success, because we go to the few zones that open earlier.  So far, after the butchering and finishing process we harvest 54 lbs. of meat for our family from a decent sized buck that Hubbs got last week.

We do all the work ourselves. Some hunters, after they tag out, take their game to a butcher for all the processing and packaging. We choose to do all that ourselves, at home.  Our first year we started out with a manual meat grinder and learned quickly how to appreciate the modern technology of the electric meat grinder the following year.  We package our finished cuts in butcher paper, not food savers.  We have a food saver that was gifted to us, but are mainly using it for jerky and pepperoni. The butcher paper keeps the meat well frozen, without freezer burn, for atleast a year. I have a couple pounds of ground and a roast from last years hunt that I just cooked up and it's still perfect!

Once the guys bring the deer back, it gets hung and the meat is harvested. Then they bring it all inside, I prep/clean the kitchen surfaces, and the two of them trim off all the shit not fit for consumption. Everything gets divided out into roasts, steaks, stew, and ground.  As they fill their trays they bring it all over to my "work station", the covered kitchen table.  I grind the ground and then package all the meat, regardless of cut.  The ground and steaks get package per pound and the roasts are packaged per decent sized roasts.  Then its freezer time! It's basically like a three person assembly line from start to finish.

I serve deer (I know lots of people call it venison, we just don't) three times a week for dinner and the we have leftovers for lunches and such. Last year, both Hubbs and KoasterRider brought home one each and the bulk of the meat lasted us for over 7 months.  I saved about 10 lbs to have a little here and there until this hunting season started.

Deer loin from last week's buck
~ Slathered with montreal steak spice rub, wrapped in bacon
~ baked at 350F for about 1 hour. 
served with mashed potatoes and veg on the side

Hunting has become part of who we are and brought us closer as a family unit, providing for one another.   It's a very authentic experience hunting and harvesting your own food. We pray for the life the animal gave and we thank God for the blessing of feeding ourselves from the land.  The meat we are able to harvest from legally and ethically hunting is 100% organic, wild, and pure.  The money we spend on hunting is also a few hundred dollars less than if we were to buy regular store bought beef, not even the organic stuff.  The quality time with each other and the bonding between my two guys and the friends we've made are priceless.  For all of these reason and many more, we are proud hunters.

If your curious about hunting and want to know more, I included links in a previous post...check it out:   We Interrupt This Marriage for Hunting Season!

Self-care, What's That All About?

Originally written September 25th, 2019

I've been in a tougher spot lately, eomtionally which trickles down to physically.  Our emotions, well atleast my emotions are directly linked to my physical well being. If my stress levels are off then everything is off, mainly because I'm probably not doing the things I'm supposed to be doing.

When my yoga takes a backseat then its a full on cascade of epic destruction. My yoga is my only tried and tested way to unwind. I don't smoke, drink, or eat lots of chocolate or other vices. My only way to destress is yoga. Well, for about a month yoga has been extremely challenging, because I badly sprained my wrist starting the lawn mower no less and couldn't do any proper poses.  The bulk of my yoga practice is downward positions and I'm not strong enough to do them one handed. So, here I am only a few days back in to being able to do yoga and having a stress/phsyical/emotional setback. I can and will get back on track, but my self-care took a back seat and now Im hanging out the metaphorical truck about to chuck. 

This is why people talk about self-care so so much. I've been a sounding board for all my friends this past month and they're all going through some seriously big shit. But, with no way for me to let all that go, I ended up taking on their problems and setting myself up for anxiety town.  Then, last week we added two shootings close to my house and recipe for disaster and anxiety ensues when we culminate all of this with PMS. And, another big part of all this stress and nonsense, I haven't been praying and leaving it all to my higher power. I've been trying to tackle it all on my own with no help, only my willpower. Big, silly, no! 

One of the first things I learned in sobriety was that I'm powerless when I use just my willpower alone, because relying on willpower is what keeps me sick and not living in love and light and truth. So, what else do I do for self-care? I stop relying on just me to do all the things. I pray and I leave it up to God to guide me and help me through it all. Just writing that reduced my stress and worries. Its true though. I can't actually control anything except my choices. My choices of no self-care these past few weeks have been shitty choices so....get yourself together lady!

I'm back in my yoga routine and I'm not allowing interruptions of that from my friends or family. I'm praying and leaving all the things I can't control up to God, my higher power. If my spiritual life is right then everything else is okay too. I'm allowing myself to rest when I'm tired and doing some crafts and creative work instead of things that increase my worries. I'm gearing up...

Continued writing November 3rd, 2019

It's been a solid month of getting back on track to the strong, stable, woman I am.  I had to redirect myself in supporting my friends and be honest with them about where I'm at.  I have a natural desire to help the people I love when they're gong through stuff, but I have to be in a place where I'm NOT taking it on and I just haven't been in that place.  I'm not a therapist, I'm mom, wife, daughter, friend, and badass goddess lady who sometimes needs a break! I focused on myself. I stopped writing for the month too, because that was amping me up instead of calming me down, overall.  My friends understood and I think they appreciated my honesty. There's only so much I can do, especially if I'm not doing right by myself.  It's a healthier balance putting me first and truthfully, after all these years, I deserve to be my priority.  It doesn't mean that I don't care about others, but their trauma is not my trauma and it can't become my trauma.  I hope and pray that healing will come to my friends, but no-one's healing can ever be at the expense of mine.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

My Love for Books!!! Actual Paper Books!

I absolutely LOVE books, real books made from real paper! Physically holding them and turning the pages is wonderful and a must for the experience of reading.  Well, yesterday I was over the moon when I scored a very large box of books that a lady in town was giving away.  In that box of books was Chaucer, Homer, The Yale Shakespeare completer works - Annotated!   My old English degree heart skipped a beat to be able to have these treasures again. There were also Celestine Prophecy, Eat Pray Love, and some good, juicy crime novels.  I'm so, so excited to sink my teach in, because I think that finally, after all these years I might be able to get through a novel without falling asleep.

The last novel I could get through was truly, 14 years ago. Since my son was born I have fallen asleep through every single novel. I've been able to make it through some spiritual handbooks and self-help stuff, but anything else has eluded me and  I've missed it very very much. 

I've been reading Stargate S.G. 1 - the novel as my fun, guilty pleasure to get me back into the swing of things and its a super fun read.  It's so nice to get back into something I used to love so much.  Oh, I also have To Kill A Mockingbird waiting in the wings.

What are you reading?

Monday, 9 September 2019

We Interupt this Marriage for Hunting Season!

It's hunting season in Alberta!  Most areas are open for bow hunting and game bird season. So, what is my family doing? Hunting...almost all the time when not in school or at work, my guys will be out on the land getting some upland birds for our freezer.  Come November 1st then it shifts to actually taking time off school and work to go out for the deer and this year Hubbs scored a moose tag from the draw. Woohoo!!!

I've become extremely protective of my guys when it comes to hunting, because to my surprise I've actually gotten quit a bit of negative feedback from people I thought were friends. I'm so very proud of their hard work and thankful for the food they provide for us, that I get mama bear angry when people share their negative opinions on hunting. My stand is, unless you are a very strict vegan, shut your mouth and keep your opinions to yourself. I don't care! If you buy meat from a store and then condemn my family for harvesting our own, fuck off!  No, seriously...go away. We're busy enjoying our beautiful life with the gifts given to us from the land to have time for nonsense.

Hunting is a natural, instinctual way to provide for ones family. There is nothing more real than teaching our kids exactly where food comes from than by teaching them how to hunt for themselves. There is an amazing respect for animals and the land that is gained through hunting that just can't be bought or taught any other way. Hunters are part of responsible conservation and stewardship. Survival skills are so precious to have and surviving while hunting is a delicate dance that builds character and hardiness of spirit.  On opening day of bird season my guys invited me to walk with them while they went on their hunt and my Lord, was it beautiful!!! I see why they come home so recharged and calm after a hunt.

Our family does it all too, from the first moment of the hunt, with licence, tags, & all the legalities and ethics being followed, all the way to the harvesting, processing,  packaging and freezing of meat. We do it all ourselves and with the help of fellow hunters.

I've learned how to cook and season deer, duck, prairie chickens, & rabbit (so far, not a fan of rabbit yet). I've learned how to make deer jerky and even deer pepperonis (They still need practice though).  What KoasterRider and his Dad hunt and harvest is what feeds our family through the toughest parts of winter and if we're lucky until the following hunting season.  We're talking free-range, 100% organic, wild food for the mere price of time, tags/licences, and fuel.  It's become such a big deal for my journey into living more holistically and naturally. I love it!!!  I'm pretty sure they love it too.

If hunting is something that interests you, there's a few things to know before you just go out there and do it. All hunters in Alberta are required to take and pass the Hunter Education Course before they can purchase hunting licences and tags.  If you plan to hunt with firearms instead of bow, then you will also need to take and pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course then apply for your Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) through the RCMP.  There are hunting regulations and zones that must be followed and they can change, sometimes yearly, so you need to get your Hunting Regulations book each year to make sure you stay current.  There's lots of information online, but the best way to truly learn is through another hunter, so ask around. Hunting is full of a large community of people who are skilled and love what they do. Hunting is more than a hobby, its a way of life...a way of life that my family has taken to very well!

Here's some links for more information regarding hunting in Alberta:

Alberta Hunter Education Instruction Association
Alberta Guide to Hunting Regulations
Hunting In Alberta - Alberta Government website
My Wild Alberta
Report a Poacher
Alberta Conservation Association

Happy hunting and stay safe out there!

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Why is Twitter so Vicious?!

I'm thinking I'm just going to delete my Twitter account again. It's such a vicious place filled with personal attacks and constant negative energy.y Facebook isn't like that and neither is my Instagram. On those 2 platforms I have more control of the content and complete control over who can resond to my shit.

Twitter? Nope, not like that at all. Twitter is like this vast abis of everyones opinions that are then left wide open like emotional fodder for anyone and everyone's massive ego trip. I tried to "engage in the conversation",  because now that I'm trying blogging again I thouht it might be fun to go back to Twitter too. Nope...not fun. I hate to constant jabbing and way people are treating each other. It's awful! Like, honestly what the actual fuck is the point of that? It seems like it's a breading ground for anxiety and online addiction. Not cool!

Through writing this, I've decided I'm deleting my Twitter and sticking with the platforms where I can control my content to Brooke Hampton and Brene Brown.

If any of my readers feel like following me you can find my blog page on Facebook. I share my posts there and sometimes share inspiring quotes that I find on other Facebook pages where proper credit to the author's given. I just want a happy life where I can share some of that happiness with others. I'm thankful that this writing process has shown me that Twitter doesn't cut the mustard.

Monday, 12 August 2019

Craving Fruits and Veggies

A few months ago I got a lot more serious about filling my body with real food and less processed stuff. It's always hard to make the switch at first, because it's like my body gets angry when I do nice things for it. My body rebels against me taking away apple turnovers and replacing them with fresh fruit, but that rebellion doesn't last long once the new, healthy habits take root.

Well, I'd say they're taking root, because last week, instead of craving carbs and sweets I began craving fruit and vegetables instead. I stuck with healthy choices and I beat out my body's natural rebellions! Yes! Now, all she wants and craves is healthy choices like my homemade salads with many leafy greens, veg, & meat and my homemade sugar free vinaigrette. All she craves for desserts is fruit and berries exactly as God made them with nothing added. Its wonderful!!!

Beef burgers made from scratch with homemade burger sauce, greens, homemade pickles and fresh summer fruit for dessert

A shit ton o'greens with shredded carrots, cucumbers, wild harvested venison w/Greek marinade and my homemade vinaigrette. I eat variations of this almost every single day and it's so so delicious and nutritious.

Change isn't easy, but sticking it out has been completely worth the mood swings and the feeling of being deprived. I'm not feeling deprived or anything negative anymore, in fact, quite the opposite.  I'm feeling stronger and fulfilled from fresh food.

I always thought healthier choices were important, I mean who doesn't, right?! But I never thought I'd actually be able to enjoy the choice of healthy eating. Does this mean that I'll never ever have a slice of cake...ummm...hells no! But it does mean that I'm making positive choices which is all part of my living wellness journey and there's nothing but good in that, even when there's cake mixed in.