Lost: Homes as Units of Production

Do you consume more than you produce?

For pretty darn near all of us, the answer is ‘yes’ –

In this modern world, even for those of us who are garden-ing inclined, or terriffic sew-ers, er seamstresses/tailors?, or people who know how to nail things together — we don’t produce all that we own, or all that we need.

I am reminded, as I look in my nearly empty deep-freeze, that there is no possible way on heaven, nor on earth, that I could grow all the fresh food, and preserve all that my family would need! At least, not on the 18th of an acre on which I live. And, I’d have to focus all my time and attention on just that thing. And the kids would have to help. And,…and…and…

What was I saying? I just started hyperventilating there.

Okay, so, homes as units of production? Why bother?

There are some big reasons why we should all #1: Figure out the talents we’ve been blessed with #2: Use them to care for ourselves, our families, and our friends #3: and don’t delay.

It really feels good to do some things ourselves. Its the reason why local foods are so exciting – we know the person who grew it! We are meant to be interdependent – even if I COULD grow all my food myself, doing so would isolate me from everyone else – because, as I mentioned, hyperventally above – all the time and attention would be focused on it. But, if I can produce a couple of things, and you a couple of others, and we can swap, barter, trade, or otherwise make a gonnection, we have not only helped each other, but we’ve given each other an opportunity to use the talents we have been uniquely gifted with.

Isn’t that special?

Households used to produce more for themselves. Think about the last time you made something, instead of buying it. If you can’t even remember EVER doing that, or really can’t remember the last time, challenge yourself to reuse something to make a new item. I get crazy urges to save things and make stuff out of them. Sometimes it turns out awesome – sometimes, it tanks.

I’ve been saving onion bags for awhile. The first time I had a slew saved up, I made some pot scrubbies! They turned out pretty good — okay, not PRETTY to look at, but the definitely worked. I also hung suet cakes in them, and put them in the yard to feed winter birds.

I had this idea of making some more pot scrubbies, as I had quite a stash saved up. I had a great tutorial slideshow planned: just imagine: first, the big pile of bags, how to cut the bags so you can join them into a kind of ‘yarn’, what size needles to use, how the ‘yarn’ looks all rolled up into a nice skein, and then — last photo —– everything in the trash!!!!!!!!! AUUUUUUURRGHUADSKAJSDKJD!

As I spent over 45 minutes just on those steps, (before the trash step) and then started first knitting (total, epic fail), and then crocheting (which I did last time, only this time, my patience was just — kapow. Totally gone.). I threw the works away.


So, I am not sure how to end this post. I guess sometimes my home is a unit of production – and sometimes I’m just producing trash. But, I’m trying to find, little by little, ways to produce more, and consume less. At times, its two steps forward, and two steps back. I think that’s better, though, than mindless consumption and waste.

What do you produce? What would you like to learn more about?

2 thoughts on “Lost: Homes as Units of Production

  1. Suzie says:

    Laura, this was a funny post! Sometimes, we forget to use produce/leftovers and instead of throwing the ruined item in the garbage, I know that I can compost. At least the vegetables/fruits that went bad will be put back into the ground (eventually) as fertilizer for the garden. And, the chickens eat an amazing array of things that I couldn’t quite use up. Again, coming back to me as eggs. It makes me feel better!

    There are some things that I could do that just aren’t worth the time and effort. I need that time for homeschooling or other family/friend/community related work and I’m willing to pay someone else to do that task or make that item for me. How much I’m able to do or produce all comes down to time. IF… I had more time, I’d sew more, make more food and items from scratch, garden more… the list goes on.

    I do freeze enough corn that I never have to purchase any. We raise our own eggs, poultry for meat (we do the processing) and pork (processing is out-sourced). I generally don’t purchase much tomato product, aside from tomato paste. This coming year, we hope to raise our own lamb for meat, too. I don’t buy fruit sauce, jams or jellies becasue we can our own. I do not raise all the fruit (pear/peach), but we make use of what we’re given or what grows on the farm. I have grown & dried my own herbs in the past, too.

    • Laura says:

      You are rockin’ it! I just love reading about all you are doing there — and, isn’t it kind of amazing, when you do write it out like that? I totally agree, too — some things we have to ‘outsource’, otherwise, the kids wouldn’t get schooled in the way we want to school them!
      I’ve been meaning to ask you – are you going to raise pigs again this year? Our farmer friend is not doing pigs this year! Lamb would be fun to try, too — we’ll have to keep in touch about that, and so many other things! 😉 God bless —

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