What we do and why we do it...

What we do is important, but not nearly as important as why we do it.

Here is the "What":

We live a rather simple life full of abundance. Being  somewhat independent-minded (okay...a LOT independent-minded) we enjoy doing things for ourselves. Hence, our home reflects our passion for gardening, cooking, gardening, frugality, handicrafts, amid the constant hunt for really great bargains and more ways to live pretty doggone inexpensively. Notice that I said "inexpensive", not "cheap"...there is a difference! That difference is what we enjoy exploring.

We really don't like the phrase "doing without". It denotes a feeling of deprivation, and that is not what a life of abundance is about. Living frugally should not leave us feeling in want, rather should free us to prioritize our use of resources.

I have received more than a few raised eyebrows about my constantly-in-progress tub of leaf clippings. Most folks wonder why I don't just go to the local mega store and buy a few bags of peat moss or compost for the gardens at our house, sprinkle on some chemical fertilizer and call it good. But we always have shrubs to prune or trees dropping leaves, spent flower greens, etc. Why would I spend hard-earned cash for someone else's decomposed plant material to put in our gardens when we already have more than enough of it right here?  Looking for ways to do things for ourselves and avoid spending unnecessarily continues to be an adventure as we learn more and more about the true bounty surrounding us.

Here is the "Why":

There was a time before the internet. I know, it seems crazy but it's true. There was a time when information was not all at our fingertips, when skills like baking a loaf of bread or building a table were passed down through families. There was no such thing as "googling" a recipe or looking up instructions for planting a garden. These things were taught at the knees of mothers in kitchens and beside fathers in workshops generation after generation. Before computers and microwave ovens, before chemical fertilizers and mega super malls, certain skills were commonplace. Nowadays, most children will grow up never knowing what it is like to have a kitchen with no dishwasher, what it means to proof a bowl of yeast, or how to know the best time to move tomato seedlings outside in the spring. This is where our earlier mention of mulching re-enters the picture! How will anyone know that they can do this and have a wonderful, healthy garden if no one passes the information down to them?  

In many cultures, there are those appointed specifically to remember. To pass on through story-telling and historical memories the heritage and customs of the community was considered a task of critical importance. Our goal is to do just that in our own small way. Is it a moral issue, this question of doing things by hand or utilizing technology? Of course not! After all, we are sharing this story with you via a blog on the internet. But by the same token, if we had to live for a time without certain technologies, such as in the event of a winter storm causing a power outage or a budget that does not permit ready-made meals, can we do so with a degree of comfort? Or would we be utterly crippled by our own lack of know-how? What happens to us when the washing machine breaks down or the microwave oven wears out? Is it a disaster? Are we that dependent? Or even more importantly, do we WANT to be that dependent?

These are the questions we continue to ask ourselves. Remembering the ways of doing things by hand so that we can pass those skills on through our own families is our passion, and we invite you to join us on the journey.

I love to cook. I love to bake. I love making up new recipes and food combinations, experimenting with flavors, and searching out new ways to maximize nutrition while minimizing food costs.

I was raised in a family where my mother cooked from scratch. She used an occasional mix or pre-made product, but these were in place alongside home-canned tomato sauce, vegetables frozen from our own garden, and baked goods that began with flour, yeast, and fresh butter. Every Sunday morning we had home-made pancakes or French toast, with hot sizzling bacon or sliced ham, orange juice, and cream-topped milk poured from a glass bottle. Weekday breakfasts were often hot oatmeal with cinnamon and stewed apples, creamed wheat with cream, or fresh fruit with milk and buttered toast made from home-baked bread. I learned to appreciate the wonderful quality of tasty, nourishing foods that came from my mother's hands, drawn from her own oven.

Nowadays I write, care for my family, tend our proliferating gardens in the sweet Pacific Northwest air, dream up new recipes for a bakery I would like to open, and work with our local organization The Community GATE. I also love to crochet, and have written dozens of original patterns for everything from dishcloths to evening shawls, bedspreads to rugs, sweaters to purses. I love things that come from my own hands...I guess I am just intrinsically attracted to the idea of making something original that combines my love for beauty with my affection for useful items. I love to read, and I adore nearly all kinds of music. My Beloved Scott is the musician in our family, and I am blessed many evenings to listen to his guitar strumming. 

I am the mother of three children and the daughter of the strongest and most level-headed woman I have ever known, as well as the little girl of a father who loved me enough to take me in as his very own; the sister of a miraculously courageous older brother;  the granddaughter of a grandmother with whom this whole family began. Family ties are so precious and one of the ways that these bonds are strengthened is through sharing common life experiences together, including meals. Food is one way that we share our attention and affection with those for whom we care the most. It is to that end that my food blog, Simplicity Rebel Breads, continues to grow.

And about that food issue. Our culture continues to see disturbing patterns in the ways our foods are produced, grown, and distributed to the population as large corporations control more and more of our food-related issues. Chemicals have polluted our soil and nutrition has been depleted through inorganic farming methods to the point that production continues to fall in many areas...and in areas where production remains high, genetically modified seeds and plants raise concerns about food safety. Should we really be engineering artificial genes to render our plants resistant to toxic chemicals that control weeds, just so that we can consume those foods that are then laden with those same toxic chemicals? It sounds more like we need to simply return to sane and natural farming methods, reward our growers with fair compensation for their labors, and return to our communities the practice of smaller local garden projects. Our response has been to continually increase our own growing capability on our little suburban property, always learning better ways to increase the quality of our soil so that it produces an abundance of healthy food for us and those we share with. We save our seeds to re-grow the following season, again reducing our costs. It is a beautiful thing, this local gardening concept...we enjoy every minute of it!

I hope you are blessed by whatever you receive here, and that you will share your thoughts as you read these pages.




"As each generation comes into the world devoid of knowledge, its first duty is to obtain possession of the stores already amassed. It must overtake its predecessors before it can pass by them."
~Horace Mann