Home: The Center of Agriculture (Or Close) Part 3

Seeing “home” as it should be seen, not as it has come to be viewed by society (i.e. “house”, place where people sleep, place where our stuff is kept…) requires us to peel back the layers and look at all the elements that once more clearly defined “home”.

In the article that prompted this series, Pastor Wedgeworth said,

The home used to be a center of agriculture, economic affairs, and education. For the woman to be a “homemaker” was to be an executive over the central nervous system of society. It was to be a master of arts. It was to be a farmer. It was to be a maker. It was to be a temple, a sacrament, a superlative.”

So I wanted to walk through these, one at a time. (Stay tuned for the conclusion where “agriculture” may mean something different from just growing your own food.)

Agriculture

Certainly this is an area where largely, and for many reasons, home ceases to flourish. It is my opinion, that when home WAS the center of agriculture, it naturally solved other problems.

Unity & Purpose

Agriculture forces a family to work together for their livelihood. It brings worth to each member of the family, and satisfaction in the accomplishment of surviving together.

Faith

But more than that, nothing creates a dependency on God more than trusting Him to provide “our daily bread”. The beautiful, visual analogy of seeds being planted, then dying, then bringing forth fruit is important for our faith.

Work Ethic

Nothing builds work ethic quite like farming where our survival rests in the extent of our responsibilities and perseverance. A much-needed and missed trait among this generation (and a few back).

Hospitality/Charity

Whenever I read, from Proverbs 31, “She reaches her hand to the needy”, I picture a woman who is ready and equipped, practically speaking, to meet the needs and opportunities that come her way. Having a “storehouse” of food (which one can do whether they farm or not) is one way our homes become centers of agriculture. Whether we grow it ourselves or “bring it from afar”, we are to manage our homes in such a way to prepare us to minister to the needs around us. Books have been written on the subject, but I offer the brief reminder here.

Health

Then there’s an entire aspect of health and nutrition, which prevents illness and saves a family money on doctor’s and prescription bills.

But for many reasons, agriculture is no longer feasible for families. So what to do? Can we capitalize on any of these benefits living in a suburban home?

I think we should try! Here are a few suggestions…maybe you have some?

  • Buy from a local farmer’s market in the summer (it can be cheaper than even planting a garden) and learn to can, freeze and preserve food in a variety of ways. These skills are extremely wise to learn in the case of economic crisis.
  • Use the ground you have. It’s becoming popular to “grow a garden not a lawn”, using even 1/2 acres of yard to plant food. Why not? There are also creative ways to grow mini-gardens on your back porch. (Pinterest has some great ideas!)
  • A neighborhood garden. We’ve never done this, but I’ve always thought it would be smart to have a neighborhood garden where everyone plants, works and harvests. I’m sure the logistics would be tricky (it might look more like The Little Red Hen), but if it’s your only option, it would be worth a try.
  • Consider other agricultural opportunities: milk cow, laying hens, etc.

If Growing Your Food Isn’t an Option

And if none of these are options to you, remember the heart of it and start at the beginning. We’ve gone from growing our own food to not recognizing the harm of pre-packaged food (or how to circumvent it). Producing your own food may be, for some of you, learning to make more things from scratch. Recovering some basic, healthy habits in the kitchen is a GREAT place to start with agriculture. Learn to make your own bread, pancake and/or dessert mixes, salad dressings, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, white sauces (instead of can cream soups), etc. Just these small changes can save you money and are healthier. Don’t forget the importance of passing these basic skills to your children too!

 

Part 1: Hope For Society Lies in Finding the Real Meaning of Home

Part 2: The True Meaning of Home Lies in Our True Identity

Part 4: Home: Understanding Family Economy

29 Responses to “Home: The Center of Agriculture (Or Close) Part 3”

  1. Cathy says:

    We live on a ranch 3 hours from the nearest Walmart. We raise our own milk, eggs, meat, and some vegetables. We buy wheat from a friend bushels at a time. All 9 of our kids pitch in to help all day, every day. Some people think we are lacking in basic necessities, like a walmart around the corner or cell phone service. But we feel greatly blessed by God to be able to live this way.

    • Kelly L says:

      That is really awesome, Cathy~It sounds hard, but great! My daughter wants that. Except she also wants a clothing design studio on her ranch.

      • Lindsey says:

        That made me laugh out loud! Your daughter sounds fantastic. I think that sounds wonderful – a farm with a clothing design studio on site. Love it!

      • Cathy says:

        Sounds great! I have that, sort of – patching holey bluejeans probably isn’t what she has in mind!!!

  2. Laura says:

    This is a great post and food for thought! I was wondering, kelly, if you could comment, sometime, on how to prioritize between cost effectiveness and time spent. What I mean is this, for example. We have four kids ages 8 down to 2.5. The youngest is still in diapers, though we are working on potty training him. Since our oldest was born we have almost exclusively used cloth diapers, as we’ve not been able to afford disposables. Here’s the thought, however, to save money further, we use flat diapers and try to hang them to dry. Along with our other laundry, this can take nearly an hour or more to hang out 3 loads a day every day(or nearly). How do you prioritize what grunt work is worth doing yourself and what gruntwork is worth paying for? I remember seeing (on the internet) about how the Duggars do laundry and how they wash and dry about 4-6 loads a day and I remember thinking, gee that would be expensive to dryer-dry all those clothes! But I got to thinking about how it would be very time consuming to hang out and bring in and fold 6 loads of wash every day–not to mention the miles of clothesline to hang it on. So in their case, and with how busy they are, perhaps it’s worth it for them to pay a coupla hundred dollars a month to dry their clothes. How do you prioritize? In our home, we have one car, only a mortgage(other than odd small amounts of credit card debt we pay off the month we use it), we cook nearly all our own food from scratch, garden what we can, and I know how to can/freeze fruit/veggies/meat(though I don’t do it as much as i would like to). There was a time I continued to darn socks to make them last longer, but of late haven’t found the time, and having piles of holey socks is just discouraging…because it takes time…Also, I have been trying to hang our 2-3 loads of laundry inside on lines we strung up, (it saves about $30/month to do it)…but all this takes time and tends to make the household more cluttery and messy…any thoughts?

    • Word Warrior says:

      Laura,

      That is a hard one. I’ve traded money for time in different places over the years. I think it helps looking at your finances and deciding, “Could my time be more profitably spent than saving this $30 hanging out clothes to dry?” Does it prevent you from other, more important things? Or other money-saving things that take less time? My husband always has a good, practical answer for these sorts of questions…you might try getting your husband to help you assess the balance.

    • Natasha says:

      My kids hang the laundry when it’s nice outside. Also I hang up shirts to dry on hangers in the shower and on a shower rod above my washer dryer. I don’t have to take them down and fool with pins, I just take them into the closer when they r done

  3. Joy says:

    I don’t garden, but when I see cheap produce, I find a way to preserve it – freeze, can, eat now, whatever. Examples – pumpkins were 3 for $10 before Halloween. I bought the six heaviest, baked, pureed, and froze them. We now have pumpkin bread for breakfast, and occasional pumpkin pie dinners (almost custard, with lots of egg). Also have bought tons of bananas at 26 cents a pound, sweet potatoes cheap, zuchini, whatever. I try to keep produce costs under a dollar a pound, and if it is less than 50 cents a pound, I stock up and find a way to preserve it.

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve told you before, but I am addicted to couponing. I am able to always have a month’s worth of food on hand and because I have a stockpile, I am choosier about what I buy and how on sale with coupons on top it has to be before I’ll buy it. I generally never pay more than $1 for anything. I love the point you made about charity/hospitality because this is one of my favorite aspects of couponing. Because I get everything really cheap, a lot of times for free, I am even more generous, and because I always have a stockpile, I am always prepared for unexpected company or to take someone dinner, etc. I find that I am much more hospitable and able to meet the needs of others as a result. We’ve done a garden the past couple of years and also buy from a local produce stand down the road. I’m hoping to improve on our gardening skills this year. Now, if I could just get an Aldi in Tuscaloosa…:)

  5. dora says:

    Can I point anyone to this entirely fascinating video? Well, it was fascinating to me.

    It is about gardening, but unlike anything I have ever seen before. Maybe someone has seen it. But this man literally trust God for his harvest.

    Its a long movie. one hour and 43 minutes long, but it is worth the watch.

    Here’s the link, http://backtoedenfilm.com/#movie

    Hope the link works.

    Also, concerning drying clothes, why not air dry indoors overnight? I’ve done that for years. Before going to bed, place the clothes on a clothes airer, in the morning, some are ready for ironing, and some might just need 5 or 10 minutes in the dryer. That way, you have the best of both worlds. Dry clothes, and limited use of the dryer, so you save money.

    I live in England, with all the rain we have over here, indoor drying is a need.

    Hope that helps.

    God bless.

    • Laura says:

      hanging clothes to cry on a clothes rack works some, but when you have 2 full loads of clothes and a load of diapers/towels/sheets, you can’t fit that much on a rack…I have a rack and use it for socks, hankies and underwear…the rest we hang tightly on lines strung through hooks anchored in the wall….I can’t almost fit 2 loads on it, if there are no sheets. it’s just kind of make shift and cluttery…

  6. Kara says:

    We moved to the country over 4 years ago, although my husband grew up on the farm and I lived on one for a few years in my childhood. We have a milk cow(where I live we pay almost 6 dollars-cad- for a gallon of milk in the store, and not nearly as good) and separate the cream. We grow a garden every year and freeze and can as much as we can, as well as eat fresh. We also have a small herd of cattle and raise our own beef. We have chickens for eggs also. It is alot of work, but a great reward also. The kids learn alot about the value of hard work, especially for your own food. Home grown food is always appreciated by the family and our guests.
    I would also mention the video series by the West Ladies called “Homestead Blessings”. It has helped us for different ideas as well.
    God bless, Kelly, for your encouragement.

  7. Katy says:

    We are blessed to live in 400 acres (40 of which is ours, the other 360 my mother-in-law’s). We have a very large garden (getting ready to start plowing for this year’s garden), are going to add chickens this year, and next year we will be adding honey bees. We haven’t done well with living off the land that we have been blessed with, and that’s all changing as of today. We have had a garden for a few years, but we didn’t really work it. Time to put our noses to the grindstone and change that.

    We are looking at live stock but aren’t sure which direction to head right now. Cattle wouldn’t be a good fit for us since one of our sons is allergic to beef and both can’t have cow’s milk. We are looking at lambs.

    When we lived in our previous home (traditional home on a standard size lot) we had a nice size garden. We took half of our backyard and made it a garden. I have found pictures of people who had a garden in the front yard. It looked ornamental in nature but contains only food you can eat.

  8. Natasha says:

    Don’t forget about breast feeding babies! Healthy and economical 🙂

    • Katy says:

      We are learning more each year how beneficial breastfeeding is, both to Mom and baby. My Mom is a labor and delivery RN and is telling me a few times each year new things scientists are learning about how incredibly healthy and beneficial it is and in ways they never could have dreamed.

    • Word Warrior says:

      Good one! With all the talk about “how expensive babies are”, I never get that. Our babies cost virtually nothing for a long time, and even then, they eat so little they can barely be counted as an “expense”.

  9. Ponder Woman says:

    GREAT stuff! Agreed!

    One thing I was starting for our family last year was the Square Foot Gardening idea. Have you heard of it? My plan was to start out with one because I do not have a natural green thumb or experience in gardening since we lived in apartments and townhouses until recently. So that’s what I did last summer and it went pretty well. Then I planned to add one new bed each year until we reached the point where we could be fairly self-sufficient in that area. But now we are moving across the country so we’re going to be starting from scratch all over again! Looking forward to it though. 🙂

  10. Katy says:

    The square foot gardening just reminded me of something a friend of ours did when he lived in an apartment before he got married. He wanted fresh produce but only had a tiny balcony. He started hydroponics gardening on his balcony. It was so simple, inexpensive, and he had GORGEOUS fresh produce. He had a few things in pots that were on the actual balcony and his hydroponics tubing was hanging on the railing. Tomatoes do wonderfully in this set up. From street level (the parking lot) it looks like a porch with thriving plants. He actually won balcony of the month many times and that’s all he had out there.

    Just an idea for anyone in a tiny place with no ability to have a traditional garden.

  11. Natasha says:

    It is my opinion that the bored housewife syndrome started bc women were no longer seen as a contributed to the family in a practical sense. Breast feeding became almost obsolete in our country along with affordable “help” , public schools and women only having 2 kids. One would get bored and depressed and I think this made it really easy for the feminist movement to go the direction it did.

    • Laura says:

      I agree…if you read about farmer boy’s mother, she was anything but bored…not only did she serve up spectacular homemade meals(my boys groan, because reading this book makes them hungry!), but she knitted and crocketed everything from socks to lace doilies, she wove much of the fabric of wool that they raised and dyed themselves…(or of linen that they raised from flax!), she kept a clean and tidy home, that was apparently quite pretty…she sewed most of what they wore…and so on…all this while probably wearing corsets and hoopskirts!! We are wimps…THat doesn’t take into consideration the seasonal work of butchering, canning and preserving, and so on…I will say this…they didn’t homeschool, but the kids didn’t go to school til age nine…so they were still home much of the time…

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