By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Nothing makes me feel like an old woman quite like clipping coupons. I have tried that route for saving money, but I feel like I should have a cat in my lap and sip hot tea. It’s just really not for me.
But neither is spending all my hard-earned money on groceries. So I have tried to become more self sufficient. We grew a mini garden this year with a few tomatoes and peppers. I’m not much of a tomato eater, so unless I was going to live on salsa and spaghetti, it wasn’t enough. We had a few nice cucumbers. You can’t really thrive on pickles either.
The first sign of progress came this week when I ate my first self sufficient meal. It was a breakfast of free range cattle, farm fresh eggs, and hash browns potatoes.
Anyone that knows me is wondering a couple of things. How did he free range cattle and chickens in a subdivision? How did he grow potatoes in November?
Read and learn my friends.
The chickens we bought at Easter decided they were ready to lay eggs. The eggs laid by the banty hens are almost too cute to eat. They look like jelly beans next to the big brown eggs of the light brahma.
The girls have had fun running each day to the wooden swing set we converted to a chicken coop to check for eggs. They seem surprised every time they find one. The eggs had been kept in a carton in the refrigerator and ordered by date so we would know which ones were freshest.
Sunday was the first day the girls talked about eating eggs that did not come from a store. Cassidy wanted no part of it. She said it would be like eating their children. Maggie grabbed one large egg and one small egg and cracked them into a bowl. Just before the eggs were broken I asked her what she would do if she heard a “peep” when she cracked the egg. She fell to the floor laughing, but it didn’t sway her from her task. But her interest stopped there as she wanted no part of actually consuming the eggs. I thought they were delicious and hope it was coincidence that the rooster crowed at the very moment I took my first bite.
The story about the steak and potatoes isn’t nearly as interesting. I did not raise the beef or the spuds. Although it was local cattle, the hash browns were frozen. Both were obtained by bartering, which is just as much country as growing things. It didn’t cost me more than a few minutes of my time and I did not feel like an old woman at any time during this transaction.
Maybe this isn’t a grand story about how I overcame modern conveniences and liberated myself from society. I am no Thoreau and this is no Walden. But next year, the garden will be bigger and more people in the house might eat the eggs. I know a lot of people that grow large gardens that might be willing to part with a bushel if I do them a favor. And in the end the goal is a more simple life. It’s not a big step, but it is a step.