I’m a book lover. Always have been. When I was younger, I’d read the same books, over and over and over again. Remember back in the “old days,” when you wanted to check a book out from the library at school, and you had to write your name on the card & give it to the librarian to be stamped? I can remember checking out “The Black Stallion,” and every name on the whole card was mine. 🙂 Not to mention the 100s of times that I’ve read (and still enjoy) the “Little House on the Prairie” series. Or “To Kill a Mockingbird,” or…..
So I thought I’d share with you what I’m reading and enjoying now. They are all informational/educational, but have such great information, tips and ideas, I wanted to share and encourage you to check them out. (pun intended. :))
Money Secrets of the Amish
I have a fascination with the Amish. Maybe it dates back to my infatuation with Laura Ingalls and the desire to live simply, naturally and “off the grid.” Old school. This book is filled with tons of good tips and ideas. Frugality at it’s finest. You know, things like “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” The cheapskate in me loves this kind of stuff. It puts the focus on family, discipline and what being ‘wealthy’ really means. The author is very witty and humorous, which makes it an easy, quick read. It also goes along with my quest to do things naturally, the “way of the land” sort of thing. One of my favorite tips? Instead of using nasty, chemical-laden, expensive dryer sheets, wad up a sheet of aluminum foil, and toss it in with your clothes. It can be used multiple times. I tried it, and it really works. Told ya. Cheapskate. (And before you all correct me, saying “but Barb, the Amish don’t use standard clothes dryers, so what kind of info is that?”, this is another reason I enjoyed the book – she uses tips and ideas from everyday readers, that make it easier to implement into our lives.)
While I don’t totally agree with everything and all of the view points of the author, it’s still a fascinating read, and she makes many valid points. She delves deeply into DNA, genetics and even “Marquardt’s Mask,” which is a mathematical equation used to define facial structure. <- I needed a fair amount of protein and strict concentration to get through that part. I’m still reading, but the gist of the book is eating to actually nourish our bodies, the way our ancestors ate, not the overly-processed, fake, frozen, fast, synthetic foods society today consumes. She also talks about how changing and focusing on what you eat can change health issues. Like cutting cholesterol medications by cutting sugar. (not to mention a whole host of other ways your body can benefit by breaking the sugar addiction – see my post on that here: sugar-honey-honey) How to rid your body of inflammation, ingredients to avoid, good fats, bad fats, and much more. Pretty hefty reading, but good stuff.
This guy is the best. He’s my new hero. He’s a genius, and I want him as my next door neighbor. I could do a whole post just on him and his farm, Polyface Farm. Eating natural foods. Buying local. Supporting farmers. Bucking the trend. All the things that this world in it’s present day and age classifies as normal, but really isn’t, nor should it be. The way things were “back in the day,” when life was more simple. When kids worked on the farm and did chores, instead of staring at a television all day. One of the reasons I really like him, is b/c he doesn’t mince words. He tells it exactly like it is, like it or not. Agree, or not. For example, he talks about the quality of food that most Americans eat today. How people complain b/c organic is “so expensive.” But here’s one of his points – “many people are more concerned about the food nutrition for their pets than for their children. When Fido gets all-natural raw canine-primal pampering, the humans are glued to the TV munching nachos dipped in Velveeta. Are we missing something?”
He has you ask yourself “where is all the food in your neighborhood? And how did it get there? How far did it have to travel before it got to you? Was it picked at the peak of ripeness, or before it was even close to ripe, and then sprayed/treated with nasty chemicals to make it look pretty?” Today, in Canada and the US, only 5% of the food consumed in a bioregion is actually grown there – in other words, when you go to the supermarket, 95% of what’s on sale came from some other state.
Why are we as a society eating “foods” where, if you were to actually read the list of ingredients, you can’t pronounce more than half of them, or even know what they are? Really? You’re happy to put “food” in your mouth when you really don’t even know what it is? He says “food does not have to be adulterated and prostituted. Food does not have to be veiled in scientific jargon. Food, this most common of substances, the one thing none of us can do w/out, should be understandable, pronounceable, and doable for every person.” He then gives you a challenge – if in doubt about your food, set it out for a couple of days and see if it will grow mold. If it doesn’t, quit buying it. It’s not food. (in it’s natural, living form)
I could go on and on, giving you quotes and tips from every single chapter. Even if you don’t agree with him (which I do, wholeheartedly), I think you will find it an interesting read, and it will give you a lot to chew on (ha, that was clever, wasn’t it? ;)) He closes each chapter with a list of ideas and suggestions to implement what he has talked about – so he’s not just giving you some pie in the sky, nice-idea-in-theory, but real, practical applications. A sort of practice what you preach, if you will.
So. Check those out, and see what you think. Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts. By the way, I got all of these books from my local library…
On to the “brilliant idea” part of this post. Well, I think it’s brilliant anyway, but I may be a little biased. My kids have set responsibilities that they are to do each day/week. *Gasp* I’m so evil, I know, but yes, my children actually do CHORES, can you believe it? One of those chores is to clean their bathrooms. Now, I’ve said before that I don’t buy commercial cleaning products, but I make my own. Sometimes, the ingredients don’t completely dissolve and can clog the tube of the spray bottle. Couple that with an old spray bottle that has worn out, and you’re likely to develop trigger finger from trying to get the darn thing to work. Are you following me? A spray bottle that doesn’t work is horribly frustrating, but there is this uncontrollable urge to keep squeezing and squeezing, hoping that by some miraculous intervention it will actually start to spray. Well, my son had finally had enough, and took it upon himself to rectify the situation. Rather than find a new, boring old spray bottle that would work, he poured the cleaning solution into a squirt gun. Hello. He’s a genius. I’m convinced. Not only did it work just as well as a standard spray bottle, it evoked the “fun factor.” Because, for some reason unknown to man, it’s more fun to “shoot,” than to “spray.” So, if you have kids that roll their eyes and groan whenever you ask them to clean the dreaded bathroom, hand them a squirt gun and let them shoot away. And the beauty of the homemade cleaning product is that they’re not going to blind anyone who inadvertently walks in and gets shot in the face. 😉
Closing with a picture I love: This one was taken on Orcas Island. We stopped so I could take a picture, b/c I loved the look of the old tractor in the wheat. As I was setting up, chickens started popping out from underneath. It just reminds me of simple times, parking the tractor after a long day in the field, and going in the house for a good, healthy, home-cooked meal:
This post was linked to: The Homestead Barn Hop