Thursday, April 23, 2015

She Aint Heavy She's My Neighbor


I wanted to tell you a little story today. As most of my regular readers know O Wise One and I made the decision late last year to sell our large farm and downsize to a smaller home and acreage in a new area with a little milder climate. We hoped to slow down our life just a hair and spend more time together enjoying life a little more and concentrating less on producing vast amounts of food not because we needed it but just because we could. Over the past few years as all of our children had grown up, gotten married and built their own lives we had needed less and less food for just ourselves. More and more of our vegetables and fruit were being given away to neighbors and charities than ever before. We sold enough to supplement any expenses the garden would incur and canned what was left over. With fewer children we consume less and required less. It was time to think about downsizing. So we sold our farm to a young couple and moved to a small 1300 square foot brick home built in the 80's and an acre of land in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee. December 1st we signed the papers and took possession of our new home. This home met most of the requirements we were looking for. It was small but with a brick exterior and metal roof it should require very little upkeep. A fireplace for backup heat and a nice big back yard. Close to several medium sized hospitals but a little over an hour outside of Knoxville and two from Nashville and the large Medical Centers that come with big cities. 



Yep we loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly! Took two Uhauls, a horse trailer for the big dogs and a Trailblazer. 

Even more important is that even though we live on a busy road our area is unincorporated. No HOAs to tell us what we can and can't do. The neighbors on the road behind our house have chickens, goats and even pigs on their small acreages. Little gardens are abundant and there are lots of churches and organizations in the area. You see O Wise One and I are not your typical retirees. We don't golf ( although I can). We aren't the country club sort. We are the backyard barbecue type, church on Sunday an occasional movie and lots of lawn mowing and gardening. American legion meetings and maybe a quilt group near and it is just about perfect.

 In Missouri the number one question that  people asked us was " Are you one of them preppers". Now while I never really considered myself a prepper we have so much in common with them that really I guess I should. But I absolutely HATE labels and people that have to have them. We lived the way that our parents and grandparents before  us did. We preceded the prepper movement so we consider ourselves pre-preppers. We are the generation that was taught that God takes care of those that take care of THEMSELVES. That being said a little common sense goes a long ways. You will always find food in my house.


Maybe not fast food or packaged food but always food.


 Never have I not had lots of quilts because I'm a quilter like my mother and grandmother before me. With a fireplace to warm me and lots of quilts you should never go cold in my home.


 My clocks are wind up  and a hundred years old not battery operated 



My phone is rotary dial. If the lights go out my phone still works.


Without lights I still can see.


Without lights I can still sew


My clothes aren't designer they are homemade. A good pair of jeans or maybe some shorts and a shirt with big pockets for seeds or eggs is the style of the day.


As are my bed linens homemade


My dish cloths are crocheted


My dishtowels homemade


And my clothes line dried.


My nights are spent with a good book or the good book and maybe a DVD and a crochet hook.


 My bread comes from the oven and not plastic.

And the list can go on forever. 

In February of this year a major and devastating ice storm came through this area. We lost power for days and some even for weeks. Our life never changed other than the house was a little cooler than when we ran central heat. It never got below 55 in our home when other peoples pipes were bursting. When the local Walmart shelves were bare (and they really were!!!) we still ate and well. But the whole just of this long story is that as soon as we could dig out O Wise One and Baby O started knocking on our neighbors doors and checking on them. He and Baby O got out everyday and delivered hot meals cooked on our fireplace and barbecue grill to those who had none. Hot coffee and biscuits in the morning and atleast one hot meal at night. Jugs of fresh drinking water to those whose pipes had frozen or burst. 

Now I could not help but thinking to myself that this was the same frozen food and jars of canned food that people had laughed at me about canning and being a prepper. Don't you get so tired of the zombie apocalypse jokes? This was the same food that people had encouraged us not to move that it wasn't worth it. This was the same food that someone had actually came by and tried to buy from me for almost nothing prior to my moving.  

This was the same food that my husband and daughter now ventured out onto the ice covered terrain in the cold to deliver to neighbors we had never met ,door to door, to keep those people many elderly and some with small children fed. Many of these neighbors had no electricity or water for almost a week. Indeed the Lord helps those that help themselves but more importantly he also blesses those who help others. 

One elderly widow neighbor lady told O Wise One "I have lived here all my life and no one has even been by to check on me". She asked my husband WHY  he would do this for someone he had never even met. My husband's response.

"Congratulations you're my new neighbor and welcome to my  
Tennessee".

This same elderly neighbor just gave me the pears off her pear tree this year!

So the next time someone remarks negatively about your lifestyle choices or makes comments about your gardening addiction, quilting addiction, food hoarding or canning addiction. The next time someone tells you that you can buy it cheaper at Walmart than you can grow or can it. Or better yet how old fashioned you are. Just smile and think to yourself that there may come a day when those Walmart shelves are empty and plant a little extra for the neighbors.



Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

33 comments:

  1. I. love. this. post!! Amen! :) What a blessing you were to others, and no doubt - it will be returned to you!

    -Heather
    www.stringtownhome.net

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  2. I said something like this a while back. Because I garden and can does not make me a "prepper" this is how my grandparents that raised me lived. We grew the bulk of our food, and we canned etc. Its what their parents did. I love doing it and I love knowing what is in our food and more importantly what isn't in our food! I quilt and I sew and I enjoy that as well. LOL Funny how now if you do all these things you are a "prepper" ... when before people did these things because you were a hard worker taking care of your family and smart enough to realize you needed to eat and keep warm etc. Odd how things get turned around isn't it :O)... good post. :O)

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  3. I'm young enough to be really odd that I do these things...but I admit, if I'm trying to be able to live well outside modern industrial supply lines and habits, I'm a "prepper." But I'm not so much worried about some End of Days scenario as much as I'm prepping for more common difficulties, like the hour commute it takes (even in the South) to make the money necessary to pay for this place on my own, without two incomes. (If I can come home and open a jar of homemade and homegrown chana masala, we have inexpensive organic dinner without any nasty additives or BPA, and I've made back my commute time.) My husband preps for the occasional days I have to do the animals' chores for him by setting up systems I can use. We both prep for inevitable California drought produce shortages, by replacing ornamental landscape with food perennials, unkept woods with orchards. Didn't Aesop write about the grasshopper and the ant? We have grasshopper friends who see these things changing too, and I wonder if they pull us away in hopes that 'if we're all in this together' the change won't happen, or some authority will step to help. I just keep posting examples like the Dervaes in Pasadena to my Facebook page, in hopes to inspire more of us to plant our yards.

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    1. Oh but I so agree with you my fellow grasshopper as we make plans for our own new lawn/garden.

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  4. Ditto, Ditto, Ditto...you said that so well, if only we could get more people to understand what and why we do what we do. My younger grandchildren, don't get it yet, but the older ones are saying " Grandma will you teach me to can, to grow a garded, etc.right now I am planting parts of my garden and the tomatoes and peppers will go in after Mothers Day. It is so great to be able to share the bounty we have. This is my first year to grow a lot of my plants and all are heirloom vareties. this is exciting to see what all my saved seeds will produce this year. So glad you are back to blogging and enjoying your new home.

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    1. As my daddy would say " We aint fancy but we good, honest, hard working, church going, salt of the earth type folk " : )

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  5. Amen! Good for you & better yet, good for your new neighbors.

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  6. What a wonderful story.

    Mom and Dad did much the same thing. People would have fresh vegetables on their porch when they came in from work. Some did not know where it came from but were grateful. Most knew. The word got out. Every one could count on turnips and greens come Thanksgiving. It was what they did and what you do. I am proud of you. I try to share too, it was the way we were raised. It's the right thing to do.

    Thank you...and I don't know why I'm crying! Great post.

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  7. What a blessing you are to your neighbors and all of us, your blogging neighbors! There is nothing better than a good example to teach a lesson to others. Thank you, CQ!

    Fern

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  8. "Salty" people are best kind of people. :) Lovely post.

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  9. There are wonderful people in the world, you are some of them. I love living the way I was raised but I now call it living a 'sustainable lifestyle', we are living a 'green' life and eating 'natural, organic' foods - and now I'm cool!! ;)

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  10. CQ,

    Beautifully written post! We were put on this earth to take care of our own, and to help others.

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  11. Aaaaah....I Love this post! I have been patiently waiting for an update. Inspirational!!!!!!

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  12. I love this post and I have really missed your wisdom as well. God bless!

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  13. I just want to say that I live in rural Missouri and have not experienced this at all. People here are not afraid to tell you what they've canned, how big their gardens are or what they've stored away. In fact, they seem pretty proud about it. You can find homemade bread, jams, jellies, cakes, and more at our little farmers market...even lard! I love living here and our neighbors are some of the friendliest and kindest people around.

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  14. Amen! I am the rebel of my family I guess as I get those jokes and sarcastic comments. Bless your family for being so thoughtful and giving.

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  15. This is so what more people need to do..or think of doing. However it requires work and somehow the simple realization that work, garden and invested time are rare these days! God Bless you!

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  16. Just as well you do not consider yourselves "preppers" or doomsdayers as they are referred to around here. Up here in the foothills of the Adirondacks, the doomsday folks stock enormous amounts of ammo along with automatic weapons with the purpose of defending their stockpiles from their neighbors. Good for you for helping your new neighbors. However, doing good is fine but then writing about it on a blog may not go over so well if your neighbors read it. I know around here, this country town welcomes newcomers but folks will have nothing to do with new folks if they perceive them as teaching them a new thing or two right off the bat. "Oh,they came here thinking they'd set the world on fire" are the words I have heard spoken several times now about flatlanders who moved in over the years. Maybe that's just the way things are here though and not in your area.

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    1. It may very well be here as well But I intend to learn from my neighbors as much as they are willing to share and let them know right off the bat that I do appreciate their culture and wisdom and in no way what so ever intend to change anyone. I do good to keep up with myself and learn new things everyday.

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  17. Darn.. I wish you were my neighbor.. though I do have a good handful of pretty great ones already.. But one more would be great too..
    I sometimes get the rolled eyes from some of my quaint ways.. but I dont care.. I just laugh.. I dont have to run to the grocery store for weeks or months at a time unless I just really want to.. M'honey needs a milk cow & sugar but other than that I could survive without the grocery stores..
    People ask me if Im a Prepper too.. and I tell em Im not really.. Im just following the lead of my family.. They were smart folks and always were prepared for most eventualities.. I tell em I was both a Girl Scout & a Boy Scout (leader) Both of their mottos are "Be Prepared! :)

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    1. I am the mother of two life scouts and one eagle scout and a former girl scout and boy scout leader myself. Was taught as a child to provide for yourself by my parents. So many today depend on assistance and many times it is warranted but I have to wander sometimes if we have not created a monster in ways. On the other hand people used to be able to depend on family, community and church family to help out in binds. Just my own humble opinion

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  19. It's so nice to find someone who does things I do. I live in Tennessee too. Moved here from Pennsylvania. People are really nice here. I'm close to Lawrenceburg. Lots of Amish here.

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  20. I love this post!
    I was raised by my Grand Mothers and a Great Grand Mother. They taught me to garden, cook and can. I was a bit busy outside with the animals to learn to sew. Just before my Grandma B passed last year, she taught me an my sister to crochet. What a blessing that was!

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  21. I LOVE YOUR FAMILY SO MUCH. I TOO WISH WE WERE NEIGHBORS. WHERE I LIVE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONLY BE CONCERNED WITH THEIRSELVES. I HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS AND NO LONGER HAVE TRANSPORTATION. I HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING TO THE STORE EACH MONTH. NO ONE COMES BY TO CHECK ON ME. IT'S GOOD TO KNOW THAT GOOD PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE STILL AROUND.

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  22. Hey lady...so glad to see YOU ARE BACK. I am sorry to admit I stopped checking to see if you were blogging again...I missed the HOUSE WARMING [blogging] party I guess.

    I so love reading this post. We had our SEASON OF FARMING while in southeast Texas from 1985 -2006 and how wonderful it was.
    I have younger [MUCH YOUNGER] friends who are now living a version of your lifestyle..I think they call it HOMESTEADING..not quite sure but they are in the 30ish age range more or less and are learning the lfife style we had and that you describe...Isn't that wonderful that a few of the generation once or twice removed from me/you are into this!
    My life has totally changed since I was regularly reading your blog...I look fwd to stopping by regularly again.

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  23. Oh goodness, life and busy-ness got in the way of keeping up with your blog. Here I was today organizing some of my Pinterest stuff and ran across a pin from your blog and enjoyed a visit and was surprise to learn you'd moved. Congratulations and thank you for keeping up the great information. You are firmly re-bookmarked now! This has been my first summer unemployed, healthy and able to garden so I've been a busy bee and also enjoying catching up on blogs. Thank you for all your past, current and future work helping the rest of us preserve our harvests and hopefully be able to bless others with it too. Your neighbours are very fortunate!

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  24. Oh goodness, life and busy-ness got in the way of keeping up with your blog. Here I was today organizing some of my Pinterest stuff and ran across a pin from your blog and enjoyed a visit and was surprise to learn you'd moved. Congratulations and thank you for keeping up the great information. You are firmly re-bookmarked now! This has been my first summer unemployed, healthy and able to garden so I've been a busy bee and also enjoying catching up on blogs. Thank you for all your past, current and future work helping the rest of us preserve our harvests and hopefully be able to bless others with it too. Your neighbours are very fortunate!

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  25. Thanks for the post. It really was the encouragement I needed today. I'm only 35 but I just want to be able to provide for my family with what I raised and grew. Who knew people would try to make you a two headed freak for wanting to do that. But like you we have been able to help others with our efforts. Blessings and thanks for being you.

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