I am so excited to start this blog series all about preparing heart and home for the days ahead. It is all about preparing to feed our families! Learning a few creative ways to avoid the chaos and shortages at the grocery store seems like a pretty good idea these days.
Lately, I have been pondering what a precious role we have in our families! What an honor to be able to create a nourishing, loving, comforting, and welcoming home for our loved ones to dwell in, and for our friends and family to visit!
Nourishing our families means far more than filling their stomachs, though, wouldn’t you agree?
As we all know, for the past couple of years, our world has been a very crazy place! Everyone feels the impact. Even our children. No doubt, every home has had discussions about the things that we have seen online, on the news, and in our communities. It is apparent that times are drastically changing. Because of this, I think now, like never before, in our homes, we need to be comforted, strengthened, and encouraged in the Lord.
It is more important than ever, to create for our families, an atmosphere of faith, confidence, generosity, and preparedness for the challenges of our times.
As I said in the introduction blog, my heart has really been stirred and I feel as though I am supposed to share what I am sensing in my spirit, regarding our role in our families right now. I hope that you are inspired, encouraged, and find value in something that I share, and I sincerely hope that it benefits you and your family in some way!
The first topic that I will address is the source for my perspective on current world events. I have a Christian world view, meaning that I compare the things that we see unfolding, to the consistent and prophetic truth of God’s word.
From this sentence forth, sweet pea, I hope that you sense the Lord’s peace and do not allow our enemy to plant seeds of fear in your heart. Rather than fear, we should have confidence, knowing that whatever we may face, in the days ahead, we are promised that we are “dearly loved children”, and the Lord will never leave us or forsake us!
That thought alone is enough to make us raise up our heads…
lift up our hearts…
and it should cause us to SING FOR JOY!
So, let’s move forward in this series, knowing deeply, that His goodness will carry us and
He will help us to prepare our hearts and home for the days ahead!
In my opinion, when it comes to creating a joyful and beautiful atmosphere in our home, a family meal is precious! Time spent around a table is just invaluable! Hearts are open, the events of our days are shared, and tummies are warmly filled! The joy that I get from feeding my brood is immense! I just love producing all sorts of goodness from the kitchen, and then sharing it with those that I love! I take great pleasure in feeding friends and family, and while they enjoy, I feel very grateful for the opportunity to do so!
While this time around the table is precious, and would be so, even if the food was a just can of beans and some cornbread, I believe that in the time that we are currently living, and maybe for the foreseeable future, one of the challenges we may be facing is nourishing our families.
Feeding them in the way that we are accustomed to doing, may present some level of difficulty, if we don’t plan ahead. We may find ourselves having to think very differently when it comes to stocking our pantries!
And that’s okay!
We can do it!
Our great grandparents did!
Our ancient ancestors did!
And many folks all over the world today have ways of feeding their families that we know little about, here in the U.S..
Have you taken notice that grocery store shelves are quite changed from how they looked a couple of years ago? Food is brought to the front edge of the shelf, many times, to give the appearance of plenty. Isles are widened to disguise the overall lack of inventory. Prices are rising faster than I can keep up with and now when making my list, I find myself coming up with alternatives, in case my preferred item is not available.
These unusual scenarios can tend to cause a momma a bit of concern, when you have a house full of family to feed! And it can cause a bit of concern even if you are just buying for a couple.
Food buying and planning are definitely not for the faint of heart these days!
BUT…all is not lost, my friend!
There are some practices and skills that we can attain that will ease the stress and give us a great deal of independence from the current food system!
Are you ready to learn?
Are you up for the challenge?
Sure you are! I just know it!
I believe a good place to start is to ask yourself if you are happy with your level of consumerism vs. your current level of being a “producer”. And, also, do you depend completely on the grocery store for all of your food? Do you grow anything? Do you ever support the farmers around you? Do you preserve anything? Do you have any alternative sources for any of the products that you use on a regular basis?
Given the current state of the food supply chain, do you feel as though your method of acquiring food is dependable or sustainable?
If you feel, like the rest of us… that you would like to be more self-reliant, there are a couple of really good alternatives that we will talk about today!
Firstly, I have two words for you!
Find your local family farms and supports them! This is so, so important! Get to know them and what they can provide for your family! You won’t believe how rewarding these relationships can be! The farm families that I have gotten to know, are wonderful people with big ole’ hearts! They love to supply folks with fresh nutritious food at a very fair price. They take great pride in the products they offer.
Supporting their farm helps you and it helps them!
Another BIG benefit to shopping with farmers, is no worries about a supply chain!
Most areas of the country have numerous family farms that can supply everything from fresh fruit, milk, fresh eggs, pastured meats, vegetables, honey, and even things like soaps and other home products.
So, there we have it! If you don’t want to have to worry if your grocery store got their delivery truck in, or if your favorite foods are available, you have another option!
Our first step to getting off the “dependency-on-grocery-stores-roller-coaster” is to go find those local farms!
Next up on the list of strategies for “food independence” is…
And you should get the family involved, too!
Yes! I want to encourage you to begin growing at least some of your own fruits, herbs, and vegetables!
It is not hard to garden! That’s right! I said it and I stand by it.
Don’t be intimidated! YOU CAN DO IT!
It is a great learning opportunity for all involved, especially children!
Home grown food is delicious, nutrient dense, convenient to have, and most of all, it is sustainable!
You can grow all year, through all seasons, in many places. In the winter, a very simple and inexpensive greenhouse or “diy” cold frame can make that possible! Things like lettuce, greens of all sorts, and root crops are easily managed in this way.
In the spring and summer, the possibilities are endless and so exciting for a garden geek like me!
Your garden can be grown in raised beds, large pots on your porch or patio, in stackable planting towers, and also, the tried and true, old-fashioned way of planting directly into the ground.
Gardeners all know that, unquestionably, there is just no beating a home grown tomato!
You will never convince me otherwise!
Cucumbers from the garden are sooo much better than those from the grocery store! Peppers, peas, and corn are summer delights that come to those who put in the work and plan ahead!
So many people think they cannot grow food. Maybe they think that they do not have the space, or the proverbial “green thumb”. But trust me you can do it! God created us in a garden, for goodness sake! He made all of this amazing food and He gave us the ability to feed ourselves with it!
Just remember, if I can do it…you can do it!
Decide what fresh foods your family enjoys most. Research the growing requirements for those plants. Find a spot, get some seeds or seedlings, and get to planting!!!
There are so many resources available now. YouTube videos, blogs, books, and educational resources from your county extension agency, are an endless supply of knowledge!
I highly recommend getting one or two really good gardening books so that you have information at your fingertips, in case you were ever unable to access the internet.
Getting those gardening books and stocking up on seeds is a very important part of being prepared for the days ahead!
Numerous seed companies exist and can have seeds to you in about a week! My preferred way to buy seeds, though, is from local feed and seed stores. You can usually buy in bulk for much better prices than those small packets that you purchase on the Internet or in the big box stores.
For seed starting early in the spring, in order to get a head start with plants that are further along, you will need to count back 6 weeks from your last frost date. This is how you determine when those plants need to go into the garden. (So, when it is time, they are ready to plant with a nice bit of growth on them) Place your seeds into seed trays filled with dampened seed starting medium. Keep the trays moist and give them good light and protection from cold. Some gardeners set up grow lights, but I never have and my seedlings always do well!
Before you know it, your little seedlings will be popping up and soon they will be ready to place in the spot that you have chosen for them.
And if you choose to buy heirloom seeds instead of hybrids, you can save your seeds from year to year, and won’t have to buy more! What a BONUS, right? And heirlooms taste really good, too! Hybrids can sometimes provide a little more pest resistance, but you can’t save the seed and get the same veggie the next year.
The benefits of gardening are far reaching in my opinion. It is an incredibly rewarding thing to take a seed, plant it, and watch God grow it into food for your family! It really is amazing!
Gardening is also mentioned so many times in scripture! Most all of our forefathers had something growing that would feed their families. The exercise, fresh air, contact with the soil, stretching of the muscles, vitamin D from the sun, and the delicious and nutritious food as a beautiful reward make gardening a huge WIN all the way around!
So, friend, here is your assignment list for this first installment in our series:
- Make a list of the fresh fruits, herbs, and vegetables that your family enjoys on a regular basis.
- Find your local farmers, find out what they offer, get to know them and support them.
- Get one or two good gardening books, many times, you can find some at local thrift stores.
- Decide what you are going to grow and order those seeds or purchase locally.
- Figure out where those seeds or plants are going to be planted. And do some research about predators that can eat your crops, i.e. rabbits, deer, etc.
- Check on your first and last frost date for your area. There are lists online by county. Plan accordingly.
- Get those things planted, research how to take care of them and when to expect your harvest.
Next, we will be discussing what to do with all of that wonderful produce that you will be bringing in! We will also address what to do with the food from local farmers and what else we need to do in order have well stocked pantries.
I hope that you will let me know if you connect with your local farmers. Also, I hope you are inspired to try gardening. If you are already a gardener, I hope that you will “up your efforts” to bring in even more food for your family. This is a great way to gain immediate independence from the grocery store.
Join me in the next blog post, all about creating full hearts, preserving food and stocking your shelves!
Have a blessed day, y’all!
Sharon at Southern Bella Home
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and [date] honey;
Deuteronomy 8:7-8 NKJV