Giving Thanks

The other day, I made a homesteading wish list. On it were things such as a grain grinder, foods scale, pressure canner, berry trellis, beehive- about twenty items in all.


As I looked at it, I realized what I had inadvertently said: If I had these things, I could have a full homestead. If I had these things, I would be happy.  It sounded terrible in my head, and looks even worse on the computer screen. Have I really just said that I wasn’t happy with what I have?

My mother is extremely passionate about the food bank- she volunteers there often, so we get many statistics from her. About 70% of my school qualifies for free/reduced lunch, and many of the kids came from very difficult backgrounds. My family would be considered fortunate to have what we have.


And here I was, writing down a wish list of things that would make me happy.

I think that one of the most ignored proverbs is the one about things not equaling happiness. Our society has become so commercialized that one might only think of something, and then have it. At a push of a button on the computer screen,  supposedly we can become happy.

By no means am I anti-consumerist. I love Amazon, and local shops. I want to support people taking on old crafts, and selling their creations- regardless of whether they are overpriced.

But how far is too far? There’s a thin line between want and need. My mother has to constantly remind me that we are lucky to have fresh food on the table. Regardless of whether it’s the absolute best quality or not, meat from the grocery store is better than no meat at all. We might not get to buy the $15 whole, grass-fed, organic chicken from the market. And that’s okay.

(At least it should be. I have trouble reminding myself.)


I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. None of us are perfect, and while we should strive to be, God doesn’t care what’s in our fridge. If we do what we are able to do, it’s good. If we can’t afford to put the best quality meat in our freezer, we shouldn’t feel obligated to. Healthy living, homesteading, half-homesteading- whatever we choose to call it- should come in small steps. All you need is patience, and a true desire to reach the goal.


This Thanksgiving, remember the days in kindergarten, when your teacher had you and your classmates write down what you were thankful for. Do that again- make a wish list like mine- but right next to it, write down what you are thankful for. Don’t stop with the basic things, like food, water, and shelter- think about family, about life, about the wilted basil plant on the counter. Think about successes, and failures alike: you learned something from both. Find the simple things in life, and enjoy them.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!



Eggs Florentine- for one.

If you planted chard last April, you know what I mean. Chard is the year-round equivalent of zucchini in Illinois, and we have a major overabundance.

Now that the tomatoes and watermelons have (somewhat) slowed down, we are focusing on the other heavily-producing plants, and chard is on that list. I already posted the Chard Salad, now we have another chard recipe- Chard Eggs Florentine.


First, shred 1/4 cup Swiss Chard. Two medium-sized leaves should do it.

Chop off the stems first.


Then roll it up, lengthwise.


Shred it roughly- I did mine at about 1/4 inch thick.

Heat a little skillet, and put 2 tsp butter in it. Once its melted, add 1/3 cup milk.

Recently, we were able to find an organic cream-cheese/Greek yogurt combination. I added 1 tsp of it to my milk, but you could also use regular cream cheese, or Greek yogurt. If you can find it, try it- it’s really good.

After that, I added a handful of shredded Parmesan. If I had to estimate, it would be about 1/3 cup, but it really doesn’t matter.

Finally, add your chard. Give it a pinch of salt, and a few grates of pepper, and stir it a bit. Then, crack an egg in, put the lid on, and let it cook for a few minutes.




Watch it carefully- if you aren’t careful, the milk will scald, and it isn’t nearly as good that way.

That’s it! It doesn’t take too long, so it’s a good breakfast.

That’s not the only reason that it’s a good breakfast. It’s rich in protein, and all the stuff required to start your day on the right foot.

Did I just call food ‘stuff’?

Good night. My mind has escaped me.

Food Rule #64

Halloween is the time that people say to me- “Take it! Take it! It doesn’t matter that you’re too old, and that you’re not dressed up. Take this lovely chocolate bar (or two, three…) off of our hands!”

Halloween is the time I say back- “Oh, no, no- I couldn’t. No, no, keep it… well, if you really think so.”

Halloween is the time when, unfortunately, friends, I become a hypocrite.

Until Food Rule #64 comes into play: Break the rules, once in a while. Thank you, Michael Pollan. My infraction of the Homesteading Code (is there such thing? I hope not. I’ve probably destroyed it…) has been forgiven.

In the meantime, I’ll just finish off this box…