We live our own way here in Eastern North Carolina. Join us in our discussions of frugality, self sufficiency, gardening, and homeschooling.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Open Windows: Safe or Dangerous?

An ongoing debate at our house is leaving the windows open at night.  I admit that on the occasion when I've napped by an open window, it is a wonderful feeling with a cool breeze of fresh air blowing on me.  I also admit that the idea of having my windows open at night scares me.  It's not that I'm worried about myself or my stuff. I'm worried about the FindingOurWays sleeping peacefully in their bedroom.   I have found some gadgets that go on the windows to lock them on a low level that I'd be willing to try.

What are your thoughts on open windows at night?  Is it safe?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chicken Feet and a Slow Change of Heart

Since marrying MrLivingOurWay, I’ve come a long ways. It took me a long time to eat our backyard chickens without gagging. It did help once we gave them their own space where they multiplied quickly out of sight rather than just having five run around the yard. I really can’t begin to count the number of times the abnormal has become normal to me. Sometimes, it takes someone else’s reaction to what we do regularly now to remember that not everyone has the same daily (or seasonal) routine. I usually remember that I haven’t lived this way forever about the time I talk to my mom. I can see her nose wrinkle or her jaw drop or occasionally, I’ll hear a snicker. It’s not that she’s making fun, she just doesn’t desire to live the same way and doesn’t really understand our motivation to do some of the things we do.

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago listening to a mission team present information about their recent trip to Jamaica. I was shocked to hear them tell the story about finding chicken feet in their soup. I was not shocked that that they found the chicken feet but shocked that they were shocked. Out of the three talking, only one of them finished their soup after finding the chicken foot. I will admit that I did not grow up using chicken feet to make chicken stock. I did grow up hearing my parents talk about what a shame it was when people went deer hunting for a nice pair of antlers to hang on the wall rather than for the meat. After the church service, I did let the pastor know in passing on my way out the door that we had a freezer full of chicken feet if the mission team would like to relive their mission trip.

I’ve come to learn that using the whole animal is important if you are going to butcher it. Chicken bones and feet make excellent chicken stock. Organ meats are rich in vitamins and minerals that we need. Feathers can be used to make fishing flies.

I wonder if the mission team realizes that the people who were preparing their food were attempting to use the whole animal that was slaughtered on their behalf. I wonder what they would think if they realized that many people in their own country make chicken stock out of chicken feet. Of course, most probably do as we do and strain the stock to remove the chicken feet afterwards.

How do you use the whole animal? What is your reaction when you hear people talking about something that has become your way of life as if it only belongs in a third world country?