Monday, February 28, 2022

To Make

 Most of you who have been around any length of time
have probably figured out that I don't let not knowing
how to do something stop me.
That's not always a good thing, but . . .
I have learned so much by doing.
Children also typically learn by doing
so this can be rewarding on multiple levels.
Perhaps you've not noticed, 😉
but things have been a little sketchy for the past year or so.
It doesn't appear as though the current stresses
are going to be alleviated any time soon.
With that in mind,
I'd like to share something that happened to me years ago.
We lived about 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store.
This was when we were living up the mountain.
I was getting supper ready, making enchiladas
with left over roast beef.
I was getting everything out and ready when I realized
I didn't have any enchilada sauce.
I was evidently set on those enchiladas (still love them!)
I thought, "This is nuts.  There has to be a way to make it.
I'm sure they didn't just go buy it years ago in Mexico."
I think that was it - the moment I started asking the question,
"Can I make it?"
I don't recall ever being afraid of making things,
but that moment sticks in my head as the moment 
I was no longer interested in purchasing things that
for so long I didn't think of as being optional.
That first batch of enchilada sauce wasn't supreme,
but it was good.
I don't think I've purchased enchilada sauce since then.
Like most recipes, they are better once changed-up 
to suit our own tastes.
Since then, I've figured out how to make so many things.
Not just in the kitchen.
It's become a way for me. 
(again maybe not always a good thing)
Regardless of what it is, I tend to ask if I can make it or do it
rather than buying it which is really no more than paying
someone else to do it for me.
Over the years, it's been a good thing.
The first perk is that it nearly always saves money.
Other perks to making your own or doing for yourself are
you can make it exactly how you want it, and
you are not reliant on anyone else for it.
That last part in particular is important right now.
It seems to vary by area,
but I've experienced, read of, heard of 
not being able to find certain items (shortages),
and not being able to have someone do certain jobs.
An example: Some shingles blew off our roof. 
It was about 3-4 months before 
someone could come take care of it.
It's been like that with mechanics for the rigs also.
I could make a longer list, 
but I have a feeling most of you get it.
The thing is, there's a lot we can do our selves.
From changing battery cables to that enchilada sauce,
you can do it.
Changing a battery cable requires only that you know the difference between red and black and are able to operate a screw-driver or wrench.  It really is that simple.
Enchilada sauce is no more than tomato sauce and broth 
(or water in a pinch) with a couple spices stirred in. 
Now, why on earth would we want to change our own cables 
or make our own sauces?
You might choose not to.
That's up to you.
But there is no guarantee that the products & services
will remain available as many of us have learned.
What is available right now is knowledge.
There are online instructions for just about everything.
We each live in our own way, and
we each have things that are important to us.
I could tell you to learn how to make your own cat food,
but if you don't have a cat, that would be useless.
So I guess what I am suggesting is that you ask yourself
the question - Can you make or do it yourself?
I will make a list of some of the things we make or do ourselves.
If I have done a post, I will link it.
If there is something on the list I've not posted on,
feel free to ask.

Enchilada Sauce
Taco Seasoning
Poultry Seasoning
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Meals (cook at home)
Canned Foods 
(multiple canned foods so won't link, please use search tool)
Process Meat Animals
Small Sitting Bench
Socks (I'm still learning)
Gifts (so many possibilities!)
Linen Bath Towels
Hand Towels
Pillow Cases
Lotion & Lotion Bars
Laundry Soap
Body Soap
(I see they are 8 yrs. old, only 1 has needed repair.)
Chicken Coop
Change Vehicle Oil & simple maintenance
I'm sure there are more things I'm not remembering.
Once you get started, you will discover that it does
become a way of living.
You won't think twice about it.
You will also find that many items are multipurpose.
This means with a few basic ingredients,
you can make many products.
An example is tomato sauce:
think of all the dishes you can make with it.
Olive oil is similar in the hygiene/apothecary dept.
A few basic tools will enable you to do many 
mechanical and home/construction tasks.

One more thing to think about ~
As with most things, experience expedites most projects.
I work outside the home so time is a very real factor.
We can't do it all, all at once, all the time, every time.
We are human and can only do what we can.
This is why humans develop communities.
For me, doing things myself brings peace of mind.
That peace of mind equals less worry and less stress.
Having restored a trailer (with MUCH help from Hubby), 
I'm not sure I'd be up to do that again.
I don't regret having done it.
It was sorta fun (that's a big sorta!) but
it was a lot of work and time consuming.
But now, I've done it.
Nobody can take that knowledge away from me.
Once you've done something,
you can then judge or prioritize accordingly.
I prefer to wash my own car.
I do a far better job and get in the door jams, gas hatch and
double scrub the grill and wheels.
There are times however, I don't have time
and go through one of those drive throughs.
I might grumble a little about the price for the outcome,
but it's all on me, my decision.
It is empowering to be able to make that decision,
not only with a simple car wash, but with many
aspects of our lives.
And lastly, there is something to producing something 
with your own two hands.
There seem to be so many jobs today that have nothing to show for the hours of input.
To actually produce something or fix something 
feeds the soul and is visual feedback for your labor.
I know this sort of feeling well.
I like to be able to see what I've done
even if it's washing the dishes or mowing the lawn.
I can see the results of my labor and that fuels me.
I love the reassurance of pulling up a video if I'm uncertain,
then giving it a shot.
Success doesn't happen without trying.
And. . .
It only takes a question.


  1. I make my own brown sugar as needed with white sugar and molasses (stays fresh for 6-10 months in a mason jar with lid and ring if I make a big batch) and I grind the dried heels of bread for bread crumbs. I vacuum seal the bread crumbs in mason jars. Just a couple of things I do. I would love to see your enchilada sauce recipe. Take Care, Sandy

  2. Great post! Wow....very impressive list of things you've tackled and conquered!! I agree, there is a measure of peace that comes with self-reliance. The value of that hit home a bit too strongly when my back issues became what they are. I used to think I was not invincible, but at least quite capable. That is not the case any longer. But, there are things that don't require that level of physical labor and you're so very right...the knowledge that you "can" can be intoxicating and empowering. The other part of your post that truly hit home was the last part about have something to show for your effort. I worked at a profession where I used my mind, not my hands (other than to draft documents) and I think that is why I needed so to do handwork when I could... It balanced me...and still does. ~Robin~ (Your candles look amazing! One can't buy them that beautiful!)

  3. I have climbed on the porch roof and wet patched (sealed) it, repaired a wooden fence, wall papered, and cannot remember what else now as I'm 80. So now I'm less flexible to do all the things my mind wants to do but the body is not capable. Ahhh, to be younger again.

  4. I'm glad I read your post I noticed where you had left post on Bana Planter


  5. Great post I cook mostly from scratch and do most sauces myself. Some people need an exact recipe and will not improvise. I was just one line, and some woman was talking about the beautiful china she had but would not use it as it could not go in the dishwasher. I find washing dishes very meditative and how sad that beautiful china is in a box in the basement. We do a lot ourselves my husband build 90 percent of our house and we did what landscaping there is. We paint and plow the driveway. I shovel walkways. I am trying to teach my granddaughter the art of sewing and hooking rugs. I hope it will encourage her to do things on her own later in life. Her parents are pretty self-sufficient too. I think when we were locked down people wanted to try baking, I heard a lot about bread. It is a scary strange world I do hope we come out the other side of this all being more aware of how to help ourselves.

  6. I'm big at substituting for things when cooking in order to use what I have on hand. Hubby calls me a refrigerator cook. I open the refrigerator and decide what I'm cooking based on what's there. Recipes are guidelines for me. I'm not handy with other things though, like mechanical things. I think these past couple of years have forced lots of people to think about things a bit differently, and who knows what the war will bring.

  7. unable to comment - trying the anonymous option.
    When you do it yourself you also have comfort in knowing the materials and exactly what was done!
    Dawn - Collector With A Needle

  8. LL, this is a wonderful list and yes, there is something far better about making it yourself, even if it is a little less than "polished".

    I started making yogurt regularly 2-3 years ago. The only time I buy it now is when I am somewhere for a week that I cannot make it. I probably only save a little money, but the satisfaction of being able to do it regularly is priceless.

  9. I think there is a lot of 'Mindfulness' in your post - my dishwasher machine is not working for some weeks and I have actually enjoyed doing them by hand, slowly (as I had some surgery in January) and thoughtfully - likewise I am finding more and more that the actual participation in cleaning, caring for my home and cooking is so much more enjoyable when it's done manually without gadgetry! This is a lovely post.

  10. What a great post. I agree with you so much. And even though the fact that the homemade isn't identical to the store-bought is often off-putting at first, eventually you tweak the recipe to something you like. What Dan and I have found is that once our taste buds adjust to real food ingredients, store-bought really loses it's appeal. It just takes some time and willingness to do it.

  11. I usually buy enchilada sauce, too. I will have to look up a recipe. I have been enjoying making lemon bars from scratch. The Meyer lemons from my tree are just delicious. They have so much flavor. I have been washing my car again since the pandemic. I do like the job my carwash does, though. They are so thorough.

  12. How wonderful is your post and you are so sweet to offer such great recipes and helps! You are so right.....there is so much we can make for ourselves if we put our mind to it!

  13. I can see the necessity for this sort of mind set more and more. I think there will be a return to there being a lot more barter and trading of abilities/talents and in many ways that will be a good thing. We have reached the stage of life where we don't need a lot of new things and have always tried our best to make things. We used to buy bread but since the virus hit we have refused to purchase it and Resident Chef now makes sourdough bread and buns. We make our own cheese from kefir. Tomorrow he plans to try making a cheesecake using our own kefir cheese rather than cream cheese. I have no doubts that it will be wonderful.

  14. We lived 45 miles from town and if you were out of something you figured out a different way. My husband would laugh when we lived a block from the grocery store, but I would still 'figure it out'. Home made is always better and stronger than the crap you buy from China. I'm with you all the way.

  15. I do so much enjoy your postings, good advice as we are headed into uncertain times, the more you can depend on yourself, and less on others the better. One thing I would say is that each person should ask the question, and then decide how to do it for them on their scale. I have a small pantry in the basement on a shelf or two; it's not ceiling to floor or wall to wall, but will sustain us in addition to my cooking skills. Make it personal to you and your family. Right now there is so much out there and it can be intimidating for those who have not gone through or even never thought about it before. Just do something for yourself, a little at a time.

  16. Me popping back in to say hi, as I make my blog rounds. HOpe you're doing well.

  17. Making blog rounds again and waving hello, hope you're doing well.