Sunday, November 22, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Waste Not, Want Not

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This is a buckskin suit warn by Pres. Roosevelt in his younger days...much like the suit made for my Great Great Grandfather

I have been thinking a lot about Native American Indians this week. They were taught to use everything on a buffalo or deer. I mean everything. They didn't waste a thing because it was such hard work to hunt the animal and because they respected life. 

I have worked on two deer hides over the last few weeks that were given to me. One has been in the freezer for a while and the other only a few days. Luckily, I wasn't the one to actually have to take the life of the animal. I've learned the most by trial and error how to tan the hides. But...thank GOODNESS for Youtube!! 

Here is the process in a nutshell: 

  • Flesh the hide (remove any remaining meat, fat and membrane)
  • Dry it
  • Soak the hide for a few days (until you can tug a little and the hair comes out
  • Take the brain (remember, we are not wasting anything) and blend it with a little water - work it into the hide (3 to 4 times)
  • Wring it well and begin to stretch the hide
  • After the hide is dry, rub it on a tree or steel cable
  • Tadah!! You have buckskin leather
  • The last step is to place it over a smokey fire and the smoke clogs the pores and makes it water proof. Without this step, if you hide gets wet, you'll have to start the process all over again. 
You might be thinking, what in the WORLD possessed me to even consider trying this? Well, a few reasons.

#1.  I have seen other people make it and I wanted to try.

#2 Another reason has to do with a little family history.

Many years ago, some of my ancestors, Warren and Clara Tenney settled outside of Show Low in the White Mountains. This was still Indian territory. During this time, the father of Chief (William) Alchesay had died and some greedy men didn't want Alchesay to become chief. They tried to kill him. He escaped and was badly wounded. He came to the Trading Post of my Great Great Grandparents and they took him in. They hid him in the storage room surrounded by food and other items. When the naughty Indians came looking for him, they couldn't find him and moved on. He was badly wounded and Warren and Clara somehow found his mother. Together, they nursed him back to health. Alchesay's mother was so grateful to them for their service to her family, that she made Warren a buckskin suit (which would have taken several hides). He was so proud of that suit, that he wore it all the time. As far as I know, he might even be buried in it, but I don't know for sure. One hide takes a long time and A LOT of work. I can't imagine how much time it took to make his suit. That is one incredible "THANK YOU!" When was the last time I said "thank you" like that?

Alchesay later became a scout for the United States and was a huge help to the US Government during the Indian Wars and was even given a Medal of Honor That's a pretty cool connections huh?  John Bourke said this about him, 

 "a perfect Adonis in figure, a mass of muscle and sinew of wonderful courage, great sagacity, and as faithful as an Irish hound."

#3. The last reason that I was interested in learning to brain tan is that the first clothes that Adam and Eve were given were "skins of beast" to "cover their nakedness"... Jehovah made them for our first parents. I think that is amazing. 

Learning how to brain tan isn't a "necessity" for everyone to learn. But we all must learn how to not waste. When Benjamin Franklin said, "Waste not, want not." it is because like the Native Americans we show Heavenly Father we are thankful when we do not waste the blessings he has given to us. We live in a unique time when we have the means to purchase necessities for the future. It is easy to waste money in our world today. We must also simplify. We have been counseled over and over to get rid of the unnecessary things in our lives. Now, that is great advice!!!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - The Veggies That Shape Our Lives...Ish....

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My garden TOTALLY looks like this...ok, almost....

When I was in second grade, we had a spelling test. One of the words was "vegetables". I was in a hurry and spelled "veggies". For some reason I didn't get credit for spelling it right. Who knows? As the weather begins to change, so does our gardening needs. When the Word of Wisdom tells us to eat foods in season, we kinda have to plant it in season too. I have learned a little about this, but there's sooooOOOOooo much I don't know. 

I found this PDF for vegetables to plant for the Gila Valley and when. If you do not live in the Gila Valley, look around, there is probably an extension office or local farmer who could tell you what to plant and when for your area. 

Here is what to plant for Fall/ Winter: 

Veggie:    Time of Year:      Notes: 

Asparagus               Oct. 1 -   March 1            Transplant root cutting after frost

 Beet                         Aug. 1 -  April 1               Except extreme cold

Carrot                    July 15 - March 15            Succession planting for more carrots

Chard                      Aug. 1 -  April 1

Garlic                     Sept. 1 -  Jan. 1                 December is good

Kale                       Aug. 15 -  Feb 15

Lettuce (head)       Aug. 15 - Sept. 15             Can't take heat, goes to seed
                               and Dec. 15 - Jan. 15

Lettuce (leaf)         Aug. 15 - Feb 15

(green bunching)     Aug. 15 - Feb. 1              For green onion

Pea (spring)             Jan. 1 - Feb. 1

Radish                       All year

Spinach                  Aug. 20 - March 1           Chard is preferred by many - easier and higher yield

Here is the link: 

I love gardening this time of year because many things that can be grown in our own yards are salad ingredients! Yay!!!  One of the things I could really work on is making my garden a little more attractive and getting my children more involved. President Kimball said this: 

"We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities."1

There is so much more to it than that though...when we take the time to teach our children and grand-children about the Law of the Harvest by LIVING that temporal law, we all get a greater understanding. President Kimball continues: 

"I hope that we understand that, while having a garden … is often useful in reducing food costs and making available delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, it does much more than this. Who can gauge the value of that special chat between daughter and Dad as they weed or water the garden? How do we evaluate the good that comes from the obvious lessons of planting, cultivating, and the eternal law of the harvest? And how do we measure the family togetherness and cooperating that must accompany successful canning? Yes, we are laying up resources in store, but perhaps the greater good is contained in the lessons of life we learn as we live providently." 11

Half a century ago, nearly everyone had a garden. Because foods are so convenient, gardening has nearly dropped of the map of amazing hobbies. Similarly to being disconnected with the meat that we eat, we have also lost connection with many of our veggies. Even though I may never learn to spell "vegetables" right, it is always the right choice to plant them, cultivate them with our children and reap the reward because homegrown tastes SO much better anyway!