So school is back in session around here, and a week and a half in, almost all the schools have had some level of Covid exposure, including the elementary school the kiddo would attend. While completely unsurprising, I find my stomach sinking every time I hear of another group of kids that have to be quarantined. Especially elementary schoolers who are too young to be vaccinated yet. And we’re in a county with high vaccination rates, staff vaccine mandates, and universal masking.
So many parents I’ve talked to don’t feel great about sending their kiddos in person, but they don’t have another choice. It’s been eighteen months at home. Many of them have to physically go back into the office at least part time (or could never stay home in the first place). Or they have no support to help continue keeping them home.
We could have been a place this fall where kids could be safe in person if that was our priority. Clearly it hasn’t been. Instead as a country we’ve decided that personal freedoms – and the expectation that moms will quit and take up the burden – is the better way out. Parents are exhausted and angry and feeling forgotten. For darn good reason.
We are privileged enough to keep our kiddo homeschooled for another year, but not without effort and a lot of flexibility and lost wages. And an amazing village with our family to share the childcare days. It’s not been easy, but I am so thankful I can keep him home until a vaccine is available to him.
Sure, the odds are he won’t die or even be hospitalized if he catches Covid. But I don’t play odds. There’s a reason I’ve never played the lottery. And there’s a wide gap between hospitalization or death and the possibilities of long Covid and lifetime disabilities. I can’t protect him from everything, but I’m doing my best to protect him from a known and preventable threat.
Friday’s Frugal Five
1. We dispatched of the roosters this past weekend. My husband did the actual slaughtering, but I brought him the birds and stayed to watch. I then dunked the birds in hot water (to loosen the feathers) and then helped with plucking and butchering. Even a year ago, I don’t think I would have been able to help, and I am so proud of myself for doing so.
Going meat-free is likely never to happen in our household, but being more intentional with the meat we do it definitely is, starting with the bulk beef we buy each year. As far as sustainable homesteading on a micro-farm, like we have, animals make sense because they can forage in the less desirable parts of the yard (ie the shaded parts), and they make excellent manure. While we’ve gotten chickens for the egg laying, we aren’t allowed to have roosters, so once two of them started crowing, we knew they were no longer welcome.
Of course, we could have found someone to take them off our hands, but considering pretty much anyone who would do that would end up butchering them themselves. So if the animals were to be eaten, we felt that we should be the ones doing the butchering and eating. We watched some chicken CAFO videos with the kiddo in the morning before hand, and I found that those videos were significantly more off-putting to me than the idea of slaughtering our own birds that had great lives right up to the end. Conventional farming enterprises are pretty awful, and I’d like to divest ourselves from them as much as possible. And so that includes eating our roosters.
2. The coworker of mine who I’ve mentioned in the past as someone who really appreciates the bowls of homegrown blueberries that I bring in for them brought me a big bag of apples and pears from their trees. They were absolutely delicious. And the mutuality of swapping homegrown produce is the best.
I also made English muffins over the weekend, and brought in one for them as well and got handed an apple in return. Really. The best. Why is this not a more common thing?
3. We hauled a couple loads of firewood from my parents’ property over the weekend in the truck. Over the years, they’ve saved us literally thousands of dollars in firewood, and it is so appreciated. The burn ban level here is down to a two, so we’ll get to have fires out back again soon.
In the winter, too, it means we can offset some of our natural gas burning furnace use with the fireplace. Plus, fires on a cold, soggy day are pretty much one of the best things about the short winter days.
4. I completely missed mentioning it last week, but my clothes buying ban is now four and a half years old. The last time I purchased clothing for myself was prior to March 1, 2017. God, that feels like another lifetime ago.
I’ve also decided that this ban is now simply the way I’m going to do things from now on, at least until the United States divests from fossil fuels. I tweeted out this week, but I’m not going to buy any clothes for myself until this country decarbonizes. Perhaps I can get people to join me so it means something? No matter what, I think that we need to up our game personally and as a community. Big change requires big policies, but every bit we can move the needle to “less bad” when it comes to the consequences of climate change, the better.
5. We made Korean ground beef this week again, and I checked back to the recipe I wrote up after we purchased our first bulk beef. I added shredded zucchini and a couple small eggplants out of the garden as well, to pad out the meat and to sneak in some vegetables. As my husband said, it was his favorite way to eat zucchini – when you can’t even see it.
If you’re inundated with garden zucchini right now, I’d highly recommend this recipe as one that can disappear some of it well. Plus, it means that your meat stretches without being noticeable, which is also really important in reducing meat consumption. Something we all need to do as we adjust to the current and future climate.
PS – in terms of preparing for the future, Regina and I are hosting an Intro to PrepperFI class today at 3pm PT. The live Zoom is open to women and nonbinary folks only, but the recording is available to all. Sign up here – we’d love to have you join us!
PPS – the most recent WPF Insiders Cohort is open now! I would absolutely love for you to join us – it really is the very best place on the internet. <3