Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Crying Over Spilt Milk

You know the old saying "don't cry over spilt milk"?? That one never made sense to me when I was a kid. I mean, you spill some milk, so what? You clean it up, you go to the store and get another gallon of milk. Big deal.

Now that we're getting our milk locally and only once a week, I would certainly cry if we spilled one of our precious half gallons. As it is, if we use some for one thing, we have to go a little short on something else. Of course, we've still got the option of going to the store and getting some cow's milk for Wayne and I to drink (only the kids are allergic and need the goat's milk), and luckily for us we can actually get local, organic cow's milk in glass bottles at our corner market. People who invented the saying about crying over spilled milk I'm sure didn't have that option. They had whatever came out of the cow, goat, or sheep that day, and that was it.

Now that it's winter and our hens aren't laying as much, eggs are another precious commodity. I dropped one a couple of nights ago coming back from the chicken coop and knew that meant one less egg for breakfast. It may seem archaic to live from hen or goat to mouth as it were, but I also think it brings with it a much greater appreciation of both your food and its source.

Mackenzie just read Old Yeller and its sequel Savage Sam. The picture of pioneer life it paints shows just how tenuous their hold on basic survival was. Their food for the winter depended on keeping the raccoons and skunks out of their corn patch and the wild animals away from their drying salted meat. Any excess milk had to be made into cheese or butter or it couldn't be kept.

I also just finished reading Life As We Knew It, which will really get you to thinking about all the conveniences of modern life, and how well you would cope if they all suddenly disappeared. Would you be making do, or crying over spilt milk? It's a reasonable read if you're interested in how the world might cope without its current transportation system (though that's not really the theme of the book or anything).


thebookbaglady said...

I can appreciate the egg. While we don't have chickens, we do try to grow all of our own lettuce, other produce, and pick at the local farms. I keep everything in the 'root cellar' :-) (the garage). Anyway, a few days ago we picked all of the lettuce. One patch outside is under 3 rolls of plastic, but I'm not sure it will make it through 'the teens'. We have a lot of lettuce today, but in a few weeks, who knows. It makes you appreciate how convenient life is-- We CAN go buy produce after this freeze.

Wendy said...

I can *so* relate to this post. Our chickens have scaled down their laying, too, because they were molting, and because it's winter ;). Every egg is precious!

And the milk thing - we get our milk raw, once a week, from a local farmer and carry it home in 1/2 gal canning jars - kind of like the one you pictured. We get two gallons a week, and if we do anything different, we'll run short. It's all a very precarious balance.

Top it off with a winter storm during which we lose power for three and a half days, and one starts to really appreciate how "convenient" our lives really are.

It will be interesting to see how people react when things like transportation (of people and food) and on-demand services like grocery stores aren't as available as they have been.