Wednesday, March 4, 2015

DIY -- 2015

So I bragged last year about how much money I saved in one quarter of a year and you're all yeah, yeah, I wanna do that.

First, you need storage space.  You need storage for flour and yeast and your mixing bowls and baking pans and, if you use one, your breadmaker, before you can save that $1-3 per loaf of bread.
Pickles take up to a month to cure, depending on what it is.   You need storage space for the empty jars, for the full jars, for the canner if you use one, for the pickling spices, sugar and vinegar.  That's why DIY is so difficult for people living in those tiny apartments being built nowadays.

Second, you need to plan.  This is tiring work and for jellies and jams, split-second timing.  If you have to drive 100 miles to get to the pick-your-own place, you will be too tired when you get home to do the work.  By the way, that drive just ate up all your savings.

Third, you need to clean.  You cannot leave your tools dirty when you're done because they will only be harder to clean the next day.  Bread dough will crust on the bowl, jelly leftovers will jell in the pot.  You need energy not only to do the preserving, but also to do the cleanup.  That includes the floor.  I guarantee stuff will get on the floor.

But most important of all, you have to follow instructions.  You must make sure that your dill pickles are under the brine or they will rot.  That's another guarantee, and it means you just wasted a bunch of money.  You must turn the heat down on your jelly at the right time to get it to come out to the right consistency, otherwise you wasted your money.  You have to measure ingredients correctly when you corn your own beef otherwise it doesn't corn right or it's not appetizing.  You must use a pressure-canner, not a hot-water canner, with green beans and wax beans, because you will risk botulism.  We've mostly forgotten about that except as a cosmetic treatment, but it can be deadly especially in children who can't or don't tell you when they are experiencing symptoms.  You must get your pressure canner tested for reaching the right pressure, or you risk botulism anyway.

I was reminded of these issues while watching Frontier House on Youtube.  Some people absolutely failed to realize that their success depended on taking things seriously.  They hung onto their old bad habits, translated to the frontier. 

DIY gives you a terrific sense of empowerment, as well as creativity and the savings.  But you have to take the instructions seriously; they come from generations of experience, including failures and deaths.  If your head is in a place where you will take the warnings seriously, go for it.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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