I got myself about 6 pounds of good stew beef this week and did some cold-weather canning. I really like to can in the winter. The extra heat and humidity is welcome and there are no competing, compelling tasks to call me away. I usually can in quart jars but I have switched to pints. There are just the four of us at home now and I don’t need to prepare as much food. I was just reading about a meeting of agricultural ministers from around the world. They called for developed nations to address the problem of food waste as we throw out enough food to keep the 1 billion staving people fed.

I spent a couple of happy hours at the BagShare/Sewing Center this weekend. My 4-H sewing group met for the first time on Saturday morning. We had 7 boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 9. They learned a couple of basic sewing stitches and took home some practice fabric, needles and thread. Yesterday, some folks volunteered to repair a pile of donated machines. It was really interesting to watch these guys at work. My brain does not work like that but I can certainly appreciate the ones that can play around with a machine for a few minutes, diagnose a problem and fix it with common sense and a tiny screwdriver. Sometimes, a simple squirt of oil was all that was needed. I wonder how many perfectly useful things are tossed every day for want of basic maintenance. As with the food, waste is habit we can no longer afford, either economically or environmentally. I was struck by the quality of the older machines. The heavy metal bodies keep the machines from bouncing around and parts tend not to break. Once a plastic part breaks, that’s the end of it and finding replacement parts is about impossible. Anyway, I returned with a pair of Duluth jeans that someone had discarded. They were too long but a few minutes of time and some hem binding and I had them shortened and ready to wear. I also made a gorgeous bag as I needed a new purse. I used an upholstery sample for fabric and the bad looks designer rather than scavenged.

We have permaculture tonight. It’s time to gear up for spring and I need to get my seeds ordered. I don’t need much except for beans and squash. I went way overboard on tomato sauce this year and I will be cutting bach on what I plant. Not a problem as I want more space for the things I have already run out of. I’m down to two cabbages and maybe 6 more meals of squash. We eat a lot of both.

I mentions that I was going in on turkey poults with my milk farmer. It turns out that others want to join us and I can see a turkey group forming. Sharing labor and resources is so wise on many levels. Bruce is working with several neighbors to go in on buying a used Kubota tractor together. There is one for sale in the neighborhood and five families want it. None of can really afford the full price and none can really justify the expense anyway as it’s the kind of thing you need only occasionally. While discussing it, one if the interested guys suggested buying it together and sharing. We live next door to each other and share the big field that backs up our houses. The families already share much and get along without being intimate. I think we can pull this off without a lot of effort. I think we need to pull this off. It goes along with food waste, discarded sewing machines and turkey poults. We can’t afford not to share and co-operate. We can’t afford not to have a tribe. In a town as small as ours, finding tribe is lot easier but I think it can be done anywhere. I would love to hear from others here about what you’re doing in this respect. Is it church or school or food co-op or book club. Maybe it’s family and maybe friends, old and new. One thing is certain. You need people. The image of prepper/survivalists is often one of gun-toting isolated military types. Most of us have no desire to live like this and it’s certain that most of us couldn’t, even if we wanted to. Most of us will continue to plug along no matter what happens in Iran or Washington. One of the things I am most sure of is that plugging along will require co-operation and the time to figure that out is now.