Monday, 19 April 2010

Adapting when changes come your way


by Throwback at Trapper Creek

Many times dreams or goals have to change due to unforeseen circumstances. For a long time my husband and I have been working towards being off-grid when it comes to our food supply. What comes to mind when the term off-grid comes up is electricity, but food security was a larger concern for us. To us electricity is a luxury I guess, which allows us to use our computer, use freezers for some of our food, and generally make our lives a little easier. If it were to go away we might be uncomfortable and crabby without being able to entertain ourselves after dark, but we really don't need it. We pump our water with water power, we heat our home, water and cook with wood from our forest. So really all our basic needs can be met without electricity. We decided to put our efforts into our food supply.

And we actually were doing a pretty good job, until my husband was diagnosed with Crohn's. He had lived with all sorts of digestive upsets since he was a child, but never really had a definitive answer. Besides that diagnosis, through his very competent ND, he has identified many food allergens that really have always thrown him for a loop. Unfortunately, some were staples that we were counting on with our off-grid food plans. Potatoes, tomatoes, & eggs to name a few. Back to the drawing board. This was major.

We had just spent the last 16 years rounding out our year-round harvesting fresh food plan, now it was needing to change fast. Besides the garden having to change, I had to wrap my mind around making sure every meal he ate was the most nutritious it could be, since he is not able to absorb all the available nutrients in his food. I never thought I would be the wife or mother who fixed separate foods at mealtime for different family members. But, plans change, I had to adapt and make the best out of a bad situation. I had a sick husband and a growing teenager, both needing different foods at the same time. These days, one meal component may be the same for all of us, but I have to mix and match ingredients and cooking methods. Sometimes it is as simple as corralling the potatoes with foil in a roasted vegetable dish, or using different fillings in his enchilada. I use bone broth instead of water for braising liquids or to cook rice with. Yeah rice...rice is the seed of choice for many of his meals. So much for being off the food grid, we have no desire to bend our land around growing rice, so we have to make peace with the fact that we are buying this staple. We needed to buck up, and get over it, move forward and change our thinking.

Changing our thinking means I have to see the positive. Growing less potatoes lightens my workload. Not fretting over tender salad greens for the entire family all winter, means I can devote more space to more hardy braising greens. And for food to truly be nourishing it should be prepared with love and kind thoughts and be comforting. My poor DH truly misses his potatoes, and he sees us eating them daily, but I have found that by substituting celeriac for the potatoes in dishes, just seeing the white vegetable eases that longing for him. So simple, yet so hard to come up with solutions. Always trial and error.

All in all we still provide much of our food: dairy, meats, vegetables and most fruits come from the work of our own hands. We must accept with grace the cards we are dealt and make the best of it. We need to feel the change in our hearts and then the mind will follow.

Have you had any challenges in your situation that have changed your goals?