In addition, we have been personally experiencing first-hand the descent into challenging times over the last six years. I consider us, and many people like us, part of The Poor Middle Class, as I call it. I do not see a return to the kind of middle class life that our parents enjoyed after WWII. I do not see a return to conspicuous consumption that many of us got away with before 2008. The lines have been drawn. There are the ‘material haves’ and the ‘material have-nots. We have-nots have the opportunity to see things and live life in a very different way. We also do not have to go it alone.
Change can cause panic and fear. It can also be inspirational. We are personally choosing inspiration, with creative solutions and community support. That is what Back to Basics is all about for anyone who wants to live a sustainable life. It involves becoming self-sufficient for future survival and having fun learning how to make the transition. It has given me a new purpose in life, my Ikigai, as one of my Back to Basics articles describes.
Lately ‘Back to Basics’ A Simple Healthy Green Natural, Relaxed and Thrifty Life has become my Ikigai, my reason for being. Ikigai is a Japanese word that roughly means what motivates me ‘to rise and shine’ each day. My Back to Basics projects certainly qualify as just that. On a daily basis, I rise and head for my laboratory (also my kitchen) to see how something is fermenting, gelling, infusing or whatever process is used as a back to basics alchemist.
I am not very good at remembering things. I have numerous paper recipe notebooks. But I either forget to write things down or do a terrible job of it. On the other hand, I love to blog. So I decided that Alison*s Back to Basics Journal, an online collection of blog posts, would be the best way to go. This also provides a recording of my current Ikigai and an archive of these activities.
MY BACK TO BASICS JOURNAL
Here I am at a new beginning. I have completed a few ‘Back to Basics’ projects. So before I forget what they are and the details, I better get going with this journal. I have been working on five projects that are at various stages of maturity. They include: • orange essence infused vinegar (not shown)
• homemade apple cider vinegar
• Kefir water/Kefir milk
• homemade laundry detergent (not shown)
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
I have already written a blog post about homemade apple cider vinegar. Ironically, it is the last project to be started and the first to be written about. I have followed Janella Purcell’s instructions as indicated:
“Here’s what you need –
cores and peels from 6-8 (preferably) organic apples (colour not important)
2 tbsp organic sugar or raw honey
filtered water to cover
Return the liquid to the jar and cover it again with a paper towel and band. Leave it for 4 more weeks, stirring daily.
Taste it and see if it has the acidity you would like. If it does, transfer it to a bottle with a lid for storage. If not, leave it in the wide-mouthed jar for a little while longer, checking every few days.” #applecidervinegar #janellapurcell #fermentedfoods”
Since I just started yesterday, I have to wait until the 28th to remove the scraps. Then I have to wait another 4 weeks to taste it. I am going to have to be very patient with this project. Next, I think I will explain how to make orange vinegar. It is easy, fun and great for house cleaning. It also smells great.
The most involved are the Kombucha and perhaps the Kefir. They involve not only fermentation but also a special mushroom to transform the ingredients added to them to give them probiotic qualities for consumption. Both Kombucha and Kefir have links to them so you can learn more about them. In fact, if you can’t wait for me to include them in my Back to Basics Journal, you can learn how to make them from watching YouTube videos and asking lots of questions, yourself.
Kefir water can look very similar to Kombucha. But Kombucha has some effervescence and Kefir does not. They are both supposed to be very healthy. So I guess it is a matter of taste preference. I actually prefer Kombucha to Kefir water and Kefir milk to kefir water.
HOMEMADE LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Last but not least is my homemade laundry detergent. I am having lots of fun working on perfecting the consistency. I may wash all the clothes in my neighborhood by the time I perfect it. One bucket goes a long, long way. But I am going to wait for another day to go into detail on that project in my Back to Basics Journal. Suffice to say, I have grown to love it. The savings makes it even more desireable. There is a blog with a recipe in the additional resources below.