/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » confessions of a DIYer

As I continue down my path, I am privileged to make observations about myself and figure out who I am a little bit more.  Most have this opportunity, but many don’t take the time for navel gazing introspection.  I’ve been blessed recently with the time to think and ponder and came to some conclusions about myself.

I am a DIYer (Do It Yourself-er).  I come from a long line of DIYers and I enjoy the things I do myself.  One of my cousins calls me a “modern-day pilgrim,” a friend calls me “Caroline Ingalls,” but I just call myself a DIYer.  The monikers all mean the same thing – that I do a lot from scratch or by hand.

I realized recently that some women don’t do things by hand or from scratch – either they don’t know how, were never taught, or simply don’t enjoy it.  I am privileged to know how via being taught, and I enjoy it.  A friend of mine said, “But why not just buy it at the store?” in response to a discussion about applesauce-canning plans.  My thought was, “Why would I do that, when it’s so darned easy to make at home?”

I think that’s one of the core differences between me and a non-DIYer.  I look for ways to do things at home, on my own, and would rather not buy something ready-made at the store if I can help it.

I was talking to my friend Elizabeth, who lives in the middle east.  She’s known me for years and although she loves me, she also knows what a nut I can be.  So we were talking about this exact thing and I queried if I was making more work for myself or becoming a slave to frugality.  She said, “For you, it’s always been a matter of experience, experimenting, and curiosity.  As in, “Can I do it?””  I appreciate her candor and realized that indeed, that’s much of what my DIY-ness is about.  I didn’t get in to canning fruits & vegetables and growing a garden because I felt some need to squirrel things away – I wanted to know what I could do.  It was a test of my ability, a push of my own personal limits.

The same thing applies when I began baking bread for us.  I got tired of reading labels in the store, hunting for HFCS (which I’m pretty certain is the Devil, himself).  A friend sent me a bread-machine recipe, and not having a bread-machine but knowing that a Kitchen Aid mixer was a good substitute, I went to work adjusting the recipe.  And after a few months of tweaking this and that, it was perfect – 100% whole wheat bread that rises beautifully, is soft & delicious, and I control all of what goes in to it.  It’s down pat to a place where I’ve begun teaching friends who want to learn how to bake bread – and they achieve similar results.

As I ponder my garden this year (and gaze at the wealth of heirloom seeds I procured last week), I realize that again, I’m intentionally stretching myself.  I’m not 100% certain that I know what to do with a patch of spaghetti squash or how to successfully grow cauliflower, or how high to make a fence around my garden boxes.  But that’s what the internet is for, right?  I can read books, I can ask other local gardeners, and I can research fencing – knowing all the while that there really isn’t any fence that will keep a determined white-tailed deer out.  But I won’t let my lack of know-how deter me; life is about learning, experiencing, and doing.  And I’m not going to learn or experience without doing – or at least, trying.

Brendan wants to try to bake dog cookies for Cody (more on that in upcoming posts) – and I’m all for it.  I hunted around for a recipe that used 100% whole wheat flour and oats (no corn or corn meal) for our pooch’s sensitive stomach.  [Hey, if we’re gonna do this, I’m *not* going to make something that makes the already gaseous dog moreso.  He’s already jet-propelled up the steps in the house – no point in turning him in to a zeppelin and going down in flames when he lets one go!]  The dog cookies might turn out – they might not.  But there’s only one way to find out.  And I’m all for the experiment.

And that’s why I’m content to be a modern-day pilgrim or a Caroline-Ingalls-wannabe.  It’s who I am.  :)


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  • elizabeth

    You are my favorite pilgrim!!!