New Worries

6 Jun

Warning:This post gets a little political

So the recall election in Wisconsin is over. With its end, comes new fears. To me, it feels like those who wish to abolish unions were holding their collective breaths until the outcome was known. Well, now they can all breathe a sigh of relief, while my family hunkers down and hopes that things won’t turn out as bad in Pennsylvania as they did in Wisconsin.

As I mentioned before, my husband is a teacher, a union teacher. PA House Bill 1307 is being fast tracked though right now and could end collective bargaining rights for teachers in PA. It takes a further damaging step by allowing financially distressed districts to terminate existing contracts.

The state GOP (I would argue the GOP in general) has been amazingly proficient at making teachers and other unionized workers enemies of the state. By telling you that teachers screw everyone over by taking all the tax money for their pensions and benefits. I get so irritated and want to scream at these people who my husband pays as much into his benefits and pension as his employer (we the citizens of PA) do….just like any other fricking job! And just like the rest of us, he has to watch the total sum of his pension drop as the market bounces around. And for Pete’s sake, these are the people who you entrust to educate your children and hope will make them productive members of society. Why on earth wouldn’t you want to invest in them?! They are not babysitters. Teachers spend countless hours trying to get your children to engage. Add to that, the classes they have to take in order to maintain their certification, usually done during the summer, taking time away from their own families.

I am proud of my husband and everything that he does. How he maintains his dedication in the face of so much hatred and ungratefulness (not a word I know) is beyond me. When faced with the same at our own workplaces we are allowed to be disgruntled and try to do something about it. But teachers, firemen, and policemen are supposed to just take it, AND maintain our high standards for their job performances? I wouldn’t trade places with my husband for all the world.

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8 Responses to “New Worries”

  1. Kristy Hogbin June 19, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Hey Amb!
    Thanks for sharing this. . .I have a couple questions if you don’t mind.
    I was wondering if you found homesteading (growing/making vs buying) more or less expensive? Meaning do you save money by doing it yourself? Also, if you had to pick one aspect to start with, what would it be? Garden? Bread? You work full time, right? How does time play a role? I am so curious about this. . .I would love do some of this but don’t want to get half way and quit.

    • heathenhomesteader June 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

      Of course I don’t mind! So far I’ve found it to be less expensive. While I may be spending $2.99 on a red pepper plant, it costs $3.99 for a single red pepper in the grocery store. If I take care of that plant, I could easily get between 6 and 8 peppers for less than then cost of one. Yeah, the fertilizers are going to cost you some money. But, if you have a compost bin throughout the year, there’s no reason to pay for fertilizer. I actually got a great tip from one of the books about planting cover crops in the late summer/early fall. These would be Alfalfa or clover (or some other variation of cover crop). Just before the last frost, turn them over into the soil, and they will put the nutrients back into the soil up until the time you’re ready to plant again. The only thing we’ve looked into that may cost more than it saves is making your own laundry detergent. But I actually think Andy may have read it wrong. We make our own general purpose cleaning supplies with baking sode, vinegar, and water, and they work great! And the ingredients combined cost me what a bottle of 409 costs, and I have plenty left over to make more. I’ll probably get about 40 spray bottles worth out of the supplies I bought.
      As far as where to start…start small, just to see if doing things yourself is what you want to do. I started with bread. It took a few tries, but I finally found a recipe that worked. My mother in law also got me a bread machine for christmas, so that makes it a lot easier. But definitely start small; dry your clothes on a drying rack or on a line to save money on electricity. You’ll realy be suprised at how much money you start to save once you start doing things yourself. Yeah, you have to buy the flour and yeast, but you’ll get a lot of bread out of one bag of flour. And if you have a bread machine, you’ll have to buy one container or bread machine yeast every year or so, depending on how much bread you use. If you make it by hand, the packets of yeast are really cheap. I don’t know your cooking habits, but if you don’t already, try cooking dinners from scratch. Find a local farmers market for your produce, if you can find a local butcher that’s great!
      Time is where I get hurt. As of right now, I try to make week nights family nights. My Saturdays are spent at my mom’s in the garden, and we usually try to do something as a family on Sundays. But I’ve been getting Emmy involved in the gardening, so hopefully in a few years that can be a family activity as well. Well, it will have to be if we get the land we want and the garden the size we need it to be. But hopefully, in a few years I’ll be able to stay home, so time won’t be a problem.
      It’s definitely tough going at times, but what keeps me at it is the knowledge that I’m doing something healthy and productive for my family.

  2. Kristy Hogbin June 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Are you on Pinterest? There are TONS of make-it-yourself “recipes” on there. I didn’t realize that counted. . .so far I’ve made a stain remover, shower cleaner and microwave cleaner. I guess I’m a little closer than I thought. The time thing is what I’m most worried about. Right now I feel like I’m barely hanging on with what I have. . .I think start slow will help. . .

    • heathenhomesteader June 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      I signed up to be invited, but I think I accidentally deleted the email. Homesteading has a lot of definitions to a lot of different people. But I think, at it’s core, it’s more about getting back to the basics of life, and trying to do things more naturally. It can definitely get overwhelming at times. For me, time is my biggest enemy at the moment. With working full time, having a veggie garden 30 minutes from home, and having responsibilities at home, I’m constantly feeling stretched in a million directions. I just keep reminding myself that in a year or 3, I’ll be able to stay home, have a yard big enough for the garden and not have to be in 10 different places at once. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll have more on my plate, with the animals we want to have (we’re definitely getting chickens, but we’re thinking about goats too when we get a new house), but I’ll also have the house to take care of as well as baby #2 (we’re going to start trying for that one in the next 2 weeks or so). But I think it will be easier with everything in a central location. And starting slow definitely helps with the overwhelming feeling.

      • Kristy Hogbin July 17, 2012 at 11:31 am #

        Have you made your own launry detergent yet? I found a “recipe” that I want to try but was interested in seeing if you have one that you like? It sounds fairly simple and supposedly it works well. . .not sure about its stain removing powers, that is the only thing that has me concerned. Owen gets so many stains on his clothes!

      • heathenhomesteader July 17, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

        I’ve read that if you rub a little lemon juice on the stain, let let it hang on a line in the sun, it should help with the stains. I haven’t tried the laundry detergent yet, but I picked up a book full of cleaning recipes. I’ll get you the title of it when I get home.

      • heathenhomesteader July 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

        The name of the book is “the naturally clean home” by Karyn Siegel-maker

      • heathenhomesteader July 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

        That’s siegel-maier. Stupid auto correct

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