I remember growing up on a small farm when I was a boy. It was my grandfathers farm. We had moved back to the house that my grandfather owned - the house that my mother was born in, when I was in second grade because Grandpa was getting older and needed someone to take care of him. At various times, during the ten years that we lived there, we had cows, goats and pigs, but we always had a pony or two and we always had chickens. We also always had a very large garden. Every summer I would be down in the fields working with Grandpa. Grandpa would hitch up the pony to the old fashion plow that he had and we would plow the fields that way. We would grow hay for the ponies and all sorts of good things to eat. We grew green beans, corn, potatoes, rhubarb, mint, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, watermelon...you name it, if it grew in central Pennsylvania, it was in our garden. Grandpa even financed a strawberry business in order for me to make a little money during the summers. Harvest season was always an adventure. We would sit out in the yard and snap beans. Dad was always busy cutting thing up with the electric knife. Mom was busy freezing and canning the vegetables. The rest of us stayed busy picking the crops and bringing in the hay. It was a busy time, and hard work. I didn't appreciate it until much older. Grandpa was very old fashioned and could be pretty stern and rough at times. He was, however, very loving as well.
It was also a very healthy lifestyle. We had fresh eggs and vegetables either straight from the garden or preserved using old fashioned methods with no chemicals and artificial preservatives. We would often have meat from grass fed or natural fed cows, pigs or chickens. We didn't go out to eat much, because there were no places to go out to eat in the small town where we lived. We didn't have as many processed foods because there weren't as many on the market.
When unhealthy foods finally did make their way on to store shelves, the research wasn't there to tell us these things were bad. Pre-packaged ready to eat foods; microwaves; things that lasted longer on the shelves - they were all great! Weren't modern things wonderful? Weren't we making leaps and bounds in the world of science and food preparation? It was truly the best time of our lives!
It wasn't until years later that we realized that things weren't as great as we thought they were. Oh, many of the advances in technology were awesome and great, but many of the things that we thought were fantastic really weren't good at all. Not for us, and not for mankind!
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no green earth fanatic who thinks we should limit the population so that we can save the world or something as equally extreme, but, I do believe that God gave us our bodies and our planet, and we shouldn't be flippant about the things that we put into our bodies or into our environment. But, is it too late? After all, a whole generation or two has grown up with this unhealthy living. Have the old, healthier ways, been forgotten? Can we relearn them? Can we blend the old, healthier things with the good technological advances that have occurred these past four or five decades?
I think we can, and so does Jessie Hawkins and the folks at Vintage Remedies. Vintage Remedies began in 2005. Here is what the Vintage Remedies says about their beginning:
In the summer of 2005, Vintage Remedies was established to be the part hobby / part occasional job of founder Jessie Hawkins. She would offer her consulting services for local families and professionals that needed to learn more about healthy and natural lifestyles.
The website goes on to say that her consulting work quickly grew into a part time online school to teach more individuals about healthy living and then, even more quickly, turned into a full time business. Since then, over 500 individuals have gone through her courses and she has begun writing books for all ages.
Recently I received the book Vintage Remedies for Guys a healthy living workbook for boys ages 7-13. This neat workbook can be used informally in your home, or, more formally as a one or two year homeschool course. This great book has 18 chapters that are divided into three sections. Section One: Food, Nutrition and Culinary Skills covers such things as Healthy Drinks, Snacktime and Growing Your Own Food. Section Two: Health and Body talks about Healthy and Clean Bodies, Immunity and Prevention, Coughs and Colds, and Summertime Fun among other things. Finally, Section Three: Natural Living covers things such as Hospitality, Cleaner Cleaning and A Natural Home.
Joshua, our 11 year old asperger's son and I have been slowly going through Vintage Remedies for Guys and have so far covered the first two chapters, "Real Food", and "Kitchen Basics". We have loved the easy conversational style of the writing and have learned so much. Joshua has learned the history of real foods and processed foods and has learned how to identify real foods. He has begun to learn how to cook with real foods. Already we have made homemade pizza and baked bread together and we are going to learn how to make cheese (YES, I said cheese) and homemade yogurt soon! All using natural ingredients! Of course, all of these new things that we are trying require parental involvement. That's why I'm saying "we", but I am learning just as much as Joshua and having just as much fun.
It really is fun to learn about living a healthy lifestyle, and this book is fun to learn with. Each approximately ten page chapter begins with a conversational style four or five page explanation of the topic. Some chapters then have a fun one page "tips" section such as "Tips in the Kitchen" or "Tips for a Great Appearance". Then the really fun part begins - the projects. I've listed some of the recipes that we have been trying out (or will be) in the above paragraph, but not all of the projects are food recipes. Some aren't even recipes at all. In future chapters we'll be learning how to make our own natural deodorant and natural cleaning spray but we'll also be going on a "field trip" to our farmer's market and learning how to make "Green Gifts". Finally, each chapter ends with a section for parents who might be using this book for homeschooling or for leaders of a group that might be working through this book together. The appendix of Vintage Remedies for Guys also includes Chapter Quizzes, a section for family, homeschool and group scheduling, and a section that talks about further learning.
We have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. I've been slowly striving to get back to a healthier lifestyle for a long time, and this book has helped me to accomplish that as well as teach my children how to start when they are young. It has also provided some great discussion times on how folks used to live and to talk about how I used to live. Now, mind you, I'm a little older than the average parent of young children, but you could always use this to open up conversations with grandparents, older neighbors or older folks from your church. The Vintage Remedies website lists this book for $45.00. Just click here or on any of the hi-lighted links above. They also have a Vintage Remedies for Gals and a Vintage Remedies for Kids book that others on the TOS Homeschool Crew have reviewed. You can find their reviews by clicking here. Vintage Remedies sells so much more than homeschool curriculum, though. They have book and courses on all aspects of healthy living. And, they are just a plain old great company to work with and buy from. Check them out today. Happy Homeschooling and Happy Healthy Living!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free copy of "Vintage Remedies for Guys" in order to try out and give my honest review on my blog.
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