In today's consumer driven world, all we need to know anymore is how to earn money. To our detriment, we've forgotten most everything else over the course of the last few generations as industrialization took hold. Anything bad resulting from our consumer purchases is hidden from view. So long as the money keeps flowing, all is well. Well... at least all appears well so long as you're not a "pessimist" who dares to peek behind the curtain too often. We'd all be much happier if nobody looked back there anyway, right?
Baking bread? But wait a minute you say... David goes to the ER so they can unplug his swollen esophagus with an endoscope when he eats bread! (yes, I have developed a very unfortunate allergic reaction to wheat). As it turns out, Rachel's new spelt-flour sourdough causes no problems for me. I'm not sure whether the difference is in the avoidance of our adulterated modern wheat or the fermentation involved in making sourdough, but I can eat it with no ill effects. Sourdough fermentation is another example of traditional methods having long forgotten benefits.
|The all important ash drawer!|
|Tallow soap curing|
So how does wood ash help you to stay clean? Aside from industrially produced methods, soaking it in water is the best way to make lye, which when combined with tallow or other fats makes soap. Not just for yourself, but for laundry or dishes as well. As an added benefit, you'll realize that you no longer have to donate so much plastic to your local landfill when you make your own soap, or grow your own food.
The lye made by dissolving wood ash isn't just good for soap though. If you want to walk somewhere, you'll need shoes, and if you're going to have shoes, you need leather. Wood ash lye is also the best way to dehair hides for turning them into leather. You needed to butcher a cow for the tallow to make the soap anyway (or maybe even for hamburgers?), so you already had a hide to tan for leather .
|Our stash of black-oak bark|
|Partially tanned cowhide in oak bark tanning solution|
Eat more cheese!
|Rachel's delicious smoked Gouda|
I think it's incredibly cool the way the real world is so interconnected. Our ancestors figured out a lot of interesting stuff, and as the fossil fueled world starts to wane, we'll all do well to learn more of it.